It's a 30. In a circle.A while back I noticed that the Top 30 Articles page was getting pretty long in the tooth (9 years old next month!). I brought it up with the rest of the gnomes and I guess that was code for “Hey guys! I’m volunteering to compile a new Top 30 Articles Article!” Several months of herding cats gnomes later, and we have a list!

Much like the list of yesteryear, these articles are a great place to start before you start the epic quest of reading all our (over 3000) back articles.  If you like what you see here, we hope you’ll subscribe to receive our articles for free via RSS or email, join our members and register for a free account, or build a creepy shrine to Gnome Stew in your basement just come back every day to read our articles.

This is where 9 years ago, we put a link to our testimonials page so you could also see what some of the movers and shakers have to say about our blog. Come to think of it, that hasn’t been updated in almost a decade either… Scratch that. I’m not bringing it up or it’ll end up being my job to hunt down some new material.

World Building and campaign and adventure design

JTWorld Building, by J.T. Evans

J.T. attended the Pikes Peak Writer Conference and brought back a 12 step guide to creating the broad brushstrokes of an RPG world.

 Treasure Map Alternatives, by Matthew J. Neagley

Treasure maps are for getting the party from point A to point B with some adventure in the middle. Here are 5 other options to use instead.

TroySetting That Moral Compass, by Troy E. Taylor

Sure, your players say their characters are goody two shoes, but how will they perform when put to the test? Troy provides a handful of encounters that will show their true colors.

The Nine Forms Of The Five Room Dungeon, by Matthew J. Neagley

Five room dungeons: there are only nine of them. This article outlines what those nine forms are and how you can use that knowledge to speed your prep and to differentiate two dungeons that rely on the same base form.

Deep As A Puddle: Character Development With Tarot, by Scott Martin

Scott talks us through a technique he uses to help flesh out NPCs using a deck of tarot cards. This can also be used to add some meat to a pregen PC or other character.

Techniques for GMs

TracyThe Listen Back, by Tracy Barnett

Tracy discusses a method to improve your game mastery technique: record your sessions and re-listen to them later.  True, it comes with a level of mild discomfort, but the benefits are worth it.

The Power Of No, by Phil Vecchione

“Yes” gets trotted out a lot in RPGs, but Phil makes a good case for “No” and gives a litany of examples where it might be appropriate in your game.

Mashups And Conceptual Writing In RolePlaying Games Pt.2, by Taylor LaBresh

A piece that discusses solo gaming, conceptual writing and keeping your game unpredictable, Taylor describes his gaming experience with several games and working poetry and prose into his games.

Using Your Creative Obsessions & The Three Things Trick, by Kira Magrann

Everyone has things they’re obsessed with. Kira walks us through a creative technique based on mashups of the targets of our obsession and gives some examples of projects where it worked for her.

Why Safety Tools Are Important To Me, by Phil Vecchione

Role Playing Games can take you to all sorts of places, some of them deeply uncomfortable. Safety tools allow those at the table to play confidently. Phil outlines a variety of tools that can be used in your game.

Love Your Players, Love Yourself, by Kira Magrann

Kira walks us through her prep and first session for a game of Monsterhearts. It’s open, freeform, and heavy on collaborative content between player and GM alike.

Articles for players (and GMs!)

When You Realize You’re The Problem, by Angela Murray

We’ve all had bad players at our tables, but what if YOU’RE the bad player? Ang gives the one two three of correcting your behavior and moving forward.

SendaPlaying Characters Gamers Hate, by Senda Linaugh

We’ve written a few articles over the years about characters that everyone hates. Senda writes one with a twist: advice to players on how to pull them off without the rest of the party rebelling.

J.M.Getting Into Character With Easy Mental Exercise, by J.M. Bates

A technique for guided meditation that can be used to enhance roleplaying and getting into character as well as a centering and calming technique!


SendaGive Me The Feels – Emotional Gaming, by Senda Linaugh

Senda relates an emotional experience she had at the table and discusses some ways to net that experience for your own group while keeping everyone involved safe.

SendaProactive And Reactive Gaming – The Dance, by Senda Linaugh

Using the analogy of dance, Senda discusses what being proactive and reactive means in the context of being a game master and player as well as the interaction this holds with narrative control.

JohnChallenge =/= Fun, by John Arcadian

Ever have one of those session where the players have the trump card for every encounter? John tells the story of one of these sessions from his group. But he notes, this is one of their most remembered sessions, proving to him that fun is not exclusive to highly challenging games.

SendaImprov And The Art Of Group Story Telling, by Senda Linaugh

A set of guidelines on group improv storytelling, methods to facilitate it and best practices for executing and improve playstyle and enabling each other at the table.

ChrisThe Eight Types Of Fun, by Chris Sniezak

As gamers, we like our lists and we like dicing our hobby into easy to digest chunks. Chris talks about eight modes of having fun that you can explore in your game sessions.

The Illusion Of Immersion, by Angela Murray

A discussion of immersion, when and how it happens what, if any, the prerequisites are and different viewpoints on the subject.

WendelynRole Playing Group Styles, by Wendelyn Reischl

Wendelyn takes us through four categories of group play styles that she has observed over her tenure as an organizer for the Denver RPG Group with examples and a great table selfie!

Making friends and influencing gamers

Making Connections, by Angela Murray

A guide, examples, and a free download all about making connections between characters at the start of a game or for a one shot.

Origins 2017: Social Choices, by Angela Murray

Ang shares her tableselfies from Origins 2017 and waxes about the best practices for making and keeping a large group of gaming buddies along the way.

Social issues

Opening The Door, by Angela Murray

Angela talks about the importance of diversity and representation in media and gaming and relates stories of two con games in which she has made an attempt to include these principles.

Darcy RossGnome Spotlight: Big Bad Con And Gaming For All, by Darcy Ross

Gnome Spotlight is an article series about highlighting the good actors and positive influences in the gaming community. This article focuses on Big Bad Con and several of the ways their organizers make sure their event is open, welcoming, safe, and encouraging to all attendees.

JohnMissing Stairs – Why We Need To Listen And Why We Can’t Be Silent, by John Arcadian

John discusses the #metoo movement, sexism in gamer culture and its history and what we can do to start making a difference right now to make our gaming spaces more inclusive and diverse.

In All Their Looks & Words: Introducing Queer History To Your Games, by Taylor LaBresh

First in a series of articles about the current steps the industry is taking to include diverse sexuality in games and what the next steps are.

Seven sided dice

SendaAn Open Letter To My Impostor Syndrome (Maybe It Will Help You Too), by Senda Linaugh

Everyone feels like they’re not good enough or don’t belong from time to time. Senda writes a letter to her younger self to give a pep talk and assuage her fears. But reading it isn’t just good for Past Senda (which is good, because our time machine is ?will have been? in the shop.) it’s also a powerful read for anyone experiencing self doubt.

JaredWhy Do I Review, by Jared Rascher

Jared discusses the function and execution of reviews, some potential pitfalls, and why he thinks they still have value for gamers.

JohnGnome Stew’s Gencon 50 Photopalooza, by John Arcadian

What it says on the tin: a massive collection of pictures taken at Gencon 50 by multiple gnomes. If you want to add your Gencon 50 pictures, there’s a link for that too.

JackTabletop Gaming And The Visually Impaired, by Jack Berberette

Jack Berberette is a man with a mission: bring the many worlds of tabletop roleplaying games to the visually impaired. Here he talks about how he got started on his path and the challenges he has encountered.

JohnTwenty Six Point Five Shades Of Scarlet – The First Gnome Stew Gamer Romance Novel, by John Arcadian

It started as a joke, but somewhere along the line we changed our minds. Download and read the world’s first (we hope so anyway) gamer gnomance novel.