Before we went on our Christmas break (12/24 through 1/4, returning to normal posting 1/5), I asked all of the gnomes to choose their favorite three articles they’d written since our launch in May 2008. These guys have written a massive amount of GMing material — 260+ articles! — in the past seven months, and I thought this would be a good way to highlight some of the best articles you might never have seen.

From now through the end of our break, we’ll be running five posts like this one, each featuring two gnomes’ favorites.

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year from us gnomes!

Kurt “Telas” Schneider

1. Laying the Ground Rules – “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”: “Too many gamers seem to feel that their expectations and assumptions are shared by the rest of the table. These things need to be brought out into the open before the dice start rolling. Call it Social Contract or something else, but talk about what you expect from a game before committing to that game.”

2. Restate the Obvious – “My common sense is tingling”: “Communication breakdown; it’s always the same. Communication breakdown; it drives me insane. Sometimes it really pays to take a second and make sure everyone is on the same page. Sometimes all you need to do is restate the question.”

3. Much Ado About Nothing: “This is the Gnome Stew post that I am most proud of. Too many times, people allow their prejudices to determine how they view an event. Too many gamers acted like jerks during this episode, and needed to be called on it.”

Want to read all of Telas’s articles? Make with the clicky.


1. Lessons From The Long Campaign: Never Write The Ending: “One of the best lessons I learned in the running of my Iron Heroes campaign. It has created a freedom at my table that has encouraged the players to really take control of the game, without ever feeling that they are being steered into a pre-determined ending. It also makes the sessions more exciting for the GM as you really don’t know what the players are going to come up with, so you have to stay on your toes.”

2. The Backup Game: “With the winter months upon us, and the cold and flu season closing in, the chance that your main game is going to get canceled because of illness or weather is rising. Make sure you have a backup game on hand, so that you can still get together and play, if your full group cannot get together.”

3. Tips On Herding Cats (or How I Organize My Annual GenCon Trip): “As crazy at it is, GenCon registration will be opening in the next month. If you have ever thought of going to GenCon with a large group of friends, I have some advice on how to coordinate a large group, and how to make the most of your time together at GenCon. ”

Want to read all of DNAphil’s articles? Make with the clicky.