[Annalise] [Contest] Winner Announced + Art Preview

edited May 2010 in Directed Promotion
Hi folks,

(if you're unfamiliar, Annalise is a GMless gothic horror story-game that centers around the efforts of sympathetic characters to fight some kind of malevolent force, conceptualized as the Vampire. for more info, the website.)

The epic journey that has been Annalise is coming to an end, and I am currently finishing up the Final Edition of the game for release at Gencon Indy! The game itself has stood up remarkably well since it's original release at Dex Con in 2008, but I've learned a lot about how to treat the book itself as a text and an artifact. The Final Edition will update, but not replace, any previous version of the game. The minor errata clarifications and one major rules change will be freely available for download.

What the Final Edition will be is a book with more expanded introductory and explanatory material, a more intuitive organization, and an appendix full of Guided Play Scenarios, which are short documents that give the group a set of pre-made characters and setting in which to play a game of Annalise. Designed primarily for convention play, one-shots and "warm-up" play, there are currently four published Guided Play Scenarios, and I would love to have a fifth to round them out. Which is where you come in!

If you have an idea for a Guided Play Scenario and would like to have it published in the Final Edition, I want to hear your pitch! I'm looking for a brief description of an evocative setting, (2-3 sentences), and a description of four characters vulnerable to the dark forces of that setting (1-2 sentences each). For a model, check out any of the four existing scenarios:

- The Voyage of the Auspicious
- Dracula Reloaded
- The Wake of Zenas Quantum
- At The Crossroads of Sanctuary and Salvation

(also available for free download from my RPGNow store)

I'll choose the pitch that I think has the most potential to deliver a really gripping play experience, (and that doesn't overlap with the other four), and work with the author to develop it into a full-fledged Guided Play Scenario for inclusion in the Final Edition of Annalise. If you are picked, you'll get a complimentary copy of the Final Edition as soon as I can send it to you.

Have a cool idea, but don't have the game? No problem. When you submit your pitch, whisper me your email and I'll send you a PDF.

Please post your pitches (and questions, comments &tc) in this thread. You have until June 6 (next Sunday) to enter; I'll pick a winner on the 7th.



  • London 1946.

    Player characters are criminals in post-war London. The enemy vanquished, soldiers find the high octane excitement of war in criminal activities. The increased regulations make criminals out of even the non-criminally intentioned. A prisoner convicted of a robbery that would've won a medal if it had been against the enemy during the war, escapes prison with the bluff and agility that allowed him to survive during the war. Where what had been laudable and exciting is now forbidden; where patriotic bravado, now frustrated, inspires and tempts war heroes to cat burglary and armed robbery. Now, instead of Nazis, they are pursued by Detective Inspector John Capstick and the Ghost Squad.
  • Mmmm, spooky! Thanks Oliver!
  • To answer a whispered question: yes, you can pitch multiple ideas, if you got em!
  • Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, 2006.

    The last thing you remember is your plane going down. You and a dozen other castaways miraculously survived the plane crash and now you find yourself on a jungle-covered island. What is the strange thing stalking you in the jungle? Who built the diamond-shaped stone building full of strange crystals? Will you ever get off this island?

    * Roger, the co-pilot with a guilty conscience and a drug problem.
    * Madonna, the beautiful but chaste Episcopalian priest who had a holy vision that this would happen.
    * Sarah, the tough Department of State operative who is investigating the island's mystery.
    * Grant, the failing physicist who will do anything for prestige.

    Hey, your story can only turn out better than Lost's.
  • I've never watched Lost, but that seems like a rockin' setup to me!
  • edited June 2010
    Hi! So I had a bunch of ideas, and I couldn't settle on which ones to pick, so I thought I'd throw them all out there. In some of these, the vampire is clearly defined. In others, I thought it might be cooler if the vampire were more of a mystery (as I recall, you all decide what the vampire will be as a group before play starts) so I left it more open for the group to decide. I tried to set up some inherent conflicts in all of these scenarios, and a broad choice of character concepts in each one. I think my favorites are the Life and death on mars scenario, the collegetown, and the cyberpunk setting, because I feel that all of these offer something different than the already written scenario, and show off what Annalise can do.

    Life and death on mars – In the future, earth has colonized the nearby planet Mars with outposts scattered in clusters about the alien terrain. Characters are part of a mining group on the red planet whose assignment is to oversee the procurement of important fuel resources. These resources are integral to the colonies survival, and so the people who are stationed at the mining facility are the top minds in their respective fields. But being isolated in the station for the necessary two years has left them emotionally raw and fatigued. With only a few days left until their assignment is up, what lengths will they be pushed to by the vampire that lurks anonymously among them?

    Trae is the mechanic on the facility. She has the brains and the muscle to keep the innards of the place running.
    Richter is a psychologist stationed there to keep everyone mentally sound.
    Tadako is something of a chemistry/robotics genius. She helps locate new fuel deposits.
    Bjorn is a charismatic corporate leader. He organizes daily tasks and enjoys cooking the meals.

    Cyberpunk/fetish in the future – Glitz, guns and glam rock anthems. Characters are part of a performance band that puts Lady Gaga’s historic antics to shame. In the future, rock isn't just music… it’s a revolution. Social movements can be born and crumble with the power of just a few chords from the talented sirens that dominate the global stages. Things start to go awry when an attack breaks out at their Friday night show and the band members loyalties are put to the test. Who can they trust in this story about fame, violence, and politics?

    Anton is the bassist. He has a penchant for the dark and twisted vices.
    Sun is the drummer. She's upbeat and silly, and something of a thrill seeker.
    Razz is the keyboardist. He loves fame almost as much as he loves Sun.
    Jenna is the lead singer. Sultry and dangerous, she's never satisfied and always wants more.

    Collegetown – A college campus is the modern day king's court: debauchery, social maneuvering, backstabbing and romance. University is the playground of the young and the beautiful, and they know it. The setting for this story is a mid-west University that has a student body the size of a small city. Tonight everyone is invited to the historic mansion that houses the biggest Sorority on campus. The occasion? The weekend! Geeks, jocks, artists and sorority girls will have the chance to party with the coolest of the cool. But can they all make it out of this social calamity with their respective reputations, innocence, and lives intact?

    Anne is the nice girl from the farm and a star athlete. With the responsibility of the team on her shoulders, she just wants to let loose.
    Felix is a physics grad student and a bit awkward. A lonely genius, he just wants a girlfriend.
    Kayla is a glassblower, a stoner, and a buddhist. She's a professional partier and wants to be seen with the cool crowd.
    Jamal is a business major who's just in college to get the degree. He's a smooth talkin ladies man, and he always gets what he wants.

    1920's Carnival - Being part of a Carnival is like being part of a small, talented, freaky family. And like any good family you argue about as much as you love each other. The knife thrower, the illustrated woman, and the strong man are some of the iconic characters in this setting. They go about their daily jobs trying to make a living, traveling the dusty roads of 1920's America and bringing inspiration and wonder to the small towns they set up at for the night. The Carnival is rife with conflict, drama queens, and personal agendas. Can they pull themselves together for the next big show?

    Ruth is the illustrated woman. She has a son to support and enchants carnival goers with stories from each of her tattoos.
    Ernest is the strong man. He used to be a railroad worker until he accidentally killed his boss and went on the run.
    Ella is the knife thower. Her wit is as sharp as her weapons and she's out to make a buck.
    Theo is the acrobat. He dreams of one day leaving the carnival and becoming a professional dancer.

    Notre Dame in the post apocalyptic future - In the near future, the world is ravaged by deadly storms and people have been isolated to sheltered locations scattered across the globe. They survive by occasionally leaving the safety of their refuges and scrounging for what basic needs have to be met. This tale centers around a group that has holed up in the ruins of Notre Dame in Paris. A mismatched group of every day people work together to try and survive in this post apocalypse, and perhaps one of the only reasons they've come so far is that there is a vampire in their midst helping them to survive. Will they be able to sustain the last vestiges of humanity, or is their cause hopeless, merely an echo of Parisian culture that once was?

    Josephine is a former Historian. She is obsessed with collecting as many artifacts from the old world as she can.
    Ada is a young woman whose family was lost in the storms. She makes it a point to protect those who are left.
    Louis is a tech savvy teen. He's always rigging things up and trying to contact outsiders.
    Henri is an older man who used to own a restaurant in Paris. He plays the guitar and drinks a bit too much.
  • What are your four characters for each, Kira?
  • edited June 2010
    O crap, you're right Adam! I misread the guidelines. Der. (edited!) Thanks!
  • Wow, Kira, those are great!

    Just today and tomorrow left, folks...
  • I love me some teensploitation movies, especially that rash that came out in the 90s. So in loving homage, let's lay some gothic horror on top of that angst! This wound up being kinda long, sorry for that.

    Summer, 1995
    High school has been over for the Huntington Hills class of 1995 for nearly three months; the graduates will shortly leave town, but four once inseparable grade school friends are more eager than any of their classmates to leave the town, and its memories, behind them. Once, this foursome was inseparable, but a camping trip on the eve of their high school careers changed the course of their lives, as a group and as individuals, forever. The awkward and terrifying events of that night tore them apart and sent each of them scurrying as far away from the others as they could manage. They have never spoken of it; indeed, because of That Night they have rarely spoken to each other. Now, as they plan to leave Huntington Hills forever, the Thing From That Night will thrust them back together and demand its terrible due. Can they overcome years of embarrassment and alienation to escape the Thing they called up so many years ago?

    Mike is the Jock. Always a gifted grade school and high school athlete, Mike is dealing with the fact that he is not a gifted college athlete. Mike plans to walk onto his college’s football team and prove himself, but he secretly fears that he won’t be good enough. Mike has spent every night of the summer at a party and has never felt more alone.

    Preston was always an imaginative child although his parents and teachers often wished he could focus more on the world outside his own head. But why would he be interested in that one world when, just behind his eyelids, there were thousands of worlds and stories just waiting to be written down? Just before high school, Preston was confronted with a Thing he could never have imagined, and it left him changed. Moody and introspective, Preston is never without his notebook full of stories and poems that he hopes against hope will one day help him exorcise the demons of That Night.

    Denise was once a funny and insightful child, but high school saw her become acerbic and cynical with a biting comment for anyone and everything. That Night demonstrated to Denise how her insight could leave her vulnerable and she hid herself away behind an armor of venomous, judgmental wit. That thorny, mental armor protects her and let’s her believe that the Thing was just hormones and the awkwardness of growing up. Denise dreads letting anyone behind that armor.

    William is deeply intelligent. President of a dozen clubs, each one more scholarly than the last, he enjoyed renown and a type of popularity with the more intellectual students of Huntington Hills. But he cultivated the façade of “nerd” until even the majority of the other smart kids refuse to hang out with him out of fear that their already non-existent social stock would plummet. William is skeptical to a fault and has built his mind on That Night being a hallucination, a half-remembered dream, anything other than being real. Sadly, William’s scientific and structured world is built on sand.
  • Technically, I should recuse myself from the running (not that I can compete with these creative entries anyway), since I'm involved in the project. <=)
  • Adam, I wouldn't have chosen yours anyway, given the other totally rad pitches...

    Josh, that's neat. Thanks!

    This is the last day for pitches, friends.
  • edited June 2010
    I can never tell how people mean neat... ;) I'm getting weirder this time.

    Space Station Zero, the Far Future - The End draws nigh and the last 200 beings of this universe await the total heat death of All That Is. Their purpose is to record it and then entrap the station in a bubble of fifth dimensional energy to protect it from the collapse of all spacetime. In the face of true Entropy, their only hope is that some tiny bit of this universe's existence will be taken forward into the next by the station and its crew. But Something stalks the corridors of Space Station Zero and four beings will be called to do battle with it in order to preserve whatever can be preserved.

    Daucus is the ship's engineer and a Chloro Sapien from some far flung bit of the galaxy where plant life developed intelligence. As the only sentient plant on the station, Daucus is often alone in a crowd but, rather than turn inward, Daucus has become fascinated with the concept of gender and spends all its spare time talking to the other beings on the ship about their races' sexes.

    Cu2+ is the theoretical physicist who developed the theories that will hopefully trap Space Station Zero in the fifth dimension until after the next Big Bang. Cu2+ is also happens to be a Photo Sapien, a hyperintelligent shade of the color blue. Cu2+ is utterly focused on the mission, although many of the crew members have noticed some eccentricities creeping into the usually predictable light being.

    Etienne is a human artist tasked with taking all that is beautiful and creative from this universe into the next. He secretly hasn't painted anything new in over six months and is frightened that he never will again.

    Spheno is a reptilian humanoid who carries the entirety of her race memory in the right side of her brain, the "reptilian" hemisphere. While this makes her incredibly wise, it also can leave Spheno in a coma like state while the various memories, stories and experiences shake into a pattern her more rational hemisphere can process. She remembers to the very beginning of her race, a time of great barbarity and terrible crimes against all that is good and right in the universe and fears that the other races represented on Space Station Zero would deem her species unworthy of going into the next universe if they also knew these secrets.
  • I use "neat" in it's most positive sense, sir.
  • edited June 2010
    I hope I'm not too late!

    In the Shadow of the Mountain
    Pompeii, August 79 AD

    17 years after the great earthquake, Pompeii is a thriving vacation town, a home away from home for wealthy citizens looking to escape the suffocating heat of Rome in August. Far from the City's crime, poverty, and politics, here food, drink, music, theater, and sex permeate the air. The whole town is preparing for Vulcanalia, a festival in honor of the god of fire and invention. But in the shadow of the mountain, something old and dreadful is stirring. Soon the elegant baths and villas will be rubble. Soon the laughing voices will be choked with burning ash. Who will escape to bear witness to the curious events that occur in these last days? And who will be swallowed up by Pompeii's secrets and by their own, buried beneath the earth until their bodies turn to dust, leaving only an empty cavity and an unfinished story?

    Lucius Terentius Asperius - A middle-aged senator, a moralist, in Pompeii to recover from a nervous breakdown.
    Aula Sempronia - An ambitious actress preparing for a starring role in the Vulcanalia, plagued by a mysterious stalker.
    Publia Modia Cato - A wealthy matron with a large household, she has just begun to suffer vivid, apocalyptic visions.
    Glaukos - a Greek slave, a temperamental poet, who has come into the possession of a mysterious golden signet worth more than his freedom.
  • ndpndp
    edited June 2010
    Sam, you made it!

    Wow, stiff competition. Thanks for all of these great ideas, folks! I'm gonna take today to deliberate.

    For now, please enjoy one of the new sketches by the talented and wonderful Sarah Frary.

  • ndpndp
    edited June 2010
    Thanks again for the wonderful contributions, all. I think every single one (even yours, Adam) would be a great idea for a game of Annalise. I really mean that! That said, this is a contest, which means there needs to be a winner...so after reading over everything and pondering, I narrowed it down to the three that that I think hit the sweet spot of gripping premise, promising characters and non-overlap with the extant Scenarios. Those three:

    Kira Scott's Cyberpunk/Fetish in the Future
    Josh Unruh's Space Station Zero
    Sam Zeitlin's In the Shadow of the Mountain

    ...and then there was more pondering.

    I am pleased to announce that I have chosen TWO winners! Congratulations Kira and Sam, both of your pitches made me go "wow, that's such a great idea!" Please e-mail me at n-dot-d-dot-paoletta-at-gmail, and we'll get started filling these out for the book. You'll each be getting a copy of Annalise Final Edition as soon as I have them!

    Thanks everyone!

    Kira Scott's Cyberpunk/Fetish in the Future
    Sam Zeitlin's In the Shadow of the Mountain
  • Awesome! Thanks Nathan! And congrats Sam! I'm totally excited! We're gonna rock those scenarios, hardcore.
  • So close, yet so far! Congrats, guys!

    NDP, you've probably sold a copy of your Final Edition once it comes out. I honestly hadn't heard of your game before, but this little thought exercise has got me very very interested!

    Thanks for the contest and another big grats to the winners!
  • Posted By: anansigirlAwesome! Thanks Nathan! And congrats Sam! I'm totally excited! We're gonna rock those scenarios, hardcore.
    Likewise. Looking forward to helping flesh this out!
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