Something Creates – A Theme pt. 2


If you’re not already listening to John & Ron’s Digital Divination and you’re interested at all in writing RPG material, I implore you to at least listen to episode 24. Really though, the entire series feels like listening in on mentoring sessions from a seasoned professional in the industry to somebody relatively new (within the last couple of years I think). 

I remember when I started writing for Intrepid Heroes Network, and then Know Direction Network, I was really big on ensuring that I had an outline and a rough draft done 4-5 days out from the posting date. This would give myself (or John Godek for a bit) time to edit the article before it was released. As can often be the case for folks with ADHD (or even regular people!) this started to slip to the point that it is not unheard of me doing the final writing the night before my article is posted. I think part of it happened because when I started I was working a part-time tutoring gig and now I work full-time, COVID happened. Especially in April,May & June, I was playing & GMing a lot of Organized Play. I’ve cut back on the OP to focus on my home games a little more, and also to possibly claim back some writing time. It didn’t happen with this article, but I’m thinking that going forward, the Thursday nights where I was typically doing OP, I may spend that time writing. It may not always be for Know Direction, but purposefully setting aside some time in my evening to work on my creative projects may be a great move for me moving forward. I’ll check back in with you all in 2 weeks and let you know how that change is working out for me!

Design Thoughts

Last article, I knew I wanted to try to tie whatever theme I was making to a setting that I may slowly be developing here. I thought that Randal’s Terraforming articles may be a great place to start! I’ll be quick to admit that I haven’t read all of the articles yet, but I have the first three articles: An Introduction, Dome Pod Racing, and Little Golarion. I plan on reading 3-4 of these articles a week until I’ve read them all and I may put together a cohesive Setting Gazetteer when I’ve finished them!

Now, I’m not 100% sure I want to keep Little Golarion as it is in my as of yet, unnamed setting, mostly because I want to keep it free of Paizo IP. The intent behind Little Golarion though, is definitely something I want to utilize though! I’m already concocting ways that RakTech and World Builders Intergalactic (WBI) are going to interact with each other!

One thing that struck me about the two of them, is that they are both interested in planets, what is and isn’t inside of them. Importantly, they are both concerned with rocks, or the metals within them. In fact, Thuringag was founded specifically because of the abundance of starmetals buried beneath the ground. How were these metals found? Simple orbital scans? Or are these metals typically hard to scan for as they may be mixed in with other metallics. 

The words Stone Singer popped into my head, and I immediately recalled that a Bard archetype in Pathfinder 1st Edition existed that could hear the song of stones. This was exactly what I wanted, but it was close enough to jump start my thoughts!

Looking at a number of themes the 6th & 12th level abilities seems to have a varying degree of usefulness. One thing I did notice is that designers were not scared to be niche. I wanted my theme to be able to sense star metals. This led me directly to wanting to add blindsense or blindsight to the archetype. I couldn’t find any archetype directly adjusting senses, but with Cyberborn and Biotechnician providing easy access to augments that can adjust senses, I don’t feel that it would be out of the realm of possibility. Particularly when the Esper grants limited telepathy. Thank goodness that I remembered that Jacob Blackmon & Rogue Genius Games’ Starfarer’s Adversaries: Legacy Bestiary has a Rust Monster in it! I quickly went to that page to see what Blackmon’s solution was to being able to sense metals since blindsense has a “typical” list that I wanted to stay near. His solution was blindsense (metal scent), which he did have to spend a little word count explaining that it followed the rules of scent but only for metals. This ends up working just about perfect for me though because blindsense(scent) is arguably blocked by a character’s environmental protections so it isn’t too overpowered (Vlaka can start with it at 1st level) in my opinion. With all of that said, I’d like to present to you all my themes!

Starmetal Prospector (+1 Con, or +1 Int)

Whether it is through natural talent or intense training, you have always had a knack for picking out the rarest metals or most precious stones out of a pile. You’ve begun to purposefully develop those skills and have been able to learn the ins and outs of some of the rarest metals in the galaxy, star metals. You may have been able to use this talent for personal gain, or a corporate recruiter heard about you and has enticed you to “help” them find metals in strange and wondrous locations!

Theme Knowledge (1st Level)

Whether it’s starmetal or iron, you’ve developed a knack for determining the various types of stones and metals that you see. When attempting a Profession or Physical Science check to recall knowledge about geology, mining or anything released to stone or metals, reduce the DC by 5. Physical Science is a class skill for you, though if it is a class skill from the class you take at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to Physical Science checks. In addition, you gain an ability adjustment of +1 to either Constitution or Intelligence at character creation. 

Smell of Metal (6th Level)

Your ability to sense metals has gotten so acute that just smelling you are able to determine the location and type of metals around you. You gain blindsense(metal scent) 30ft. This works the same as normal blindsense(scent) except that you can only use it to sense metal objects. You are also able to perform Recall Knowledge checks to identify the metals that you smell, even if you do not see them. 

Decked Out (12th Level)

You’ve been able to find enough star metal through your career, that you know how to leverage dealers to get the best deal possible when purchasing items and equipment that are made out of special materials, including star metals, you can reduce the upgrade cost by 25%.

Mettle of the Mind (18th Level)

You have learned how to appreciate the structure of some star metals and the fluidity of others. Each star metal allows unique items to be crafted, especially when in the hands of cultures not yet fully explored. Up to twice per day, after you spend 10 minutes studying a piece of newly discovered vein of star metal, or an interesting item made of star metal that you have not previously encountered, you regain 1 Resolve Point; this doesn’t count as resting to regain Stamina Points. 


Phew! One thing that I normally check when doing articles like this is check the “normal” word length. I don’t use a spreadsheet or anything, but for themes after doing a quick word count check of a half dozen or so, the typically fell between 400-500 words. With the Street Rat being the highest of the ones I checked at 700. Checking my theme, we landed right within the expected range with 411 words. I believe that if I needed to I could probably stretch out a few sections or elaborate further on the origins of Theme Knowledge, but for the time being I am going to leave it as it is. Next time here at Something Creates, I think I’m going to lump together some equipment and see what I can come up with! Expect some thoughts on armor and augments probably. 

Andrew Sturtevant

I have two bachelor degrees, one in Psychology, the other in Computer Science. I've been playing some version of D&D, Pathfinder or Starfinder since about 2000 when my Dad started teaching me. I've been GMing for most of that time as well. I am active in the Organized Play Foundation as a volunteer and organizer, along with volunteering to help my fellow military spouses as a Key Spouse.