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Worldember 2021-22 - Reading Challenge

1. Mapfolk

By melior64
Mapfolk is an awesome article! I'm already an enthusiastic amateur cartographer, and I'm fascinated by older maps in particular; the idea of politically-motivated maps is one that I know is based in our world but would never have thought to include in worldbuilding. This article was a great reminder to consider the political motivations of all the nations in my own worlds! Plus, of course, the graphics and artwork are stunning and a pleasure to look at.  
Be inspired by Mapfolk!
  • Dig deep into diegetic worldbuilding
  • Imagine how cartography and mapmaking can reflect the views and goals of a culture
  • Explore how maps can be used as another tool of propaganda
  This article definitely inspired me to dig even deeper into the in-world context behind my maps and similar documents, and I can already think of a few of my own ideas for cartographic propaganda...  

2. Geography and Lacy Ladies

By nnie
I love nnie's Geography article in the Morning Realm. It hadn't occurred to me to make generalised articles as a kind of summary or contents page to organise my world, but it's a really great idea! Plus, the writing is awesome and I love the little summaries / vignettes for each country.  
Be inspired by Geography!
  • Create a summary/crossroads article to organise your world
  • Keep summaries concise, relevant and well-written to help keep new viewers engaged
  • Create a clever format that will be easy to expand in the future
  An organisational article for large topics can make your world easier to understand, and overall more enjoyable to navigate. I'm definitely going to borrow this concept in the future for my worlds!  
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  ...and Lacy Ladies - An adorable little mushroom article. What more could you want? I particularly love this mushroom's alternative names - that seems very realistic, like all the wonderful names for aconites - and the beautiful simple illustrations really top it all off perfectly. The idea of using it as a natural pesticide is very creative too!This article really inspired me for worldbuilding on a micro scale.  
Be inspired by Lacy Ladies!
  • Look to our own world for inspiration, and give your plants some folk names to make them both whimsical and realistic
  • Step outside the box, challenge the first idea, and come up with unique properties for resourcess in your world
  • Make adorable drawings!
  Worldbuilding on a micro scale can be equally engaging as the large-scale stuff, and a few well-crafted tiny details can give your world a sense of depth and realism. I definitely feel inspired to create my own mini-articles, and perhaps some tiny mushroom drawings too...  

3. Rumours of the 15th

By Stormbril
Rumours of the 15th is an entirely accurate title that still doesn't give anything away, and there's something inexplicably satisfying about piecing together what it means as you continue to read. The quote at the top of the article is a perfect spine-chilling summary of the article itself. To me, it feels almost like reading an in-world newspaper or magazine article about the topic, which I love.  
Be inspired by Rumours of the 15th!
  • Consider more detailed plots of corruption, intrigue and secrecy
  • Use quotes to give more information about the article and the information within
  • Introduce new information bit by bit to make longer articles easy to digest
  • Simpler premises can create complex stories!
  • Dig deep into the ulterior motives of the organisations in your world

4. Magic in Everyday Life

By AmélieIS Magic in Everyday Life is a concept that wouldn't have occurred to me, but Amélie pulls it off brilliantly. There's something adorably whimsical about magic turned into a way of doing the chores!  
Be inspired by Magic in Everyday Life!
  • In a setting where magic stands in for technology, imagine how magic is used to do simple tasks, the way we've invented microwaves and dishwashers!
  • Mix narrative and story into your articles to help contextualise the information and make it more interesting
  • Don't be afraid to explore the fundamentals of your world in depth and detail
  Magic doesn't have to be a world-breaking, earth-shattering phenomenon, and in fact there's something delightful about it being commonplace in another world. I love the idea of small, cheap enchantments to make some tasks easier, and I'm inspired to find new uses for magic in my own setting(s).  

5. Yverevy

By Bonus Action
Yverevy is an awesome deity, and the concept of a goddess of mirrors is fascinating. I love the recurring motif of reflection, even in her name, which is a palindrome. (I didn't see that fact explicitly mentioned in the article: sorry if I spoiled it!)  
Be inspired by Yverevy!
  • Make use of motifs and symbolism to solidify deities and magic
  • Consider more unusual domains for deities in your pantheon
  • Explore creation stories and mythology, it's a lot of fun!
  Particularly in a larger pantheon, there's no reason not to assign deities to more obscure natural forces and phenomena, rather than the more typical harvest, sun, moon, trees etc. This article has inspired me to get more creative with the religious and supernatural figures in my own world, and particularly with what they represent.  

6. Wedding Brawl

By Lady Grayish What better way to celebrate the tenderness of love and marriage than with a good old Wedding Brawl? I had a big dumb smile on my face the entire time reading the article. From the opening quote to the very last paragraph, it's an excellent mixture of comedy and worldbuilding.  
Be inspired by Wedding Brawl!
  • Use humour in your world!
  • Remember that traditions in the real world are ridiculously bizarre, and go nuts with your own! (may I remind everyone of Cheese Rolling and Caber Toss?)
  • Remember that humour doesn't have to get in the way of clarity and information: this article balances it perfectly
  Humour can help an article that otherwise might be quite dull become an enjoyable, lighthearted one! Also, almost no tradition is so ridiculous that it seems unrealistic, and I definitely feel inspired to include my own delightfully dumb traditions in my future worldbuilding.  

7. Trinket Depot

By DapperCapricorn
The Trinket Depot is a pretty simple concept, but very well-executed in this relatively short article. There's something delightful about a magically teleporting shop.  
Be inspired by Trinket Depot!
  • Add some mystery and secrecy in unexpected places in your world!
  • If you're feeling uninspired by a minor place, giving it a simple quirk can take it from simple to spectacular
  • Use story extracts to help summarise and explain information in your world
  • If you need to list information, write some longer descriptive paragraphs to balance it out
  There are plenty single buildings in my world that I've been putting off because I didn't know how to write them, but I think this article has inspired me to get on with it!  

8. The Book of the Habits and Beasts

By Naelin
What can I say? I'm a sucker for diegetic worldbuilding, and The Book of the Habits and Beasts is about as diegetic as it gets. The idea of all your meta information existing in-world too is awesome and frankly slightly mind-bending. I love that some parts are written like reviews or adverts for the encyclopaedia. And, of course, what's more believably amusing than an author working hard to release a second edition after a nation-wide catastrophe made their last one outdated?  
Be inspired by The Book of the Habits and Beasts!
  • Go meta!
  • Really meta!
  • (Ok, maybe not quite this meta...)
  This article has inspired me to step up my diegetic worldbuilding game, although I doubt I'll ever top this level of meta insanity.  

9. The Desert Folk of the Shiga-Zann

By Winger
The Shiga-Zann are very interesting, in my mind: their beliefs are unlike any culture I've encountered before in fiction, and their unique circumstances have clearly influenced this. I particularly love the intermingled extracts from their religious text, which helps to emphasise how important it is to them. Loyalty to the point of ignoring societal progress is a really fascinating concept.  
Be inspired by The Desert Folk of the Shiga-Zann!
  • Imagine how an ethicity's situation has had an impact on the way their culture developed; for example, the Shiga-Zann's creation of a martial art to allow combat on a ship
  • Balance information to keep things both mysterious and detailed, and imagine what rumours would spread about them in-world
  • Long histories can work if all of the information is interesting and relevant!
  • Consider how religions begin, and how they survive

10. Paper Birds

By tim-in-a-box
I love the absurdity of living, breathing Paper Birds, and what's even better is that these creatures actually make sense for the world's lore (which is admittedly also pretty wild. I love it.) The concept is pretty simple and could easily become a joke article, but instead the birds are well-explained and seem grounded rather than a throwaway gag. What could be better than detailed behavioural descriptions for literal origami?  
Be inspired by Paper Birds!
  • If it fits your world, explore more humorous and whimsical creatures! Fantasy worlds don't have to conform to real-world biology
  • Rather than just the science side, you can favour the looks and behaviour of the species in your world, since that's all a reader will probably ever see anyway!

11. Arellund

By ChroniclesofEvalaw
The Arellund have a detailed history that I love, and their flightlessness is unique among the winged mammals I've seen! I particularly love the detail given about their relationships to humans, especially given that they're a domesticated animal. I also enjoyed the descriptions of their behaviour, which is unusual for a hunting dog but understandable given their natural habitat.  
Be inspired by Arellund!
  • When writing domesticated creatures, consider their relationship to human(oid) society
  • Explore the differences between wild and domesticated animals
  • Explore how animals behave based on their history and environments
  • Draw puppers

12. Months, Days, and Meanings

By AvalonArcana
Months, Days, and Meanings describes a fairly simple calendar system, very similar to our own, but each time period has its own superstition or belief associated with it. For me, this extra lore makes the article much more interesting to read than the science or maths would have!  
Be inspired by Months, Days and Meanings!
  • Use superstition in everyday places to hint at the culture of a world
  • Mix accurate astronomy and folk superstition
  • Consider which is better-known in the world: science or superstition?

13. Deities

By MysticPiper
I love the four classifications of deities in this world! It makes clear the distinctions between each kind, what they can do, etc. It also serves double-duty as a convenient contents page for the pantheon, if you want to navigate to a specific examples deity.  
Be inspired by Deities!
  • Consider how deities and supernatural beings can be ordered and their heirarchy in the world
  • Consider which deities would be more powerful based on their domains
  • When classifying things, keep them clearly divided!

14. Goblin Culture

By kitoypoy and Pobbes
Goblin Culture is an awesome read, both stylistically and in terms of content. I love the use of character quotes to share opposing viewpoints about the topic, and how discrimination is shown in the information and the narrative. It's cleverly written to show the opinions of the in-world character whose perspective it is- a self-satisfied human anthropologist. Poor Of The Forge The Spark!  
Be inspired by Goblin Culture!
  • Consider how different species and ethnicites in your world view each other
  • Consider how species and ethnicities' perceptions of each other will affect the way they talk about each other
  • Explore how the (perhaps mistaken!) preconceptions of another group can affect the group's image
  • Play around with naming conventions!

15. Dirtside Cantina

By Jarissa
I love that as well as the usual building description, Jarissa included the menu of the Dirtside Cantina! This article gives a clear idea of the quality of the cantina (i.e. bad), and uses just enough invented words to give a sense of the setting without leaving me feeling lost and wondering what it was talking about.  
Be inspired by Dirstide Cantina!
  • Not every building in your world has to be high-quality, and it can be equally if not more fun to write the rubbish ones!
  • Include some unexpected diegetic details to break up your description and hint at hidden worldbuilding
  • Consider the history of your buildings and what features they might have based on where they're located

Bonus Articles

Awesome articles I found on my travels that weren't actually created during Worldember, but I'm gonna talk about them here anyway because who are you to stop me?  
Wish Holders from Ménicéa by Happy4488
An awesomely detailed, believable tradition with beautiful artwork and a clever use of quotations for flavour. This article has inspired me to create both smaller traditions and larger, more detailed religious beliefs in my own world.
Greater Deities from Lothrea by Satrium
I love the neutrality of all these deities, which seems far more interesting and nuanced than the good/evil divide in most pantheons. I'm definitely going to take inspiration from this concept when I come to write the religions of my world.
Regalia of the Pearl Guard from The Sea of Starlight by Bonus Action
I love this article a whole bunch. The beautiful artwork, detailed history and storytelling; overall this article is unique without needing to reinvent the wheel. I adore the cultural significance of pearls, and the use of pearls as studs on an armour set is an original and fascinating idea.
Vyozha from Manifold Sky by BCGR_Wurth
In the past I've definitely felt inspired to create my own card or board games for in-world purposes; this article takes that concept a lot further than I would have the energy or skill to! It's definitely rekindled my interest in the concept, though, and I enjoyed reading it a lot.
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Summary and Resolutions

One of the main things I've been particularly enamoured with this Worldember is how the little things can bring together the world, and how it pays to be creative in small details. I definitely plan to step up my game when it comes to diegetic / in-world writing! I've also gathered plenty of inspiration for ethnicites, nations, organisations, and creatures.   Although not what World Anvil was designed for, I want to explore visual concepts such as character and environment design this year, to support and inspire my written work.   One of the points I consistently struggle with is plot and story: I feel comfortable enough creating a world, but what about the stuff that happens in it? This year I definitely want to work on that, because you can't have a story with no story in it!   This year is the first year I've felt serious about worldbuilding, and World Anvil is partly responsible, I think, for giving me the confidence to do that!  
New Years' Resolutions for 2022:
  1. Put more thought into histories and environments when building organisations and cultures
  2. Create some funky fauna and flora!
  3. Get creative with quotes, story extracts and diegetic details to spice up my work
  4. For larger articles, chip away at them bit by bit and not shy away
  5. Explore maps, icons and other details to decorate information
  6. Establish the magic system for my world
  7. Be more involved in the World Anvil community and not slip into inactivity as Worldember ends
  8. Draft a plot for my Victorian Gothic story, and work on improving my TTRPG encounters and storylines
World Anvil and Worldember have made a hugely positive impact on my creativity this year, and I'm so glad I took part! Thanks to every lovely person on the Discord who I've had the pleasure of meeting so far; I'm looking forward to another year with you all. <3
— Rey

Quick Links

Profession | Nov 30, 2022

Experienced local guides stationed near rifts who distribute the finest prints of commonwealth maps.

Generic article | Jan 8, 2022

Overview of all Geography Articles in the Morning Realm.

Lacy Ladies
Species | Dec 27, 2021

Lacy Ladies, also known as Poor Man's Doily, Lace Cups and Fairy Veils are mushrooms known for the intricate lace-like patterns on it's cap. The mushrooms are much beloved for its appearance.

Rumours of the 15th
Myth | May 9, 2022

Rumour has it that the Legion are attempting to construct a new god -- an artificial being under their control. How are they attempting to do this, and what evidence exists to prove it?

Magic in everyday life
Technology / Science | Feb 3, 2022

Despite all the wonders powerful mages can do, what magic that can be found in an average village is limited as people with the less magic and the fewest skills are also the poorest.

Character | Dec 23, 2021
Wedding Brawl
Tradition / Ritual | Dec 31, 2021
Trinket Depot
Building / Landmark | Dec 30, 2021
The Book of the Habits and Beasts
Document | Jun 9, 2022

The all-encompasing growing encyclopaedia of the Haan Archipelago

The Desert Folk of the Shiga-Zann
Ethnicity | Dec 8, 2021
Paper Birds
Species | Oct 8, 2022
Species | Jul 28, 2022

An ancient and unusual breed of hunting hound, finding it's origins in the far flung annuals of a forgotten time.

I was unable to copy the block link for Months, Days and Meanings. Use this link instead!  
Generic article | Jun 11, 2022
Goblin Culture
Ethnicity | Dec 24, 2021

A treatise on the culture of goblins in Western Krosia. (With commentary by Of the Forge the Spark, an actual goblin.)

Dirtside Cantina
Building / Landmark | Sep 23, 2022

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