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Four Great GMing Books

Lately I’ve been on an RPG reading tear, and I’ve been fortunate to find, stumble upon, and have recommended to me four excellent GMing books that I’d like to recommend to you in turn. Apart from all being good books, they share a slant towards fantasy and setting creation, but...

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Building a “Petri Dish” Sandbox

Today’s guest article was written by Tom Puketza, and it’s about a topic that has always seemed to be of special interest to Gnome Stew readers: sandbox-style gaming. Tom’s approach is an excellent one, and I think you’ll like it. Thanks, Tom! Previous articles have offered...

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Old School Fantasy Hexcrawl Resources

Ever since Troy’s article about running red box D&D for his kids at the end of January, I’ve been immersing myself in the OSR (Old School Renaissance). It’s been a ton of fun, and one aspect in particular has been some of the most fun I’ve had as a GM in years. Even...

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Planning a Non-Linear Adventure Path

Today’s guest article comes from reader BryanB, who tackles one approach to running non-linear adventures in a comprehensive, usability-focused way. Thanks, Bryan! I used to use a fairly linear approach to adventure design, much like the writers of a typical module utilize. I’d often do a...

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Connect the dots and get to work!

Pixedragon asked (in the suggestion pot) about several things that often tangle together into a big knot: mysteries, clues, and the GM’s spotlight versus the player’s flashlights.

One thing that a good railroaded adventure (or module) has going for it is coherence. Because the players don’t have many options, the GM can spend a lot of effort working on the scenes that they know will happen. Even in a less structured game, the GM is still (usually) the arbiter of scene setting. There are at least two paths a GM can take when the game starts grinding gears.

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Nice Myth, Ugly Truth: Sandbox Games Are Better

I hear people brag about their sandbox games. About how the players can have their PCs interact with the world in an unrestricted manner. How the gameworld is not bogged down with a plot that railroads the players, but instead the PCs encounter unique self-contained events that the PCs may...

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You Can Use Your Sandbox Too

A few weeks ago I was in a bit of a pickle (how the heck did that phrase come about?). I was supposed to start a new adventure for my WitchCraft game in an hour and I had nothing prepped for it but the vaguest of outlines (more like a mission statement and a couple of notes). Real life had gotten...

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Nonlinear (Sandbox) games

Janna at Dungeonmastering recently wrote up an interesting article about running non-linear games. They’re a neat and slightly under-explored concept, so I thought I’d bring in other people’s discussions and see what we can figure out. They are commonly discussed using a variety...

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