Summer Camp Summary
Summer Camp was short for me, in 4 days I pushed through 8 articles. It was a great experience for how brief it was. I pushed creatively and pivoted when I needed to. While I would have liked to have had the full month to participate I was pleasantly surprised with myself. While I didn't meet many of my goals I did get Shov Stril outlined better, wrote an article about Mammoth Crossing, and touched on Banon's Desert by describing Dragonpass. Each of my articles was at least 500 words which was also a goal met. Overall I'm happy with how things shook out.
A Large Expanse - Prompt 1
Ethereal WastesFull article here.
This blazing desert was created by Raven Gladstone in their first Summer Camp! What a forbidding piece of geography with scorching temperatures, and large swaths of sand. I was amazed at how many other articles were linked to this one! It felt like a great way to get a sense of what the world around this desert feels like, firey and filled with conflict between not just people but the environment it's set in.
The Take Away
I was impressed by how easily an entire mood for a world can be created with a single article, I'm left wondering if I've been able to pull this off with any of my other articles. The number of other articles linked is also some food for thought. I haven't linked too many articles to each other as I've been going but I sense it will be something that needs to be done. It was also nice to see some real world facts blended with fantasy elements to create some realism, I sometimes fear I drift too close to the mundane and peaceful, this was a good reminder that not all areas of the world can be that way. I think diversity of landscapes is the biggest thing I'm going to take away from this article.
MaerkhorFull article here.
A northern continent written as part of a character's journal as they travel through the land is the expanse on offer from Mochimanoban. A large swath of land with interesting history and only a few geographic features worth mentioning.
The Take Away
Less is more. It doesn't always need to be everything all at once for an article, Mochimanoban has given enough information to paint a picture and draw you in further to look for more. I often find myself getting bogged down with the details, especially in those under developed areas of my worlds where there aren't enough articles that surround it to give the depth that I want. The journal style used in this entry was a good way to achieve that brevity, a character who is studying or exploring and writing things that they learn as they go through the world is a great way to introduce a space.
Field of GlassFull article here.
This glassy jewel of a desert was created by HelenaHuman. They brought to life a harsh expanse of sand, glass, and scorching heat that left me wanting more!
The Take Away
HelenaHuman included something that I found thought provoking. The mechanics of the land and how it affects adventurers and travellers through the space. They include difficulty ratings and it really makes sense that this area would be difficult terrain and I have yet to consider the game mechanics behind any spaces in Sleyterra. This feels like it should have been such an obvious point that I overlooked. I'll have to keep this feature in mind as I move forward and give more consideration to how the world I build might interact and impede players.
Overall Reflections - Expanse
In my article Dirmand Tundra I wanted to paint a wide picture, but I might have been able to achieve more with less. If I had used character interactions with the space as a reference it might have done a better job of showing instead of telling. There's quite a bit of room to add game mechanics to the space as it is a harsh climate and weather can be deadly in these sorts of space. I think I also fell short of painting an indepth picture of the overall space, lacking outside links and images for it.
I think that the time limit looming close really had a big part to play in this article not being everything it could have been, however I feel this first draft combined with the reflections and isights I gained from reading other articles has given me a really good jumping off point to expand and flesh this tundra out in the future.
A Monsterous Species - Prompt 25
Great Forest WolfFull article here
This delightful spin on wolves comes from Scotstimberwolf. They've given us a wolf that can be imbued with magic with the help of an item.
The Take Away
Animals that live in our world are villainized and persecuted, it's easy to pull from real examples. It might seem like a lack of creativity but it can also be really effective, especially when a new and fantastical element is introduced to the species. Thank you for the reminder that it doesn't always have to be complicated to be good.
Arcadian DreamleechFull article here.
The Dreamleech was dreamed up by Endrise and it's going to make it hard to sleep. With provocative language to describe its unusual feeding and breeding habits one can't help but shudder at the thought.
The Take Away
I shy away from the creepy, the crawly, and the tiny. Overlooking a plethora of nightmare fuel like this just means I need to lean into the things that make me uncomfortable. I want to make something terrifying and creepy in the future. My worlds are sorely lacking in the bug department.
Man Eating PlantsFull article here.
Tim-in-a-box (Timothy Van Allen) has scaled up carnivorous plants into a massive shop of horrors. Trees, vines, and tenticles that trap and devour people!
The Take Away
Again a perfect example of changing an element of an already known species with a small twist to make it new and horrible (in the best way), and again I find myself overlooking the obvious. This article was also well balanced between the terror of the people eating plants and some well timed dry humour. I think the main point I got out of this was not to take myself or my content so seriously. There's something to be said for a little balance.
Overall Reflections - Monsterous
I feel like I'm cheating when I pull plants and animals from the real world to put into a fantasy setting, which is a totally unfair way to look at things. The three articles I pulled up had some serious similiarity to a species from our world: leeches, wolves, carnivorous plants. I think it could be argued that if it's not broken don't fix it. It's not lazy, it's not cheating, and it's not less impressive. It takes creativity, time, and an imagination. I could be kinder to myself for ideas pulled from the real world because these three articles did the small changes well.
Military Conflict Solved With Excellent Leadership - Prompt 10
The Deathless WarFull article here.
Eiliagh has brought a war filled with intelligent leadership, tenacity, and the undead. His opposing forces each have smart leadership and it really outlines how unfair war can be.
The Take Away
I have shied away from military articles and fear that I might do a disservice to that kind of writing. Conflict on a grand scale isn't my forte, however I think reading more articles like this one and building up clear lore and traditions could help create the building blocks for this sort of article. The Deathless War had a real purpose and felt like it knew exactly where it stood in the world, and I think there's something to be said about justified combat and the motivations of leaders to go to battle. I'll have to flesh out my leadership and governments before I can start figuring out why and how they would fight amongst themselves.
Battle of Valdor's PassFull article here.
From a world created by Scholarmage and their editorial team, Theworldunraveled, comes this battle. Using simple tricks, Captain Riman out smarts a pack of hobgoblins.
The Take Away
With the right timing and forsight victory can be grappled out of the ashes of defeat. Sometimes a clever ploy is the most effective strategy and I need to brush up how to use them effectively to help add some 'wow' to my world. I haven't yet written a large scale conflict but I'm not going to be able to avoid it forever. This article helped me realize I can be clever instead of relying on a deus ex machine.
Northern SecessionFull article here.
In this conflict JAWest13 cleverly devised a way for the noble houses with little magical advantage to turn to something they knew: Winter Weather.
The Take Away
Weather and terrain are just as much a part of the fight as an army. This article reminds me of military missions waged in World War 2 in cold and snowy Russian winters. Without proper equipment and knowledge of the area and weather the advantage can be turned despite numbers or technology. It's another article that reminds me to take from real life and look up real conflicts in the world to anchor the fantasy. Excellent leadership doesn't only come from a single person, it can also come from groups and a willingness to band together and use a force's strengths. I think I'll have to keep all this in mind moving forward with any large scale conflict, and the construction of land and borders.
Planning, weather, and clever ploys seem to be the biggest take aways for me. Conflict on a grand scale is a massive operation that requires time and planning on all sides, along with a well developed world to anchor them in. Conflicts shape nations, and can be a way to turn a person into a myth, legend, or example for others to follow or avoid. The winner always gets to tell the story, and war is never fair. I feel like I need more built around my governments, and what makes them different or similar and what they stand to gain or lose through conflict, how their peoples would have come together and how they would have treated those different from themselves.
I think moving forward I might pick through some of the other summer camp articles and look for places to draw inspiration and ask better questions about my own world and how it's structured. I'm also considering picking away at the prompts at my own pace and using them as I move along and build my worlds and write my stories. Next year I think I'll have a better idea on how to set my goals, and hopefully have more time to spend on prompts. Maybe my worlds will be more ready for the prompts come Summer Camp 2023. I look forward to reading articles and getting some feedback in the immediate future, and the growth and development over the long haul.
Why the Expanse?
I chose the expanse prompt because it's so wide open for interpretation. How do others fit these spaces into their world, what strange landscapes can other people come up with? These are just a few of the aspects I like when looking at the diversity here on World Anvil.
I managed to complete this prompt with my limited time, but I wonder what sort of effort I could have made with a little more time to spare for it.
Why Monsterous Species?
Animals are always facinating. Just like in life there are so many different views on what is considered monsterous. I was able to come up with my own monsterous species in my final dash to the end of Summer Camp, but I want to see just what else is out there to be afraid of.
Why Military Conflict?
This is the only one on my list that I didn't have an article for. I browsed through the prompts and found that this was the most difficult one for me to incision. I want to see how others approached this topic, what sort of leaders and strategies they came up with and draw inspiration from these corners of World Anvil.
Why these articles?
To be honest, I mostly chose at random. I wanted to find new things, I had to sadly replace an article I had orginally chosen because I don't speak the language it was written in. I replaced it with an Anvilite I knew. I had no idea what I was getting into and went with interesting names and titles for articles.