Well, another summer camp in the books. 2nd one for me, and first time getting Diamond. HOORAY! (you can find everything i wrote for summer camp here Summer Camp Pledge 2022
, fair warning, it is a lot of short prose as I basically rushed it all out in the last 2 weeks of summer camp, with i think almost half the articles completed in the last 3 days?)
Now we get to the even more fun part (besides making Boblin the goblin
and the Myrdhor Jackalope
) reading the amazing things that everyone else on WA has come up with.
As a bit of a challenge to me, I am going to read 3 articles from 2 categories in each prompt batch. One from each prompt will be from someone who's world I follow or who I interact with somewhat regularly on the discord, basically a name I recognize, because they are awesome people, and it is good to let them know that. The other 2 will be picked using google's random number generator. So thats 4x2=8x3=24, There we go, 24 articles to learn from.
First we shall start with the copper prompts, with the Expanse theme. What is an expanse, there are several things that come to mind.
Water, water every where, and all the boards did shrink; Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.
For who can look out upon the ocean an not help but feel dwarfed. Who can sail upon (or under, as was most often the case for me) the seas and not help but have the occasional thought that a small twist of fate, or a whim of nature, is all it would take for the ocean to swallow you whole.
And of course, no sci-fi lover can hear the theme expanse and not think, at some point:
Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before!
Yes, I am young enough that while I have watched the original series, TNG will always be my favorite.
Of course the first prompt to pull articles from is Prompt 1: Somewhere in your setting, describe
An ocean, desert, plain, pocket dimension, or other large expanse
First up, from Jacob-W, we have Sky.
While a short article, the sense of wonder does come across. Also, a thing many people forget that I appreciated seeing was the mention of ash from the boilers and the effects that can be seen on the environment. It is always good to remember to ask the question, what effect will this technology/magic/event have on the world at large, and how will people interpret it?
Next, we have 374 (as mine were randomly sorted) Obscura Drikaal by Typh39
A shattered moon whose pieces are held together by forces not understood by the planet below? How does life continue to exist, and what discoveries lurk waiting to be discovered in the ruins present there. An amazing concept that i could see being the basis for an entire campaign or video game. There are so many elements here that would work well for both sci-fi or fantasy. Perhaps Khotalo will gain a 4th moon someday, or maybe it lost one, who can say what the future holds.
And finally number 76 Caligra by ValdusAetherius
A desert where the geography shifts every night. What protects the cities, how do animals react. And how cool is it to have celestial bodies that mark the locations and activity level of celestial beings on the mortal plane. What effects would the gods in my world have on the area around them if/when they visit the mortal plane
Of course, no expanse is truly empty, so let us fill it with Α species that survives in an unlikely place,
bit of a bias here, as most people who know me know, I am a slight biology nerd/ animal lover, so yes, I will be including all 3 species prompts in this list, because it is awesome to see what cool species people come up with to fill their amazing worlds. After all
The truth is, nature doesn't care that we like nice, neat social organizations. Nature likes variety.
First up, from WordiGirl TrackBurrs
What a wonderful idea, reminds me a bit of Hunger Games style technology seen in the first book. How can the chemical be tracked, is it radioactive, are there trackable insects that follow the path of the chemical, or does it interact with the environment to cause other plants/animals to react a certain observable way. Is this, perhaps, something that could be adapted and shifted to work in a magical world, used by druids, or perhaps the elves that also use the Prison Tree
then we have seed 175, the Screecher brought to us by fire007mountain
An animal ventriloquist, very interesting. Also the need to shift from ground based nutrients/vegetation to primarily carnivorus behavior after adolescence is a really nice concept. It would be fun to play with both that and its reverse, perhaps Treefolk (which i really need to flesh out at some point) go from somewhat stationary saplings, to mobile omnivores, to largely stationary trees over their life cycle.
and rounding out the trio we come to number 415 the Olive Tree from the mind of SoulLink
There is something to be said to be able to take something from our real world, and seamlessly integrate in the mention of things like dryads and a Hunter's Guild. for an example look no further than here.
Next we come to leadership and the Silver prompts. What are my views on leadership, or at least a quote about it that i throw around in various places? I'm glad you asked.
To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”
But we aren't necessarily talking about that kind of leader here, at least not in the articles i'm reading.
First up, A settlement that leads the known world in something,
but what, wine making, iron production, masked hero's. thievery, revelry, war, assassination, mercenary companies, wizards, invention, the possibilities here are truly endless. Take for example, the following variety:
From the wonderful mind of ECCBooks we get Kirbyville
If you ever want to see how to incorporate sneaky pop-culture references into your work, read ECCbook's articles. He is awesome. A whole city homage to Jack Kirby with the geography inspired by other greats. But it isn't corny, it flows so well. ECC's work is something we can all aspire to.
A fellow SC speedwriter, Gillymaya, gave us number 233 the settlement of Ironheim.
A very well written history for a writing sprint, hitting the highlights without getting bogged down in the details is definitely something that I struggle with and am trying to work on.
And number 52, the City of Sins and Sirens, Cincini by TinkerTech
TinkerTech did a really good job here of creating a city that is dangerous to visit, while still possessing the ability to attract visitors. There are so many details that after each re-read i still find new things that as a player i would want to question and explore, but it never really comes across as an encyclopedia style entry.
Now, as is common, leaders often have a title that commands respect from those in the know.
What is a title, and how important are they, really? isn't a title just a fancy addition to a name,
What's in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet.
Featuring none other AmélieIS with Royal Heir
Amélie, as always, has written another amazing article. From layout to art selection I don't think there is a single piece of their work that I haven't been impressed with. Royal Heir is no exception. A bit lighthearted, but with definite undercurrents of darker shady dealing happening in the background, where the common folk cant see. But such an amazingly unique system of choosing an heir. What would the benefits of having patron gods compete to Rule a country, and how would politics change as nobles who follow different gods seek to raise the star of their house? And what effects would all this have on the machinations of the gods themselves? Would common-folk even notice? Could that be a possible route to a cushy retirement for an adventurer in a High Fantasy world?
At 317 of 317 (for me at least) is Hunter of Gods by Shadow Malachi
A darker group, much like my own Scythe
and the position of Rosary
within it. Does killing a god leave some of its power behind in the person who did the deed, or the place where it happened? What is special about shadow magic that it can be used this way? This is perhaps something that i will play with in my vampire clans and other denizens of Cysgodol
as I flesh out the shadow plane and its allied forces.
And last but not least, 197 Talons of the Flight by Althebard
1. Holy crap a who continent was ripped from the Prime World and put in the Fae, that would cause SOOOOOO many problems and interactions and carry a huge learning curve for so many.
2. While another brief article (it is summer camp, so that is fine) it still manages to give quite a bit of information, including different branches of specialization a Talon can work towards. After all, even in something as small as a group project people tend towards specialized rolls, and this hold true of larger organizations as well. This is definitely something I need to work on in my organizations, even if I don't look forward to doing so.
Next up, the Gold prompts, which are all about Discovery and exploration, shame I already use the Star Trek quote, but never fear, instead....
Stuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.
Perhaps we should stuff our eyes with An astonishing natural wonder.
Like Crater Lake, from World Anvil's very own Dimitris
A beautifully descriptive article, with just a hint of mystery thrown in at the end. While not necessarily a very verbose writer, Dimi always manages to tell you what you need to know about a place or thing... Its almost like he is a game designer working on getting his world into a state to present to the rest of us as a published game while showing his love of history and world building, and all things nerd. ;) Shhhhhh, dont tell.
Or perhaps you would like to visit The Cyclopean Sea from Matheral
A largely unexplored area of ocean (i think, due to the mention of most sailors not wanting to go to the deep seas) with dangerous predators and mysterious magics involved. Glances at The Edge of the Map
okay, yes, i admit, i need to flesh out my "mystery ocean" at some point, you got me. BUt the flavor of this is a little different, as it is central to the world, as opposed to existing on the edge.
And how could we not explore what mysteries Eliora Yona's Mirror Mountain holds.
A mysterious mirror atop a mountain, surrounded by a supernaturally peaceful meadow. While there are improvements that could be made, articles like this are why i love reading other people's work so much. It is an idea that grabs the imagination, It leaves you with questions that you want
answers to. Not polished, but what is there is very well done in my opinion.
what fills these wonderous places, what drives people to seek them out? is it perhaps the search for A recently discovered, or rediscovered, species.
From Kefkejaco comes the Narkid
Kefke does such a great job here in giving tid-bits of information, but not showing everything, in keeping with the prompt of a recently (re)discovered
species. The discovery as recent of course, so of course we wont know everything about the Narkid. While it may not be intended, definitely got Starship Trooper/Zerg vibes from the narkid. Which is also cool, because both of those are universes that are fun to explore.
Hailing from the depths of Brandael's world, we discover Azarketi
Brandael does a very good job here of not just introducing, but fleshing out an entire intelligent species (as well as having some really cool art) How they "cook" a bit of history without dropping a 10 paragraph lore bomb. While i have recently drifted away from using the article layouts in favor of "freehand" formatting. This article is a great reminder of how useful they can be in rapidly fleshing out a portion of your world.
and from Ononomad we have Flutterfires
I wont lie, I picked this article (you will notice that no RNG number was included in this section) based on seeing the are for the Butterfly. Because it. is AWESOME. The picture of a flutterfire grabs your imagination and wont let go, and the article does not disappoint.
But also, do you see the cool picture of the Flutterfire. The article block doesn't really do it justice. You should open the article.
Moving on to those things most monsterous, like the Diamond Prompts for the year. (I will admit, i didn't write down the numbers of the prompts I picked here because it was late, and i was tired.)
“Oh, monsters are scared," said Lettie. "That's why they're monsters.”
Dont be frightened, we are almost done, but if you get scared perhaps perform a tradition which keeps monsters or bad luck away
From our very own Duck Lord, Tillerz, will you Feed the Ducks?
Tillerz is awesome, and constantly gives awesome things to the WA community. Ducks are also awesome. Which is really just another point in Tillerz favor. This article is meant to be read with the linked article The Twentieth Duck. Together, they make a rather fun story of a traditions origin, and the reasoning behind why it still goes on. Because, well, what town elders wouldn't want free beer?
perhaps amelianite's The Poison of Garlic will be more helpful
First, let me say that any tradition that promotes the growing, harvesting, and eating of more garlic is fine by me. It actually has my emphatic support. This article shows how much a rumor/tradition can influence a cultures food. of vice versa.
The best part, in my opinion, is the twist at the end. That is worthy of so much praise. I won't spoil it for you, but man....
if neither of those seem to work we can always try one of dustydruid's Porch Totems.
First off, as i most often see strangers associated with treating someone kindly (as you dont know if they are a god, or fey) it is a nice change to see them associated with suspicion and ill fortune (although this is probably a much more common practice than my recent media consumption would indicate) The use of effigies to distract and confuse (hopefully) monsters is a wonderful thought. Although one must wonder, perhaps some of the more edible ones go missing not because of monsters, but because no one offered the passing stranger a meal.
What are we trying to keep away with these traditions, why a species considered monstrous by some
Like the Mudstelle of Stormbril
Do you know about Cane toads? Stormbril made the concept into an adorable looking fish. I mean it is still obviously an invasive nuisance and an ongoing ecological disaster, but at least it isn't also ugly. As always his art is amazing. While this article doesn't necessarily display is CSS wizardry, if you haven't check his world out. If you want to see the upper end of what WA can create his articles will show you.
or Kefkejaco's Yōkai
Another Kefke article, huh. A brief but informative rundown of Yōkai. proving once again that not everything needs to be a book. Also, Japanese mythology is cool. Okay if I am being honest, I enjoy most mythologies. But i learned things from this article, and that is more things I can put in my world, at some point (mustn't get distracted with a google deep dive, don't do it, me)
Are Viewol's Sprites in need of warding off?
As is often the case, many things have a more complex nature than what if often given them in superstition. This is the case with these sprites. Not necessarily good or bad, they are playful (and mischievous) , and what consequences that brings to a region can color how they are viewed. It is important when building large, complex worlds to remember that something viewed as a blessing in one place may very well be an ill omen or downright disaster in another region.
And there you have it. Final takeaways:
- I know i keep saying this, but art adds so much to articles. now that i have been introduced to Midjourney I am definitely going to attempt to include more art in my articles.
- Puns and pop culture references, when used judiciously, have their place almost everywhere. It is as nice to experience the aha moment as it is seeing others experience it.
- WA is such an awesome community.
Well, back to session planning and adventure writing, with new inspiration that, at least here if it developed into something will get credited to you wonderfully imaginative people.