Preorders for Gnome Stew’s first book, Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters, are now open:

Featuring a foreword by gaming industry legend Monte Cook, Eureka contains 501 complete adventure plots usable with almost any roleplaying game, plus GMing advice and tools for making the most of every plot.

Each plot includes a hook to draw your players in, an outline detailing enough material for a complete adventure, generally in the form of 3-5 meaty encounters, and any game mastering notes, plot twists, and advice you might need to turn that plot into a fun night of gaming.

Eureka is available for preorder as a print + PDF bundle for $34.95. It’s 312 pages and features original artwork throughout. When you preorder, you’ll get immediate access to the PDF, a $16.95 value, weeks before the book ships. $34.95 is the retail price of the print edition — we don’t believe you should have to pay for content twice, so the PDF is included at no additional cost.

The preorder period runs from today through July 22, 2010. Books will ship in late July or early August, and folks in the continental U.S. should receive their books before GenCon.

Find Out More About Eureka

We believe in “try before you buy,” so we’ve made it as easy as possible for you to get the skinny on Eureka:

See What Others are Saying About Eureka

We sent out advance copies of the retail PDF version of Eureka to some of the best gaming sites on the web, and asked if they’d be up for writing about it. Kobold Quarterly has the first review:

  • Review: Eureka! 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters: Game designer Wolfgang Baur says: “Much more than a simple book of plots, Eureka! stands as one of those essential tools that GMs and game designers will find themselves reaching for again and again.” and “…Eureka is super rocket fuel for homebrewers.

You can also check out articles about Eureka from Campaign Mastery, Critical Hits, Newbie DM, and UncleBear had to say about Eureka:

Many thanks to Wolfgang, Chatty, Johnn, Newbie DM, and Berin for writing about Eureka!

More articles about, and reviews of, Eureka will be appearing in the not-too-distant future from the folks who received advance copies but didn’t go to press in time for this article. Stay tuned!

Contest: Win a Pair of Custom-Designed Dice

To celebrate the culmination of a year’s work and the launch of Eureka, we’re having a contest. You don’t need to buy the book to participate, you just need to be a Gnome Stew member. (Not a member? Sign up for free.)

The Prize: We worked with Dicecreator, an artisan who creates beautiful, handcrafted dice, to create a prize for this contest. Here’s what he came up with:

Because Eureka is a multi-genre book, fully supporting fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, we wanted to do multi-genre dice — there are two fantasy faces, two sci-fi faces, and two horror faces. The dice themselves are standard-sized d6s, but the faces are anything but standard: Each face’s design is made of inlaid metal, set flush with the surface of the die. (See close-ups: one, two.)

The number of key elements on each face is the value of that face: one sword (1), two zombie hands (2), three circuit elements (3), four celestial bodies in the star chart (4), five claw marks (5), and six arrows (6). The 5-face is inlaid with copper, and the others are inlaid with brass.

So how can you win them? Start here:

How to enter: To enter to win this pair of custom-made dice, all you need to do is guess the total I rolled in that video and put your guess in a comment on this article. If no one gets it exactly right, the winner will be the entrant who came the closest without going over. If multiple people guess correctly/closest, the first instance of that guess wins. You’ll need to be a Gnome Stew member to comment, but there’s no purchase necessary.

A couple tidbits that may help you: I counted percentile d10s (with 10, 20, etc.) as regular d10s (so 20 = 2, etc.), and while I’ll report the results of weird dice — emoticons, compass directions, and a host of other oddballs — they’re not part of the contest; some dice fell on the floor; and for the second layer of dice, I took my best guess at what the results would have been. There are also three photos available that may be of interest: counting the dice before the roll, the table post-roll, and totalling up the roll.

One entry per person (though you can comment multiple times — only your first comment with a guess counts), and gnomes and the folks who helped me count the dice — thank you, Daniel, Sam, and Jaben! — aren’t eligible.

The contest ends on the same date as preorders for Eureka: July 22, 2010 at 10:00 pm Mountain time. The winner will be notified by email and announced here shortly thereafter. (Make sure your Gnome Stew account email address is valid.)

Good luck to everyone who enters, and a big thank you to Dicecreator for crafting these dice!

Why We Think Eureka Rocks

Eureka was written, designed, and funded by the gnomes, and we wrote it for two reasons: one, because we think it’s an awesome idea and it’s a book we’ll all be using ourselves for years to come, and two, because we think you’ll love it.

Conventional RPG industry wisdom is that system-neutral books — like Eureka, and, in blog form, like Gnome Stew itself — don’t sell. We respectfully but emphatically disagree. We see a need for a book like this, and it’s one that we wish already existed. It didn’t, so we wrote it.

I sent the gnomes an email on June 26, 2009 asking if they’d like to jump off a cliff with me write a book together, and they all said yes. We used revenue from Gnome Stew to fund the book, along with a small loan from a generous benefactor, and spent the next year designing, writing, editing, and developing Eureka.

We tried to do everything right, which is part of why it took so long: We paid freelancers promptly, credited artists inline with their artwork, did two rounds of editing and two rounds of proofreading, created four indexes — little things, maybe, but important. I think the PDF excerpt speaks for itself, and I’m incredibly proud of what this team accomplished.

For me personally, this day represents the culmination of something I first dreamed about doing almost as soon as I started gaming back in 1987. It’s been one hell of a ride.

My thanks to everyone on the Eureka team — all 18 of my co-contributors, as well as foreword author Monte Cook — for making this a reality, and my thanks to everyone who reads Gnome Stew. If you didn’t read this blog and click on our ads, this book literally wouldn’t exist.

Oh, and one more thing:

Thanks for reading, and I hope you like the book!

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.

47 Responses to Gnome Stew’s Book, Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots, Is Now Available for Preorder! (Plus: Win Custom-Made Dice!)

  1. I placed my preorder as soon as I read this, and I am looking forward to reading through the PDF as soon as I can. I’ve been following the book for some time, and I can’t wait to see it. Congratulations to everyone that contributed to create this fine RPG supplement.

    With Regards,

  2. Good luck with the book, I will be placing my pre-order shortly.

    And for the total of all those dice . . . I’ll bid 6,300.

  3. I plan on picking this up, Telas is a good friend of mine as is Flynn. Both are great GM’s. And as I am drafting a Savage Worlds Stagate Campaign I think a little help on plots would be great!!

    Good job Gnomes!

    Oh for the dice I am going with 6500

  4. Oh fun contests. I’m going to guess 10437.

  5. Ordered my copy. My guess on the dice is 7,100.

  6. I have a guess at the total and a question!

    My Guess 3728.

    My question – I like the print + PDF pricing, but I will be at Gen Con and was thinking of getting my copy there and maybe getting a Gnome signature or two. Can I get the print + PDF price at the show? Or should I purchase now and bring my copy to the show to try and get signatures?

  7. Good luck with the book, and my guess is 38635.

  8. I’m going with 7,149. The book looks great!

  9. The Stew’s given me so much for free, I can’t NOT preorder it, even if I didn’t think it wouldn’t be a great investment anyway!

    I’m guessing… 8713.

  10. @Svisionguy – I would like to subscribe to your newsletter as well as see what you come up with for Savage Worlds Stargate. I too have thought that would be a good combination!

  11. Huzzah! 11358, please!

  12. @Don Mappin – No problem, I will most likely post here when I start running the game. Additionally, I am sure Telas will be a PC in the game so he may post about it as well. Either way I’ll let you know when I am producing more content.

  13. Sweet! No more teasing! The book is out!!! YESSS!!!

    I can’t wait until Gen Con seminar to meet those who have bought the book in person and to get your feedback!

  14. My guess is 7692

  15. I’m guessing… 7,070.

  16. 14,372

  17. I’m going to have to go with 7,860.

  18. Kurt "Telas" Schneider

    I’m going to go with 1.

    Because the only thing I can count on in this world is rolling a 1.

    Seriously, thanks for all the positive comments, and I can’t wait to get some feedback at Gen Con. See y’all there!

  19. Thank you to everyone who has preordered Eureka! I hope you’re enjoying the PDF, and we’d love to hear what you think of it. If you’re so inclined, shoot me an email, blog about it, comment here — we want to know what GMs think of this book. :-)

    I keep saying that this whole experience is surreal, and I wish I could stop — but it keeps being surreal! Watching preorders roll in is…surreal. And awesome!

    @tman – We won’t have our own booth at GenCon, but we’re working behind the scenes to have Eureka at the con. The timetable is pretty tight and nothing is certain yet, so for now the safe answer is “maybe.”

    There will be numerous gnomes at the con who’d love to sign your copy of the book, though. If you want to be guaranteed a shot at that, I’d preorder — and I’m not just saying that because I want you to preorder. 😉 We really don’t know yet if the book will be at GenCon.

  20. This has been a crazy cool process, fulfilling a dream I’d safely set aside long ago. It’s a little scary, having that little link with “buy now” out there making it real.

    It’s been quite a journey!

  21. Dice roll total: 68,93

  22. Im gonna guess… 10,409

  23. I can’t wait to see what you guys have in store for us in this book! I’ll definitely be ordering mine right away.

    My guess is 7,989

  24. @Nofka – It is some awesome stuff, I’ll tell you that. I’ve actually used a lot of the plots written by the other authors in my own games. There is some great stuff in there and it is easy to use. I’ve used plots that I cherry picked just one idea from and I’ve used plots that I’ve ran exactly as written. I haven’t found a bad one yet.

  25. My guess is…. 14,140

    The 2-in-1 deal makes me feel less guilty about pre-ordering. The book will be a birthday gift for my boyfriend while the PDF is for me :) better than going through the whole book then giving it to him and saying “here’s your gift!”

  26. @Scott Martin – Wow — I’ve never heard you say that before, and I have to say it’s pretty awesome to know that this project did that for you. :-)

    @orangedragon10 – I’m ashamed to say that I’ve read someone’s RPG gift before giving it to them before… :-S

  27. My guess – 9191 😀

  28. I would like to guess 8,249.

    With Regards,

  29. My official entry is 8598.

    This book looks pretty awesome. Must get.


  30. My guess is 7,777.

  31. The preview is very intriguing!

    My guess is 9,457.


  32. The book is nice, but unfortunately shipment costs are quite high for my country.

    I’ll guess 8192 is the total.

  33. I’m going to guess 6110. Good luck with this venture, hope down the road budget will permit me to pick up a copy.

  34. I will have to pick this book up when I need some inspiration for my DragonAge game.

    My guess is 15,850.

  35. Going with 5872

  36. 7,099 for me.

  37. My guess is 7,432.

  38. After much deliberation, and some ridiculous assumptions in a bell-curve approximation spreadsheet, I’ll guess 8004.

  39. Thanks to everyone who entered, and to Dicecreator for making these gorgeous dice! We’ll be announcing and contacting the winner in the next few days.

    Many thanks to all of our readers who preordered Eureka, as well! We hope you dig the book! :-)

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