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Announcing Gnome Stew’s Second Book: Masks!

Posted By Martin Ralya On March 21, 2011 @ 12:25 am In Gnome Gnews | 18 Comments

We’ve mentioned that we’re working on our second book a few times over the past several months, but our secretive gnomish nature has kept us from releasing any details — until now!

GenCon event listings came out over the weekend, and eagle-eyed Gnome Stew readers may already have spotted this listing:

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Meet the Gnomes Behind the Engine!

Come and meet some of the gnomes behind the ENnie Award-winning blog Gnome Stew! They’ll talk about what is going on at the blog, as well as their latest book from Engine Publishing, “Masks: 1,000 Characters to Populate Your Worlds.” Learn the tricks used by these veteran GMs to make the most of every game that they run. The seminar ends with Q&A when the gnomes do their best to help you with your GMing problems.

I asked the gnomes if they were up for writing another book back on September 12, 2010, and we’ve been working on it ever since. Design work wrapped up late last year, writing is about 80% done, we have 80% or so of the artwork, and editing and graphic design are underway.

Masks: 1,000 Characters to Populate Your Worlds (“Masks” for short) was designed and written by all 10 gnomes — as part of a team of 21 talented folks — and will be published later this year by Engine Publishing. We don’t have a firm release date yet, but we’re aiming to have books available at or around GenCon 2011.

So What Is It?

Masks is a resource aimed squarely at GMs, but with plenty of utility for players, writers, and world-builders of all stripes, as well. It features 1,000 system-neutral NPCs suitable for use with any RPG, including everything you need to run NPCs straight out of the book (except stats, of course).

To the best of our knowledge, Masks will be the largest collection of its kind on the market, and no one’s ever written a character book quite like this before. Like our first book, Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters, Masks is intended to be the definitive resource of its kind — a one-stop shop for all things NPC.

It’s a toolkit you’ll be able to use for years of gaming, and we think you’ll love it. We’ll have several more previews over the coming weeks and months leading up to preorders — stay tuned!

About  Martin Ralya

A father, husband, writer, small-press publisher, former RPG industry freelancer, and lifelong geek, Martin has been gaming since 1987 and GMing since 1989. He lives in Utah with his amazing wife Alysia and their awesome daughter Lark in a house full of books and games.




18 Comments (Open | Close)

18 Comments To "Announcing Gnome Stew’s Second Book: Masks!"

#1 Comment By MaW On March 21, 2011 @ 2:34 am

Sounds like the perfect companion to Eureka to me! Bravo.

#2 Pingback By The second book from Engine Publishing revealed: Masks | Exxar's Roleplaying Center On March 21, 2011 @ 5:48 am

[...] Ralya of Gnome Stew and Engine Publishing revealed today the next book that every GM’s favorite gnomes have been working on after Eureka. Well, [...]

#3 Comment By Exxar On March 21, 2011 @ 5:49 am

Marvellous :D

#4 Comment By Riklurt On March 21, 2011 @ 7:12 am

Fantastic news! I’m looking forward to it.

#5 Comment By Trace On March 21, 2011 @ 9:45 am

I will happily buy a copy. “Eureka” was great!

#6 Comment By RF On March 21, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

Excellent! If this is aanywhere close to as good as “Eureka” it’ll be fantastic.

#7 Comment By Razjah On March 21, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

I can’t wait! I love Eureka.

#8 Comment By hets On March 21, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

As long as it has a similar indexing system as Eureka (which I think is the best I’ve seen for a book of any type, ever) then I’m definitely getting this!

#9 Comment By Martin Ralya On March 21, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

Thanks for the Eureka love, and I’m glad you’re excited about Masks! Like Eureka, it’s a labor of love and a hell of a lot of work, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

@MaW – Absolutely. We designed Masks to work well both as a companion to Eureka — together, they take a huge amount of prep off the GM’s shoulders — and as a standalone volume.

You don’t need Eureka to enjoy Masks, but we think both books deserve a spot in every GM’s library.

@hets – We’ll be indexing the hell out of Masks, as well; indexes are one of our first loves and pet peeves. ;-)

#10 Comment By taxboy4 On March 22, 2011 @ 3:50 am

AWesome, I will totally buy the heck out of this book and then have a smoke cos it will be soooo good!

#11 Comment By hattymchappy On March 22, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

Looking forward to getting the ol’ paperback version/pdf combo. Hopefully that’s part of the plan.

#12 Comment By Nofka On March 22, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

Great news! You can put my name on the waiting list, I love Eureka and can’t wait for another great book from the Gnomes to be released.

#13 Comment By Martin Ralya On March 22, 2011 @ 10:55 pm

@hattymchappy – Yes indeed, PDF included as always — and provided up front for preorder customers, likely weeks before the book is available.

…but Masks is likely to be a hardcover. :-) Where Eureka was a “prep book,” IE one that you mainly use before games and don’t need to reference during play, Masks is VERY much a “table book,” one that you can take everywhere and use throughout the night (and use for prep, too, of course).

If hardcover proves not to be cost-effective, we’ll go with paperback — but hardcover is the plan.

#14 Comment By Exxar On March 24, 2011 @ 5:24 am

So you’re aiming for a hardcover release because of the robustness? There’s a lot of people who’d prefer softcover for a “table book” because of it being lighter and thus easier to lug around. Ah well, guess the camp is 50/50 split on that one so either way should be fine :)

#15 Comment By Martin Ralya On March 24, 2011 @ 6:01 am

@Exxar – Yes, for durability. There’s definitely a tradeoff, and final price may be our biggest factor. Like Eureka, we want Masks to be a lot of book for the price.

#16 Comment By Techieninja On March 29, 2011 @ 11:24 am

This sounds amazing! I can’t wait for it to come out ^^

#17 Pingback By Interview with Martin Ralya | Exxar's Roleplaying Center On April 15, 2011 @ 5:15 am

[...] Martin Ralya, the founder and owner of Gnome Stew and Engine Publishing. We talked about blogging, Masks, Eureka and other stuff, and Martin was very forthcoming, providing some incredibly insightful and [...]

#18 Pingback By RPG News from Around the Net: 03-JUN-2011 | Game Knight Reviews On June 3, 2011 @ 6:06 am

[...] Announcing Gnome Stew’s Second Book: Masks! (gnomestew.com) [...]


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