Note: This is a WIP
For the first part of the submission process, we want a pitch: a 150-word narrative segment to explain the story concept. Simple enough, but what I didn't include in the Guideline is how to write a good pitch.
The purpose of the pitch is to describe in 150 words the situation the reader, or player, is going to explore in the story. This pitch, therefore, should include.
- Who are involved?
- When and where does it take place?
- What is the dilemma?
- What is the scope of the problem? Does it affect a small community or country, etc?
- What do the involved parties hope to achieve (and how do these conflict)?
In other words, don't write a plot or summarise your story. The pitch should describe the situation that one or more characters are in. It should also convey a sense of mystery. To achieve this, these narrations are described as in-universe events or documents.
Media and Point of View
In traditional in mystery genres - like cosmic horror, noir, and detectives - the situation is seen from the point of view character (POV). This can be conveyed through various means. Maybe the POV character is telling a story in the first person. But it could also be an agent writing a formal report or sending an emergency broadcast.
- a personal journal or diary.
- a letter to a friend or fellow agent
- an audio recording in which two characters are talking
- a formal report
- a news article
- an interview or interrogation
One of the most difficult things for any writer is to constrain a story. Especially in high-concept tales, too much plot can distract from the themes you want to explore. Especially if you write a 150-word pitch, it's best to focus on one dilemma and elaborate on that. You can always write another pitch to explore another.
How to convey mystery
To convey mystery, do not reveal the Subject abilities or motivations. Describe what the viewpoint characters witness and their interpretation of it. Maybe the POV sees something. It doesn't know what it is or does. For example, it comes across a clock tower shrouded by a veil of power cables hanging from the church bell. What does it do? Well, you have to read the full story or play the campaign to find out.
Or maybe the target an Associate is monitoring is showing some strange behavior or meeting up with odd people at particular times a day..
Pitch a plane
- What makes this world unique?
- Why does the Association take a special interest in the world?
- Is this world a threat to Atlas?
- General impression of the culture or enviorment
- General impression of the sci-fi concept
Witnessing the spires that scraped the sky, we found ourselves at the boundary of a greater civilization. However, also that of a potential enemy that could crush us would it discover the secrets of the Rifts. But then we witnessed a cloud rising from a tower like a smoke stack. When we saw those birds flocking over the city like locusts, we realized nothing was as it seemed. Among the ruins, we found the inheritors of this civilization reduced to savages living among the remnants of buildings that would inspire engineers for centuries to come. And yet, its population was running around in animal skins covered in old-world artifacts, erecting totems to display the heads of their enemies. During the night, hearing their dances and chants calling upon the ancestral spirit, I knew we had to find the cause of this descent into savagery.
Plane 89 is a treasure trove of Archeo-tech. What happened to this world’s inhabitants I a mystery, but most likely, some plague killed all human life allowing nature to take its course. The possibility this plague originated from a Rift has not been ruled out.
Now its ruins are overgrown by megaflora, and its jungles are inhabited by giant feathered beasts. The four-legged sauropods are herbivores but territorial. The theropods are predators that can be the size of chickens to that of a train carriage.
Among the ruins, autotrons still linger. Most appear to be automated servants or maintenance drones. But there are guards protecting its vital structures and sanctums.
Our mission is twofold. Uncover if the extinction of its people was Rift related, and recover its libraries and technology for reverse engineering.
The Prying Prevail.
Special Committee Antiquarians
Plane 01: Eridu
Would you believe, dear reader, men could travel from one world to the next with one simple step? Forget space rockets. Anomalies called Rifts are our gateway to new inhabitable worlds untouched by human hands. The reporter stepped through one of these anomalies and, on the other end, found a world with trees that reached into the clouds. Majestic creatures taller than the halls of the recently opened Crystal Palace. Three-horned rhinoceros. Small ostriches chasing crow-sized dragonflies. This is just a sample of the wonders discovered beyond the Rifts. And all it took was the daring to take that single step. These anomalies give credibility to the legends of old. What if Atlantis was one such world? Shangri La. Agartha. Nirvana. I feel we are on the brink of a New Age—a Golden Dawn of Humanity.
Taken from an unpublished article by F. R. Pendleton, 1851.
Pitch a Phenomenon
Continuing our report on Portlove. After RA’s directors declared the area isolated enough to preserve, the abandoned settlement was declared off-limits to the general public. Currently, RA is monitoring the site from a facility inside Portlove’s train station.
For security, Rangers are tasked with protecting this outpost and tracking down subjects for study to improve our understanding of Rift-based lifeforms. By exploring the forests and river banks, they keep track of the anomaly’s expanse.
Although Portlove Anomaly's epicenter has yet to be located, the Rangers are confident it's to the city’s south. To the North of Portlove Bay, rangers have discovered the black line of ‘Gray Matter’ that is believed to mark the anomaly's extent. Unfortunately, the lifeforms and other anomalies have attracted poachers, mercenaries, and eccentrics alike. Rangers have reported violent engagements between these rival groups and suspect these will escalate in the future.
“LOVENEST. LOVENEST. THIS IS OLIVER 2. OVER.”
“This is Lovenest. Come in, OLIVER 2. Over.”
“CURR—— WE ARE NORTH OF THE LIS—ON LUMBER M- AND WHARF. THE PLACE LOOKS LIKE SOME— HAS BEEN STRIP MINING THE PLACE.”
“Can you clarify? Over.”
“SOMEONE DUG - B- Hole. OVER.”
“Give us a moment, OLIVER 2. [Yes. Listons I think] Oliver 2. Did you say north of the Listons lumber mill? We have no maps of mining facilities in that area.”
“ITS H- NOW, BOY. THIS LOOKS MAN-MADE. APART FROM THE VINES AND TREES. THERE ARE THIS GLO- SACKS HANG- FR- THE BRANCHES.”
“Oliver 2. Did you say glowing sacks?”
“JESSY, DON’T TOUCH IT! COME AGAIN, LOVENEST.”
“Can you describe the glowing sacks?”
“THEY EY… THEY LOOK LIKE SOMETHING BETWEEN TREE RESIN AND A ZIT. LET… ME… GIT… UHW GOD. UH, THERE’S SOMETHING IN NO... OH, NO. STAND BACK! THERE COMING OUT OF THE TREES!”
[Short are audible before the connection gets severed]
Pitch a subject
- Why is the Association interested in the subject?
- Where is the Subject now?
- What motivates the Subject?
- What problem does the Subject present?
I Encountered S-32 when meeting a Traveler, who claimed to have visited many worlds, crossing continents to reach one Rift after the other. When I inquired how he knew of their locations, he led me back to his cart to show me a birdcage covered in a heavy blanket. He pulled away the cloth to reveal a creature that radiant, I had to protect my eyes against its brilliance. As my sight adjusted, I could make out its butterfly wings, slim body, and head shaped like a flame.
“I use her often as a night light,” he said. “However, would I set her free, she’d fly straight for the nearest Rift no matter where in the world. I keep her leashed so she can’t escape my sight as she’s flying. You should see her glow when the Rift is near. She lights up like a kid in a candy store.”
Pitching a Construct
- What is the function of the Construct?
- Was it made or discovered?
- Where is the COnstruct now?
- What it like to interact with it/ be on the receiving end?
I was not far from Ludwig’s claim when the ground began to rumble beneath my feet. Thinking it was an earthquake, I ran through the forest, looking for the nearest clearing. But then the ground ahead erupted.
Dust darkened the sky as the scent of fresh bricks was spreading through the woods. What emerged from the explosion was a snake the size of an Ironclad. With its drill, beset with countless gears, it ground all trees and rocks in its path between its cogs. Its contorting body released a swarm of insects chirping so loud I feared bleeding out of my ears. Then it carved its path through the woods like an unstoppable force and fell upon the mine. Within moments, it was all gone. The camp. The tunnels. My countrymen. All Gone. The machines had left nothing but a hole stripped of all life and resources.
When using our Valuon receivers to locate the Rift, its sound came through the speaker loud and clear. Its call is an eerie song of sorrow like a sirene atop a rock in a static sea. I always dread to stumble upon that fey and witness her visage in the Rift pleading me to join her in the Inbetween…
Heading south-to-south-east, its call got gradually louder. But something was off. I couldn’t tell why and accepted it as a quirk of the Rift.
Then they fell upon us. Three, maybe four, lay in ambush. We never saw them except for the flashes of their guns. It was a close one, but 134 threw in a grenade among the trees. He wounded at least one. After they took flight, we found the source. A transmitter replicating the Rift’s call to lure us in, like a sirene.