3. Guide to Steamhawke

Created by Captain Daenelia Bradley on Sat Jan 7th, 2012 @ 10:08pm


Steamhawke uses the Nova system, which allows easy collaborative writing (joint posts). Read more about using the Nova system here.

Our primary focus is writing engaging stories. When describing Steamhawke you can use "Writer" and "Player" interchangeably. Read more about how this is done in the "Plotting" section, below. Also see: Continuous Story.

The system we use is different and requirs a different mind set. For more information on what we expect from writers as well as what new writers can expect, see Writer's Help.

The Nova site has an excellent Search Function, which allows for detailed searches. Doing research is an option to keep posts in line with previously established facts. The Steamhawke Wiki is another research tool to help writers with background information.


Steampunk is a fantasy/sci-fi mix which mixes a historical setting with modern and/or futuristic techologies. Read more about Steampunk here.


The players are sky pirates in a fantastical version of 19th century Earth, in which steam power has become so powerful that ships can fly through the sky. The planet is called Terra and many of the nations are abstract historical versions of our own countries. Read more about the setting here.

Terra is an alternate world where alchemy is like magic, or magic is like alchemy. It is still rooted in science, but can have fantastical elements. This is because the same laws of physics do not apply.

We have different original races to choose from. If you have a great idea that fits in with the world, contact the admins.

Read more about the races here.

Age rating

We expect a level of maturity from our writers, and although this isn't strictly linked to age, Steamhawke is aimed at writers of over 16 years old. We have no rules against graphic content.

Writing level

Good writing skills are appreciated, but the most important thing is that you enjoy it. We are not asking for perfect writing style, but it is a good idea to spell check your posts if you are not confident with your spelling. You can also ask the writers you are collaborating with to proofread your text.

Word count

There are no word count rules. Your contribution in a joint post can be as short as a one liner, or you can write a full scene.

Plotting and writing

Steamhawke's posts are self-contained stories that continue the plot, and each post is either written solo or as a collaboration between multiple writers. While a story is under construction, the writer(s) can keep returning to it to add content, discuss where the story should be going, etc. Sometimes these stories are flashbacks, or end in cliffhangers only to be resolved in later posts, but the idea is that these stories can be read either individually or one after another and still entertain the reader.

Multiple stories make up each chapter. Each chapter tends to cover one setting or situation, for example the first chapter started when the Steamhawke landed at Seaport looking for a new crew, and ended when the ship took off on adventure. There is no defined limit to how many stories there should be in one chapter. Eventually the plot will have been advanced to the point where we can move to another setting, and then it will be time to start a new chapter.

The overall story of the Steamhawke is split into Story Arcs, which are storylines that extend over multiple chapters.

Steamhawke's plot is not defined in advance. This means that every writer has equal say in where the story is going, and the only real criteria for an acceptable plot element is that it doesn't contradict what has been written before and that it fits with the established setting. Of course the staff are always thinking ahead, because we need to be able to push the story forwards if needs be. But our personal ideas are flexible and the priority is to work with the players to write the story.

Time line: fluid or rigid?

It is expected that each post in a chapter happens just after, or at the same time as, the previous post. There should be no backtracking after major events take place as this can be confusing for the reader. Flashbacks are the exception to this.

Character control

Many RPGs have strict limits on what you can write beyond your own character's actions. Steamhawke takes a much more relaxed approach to character control, which relies more on common sense than on strict rules.

You have full control over the development of your own player character, e.g. establishing their skills and personality. However, you can mention what other characters are doing and you can write dialogue for them. Generally, it is a good idea to invite other writers into your stories if you are using their characters, so that they can see what you are writing and change anything so that it suits their character better. You can also choose to only include NPCs in your stories.

It is perfectly okay to collaborate on stories that don't feature your character.

Character creation & adoption

Normally you would create a new character through the application system. If you would rather "adopt" an existing NPC to make it your own, please contact us.

Accounts and characters

Each writer has their own account, and will have registered with one character. If you want to create an NPC please discuss this first with Daenelia.


We expect at least one contribution per chapter from each of our players. Of course everyone has to go inactive sometimes, but we do ask that if you get the chance that you let us know you are going inactive. The Nova system has a "leave of absence" feature which is an excellent way to let us know if you aren't able to post for a while. If we can see that you haven't logged in for 4 weeks, and we haven't heard from you, your character will be made inactive and written out of the story.

Character positions, ranks and expectations

Characters each have a position which belongs to a specific department aboard the ship. They also have ranks, which are roughly assigned based on their position and experience. However, these do not rigidly define the activities of your character, nor is there a rigid chain of command. The captain is above the first mate, and each department generally has one leader. Apart from this there is no real hierarchy.

You can also contact us to request a new crew position that you think fits your character.

Read an overview of the departments & positions here.

Play Bys / Character images

You may use an image on your profile. Please stick to images you are allowed to use and provide a credit link on your profile.

OOC Forum

The Out of Character forum is used for brainstorming, plotting and having fun. Registration at the forum is open to everyone who has in interest in Steamhawke.

Categories: 1. Introduction

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