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:

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!