Level Up (A5E) Steampunkette's Writing Requests

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
So. I'm going to try a new writing process for Gate Pass Gazette articles and I could use your help! Yes. You!

Morrus casually mentioned wanting to see spells which inflict Strife. An hour and a half after reading it I had 8 spells for inflicting different levels of Strife mainly to single target but two of them are -powerful- AoE abilities. I'm currently working on the Arcane Knight maneuvers and planning out an Occultist style maneuver set to go alongside it so you can do either a bright and colorful Knight or a dark and conniving Blackguard.

My intention is to just straight up write as many articles as I can, fully proofed and edited, ready for release. Then submit the pitches for them to the GPG. Anything that doesn't get a mark for the GPG, I'll release myself. Either here on the forums, or on my own Patreon.

So where do you come in?

Ideas. Give me things you'd like to see in A5e. Things you'd like to play. Spells, Feats, Heritages, Backgrounds, Cultures, Destinies, Archetypes, the works. Even just general or fairly specific "Themes" you'd like me to flesh out into game mechanics and writing that can be provided.

And with those themes? Don't feel like you have to be bound to a specific aspect of A5e. My first article for the GPG involves both Backgrounds and a Destiny, so if you feel like something could be described as multiple aspects of a character, don't hesitate to point it out!

EDIT: Updating my current list in the OP:


1) Concept Winnowing Phrases (Making Mad-Libs work for newbie players) Struggling for Formatting
2) Heritage Article (Reworking selection of Heritages) Trouble Picking
3) Spiritual Archetypes
(Chaplain Herald, Animist Druid, Spiritualist Warlock) In Progress
4) Artificer Fighting Archetypes
(Gun-User, Gadget-Fighter, Hammer-Style) Planning
5) Tragic Heroes (Various backgrounds and destinies that are dark) Rejected by GPG, In Progress
6) Martial Marshalls (Marshall Archetypes to play on different imagery, Noble Commander, Piper, and Vicious Warmaster) Planning
7) Mirthful Mishaps (Exploration Challenges, Encounters, and Boons that are written as funny asides) Planning
 
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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
So. I'm going to try a new writing process for Gate Pass Gazette articles and I could use your help! Yes. You!

Morrus casually mentioned wanting to see spells which inflict Strife. An hour and a half after reading it I had 8 spells for inflicting different levels of Strife mainly to single target but two of them are -powerful- AoE abilities. I'm currently working on the Arcane Knight maneuvers and planning out an Occultist style maneuver set to go alongside it so you can do either a bright and colorful Knight or a dark and conniving Blackguard.

My intention is to just straight up write as many articles as I can, fully proofed and edited, ready for release. Then submit the pitches for them to the GPG. Anything that doesn't get a mark for the GPG, I'll release myself. Either here on the forums, or on my own Patreon.

So where do you come in?

Ideas. Give me things you'd like to see in A5e. Things you'd like to play. Spells, Feats, Heritages, Backgrounds, Cultures, Destinies, Archetypes, the works. Even just general or fairly specific "Themes" you'd like me to flesh out into game mechanics and writing that can be provided.

And with those themes? Don't feel like you have to be bound to a specific aspect of A5e. My first article for the GPG involves both Backgrounds and a Destiny, so if you feel like something could be described as multiple aspects of a character, don't hesitate to point it out!
I'd love to see strife/fatigue used more by spells & abilities. At the top of my list would probably be ways to use them as a gm other than "Bob you are unconscious, that's a point of fatigue", either rules that can be added & printed to point at like bloodied=+1 fatigue & whatever or maybe even more useful would be abilities that can be stapled onto or swapped into thematically appropriate monsters, especially if those abilities introduce the kind of nail biting dread that seeing a ghoul/wraith in 2e (deleveling) or 3.x (ability score damage & maybe stun+coupdegrace) or trogs in 3.x (much of the group is almost certainly shaken for a long time) even when the party knows those monsters are not a significant challenge to kill.

Alignment is another one vaguely hinted at mattering but weirdly unmentioned in spells even by spells like detect evil & good. Some of the destines & maybe one spell can give one but then it's almost unused.
 

Smackpixi

Adventurer
So, I know A5e is about more and more rules and options but from a player perspective it can get overwhelming. I wonder if an article on, or system for, translating PC desires into characters would be worthwhile? Like, even regular 5e backgrounds and classes and subclasses can be a bit much for an inexperienced player. For my next campaign I’m trying to get my fairly noobish players to ignore game rules and options and just dream up what they want their character to start as and then what do they want to eventually be able to do. And I’m going to try to translate that into game options for them.

Like a GM guide to interviewing players and turning their ideas into A5e characters? Cause its a 600 page players handbook.
 

VenerableBede

Adventurer
So, I know A5e is about more and more rules and options but from a player perspective it can get overwhelming. I wonder if an article on, or system for, translating PC desires into characters would be worthwhile? Like, even regular 5e backgrounds and classes and subclasses can be a bit much for an inexperienced player. For my next campaign I’m trying to get my fairly noobish players to ignore game rules and options and just dream up what they want their character to start as and then what do they want to eventually be able to do. And I’m going to try to translate that into game options for them.

Like a GM guide to interviewing players and turning their ideas into A5e characters? Cause its a 600 page players handbook.
I don’t care how simple the rules are, any RPG could benefit from this.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I'd love to see strife/fatigue used more by spells & abilities. At the top of my list would probably be ways to use them as a gm other than "Bob you are unconscious, that's a point of fatigue", either rules that can be added & printed to point at like bloodied=+1 fatigue & whatever or maybe even more useful would be abilities that can be stapled onto or swapped into thematically appropriate monsters, especially if those abilities introduce the kind of nail biting dread that seeing a ghoul/wraith in 2e (deleveling) or 3.x (ability score damage & maybe stun+coupdegrace) or trogs in 3.x (much of the group is almost certainly shaken for a long time) even when the party knows those monsters are not a significant challenge to kill.

Alignment is another one vaguely hinted at mattering but weirdly unmentioned in spells even by spells like detect evil & good. Some of the destines & maybe one spell can give one but then it's almost unused.
You're in luck! I'll be pitching the Strife Spells at the end of next month. The question is should I go all in on a Strife-Centric article -or- shift things up by making it a "Cruel and Evil Magic" article so there's some not-strife-stuff going into the article, too?
So, I know A5e is about more and more rules and options but from a player perspective it can get overwhelming. I wonder if an article on, or system for, translating PC desires into characters would be worthwhile? Like, even regular 5e backgrounds and classes and subclasses can be a bit much for an inexperienced player. For my next campaign I’m trying to get my fairly noobish players to ignore game rules and options and just dream up what they want their character to start as and then what do they want to eventually be able to do. And I’m going to try to translate that into game options for them.

Like a GM guide to interviewing players and turning their ideas into A5e characters? Cause its a 600 page players handbook.
I don’t care how simple the rules are, any RPG could benefit from this.
... I am really not sure I could fit that into a 2,000 word article. For comparison, this post (with the embedded quotes) is already almost 400 words long at this point and just getting longer as I respond. Almost a quarter of the article right there, before your very eyes!

However: You've actually struck on the right approach.

Ask your inexperienced player what kind of hero they want to play and then use your greater system mastery to help that character become real. Talk to them about how they grew up, what sort of things their character experienced before becoming a hero, things like that. Flesh out a backstory, then wedge the rest of it into place.

And remember: Just because something doesn't fit doesn't mean it shouldn't be used. Take Backgrounds for example. They're often written in a very specific manner, but that's just one interpretation of how the character gets proficiency in intimidate and the ability to bully themselves into getting free room and board. Change the background to fit the character. That's not an Infamous Pirate, that's the local Bully/Street Tough/Adept of the Bad Guy Dojo that killed the Good Guy Dojo's Master/Whatever.

I guess maybe I could write an article on Fluffery and how to make it work for your characters and players... But I'm not sure it's going to get picked up. Most articles in the GPG are going to be mechanical in nature, even if there's fluff tied to them. Of course, that just means releasing the Fluffery Article myself...
 

VenerableBede

Adventurer
However: You've actually struck on the right approach.

Ask your inexperienced player what kind of hero they want to play and then use your greater system mastery to help that character become real. Talk to them about how they grew up, what sort of things their character experienced before becoming a hero, things like that. Flesh out a backstory, then wedge the rest of it into place.

And remember: Just because something doesn't fit doesn't mean it shouldn't be used. Take Backgrounds for example. They're often written in a very specific manner, but that's just one interpretation of how the character gets proficiency in intimidate and the ability to bully themselves into getting free room and board. Change the background to fit the character. That's not an Infamous Pirate, that's the local Bully/Street Tough/Adept of the Bad Guy Dojo that killed the Good Guy Dojo's Master/Whatever.
I think we all get that. (This isn’t a push for you to make this fluff article happen if you don’t think it has a use for GPG.) I do think the idea is defense-worthy even with experienced GMs who are familiar with their game system, though. Some new players don’t like feeling like the GM is making all of their character choices (even if the GM isn’t and is just providing options based on their responses), while other GMs would appreciate having a handout to help groups of new and newer players make decisions, giving the GM a little more leeway to move around the group, working with each person individually, without leaving the others with little to do (or a 600-page rule book to try and sift through on session 0).
It would definitely need to be a highly abbreviated fluff piece - creating such a guide that includes literally every available character option, even at creation, might make a book longer than the Adventurer’s Guide itself!

Here’s an idea I’m willing to share (I don’t think l I’ll ever have time to work on it) that I think some players would be interested: a paladin archetype that focuses on healing and buffing other players even while doing regular paladin-stuff. (Edit: yeah, it’s herald now, old habits die hard.) Maybe allow Lay on Hands to be used at a range or as a bonus action, or in place of one attack after receiving Extra Attack - those are the initial ideas I had. Might call it Oath if the Chaplain.
Absolutely don’t mind if you take this idea or leave it, or use it as a jumping-off point for something else. I got it from a player who enjoys playing martial support/healer characters and wished the herald’s Lay On Hands could be more flexibly fit into what the herald actually wants to do on a turn-by-turn basis. I’m not sure what I’d recommend for other features of the archetype, though.
 


Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
That’s also totally unrelated to what you asked for, with regards to strife and stuff…
Any idea is a good idea, here. I'm not just looking for advice on the Strife Article. You wanna see a healy-centric Herald? I can work on that.

To the larger idea... maybe a keyword sorting algorithm sort of like Numenera could work? A Mad-Libs style series of blanks that describe a character, a bundle of keywords for each blank to pick and choose from, and a finished character at the end that you just need to fill out the information for?

I am a 1 2 who 3. I am from a 4 culture where I spent my formative years 5. Some day I will 6.

1) Grouping Noun. Generic nouns like Warrior, Devoted, Mage, Skilled, etc.
2) Heritage Noun. Just, y'know, heritages.
3) Clarifying Verb. Things like "Casts Spells" or "Worships Dutifully" or "Guards Nature"
4) Adjective. General descriptive of cultures.
5) Verb. Jobs that can be aligned to backgrounds in verb form. "Being a Pirate" or "Serving the Clergy"
6) Verb. Destiny, what the character will eventually -do-.

Could write 5-6 different sentences regrouping the same information in various ways...

Thoughts?
 


VanguardHero

Adventurer
So I'm a HUGE fan of the Soulknife Class Fantasy, even though it's only been done really well by Dreamscarred in PF1, and I know there is gonna be some Soulknife-ish stuff in Voidrunner Codex, but I love the concept of taking something like Soulknife and treating it as a Maneuver Tradition. Stance that manifests Soulknife and then all the other Maneuvers as shenanigans building on top of the concept of weaponized fighting spirit/soul sword etc. Condensing a Fighting Style/Weapon based Class fantasy into a Tradition would let it stack on top of Classes and Subclasses allowing for an incredible variety of character types. Duelist Fighter Soulknife, Holy Champion Herald Soulknife, Exalted Athlete Adept Soulknife, etc etc. Dunno if it's your vibe or not, but seems worth floating.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
An article of 5e heritages not yet released with the serial numbers filed off? I'm updating my giant house rule document with those now.
Could be fun! Might change up some names or abilities just to shake some rust off... Adding it to the list.
So I'm a HUGE fan of the Soulknife Class Fantasy, even though it's only been done really well by Dreamscarred in PF1, and I know there is gonna be some Soulknife-ish stuff in Voidrunner Codex, but I love the concept of taking something like Soulknife and treating it as a Maneuver Tradition. Stance that manifests Soulknife and then all the other Maneuvers as shenanigans building on top of the concept of weaponized fighting spirit/soul sword etc. Condensing a Fighting Style/Weapon based Class fantasy into a Tradition would let it stack on top of Classes and Subclasses allowing for an incredible variety of character types. Duelist Fighter Soulknife, Holy Champion Herald Soulknife, Exalted Athlete Adept Soulknife, etc etc. Dunno if it's your vibe or not, but seems worth floating.
Did you perchance see my Awakened Mind tradition? It might have some of what you want in it.

 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
You're in luck! I'll be pitching the Strife Spells at the end of next month. The question is should I go all in on a Strife-Centric article -or- shift things up by making it a "Cruel and Evil Magic" article so there's some not-strife-stuff going into the article, too?


... I am really not sure I could fit that into a 2,000 word article. For comparison, this post (with the embedded quotes) is already almost 400 words long at this point and just getting longer as I respond. Almost a quarter of the article right there, before your very eyes!

However: You've actually struck on the right approach.

Ask your inexperienced player what kind of hero they want to play and then use your greater system mastery to help that character become real. Talk to them about how they grew up, what sort of things their character experienced before becoming a hero, things like that. Flesh out a backstory, then wedge the rest of it into place.

And remember: Just because something doesn't fit doesn't mean it shouldn't be used. Take Backgrounds for example. They're often written in a very specific manner, but that's just one interpretation of how the character gets proficiency in intimidate and the ability to bully themselves into getting free room and board. Change the background to fit the character. That's not an Infamous Pirate, that's the local Bully/Street Tough/Adept of the Bad Guy Dojo that killed the Good Guy Dojo's Master/Whatever.

I guess maybe I could write an article on Fluffery and how to make it work for your characters and players... But I'm not sure it's going to get picked up. Most articles in the GPG are going to be mechanical in nature, even if there's fluff tied to them. Of course, that just means releasing the Fluffery Article myself...
I suppose it depends on the definition of Capital C&E "Cruel & Evil Magic". BoVD was a great book for what it was, but much of it was so dark it was almost unusable on a PC without a situation like the one time I used mindrape on a pc due to going so far past nail biting terror into c ttrpg war crimes. Strife is something I have not yet used at all with fatigue still kinda nibbling around the edges with it as a GM & in both cases it's because I want the players to recognize them as things that are on the table without needing some kind of dual key ICBM launch warning. It probably doesn't matter much if the spells are limited to strife specifically, strife & fatigue, or strife fatigue & whatever one off evil mwhahaha that sprouts up around a spell so much as if most of them fall into the levelup demilich style "ohgodohgodohgod I can see that getting used easily" end of the scale where players can see them getting used by a random badguy in a random filler adventure instead of just by THE BBEG after months of buildup.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I suppose it depends on the definition of Capital C&E "Cruel & Evil Magic". BoVD was a great book for what it was, but much of it was so dark it was almost unusable on a PC without a situation like the one time I used mindrape on a pc due to going so far past nail biting terror into c ttrpg war crimes. Strife is something I have not yet used at all with fatigue still kinda nibbling around the edges with it as a GM & in both cases it's because I want the players to recognize them as things that are on the table without needing some kind of dual key ICBM launch warning. It probably doesn't matter much if the spells are limited to strife specifically, strife & fatigue, or strife fatigue & whatever one off evil mwhahaha that sprouts up around a spell so much as if most of them fall into the levelup demilich style "ohgodohgodohgod I can see that getting used easily" end of the scale where players can see them getting used by a random badguy in a random filler adventure instead of just by THE BBEG after months of buildup.
I don't really feel comfortable, myself, writing things like -that- into the world as a -designer-. I more mean like Cruel and Evil from the Narrator's position.

Hitting someone with 3d6 damage means they need a little healing. Stealing 3 Hit Dice from the Berserker, though, means a lot more "Real Harm" over the course of the rest of the adventuring day, since that's 3d12+9 or whatever hit points, they just don't harm you -right now-. Instead it limits your future potential.

Getting levels of Strife really sucks while you're fighting as it limits your options... but it -also- screws you up in various social encounters that happen after the fighting has ended. Same thing with Fatigue or spells that otherwise limit your ability to use mental and physical attributes well.

I'm not looking for Edgy evil or Pure darkness. Not something to chase players away from the table with or require consent sheets to cast.

The "Ugliest" one of the bunch is the 8th level spell "Corrupt" which is this:
Twisting and writhing words roll out of you, hateful speech of the most ancient tongue, words unknown even to you as this spell takes effect and is unleashed in a voice not your own corrupts your target to the core of their being. What you touch with this spell hears your call of horror.
And in addition to applying multiple levels of strife to your target, does this to you:
Casting this spell marks you by otherworldly forces, and are treated as though you have the Evil alignment trait in addition to any other alignment traits you may possess until someone casts the Atonement spell upon you.
'Cause all of them are written as curses, essentially. The sort of thing a Night Hag might spit at someone before the hag gets beheaded.

I also particularly like that it's a -spell- with the same level of roleplay opportunity increase as playing the Warlock or Cleric class, where there's now otherworldly entities paying attention to you...

Might write a spell which is explicitly "Apply the Doomed condition to target creature" as the ultimate Cruel spell. That character -will- die, but not yet. Disintegrate and Power Word Kill are cool and all, but -doomed- on command? OOF. Especially when used by the Narrator -against- the Party. Fire that off as a parting shot when the party is escaping the BBEG's castle and give one of the party members a few moments to dramatically say goodbye before they're killed?

Yes, please.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
So here's my current slate:


3) Concept Winnowing Phrases (Making Mad-Libs work for newbie players)
4) Heritages of Myth and Legend (Centaurs, Satyrs, Minotaurs, Tritons, possibly with a couple of cultures)
5) Heritages of the Forlorn (Goblins, Kobolds, Shapeshifters, Serpentborn)

I currently have one article in next month's Gate Pass Gazette (Comes out soon!) and my next article isn't in until Issue 5. We're also not allowed to have back-to-back articles, so the earliest I could be in would be 7. So the earliest one of these articles could hit would be...

September. Then November, January, March, and May. Assuming they -all- pass the pitch phase.

Otherwise I'll release 'em myself in late May or early June.
 
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Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
Would these be an alternate take to the ones in Zeitgeist?
Absolutely. Specifically this would conform more to the version of Goblins in the Monstrous Menagerie, for example. Less "Beastmastery" more "Liminal Space occupying people who long for joy". Less of a setting-specific take, more of an A5e in General take. Minotaurs as actual Large Creatures for players to use, rather than medium sized people with horned animal heads... things like that.

The Minotaurs would also probably be a different take from the Sins of the Scorpion Age version, as well. More classic "Can't get lost in a maze" minotaurs.

That said... I'm open to doing different heritages if these aren't the ones Micah's looking for. Didn't really get a list so I just went for conceptual groupings.
 

GuyBoy

Hero
Spirits of Blood and Land;
That feeling you get when you walk down a sunken footpath at night, and know it follows a ley line.
That sense of those who came before when you look at an ancient megalith.
That kinship you feel with the blade of your sword or spear, like a trusted friend, when you are alone
When the cat at your hearth looks at something you cannot see.

Something about the role of nature or other spirits and their interactions with characters, which may be both positive and negative.
 


VenerableBede

Adventurer
Take the Chaplain herald and run with it in whatever direction you want :) You have my blessing, and if I see it in GPG, I will point at it and say, "Hah! It was a good idea!"

I've been tinkering with a warlock that gets a minion—kind of like Beastmaster, but with a customizable aberration/undead. So I wouldn't recommend warlock specifically, but I love all archetypes that grant a permanent minion.

In particular, I like minions that feel like an extension of their master, if that makes sense, and will get excited for one regardless of the class. (For an example of what I mean, something in between Beastmaser/Stitcher "pets" and Echo Knight Echo. On one end, the Echo from Echo Knight fighter [love that archetype—a few balancing issues with some of its abilities, but honestly I personally would never change it] allows you to create a thing that you manipulate that really and truly feels like an extension of you... but it's not really a minion or it's own creature. On the other end of the spectrum, the Beastmaster ranger and the Stitcher artificer both have "pets" that supplement the master, but feel very much like their own thing. I like ideas that run in the middle for any given class, a minion that is capable of doing its own thing [and that grows and changes as the master levels up rather than remaining mostly static save for improving hit points or whatever] but has features that actively reward the master and minion for doing things in concert with each other. Be really interested to see what someone else's take on something like this would be.)
 

W'rkncacnter

Adventurer
honestly i'd just love to see anything western or victorian themed (or space themed, but we're already getting the voidrunner's codex so i guess that itch is gonna get scratched real well). equipment, backgrounds, anything. a more martial focused artificer subclass would also be cool. maybe even put them together...gunsmithing artificer subclass?
 

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