It’s an annual tradition here on the Stew to douse the fire, let the gnomes escape from the stewpot, and not try to round the little buggers up again until the new year.

Or, ’tis the season for reruns — the week when we take a break from writing new GMing content and instead bring you our favorite articles from the past year on the Stew.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us gnomes, and we’ll see you in 2012 — just in time for D&D 5th Edition the Mayan apocalypse!

Patrick Benson’s pick

Improvising? Don’t Worry About Beginnings & Endings, Focus On Transitions

Why Patrick chose this article: “Improvising is a skill that is not innate, but that can be learned. With this article I was very happy to have shared an easily understood formula. I feel that my best work is not the articles that generate the most comments, or that get the most hits, but the ones where I present something that other GMs can begin using immediately. It is rare, but when that happens I feel like I have earned my felt hat.”

John Arcadian’s pick

Nine Words That Improve Your Game — What Do You Want To Get Out Of This?

Why John chose this article: “The more I think about it, the more I realize that this concept is huge to running a good game. In my current game, I’ve used it extensively to get to the heart of players’ ideas and wants. Knowing, flat out, what the player is trying to do helps me react to it and craft a fun and appropriate scenario for them, without having to play a lot of guess work or bog down the game.”