January Reading Challenge
I picked a fairly arbitrary selection of articles, mostly looking for interesting titles as well as article categories that I've usually struggled with. I decided I'm going to do one per author, and I found most of these from the TableTale WE tracker as well as the main worldember page.
1. In Search of a Spider's Lair by Mgatta
Though perhaps less worldbuilding and more campaign prep related, adventures like this are helpful for me because my own prep tends to be significantly less structured and way more freeform than this. This has the downsides that sometimes the prep ends up effectively nonexistent. Structured session prep that stands on its own is basically a genre of writing that I don't even do, so reading someone else's crack at making that is instructive.
2. The River's Coin by Hanhula
This is relative small-scale and narrow impact worldbuilding, relating to perhaps a few villages and a single river crossing. It's often difficult for me to find the inspiration to write something on this scale, because it doesn't feel "productive". Minor detial could be invented on the spot from first principles and macro-level worldbuilding. Of course, it's never quite as good as when you put proper thought into it.
3. The Whaleman's Creed by The Humbug
Afflictions and unique monsters are always fun, though compared a lot of the other articles I chose for this, not actually that challenging for me to write about. From this one, I didn't actually learn that much as the strengths of this article are largely things I'm already good with. That said, there's nothing wrong with just enoying an article as it stands.
4. Cosmology by nnie
Annie's cosmology is a very top-level article which directly takes aim at a lot of core assumptions about a setting that is "earthlike" in some way. Here is a flat earth with 12 suns. While I'm writing fantasy, I'm also a big fan of scifi and this is an almost sci-fi level of what-if placed in a fantasy setting.
5. Snoup by DapperCapricorn
I picked this one to read because it had a funny name, and also because it's a food article. I'm not really a food-person in real life, my cooking abilities are limited to the basic ability to read and follow instructions. This naturally limits my ability to come up with unique food-culture for my fantasy setting as well. So this is another kind of article that is helpful for me to read just because it's hard for me to write this kind of content myself.
6. Clay Giant Culture by Riverfang
A fairly straightforward fantasy race/culture article, this article is remarkable mainly for its formatting and how it ties itself into the rest of the setting. Linking to everything relevant makes it a lot easier for the reader to follow up on any kind of questions that might arise from reading the article, and that is something I don't do enough of.
7. Dalari's Coffin by Mochimanoban
This is a short article, but it looks quite nice. The sidebar fits well with the overall length of the article. Formatting and appearance is something I really spend zero time, so it's good to see that you can make something look decent without doing anything particularly complicated with it-
8. Pricky Sparks by AmélieIS
This is a creature article, with a rather interesting critter. Not just in terms of physical description, but also in how it relates to people. It's very easy to fall into a straightforward "plays nice with humans = good" and "doesn't = evil" kind of formulation with intelligent species, but this doesn't really do that. These things just are, and they're dangerous if you go near them.
9. Pea Shanklet by Serukis
This article is a good example of the advantages of not being lazy (or maybe not taking shortcuts is the better way to phrase it). While you can get the same kind of impact on the world and the same plot threads by simply using a real world plant parasite, or just not bothering to go into detail, actually going into detail gives the world a lot of unique flavor.
10. Ljef by ShadowPhoenix
I usually don't write religions from a "character" perspective. This article is specifically about the character of the god Ljef, with the cultural impact of the religion incidental to the character rather than a main focus. Of course, the article that describes the religion itself in detail also exists, but this is a perspective into the god that I usually don't use.
If I have the creative energy for it, I'll do some of the challenges before summer camp but as usual, most of my worldbuilding happens during the big events. My format of picking a worldbuilding area for each major event and fleshing that out has been functional so far, so that's what I'm going to keep doing. I'm also making my own rpg system, which I'll hopefully be able to more or less finish during this year.