RPG publisher

Founded in 2009

Engine Publishing is dedicated to creating insanely good gaming products. We're part of Bits & Mortar, so all print books include a DRM-free digital copy.

Our products

Over 15,000 copies sold

We've sold over 3,000 books through our online store, and over 12,000 more online and at retail stores worldwide. Happy gaming!

Connect with us

Email, Google+, Twitter

You can reach Engine Publishing via email at martin (at) enginepublishing (dot) com. We're also on Google+ and Twitter (@enginepub).


Our 2014 Black Friday/Cyber Monday starts now!

For Black Friday/Cyber Monday, we’ve knocked 25% off of all of our titles on DriveThruRPG. This discount applies to single products only, not bundles, but it’s essentially the best bundle discount we offer…except you can mix and match whichever products you’d like. This is also the first time we’ve offered a discount on our newest book, Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters.

This sale will run from now through sometime on Tuesday, December 2.

Happy Thanksgiving, and happy gaming from Engine Publishing!


Unframed goes Gold on DriveThruRPG

Two months after it went on sale at DriveThruRPG, Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters just became a Gold bestseller on DTRPG — one of around 400 Gold products on a site with about 40,000 titles (top 1%). Many, many thanks to everyone who has bought, reviewed, or talked about Unframed, and to all of the authors who worked on the book!

You can read more than 10 reviews and download a free PDF sample of the book right here on its product page.

And of course, as with all of our books, every purchase, print or digital, includes a DRM-free, bookmarked PDF plus bonus epub, mobi, and text versions of the book.


Please vote for Odyssey, Engine Publishing, and Gnome Stew in the ENnies

Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management, Engine Publishing, and the “blog behind our books,” Gnome Stew, were nominated for three ENnie Awards this year, and I’d like to ask you to vote for us online.

Voting doesn’t require an account or login, and it only takes a few seconds (you don’t even have to vote in every category):

  1. Head on over to the ENnie Awards voting booth
  2. Scroll to Best Aid/Accessory and rank Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management a “1”
  3. Scroll to Fans’ Favorite Publisher and rank Engine Publishing a “1”
  4. Scroll to Best Blog and rank Gnome Stew a “1”
  5. Click the big “Submit Ballot” button to cast your votes

That’s all there is to it! Thank you very much for voting for us!

Why your vote matters to us

There are two big reasons why the ENnie Awards matter to us — “us” in this case being me, Martin Ralya (the fellow behind Engine Publishing), and the authors and designers and artists and other folks who work on our books.

The first is that your support is a big part of what motivates us. We’ve been writing Gnome Stew since 2008, and working together to publish books through Engine Publishing since 2009, and knowing that fellow gamers get good mileage out of what we do is what makes it worthwhile. It sounds corny, but it’s true! Voting for us in the ENnies is a quick, simple, but very meaningful way to show your support.

The second is that these awards, and the others we ask you to vote for us in from time to time, open doors for the gnomes. Recognition via the ENnies leads to more work in the RPG industry, new career paths in our day jobs, and other new stuff that matters. We write the Stew, and work on GMing books, because we love to do it; that’s never changed. But speaking as the owner of Engine Publishing and Gnome Stew, I view one of my main jobs in both places as being an opener of doors for the awesome folks I get to work with.

Every vote truly makes a difference

Gaming isn’t a huge industry, and the ENnies are sometimes decided by just a handful of votes — less than a dozen votes, on at least one occasion! The field this year is one of the strongest I can remember; competition is fierce. Your vote — yes, yours! — makes a difference.

Now that we’ve been nominated, which is an honor we appreciate unto itself, it’s all about “ground game” (a term from politics that applies equally here) and getting out the vote. If you’re so inclined, asking your gaming group, friends, and even family to vote for us would be awesome. We do this ourselves; my mom’s rowing team all voted for us last year. It might sound silly, but it helps.

Thank you!

Thanks for reading this, and more importantly for reading the Stew and our books. You rock, and I look forward to bringing you more useful gaming content for years to come!

And if you do vote for us, thanks! That’s totally awesome of you.


Unframed is now available on DriveThruRPG and RPGNow

If you’ve been waiting for Unframed to be available on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, your wait is over!

Head on over to Engine Publishing’s publisher page to buy Unframed (and the new bundles which include it) on DTRPG.


Odyssey is nominated for a 2014 ENnie Award!

The 2014 ENnie Award nominations have been announced, and Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management is nominated for Best Aid/Accessory!

I’m also thrilled to see the “site behind our books,” Gnome Stew, nominated for Best Blog.

Congratulations to all of the nominees!


All products are now in stock in our online store

100% of Unframed preorders, contributor copies, and comp copies have been shipped out as of this afternoon! It took me several days to get everything boxes up and labelled, followed by three days of trips to the post office (and around $1,500 in postage), to get everything out.

As promised, I’ve also issued refunds to everyone who ordered Unframed with a book (or books) that now exists in discounted bundle form. (I calculated the difference between what you paid and the new bundle price, and refunded that difference.)

Many thanks to everyone who preordered Unframed! When I did the final tally, it shook out to 259 copies sold, a company record and more than double the preorders for our very first title, 2010’s Eureka.

The store is fully stocked and ready to rumble

With the warehouse (my office closet) fully restocked and plenty of shipping supplies near at hand, I’m ready to start selling all of our books again — including standalone digital copies of Unframed, new discounted bundles, and of course all of our previous titles. Everything we sell is now back up in our online store, ready to ship.

I updated the layout (hopefully it’s cleaner and easier to navigate), added two new bundles featuring Unframed, included Unframed in our monster “all the books” bundle — a great deal at $99.95 — and tested everything behind the scenes. (If I broke something, please tell me!)

If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them in the comments (or via email: martin enginepublishing com). I love questions!


A quick note about bundles and Unframed

Preorders for Unframed have ended, and I’m blown away: Based on day-one sales, I predicted we’d sell 212 copies.

We sold 259 copies.

Unframed more than doubled the number of preorders placed for Eureka back in 2010 (125 preorders), and we sold over 50% more preorders than our previous bestseller, Odyssey. Thank you to everyone who preordered Unframed!

Online store overhaul

With preorders closed, I’ve overhauled our online store. I think the new presentation is cleaner and easier to navigate, and I hope you like it. In the course of that overhaul, I also made some changes to our bundles. Many items are listed as out of stock until I get the boxes in the foyer up into the office, organized, and ready to ship out.

New bundles, and proactive refunds for “would have bundled” preorders

If you preordered Unframed along with Odyssey, or with Odyssey and Never Unprepared, I will refund you the difference between what you paid and the bundle price.

For example, if you preordered Unframed and ordered a copy of Odyssey at the same time, you paid $44.90 and the new bundle price is $35.95; I will refund you $8.95 — just as if there’d been a bundle to buy during the preorder period. You don’t need to contact me or request a refund — I’ll do this automatically as I package up preorders.

Why didn’t I create bundles containing Unframed before now? Because I wasn’t sure what to bundle it with, and whether the bundle pricing structure made sense now that we have five books in print. With a month of thinking about it, listening to customer feedback, and playing with pricing, I was able to come up with bundles that make sense.

Thank you again for preordering Unframed! The standalone digital edition will go on sale soon, likely in early July, once I get the preorder shipping process underway.


Today is the final day to preorder Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters

I think of myself as an experienced and veteran GM, but this book had new, exciting, and most importantly useful things to teach me.” — Age of Ravens review

Twenty three short essays from twenty three exceptional Game Masters and creators that will invariably aid you in your quest to make your games better because they reflect what happens, rather than what you have planned.” — Sean’s Pick of the Day review

If you’ve been waiting to preorder our latest book, Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters, time is almost up: Preorders close today! I’ll be closing them after work, sometime in the evening (U.S. Mountain Daylight Time).

Preorder Unframed now!

Unframed is our bestselling preorder yet, with 223 orders as of June 26 — 30% more than our previous bestseller, Odyssey, and about 5% over my prediction based on day-one sales.

It has also been well-received so far — you can check out seven reviews of Unframed to see what other folks think about the book. You can also download a free 10-page PDF preview (we’re big believers in “try before you buy.”)

What you’ll receive

When you preorder, you’ll immediately receive the digital edition of Unframed; your print book will follow. This package includes a DRM-free, hyperlinked, bookmarked PDF, plus bonus ebook (epub, mobi for newer devices, mobi for older devices, and Kindle) and plain text versions of Unframed. Engine Publishing believes that all print purchases should include digital versions, and all digital versions should offer multiple options, and we back that belief up with our time and money.

Why preorder?

Preorder because you’re excited about the book! If you love improv, you’ll find plenty of new ideas and refinements to things you may already be doing in Unframed. If you want to improvise more often in your games, Unframed will get you rolling and give you plenty to chew on.

On my end, as the publisher, preorders are the primary way I recoup the costs that go into producing a book like this: writing, editing, layout, artwork, proofreading, printing, digital versions, etc. (This is the biggest financial gamble I’ve taken as a publisher: Unframed cost considerably more to produce than our previous four books.) If you like Engine Publishing and what we do, preordering is a fantastic way to show your support.

Have a peek at the author list and you’ll see why the manuscript was our single largest cost:

  • John Arcadian
  • D. Vincent Baker
  • Meguey Baker
  • Wolfgang Baur
  • Emily Care Boss
  • Walt Ciechanowski
  • Stacy Dellorfano
  • Jess Hartley
  • Kenneth Hite
  • Jennell Jaquays
  • Eloy Lasanta
  • Robin D. Laws
  • Michelle Lyons-McFarland
  • Don Mappin
  • Scott Martin
  • Alex Mayo
  • Jason Morningstar
  • Martin Ralya
  • Kurt Schneider
  • Ken St. Andre
  • Monica Valentinelli
  • Phil Vecchione
  • Filamena Young

I’m not complaining — I thought this book needed to exist, and I knew the caliber of authors I wanted to feature in it. I think you’ll be happy with the results!

Print books ship in early July

Copies of Unframed arrived at my house yesterday, and I’ll be working on packaging them, double-checking order info, and getting them shipped out over the next several days. I anticipate shipping all preorders in early July, as originally planned.

Got questions? Ask away!

If you’re curious how our preorders work, want more info, or want to see what questions other folks have asked, the original announcement has all of that and more. And, of course, you’re welcome to ask me questions here as well!

Many thanks to everyone who has preordered the book so far! If you haven’t and you’re ready to now, preorder Unframed today!


New mobi option for older devices added to Unframed preorder package

I’ve gotten three reports that folks with older Kindles were having trouble using the .mobi options already included in the digital edition of Unframed, and our designer, Darren Hardy, kindly created a new .mobi option.

It’s a “plain” .mobi version that should have better compatibility with older devices (including Kindles), and it will be included in every digital edition of Unframed going forward.

If you’ve already preordered and would like this file, just email me with enough information to find you in our system (your full name should do it) and I’ll send you a copy!


Preorder Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters in our online store

Our latest system-neutral GMing book, Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters, is now available for preorder in our online store! When you preorder Unframed, you’ll immediately receive the digital edition, weeks before it’s available anywhere else.

Preorder Unframed now!

Preorders for Unframed will run through June 27, 2014.

What’s Unframed all about?

An anthology of 23 essays by a diverse group of award-winning authors, designers, and experienced game masters, Unframed gives you the tools and inspiration to improvise better, “wing it” without hesitation, and get killer results.

Inside Unframed you’ll find advice on improvising dialogue scenes by Robin D. Laws (Hillfolk, Ashen Stars), a look at “Just In Time” improvisation from Jennell Jaquays (Caverns of Thracia, Dark Tower), advice on listening to your players by Jason Morningstar (Fiasco, Durance), tricks for handling curveballs from Jess Hartley (Changeling: The Lost, Geist: The Sin-Eaters), tips on improv in horror games from Kenneth Hite (Trail of Cthulhu, GURPS Horror), insightful essays by the authors of the ENnie Award-winning game mastering blog Gnome Stew, and many more.

Try before you buy

We’re big believers in “try before you buy,” so (as with all of our books) we’ve put together a free 10-page PDF preview that you can download. It includes the front and back covers, introduction, table of contents, and samples from Robin D. Laws’ and D. Vincent Baker’s essays.

Check out reviews of Unframed

We sent out prerelease copies of Unframed to reviewers in May, and here’s what they had to say about the book:

  • The Game’s the Thing review — “All in all, I think Unframed is a home run. It certainly provided me with new knowledge that will help me with my improv game, and it also managed to remind of GM techniques I’ve let move to the back burner, that definitely need to come back to the front.
  • Windsor Gaming Resource review — “It does something that I think every good RPG advice book should do: makes you think. I couldn’t help but think about my own games and my own gaming style as I read through each of the 23 short essays.
  • Tenkar’s Tavern review — “I’ve always thought of myself as a decently skilled improviser as a DM, and yet I’ve added at least a dozen tricks to my repertoire and I’ve opened my eyes up to some techniques that will may the gaming sessions I run better.
  • Smiling Jack’s Bar and Grill podcast review (also presented in an episode of the RoleplayDNA podcast, with the same audio) — “…while you might think, opening this book, it’s ‘how to make everything up on the fly,’ a lot of this is how to plan for improvisation. […] I will only end with ‘buy it.’

Thanks to everyone who has reviewed or helped spread the word about Unframed!

Some notes about this preorder

The digital edition you’ll receive as soon as you preorder includes the bookmarked, hyperlinked, DRM-free PDF as well as bonus epub, mobi, Amazon native, and text versions of the book. This is the full retail digital edition, not a draft version or a preview.

The book is already at the printer. We’ll ship you the print version of Unframed as soon as preorders end and we receive books from our printer, which should happen in early July.

Engine Publishing has run four previous preorders, one for each of our other GMing books. We’ve sold more than 15,000 books worldwide since 2010, and shipped over 1,100 direct orders through our web store. We pack books securely with bubble wrap and quality packaging, don’t add handling or other fees, and charge only the listed USPS rate.

(Please note our shipping and store policies, and please be aware that if you order other books at the same time as your preorder, they’ll all ship when Unframed ships.)

Thank you for preordering!

I’ve taken a pretty big financial gamble on this book, and despite having been at this for five years now I never take a single preorder or purchase for granted — many, many thanks to everyone who preorders Unframed!

If you’ve made it this far and you’re ready to preorder, here’s the link one more time: preorder Unframed now!

If you have questions about the book that the preview PDF and Unframed’s product page don’t answer, I’d love to answer them for you in the comments below — fire away!