WorldEmber 2022 Pledge & Progress Report

Introduction

Howdy all! December is right around the corner, and this year, I intend to get down at least 10,000 words of worldbuilding to finish out 2022 with a bang. So join me, BCGR_Wurth, on a month-long odyssey of writing, worldbuilding, and general creativity as we once again enter the holly-jolly WorldEmber season here on WorldAnvil!   You can find my preparatory assignments (also known as 'homework') direclty below. These will be followed by an ever-growing list of my submissions to the challenge. Click here to jump directly to the challenge submissions. In the rightmost column, you will find links to my previous WorldEmber challenge pages, a running count of my words and articles, and more.   Without further ado, let's worldbuild!


Preparatory Assignments

Preparation for WorldEmber 2022 started in November, at the end of Spooktober and the beginning of NaNoWriMo and Mapvember. The original WorldEmber 2022 homework prompts can be found on this WorldAnvil Blog post.  

Week 1

This week, I answered the following questions:  
  1. If you have more than one world setting, which one is the most important to you right now? Why?
    While the Sealed Kingdoms setting was my first love with regards to worldbuilding projects, the Manifold Sky setting is currently my largest, most complex, and best-known world, and I expect that it will recieve the bulk of my attention over the course of this challenge.
  2.  
  3. Which area of that world setting will allow you to achieve your goals (Continuing your novel/campaign, or starting a new one)?
    With 80 cubes - not to mention a number of peripheral areas in the greater setting, such as the celestial realms - it seems that not every location in the Manifold is fully fleshed out with unique creatures to encounter, settlements to visit, or other oddities to explore. I intent to put in some work on the ecology of the setting and fill each of these 'empty' spaces with at least one location of note. I also feel that the culture of the Coalition of Breakaway Colonies, especially Craterhold and its various clans, are not well fleshed-out at the moment.   If I decide to shift gears and work on the Sealed Kingdoms during this challenge, I hope to also at least name all the clans of Evermorn and start filling out secondary characters for The Fortress of Salt. I may also create articles for any human-descended species I haven't covered yet, such as the Hespartans, and interactions between them, such as the Lepidosian-Hespartic War.
  4.  
  5. How will it help you achieve those goals?
    As a setting, Manifold Sky is supposed to embrace action, adventure, exploration, and pulpy escapism in general. That means I need to have a lot of exotic and unique set pieces to work with for things like short stories and adventures, and that means I need to have at least a few notable things in every environment that I can potentially expand upon. I'm hopeful that focussing my worldbuliding down to this goal will help get it done, as otherwise I'd be stuck waiting for inspiration.
 

Week 2

The homework for Week 2 involves reviewing my meta and creating a 'mini-meta' for what I will be working on during WorldEmber 2022. The Manifold Sky setting already has a complete world meta, which you can read by clicking here. I also have an older primer article that I believe pre-dates the meta feature. You can read that article by clicking here. The Sealed Kingdoms meta is as-of-yet incomplete, but I am putting in work to get it done. You can read that meta here.   Scope: The scope of my articles for this challenge will mostly be constrained to areas of the Manifold that haven't already been explored. My main goal is to make sure that, by the end of December, I will have at least one marker on every cube on this map:  
The Manifold At A Glance
This is a generalized map of the Manifold Sky, with cubes and tesseracts shown based on their relative connections to one another. Tesseract labels are based on Navigator's Guild nomenclature. Cube topology and geopolitical boundaries are excluded. Additional layers show various points of interest and the comfortable habitatats of the various sentient species within the Manifold. Note that the compass rose shows the progression of day and night through the tesseracts, as well as the relative position of magnetic north (green arrow).
  Theme: The major themes of the Manifold Sky setting include unexpected connections (it is a non-euclidean space after all), temperance, and attonement.   The Garbage Man arc has strong connections to the deep lore of the setting as covered by The Curved Time - a mythical period in history where the Manifold was created as a sort of 'puragory' for the sinners of previous realities. The arcs of many major characters involve them facing their flaws and either succumbing to them or overcoming them to become better people; I think it would be fitting to set this important inner, spiritual journey in the context of a journey through surreal, brain-twisting locales.
  Mood: As addressed in my main meta, the world of Manifold Sky - and, thus, the articles I intend to put out during WorldEmber - is thematically mostly 'noblebright.' A more exact term might be 'knightglow' in that it isn't all sunshine and rainbows, but the setting is meant to emulate some aspect of pulpy adventure tales that would be contemporary with the setting's overall cultural and technological development. WorldAnvil user Jakob Bolt did a great write-up on what that means here:  
Tone & Setting Alignment
Generic article | Oct 17, 2020

Learn more about the Noble/Grim & Bright/Dark scale

  One important goal of the Manifold Sky setting is to embrace escapism. Not every story meant to be taken serious has to be dour, dark, and depressing. Fleshing out the various regions of the Manifold that haven't gotten any attention yet will help achieve this goal by providing exciting and exotic places for adventures to occur, whether in short stories, longer stories, or tabletop roleplaying modules.  

Week 3

by BCGR_Wurth
The homework for Week 3 is to establish a categorization and tagging systems to organize my worldbuilding efforts. In truth, I've been using the category and tagging systems on WA for almost as long as I can remember, as it definitely makes it easier to find things and allows certain BBCode features (such as diplomacy webs) to function properly. I took some time to sort some of the uncategorized articles I had floating around over on the Sealed Kingdoms side of things, but otherwise I'm more or less done in this regard.   One big change I did make was to turn all the category 'book covers' on the Manifold Sky homepage (see right) back into links on the sidebar. I had initially changed it in response to a previous challenge (Summer Camp 2021 I think), but I feel that the change in visual style was overall a failed experiment. Having all the links in the sidebar is easier on the eyes and quicker to navigate, so fixing this is the best organizational change I can do shy of learning CSS and/or employing the services of one of our friendly local CSS wizards.   The last part of this week's homework assignment is to talk a little bit about whether, and how, these assignments have been helpful to me. I do think that working through these has helped me focus down what I want to do with the challenge and has proved a welcome respite from continuous focus on other writing challenges, such as Mapvember. That said, I have been falling a bit behind on those challenges as of late, so I should probably wrap up this installment and get back to it :D  

Week 4

The Week 4 homework consists of updating the visual style and layout of my world and gathering visual resources for my articles.   With regards to the first point, I'm currently bandying about the idea of getting a Midjourney subscription now that the software can make tiling textures for my page backgrounds. I have some experience in creating logos and textures on my own, which will likely make an appearance here or there as needed for challenge articles, but I (currently) lack the requisite knowlege of CSS to make sweeping changes to the 'style' of my pages beyond fonts.  
by BCGR_Wurth
The dark 'transparent tesseracts' background I have for Manifold Sky pages (see page margins) is still appealing to me - and it felt like a nice change of pace from the stock Wild Wild Steam wallpaper I initially had - but it's definitely starting to show its age compared to what I'm seeing on other Premier League winners' pages. I would also like to acknowledge period-appropriate visual influences, such as art deco, in some way without straying far from the overall hexagon/cube themes relevant to the setting. My previous attempts at blending these desires were a little too garish in my opinion (see right). Still, I might take some time over the course of the challenge to revisit this idea.   For the second point, as for things like banner art and other visual embellishments, I typically employ a combination of generative art (i.e. Artbreeder), royalty-free art (i.e. Unsplash), geometric designs I make in CorelDRAW, and nature photos I've taken over the years.
by BCGR_Wurth
My recent trip to Alaska gave me a few nice images to use for this purpose (see left). I'm in the process of gradually editing these photos for size/aspect ratio and uploading them for use during the challenge.   The hard part of using generative art is that my Manifold Sky setting in particular demands either careful wrangling of prompts and weights or a close review for things that won't fit within the geometry of the setting. For example, the notion that each portion of the Manifold is a cube, with the geography situated on the inside surface, is pretty out there for something that makes traditional landscapes like Artbreeder. Similarly, the presence of a sun disk or lens flare - especially at sunset - is foreign to a place where the light of daytime and nighttime objects comes from celestial objects beyond the three spatial dimensions that the residents of the setting can see.  
by BCGR_Wurth
From a worldbuilding perspective, a problem with these sorts of assets is that, aside from the geometric or logo-centric designs that can cover broad categories of articles (i.e. my Navigator's Guild banner), they can only be used a few times before it starts to break immersion. For example, the image of Hubbard and Turner Glaciers in the banner above this page is aesthetically pleasing to me, but there are only a few places I can show it in the Manifold Sky setting before those familiar with the setting will start questioning where all this icy water might be found (HINT: basically only where the Caudal and Western Tesseracts are adjacent and nowhere else). Hopefully, I have enough to get by, but maybe getting more is a good excuse to get out to mountains over the weekend...


Challenge Articles

Official Links

WorldAnvil Blog: WorldEmber 2022 Prep
WorldEmber 2022 Homepage
BCGR_Wurth's WorldEmber 2022
 
 

Current Progress

Total Word Count

53,020
Winner ~ 12/5/22
Verbose ~ 12/13/22
Loquacious ~ 12/25/22  

Total Articles

52

Past Challenges

WorldEmber 2020
Generic article | Apr 17, 2022
WorldEmber 2021 Pledge & Progress Report
Generic article | Apr 17, 2022




Alphabetical List

Archemia
Baker's Flats
Baptism by Stone
Bleak Pillars Arena
Burnheart Cant*
CKV Mercury Sable*
Dataspore
Demolition Fist
Dolo Class
Endurastahl
Ereteiqutaio*
Evermornan Canine
Flameout Grenade
Fort Auxilem
Fort Haycross
Geographic Terminology
House of Games
Il Eusosanvas
Kalqa
Kingkillers
Koseti Square Inn
Ktanka
Leather Jacket Nomads*
Living Wave*
Manifold Reckoner*
Manifold Triortan League
Merkanary
Mesa-Style Wrestling
On the Problem of Light
Otaseunake adKorkra
Ozhilian
Pikitora Optics
Political Factions of The Substrate
Prospect
PVAD "Walrus" Amphibious Air Defense Vehicle.
Rank & Specialization Designation in the Cobalt Knights*
Register of Trade Routes
Reset
Rostral Quietus
Seven Crows Fork
Shadeshallow Islands
Shavor Islands Glacial Complex
Solasign
Sporeshower Jungle
Stavro's Demon
Streamer Grenade
The Scour
Temple of Wholeness*
Thyonaxes
Triortan*
Vexan Zin
"Wrangler" Combat Winch
  *Submitted for special category consideration


Cover image: Disenchantment Bay, AK by BCGR_Wurth

Comments

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26 Dec, 2022 09:36

How's the progress going for your WorldEmber goal this year? :D


Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
Latest Work:
Gauntlet - my shiniest article this year!
27 Dec, 2022 17:51

I hit the 50k word mark on Christmas day, so pretty great!

Come check out The Manifold Sky: Five-Dimensional Dieselpunk Action   My Current challenge article - WorldEmber 2022 - is now live!
29 Dec, 2022 08:52

Amazing!! Congratulations on reaching your goal! :D


Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
Latest Work:
Gauntlet - my shiniest article this year!