Meet Gnome Stewart:

Look at those dead, soulless eyes, their thousand-yard stare aimed firmly at a point just above your right ear. The sickly, greyish skin (which I completely failed to capture here, but trust me: he’s grey-green). And the flowers, mother of god, the flowers.

Does he carry them to remind him of the days before he started sniffing glue, when he still had a sense of smell? To ward off the bubonic plague he’s so clearly carrying? Or just to lure you close enough to tear your throat out with his sharp, yellow teeth?

I don’t want to know, but he’s our new mascot. Gnome Stewart is badass.

(He came from a little box in Barnes & Noble’s impulse buy aisle, the “Wee Little Garden Gnome Kit,” along with a miniature book. How could I not buy him?)

Ahem. On with the links!

Gnome Rodeos are our regular link roundups. Provided everyone doesn’t simultaneously stop talking about GMing for a week, you should see one most Fridays.

GMing Regulars

Dungeon Mastering: Congrats to Yax on his 2008 ENnie nomination for Best Fan Product! Well deserved, and I’ll be rooting — and voting — for you!

Musings of the Chatty DM: Teaching Role Playing Games to New Players is about that very thing, and it’s solid. Player Motivation and Types Revisited, Again revises the now-classic list of player archetypes from Robin’s Laws of Good Gamemastering, and Chatty posits that WotC should accept that their digital ventures kind of suck, and stop venturing/venture harder. I’m annoyed that D&DI isn’t up and running yet, but it’s not impacting my play…yet.

Roleplaying Tips: Two issues since my last roundup: One Sentence NPCs, Part 2 + Contest in #407 fleshes out issue #406’s flagship article on one-sentence NPCs, while issue #408 looks at campaigns set 110 years or less in the future.

GMing All Over the Place

Amagi Games: Hoard is a free RPG in which you play dragons, while Long Knives is a Gambit (plug-in addition to just about any RPG) to help you create a track intrigue-heavy campaigns. And, as predicted, Amagi Games is going places: books are in the works. Treasure Trove is a tool that outputs D&D 4e magic items according to pretty much any criteria you like: level range, slot, source, etc. (Via Encounter-a-Day, another of Asmor’s excellent ventures.)

Atomic Array: The first episode of this spanking new podcast spotlights Colonial Gothic, an indie RPG about a darker, magic-y colonial America. Rone and Ed have the chops to make this a good source of info on a new game every episode, which looks to be the plan.

Critical Hits: Do the D&D core books need fluff? (Like Stross’s Law? Try Applying Stross’s Law, one of my old TT posts.)

of Dice and Dragons: In Pen, Paper, Index Cards and a Cell Phone?, Scot suggests a cool way to use Jott — a service that lets you dictate short messages and emails them to you — to keep track of your gaming ideas.

Jeff’s Gameblog: Jeff reviews issue #1 of Adventure Games Journal. If you’re old enough to remember Judges Guild before its reincarnation (I’m too young, but not by much), this magazine might be right up your alley. Jeff’s take, as always, is worth a read.

Jonathan Drain’s D20 Source: I somehow missed this one last week: 7 Habits of a Successful Dungeon Master bends a U.K. checklist for entrepreneurs to GMing, and it fits quite well. I disagree with #2, though I see where Jonny is coming from.

Mike Mearls’s LJ: No surprise that Mike can design a truly kickass encounter, and Solo Monsters and the Risk of Boredom is full of good advice (by way of an example: a D&D 4e white dragon) on doing just that. And over on Deeper in the Game, Gnome Rodeo regular Bankuei expands on Mike’s ideas.

Also, our gnomies over at Kobold Quarterly have been nominated for two ENnies, for Empire of Ghouls and Six Arabian Nights. Congrats, tiny lizards!

Want to see all the nominees? Of course you do!

That’s it for this week’s Rodeo. Remember to stop and smell Gnome Stewart’s flowers…before he flenses you and wears you like a gamer skin-suit.