The ENnies are annual awards which celebrate and reward the year’s best roleplaying game releases. They are run by ENworld – a huge and popular forum devoted primarily to roleplaying games.  Each year at Gen Con they host a ceremony which acknowledges and rewards that year’s roleplaying game highlights. As with many awards the recipients get more excited about them than the customers who buy the products. But we are recipients, and this article is about our excitement!

First the judges examine all the entries to select the nominees, then it goes to a popular vote. As a small publisher whose products punch above their market weight critically, it’s always been about the nominations. We do not have the sheer numbers of potential votes of likes of Paizo, Monte Cook, Fantasy Flight and Wizards of the Coast.

But this year, something was different. Some of it, as always, is circumstance; many of the bigger publishers didn’t have anything out this year. But, that can’t be the sole explanation for what happened: Pelgrane Press won 11 awards out of 10 nominations.

The 2016 ENnies featured battling vampires, a gradually more inarticulate Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, and a triumphant Cat Tobin clutching more awards than she could reasonably carry. It also featured an epic battle between newcomer Strahd and ancient rival Dracula. Or is it the other way round?

Dracula Dossier – Director’s Handbook gained a silver for Best Adventure, to The Curse of Strahd’s gold. In Product of the Year, the positions were reversed.  The Director’s Handbook also grabbed the gold Best Writing, while Strahd snatched the top honour for Best Cover. All is even! But then, Dracula Dossier: Hawkins Papers grabbed gold Best Supplement. Strahd called foul – that was a separate product – and then returned to his tower to brood and emote. The Dracula Dossier All Rolled Up from our friends at the Black Archive gained a gold for Best Aid/ Accessory just above the 13th Age GM Screen and Resource Book‘s silver.

13th Age also featured in Race to Starport by ASH LAW for the Best Free Product. To get your copy, login to or create a bookshelf, tick the Organised Play box, and grab it and many others. All of them are of the same high quality as Race to Starport.

Our multiply nominated Page XX snagged a silver for Best Website. If you are reading this, you may well have voted for us – so thank you! Page XX is a time-consuming labour of love, but this award has played its part in our continuation of the webzine.

Long-time Pelgrane Press writer Adam Gauntlett, together with artists Pat Loboyko and Eric Quigley achieved silver for the Trail of Cthulhu adventure The Long Con – to describe it is to spoiler it – all I can say is it’s full of surprises and well worth playing.

Ken Hite, adding to his share of the Dracula hoard, gained a gold for Ken Writes About Stuff volume 3.


Finally and most proudly, we won the silver ENnie for Fan’s Choice for Best Publisher. This is an award where all entrants are considered for the vote – so we don’t count this as a nomination. But what this meant was our relatively small and plucky band of fans must have voted en masse for us. This award is yours – thank you so much!

Just for fun, here is a breakdown of the ENnies we’ve been nominated for and won over the years.

ENnie Chart


Product Year Award Category
Esoterrorists 2007 Nomination Best Rules
Esoterrorists 2007 Honourable Mention Best Game
Trail of Cthulhu 2008 Silver Best Writing
Trail of Cthulhu 2008 Silver Best Rules
The Book of Unremitting Horror 2008 Nomination Best Monster / Adversary
Trail of Cthulhu 2008 Honourable Mention Product of the Year
Armitage Files 2010 Silver Best Adventure
Shadows Over Filmland 2010 Honourable Mention Best Adventure
Rough Magicks 2010 Nomination Best Art, Cover
The Dance in the Blood 2011 Honourable Mention Best Adventure
Bookhounds of London 2011 Silver Best Cartography
Bookhounds of London 2011 Honourable Mention Best Setting
The Dance in the Blood 2011 Nomination Best Writing
Dead Rock Seven 2012 Nomination Best Adventure
Invasive Procedures 2012 Nomination Best Adventure
The Rending Box 2012 Nomination Best Adventure
Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Apocalypse Machine 2012 Gold Best Electronic Book
Lorefinder 2012 Silver Best Rules
Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Apocalypse Machine 2012 Nomination Best Setting
Ashen Stars 2012 Silver Best Setting
The Investigator’s Guide to Occult London 2012 Nomination Best Setting
See Page XX 2012 Nomination Best Website
Investigator’s Guide to Occult London 2012 Gold Best Writing
Night’s Black Agents 2013 Silver Best Game
Night’s Black Agents 2013 Silver Best Writing
Eternal Lies 2014 Gold Best Adventure
Hillfolk 2014 Nomination Best Game
Eternal Lies 2014 Silver Best Production Values
Dust and Mirrors: Music for Night’s Black Agents 2014 Nomination Best RPG Related Product
Complete Eternal Lies Suite 2014 Nomination Best RPG Related Product
13th Age 2014 Silver Best Rules
Hillfolk 2014 Nomination Best Rules
Blood on the Snow 2014 Nomination Best Supplement
Owl Hoot Trail 2014 Nomination Best Writing
See Page XX 2014 Nomination Best Website
Hillfolk 2014 Nomination Product of the Year
Eternal Lies 2014 Nomination Product of the Year
13th Age 2014 Nomination Product of the Year
Dreamhounds 2015 Nomination Best Art, Interior
Ken Writes About Stuff Volume 2 2015 Silver Best Electronic Book
13th Age: The Archmage’s Orrery 2015 Silver Best Free Product
13th Age Bestiary 2015 Nomination Best Monster / Adversary
Dreamhounds 2015 Nomination Best Setting
Ken Writes About Stuff Volume 2 2015 Nomination Best Writing
Dracula Dossier Director’s Handbook 2016 Silver Best Adventure
13th Age Screen and Resource Book 2016 Silver Best Aid/ Accessory
The Long Con 2016 Silver Best Electronic Book
Race to Starport 2016 Silver Best Free Product
Ken Writes About Stuff Volume 3 2016 Gold Best RPG Related Product
The Dracula Dossier: Hawkins Papers 2016 Gold Best Supplement
See Page XX 2016 Silver Best Website
Dracula Dossier Director’s Handbook 2016 Gold Best Writing
Dracula Dossier Director’s Handbook 2016 Gold Product of the Year
Pelgrane Press 2016 Silver Fan’s Choice for Best Publisher

File:Luna Park Melbourne scenic railway.jpgGen Con stretches across the publishing year like a huge rollercoaster. In the first half of the year there is the slow, ratcheted climb to the peak. You can do what the hell you want in your carriage, you might even forget you are committed, but nothing it stopping the ride.  As you get higher and higher, you realise there is no turning back, and then we hold on for dear life as we plunge into a six-day adrenalin rush of travel, setting up, waiting, drinking, not sleeping, snatching food, snatching conversations and selling books like tomorrows are in short supply. We greet gamers we see once a year, new gamers enthused by our GM teams and sceptical gamers drawn in by the evil of the 4 for 3 convention deal. Hands are rubbed together, pitches honed and polished, and book piles refreshed.

On Monday, while the North American contingent were facebooking pictures of barbecue, we Europeans were scrabbling to find another way to get to Indy when the madness of Orlando’s security and no guidance held us up for an hour and a half. Thanks to the lovely Sabrina from Delta we did get there at an unholy hour, greeted by writers with bourbon in hand. This year, we tried something different – an all day Tuesday pre-Gen Con summit for the core Pelgrane team, followed by delicious Eritrean food . We set out what we were creating this year, and into next. We discussed the benefits and pitfalls of crowd funding, how we can improve our marketing, be kinder to our artists and what we can do for our most loyal customers. We need to hone the agenda, but it’s certainly worth doing again next year. This was a very gentle bump in the Gen Con rollercoaster.

35_DismantlingWednesday is set up. This year, for the first time I can remember, everything we ordered arrived including Fear Itself 2nd Edition, TimeWatch and a new print run of Night’s Black Agents. It did make me wonder about an alternate timeline in which we didn’t get the TimeWatch books to the backers, but the thought was too horrid. We still haven’t quite got our booth act together – it’s just piles of books on tables, scaled up from the first 10′ x 10′ booth Robin Laws and I stood behind more than ten years ago, but it works.

Then it was our GM huddle. We used to do no official events but over the past three years, it’s grown from nothing to 150, and we now have official games which have moved from hotel wilderness to with a five-minute walk of the stand. The GMs waited very patiently while we assembled their GM packages, entertained by the game designers who created the games they were playing – Rob Heinsoo, Robin Laws, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan and Ken Hite, and by an impromptu quiz from Robin which featured pudding. I met many of our GMs, including the  Heavy Metal GM, Sean Clark. We gave out Pelgroats – $1 tokens for players and we later learned from our data, that the GMs were responsible for selling a whole bunch of core books. We are all about people playing the games we publish, so this made us very happy. Wednesday night is that Diana Jones awards, where pretty much the entire industry gathers to catch up and talk over the poor compère.

On Thursday the ride is really under way. The hall was way bigger this year, and it was laid out so that it’s no longer possible to walk it, and there 60,000 people. We’d been shifted by the growing Paizo purple checkerboard from booth 101 to 419 – still a great position – next to Chaosium and Goodman Games. Then there are meetings. We meet excited freelancers we’ve been working with all year, licensees who tell us how their gaming culture differs, distributor reps who are desperate to sell RPGs in a retail landscape which does not favour them, and a box manufacturer who made the best and most joyful pitch we’ve seen. Hands were shaken, deals done. I brought home a Chinese version of Trail of Cthulhu – to be honest, the way IP works in China, we were lucky someone was willing to pay.

Awards. Dare I mention we won some on Friday? Ten nominations, eleven ENnies. A smug Kevin Kulp, presenter of the ENnies and writer of TimeWatch,  knew exactly what was going on remained entirely poker-faced until he didn’t have to be. The Dracula Dossier team were up and down five times, 13th Age and Trail of Cthulhu got nods. But our proudest award by far was Fan Favorite Publisher. So many publishers are listed under that category, we’ve never even counted it is as a nomination, but there we are, winning a silver to Paizo’s gold. We were overwhelmed with happiness and amazement at the loyalty and commitment of our fans.

ennie picture

Saturday and Sunday are a banked turn and a barrel roll on the rollercoaster ride. Some of our lines ran low, but we brought so much stock this year  we didn’t run out of books other than the new Swords vs Cthulhu. At the end of the each day we are allowed to run the numbers. Overall, sales were up 15% on last year. Only 2013 – the launch of 13th Age – has been better.

Then we broke down the stand, sang the company song, ate our traditional end-of-Gen Con meal,  collapsed and decompressed. Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan fell over and bashed his nose on the steps of our hotel, poor thing, but was able to travel, and we flew back again, avoiding the Delta Disaster, and we all slept, for once, on the plane. The rollercoaster rattles to a halt.

Now we are catching up on all the work we generated, and queuing up for next year’s ride.

Congratulations to the many and varied publishers who have been nominated for this year’s ENnie award. The judges have selected the products they like the best, and now it’s down to the popular vote.ennie

Pelgrane Press has achieved fifteen nominations in eleven categories for nine products in this year’s ENnie awards, in a field festooned with stellar games and publishers.  Hillfolk, Eternal Lies and 13th Age get three nominations a piece, James Semple and his team of composers and musicians were regonised for the Complete Eternal Lies Suite and Dust and Mirrors in the Best RPG Related Product. I’m pleased that Clinton and Kevin  got some recognition for Best Writing for Owl Hoot Trail and Cat Tobin for Page XX.  Blood on the Snow perhaps has more contributors than any RPG product to date and is nominated for Best Supplement. The Noteboard is in with a chance for Best Aid and Accessory.

In addition to the Pelgrane nominations, Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff received a nomination for Best Podcast, and the Midgard Bestiary: 13th Age Edition from Kobold Press also received a well-deserved nod.

Here are the Pelgrane nominations, by product, then by category, followed by all nominees:

Listed by category:

Best Adventure

Best Podcast

Best Aid/Accessory

Best Production Values

Best RPG Related Product

Best Rules

Best Supplement

Best Writing

Best Game

Best Website

Product of the Year

The ENnie Awards 2013 nominations have been announced. Congratulations to all!

The voting booth is here.

I’m pleased to say the Pelgrane Press has been nominated in eight categories. Gareth Hanrahan and Kenneth Hite gets the nod for The Zalozhniy Quartet  in the Best Adventure category, our very own Page XX has been nominated for Best Website. All We Have Forgotten (James Semple, Marie-Anne Fischer and Yaiza Varona), music for Ashen Starts gets a well-deserved nomination for Best Aid / Accessory.

You can listen to a sample – the theme tune – here:

Night’s Black Agents has been nominated for Best Rules (Ken and Robin), Best Interior Art (Chris Huth, Aleseandro Alaia, and Phil Reeves with art direction by Beth Lewis) , Best Game (Ken), Best Writing (Ken) and Product of the Year (everyone!)

Night’s Black Agents is my favourite game to run apart from my original AD&D campaign, and I’ll be doing another season of it later in the year, and it was the grabbiness and sustainability of the setting, the excitement of the writing and the quality of the mechanics which drew me in.

Here is a complete listing of all the nominations. It’s good to see so many entries from the British and Irish, or Team GMT, as we will be known.

Best Adventure

Best Aid/Accessory

Best Art, Cover

Best Art, Interior

Best Blog

Best Cartography

Best Electronic Book

Best Family Game

Best Free Game

Best Free Product

Best Game

Best Miniature

Best Monster/Adversary

Best Podcast

Best Production Values

Best RPG Related Product

Best Rules

Best Setting

Best Software

Best Supplement

Best Website

Best Writing

Product of the Year

The ENnies are arguably the most important awards in the RPG calendar, the Oscars of RPGs, if you will. This year the ceremony took place in a suitably grand locale, the Grand Hall in Union Station.

Pelgrane Press picked up 4 awards, two Silvers and two Golds, our first Golds ever.


Best Rules: Lorefinder

Best Setting: Ashen Stars


Best Electronic Book: Cthulhu Apocalypse – The Apocalypse Machine

Best Writing: The Investigators Guide to Occult London

And here is a picture of a very happy Paula Dempsey collecting her Best Writing Award with Steve Dempsey and Kenneth Hite who also contributed to The Investigators Guide.

Thank you to all who voted for our books!

Voting Open! Vote now for your favourites!

Pelgrane Press has received ten nominations for the ENnie Awards 2012 in six categories, including three of the five Best Adventure categories. We are all rather chuffed, and I will take a flask of tea to the ceremony. Graham and Ken are both in in their own right, too.

Here they all are.

Best Adventure

Best Electronic Book

Best Rules

Best Setting

Best Website

Best Writing


Bookhounds of London has won the prestigious Golden Geek Award 2011 for Best RPG Supplement. Armitage Files was a runner up against stiff competition from Jason Morningstar’s excellent Fiasco Companion.

We are very pleased to have been nominated for a second time in the Golden Geek Awards.

Ashen Stars and Bookhounds of London have been nominated for Best Artwork and Presentation, The Armitage Files and Bookhounds of London for Best Supplement.

You can vote here, but you need to be a member with Geek Gold.



The voting for the ENnie awards is open. Pelgrane Press have been nominated for Best Cartography for Bookhounds and Best Writing for Dance in the Blood. We ask that you consider voting for us.

Other Pelgranistas have been nominated; Graham Walmsley for A Taste for Murder, Robin D Laws for Hamlet’s Hit Points and Kenneth Hite for Dresden Files and The Bones: Us and Our Dice, all fine products worthy of your consideration.

I’m pleased to say Pelgrane Press has received honourable mentions and nominations in the ENnie awards for our releases this year.

The Dance in the Blood by Graham Walmsley gets and honorable mention for Best Adventure, and a nomination for Best Writing. I think that Dance in the Blood is typical of Graham’s adventures, and any one of the others could have just as easily been nominated.

Bookhounds of London by Kenneth Hite gets an honourable mention for Best Setting, and a nomination for Cartography. Beth Lewis extracted, compiled and enhanced these antique maps with new information and the indexers over at yog-sothoth also deserve a big hand for this one. I’m sad that Ken didn’t get a nomination for the setting, which is just outstanding, but the competition was fierce.

Congratulations to all the other publishers and I’ll update you when the voting begins.

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