Heroes’ Tears Submission Guidelines
This guide provides the rules you need to follow to have your work accepted by our editorial team. We pay on acceptance at $.07 a word. Acceptance usually means after editorial changes.
The first thing you do is come up with your idea and write the pitch to us. Send it in with the type of content (i.e., encounter, endeavor, quest) you are looking to write in the title. Be brief and be brilliant. We will judge your writing skills by the pitch, so demonstrate the creativity you have and why this idea is interesting. Be concise. Try to keep encounter pitches under 250 words and no more than 500 for a quest. Do not send us attachments. Emails with attachments will be deleted unread. Do not use fonts other than Times New Roman or Calibri or write your email in exciting colors or with weird backgrounds. We understand that with a new game few of you have read our rules or are terribly familiar with our setting. You can get some info from our Facebook page under Heroes’ Tears. That hasn’t been updated in a few months since we’ve been pushing to complete the main books but it should give you some basics to build around. We’ll happily send you the early versions of our Player’s Primer and Storyteller’s Atlas so you can create your adventure once we have accepted a pitch, so keep it generic and we can work with you to specialize it later. If we haven’t worked with you before and you don’t have a lot of games publishing background then try to keep to encounters. We are happy to work with you on how to create longer scenarios but with newer authors that can create a lot of editorial burden on long pieces and we’d prefer to do a lot of the training on short submissions.
Mechanics of a pitch
A good pitch should have a working title, an estimated word count, level of the group, and the type of opposition. Then tell us why it is interesting by telling us the hook.
Types of Submissions
We are not yet accepting fiction for The Adventurer’s Journal, so all submissions must fit one of the below types.
Encounter - This is a single event. If it is an independent writing, it should be from 2,500-4,000 words describing the setting, possible set up, location (in enough detail to be meaningful to players), contact (meaning opposition or target of the encounter), and potential rewards. If the encounter is used as part of a larger adventure, then normally they will be around 400-600 words and normally with a location, how the party enters the area (If necessary), contact, and rewards.
Endeavor - This is a string of encounters wrapped around a common theme, enemy, or location. Exploring a lost temple is an endeavor. Fighting the mummy that guards the priest's catacombs is an encounter. Within that same temple, if a pit trap is set, that would also be an encounter, or part of an encounter, which is still part of the overall endeavor. Typically one of these will run from 10,000 – 18,000 words.
Quest - These are connected endeavors either related by a theme, enemy, or type of location. To use the previous example, fighting the mummy in a temple is an encounter. Exploring the temple complex is an endeavor. Exploring the group of temple complexes through a region, to determine who is putting all these mummies in them, is a quest. A typical quest is two or more endeavors grouped together in a thematic manner that makes sense. It is ideal if the endeavors can be written in such a way as to not absolutely require the previous one in the series, in order to play a later one. That way, the story teller and his players have the freedom to enter the quest wherever they need to, based on their adventures.
Mechanics of a written submission
Once we’ve accepted your pitch, you move to writing the story. There are a few things we need in each story that define it as a Heroes’ Tears Adventure.
Have a complete rumor mill for Endeavors and Quests, with additions to the rumor mill for Encounters. For each NPC listed, give their contact level. As a rule of thumb, NPC’s of level 3 or lower, or those with few resources/influence, are tier 1, 4-7; or those of modest means and influence are tier 2, 8-13; or the well off, and people of some influence, are tier 3 and 14+; or the extremely wealthy/influential are tier 4.
Use our locations and races. If you send us a submission with hobbits or half-elves, we will reject it. That is somebody else’s game.
Entry into the Adventure
In each submission, list how the characters can become involved in it. Stumble upon is perfectly acceptable (if boring), but it is more fun if there is some backstory and lead in so it seems like something that would part of the world, instead of a simple drop in.
Location, location, location
Where does your adventure take place? Does it have to be there, or will any place with forests be fine? If it can be moved, what conversions need to be made if any?
Read Aloud Text
Anything the storyteller is supposed to read to the party verbatim should be included in boxed text, like that example below.
Monster Statistics Block:
Each monster type in a Heroes’ Tears adventure will require its own stat block each time it appears, unless the same individual opponent shows up multiple times. In this case, it should only be listed the first time with modifiers in the notes for subsequent encounters.
Trap Door Spiders (2) sz med Vermin, HP: 36, 29 AC: 14, fl 11, t 13 INIT: +3 SPD: 35, cl 20 ATK: Bite+5melee (1d6+poison), 2 Claws+1melee (1d4) GRP: +2 SPC AT: Poison (Fort DC13 or 1d6 Dex) SPC Q: Vermin SAVE: Fort+3, Ref+5, Will+1 ATTR: S11, D17, C13, I0, W10, Ch10 SK: Climb+6, Hide+8, Jump+5, Spot+5 CR: 1 XP: 100
Creating New Monsters
Bring it on! We love this stuff. Just be creative and don’t bring the same old goblin or orc. You will notice those don’t appear in our game. That is because they’ve been done to death and don’t spark the imagination of a player. Also, don’t create monsters when you are high, and don’t create monsters people might think you were high when you thought them up. We go for a semi-scientific spin on our creatures so if your new beast is a glowing vermin that crawls into somebody’s butt and takes over their mind, we will reject it.
You may have noticed that there aren’t any permanent magic items in the Heroes’ Tears Game. That isn’t an accident. Don’t put any in your submission. Our player characters are more powerful than what you will see in a normal game, and we balance that by the general reduction in magic items. When you put in magical items, be sure to list the number of charges each has available, and if only certain types of characters can use it, please list them.
Use the Treasure Tables
We can’t emphasize this enough: If you send us something that doesn’t use our treasure tables we won’t accept it. Our world is poorer than most by design. If you start throwing treasure around, it will mess with our game balance.
Wrapping Up the Adventure
Just as all adventures begin, so must they end. Give the storyteller some guidance on how to unwind things. This could be something simple like, “and they all lived happily ever after.” But should be closer to, “Having slain the mad druid, the PCs notice that the spiders of the wood end their attacks.
In the event we buy your submission, you must assign all rights to us. That means that once you have agreed to the terms, we own all rights to it. This isn’t optional, and to work with us you must agree to it. If you do not agree, we wish you the best in all your future endeavors.
There are only so many stories in fantasy literature. If one appears in one of our stories that resembles yours that we have independently developed, or have received from other sources, you have no rights to that work. You will not be entitled to compensation by reason of the use by Heroes’ Tears of such similar material, whether developed or acquired by us before or after your submission of the work.
Please email your submissions to Martin@Knighterrantgames.com