Gnome Rodeos are the Stew’s periodic link roundups – articles packed with pointers to excellent GMing material we think you’ll enjoy.
We usually feature a few regulars plus our favorite discoveries from around the web, all with an eye to making your time behind the screen easier and more fun.
If you wrote or read something you’d like to see featured here, drop us a line. There’s some awesome stuff for GMs out there, and we love to share.
Technique: It’s all in how you use it…
Collaborative conflict mapping is a technique that draws players into the GM’s sketch of the situation and encourages them to expand on it, ties themselves to it, and make it their own.
The same page tool: a quick worksheet (or test) to ensure that you and your players are all playing the same game.
A cool way to work around untimely deaths: cheating death, from Fantasy Craft.
Without rhyme or reason: games as brain teasers.
Adapting burning wheel beliefs to 4e and other games.
Say yes is great advice, but saying no clearly can be great for a game and a world. It’s all in how you hear it.
Fluency play: adding new elements as you master old ones, to keep people from throwing their hands up at complexity.
Worldbuilding: How many universes have disco?
From Inkwell Ideas: Ten ways to vary your game world’s cultures. Combine that with his reminder that cultures and national borders often don’t match, and you’ve got a solid start.
Heroquest 2: Community resources part one and part two. Quantify a community’s needs and requirements, and you have an engine for adventure that fits your world organically.
Does your world have a common language? Why?
Like Greywulf, build a better world by narrowing the options a bit. Rob Donoghue’s has a similar take in 4e and me.
A review of Hard Boiled Cultures.
A solar system physics model. Mostly a pretty distraction, but it could be so much more. Check out your trinary star system and see if it’s going to crash together or last millennia.
4e for fun and profit
The best 4e fights feature these things: a great summary by Judd, from a Story Games thread.
A nice cursed weapon implementation. It turns cursed items into more a one-shot trap and “ug, get rid of it”– they’re useful, just risky or barbed.
From boardgamegeek: A Cool D&D playmat. I’m tempted to bring the mat and a heap of beads to keep track of hit points on the mat next session. Tempted… but I’m not sold yet.
iplay4e is a site that stores your characters online, accessible to the group. Characters can be grouped by campaigns, making it easy for the GM keep track of the character items and bonuses.
NPCs ready for play. All of the PB1 and PB2 races and classes, plus additional MM1 races, with two builds at every level are represented.
Five steps to encourage rituals in skill challenges.
Gamefiend has some good advice for spicing up solos, based on interpreting the fun of MMO bosses. It was inspired by Rob Donoghue’s “raids” in 4e series: 1, 2, and 3.
Want to play D&D with your young kid? Try monster slayers for kids 6+.
Playing Pathfinder: a happy story of a group playing together, lured by fun and nostalgia.
Time to get aligned? A Toothpaste for Dinner comic.
(Living Arcanis site undergoing redesign, currently inaccessible:) 29 free modules for 3.5: the old Living Arcanis modules freely released.
Modern Adventure Seeds
Is this sabotage or civic work? Secret restoration projects. It’s easy to imagine a cabal of supernatural creatures trying to repair the forgotten defenses just ahead of the long slumbering threat’s arrival.
Ten cinematic chase scenes on foot, for inspiration. Lots of details that you can work in to make your next chase more dynamic.
Good for your indie cred
Fight, a guide to strategy for burning wheel. I plan on printing this out before I head to my first burning wheel session at GenCon.
How scripting Duels of Wits and Fights can build the fiction in Burning Wheel.
The Burning Wheel Lifepath Browser. Designed to save page flipping and streamline character generation. Stick around and look at some of the characters others have designed.
The Chatty DM tries out Mouseguard. Session one, two, and three, and four.
MJ Harnish plays Mouseguard with kids: An awesome seven part series.
Doyce reviews and plays mouse guard.
Other cool games:
The Dresden Files RPG is out for preorder. Visit their site for lots of material from the books, including a long sample chapter. I will be picking this up…
The Riddle of Steel: a warm look at a book I never read. It always sounded interesting– I wish it had made it up to the top of my list at some point.
Judd brags about Misery Bubblegum.
The new Warhammer Fantasy is very different from the last edition, but sounds cool in a whole new way. Have any of you tried it?
More microlite20 worlds than you can shake a stick at. No, really a lot.
Now that I’m playing in an Aces and Eights game, I’d like to read about it on the web. The best place I’ve found is the kenzerco forums. It’s like a ghost town elsewhere. If you know of a good site for Aces and Eights, please share!
If you like bite-sized GMing tips and ideas, don’t miss Gnome Stew’s Twitter feed (@gnomestew).
If you have interesting links to share, please add them in comments. Whether they’re cool things you’ve written or cool things you’ve found, the world needs good links!
Just an FYI: the “29 free modules for 3.5” link? Yeah…it still works, but the forwarding links for the actual 29 modules appear to be broken.
I actually used the 4th Ed D&D Playmat with my game last night I just started up (my first time ever DMing a game!) and my players absolutely loved the idea. They’re all reasonably new to 4th Ed, half having played once and the others brand new, so having your critical stats focused via the sheet helped them spend less time searching for bonuses.
Good idea on the author’s part, I look to it as 4th Ed Training Wheels.
@Wild Joker – Thanks for the heads up, I added a note to the link. I visited the Arcanis site, which is undergoing redesign in support of their new campaign. Hopefully the downloads will soon be restored.
@DeusInnomen – Everything that makes a game easier is a good thing. Glad it helped everyone get through their first sessions.
For a whole different (and more evil) version of a cursed item for D&D, look at the Chatty DM’s gnomish music box.
I could never be so evil.
Sparked by gamefiend’s spicing up solos post, I thought I’d add a few more links to 4e land. I’ve added the above (and following) links above.
Rob Donoghue’s MMO style “raids” in 4e series: 1, 2, and 3.
And his post about limiting 4e classes and races, similar to Greywulf’s: 4e and me.