Summer Camp 2023 Progress Report in Manifold Sky | World Anvil

Summer Camp 2023 Progress Report

Challenge Status: All Prompts Complete! (42/42)
Summer Camp 2023 is currently underway. Keep an eye on this ticker for updates on this challenge. Onwards! - - - 6/6/23: Homework assignment #1 has been completed. - - - 6/10/23: Homework assignement #2 has been completed. - - - 6/18/23: Homework assignment #3 has been completed. - - - 6/24/23: Homework assignment #4 has been completed. - - - 7/1/23: Completed the Beefbeet and Eustunras articles. - - - 7/3/23: Completed the Island Shimmertail article. - - - 7/4/23: Happy Independence Day! Completed the Near Miss at Alpha Xymeria and Hengeyokai articles. - - - 7/5/23: Completed the Bureau of Ballot Measures article. - - - 7/6/23: Completed the Coven Leader article. - - - 7/7/23: Completed the Sandstone Festival and The Armorer vs. The Garbage Man articles. Bronze achieved! - - - 7/8/23: Silver prompts released. Completed the Giant Petalcap, Ironians and the Ironian Heresy, and Burbling Silk Sea articles. - - - 7/10/23: Completed the Obsidian Eel article. - - - 7/11/23: Completed the Ryouta Yvain, Eiquereus Marcasite, and Chathorn Station articles. Silver achieved! - - - 7/12/23: Completed the The Crimson Loop article. - - - 7/13/23: Completed the Protectorate Deep Space Colonist article. - - - 7/14/23: Completed the Defected Missive article. - - - 7/15/23: Gold prompts released. Completed the Floating Briar Brandy article. - - - 7/16/23: Completed the Stock Stories article. - - - 7/17/23: Completed the Lunalimina and Warlord Burla'asin of the Great Flock articles. - - - 7/18/23: Completed the Steamtech Engineer, Munyoi, and Willie and the Whistling Wind articles. Gold achieved! - - - 7/19/23: Completed the Great Lookouts Vytrimite article. - - - 7/20/23: Completed the Gavel of Thyonaxes and Naming Day articles. - - - 7/21/23: Completed the Tekorange article. - - - 7/22/23: Diamond prompts released. Completed the Lunar, Lunar Glyph, Radio Voxelia Tower, and Protectorate Stellar Telegraphy Network articles. Diamond achieved! - - - 7/24/23: Completed the Kedri Kek-Pensh and Sixtus Sandbranch articles. All bonus prompts completed! - - - 7/25/23: Completed the Evermorn Strategic Colony Initiative, Guardian Proclaimation, and Rail Tube System articles. All Prompts Complete! - - - 7/29/23: Surprise! Two more wild card prompts released. Finished the The Original Sin and Kit's Crater Five article. Okay, now I can finally say it: All Prompts Complete!


Howdy all!   The temperature is rising, and that can only mean one thing: the WorldAnvil SummerCamp 2023 challenge is coming. It is time, once again, to set out on a month-long odyssey to develop and expand upon the lore of our various WorldAnvil worlds through the completion of a series of themed article prompts. Click here if you're interested in following or participating in the challenge yourself!  
by WorldAnvil
  Every year I've been on this site, I've made it an unofficial goal to compete in every major challenge put before us. I succeeded in 2022, so this year I've made it official with a New Year's Resolutions article. Summer Camp 2023 is another step on that road, and I hope you will all join me in undertaking this massive endeavor - or, at least, enjoy reading some neat articles along the way. Either way, we're all bound to have some fun in the sun.   Onwards!



Like usual, the Summer Camp 2023 main event is preceeded by a series of preparatory homework assignments. You can find my responses to these 'mini-challenges' below, compressed into spoilers for visual clarity and convenience. The original homework prompts can be found here on the WorldAnvil Blog .   Homework & Theme 1: Power
Our first homework assignment involves setting up this article for submission, reviewing the world meta, considering the themes that will be explored with the first (Bronze) set of prompts, and talking a little about how this theme relates to the world we intent to explore. The first prompt theme is power in its various forms. While I have several settings that will be worked on over the course of this challenge, the Manifold Sky setting is likely to recieve the most attention from me as my oldest, largest, and most well-recieved worldbuilding projects. The world of the Manifold Sky is a moderately noble-bright (also known as 'knight-glow') dieselpunk setting featuring a five-dimensional world awash in gas, gears, and guns.   As discussed in the The Manifold Sky Primer, the Manifold is a non-Euclidean world where a high degree of interconnectedness and relative dearth of usable land space have had a significant impact on the develoment of nature, technology, and culture. The article The Geometries of the Manifold Sky - A History has more information about the unusual configuration of the world.   Because of the unusual geometries of the Manifold Sky setting, space is at a premium. The effective surface area of the world is finite and only a fraction of what one might find on a habitable spheroid world - a sort of place the residents refer to in mythological terms as The Curved Time. Thus, whereas social power in some other settings might derive from the accumulation of monetary wealth, influence, mystic knowledge, or amassed military might - social power manifests in the Manifold Sky setting in the control of limited territory and raw materials. The most powerful nations by scale of their control are:  
  • The human nations of Voxelia, the Manifold Conservation Society, and the Coalition of Breakaway Colonies,
  • the Rostran nation of the Rostran Archipelago Confederacy, and
  • the verdial nation of Petalcap Vale.
  • Numerous peripheral states and lesser powers, such as the Hermitage Island Fellowship, Ovinex Island Tribes, and Leather Jacket Nomads have sprung up in the gaps between these major powers in places where the ability of those powers to take and hold territory have faltered. The article On the Geopolitics of the Manifold Sky has some more detail about the sociopolitical state of the Manifold Sky as it stands in the current era.   In physical terms, the primary source of motive power in the Manifold Sky setting is dieseltech, a marriage between internal combustion engines and mechanical computer technologies that has given rise to wonderously anachronistic devices like carbon-fuelled powered armor, automata, and even orbital stations. International travel, enabled by the invention of aerostats capable of traversing the spatial anomalies that connect the eighty cube-layers of the world together, has empowered entrepreneuring factions like the Navigator's Guild and MartMart International while igniting new flashpoints in the never-ending struggle for more space and resources. Prominent scientists and engineers, like Tiberius Djanzer, Miko Slaus-Braun, Julian Pelforth, and the mysterious Duke of Drones wield outsized influence in global affairs through their contributions, albeit on occasion at the expense of ethical concerns.   The Manifold Sky setting is comparatively grounded in terms of the limitations of its physics and metaphysics - additional spatial dimensions notwithstanding - so 'occult' power largely does not apply. The pursuit of spiritual growth is an important aspect of life for most residents of the Manifold, but it comes with psychological and social benefits rather than supernatural power. The only exception to this 'hard science' grounding involves the fantastical powers of the villainous Garbage Man, who has discovered a heretofore unknown means of traversing the two spatial dimensions not normally accessible to living things. Through The Garbage Man, there are implications that the Manifold might be imbedded within a broader universe wherein mysterious outsiders, such as The White-Haired Gentleman, might be the real engineers of reality as Manifold residents understand it. The Manifold coming to grips with this unique and unprecedented display of power at a critical juncture in world history constitutes a major conflict of the setting as a vehicle for a written fiction project I hope to work on as part of NaNoWriMo 2023 (see my New Year's Resolutions for details).

      Homework & Theme 2: Frontier
    Our second homework assignment introduces us to the theme for the second batch of prompts - that being the frontier - and encourages us to think about the frontiers of our settings. This would also be the time to work on article organization and map integration, but I've actually put a lot of work into these aspects of the Manifold Sky setting due to previous such challenges.   There are three major sets of frontiers in the Manifold sky setting:   First, despite the limited volume of the world, the ability to travel to adjacent tesseracts via the use of inflection layers is a relatively recent innovation. Thus, there still remain places in the world that have yet to be explored in detail. Furthermore, though some pursue exploration with a religious zeal - and a rare few people have indeed visited every cube face - there are environmental conditions in some regions that are absolutely hostile to long-term settlement with the technology available to Manifold Sky residents. For example, the whole Distal Tesseract is the home of an ecology with a basis in amino acids of the opposite chirality to terrestrial life, meaning that any colonization effort would involve either extensive terraforming or - less likely - significant advancements in self-modification. For now, the frontiers of the Manifold Sky setting remain wild, free, and mysterious - a perfect set of conditions for two-fisted dieselpunk action-adventure.   The second set of frontiers present in the Manifold Sky setting have to do with the world's unusual geometry. There has been wide-ranging speculation about the nature of the Celestial Realms - the region beyond the confines of the world-penteract - and there are currently scant few ways to investigate further. It is believed that an orbital system - known as the Celestial System - governs certain regular environmental conditions, such as the day and night cycle, the shift in seasonal illumination, and the northern and southern particle radiation fluxes. Word of possible gaps in the structure of the Manifold Sky, such as the anomaly in the depths of the Glass-Block Fortress in the Dorsal Tesseract, has long spread in academic circles. The study of meta-Manifold physics represents a frontier in scientific development, with the creation of the Menger Catalyst and the discovery of apotheosite left in the wake of the Garbage Man's unique dimension-shifting powers potentially shedding light on what might lie beyond the visible dimensions of the Manifold itself.   The final frontier of the Manifold Sky setting is metaphysical and epistemological in nature. The setting's true nature on a metaphysical level is a matter of intense debate. In the Manifold, Last Kekuni-ism - a setting-specific variant of Last-Thursdayism - is not an absurd philosophical stance to take. In fact, the notion that the world is a recent and artificial creation has some evidence to it and wide appeal even in very scientific-minded corners of society at large. Every culture holds vague ancestral memories of The Curved Time, a period in ancient pre-history during which the peoples of the Manifold were forced from a reality of spheroid planets into the confining prison of the Manifold by unknowable powers often equated to gods. Forgists believe the world is a sort of grand artifice meant to test and refine the souls of living beings, while the Way of the Biocosm believes that the form of the world is the result of it being part of a greater living being. Discovering the truth of the setting's nature, purpose, and causes is a major preoccupation for religions and sciences alike, but these remain impossible to discern for the time being; should the Garbage Man somehow succeed in his mad plot to throw down the Creator in his avatar as The White-Haired Gentleman, however, those who seek answers to these deeper questions might live to discover more than they had bargained for.

      Homework & Theme 3: Relics
    Our third homework assignment has to do with relics and the way they show the history and culture of our worlds. It also entails reviewing and updating any timelines or chronicles we might have.   While the Manifold Sky setting does have a central timeline that I work from when creating articles relevant to global history, I feel that some parts of it are unnecessarily long and will either require editing or, potentially, a reasonable explaination. As addressed in homework #2 (above), the notion that history started at a fixed time - with all previous events being fabricated - is not a conspiracy theory as such in the Manifold Sky setting and, thus, the early pre-history can afford some 'wobbliness.' This is hardy to justify for more recent events, especially those in living memory, and so I may attempt to rectify this with some of my submissions during Summer Camp 2023.   In the Manifold Sky setting, the Lost Tribes are a sort of catch-all term for any pre-historic or uncontacted people that subsequently disappeared from the records, leaving little but nameless relics in their wake. Because space in the Manifold Sky setting is at a premium, many of these groups were extinguised as a result of warfare or simply being outcompeted by other groups for critical resources. This was the case with the Circle of Six and many more. Others merged into other groups and were completely subsumed, as with the peoples of the Zhohain Cliffs region and the speakers of ancient Munyobu. Others disappeared under environmental or other conditions that aren't necessarily obvious at first glance, such as the Ancient Feldean and Lepidosian cultures.   The last and most difficult to understand groups are those which are only known through their relics, such as the creators of Uxmat's Armillary, the builders of the Glass-Block Fortress, or perhaps the engineers of the Clothier's Anomaly. Certain landforms in the Manifold have an air of unnaturalness to them, such as the Rhombic Obliques, which might indicate intentional design by some ancient and cosmically powerful force. Little is known of these groups except for the remains of their deeds, though religions like Forgism seek to understand them through the framework of divine intervention during The Curved Time.   The vigorous culture of reuse, recycling, and refurbishment that exists as an economically-necessitated extension of the Manifold's limited resources means that extant cultures tend to produce fewer long-standing relics unless preservation is the original intent. However, elements of older equipment may find their way into newer ones, and many relics are more defined by passing through many users' hands than by outright age. For example, a suit of auto-armor that survives many battles might find its armor components integrated into new ones as good luck charms; some are even built with this purpose specifically in mind, like with the way that "Ixulova Tun" Amphibious Assault Auto-Armor integrate Sacred Eudoxium to bring the blessing of the spirits in Rostran Esotericism. This is not to say that relics are not created anymore as a result of living history, however, and monuments and pieces of art are still sometimes made to stand the test of time - often as a result of religious inspiration.

      Homework & Theme 4: Communication
    Week 4's assignment asks us to talk a little bit about how communication works in our world, from languages to secret codes to technology that enables communication. The prompt asks us to talk about how groups communicate with one another, how they share secrets, and how communication works at various ranges. It also suggests digging into the dictionary function of the language template and the whiteboard feature, as well as looking back at some of our previous articles for inspiration. The language template happens to be one of my favorites, so I'm glad to see that communication is going to be a major theme here.   Different parts of the Manifold Sky setting are populated by diverse cultures that have often been isolated by insurmountable geographical features for thousands of years before the development of self-propelled vehicles. This means that there has been sufficient time for these cultures to develop languages and other systems of communication wholly unintelligible from one another. Early efforts at unifying diverse language groups include the penning of the Incunabula of the House of the Unexpected, which created a religious literary cannon that helped unify the languages of Medial A in a way that directly led to the birth of modern Vozendi. In the present day, with previously separated cultures now coming into contact with one another, organizations like the Navigator's Guild and the Sorority of Solace have developed auxiliary languages like Guild Pidgin and Solasign respectively to promote international cooperation. Some standardization in visual communication has also occured, as in the case with cargo bullseyes, to support international commercial activities.   The Manifold Sky setting is a dieselpunk setting. With extremely narrow exceptions, technology within the Manifold is meant to parallel and expand upon technologies that existed in our own world just before the advent of the Atomic Age. This means that technological communication in the setting is electromechanical at short ranges and radio-based at long ranges. Autonets are electromechanical networks that distribute messages through a structure as small as a single factory and, as in the case of Bunker Primus and Cloverwall, as large as a municipality. Telephone and telegraph lines allow messages between neighboring regions, with the invention of teleterminals even allowing data connections between autonets and dieseltech computers physically remote from one another. tesseract are separated by inflection layers at up to 24 miles of altitude, precluding wired communication; the RadNet is a global system of powerful radio transceivers and dieseltech-enabled encryption engines designed to overcome this limitation.   Because the Manifold Sky setting is frequently at war over limited resources - or, at least, a dangerous place for people without friends - numerous secret languages and cyphers have been created over the years to help disguise meaning from prying eyes. Languages like Burnheart Cant are designed to obscure spoken language, while the Silkenvault Cipher and Programming Gasket Grille Cypher are designed to conceal written communications. The differences in computing architecture between cultures may be considered an organically-occuring cypher system in the sense that machine languages may be intentionally designed to favor understanding by one culture over another. For example, Ixiotaba was designed by Rostran engineers with a long cultural background of excellence at spatial navigation, while GasKIT was designed by Commonwealth Elovisians with a very pedantic understanding about how a document should read and be interpreted. The various factions of the Manifold have begun to use dieseltech computers to create ever-more esoteric encryption methods for use in RadNet communications (see above) where it may not be possible to ensure that only the intended party will receive up a privileged broadcast.

    The Prompts

    Click here for a complete listing of the prompts and the articles I submitted for them.  

    Bronze Prompts (8/8)

    Prompt 1
    A powerful organization in your world:
    Bureau of Ballot Measures
    Organization | Jul 6, 2023

    Prompt 5
    A culture that has suffered under the rule of a stronger nation:
    Ironians and the Ironian Heresy
    Ethnicity | Jul 9, 2023

    Prompt 2
    A seat of power (of any kind!):
    Settlement | Jul 3, 2023

    Prompt 6
    A conflict between two unequal powers in your world:
    The Armorer vs. The Garbage Man
    Military Conflict | Jul 8, 2023

    Prompt 3
    A resource that provides fuel or power:
    Material | Jul 2, 2023

    Prompt 7
    The title & responsibilities of an important person in your world:
    Coven Leader
    Rank/Title | Jul 6, 2023

    Prompt 4
    An animal associated with, or symbolizing, power:
    Island Shimmertail
    Species | Jul 3, 2023

    Prompt 8

    Silver Prompts (8/8)

    Prompt 9
    An unclaimed, unregulated, or lawless region in your setting:
    Burbling Silk Sea
    Geographic Location | Jul 9, 2023

    Prompt 13
    A useful plant found in a wild area of your world:
    Giant Petalcap
    Species | Jul 8, 2023

    Prompt 10
    A settlement at the limits of the "known" or "civilized" world:
    Chathorn Station
    Settlement | Jul 12, 2023

    Prompt 14
    A material or natural resource that comes from a dangerous location:
    Eiquereus Marcasite
    Material | Jul 11, 2023

    Prompt 11
    A job that takes its practitioners to remote or faraway places:
    Protectorate Deep Space Colonist
    Profession | Jul 13, 2023

    Prompt 15
    A character driven by wanderlust or the desire to explore:
    Ryouta Yvain
    Character | Jul 24, 2023

    Prompt 12
    An animal found in a non-populated area:
    Obsidian Eel
    Species | Jul 11, 2023

    Prompt 16
    A cuisine from a sparse, barren or remote region in your world:
    Floating Briar Brandy
    Tradition / Ritual | Jul 16, 2023

    Gold Prompts (8/8)

    Prompt 17
    A tradition or behavior considered old fashioned:
    Stock Stories
    Tradition / Ritual | Jul 17, 2023

    Prompt 21
    A profession that has been rendered obsolete:
    Steamtech Engineer
    Profession | Jul 18, 2023

    Prompt 18
    An item of great cultural or religious significance to a people in your world:
    Gavel of Thyonaxes
    Item | Jul 20, 2023

    Prompt 22
    A children's tale or song based on a real event:
    Willie and the Whistling Wind
    Myth | Jul 19, 2023

    Prompt 19
    An ancient city that is still inhabited today:
    Settlement | Jul 23, 2023

    Prompt 23
    A species now considered extinct:
    Great Lookouts Vytrimite
    Species | Jul 25, 2023

    Prompt 20
    A historical figure still venerated today, and why:
    Warlord Burla'asin of the Great Flock
    Character | Jul 17, 2023

    Prompt 24
    A historical culture whose influence is still felt today:
    Ethnicity | Jul 18, 2023

    Diamond Prompts (8/8)

    Prompt 25
    A method used to carry goods over long distances:
    Rail Tube System
    Vehicle | Jul 25, 2023

    Prompt 29
    A species with an unusual form of communication:
    Species | Jul 23, 2023

    Prompt 26
    Prompt 30
    A character who excels in manipulating others:
    Kedri Kek-Pensh
    Character | Jul 25, 2023

    Prompt 27
    A form of silent communication:
    Lunar Glyph
    Language | Jul 23, 2023

    Prompt 31
    An important public announcement that one person addressed to many:
    Guardian Proclaimation
    Document | Jul 25, 2023

    Prompt 28
    An organization for which recruiting or proselytizing is important:
    Evermorn Strategic Colony Initiative
    Organization | Jul 25, 2023

    Prompt 32
    A building or landmark used for, or associated with, communication:
    Radio Voxelia Tower
    Building / Landmark | Jul 23, 2023

    Wild Card Prompts (8/8)

    Bronze 1
    A species known for its mischievous personality:
    Species | Aug 6, 2023

    Bronze 2
    A popular summer tradition that involves art and creativity:
    Sandstone Festival
    Tradition / Ritual | Jul 7, 2023

    Silver 1
    An iconic building or landmark representing a location:
    The Crimson Loop
    Building / Landmark | Jul 13, 2023

    Silver 2
    A letter sent in secret by a well-known person in your world:
    Defected Missive
    Document | Jul 14, 2023

    Gold 1
    A ceremony that represents a transition or transfer:
    Naming Day
    Tradition / Ritual | Jul 21, 2023

    Gold 2
    A rare natural phenomenon that most people look forward to:
    Physical / Metaphysical Law | Jul 21, 2023

    Diamond 1
    Optional: a character who prefers to lurk in the shadows:
    Sixtus Sandbranch
    Character | Jul 25, 2023

    Diamond 2
    Optional: a "negative" condition that has hidden advantages:
    Orginev Conversion
    Condition | Jul 24, 2023

    Surprise Wild Card Prompts (2/2)

    Surprise Bonus 1
    An organisation dedicated to keeping a major secret from the public:
    Kit's Crater Five
    Organization | Jul 30, 2023
    Surprise Bonus 2
    A myth or truth about the meaning of your universe:
    The Original Sin
    Myth | Jul 30, 2023

    Cover image: by Sigmund


    Please Login in order to comment!
    6 Jun, 2023 17:20

    Best of luck! Excited to see what you write :D

    I hope you have a great day!   The Yonderverse is getting Spooky!
    8 Jun, 2023 22:09

    Good luck with your progress towards that shiny diamond badge! :D You've got this! Which article template(s) do you enjoy writing for the most?

    Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
    12 Jun, 2023 06:38

    Thanks, and good luck to you as well! As for templates, it's hard for me to pick a single favorite, but I think my best work has been in rituals (specifically tabletop games) and languages. I like how languages neatly encapsulate a lot of their speakers' history, culture, and priorities. I also think there's something really cool about a conlang or set of game rules that's complete enough to actually take on an existence beyond the confines of the fiction.

    Come check out The Manifold Sky: Five-Dimensional Dieselpunk Action   My Current challenge article - Summer Camp 2023 - is now live!