WorldEmber 2022 Pledge & Progress Report
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!
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 1This week, I answered the following questions:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 2The 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:
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
Week 3One 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 4The 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. 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. 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. 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...
Baptism by Stone
Bleak Pillars Arena
CKV Mercury Sable*
House of Games
Koseti Square Inn
Leather Jacket Nomads*
Manifold Triortan League
On the Problem of Light
Political Factions of The Substrate
PVAD "Walrus" Amphibious Air Defense Vehicle.
Rank & Specialization Designation in the Cobalt Knights*
Register of Trade Routes
Seven Crows Fork
Shavor Islands Glacial Complex
Temple of Wholeness*
"Wrangler" Combat Winch
*Submitted for special category consideration