Summer Camp 2022 Reading challenge

I chose the following prompts:
  • Religion or organization related to a natural phenomenon
    Religion can make for interesting worldbuilding, so I was curious where people took that prompt.
  • Military conflict resolved through excellent leadership
    Military conflict prompt could be used to write something epic, so this could be fun to read.
  • Technology lost, forgotten or shrouded in mystery
    I had a tough time with lost technolgy, so I wanted to read about technology in the worlds of others.
  I had a specific process for the article selection:
  1. Pick an article that piqued my interest based on the title
  2. Pick an article from an author who's name I know for some reason (even though I've only been here for 2 months).
  3. Use a random number generator to pick an article at random.

Religion or organization related to a natural phenomenon


The Order of the Solar Temple by MoonRaven

Reason: The article was near the top and had a catchy title.   The article was very to the point. It describes numerous aspects about a religious organization and only a select few aspects of their beliefs. It left me with a number of unanswered questions. The main being why a group of sun worshippers that believe in reincarnation would commit suicide. In that sense, the article had some surprising twists. The idea that a "democratic cult" also seems like a challenging concept with room for lots of tension and conflict.   It's an interesting article with a number of twists, an on point punishment and subversion of expectation. And that would be what I look for, something creative and unexpected.  

Order of the Heartblossom by Hanhula

Reason: Sounds really interesting and is by Hanhula, famous for their Midjourney images.   Really good writing style, with interesting history and great artwork. I've always thought of worldbuilding as just putting facts on a page, a wiki of fiction. This article and the World Anvil community has a different idea, really pushing every article to the best it could be, so much more than mere facts. It's both inspiring and daunting.  

Rift Watchers by DapperCapricorn

Reason: The random number generator ended up on 431.   It's interesting to note how something new happening, can make scientists have to start from scratch. While we have a lot of knowledge about measuring worldly phenomenon, researching new ones requires new measurement instruments, new safety equipment and possibly entirely new scientific fields. This is an example of how realistic worldbuilding adds a lot of depth and believability to the world.  

Military conflict resolved through excellent leadership


War of the Burning Sky by Kitoypoy

Reason: Interesting title and is by Kitoypoy   The article is about a conflict between dragons and giants. The creator of the world decided to destroy the world and start over. A child god, through trickery, got the dragons and giants to make peace, resulting in the creator not having to end the world. It's interesting to see a conflict resolved with what is basically the 5th party. While it's easy to think that a conflict is often just between two parties, things become way more interesting when more and more parties are involved, with conflicting motives, rather than just allies to the original conflicting parties.   Maybe I should look into Manifest Destiny as a concept. I wonder whether there's some conflicts to be had for my world's history.  

Athena Minerva's Ragnarok by Wyldspace

Reason: Norse mythology is always interesting   It's a bit messy, with long lines and usage of parenthesis. I'm not sure what to make of the article, whether it's just a myth of the past or an actual event that happened. I do like the worldbuilding idea that current events are actually post-armageddon. I could potentially tweak the idea I had for "The Magic Collapse" with more armageddon vibes, making the survivors believe they are the chosen.  

The Shadow War by Graylion

Reason: The random pick.   Interesting to read how a secretive organizations can organize and initiate a war through infiltration and bio-warfare, without the attacked realizing they're at war. I feel like vampires are predictable and hard to make interesting. This article does a good job making them feel very dangerous.   The article is also written very differently, I might need to reread it to get a better grip on it and see what I can learn from it.  

Technology lost, forgotten or shrouded in mystery


Tripillian Stormforging by Afranius

Reason: Sounds really interesting, as if they're utilizing mother nature's furiosity for forging.   I was looking for articles with interesting technologies. This article isn't very informative about what the technology actually is. I expected the article to be about a method of utilizing a storm for forging purposes, which is an interesting concept. However, it's actually abou "magically manipulat[ing] a rare rock".   What I find interesting is the amount worldbuilding that is done in the side pane. This puts the article in a larger context. When starting to worldbuild, all this context doesn't exist yet. Creating in a vacuum is rather hard, but it in a way, it also means that you need to create separate pieces and possible change or rewrite it when more and more of the context gets filled in.  

The Forging God's Alchemy by AmélieIS

Reason: This was the random pick and it so happens to be by AmélieIS, so also serves as the author I've heard of pick.   I immediately noticed the "our" vantage point of the article. The article ends with revealing who has actually written it, which is a fun detail. I should really consider when to write factual and when to choose a specific perspective for an article. But I guess that will involve a big learning curve.   In the article, the Gods are having a competition. Individual mortals are just expendable toys for a larger vision. Spoiler alert, this is also something that is going to play a big role in my world, although the Gods' involvement will be a lot less direct (for 99% of people). There's just something interesting about the indifference of immortal beings, where the injustice towards mere mortals is exceedingly obvious and enraging.  

Aetheric Architecture by Mark0

Reason: I guess I was just drawn to it.   Architecture is always a tricky topic, without imagery. I wonder whether I'd take the time to sketch something to give a general indication of what the architecture looks like in my mind.   In this instance, the architecture can still be found, but people are unable to reproduce it because of the complex creation process, including magical enchantments and wards.   By introducing magic into the mix, it becomes more challenging to make it easy to envision what the architecture would look like and how the technology actually works. As a writer, I don't like "it's magic" as an answer. Magic obeys its own sets of rules/laws, so the technology follows these rules. Then I'd want to answer the question "When people can find these structures, why is it so hard to reproduce / reverse engineer?". Questions like these force realism and prevents plot-holes, in my opinion.  


  Honestly, I'm probably going to take a break from worldbuilding. That said, because of Summer Camp, I now have some mostly disjointed stuff. Either I should just start filling in a ton of the blanks in the world, fleshing out the primary kingdoms. Or I should consider what the D&D campaign would be within the world and start fleshing out what players could potentially encounter.   Knowing myself, I doubt it will be the latter. The challenge with the latter is creating a feeling of mystery and a sense of an otherworldly experience in a low-magic setting. I imagine the start of the campaign will be rail-roaded pretty heavily, but I'd prefer to make it "open world" when we're all getting the hang of things.   All in all, maybe it's easier to just build "a world" within a "possibly D&D-related" setting, without worrying about or binding the world to a campaign. I don't know my target audience and also have to learn D&D basically completely, so... just sticking to a world is probably the way to go, even if that goes against the advice I've heard multiple times already.   So when continue worldbuilding, I should try to flesh out the different kingdoms. I'm also playing with the idea of creating the world "history-first". History is mostly a chain of events that shape the current state of the world. Instead of retroactively filling in the blanks within the history, historic events can help shape a consistent world.   Or I should just read up on D&D, because it can have big influence on what my world needs to encapsulate...   Yup, that tracks. I started Summar Camp with indecision as my main theme and I end it on the same note. Consistency for the win.


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