My wife, Alysia, and I are going to see Pineapple Express this weekend. All of a sudden this week’s title makes sense, right?

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: Coming soon: the RPG Maestro newsletter, a monthly-ish newsletter Yax will use to deliver more in-depth articles. If your players balk at reading new rules, Yax has some good news about the 4e PHB: They can get the essentials in 37 pages. Lastly, ENnies voting has ended, and if you followed my advice and voted for, you have my thanks. Yax, I hope you win!

→ Musings of the Chatty DM: Chatty’s series on starting an RPG blog continues with part five (all about what happens once it’s rolling) and Berin Kinsman‘s guest post, What NOT To Do. This is a great series, and ties in very nicely with the launch of the RPG Bloggers Network (more on that later). Chatty also has a suggestion for expanding D&D 4e’s action points.

→ Roleplaying Tips: Issue 410 features tips for managing your group. (See our own Patrick Benson’s GM Means “General Manager” for a different but related take.) Oddly enough, the next section details an RPG-crush on Savage Worlds penned by a mystery man identified only as “Telas.” I wonder who that could be?

GMing All Over the Place

→ RPG Bloggers Network: The big news in the RPG blogging world this week is the brand spanking new RPG Bloggers Network. They launched at the start of the week with fewer than 10 blogs and are now rocking with over 40 members. There’s a network hub page that aggregates feed excerpts from member blogs, and knowing the folks at Critical Hits and Phil at Musings, they have big plans for the future. I recommend checking out the sidebar of links to their many members — alongside the established sites, I guarantee you’ll discover interesting gaming blogs you’ve never heard of before.

→ Amagi Games: Amagi presents the metasystem, “an open, generic rules system, presented right along with a method for customizing it to the setting you want. Basically, by working through the metasystem articles, you’ll learn both how the rules work and how to “fit” those rules to the action and the setting that you want.” Got an itch for game design?

→ ars ludi: Ben looks at the first GM: Major Wesley, who spontaneously created the first campaign setting, the town of Braunstein. He also advocates talking to the original grognards, like Maj. Wesley, before we lose them (like Gary Gygax) — a damned good point.

→ Atomic Array: AA’s continuing mission is to bring you details about indie RPGs (and to boldly go where no one has gone before), and this week it’s Prophecy, a boxed-set RPG in an age where boxed sets are few and far between.

→ Critical Hits: Dave The Game is going to buy the 4e Forgotten Realms setting book, and he’s got a pretty good reason. I’m nowhere near the fence on this one — it’s my favorite D&D setting, bar none, and has been for many years — but if you are, let Dave seduce you…

→ EN World: All EN World Threads on DMing Advice. I have not read through these, but sweet baby Jesus is this a monster meta-thread. Got some free time? Burn it here.

→ Geek’s Dream Girl: Are your Instant Messaging Buddies in the Monster Manual? is a fun read that has nothing to do with GMing. In it, e casts IM archetypes as D&D monsters; I, apparently, am a ghost: always on, never actually around.

→ of Dice and Dragons: In Providing Choices to Your Players, Scot presents a practical example for using a flowchart/framework approach to building what might otherwise be a very linear adventure (based on an earlier post).

→ Robin Laws’s LiveJournal: Robin gives two examples of directed scenes — rules-free micro-scenes that flesh out and further embed the PCs in the game world, and make them more real as characters. Sounds pretty cool.

→ Rogue Dispatches: From one of the designers of the Thousand Suns RPG comes design notes on aliens for TS. Two great points are made: Bad aliens make for good gaming (apparently coined by Bruce Baugh), and bad literature makes for good gaming. Brilliantly put, and I think 100% correct.

→ Stupid Ranger: How to move from DM to Player Character… offers advice on making what can, for some GMs, be a bit of a difficult transition. Once you FEEL THE POWER, it can be hard to go back — but players have an altogether different kind of power. Vanir’s look at the stages of gamer life last week is also fun.

→ Wasp Injection Systems: You want a wasp knife, and so will any PC worth the paper she’s written on. What’s a wasp knife? It’s a knife that “injects a freezing cold ball of compressed gas, approximately the size of a basketball, at 800psi nearly instantly. The effects of this injection will drop many of the world’s largest land predators. The effects of the compressed gas […] also freezes all tissues and organs surrounding the point of injection…” I’m dating myself here, but doesn’t that sound like it’s straight from an issue of Punisher War Journal?

Last night our dog, Charlie — who we’re currently calling the Vampire LeChuck, since he’s in one of those e-collars from the vet that dogs (and cats) love so much — locked himself in the bathroom while we were at work. My best guess is that he bonked the door hard enough with his collar to close it. Poor guy — and only two more weeks with the collar…

Have a great weekend, all.