Summer Camp 2022 Reading Challenge

Hello everyone!
  Another Summer Camps comes to a close, and what a camp it was. It was great fun to get back into writing for Araea, and trying something different from the previous years - all/most the prompts ended up sort of following a single storyline, each telling a part of the story. The final prompt I did, the Lost Monument, ended up kind of being a big cliffhanging ending to that story.   And now it's time to see Summer Camp off with the Reading Challenge!   I decided to pick the three prompts I either had the most problems, fewest ideas for, or otherwise had to wrangle into place like an unruly boa constrictor. My hope is that it'll help me look at them from a few different perspectives and I'll give some of my observations to, with any luck, provide the same. There's no better way to grow as a writer and worldbuilder than to learn together; learn by reading and by writing. So with that, lets get on with it!

Prompt 1

Somewhere in your setting, describe a vehicle or type of vehicle used for long journeys
Vehicles is something I've always had some problem with. Maybe it's just the nature of Araea, with all its cramped tunnels and winding caverns, but it doesn't really lend itself well to vehicles. I've done some fun vehicles in other worlds, but it's not a prompt that has ever called to me. So for this, I was looking for articles that would call to me, and make me want to write more vehicles. Something unique, something unexpected, something weird or something that approaches them from a different angle.  

Mortal Possession

Mortals do not feel the emotions or thoughts of the god possessing them, but the gods are aware of everything going on in the mortal's mind at the time of possession. Unsurprisingly, it is very easy to anger the god by thinking something inappropriate.
By AmélieIS  
The human body as a vehicle for divine spirits is something that is very much up my morbid alley, and I could not resist putting it on the list. Amé's divine tyranny world has a wonderfully snarky tone through the autheress and story main character, which makes it a really fun read. A lot of "fun" consequences for the mortals being inhibited too, with some rather amusing scenes possible between possessing god and possessed mortal.   It made me think of vehicles as a form of symbiosis, instead of a technological thing. From there, you can go all kinds of interesting things - a biological mind-transfer infrastructure, a vehicle for the mind or soul, or so many other things that aren't just a technological construct.
 

Remote Personality Cache/Display

Q: Can I live forever in an RPC/D? RPC/Ds have a ten year warranty, and are not intended to be life extension devices. We also regret to inform you that a bundled consciousness still ages and has the same lifespan limitations.
By Nnie  
From magic to technology, the Remote Personality Cache/Display appeals to me for many of the same reasons as the mortal possession - making the vehicle something unusual, and the thing that travels something more ethereal than physical bodies going from A to B. Well written and with really great layout too, my favorite part is definitely the bit about how your consciousness is "encrypted and bundled".   Yeah, I'm sure nothing can go wrong with that.   Plus, it has to answer if it will or won't grant immortality! Not a lot of cars or trains come with that FAQ. Highly recommended, and both these articles makes me think about more thought/mind transferring things. Maybe not for Araea, but for other worlds certainly!
 

Timeboats

Boats with particularly potent temporal crystals may allow a shadow of these storms to pass into the present day, as clouds roll in and the wind picks up, causing sandstorms whose gusts and eddies resemble a storm-tossed ocean more than the present-day sea of sand.
By scholarmage
Now there's a novel way to beat desertification, and a novel use of time manipulation as a travel mechanic. Not transporting the vessel through time, but letting an echo of the long distant past come to it, so it can float.   This is a really interesting concept to me, and it's sort of a form of travel I haven't really thought about before. I don't know right now if it could be applied to other kinds travel, but it's definitely something that I'm going to have in the idea-bank, especially for Chronotopia.
 

Honorable Mentions

Things that didn't quite make it for one reason or another, but still worth celebrating.  
Smoke
Vehicle | Jul 6, 2022
Poetic and beautiful.
Palanquins
Vehicle | Jul 15, 2022
Love all the little details about the culture and society surrounding the palanquins.
Super Fast Racing Machines
Vehicle | Jul 9, 2022

Kids' favourite hobby

Very amusing and a nice extrapolation of what kids might do with super-powers.
Symbiotic Mole Leviathan
Vehicle | Jul 27, 2022
A giant mole that lets you travel inside it for a toll of blood - yeah I kinda love it!
The Travel Worms
Vehicle | Jul 10, 2022
A fun if nightmarish way to travel - inside a city-devouring-sized worm.
Hades Chariot
Vehicle | Jul 24, 2022
Lovely to think about all the things around the vehicle, from its making and gifting.
 

Prompt 2

Somewhere in your setting, describe a building associated with governance, leadership or change
This was a prompt that stumped me for a while, because the region I decided to set Summer Camp in this year is defined by its lack of governance. It's a wild frontier, full of scoundrals, ne'er'do-wells, and robber baron types. I didn't really want to write about a guild hall or a court house, not without something that could make them more interesting, strange, and engaging. That's what I went looking for with this prompt too, something that could surprise me and give me some fresh ideas on how to approach a prompt like this. A unique twist, like the opening scene from Luxx if anyone remembers that.  

The Sinner's Scales

On rare occasions, the sinner will be allowed to select the spell they wish to be their doom if the Queen sees fit; on rarer still occasions, their soul will instead be bound and the resultant soul gem removed.
By Hanhula  
The whole Anubis and the judgement of a soul on scales taken to its logical conclusion with the Sinner's Scale is such a great concept. I remember reading something similar-ish in Exalted once, but this really reminded me of it, and how various judgement-y buildings could be used for the prompt in the future.   Now, don't tell the inhabitants, but Araea doesn't actually have gods... But I don't think that'll stop this concept from working. As long as people think the "guilty" are being judged by something divine, that's good enough, and opens up a lot of room for all kinds of shenanigans.   Well written and with some beautiful MJ art, it's a great read.
 

Rosarium Tower

Some late night workers have sworn to have seen the ghosts of noble lords and ladies wandering in the now modern corridors of the Tower, but surely that cannot be more than just a hallucination of the overworked folks?
By LadyChimere  
I have a real soft spot for urban dark fantasy, having grown up with World of Darkness and all of that. And this article I guess reminded me of that question that yeah, actually, where do all the supernatural critters hang out and talk about things? Who says it even has to be a building of governance or leadership for things remotely humanoids?
  Once again, nothing I think I could've used for Araea necessarily (actually, now that I'm thinking about it... Shrikes gathering place?), but potentially great fodder for some of my other settings. :D  

The Clinic of Organized Thought HQ

At first the Clinic was supposed to be simply a brain research facility, simply trying to understand the working of the human brain. Eventually, however, it morphed into what it is today: a sadistic government experiment to control the subjects and gain complete power.
By HumanAfterAll  
I had not considered 'thought-control' as a means of governance... And I really should have. That opens a lot more possibilities, from mundane to mysterious, and most of them sinister. Propaganda centers, or prisons for thought-crimes; there are a lot of potential ideas once you let go of the whole governance thing as even remotely positive, I guess.
  It was kind of a "huh. Oh yeah" moment for me, and it's a track I look forward to heading down in some of my more dystopian settings, like Megacorpolis or the World-Cage.  

Honorable Mentions

Things that didn't quite make it for one reason or another, but still worth celebrating.    

Prompt 3

Somewhere in your setting, describe a tradition which keeps monsters or bad luck away
Another prompt that suffered from self-inflicted problems, with the region I set Summer Camp in ( Patala, the Descent ) being relatively recent. It was also one of those prompts where I had so many ideas that I wasn't really sure which one to go with.   For this one, I'm looking for inspiration in the ways of something nice and folk-lore-ish. Something that may or may not work, but people's belief and how it forms (and reforms) their society, or culture, or behavior. Something either with impact on the setting, or the setting impacting them, or both. If there are scams and schemes going on too, all the better.  

Three Wardens

Triple Words: Things such as No, No, No; yes, yes, yes; and certainly certainly certainly will pepper the conversation of many Evanis. For many this is calming, but for others quite a grating habit.
By Arawlins  
The doing of things in three to ward off evil or bad luck! I really like how it feels like a behavior of the culture it is in rather than a distinct and solemn ritual. More like a part of daily life, a deeply ingrained superstition - that part of the article is really appealing to me, and very inspirational. It's the kind of thing I usually pepper into articles, but this is just great.   Incidentally, doing things in three is supposed to have a magical/occult significance if you believe in that sort of thing, which is a connection to our reality that I also adore. Very fun, and I especially like the triple word habit!
 

HOW TO APPEASE GODS THROUGH PRAYERS AND SACRIFICES

In order to ensure our survival, humanity has found a way to appease them: through the regular gift of a small amount of magic via worship.
By AmélieIS  
It entertains me to no end that the 'bad luck' we're warding off with this ritual is the actual gods of the setting. The snark is really amusing from the MC and PoV, who really has pegged exactly how full of shit the gods are.   It is also fun to see all those human elements - people competing for divine attention, or making logical decisions about it. If major gods are too hard to get noticed by, everyone has a minor god too, and so on. It is a really fun articles, and I'm wondering how I can work in more of those sort of sacrificial rituals into my other, more gods-exist-y settings.   It's always interesting to try and figure out these kinds of details. If deities are indeed real in a setting, why do they crave worship? Depending on your setting, this can have all kinds of answers, and can inform the inner-workings of a world. Exalted, for instance, has 'essence', which is sort of magical energy, and prayer/sacrifices provide gods with that (among some other things). Fun to think about, and something I look forward to doing with some other settings.
 

Flaming Oranges

When squeezing an orange to release the oils, if a flame is used green sparks will fly out. These fighting the little goblins and the scent causes them to sneeze uncontrollably.
By Absinthe  
A delightfully folklore-y article with that sort of flair of something I could imagine reading about from the middle ages. And the idea of the gremlins sneezing uncontrollably is kind of adorable, too.
  It really makes me want to dig into the smaller, quieter type of superstitions and traditions of the setting, much like the Three Wardens. Not so much the big bombastic rituals, but the everyday things, the myriad of ways that people in crazy settings just get by; wether or not they work.   I think that's going to be a really fun part as I dig deeper into some of the cultures of Araea, and I'm really looking forward to it now... Even if there are no cave-oranges, here.  

Honorable Mentions

Things that didn't quite make it for one reason or another, but still worth celebrating.    
After all that reading, I'm really excited to get back into writing for all kinds of settings now. It's going to be a good year for writing, especially when spent with such an awesome community as the WA crowd!
 

A Look to the Future

What are your new goals? What will you work on next?
My goals for the next 12 months or so are pretty straight-forward in theory, but not so much in execution.   I'd really like to...
  • Revise all my old articles and bring them up to my current standard of prose and formatting
  • Continue writing, both for Araea and my other worlds
  • And most of all, write more fiction. I've written one published story, Dead Meat, and I'd like to write more, thanks.
  •   That really is about it. There's a lot of other potential thoughts and ideas swirling around in the noggin (maybe I'll start a patreon, maybe I'll write some more how-to-world build guides, maybe I'll get a pony and name him George), but they're little more than embers at this point. Some people have already asked if I'm going to write some stories about the summer camp articles, and I'd like to thank you for the encouragement. :)   And thanks to everyone who has offered to help out or talked about doing so. <3  
    Ok, see you all in WorldEmber!


    Cover image: by Unsplash (Ethan Robertson)

    Comments

    Please Login in order to comment!
    7 Aug, 2022 13:20

    it's an honour that my silly vehicle is included among so many great articles. Thank you <3 And Yes! Get a pony!

    3 Sep, 2022 06:16

    *A cannibal pony!* >:D


    Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
    Grandmaster nnie
    Annie Stein
    29 Aug, 2022 07:27

    Your support has meant so much this Summercamp, and it means so much to see my name and work here! Thank you so much, Q. I wish you all the best of luck with the revision and getting some more stories written and, hopefully, probably, published!

    Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— On the Shoulders of Giants entry: Refugees of Mercury
    3 Sep, 2022 06:17

    aw. Thank you, and the same to you :)   And now.. WorldEmber and Nano and...


    Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
    5 Sep, 2022 22:14

    Love it. Inspire me a lot! What is World Ember? How i can get a template nice like this one? Hope next time document my reading in that way

    6 Sep, 2022 15:10

    Thank you!   WorldEmber is a month long worldanvil competition/challenge in december, where you write as mucha s possible. Check it out, it is a lot of fun. :)   And... The structure of the article is made by hand, not any template. I put it all in the vignette and structure it with BBCode to my liking.   Some tips on that, you can find here:

    Q's Quest for World Building: Formatting
    Generic article | Jun 10, 2019

    Formatting: The difference between a heap of stones and a pretty nifty castle.


    Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.