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4 things NOT to do when writing for an IP

Rise of the Drow hardbackI’ve had the pleasure of working with several different publishers, making material for use within a number of established campaign settings (Fantasy Flight Games, Frog God Games, AdventureAWeek.com, LPJ Design, Amora games, and more). If you’re breaking into writing and want to work in this field, I’ve garnered a few things from my (still comparatively few!) experiences creating content within the confines of broad, cherished worlds.

 

1. SKIP YOUR RESEARCH
If they haven’t sent you material for research or it isn’t freely available, ask for it. Even if it gets rolled into your pay a little bit, having this on hand will save everybody time in the end, establish that you are professional, and will see that your material resonates with fans of the existing product. Make notes for yourself (I made an entire visual Neo Exodus timeline) and refer to them often. Check d20pfsrd.com to see if any key creatures exist in their setting if you aren’t already intimately familiar with it
—you’ll be glad you did.

Immersion is the name of the game with this one. Don’t get your feet wet, jump in.

 

WORLD_MAP2. WRITE YOURSELF INTO A CORNER
That timeline should come in handy for this, but a good general rule is to avoid absolutes. Making something that prohibits the existence of another element (undead is the popular one here, but serpentfolk get slapped around like this too) inside of a world is generally something that the original creators have already made a decision about. That’s not to say you can’t break precedent (see below), just that as a general rule of thumb, you want to supplement an existing IP, not complement it.

Write to enhance the setting, not evolve it.

 

3. LEAP BEFORE YOU LOOK
Submit an outline first and avoid surprising the person receiving your material. While the extra content you designed might be fun, there are myriad reasons for why it might not be a good fit (a similar piece might already be in the works, it may be prohibitive because of something you didn’t know about, etc.) and that’s why this part of the process should never be overlooked. If you do end up adding more content or material than originally requested, make certain that it’s inside of the themes and aesthetic already present in your work and the larger library of material.

Clear your big ideas with the people upstairs first.

 

Image_Portfolio_1.14_Fantasy Butch Mapa 014. BE INFLEXIBLE
You’re playing in someone else’s toybox; if they want the red car, give them the red car and find a new toy. Be prepared for some of your ideas to get shot down or become morphed into things you never anticipated or intended. Try to improve the process by cooperating—collaboration can cause some truly beautiful confluences and is not to be underestimated. There’s a lot of sayings for that, but we’ll hold off on the metaphors here. Just be open to compromise—you’ll be pleased with the results.

Be agreeable and things will be agreeable.

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[EDIT] Ryan Macklin has a great blog post that went up earlier this week about pitching your game. It is fantastic and you should definitely read through it for your own sake as a writer. I will point out that when he ‘pitched’ Mythender at me, he did so while dramatically spinning and yelling in my face (which I don’t personally recommend, though it was definitely effective).

 

Do you have a contribution or idea for Meta Thursdays?  Send us your ideas (after reading the submission guidelines) to submit(at)adventureaweek.com with “Meta Thursday” in the subject line!

 

 

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Ashen Kisses

feyglade slumber pomumsAshen Kisses CR 4
XP 1200
CE haunt (20 ft. radius)
Caster Level 4th
Notice Perception DC 19 (to smell a flowery perfume)
Hp 4; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day
Effect: On the round entering the haunt’s glade, anyone within its radius must make a DC 16 Will save or be paralyzed for the round. On a failure, a beautiful maiden manifests and delivers a light kiss on the lips of the unfortunate character, then disappears with a smile on her lips, leaving the paralyzed character(s) free to go.
The maiden manifests in front of each creature that fails their saving throw in the same round. After being subjected to Ashen Kisses, everything the creature puts in his mouth turns to ash, making it impossible for them to eat or drink for one week. This effect can be removed with a remove curse spell.

Destruction: A generous offering of blessed food (10 pounds and well prepared or 20 pounds otherwise) and drink (a barrel of water or several bottles of fine wine) must be placed in the glade where the haunt manifests.

Adventure Hook: The sheriff of Gladeston, a small village in the Auld Forest, wants to know why travelers are showing up with their mouths and throats filled with ashes. Hopefully the party can find out what is happening before rumors of the Ashen Kisses take a toll on trade with nearby villages. Local tales of a famine some centuries ago might reach the PCs’ ears in the local tavern, and several of the farmers in the region have heard of the terrible periods of scarcity. If properly enticed (perhaps convinced by the argument that low trade means low prices), they might be convinced to contribute to ending the plight of Ashen Kisses.

 

[Submitted by Brian Wiborg Monster]

Do you have a chilling idea for a haunt or cursed item? Send it along to us at submit (at) adventureaweek.com, but please, bear the following in mind before you submit anything for review:

1. Anyone can submit an entry.

2. One entry per person at any one time. An entry must be your own work, not being published previously or considered by any other publisher, and it must original and not infringe upon copyrighted material.

3. All entries become property of Adventureaweek.com, LLP.

4. By submitting an entry you authorize the use of your name and likeness without additional compensation for promotion and advertising purposes in all media.

5. Adventureaweek.com, LLP reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this endeavor at any time without prior notice.

6. All decisions of Adventureaweek.com, LLP and their arbiters are final.

7. There is no compensation provided – any entries are given freely by their creators for use by Adventureaweek.com, LLP in perpetuity.

8. Your statblock must be properly formatted (compare to similar content on the AaWBlog for correct formatting).

 

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Rhythmic Nunchaku

Image_Portfolio_1.13_Fantasy Rudolf Montemayor 04Rhythmic Nunchaku
Aura moderate enchantment; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 25,152 gp; Weight 2 lbs.

DESCRIPTION
This nunchaku is made from two ornate, beautifully wrought metal bars connected by a simple steel chain.

Three times per day as a free action, a monk making a flurry of blows with this 
+2 nunchaku gains a bonus to hit an opponent based on the number of times it has already successfully hit that opponent. Each time the wielder successfully strikes an opponent with a melee attack during a flurry of blows, they gain a cumulative +1 morale bonus on attack rolls (maximum +4 bonus) and gains 3 temporary hit points (to a maximum of 20 temporary hit points). If an attack misses, the attack bonus resets to +0, but any accumulated temporary hit points remain. The temporary hit points and morale bonuses on attack rolls disappear 7 rounds after the first flurry of blows is resolved.

HISTORY A character that makes a Knowledge (history) check to learn about rhythmic nunchaku identifies the following fragments of lore:

DC 15     The first wielder of rhythmic nunchaku was said to travel the lands far and wide many centuries ago. His prowess in combat was legendary, and it is said that he has seen him in unfair battles. fighting on the side of justice. None have ever captured him or claim to have spoken to the mysterious warrior, but tales of the Rhythmic Pugilist persist.
DC 20     Each generation has its own Rhythmic Pugilist; the sacred order raises all of their kin to assume the position, and every three years tournaments are held to determine whom will hold the mantle. The finest warriors to rise during this training period receive rhythmic nunchaku, ever ready to take the place of their peer should they fall.
DC 25     The Rhythmic Pugilist has never been a man. A warrior cult of female monks carry the tradition maternally, avoiding revealing their gender whenever possible. Their nobility is matched only by their staunch secrecy, and some loremasters know that those who learn of the Rhythmic Pugilist’s true origins often meet with untimely, quiet ends.
DC 30     A princess of the realm first wielded the rhythmic nunchaku, taking up the whirling weapon in the name of the oppressed peoples ruled over by her father. She oversaw the fall of his tyranny, and instilled the order of the Rhythmic Pugilist. It has become an honored, clandestine royal organization, its secret known to only a handful of the nobility.

CONSTRUCTION
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, heroism (3.5) / righteous vigor (PF); Cost 12,752 gp 511 xp

 

Do you have an idea for an enchanted sword, arcane-empowered armor or unique magic item? Take a look at the submission rules and send a brief summary of your proposed enchanted item titled ‘Armory of Adventures submission’ to submit(at)adventureaweek.com with the following:

  • the nature of the item (weapon, armor or wondrous)
  • one or two sentences about its appearance
  • what the item in question does
  • the components and spell(s) used in its construction