Written by award-winning authors Phil Vecchione and Walt Ciechanowski, the fourth book from Gnome Stew and Engine Publishing is coming in July: Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management.

Opening with a foreword by RPG industry legend Kenneth Hite, Odyssey is, to our knowledge, the first book of its kind. It offers up 200 pages of system-neutral advice on starting, managing, and ending campaigns for game masters of all stripes and experience levels.

Tell me more!

You may have guessed from the title that Odyssey has a lot in common with Never Unprepared apart from being a system-neutral GMing book. You don’t need one to enjoy the other, but Odyssey naturally complements Never Unprepared. If you like Never Unprepared, I suspect you’ll also enjoy Odyssey.

Our previous three books have sold over 8,000 copies, and Phil Vecchione’s Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Session Prep is currently nominated for a 2013 Origins Award for Best Game-Related Publication. Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs for any Roleplaying Game, released in 2011, won the 2012 gold ENnie Award for Best Aid/Accessory. Never Unprepared and our first book, 2010’s Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters, are among the top 65 out of more than 28,000 products on DriveThruRPG; Masks is in the top 250. Odyssey is a continuation of our commitment to provide GMs all over the world with quality system-neutral advice.

We anticipate opening preorders for Odyssey in early June and shipping out preorders in July. (There are a couple details to nail down before we pick a launch date.) The book is currently getting a final proofread, and I still need to write the back cover copy, but apart from that it’s done. As with past preorders, if you preorder Odyssey you’ll immediately receive the book in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI form.

I’ll be posting more previews throughout May, so stay tuned!

Show me more!

Illustrated by Avery Liell-Kok, designed by Darren Hardy, and art directed by John Arcadian, here’s Odyssey’s front cover:

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. You can find out a bit more about him on his personal website.

21 Responses to Announcing Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management

  1. I have to wait until June to give you my money? That is horse poop. Take it now!

    I really like the cover, and I applaud the artist and all involved in choosing someone other than a white male to be the GM.

    • John Arcadian

      The cover is done by Avery Liell-Kok who has worked with us before as an interior artist. She definitely did an incredible job! I had the pleasure of being art director on this book, and I have to say it is, art-wise, the Engine book I’m most excited about. The interior art tells stories about players and their characters in campaigns, and they inter-weave together in a really excellent way.

    • We’re committed to showing diversity and being inclusive in our books, and it’s a deliberate effort that starts with a conversation between me and John, is carried on in John’s art direction, and is executed by our artists. (The same is true in the text, but it’s a lot more obvious in the art.) I think we’ve improved in this area in every book.

      Gemma, the GM featured on the cover, is a great character. I love how Avery and our other artists have illustrated her.

  2. Will you be offering a pre-order option for all 4 books in print? I have all 3 current books on PDF, but am considering them all in print. Also, do you ship to the UK?

    • Yes, we’ll be including Odyssey in the all-our-books bundle as well as in its own bundle with Never Unprepared. You’ll be able to preorder either bundle, with all books shipping when Odyssey ships.

      Once the PDF is available for general sale Odyssey will also be part of the PDF versions of those two same bundles.

    • D’oh, I forget to answer the rest of your question: Yes, we ship worldwide. It’s painfully expensive, but we don’t make a profit on it and we don’t charge handling fees — just the posted USPS rate.

      The big bundle is definitely the best bet for international customers. The discount (20% off) helps defray some of the cost of shipping, and the cost per book seems to generally be lower than shipping them individually.

  3. Will Odyssey be “digest” sized similar to Never Unprepared or the “typical” size like Eureka and Masks?

    • Yep, 9×6 just like Never Unprepared. They complement each other well subject matter-wise, and like NU it’s a book designed to be read between sessions rather than used at the table; digest is a great format for that.

  4. At the risk of sounding a little too excited,


    Jolly good, can’t wait for July! And my players will doubtless thank you as well.

  5. I can’t wait for this!! Looking forward to some previews to hold me over.

  6. Spenser

    Having proofread the book, I can say that Phil and Walt did a great job with Gemma and her group. This book was a pleasure to read, and I think fans of NU will be more than pleased to have this next to it on their shelves.

  7. It’s Wednesday and no preview yet! 😉


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