Call for Unknown Armies Pitches

As an experiment, Atlas Games will release a series of at least three short, commercial PDFs supporting Unknown Armies in the coming months. Veteran RPG writer and developer Jeff Tidball will develop and produce them.

Each release will be like a pit bull: fast, mean, and something you damn well better pay attention to.

These releases need writers, and this is a call for pitches. Are you the writer? Can you pitch us a pit bull?

Here are the outlines:

* Each release will be wholly self-contained. No multi-part adventures, no epic trilogies.

* Each release must be widely accessible to a broad audience of UA fans. Advanced, supplemental rules for the avatar played by three gamers in North America are not welcome. For the big win, pitch concepts useful to both players and GMs.

* Each release will be 6,000 words long.

* The pay is $.02/word. Pitch something because Unknown Armies compels you, not because you intend to become rich.

* Material previously published, such as at the official Unknown Armies website, may be submitted, as long as substantial extensions or revisions from the original format are envisioned.

* Other than that, USE YOUR IMAGINATION, OR WHY ELSE DID GOD GIVE YOU ONE? Adventures are fine, locations are fine, group write-ups are fine. NPC collections might be fine if they're compelling. But even better, blow our minds with your crazy idea, why don't you?

Pitch it to us like this:

* Send a one-sentence summary of your idea to jeff [at] jefftidball -dot- com. (Yes, seriously. One sentence. When you're retailing PDFs, you've got about one sentence to blow a potential customer's mind. Therefore, you've got one sentence to blow ours.) Read about effective high-concept movie loglines if you're at a loss as to how to pitch a compelling idea in a single sentence.

* Send a one-sentence summary of your qualifications.

* If this material has been previously published, indicate where and how.

There's no limit to the number of pitches you can send.

Awesome pitches will be greenlit and assigned instantly until we have three. Don't let your jaw-dropping idea be the fourth one we get.

There is no deadline, but at two sentences, why don't you brainstorm five ideas right now, let them stew overnight, and send us the best three tomorrow morning?

UPDATE: The three pitches for development have been chosen -- thanks to everyone who submitted.


  1. So, how soon can we expect to see who the lucky winners are?
    More specifically, for a given pitch, how soon should I expect to get an e-mail saying it was accepted/rejected? Also, should I have received an e-mail verifying that you received the pitches?

  2. I had expected to let everyone know and close this down late last week, but it's been taking longer than planned. Some people got acceptances/rejections last week, but I was out of town over the weekend, and so have not send any since Thursday or so. I have not been sending out receipts.

    Hang in there; three should be accepted this week. A note will be posted here once submissions are no longer being accepted.

    In the meantime, feel free to continue to send new submissions.

  3. So is this book still going to happen or has it been lost in development hell?

  4. The first one, called Thin Black Line: The Order of St Cecil, is due to be released imminently. Just yesterday I sent Jeff my corrections after proofreading it over the holiday weekend.

  5. Any word on Thin Black Line or either of the others? I would love to see some new UA in 2011.

  6. Regrettably, we ran into some issues in the editorial process. To make a long story short, these projects are now on the back burner indefinitely. :( Sorry.

  7. Called it. Unknown Armies is too good to get more books. All the things we love... Is there any thing the community can do to help.

  8. That's ... incredibly disappointing. I know a lot of us were very excited about this - we feel very strongly about UA, and it's just horrible to have something like this cut for undisclosed "editorial reasons".

    Can you give us any more information?

    Is there any possibility of restarting this and redoing other PDFs if there are issues with what you went with?

  9. Final approval rests with the game's designers. It became clear that the scope of revisions and expansions that were being asked for would simply require time/expense far beyond the project's original budget or any reasonable expectation for returns from sales of a little PDF supplement.

    The author, editor, and artist have been paid in full for their work. But at this point, Atlas Games has written it off as a loss and a failed experiment.

  10. Thank you very much for the reply. I'm sorry to hear that, and can understand how it might have happened. I really appreciate you taking the time to fill the details in for me.

    Well done on having the guts to try such an experiment, even if it didn't work out. I know I really appreciated the effort being put in to a line I care a lot about! :)

  11. As a fan of UA who has been hankering to purchase these PDFs ever since they were first announced, I wanted to chime in briefly and register my deep disappointment in the results of this publishing experiment.

    I realize that the RPG market is not one where money can be expected to be made hand over fist and that profitability should be the goal for any small business. If this had to be chalked up as a loss, it's ultimately the call of Atlas to make. However, I would encourage you to again consider Arc Dream's successes with fan funding of projects. It could be a possible way of saving this UA project (as well as supporting your other cherished properties with small but vocal fan-bases). I, for one, would still love to purchase said material and would happily pre-pledge monetary support in such a way. Food for thought.

    Thanks for your time and, truly, for making the UA game a reality in the first place!

  12. Perhaps this could be done through a ransom model, as per what Greg Stolze has been doing? I am a UA fan who, despite general lack of cash, would come up with some for more UA material.

  13. I would *love* to see more Unknown Armies material published. Just thought I'd throw my voice in. I'd be willing to put some money behind the words, if there was a way to ransom the content.

  14. I want to make my voice heard on this issue as well. As someone who has been following this since it was first announced with eager anticipation and a frequent contributor to ransoms for Delta Green material, I would support additional Unknown Armies materials without a second thought.

  15. I would love to see a ransom model on this. I'd be so very eager to buy these PDFs.

  16. The ransom model is good when your problem is a lack of cash up front. That's really not our problem here. It's more of a lack of time.

  17. Well, then I suppose the question is: what can we, as fans, do to support future Unknown Armies supplements?

  18. Just to add a few more lines of text this but I would gladly volunteer mine and several other's time to make this happen, as I'm sure would many others. We don't have a whole lot of experience other than student publications and such, but we all made it through University and law school. And we would love to help if there's anyway we can.
    -Dalton's house full of gamers

  19. It's been two years. I don't know if it's realistic to expect an answer to this, but believe me when I say that UA is one of the best tabletop games I've ever played, I've bought every other book, and I'd happily support the creation of another. What would it take?

  20. Again, please understand that this project became unfeasible when the ready-for-print book wasn't able to win game designer approval, which is required contractually for us to publish it. We're not able to release it for that reason, not due to lack of funds on our part.

  21. This breaks my heart. Unknown Armies is the only game I want to play for the rest of my life.