Shadowfire Summer Camp 2024

Welcome to my pledge and plan for Summer Camp in Shadowfire this year. Very excited by the themes on offer this year as they seem to fit the needs of my wordlbuilding extremely well. Below are my thoughts on the them, potential prompts for myself that will obviously need to adapt to whatever the prompts are as they come. I've inlcuded placeholders where I will track the progress of articles written during July.  
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Focus areas

There are three primary areas I'd like to focus on, depending how the prompts pan out.

Refuge and the Return

The Returned by Midjourney
The Protectorates are born from their experience in Refuge, where for generations the people who survived there from the ravages of Destruction were transformed. In order to understand the fervour that drives the Lord Protectors and The Church of the Faceless, I need to delve into their experience of Refuge, and the conflicts that led to the Return.

The threat of the Dead Lord

Soulhusk Chimera by Midjourney
The City with a Million Limbs is just a rumour, but one that threatens to topple the Lords of Fire. What gives this untethered Godling its power, and how will the Lords learn of it? How can they respond now that the popularity of Impetine the Risen Lord challenges their hegemony from within?

The Talons Rising

co-goblins.png
Goblinkin by Midjourney
The struggles of the Uferbrech Goblins against the Protectorates hide secrets that will embroil them in the conflicts threatening the Gleaming City, and point to events from before The Destruction itself. How are these connected and why?
 

Goals

Progress: 9/31

This will be my fourth Summer Camp. Last year I aimed for Diamond and achieved Silver. I think this year will have similar life pressures, but I will optimistically aim for Gold (24 prompts).
   

Theme 1: Change

For a world where the cycle of seasons and time itself seems to have halted, change is coming in many ways.  

War and resistance

In the Uferbrech Archipelago, the ongoing invasion by the Protectorates has finally been stalled due to the ongoing resistance of the goblin clans. There is what seems to be a stalemate, but forces are at play that may tip the balance.  

Social unrest

Across the Protectorates, social change is altering the way those who were once enemies are coming together beneath twilight skies. The City of Sudengard shows how Goblin Kin and The Returned might move forward in harmony, while the clans of the Uferbrech Archipelago seek to re-establish their sacred vigil and break the yolk of their oppressors. But the traditionalists across the Protectorates ready their power to push back, and many others who profit from the conflicts seek to undermine those who would see it end.  

Shifting belief

On the other side of the world, the hegemony of the Lords of Fire in The Gleaming City is under threat after millennia unchallenged. One Lord is dead and his untethered Godling seeks vengeance from the wastes, while a new Lord has arisen from the ranks of the common people to challenge the theocracy. The dead are scavenged, and the Warlords of the deserts seek safety within the walls of the City.  

Ancient powers

And from the Everfire beyond The Desolation of Ghul Drazul to the Sea of Black Ice and the endless night, rumours spread of new cults driven by powers far more ancient than the Lords of Fire themselves. The Nighbridge lets loose shards of crystal like rains of wonder and terror, and the very blood of the earth rises as timequakes become more frequent.   How soon until the plans of Godlings, Ghosts, Seers and Protectors unravel to reveal the true secrets of Shadowfire?
 
by Midjourney

Some self-prompts

  • How is the conflict between the Faithful and Unbounded factions within the Church of the impacting the wars? (Conflict)
  • Who are the other Lord Protectors, and how do they seek to challenge Lord Akron? (Person)
  • Is the Cult of the Devourer ready to reveal itself? (Organisation)
  • How are the reforms instigated in Sudengard impacting the Protectorates? (Tradition)
  • What splinter groups within the Uferbrech clans are challenging the traditions of the Vigil? (Organisation)
  • What do the contracts written by the Illuminators look like and how can they be subverted? (Document)
  • How do the beliefs of the Unbounded challenge the doctrines of the Faceless? (Religion)
  • What magics and technology were employed within Refuge and how did they finally fail? (Technology)

Change prompt submissions

Theme 2: Refuge

One of my primary goals is to focus on a place and time literally called Refuge. This is where the ancestors of The Returned fled to in order to survive the Destruction. How did Refuge transform them, and what led to their eventual Return that has seen so much change across the Lands of Twilight?   There are other forms of refuge that would be interesting to explore across Shadowfire.  

Physical refuge

The most obvious are the many refugees across Shadowfire - those seeking to escape conflict or natural disasters. These are the goblins who have fled the Uferbrech wars, or the survivors of the time quake at Ostfen, or the dissidents who escaped the Kaltstad Rebellion or the Stonesky Riots. They built new lives in Sudengard, or the Gleaming City, or within the ranks of the Icerunner's Guild or by joining the clans of the Roving Vintners or even the Warlord bands of the deserts. How did each of these groups escape the danger they were in, how was safety achieved, and how have their traditions changed as a result?   Many seek refuge from the extreme and relentless climates of Shadowfire. There are the oases and underground villages across the deserts of Ardi-Kokufa where people seek a respite from the Everfire. Or the cities across - and under - the Sea of Black Ice in which architecture and social norms have been affected by the dark and relentless cold.  

Mental and social refuge

Then here are the more metaphysical refuges. Such as the ways in which some Dek bearers of the Flaming Brand can hide and potect their individuality beyond the brutalities of the Feast of Welding. They manage to keep a mental and emotional refuge within to protect from the loss of autonomy demanded by their service to their Lord.   Some of the Returned seek refuge from the overbearing doctrines of the The Church of the Faceless. They flee the strictures of their Choosing to hide in places like Camp Thrifty, or within the ranks of the Icerunner's Guild. Conversely, faith is often a refuge too. The doctrines of the Faceless are meant to protect from the rise of Godlings, but also allow for the corrupt to hide their guilt behind the masks of office.   The Lords of Fire rule through their system of Tithe Binding which has commodified the transfer of belief itself. But, there are those within who manage to hide from even this, seeking independance from their masters through a black market of magic and belief hidden from the eyes of the Illuminators through a web of illicit deals and contracts.  

Examples

Through the various prompts we get during Summer Camp I will look for ways these forms of refuge might be expressed in ways big and small.   There could be a safe-house set up in the warrens below the Gleaming City, or a smuggler shack in the dunes near Camp Thrifty. It may be the convoluted scribing of contracts hidden in the vaults of the Merchantry of the Torrent, the new schools for goblinkin set up by Rue du Col in Sudengard, or a warlock of the Devourer using Bodyservants from the Gleaming City as new vessels for their own disembodied soul.
 
by Midjourney

Some self-prompts

  • What are the Klomerati Oases and how do those in the desert take advantage of them? (settlement, technology)
  • What was the origin of the Order of Salvitus in Refuge? (organisation)
  • How do warlocks of the Devourer utlise blood magic to hide their true identities? (Technology)
  • How do those being hunted by the Illuminators hide within the Gleaming City itself? (Building)
  • How do the Lords of Fire hide their corrupt activities from each other through the complexity of their contracts? (Document)
  • How do the people across the Protectorates subvert the tenets of the Choosing for their own gain? (Tradition)
  • Who are the leaders of the refugees from Ostfen and Kaltstad and how do they continue to agitate for change? (Person)
  • What was it like living in Refuge? (settlement, tradition)
  • How did the conflict between the Order of Salvitus and the Church of the Faceless bring about the failing of Refuge? (Conflict)
 

Refuge prompt submissions

   

Theme 3: Belief

In the world of Shadowfire, magic is harnessed by belief, and belief of all kinds is at the heart of all manifestations of magic in the world. Crystal uhd is the material of creation and it acts as a catalyst that channels the desires, hungers and beliefs of sentient beings in ways both wondrous and terrible.   The two most easily understood forms of magic are Blood magic and Stone magic. Blood magic centres around the many techniques used to manipulate energy to manifest desires. While Stone magic combines this with technologies that can store and release the manipulated energy. These techniques can become quite complex and powerful in themselves.   The most powerful of all magics in Shadowfire is known as Divine magic, and is achieved through collective belief. The difference may be just one of scale, but the line between blood magic and Divine magic is blurred. What is the difference between thrall and follower? When does a coven become a cult, and when does a cult become a religion? And when does the output of the magics produced by such belief turn from mere illusion, to the divination of spirits, to the very birth of Gods?   The cultures of Shadowfire have many competing beliefs, and indeed, the Godling Wars that culminated in the Destruction itself show the power and dangers that belief can unleash.  

The New Divinity

Despite its name, is the oldest of the faiths that are openly followed by the peoples of Shadowfire. Both the Deepkin of Novalucca and the Returned of the Protectorates follow the three Aspects of Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. However, there are profound differences between the Convenant of the Deep and The Church of the Faceless that go back to millennia even before the Destruction.  

Ahstiri and Wala's Vigil

The Uferbrech Goblins believe in the duel goddess Wala-Kofa and the ancient cycle of life, death and rebirth they call Ashtiri. The Seers of the clans teach that Ashtiri was broken by the ancients and the goddess divided. It is the duty of the surviving clans to hold vigil over the resting place of Wala, to stay Kofa's fury and keep safe their ancestor spirits until the goddess is reunited and the cycle of Ashtiri renewed.  

The Holy Caldera

The Lords of Fire in The Gleaming City have commodified the tithing of belief through magically bound contracts and the tethering of Godlings. There is a strict herirachy and brutal efficiency to the manipluation of belief for power. The Holy Caldera is comprised of the three most powerful Lords and is the literal pinnacle of the Gleaming City. This is where all power across the Lords of Fire domain is ultimately funnelled, but to what end?  

Cults and sects

Hiding within and apart from the dominant beliefs lies a myriad of smaller splinter groups, sects and cults. Some seek to sway the dominant belief systems, corrupt them, or destroy and supplant them altogether. The main ones include:
  • The Unbounded, a group seeking to change the Church of the Faceless from within
  • Covenant of the Shadow Queen, a traditionalist sect within the Deepkin with beliefs going back to before the Emancipation itself.
  • Defenders of the Grove , who worship the primacy of the natural order and seek its restoration
  • The Hidden Kingdom, Antitheists who seek to undermine all belief systems lest they get too powerful, often secretly playing them off against each other
  • The Teeth of the Devourer, who believe in the most ancient of powers and seek their release
  • Kofa's Fury, those goblinkin who believe true rebirth is only possible by finishing the destruction of the world that their goddess began
 

Godlings, new and old

Godlings are created whenever belief becomes strong enough. What happens to these and how do they grow their power through worship? What is the relationship between idolisation of the living and the creation of Godlings? What happens to Gods when their followers abandon them? How do the powerful religions respond to protect their own?
 
by Midjourney

Some self-prompts

  • What are the tenets, rituals and places assiciated with Wala's Vigil?
  • How are ancestor spirits preserved and reborn while Ashtiri is halted?
  • What are the beliefs of the Unbounded and how do they combat the dogma of the Church of the Faceless?
  • Who are the key Faceless, Unmaksed and Unbounded of the Church?
  • How did the rits of the Choosing originate in Refuge and how have they been corrupted after the Return?
  • what is the Hidden Kingdom and how does it operate in secret across Shadowfire?
  • How do Godling get created? What untethered Godlings exist other than the Dead Lord?
  • What is the true purpose of the Holy Caldera and the system of tithe bindings?
  • How do people believe the Cabal stopped the Destruction?
  • What are the beliefs, actiities and notable members of the various sects and cults?
 

Belief prompt submissions

   

Theme 4: Decay

Physical decay

In the world of Shadowfire much has become corrupted and faded through time. The remnants of pre-Destruction civilisation remains, found in the crumbling ruins of ancient cities, the fading memories of ghosts or the salvaged remnants of scrapper memory banks.   What was once a vibrant cycle of creation and destruction, of death, rebirth and preservation is now stagnant and failing. Life survives but it struggles to keep its foothold in the harsh environments of both Sunside and Shadowside. An equilibrium may have been found over the millennia, but the newly arrived Protectorates who seek to re-establish their ancestral domains have upset that balance.  

Magical decay

Magic itself has been corrupted, and has become unstable. The Nightbridge that shines above is the magical core of the planet leeched into the sky. Over the years, it rains down chaos in the form of Shardfalls. There are places like Ostfen, the Uferbrech Gyre and the desolation of Ghul Drazul where the flow of time is stunted and strange and plagued by Jitters and time quakes.   Even the newly arrived Protectorates are there as a result of the failing magics within Refuge. it could not sustain them, and that form of decay has defined their harsh culture.  

Metaphysical decay

The truth of the Destruction, and conflicts even older have become obscured through the retelling of myth and shifting beliefs. The machinations of the powerful play with this belief, obscuring and stretching truth until truth itself decays. There is social stagnation and decay as the traditions of the Returned that saw their survival in Refuge turn to a system of repression. Or the fading knowledge of the Shadowseers as they struggle to keep the culture of the goblinkin alive against the invasion.  

Forces that resist or accelerate the decay

In Shadowfire there are organisations who seek to fight the decay of the world: The Shadowseers of the goblins, seeking to preserve the ghosts of their ancestors, and reinvigorate the cycle of Ashtiri. The Order of Salvitas, the Defenders of the Grove and The Roving Vintners all seek to preserve and reinivograte the living world through agriculture and environmental renewal. The progressives of Sudengard or The Academy at New Lafaelle who support new creative endeavours or the revival of ancient knowledge.   There are also organisations that seek to promote decay and even finish what the Destruction started. Some do it through their beliefs, some through self-interest and ignorance. The Teeth of the Devourer, Kofa's Fury and the Dead Lord Kholkosi all seek the downfall of what order remains across Shadowfire.
 
by Midjourney

Some self-prompts

  • What are the effects of decayed and unstable magic use? How do the various users cope with it?
  • How and why did magic fail in Refuge? What technologies and magics were salvaged?
  • What are the various myths and superstitions about the Destruction? What are the accepted truths?
  • How has the slow decay since the Destruction impacted ecosystems and life forms?
  • What do the seekers of forgotten tech and lore seek in the ruins of ancient cities?
  • What do the warlocks of the Devourer seek to accomplish and how?
  • Who are the members of Kofa's Fury and how do they undermine the Seers of Ashtiri?
  • How does the Dead Lord intend to bring down the hegemony of the Lords of Fire?
  • What are the preservation magics of the Order of Salvitus and the Defenders of the Grove?
  • How do the memories of ancestor ghosts get preserved and utilised by the Shadowseers?
  • What are the longer term implications of the slow decay of the Nightbridge?
 
 

Decay prompt submissions



Cover image: by Midjourney

Comments

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Jun 10, 2024 03:13 by Polina "Line" Arteev

I love your self-prompts! I bet it'll be really satisfying if you find SC prompts that align with them next month! :D May the summer winds carry you to your goals!


Seek a new dawn, in Malkora!
Craft a bright new world, in Ayun Sovos!
The Feral Sovereign returns for Summer Camp 2024!
Jun 10, 2024 03:40 by Tim Day

You too! Thanks Line.   Those prompts are ready to throw in the stub pile if nothing else, just like I did last year! :-P.   I do love Summer Camp, especially the letting go of all the plans and following the random muse... its so fun. I hope you have a grand time of it too :-)

Jun 20, 2024 09:55 by Secere Laetes

That's what I call a detailed summer camp prep in terms of addressing the topics that are coming up. For those who don't know the world that well yet, this is a great way to dive right in and recognize some of the focal points of the world. Good luck with your goals and that it will be at least gold.

Jun 20, 2024 22:35 by Tim Day

Thank you, and also thanks for the follow. I hope I can do my prep justice once the camp kicks off. Good luck to you too. :-)

Jun 20, 2024 23:07 by Secere Laetes

Thanks ^^. Let's see, what we can do.

Jun 24, 2024 12:23

Those self-prompts are a great idea..certainly something to think about in the future. Hope your summercamp (and the prompts) go well and you get that gold. As an additional note: I really like the pledge design.

Sit down, my friend, and let me tell you of Aran'sha . A world where the sands shift and the stars sing, where the wind carries secrets and the twin moons keep silent vigil over it all.
Jun 25, 2024 01:48 by Tim Day

Thanks Tyrdal - I hope you have a good Summer Camp too.

Jun 24, 2024 17:09 by Mochi

So glad the themes align well with your world, and I love the self prompts! :D Best of luck! <3

I hope you have a great day!   Explore the endless planets brimming with life of the Yonderverse! Go after creatures, discover new places, and learn about the people you find along the way.   Check out my plans for Summer Camp!
Jun 25, 2024 01:49 by Tim Day

Good luck to you too Mochi!

Jun 27, 2024 16:36

The pledge is great and really detailed. I love the self-prompts you created for the topics and hope that the revelations match your thoughts. I found it very inspiring and I will save this page and come back later to get ideas. I wish you much success with your golden goal and a great summer camp.

Stay imaginative and discover Blue┬┤s Worlds, Elaqitan and Naharin.

I would be very happy if you would celebrate my SC contributions with me.
Jun 28, 2024 02:22 by Tim Day

Thanks Blue Fairy, nice to hear they've given you some inspo. I hope the prompts pan out too, but if not then I've got a bank of stuff to work on after SC. Half the fun of Summer Camp is the random side-quests. Good luck with your camping endeavours too :-)