Ars Magica Hooks Open Call

The Ars Magica line now introduces large portions of Mythic Europe, from trade to art, from Normandy to Constantinople, and from long-dead magic to newly-formed conspiracies. How do you introduce this to your players? This book is an answer to that question. It will consist of eight short scenarios, each of which gets the player characters involved with something treated in more detail in another book, and then gives them the option of pursuing it further. Each story should be something that could hook a troupe into a saga thread designed by their storyguide.
Each scenario/encounter should have the following features:
  • The encounters should be short, suitable for play in one session.
  • Each encounter is to be self-contained, but if the player characters decide to investigate further it leads into material from another book. The encounter might be with an artifact connected to some kind of ancient magic, or with a practitioner of rival magic, or have a connection to draw the characters to visit a particular region of Mythic Europe, and thus use that Tribunal book.
  • The encounters should be designed so that they can be used anywhere in Mythic Europe, and should not be very date-sensitive.
  • They should also be designed so that the player characters have to react to something, and can't just ignore it; they get to decide whether to pursue the lead further once they've resolved this issue.
  • Finally, and this is very important, the other book must not be necessary to run the encounter, and we must not need to reprint a significant amount of the other book.
You may propose encounters connected to any ArM5 book you are familiar with. That includes books that haven't been published yet, as long as you know what the draft that will be published looks like. (That means that you must have been a final-round playtester or author, and that the book must have finished playtest. You should still check with me in advance in that case, just in case the point you plan to use was changed in final edit.)
I may accept more than one encounter linked to a given book, although probably not two or more linked to the same chapter of Ancient Magic, for example. You may also submit multiple encounters. In addition, I already have proposals in hand linked to Realms of Power: Faerie, Lords of Men, and the Canaanite Necromancy chapter of Ancient Magic. It would maximize your chances if you avoided those.
Submission Details
Before sending me anything, you need to send a Release Form to Atlas. Download the required release form here. You need to print it and sign it, but you can then scan and email it to info@atlas-games.com , or fax it to Atlas at +1 (651) 638-0084. We will acknowledge receipt of the Release Form, and at that point you can send your submission to the email address we send you in the acknowledgement.
Your submission must be a complete draft of your encounter. You should think that it is ready for publication as it stands. Keep it between 3600 and 4400 words long, including all necessary game statistics. If it needs maps, send sketches.
Send your submission as electronic files attached to an email with the subject line "Hooks Submission – Foo", replacing "Foo" with an informative title for your submission. Your draft should be in ODT format, which is the native file format of OpenOffice.org ( http://www.openoffice.org/ ), LibreOffice ( http://www.libreoffice.org ), and NeoOffice (http://www.neooffice.org/neojava/en/index.php) and any sketch maps should be in a relatively small format. Do not send me any image files larger than a megabyte, and try to make them considerably smaller. Do not embed images into the text document; send them as separate files.
Name the files in the form name-title.rtf or name-title-map1.jpg, where "name" is your name (surname only is fine unless you think other submitters are likely to share it) and "title" is the title of the proposal. Don't include any spaces in the filenames.
The deadline for submissions is 26th June 2011.
After Submission
You may submit your draft before the deadline, and it's a good idea, since things do go wrong with computers. I will acknowledge receipt of each draft when I get it, but I won't read any of them until the deadline has passed.
If I like your draft, you will be asked to sign our standard contract, which involves assigning the copyright to Atlas Games. This is not negotiable; do not submit if you are not willing to do that. Payment will be $110 per accepted submission, payment on publication of the book. Since the scenarios have to be playtested before they can be published, that is unlikely to happen before 2013.
Talking of playtesting, you will be required to revise your submission to take account of playtest comments, at least twice. In some cases, three rounds of playtest and revision are required. I may also ask you to make some changes before the first playtest.
If I don't take your draft for this book, don't take it to heart. Rejections are very common in this business. You can still send it to Sub Rosa, or even try to publish it elsewhere if you file all the Ars Magica serial numbers off. (That's likely to be impossible if you were working on introducing Rival Magic or Legends of Hermes, but is quite feasible if your scenario was connected to Art and Academe. It's probably a good idea to send me the revised version first if you want to do this, though, to confirm that the remaining elements are actual history, rather than stuff we made up for the game.)
I look forward to seeing your scenarios.
Good luck!
David Chart
Ars Magica Line Developer

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