WorldEmber 2022: Pledge

The year draws to a close, its legacy writ in gold and dust. But it doth not cease this moment; there is time yet for our last joys.
 
WorldEmber is coming.
For the fourth year running, Istralar shall participate in WorldEmber.  
  I pledge a minimum of 10,000 words to our cause.
 

Planning Document

Each year, I create and share a sheet to ensure easy planning and tracking for WorldEmber. Here's this years.  
  Want to use it yourself? Make a copy of my blank one here!  

What is WorldEmber?

  WorldEmber is a writing challenge and event that WorldAnvil hosts every year. I first participated in 2018, and have participated every year since - though 2019 was not my year, I forgot to actually publish some of the works I'd done and didn't get nearly enough written.   The WorldAnvil team runs a number of small events leading up to WorldEmber, and in true Hanhula fashion, I've chosen to ignore the week-by-week approach and do everything last-minute as per usual. Onto the prepwork, then.  

Week 1: A Plan and a Project

 
  1. If you have more than one world setting, which one is the most important to you right now? Why?
  2.  
  3. Which area of that world setting will allow you to achieve your goals (Continuing your novel/campaign, or starting a new one?).
  4.  
  5. How will it help you achieve those goals?
 

Question 1: The Setting

  Look around. This is Istralar, primary planet of its own universe (or perhaps multiverse) and the setting for my campaign of 7 years and still going - I think we're nearly at 8 now, actually. Istralar is very near and dear to my heart, and though we're starting to learn of other planets, planes, and far-off mysteries in the setting - Aetharis and the Dimension of Time, for instance - we still have much to explore in the primary setting.   I have no interest in splitting my focus into an alternate setting at this time.  

Question 2: The Focal Areas

  I have two target areas for current and/or upcoming events in my tabletop games. As was present throughout Summer Camp 2022, Takawaoku is the current focus of my game. The players, as of this writing, are locked into the beginning throes of battle with the Earth-Mother's Gift, one of the Shards of the Void, and the avatar(s) the Gift has enthralled.   But I also am aware that the current tale is building to its conclusion - the stage is set, its players wait in the wings, and I await the trigger for the end. And Campaign 2, as it is so lovingly entitled, takes place elsewhere on Kudara. I could very well start writing out what that area is like - or if not the area, then at least I could begin writing out the deities and powers that linger at the edges of current knowledge.   I think I do prefer writing for Takawaoku, or at least for the majority of Istralar that isn't Kudara. I have a lot of places I'd like to flesh out, and talking with the illustrious Qurilion reminds me that I have so many mysteries waiting to be seeded into the fabric of each country. It could be fun.  

Question 3: The Goals

  With a campaign scope as large as mine and the future looking towards new horizons, any writing sows the seeds of future adventure. A throwaway line about a mysterious disease could become a full-blown plot, with players potentially choosing to set their characters in these places. When Burdyr Donderiall joined my campaign, my writings on Memory's Pathway and Gildómar made it infinitely easier for his wonderful roleplayer to establish himself in the world - something my original players didn't have when they made their characters.   I'm hoping that everything I create here lays seed for blossoms of adventure, whether it be in TTRPGs or in novels set in Istralar, basically.  

Week 2: Meta and Inspirations

  1. If you haven’t filled in the meta, or haven’t checked it for a while, make sure you fill it in!
  2.  
  3. Check out the inspirations for the meta.
  4.  
  5. Create a mini-meta and link it in your pledge document.
 

Question 1: The Meta

I don't feel the need to fill out Istralar's meta. Hard pass. The homework talks about how the meta is meant to give you inspiration - I've always found that trying to fill it out makes me very quickly feel stressed and pigeonholed, and I refuse to do it!  

Question 2: The Inspirations

I've talked about Istralar's inspirations a lot to various people and in various places. Pretty much every piece of media I consume, every place I go, and every person I meet serves as inspiration for various things in Istralar. Some of my favourite inspirations lately have been the dark fantasy world of Divinity Original Sin 2 and its intriguing opinions on gods, the themes of hope and despair in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, and the destructive force of nature that is our planet. That last one isn't media, I've just got a habit of deep-diving WIkipedia articles. Go look up limnic eruptions. Terrifying! Fantastic inspiration!  

Question 3: The Mini Meta

  Press This Button To See Istralar's Mini Meta
Mini Meta by Hanhula
  This is all you're getting from me.  

Week 3: Organisation

 
  1. Create or review your category tree. Check that all articles are in a category.
  2.  
  3. Create a tag system to better organize your articles.
  4.  
  5. Let us know if the homework has been helpful so far!
 

Question 1: Category Tree

  I do this regularly after every competition and have a Word doc speccing out my full organisation tree. Yeah, I'm good!  

Question 2: Tag System

  This is a homework question? What? I'm... not interested in overhauling a tag system yet.  

Question 3: Is the homework helpful?

  I think you may gather from my responses that whilst I'm sure this has been incredibly helpful to those with smaller scopes or newer worlds, I've.. been around a bit. I've been doing some of my own prep for what I'll write as per usual, and that's been more helpful to me - exact article ideas rather than general thoughts is better for me.  

Week 4: Visuals

  1. Look at your world’s style and layout and tweak it (or decide that it already looks amazing!).
  2.  
  3. Collect visual resources for your world. You can add them to your Pledge Document to give the community a taste of what you’ll be working on!
 

Question 1: CSS

  [gestures at world]   My CSS is never finished and never will be. I constantly update and tweak it as needed - for instance, check the homepage out! It's been overhauled this year. I do like to think it's some pretty nice CSS. Hover over the back to world thing, it spins! The headers on my front page sparkle! I treat WA as my CSS testing and learning ground, and I do enjoy it greatly.  

Question 2: Images

  Now, wouldn't this be spoilers? I've been hard at work on Midjourney, but perhaps a taster is apt...  
by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
  As a reminder, I use both Midjourney and Stable Diffusion to create images for Istralar, along with stock photography from Unsplash, Scopio, and other similar sites. I also occasionally produce the artwork myself - whether completely by hand, like in Champion of the Divine, or by using other tools like Wonderdraft, such as with Takawaoku's map.

Cover image: WorldEmber cover by Hanhula (via Midjourney)

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