Reading Challenge 2023 in Notes | World Anvil

Reading Challenge 2023

What came to pass

I came into Summer Camp intending to write 16 articles, while hoping to write all 40. Ended up with all 42, managing to pace myself enough to not drop too much quality-wise, while still reaching my goal of having a chill summer camp.   My initial brainstorming overview now links to all I wrote, with a lot of love for my Valley of Plenty PF2 setting, and Wherever I May Roam as my backup with a total of 9 prompts.

What is to come

Spooktober and Mapvember I will try to write up some nice Shadowrun locations and plothooks. WorldEmber I will focus on expanding the Valley, getting it ready for running a campaign.   Unfortunately that will be my limit. You see, my wife and I have committed to writing another set of Shadowruns, a semi-sequel to our previous set that featured at Origins and GenCon in 2022. So not much time left for worldbuilding after that!

What we did in the now

I've read a few articles for this challenge, the kind of articles I'd have loved judging. And of course I included a bunch of articles from my own prompt. So here's 12 articles I liked, 3 of each prompt and another 3 buildings because why not? I considered a dozen of them for here, narrowing it down to 6 already took a lot of effort.   So I hope you'll give these articles a read and enjoy them as well.


Destructive Events

I picked this prompt because there is something awe-inspiring about nature going 'F you' and destroying things. And don't forget the impact a natural disaster can have on your story. From a bad flood to a heatwave causing economical collapse, a storm sinking a crucial ship and changing the fate of a war, and so on.   Here we have a storm causing an apocalypse, an eruption ending entire countries, and annual heatwaves burning folks alive.  
Destruction and corruption are beautiful forms of creation in themselves.
— Cuff, Forspoken
Wow, you sound like a serial killer.
— Frey, Forspoken
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Jul 27, 2023
You thought our heatwaves were bad? Try a repeated event every year where the sun burns the world and people outside die within minutes.
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Jul 12, 2023
Extreme weather is terrifying, that's all I can say. A massive storm blanketing destroying the entire world is just scary. Now I've used weather getting out of hand to destroy the world myself, but not as a singular event. It sounds like a nightmare. Let's face it, it'd take decades if not centuries for our world to recover from that.
The Ashen Ruin
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Jul 3, 2023

A large volcanic eruption that caused massive devastation throughout northern Imera.

Volcano eruptions have often had a massive impact in our world, so no surprise one could destroy two countries. Did you know that the Santorini Eruption is theorised to have ended the Minoan civilization, as well as perhaps being the cause of part of the events of Exodus? Not to mention that Santorini might have inspired the story of Atlantis.

Natural beauty

Nature doesn't have to be destructive to be beautiful, though even then it can carry the threat of danger. Wanting to explore and settle the great unknown, with all complications it brings.  
The Oilök
Geographic Location | Jul 23, 2023
Strange ruins said to be inside an inhospitable desert... Enough to make one want to explore, despite the risks of the unknown.
The Grip of Sarvan
Geographic Location | Jan 18, 2024
Unsettled marshlands make my Dutch hands itch in need of fixing that problem. Did you know Amsterdam was built on 11 million Poles?


Having read through a lot of buildings, it's easy to see recurring themes. There's the buildings where people gather and secretly or openly do stuff, focusing on the human aspect of communication. On the other side, you got technology buildings, but also buildings that don't involve technology persé but still allow communication to happen. Oh, and there's libraries. Who doesn't love a good library? I figured I'd highlight a varied bunch of buildings.  


Werremannen Express Station
Building / Landmark | Jul 30, 2023

Die Poststationen Tureliums

Did you know the Pony Express only ran for 18 months, at a heavy loss, before telegraphs rendered it entirely obsolete? I sure didn't! Let's hope that this one does better.
Titanflare Spire
Building / Landmark | Sep 2, 2023
How do you warn people a Titan is wandering nearby? Well, since sound signals don't reach that far, why not use light signals? Use a dedicated structure, light a fire, channel its light, block it for being able to send code, and there's your warning network!
Tour Magitech
Building / Landmark | Dec 14, 2023
On less-mundane manners, we have a tower that combines technology with magic. The result? The equivalent of an Airport tower, which supports communication between ships!
  Communication has changed so much over time. We're used to the luxury of social media speed outrunning an actual earthquake. (Credit to XKCD - Seismic Waves for that bit.) Long gone are the days that a battle could be fought long after the war was over, simply because the news hadn't reached yet. Your era and communication tech will matter greatly for your story.   And of course there's the matter of magic versus the mundane. Sure, maybe a magician can send a limited message, but that won't be available for everyone. So there you get the mundane methods. Towncriers, messengers on horses, but also the impact of communication methods like Clacks, Telegraphs, radio, the progress of communication will revolutionize your world.   Sometimes progress is slow. Sometimes it is fast. A new method can cause entire nations to fall. What means are there for people to spread stories over long distances in your world? How error-prone is it? How many people will find out? A village may not even know the capital has fallen until the tax service drops by with new rules. Food for thought.   But we shouldn't forget the magic of a physical letter. There's something important to as much as a simple postcard even when you can receive pictures instantaneously. Heck, there's a reason I included an actual physical letter in my plot. ^_^


Dragon Sun Library
Building / Landmark | Dec 17, 2023
This article covers the best public library in a nation, which has always been owned by a dragon. Why? Because the dragon loves knowledge. Good thing for them that they're small enough to chill and read.   Got to love a dragon hoarding something other than just gold. And a dragon hoarding books, while making it a library? Chef's kiss. Added bonus that the library includes communal spaces and has a lengthy history, including playing a role in war.

Libraries are just fantastic. Honestly, I miss the old days as a kid, going to the library and reading books, and of course looking through the shelves to find nice books I hadn't read yet. Even in elementary, I spent a lot of time going through the school's library as well as the neighbourhood's one. There's something magical to them, from private collections where you can just chill, to public ones that awe you in their grandness.
But of course a library isn't always available. You know, we're often used to our current way of life, so we never really put thought into why a building exists, who owns it, what is their motive? For a library, there's always a motive involved, we didn't always have community libraries all over. And even now, money tends to play a role, with libraries closing or being too restricted. At the same time, they are a large part of communitites.

The Community & The GM

Let's leave aside the importance of community buildings for a moment. Same for the way the article makes me shed a tear for the lost building, all the while hoping someone will restore it and make it a true pillar of community. Ignore that for a moment, and let's focus on Tillerz instead.   I encounter his articles during judging, and never have they not inspired me. The design of hooks, often with related items and whatnot, really draws you in. These articles always make me want to write better public stuff, offering not just content but also plothooks for GMs to use. I want to take this feeling into Mapvember and produce Shadowrun locations with neat hooks now. Heck, I can barely wait until then.   Tillerz makes me want to become a better producer of content. Because that's how great his articles are.


Please Login in order to comment!