What We're Looking For
Product Lines
Submissions Procedure
Art Samples
Our Address

Useful Links
Eureka! Publishing & Distribution Program
Project Progress Page
Product Release Form
Acknowledgement Letter
Non-disclosure Agreement
Genre Book Outline
Author's WFH Contract
Artist's WFH Contract

Common Questions
How Do I Get a License?
What is a Copyright?
What is a Trademark?
Where can I find POD printers?
How Do I Get My Book Into Stores?
How do I license a foreign edition of my book?

Submission Guidelines
November 18th, 2001


Who We Are

Gold Rush Games is a small game publisher. Gold Rush Games originally started as an off-shoot of a company called M.T.A. Graphics. We have been around since 1992, with our first product being The Gamer's Connection, a gaming industry newsletter-cum-newspaper.

A Brief History of Gold Rush Games

In 1994 we received a license from R. Talsorian Games to produce the first-ever licensed role-playing game soundtrack! Cyberpunk: Night City Trax was released in November of 1994. In the fall of 1995 we negotiated a license with Paul Hume and Robert Charrette, the creators of Bushido, to publish a revised, 3rd edition of this popular classic. Plans for B3E fell through and we began development of a brand new samurai-genre RPG called Sengoku.

A short time later we received a license from Stan Sakai to publish the 1998 Origins Award-nominated Usagi Yojimbo Roleplaying Game, based on Stan Sakai's popular comic book. In the winter of 1995 we obtained a license from Hero Games to publish adventures for use with the Hero System, which was shortly expanded to allow us to publish sourcebooks and campaign books, as well.

1998 saw the release of San Angelo: City of Heroes, a new campaign city book for Champions 4th Edition. San Angelo: City of Heroes was nominated for the 1998 Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Supplement. In 1999, we released Sengoku: Chanbara Roleplaying in Feudal Japan to industry accolades and stellar reviews.

In late 2000 we signed a licensing agreement with Zorro Productions, Inc. to publish a line of official Zorro adventure games, beginning in 2001. The first product, The Legacy of Zorro, was released in July, 2001.

Into the Future

We are growing, and plan to make our presence known in the role-playing industry by producing high quality products. We'd love to have you aboard. It's going to be a fun trip!

Gold Rush Games is committed to producing quality entertainment products. Our first product, Night City Trax, surprised a lot of people. That's the way we like it. The products we produce need to be at least as good as those already on the market, from the trade dress (i.e., packaging and overall appearance) to the product's content (i.e., writing and art).

As an author or artist working for Gold Rush Games, you are an important part of this process.

What We're Looking For

Our primary focus is roleplaying games. Listed below are the kinds of books we want to publish.

Core Game Books

A core game book consists of the basic rules necessary to play a game, as well as a fair amount of source material to establish a campaign using the game system.

While we currently have three product lines to develop, we are willing to consider brand new game systems from time to time. However, the gaming market already contains dozens of role-playing games, so any new game we consider will have to be highly imaginative, or have a new "twist," or slant, on a familiar genre.

For example, we would not consider publishing a new science fiction game set in the far future where mankind has established thousands of worlds unless it is "new" and "fresh." It's been done - and redone.

If you think you have something creative, however, by all means send in a proposal. We are always on the lookout for exciting new games to bring to the market.


A sourcebook contains information such as rules expansions, campaign locations (like cities, towns, villages, wilderness settings, etc.), new gadgets or equipment, spells or magic items, material to aid in or enhance character creation, non-player characters, and so on.

Sourcebooks make up the majority of supplements for our games. Each sourcebook should focus on a general area, theme or topic for the game. Some examples include Shinobi: Shadows of Nihon, a sourcebook for Sengoku, that is designed to expand the rules and source material for shinobi characters, and Chung Kuo: The Middle Kingdom, which brings the world of Sengoku to China; it allows players to create Chinese characters and GMs to present Chinese NPCs and China-based adventures.

Sourcebooks should be written so as to be useful to both GMs and players. This allows us to market the books to all the fans of a particular game, or genre.

For example, a Sengoku supplement about Japanese pirates (wako) should to include material covering the pirates and what they do, how they operate, historical notes, new weapons and skills, adventure seeds and plot hooks, and so on.

If your proposed book does not include material for both players and GMs, then you need to go back and rework it. How can you spruce it up? What would your players want to see in such a book? What would you, as a GM, want to see in it?

Sourcebooks are generally published at 128 pages, or 160 pages. Some exceptions may be made for a particularly interesting manuscript or a special product (such as a 48-page, limited-scope sourcebook), but generally we will edit the manuscript to fit one of these lengths.

Adventure Anthologies

Adventure anthologies (also known as "scenario books" and "modules") are books which contain scenarios for use with a particular game. Adventures should be written for 4 to 6 players (the size of the average gaming group) of low to medium experience. Adventures help new and experienced players alike, and help to keep up interest in our games.

We want to publish adventures either 16 or 32 pages long. Thus, for a 96-page book, we could publish either three 32-page adventures or six 16-page adventures.

Campaign Books

Campaign books detail an entire campaign "world," providing an established setting in which to play the game. Campaign books also provide a fair amount of source material and a few adventures. These are the most diverse of the different types of books we publish. Examples of campaign books include The Sengoku Campaign Book, which will describe the world of Nihon and a variety of locations and NPCs for use with the Sengoku RPG.

Lengths can range from 96 pages to 256 pages.

We're especially looking for authors to write genre and setting sourcebooks for Fuzion. Check out our Genre Book Outline for an example outline of such a project. This outline will give you an idea of what we want in such a book.

Product Lines

ZORRO Adventure Game Products

We are looking for proposals for sourcebooks and adventure books for our official Zorro adventure game products (for The Legacy of Zorro Introductory Adventure Game and The World of Zorro Adventure Game). We would like to publish as many as 4 Zorro books per year.

Sengoku: Chanbara Roleplaying in Feudal Japan

Set in the exciting world of 16th century Japan, Sengoku was released in August, 1999. We are looking for interesting manuscripts to publish as sourcebooks and adventure books for this game. Some suggested products are listed below to give you an idea of the kinds of books we'd like to see.

  • Samurai Clans -- A sourcebook detailing the life of a samurai in service, including descriptions of various prominent (and not so prominent) clans in the Sengoku universe, ranking and status within the clan, and so on.
  • Hauntings -- A sourcebook of mysterious and haunted environs, such as abandoned temples, shrines, castles and villages, ghostly encounters, and the like.
  • Legends of Nihon -- A sourcebook containing dozens of legendary NPCs for the player characters to encounter and the GM to use to populate his campaign world.
  • Gifts of the Gods -- A sourcebook of legendary artifacts given to mortal men by the kami and Buddhist spirits.

Usagi Yojimbo Roleplaying Game

The Usagi Yojimbo RPG is based on the Eisner Award-winning comic book series of the same name, by Stan Sakai. Usagi Yojimbo is set in 17th century Japan, but with one main difference - almost all of the characters are animals. We would like to publish supplements for this game which are both fun to play and informative (i.e., appealing to comic fans).

The Usagi Yojimbo comics provide a wealth of inspiration and story ideas. You should check them out! While you're at it, drop by the Usagi Yojimbo Dojo, the official Usagi Yojimbo web site, at

Other Products & New Ideas

We are open to new ideas and suggestions for enhancing the marketability of our product lines, including licensing ideas (like character generation software and T-shirts) and new media (such as interactive CD-ROM products and audio CDs).

To get more information about any of the above product lines, including graphics and pictures from the lines, drop by our web page at

Submissions Procedure

To become a writer for Gold Rush Games, all you have to do is send us a proposal (see below). If we like your product proposal enough, we'll ask you for a full draft and send you a copy of the Gold Rush Games Writer's Guide.

Once you have the Writer's Guide, you should write your manuscript, following the information in the Writer's Guide. If the manuscript still looks promising, we will sign a contract, and then do revisions of the manuscript until it is ready to be published. Most manuscripts require several drafts from the author, and the total process (from proposal to publication) can take many months, or longer. Authors are paid either with a flat payment or through royalties.

The following information will help you to send us your submission (product proposal or manuscript) in a format that is easy for us to work with. Please read the following information carefully, as failing to follow the guidelines presented here can take your proposal out of consideration!


The first step that you, as a prospective author, should take is to prepare and submit a product proposal. The proposal enables us to get an idea of the project as well as your capabilities, without requiring you to complete the entire project. It also allows us to make an initial appraisal without having to read dozens of pages of material.

The product proposal consists of the following:

1. Concept - A brief, one or two sentence description of the product that describes the project and why someone should buy it. It should give the proposed title of the project, the length and type of book it is intended to be, the game system it is for use with, and a general description of what the book is about.

Example: "Shinobi: Shadows of Nihon is a 96 page sourcebook for Sengoku that gives new rules and complete guidelines for creating shinobi PCs and NPCs and using them in a Sengoku campaign, as well as presenting a number of new shinobi gadgets, background and history of the shinobi, Ninpo Mikkyo (shinobi mysticism), and more."

2. Summary - A brief synopsis of the project. This should be no more than 100 words.

3. Table of Contents/Outline - The Table of Contents is essentially an index without page numbers, which illustrates the topics you would write about and organized the way you would write the manuscript. In addition, you should include any pertinent notes, such as brief descriptions of what each section listed is about, if it is not obvious from the title. You can use our Genre Book Outline as a guide to creating your Table of Contents, which itself will act as an outline for your project.

4. Writing Sample - The writing sample is one to two pages from the book itself; a short section of the project that is written in full detail. This gives us an idea of your writing style and cability. We should be able to get a good feel for what your book will be like from reading the sample. Please spell-check and edit your sample as much as possible before sending it to us; we will assume that your sample represents your best writing ability.

If you have previously published credits, you may list those instead of supplying a sample. But it's always best to include a photocopy of a page from your published work, in case we don't have access to it.

5. Completed Character Sheet - Provide a completed character sheet or character write-up for the appropriate game system. This is used to demonstrate your knowledge of the rules for the game system your product is being written for.

In the case of the Sengoku and Usagi Yojimbo RPGs, we use the Fuzion game system. You can download the basic Fuzion rules for free from the R. Talsorian Games web page (

For the rest of our product lines, we use our in-house rules, the Action! System. You can download a free copy of the rules from the Action! System web site at

6. Product Release Form - All product proposals must include a signed release form. This is an unfortunate necessity of publishing, and it protects both us and you. We're not out to steal your ideas, but our lawyer insists on these things. You will find a copy of the release form at the end of this document. Please copy the release form, and include one with each proposal.

Please note that we cannot look at any submission that arrives without a signed product release form. Without a signed release form, your proposal will be returned to you without being read (if you enclosed a SASE - self-addressed stamped envelope) or simply thrown away unread.

7. Acknowledgment Receipt - If you would like to be notified that we received your submission, please fill out this form completely, and enclose it and a SASE along with your proposal. We will return it to you in your SASE after receiving you proposal.

8. Self-addressed Stamped Envelope - Always enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope with your proposal. We receive a large number of product proposals these days. Without including a SASE, we cannot send and acknowledgment of receipt or return your proposal if you request it.

Art Samples

Dos and Don'ts

Artists desiring to work for Gold Rush Games need to show us what they can do. The best way for us to evaluate your art is for you to send in art samples. When sending in art samples, please bear the following in mind:

  • We prefer samples printed on paper or cardstock (lithograph, postcards, etc.).
  • You may send digital samples (i.e., digital files on disk or via the internet), or slides. We prefer to see what your artwork looks like printed on paper or cardstock, but in this age of the internet, we realize that electronic samples are much faster and more convenient (not to mention less expensive) to send out.
  • Do include a large enough SASE, with sufficient postage, if you want your samples returned in the event we do not choose to file them for future reference.
  • Do send sharp, good quality copies. We want to see high resolution prints or medium resolution (144-300 DPI graphic files). Remember, the art samples you send us are what we are going to be looking at when evaluating your work. Make sure they accurately reflect your work and talent.
  • Don't send originals. Things get lost in the mail all too frequently; don't let it be your original artwork.

Media and Style

We have the greatest demand for interior artwork. Due to the costs associated with printing, we use black and white illustrations for the interiors of our books. We use full color images for our book covers and special projects, however (such as cardstock characters, GM screens, case inserts and cover sheets, and the like).

Our preferred medium is ink. Crisp, realistic line art is what we prefer. Our second preference is for pencils ro line art with gray wash. Our least preferred style is water color or other "non-crisp" medium, such as charcoal. Digital illustration or lineart colored/filled digitally are fine.

Black and white or grayscale imagesfor book interiors may be completed and submitted as a color illustration, though if you were commissioned to produce a grayscale or B&W image you will be paid for a grayscale or B&W image.

If you have any questions regarding meda or style, please don't hesitate to contact us.



Gold Rush Games wants to buy all rights to written works. This means we'll want to own the characters and situations that you create for your manuscript. If you don't wish to relinquish rights to a specific character, then don't use it in your manuscript. While we appreciate the desires of many authors to maintain ownership of their creations, we want to avoid potential problems in the future regarding rights to material we publish (such as in the case of republishing material). If you have any questions, please contact the editor.

In the case of Zorro products, all rights to your work will revert to Zorro Productions, Inc., and will be contracted on a work-for-hire basis. This is a requirement of our license and is not negotiable.


In most cases Gold Rush Games purchases publishing rights to artwork, along with the right to reprint artwork in future books (for an additional payment to the artist). Artists retain all other rights to their work, which means they may sell prints or lithographs of the work, sell ancillary publishing rights to another company, and so on.

In some cases we purchase all rights to the work. This occurs most often in connect with our Sengoku product line.

We are not hiring many freelance artists for our Zorro product line. Almost all of our artwork and graphics come direct from Zorro Productions, Inc., our licensor, or are created in-house.


Gold Rush Games provides the following consideration (payment) for accepted projects:


Authors are paid 2 to 4 cents per published word, depending on experience and previously published credits. New authors will start at 2 cents per word. Authors with previously published credits generally receive 3 cents per word. Established, "name" authors receive 4 cents per word.

Cover Artists

Cover artists are paid either in royalties or flat fee (our discretion).

Flat Fees: Flat fees are negotiated with each individual artist. Typical flat fee payments are $300-500.

Royalties: Royalties range between 2% and 4% royalty for retail (based on the artist's experience, published credits, and so on), with 25% of the total royalties for the print run paid within 30 days of acceptance. For example, an artist doing a cover for Gold Rush: The RPG, and earning 4% royalty, would receive an advance of $160 against future royalties.

Generally, 25% payment is made upon publication, 25% within 30 days of publication, and the remainder within 90 days of publication.

Interior Artists

Gold Rush Games pays a flat fee of $100 per full page of art, prorated, depending on our experience with the artist and the artist's previously published credits.

A full page of art consists of one or more illustrations totaling one full page of space - 8" x 10" (e.g., four 1/4-page illustrations, two 1/2-page illustrations, eight 1/8-page illustrations, or a combination equaling one full page).

Generally, 25% payment is made upon publication, 25% within 30 days of publication, and the remainder within 90 days of publication.

Economics 101 (or Why We Pay What We Do)

We realize that these pay rates are very low in the publishing world, as a rule. However, please bear in mind that our pay rates are based not on "prevailing rates" for authors worldwide, but rather on the costs of production and publication in the gaming industry. Unit sales in the RPG industry tend to be quite low; a new book release tends to sell between 1,000 and 2,000 copies. Because of the profit margins on such sales at industry standard retail prices, we cannot afford to pay more even though we'd like to.

For example: A typical 128-page book will require approximately a 60,000 word manuscript. At 3 cents per word, the consideration for that manuscript would be $1,800. If we print 2,000 copies of the book, the author's pay constitutes 90 cents per copy. Printing costs alone would be approximately $2.50 per copy. Add costs for cover and interior art, shipping those books to distributors and the like, and the cost per book can easly reach $5 or $6 per copy, or even more. A 128-page book generally retails for $20, and the standard wholesale discount is 60%, which means that on a $20 book we get $8 for each copy that is sold to distributors. So 3 cents per word really isn't all that bad, given the economics of publishing in the game industry.

Our Address

Send all correspondence and materials to:

Gold Rush Games
P.O. Box 2531, Elk Grove, CA 95759-2531 USA

This web site copyright © 2003 Gold Rush Games. All rights reserved. Gold Rush Games, Action! System, Fast Action!, Action! Packed, Action! Ready, Sengoku: Chanbara Roleplaying in Feudal Japan, Shinobi: Shadows of Nihon, Sinobi Ryu, Shiki: Four Seasons, and all associated logos are trademarks owned by Gold Rush Games.
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