Michael received Bachelor of Arts in History at University Vermont in 1979.
From 1977 on, he worked as a designer of role-playing games for various gaming companies, and wrote dozens of magazine articles with limited distribution within the industry.
Michael Stackpole was hired full-time at Flying Buffalo after they accepted his submission for a solo Tunnels & Trolls adventure which was published in 1978 as City of Terrors. Stackpole worked for Coleco from 1980-1981 as the result of a meeting between Rick Loomis, Stackpole, and the president of Coleco at a gaming and pinball convention. Stackpole designed the roleplaying game Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes, which Flying Buffalo published in 1983. Stackpole left Flying Buffalo after the company's 1985 move to Scottsdale, Arizona.
In the 1980s, Stackpole began designing computer games for Coleco and then Interplay Productions. His work at Interplay included Bard's Tale III, Wasteland, Neuromancer, Star Trek: 25th Anniversary and Star Trek: Judgment Rites. He also created the role-playing game Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes, which provided the game mechanics for Wasteland, and wrote several solo adventures for the Tunnels & Trolls role-playing system, including "Dargon's Dungeon", "Overkill", "City of Terrors" and "Sewers of Oblivion".
In 1986 Stackpole wrote his first novel, the fantasy story "Talion: Revenant." The Age of Discovery trilogy is his latest complete series, with A New World released mid-2007. The trilogy is set in a fantasy world, with an attempt at an unconventional approach to magic and mastery.
Stackpole also writes and publishes an online newsletter titled The Secrets.
His companion is an artist Elizabeth Turner Danforth.