Summer Camp 2023 After-Action Review in Derkomai | World Anvil

Summer Camp 2023 After-Action Review

This was the first time I have participated in the WA Summer Camp, and it was great fun! I wrote quite a bit for WorldEmber 2022, andI wanted to challenge myself for Summer Camp, so I wrote a World Anvil Summer Camp 2023 Pledge to write articles for 32 prompts to get the Diamond participation badge. During the run-up to Summer Camp, as the themes were released, I started thinking of some ideas for articles that I might be able to write for Derkomai that might fit prompts for that theme. As it turns out, I was able to make use of some of the ideas, but definitely not all. No matter - those ideas will be useful for articles I write in the future as I continue working to add content for Derkomai. In the end, I was able to complete articles for all 42 of the prompts, which was super satisfying, as going into the Summer Camp, I wasn't sure if I would be able to meet my goal of writing articles for 32 prompts.   For the Summer Camp 2020 Reading Challenge, my hope is to find articles to read that have fewer views and likes. My articles typically don't get a ton of views or likes, so I'd like to support other worldbuilders and authors that don't get so much recognition. I suspect there's some hidden gems waiting to be discovered!   For the three prompts I will pick articles from, I am choosing:
1) THE TITLE & RESPONSIBILITIES OF AN IMPORTANT PERSON IN YOUR WORLD
2) A CHARACTER DRIVEN BY WANDERLUST OR THE DESIRE TO EXPLORE
3) AN ORGANISATION DEDICATED TO KEEPING A MAJOR SECRET FROM THE PUBLIC
  So, now to pick some articles written for those prompts:   THE TITLE & RESPONSIBILITIES OF AN IMPORTANT PERSON IN YOUR WORLD
Yikes! This prompt has 424 entries! It will be hard to pick just three to read. How do I go about choosing? It feels a little unfair to pick just three when so many people have worked hard to come up with a concept, then write and submit an article. I think I'm going to pick literally randomly, as in use a random number generator to choose. Then there's no possibility of my own biases influencing what I read.   First number is 253, which leads me to: KING OF KONONOI, by Anna Omis
The King of Kononoi describes the duties and responsibilities of the king of the country of Kokonoi on the world of X'Anthia, some about the social structure of the country and relationships with other countries of the world, and has a section on the line of succession in the event that the king dies (something I have not thought about at all for any of the kings on Dermomai). Tha article is clear and creative, and I liked the author's portraits of a couple of the Kings of Kononoi, generated by Midjourney. I know some people don't like AI-generated art, but I use it a lot myself. It has really helped unblock my worldbuilding. Since I am not an artist, I found myself getting stuck trying to describe characters, and I thought my articles were boring without any picture to show what characters and some locations look like. So, AI has been a huge help for me, and for this article, the portraits of the kings and her attractive hand-drawn maps add visual flavor. I enjoyed reading it quite a lot.
  Ok, next is article #11, which is Celestial Diviner by stonebandit.
The Celestial Diviner appears to be perhaps a dragon or person (I wasn't totally sure after reading the article) that observes a celestial object called the Demon's Eye (which is a nebula, according to one of the articles of stonebandit's Varitinera universe). I think stonebandit has some really creative ideas that I hope will be expanded and given more detail.
  The next random number is 37, which points to Pellilock War Mage by Rob Cowan and his world Elos.
The Pellilock War Mage is the leader and protector of the preeminent arcane school of magic on Elos. Based on the meta info on Elos, is sounds like Rob is running an interesting campaign, and I hope he will add a lot more content for Elos to WA with the kind of creative detail that he wrote for the Pellilock War Mage.
  A CHARACTER DRIVEN BY WANDERLUST OR THE DESIRE TO EXPLORE
Okay, some articles about characters that want to get out of the house and see what's what in the world. This prompt has 350 entries, so I'm again going to choose what to read using a random number generator.   The first number chosen was 313, which points to an article by Elizabread for the world Valtena. The character is Kieran the Why.
Elizabread's character Kieran the Why is a powerful elven mage that had to work hard to attain his powers, then passed on his knowledge to students. The article gives a brief history of who Kieran is, how he worked hard to attain his magic, and how he passed his knowledge down to student and later generations of mages. I was left wondering why Kieran was called "the Why." Elizabread has written really good articles introducing Valtena and how it works as a D&D campaign setting. I hope that much more content is added to Valtena as described in those articles.
  The next number generated is 67. Article #67 in my list of characters driven by wanderlust is Tédrel Narin by IBB for the world Thoti.
Tédrel Narin is an elven swordswoman and adventurer that has become famous through her adventures; though, she doesn't like the spotlight. Thoti is another world that I'd like to see much more about. IBB, the author, leaves me wanting more detail, with "One fateful day, however, she took on a job to locate a missing piece of enchanted jewelry that had fallen into the hands of a notorious bandit, Bandit King Agr̊akhikus. And the rest, as they say, is history." I want to know more about that history!
  Okay, the final number I generated for this prompt is 224. The 224th article in my list is Laura Pfeiffer by Molly Marjorie for the world Nideon.
Laura Pfeiffer is a complex woman about whom I find myself having mixed feelings as I read the article. With her brother's support and companionship, she fled an arranged marriage, lived among a cult, was kidnapped, traveled all over, had "experiences" with cannibals, and claimed she visited the "Homeworld" that many believe to be mythical. Later, she returned home, married the same guy (Arman Del) she fled from, had a child with him, then abandoned them to travel, then returned home and apparently got back together with Arman Del (again?!?) and had another child (he must be a really patient and forgiving guy!) The author says of Laura Pfeiffer, "though she always struggled with her duties as a mother." Yes, it certainly seems so!   Regardless of how I feel about the character, the article is very well written and is a fun read. Nideon is an interesting world, and I will be reading more!

  AN ORGANISATION DEDICATED TO KEEPING A MAJOR SECRET FROM THE PUBLIC
This is a really interesting prompt, and I expect a lot of super creative articles for this one. There are fewer entries for this prompt - 104 to be exact. Let's see what the random number generator pulls out of its hat.   The first article I'll read for this prompt is #14 on my list, which is The Veiled Repository by Wulvenfire for the world Teralt.
The Veiled Repository keeps the secret of Teralt's "Worldsoul," which is known as Andromeda. Andromeda is a child of the deceased Worlsoul of Earth, Gaea. The Veiled Repository also keeps the secret of the Gaeans, children of the Gaea Worldsoul, whose appearance on Teralt "leads to chaos and transformation," and the Aethenaeum, an ethereal library "that holds everything known in the universe." The Veiled Repository is headed by the Keeper. Subordinate members are known as Custodians.   This ia a pretty cool concept, and the author has put a lot of thought and work into Teralt. The visitations of Gaeans to Teralt lead to "chaos and transformation," which leaves room for a ton of interesting stories to be developed. I am looking forward to reading more!
  The next article I will read is #86 on my list, which is The Scions of Sion by Kunjiro88 for the world Myd'raal - The New Earth.
The Scions of Sion protect the secrets of three great weapons belonging to the godheads that created humanity, the Watermind, the Firesoul, and the Earthbody. The weapons are weapons both of creation and destruction, and have been wielded by many heroes.   There are several interesting concepts in this article, most just hinted at. It seems that the author runs campaigns based in Myd'raal, which makes it extra cool for me, as it is an active world being challenged by players, so the author/DM has to continually be creative and work on adding new content for the campaigns.
  Okay, the last article I will read for the Summer Camp 2023 Reading Challenge (unless some others catch my eye!) is #68 on my list. That article is Tenebris in the Clarkwoods Literary Universe by E. Christopher Clark.
Well, I'm going to have to spend a lot of time reading through all of E. Christopher Clark's work on the Clarkwoods Literary Universe. There's just way too much going on to describe in a short blurb. Tenebris is an organization with only five members that works to keep the secret of the true nature of reality (which I won't divulge here, because it's a secret!). The secret is important, because it it's divulged, it may lead to a Calamity and a reboot of reality. Obviously, no one wants that to happen!   E. Christopher Clark is a serious author with an MFA in Creative Writing and several published books to his credit, and it shows. Of all the articles I've read for the Summer Reading Challenge, his is the most professionally written. Clearly, he's put a ton of thought and work into the Clarkwoods Literary Universe, as this article fits seamlessly into the whole. I will definitely be reading more.
  All nine authors have written interesting and creative new content for their worlds/universes, but also for the World Anvil universe, and we are all richer for it. I am not sure I can match their creativity over the next half-year, but I have a lot of ideas for new content to add to Derkomai:
  • I started writing an adventure/campaign/story for player characters to solve the case of The Assassination of Linda Ericsson for Adventure April 2023, but I got in over my head. The adventure had way more to write to complete it than I could get done in one month, so I didn't submit it. Although it's a little disappointing that I won't be able to use it for a future Adventure April, it did give me a lot of ideas to work with for Summer Camp. Anyway, I want to complete the adventure to give DMs and players a place to start if they want to run a campaign in Derkomai.
  • I would like to write some other one-shots/adventures/stories for DMs and players to play in Derkomai. I think having some pre-packaged adventures will help make Derkomai more approachable as a world for DMs to base campaigns in. I will try to make some soloable one-shots as well.
  • There are several countries I've still (after 40+ years!?!) written nothing about. That has to be fixed. Really, only Sudland has had much written about it, with a little about Senyon. Almost nothing has been written about any of the other countries.
  • Most of the religious orders, followers of the various Safirim, have almost nothing written about them.
  • There is much more to write about interesting characters and locations that I've collected some notes and ideas for, but not yet really organized into coherent articles. The challenge for me is to not just randomly drop content into the world, but to add content in a way that gives DMs and players more to interact with.
  • Finally, I'd like to create PDF handbooks for DMs and Players that introduce Derkomai and make it accessible as a playable world. I'd like to include some short stories in those handbooks that give the world more depth and flavor.
  Clearly, that's most likely way more than I will be able to complete in six months, so I'm going to have to prioritize. I hope some Anvilites would take the time to give me some thoughts and feedback. I'd love to hear what you think of Derkomai and where to take it from here!


Cover image: by Peter Nelson (Zero Sum Games)

Comments

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Aug 3, 2023 23:54

Thank you for your kind words about my article! Regarding the line of succession, that is the past line and I need to complete it ( that's actually one of the goals I set at the end of my challenge submission.) I started making stub articles for each but I think I am going back and only making articles for the Kings that made significant contributions to the nation of Kononoi. I guess from an artist's perspective I can understand some dislike of AI generated art. I have some original art with my world and continent maps, and my goddess of light Brelynnia and Byria Dafield of The Whispered Shadows. The amount of time that takes vs the amount of images I need makes AI a smart choice for me - I am one of those visual people that loves pictures with my stories. That was a good idea to choose which articles you wrote about. I may have to use that for future events :)

Aug 4, 2023 00:45 by Zero Sum Games

My artistic abilities are adequate, at best, and for character portraits, they would be terrible. I can draw maps perhaps sort of okay, maybe, if your standards are low. So unless I hire someone to create art for me (I've been thinking about engaging a good cartographer for making some nicer maps than what I've been able to do), using AI is my only real option, and to be honest, it's been a huge help for envisioning what characters look like. I haven't used it so much for locations, but I might give it a try just to see what it can do.

Aug 4, 2023 01:07

Interesting, I was wondering if there was a market for hand-drawn fantasy maps. I use mine, but most maps I have seen have been computer generated. I am working on one for my friend and DM for her world and had a passing thought of doing something like that but have no idea where to begin. Story of my life LMAO!! AI for locations has been a mixed bag, sometimes it's great and sometimes it takes forever to get something remotely similar to what I want. I figure that could be how I am wording my prompts though. Bing is actually cool because it is very chat-based and it will ask you if you want to change anything. But it is touchy and doesn't always work.

Aug 14, 2023 04:08 by Molly Marjorie

I love that you chose your articles at random! I will definitely have to use that technique in the future (if you don't mind my copying you). I also love how positive this article is, and your desire to showcase the hidden gems that are lurking out there. I'm glad you enjoyed reading my work :)

Check out Natural Magic : a coming of age fantasy novel, because life is hard enough when you're fourteen, even without saving the world. Or listen to it in podcast form .
Aug 14, 2023 05:39 by Zero Sum Games

Well, having been a software engineer for so many years, using a random number generator to avoid making a decision was the first thing I thought of doing, lol. Your character was one of my favorite articles of all that I read for the Summer Reading Challenge. Real people are complicated, and Laura Pfeiffer certainly is. I'm not sure that my characters are as realistic. If you ever have a bad case of insomnia, I'd like to hear what you think about some of my characters, like Edan or Donatello Genovesi - two that I put quite a bit of time and thought into.

Aug 14, 2023 13:26 by Molly Marjorie

I'll add them to my reading list!

Check out Natural Magic : a coming of age fantasy novel, because life is hard enough when you're fourteen, even without saving the world. Or listen to it in podcast form .
Aug 20, 2023 00:57 by E. Christopher Clark

Thanks for checking out my article. I love the idea of using a random number generator for the reading challenge. Good luck on your goals for the rest of the year.

Vote for the Clarkwoods Literary Universe as Best World in the Worldbuilding Awards
Aug 20, 2023 02:55 by Zero Sum Games

It was my pleasure. You've really developed an awesome world. I will definitely be reading more.

Sep 6, 2023 18:00

Choosing articles at random is quite original and allow you (and us) to discover some hidden gems, very neat!

Hoo~ Hoo
Sep 7, 2023 00:02 by Zero Sum Games

Thanks! Since there were so many entries, I couldn't think of a better way. Usually, I would just pick something with an interesting title or from someone I was already familiar with, but that felt a little unfair when everyone worked to write an article for the challenge. Using a random number generator at least let me avoid my own biases.