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 23,000 copies sold

We've sold over 3,000 books through our online store, and over 20,000 more online and at retail stores worldwide. Happy gaming!

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


Focal Point preorders end July 30

If you’d like to preorder our latest book, Focal Point: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Running Extraordinary Sessions, time is running out: Preorders end July 30!

When you preorder, I’ll send you the digital edition within 24 hours. Physical books should ship within the next two weeks.

Want to try before you buy? Check out the free 19-page sample PDF, which should give you a good idea of what the book is like.

Many thanks to everyone who has already preordered!


Focal Point preorder update: The ebook versions are ready, and the proof is in hand

Preorders for our newest book, Focal Point: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Running Extraordinary Sessions, are chugging right along! We’ve taken 63 preorders so far — thank you to everyone who has preordered so far!

Ebook versions

Our graphic designer and tech guru, Darren Hardy, has finished the ebook and plain text versions of Focal Point! The delay was my fault, not his; this has been a rough, busy year.

When you preorder, the digital edition you’ll receive within 24 hours now includes:

  • DRM-free, bookmarked, hyperlinked PDF
  • .epub
  • .mobi
  • .azw3 (Kindle native)
  • Plain text (great for text-to-speech readers and cut/paste into your GMing notes!)

As promised, I’ve also circled back and sent all preorder customers and updated zip file/download link that includes the full package. Thanks for your patience!

If you didn’t receive your file/link, please check your spam folder/filter and drop me a line if it’s not in there (martin enginepublishing com).

The proof is in!

I’ve gotten the Focal Point proof back from the printer, and it looks great!

Note: No hairy arms are included with preorder copies.

If you haven’t preordered yet, drop by the Engine Publishing store to check out the options, or download the PDF preview to see if Focal Point sounds like a good addition to your GMing library.

And as always, if you have any questions about the book or the preorder, ask away! I’ll be happy to help.


Worldwide preorders now open for Focal Point: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Running Extraordinary Sessions

You can now preorder our latest system-neutral GMing advice book, Focal Point, from the Engine Publishing online store! When you preorder, you’ll get access to the full DRM-free, hyperlinked, bookmarked PDF within 24 hours, weeks before the book is available anywhere else and months before it’s in retail stores.

Preorders will run through July 31, 2015. I’m running preorders slightly differently this year, and a bit later in the summer than usual, so please read on for details.

What’s Focal Point about?

Written by award-winning authors Phil Vecchione, Walt Ciechanowski, and John Arcadian, Focal Point is the third volume in Engine Publishing’s “accidental trilogy” of GMing advice books, which began with Never Unprepared and continued in Odyssey. You don’t need those books to enjoy and make use of this one, although they do complement each other well (and we offer a special bundle price for the trilogy).

Each of Focal Point’s authors is a veteran GM with years of experience, and each of them excels at a particular aspect of GMing. John is an entertainer, a GM who loves props and drawing his players into the game world. Walt is a storyteller, an adventure-writer who makes his living in the RPG industry. Phil is a facilitator, an organized GM who specializes in helping his players work well together.

These three roles — entertainer, storyteller, and facilitator — are at the core of Focal Point. From building “sets” for your gaming table, to using flowcharts to structure your adventures, to making sure everyone in your group feels comfortable during play, this guidebook addresses everything that goes into running an extraordinary gaming session.

Try before you buy

We’ve put together a free 19-page PDF preview of Focal Point so that you can check it out before you preorder.

Reviews and previews of Focal Point

We sent prerelease copies of Focal Point to reviewers in June so that you’d have even more info about the book, and here’s what they said about it:

  • Hamishakia review (in Hebrew) (auto-translated English version) — “Focal Point is particularly useful to GMs who need to diagnose what they’re having trouble with. If I know I have a problem with my GMing, but am not sure what it is, the book will be of great help in finding that out. Most chances are that it will also point me in the right direction to solve the issue. Reading alone will probably help a lot, but doing the challenges will increase the benefit several times over.
  • Misdirected Mark podcast preview

Preorder details

This is our sixth preorder, and I’ve shipped out over 1,300 direct orders through our online store. I pack books securely in sturdy boxes with bubble wrap, and I don’t charge you anything extra for shipping or handling — just the listed USPS rate for shipping.

Please note our shipping and store policies, and be aware that if you order Focal Point with other books, your whole order will ship once Focal Point is ready.

Preorder timing

Preorders will run through July 31, 2015. Focal Point is already at the printer. I expect to have books in hand in August, and will ship out all preorders as soon as I have books in hand.

When you receive your book will depend on where you live and what shipping method you choose. Here are the USPS shipping estimates for U.S. customers and customers outside the U.S..

Manual PDF fulfillment

Unlike past preorders, this time around I will be fulfilling PDFs manually. That means that when you place your preorder, you’ll have to wait for me to send out your PDF by hand. I’ll send it as soon as possible, but please allow 24 hours just to be safe.

This technological step backwards enables me to open preorders (and regular orders) up to customers in the EU. I haven’t been able to sell books directly to EU customers since January 1st of this year (here’s way more than you probably want to know about why), and that sucks. I’m trying this system as a possible alternative.

Other digital versions

I got behind this year for a variety of personal reasons, and unfortunately that means that the bonus digital versions of the book — epub, mobi, and plain text — aren’t quite ready yet. They should be ready by early August, and as soon as they’re available I will send fresh download links to all preorder customers which include those files.

There’s nothing you have to do to receive these files — once I have your preorder, I’ll take care of the follow-up.

Gen Con

Our retail fulfillment partner, Studio 2 Publishing, will have copies of Focal Point (and all of our other books) available for sale at booth 2016/17 in the exhibit hall. These are not preorder copies, and unfortunately we’re not set up to have preorders fulfilled at Gen Con. Due to the timing of this preorder, folks who pick up Focal Point at Gen Con will be the first to have print copies.

Questions or concerns?

Ask away in the comments below, or drop me a line at martin (at) enginepublishing (dot) com. I’ll get back to you right away.

Thank you for preordering!

This has been a pretty crappy year for me, and that’s delayed the launch of Focal Point and prompted the changes to this preorder. Thanks for bearing with me — the continued support of Engine Publishing’s fans means a lot to me.

Here’s the Focal Point preorder link again, and thank you for your support!


Focal Point preorders open July 7! Here’s a free preview PDF

Focal Point is at the printer!

Which means . . . preorders will open July 7!

And that means . . . it’s preview time!

Specifically, time to share a free 19-page preview of Focal Point, including the front and back covers, table of contents, and a representative sample from each of the book’s three big sections.

Preorder details will be in the launch announcement on the 7th. I can’t wait to share this book with you!


Focal Point preview: the table of contents

It’s time for our third preview of Focal Point: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Running Extraordinary Sessions (the third book in the trilogy that begin with Never Unprepared and Odyssey) — specifically, the table of contents.

I know that might not sound like the most exciting thing to preview, but it is! I always read the table of contents before buying a gaming book — it gives me a good idea of what the book covers (and doesn’t cover), and whether or not I’m interested in it.

But first…here’s the book’s lovely cover by Juan Ochoa again:

…and now, a bit of context for the table of contents. Focal Point is divided into three sections — Lights, Camera, and Action (have you guessed the theme that ties Focal Point together yet?) — each focused on one of the three major roles a GM plays: entertainer, storyteller, and facilitator.

We’ve got just one more preview left, the big one: Next up is a PDF excerpt from the book itself!


Focal Point preview: interior artwork

Our sixth system-neutral book for GMs, Focal Point: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Running Extraordinary Sessions, will be available for preorder in early July — but in the meantime, how about another preview?

If you missed the initial announcement, which includes the gorgeous cover illustrated by Juan Ochoa (with graphic design by Darren Hardy and art direction by John Arcadian), fear not! Take a peek at it now.

Let’s talk interior artwork! Focal Point was art directed by our own John Arcadian — who, along with Phil Vecchione and Walt Ciechanowski, is also one of the authors of the book. This time around, we got to work with four talented, creative artists: David L. Johnson, Avery Liell-Kok, Matt Morrow, and Elizabeth Porter did the interior illustrations in Focal Point. And they did a killer job.

As in Odyssey, the book that precedes Focal Point in our “accidental trilogy,” the authors used a fictional gaming group to provide examples of the problems and solutions discussed in the book. This time around, they did it by way of three fictional campaigns, and one artist illustrated each of them. The fourth, Avery, provided three spectacular fictional movie posters, one for each campaign.

That’s enough from me, though — their work speaks for itself. In order of appearance in the book, here are some previews by each interior artist.

Avery Liell-Kok

(I’m only going to share one of Avery’s pieces, leaving two as surprises for folks who pick up the book.)

David L. Johnson

Matt Morrow

Elizabeth Porter

Keep your eyes peeled for our next Focal Point preview, which will appear right here on the blog in a few days. Next up: the table of contents, followed by a meaty excerpt from the book itself — and then it’s preorder time!


Coming Soon – Focal Point: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Running Extraordinary Sessions!

I’m thrilled to announce that the sixth system-neutral GMing advice book from Engine Publishing and Gnome Stew will be available to preorder soon: Focal Point: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Running Extraordinary Sessions, by John Arcadian, Walt Ciechanowski, and Phil Vecchione!

Here’s the cover, illustrated by Juan Ochoa and designed by Darren Hardy:

Focal Point is a standalone guide to running great gaming sessions, but it’s also the third and final volume in our “accidental trilogy” — it follows Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management and its predecessor, Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Session Prep. You don’t need either of those books to enjoy Focal Point, but they do go well together.

We’ll be opening preorders for Focal Point soon, likely in late June or early July. It’s so close to being done, with just a little bit of review work and the conversion to other formats (mobi, etc.) still to go.

As always, preorder customers will immediately receive the digital version, giving you access to the book weeks before it’s on sale anywhere else. It will also be available in print at Gen Con, and I’ll be making special arrangements so that customers in the EU can order it as well.

More details to come!


Coming April 2015: Never Unprepared in Portuguese from Pensamento Coletivo

I’m thrilled to announce our first translation partnership: Brazilian publisher Pensamento Coletivo will be publishing Never Unprepared in Portuguese.

They have already opened up preorders for the Portuguese edition, with an anticipated release date of April 2015.

Given the popularity of gaming in Brazil, I’m excited to see how Never Unprepared does in Portuguese. Pensamento Coletivo has been a pleasure to work with, and I’m confident they’ll do a bang-up job on this edition.


Engine Publishing break February 19 to March 2

I will not be fulfilling direct print orders or replying to customer service requests from February 19-March 2. Direct digital orders (including the digital edition that accompanies every print order) will continue to be fulfilled automatically, just like normal.

Print orders placed during the break will be fulfilled on March 3, or as close to March 3 as I can manage.

Sorry for any inconvenience, and happy gaming!


Please vote for Unframed in the Golden Geek Awards

Our latest GMing book, Unframed, is nominated for two Golden Geek Awards: Best Supplement and Best Artwork & Presentation. Thank you to everyone who nominated Unframed!

If you’re an RPGGeek member, please consider voting for Unframed in these two categories. Voting is quick and easy. Thanks for your consideration!