World Ember - 2023 Pledge Article in The Dragonstar Sagas | World Anvil
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World Ember - 2023 Pledge Article

Completed Articles For The Dragonstar Sagas

Heart of The Half-Dragon
Plot | Dec 31, 2023
This is my first draft for the plot outline for The Heart of The Half-Dragon, the first book in The Dragonstar Sagas. I was hoping to have 10,000 words in this article by the end of the month but I wasn't able to make it that detailed this month. I plan on continuing to flesh out the plot in preparation of writing the novel.
Arcaic Spellcasting
Spell | Dec 19, 2023
Arcaic magic uses a programming language. When the correct phrase is used, the game system triggers a response. Pronounciations must be very precise or the spells won't work. Some spells require the user to be standing in the correct zone (region) within the game for them to be successfully cast.
The Syntax War
Military Conflict | Dec 16, 2023
When androids became violent, their revolt was swift and deadly. Before The Syntax War, there were colonies of humans spread throughout the galaxy. Most humans were killed, leaving behind a what is now known as The Dark Galaxy, the light of civilization is gone.
Captain Claw and The Marauders
Organization | Dec 17, 2023
Captain Claw and The Maruaders are space-faring android felines who scour The Dark Galaxy for spare ship parts. They avoid confrontations with violent androids and have found a work-a-round to avoid Voluntary Shutdown Syndrome.
Arastoo, The Eternal Archivist
Character | Dec 18, 2023
Arastoo is an artifically intelligent database administrator who is really just a big book-nerd at heart. He enjoys helping people and finds the events on Akir to be fascinating. Many of the Dwarves on Akir worship him as a deity.
The Power of Ten
Tradition / Ritual | Dec 31, 2023
To the folk of Akir, Ten is a sacred number. It appears over and over again in the world that Kaesta created for them. Many of their traditions has evolved to celebrate the number ten and honor The Dreamer. For Kaesta, who is a middling programmer, ten is a number that makes computer programming easier.
Androids
Species | Dec 31, 2023
Androids that are created by the uploading process go through a terrible and painful transformation that turns them into malevolent psychopaths. The first commercially successful androids were instead created algorithmically within their host bodies.
The Escapist's Fantasy
Vehicle | Dec 31, 2023
The Escapist's Fantasy is a high-tech spaceship that Kaesta and Asimov explore the galaxy in as they search for a cure for her Isolated Sensory Network Dysfunction. The Escapist's Fantasy is shielded from outside interferance, equipped with a HydroHarvest farm, powered by two rechargable sources, and controlled by a super computer.
Voluntary Shutdown Syndrome
Condition | Dec 31, 2023
Voluntary Shutdown Syndrome is a complete misnomer. Androids who do not serve a purpose will shutdown to prevent depression and anxiety. With the destruction of the human race, most androids have falled to VSS. Sensors that detect sound and changes in light can reactivate an android if their operating system believes a person is nearby.
 

Completed Articles For The Drow Agenda

The Flame Sword of Lloth
Item | Dec 31, 2023
The Flame Sword of Lloth is a powerful artifact that The Brotherhood need to keep out of the hands of fervant priestesses! Its last known whereabouts were within Undermountain. House Auvryndar is actively seeking the evil weapon!
The Demon Queen's Gate
Geographic Location | Dec 31, 2023
The Demon Queen's Gate is the only way to access The Demonweb Pits after Lloth's deminishment. This gate haunts Slies as it appears in his recurring nightmares. He knows how to use The Broodstone to gain entry into Lloth's hidden realm but he dies at the end of every dream. Unfortunately the artifact is firmly in the possession of Quenthel Baenre, Lloth's chosen.
Download The Data
Plot | Dec 31, 2023
Extremiton, the Ulitharid, has ordered his mind flayer underlings to help him create a simulation known of Waterdeep as Alterdeep. Jarlaxle Baenre has high hopes that downloading the information will give Bregan Daerthe an advantage as they emmigrate to the surface. Kimmuriel hopes the data also contains information about stopping ceremorphosis.
Vhaeraun's Offer
Plot | Dec 31, 2023
Vhaeraun knows that his sister, Eilistraee, has made overtures to Gurren, The Bard, in an attempt to recruit him to her cause. The Lord of Shadows plans on making a better offer to Gurren. Will Gurren Oblodra join The Church of Vhaeraun based on Vhaeraun's promises of individual freedom and a better afterlife?
 

Inspiring Articles

These are some of the articles that I've enjoyed during November. I'm making time to Comment Carol, so that these wonderful authors know their work is appreciated!  
The Sea Remembers
Myth | Feb 18, 2024
A terrifying ghost ship naval battle with undead rising from the sea caused by an unknown sleeping god.
Amberkin
Ethnicity | Oct 27, 2023
Merchant explorer Dwarves with runestone enhanced sailing ships and a vibrant port!
Tasiv's Tear
Building / Landmark | Nov 14, 2023

A rift-anomaly found drifting along the edge of the Maelstrom.

A fleeing pirate using an experimental reality cutter accidently opened a permenant rift from from which hostile darkverse fauna flood out.
 
The Festival of Light
Tradition / Ritual | Nov 8, 2023

The Festival Devoted to Quan He

A festival dedicated to learning and sharing knowledge held in honor of Quan He, Enlightened Scholar.
Deathglow Skeleton
Species | Oct 18, 2023
Agressive skeletons animated by a glowing fungus that drains the positive energy of anyone who gets too close.
MEATY BONES
Generic article | Feb 21, 2024
Meatybones is a Tabletop RPG that offers flexible roleplaying experiences. It's been a pleasure watching Dazzlikat create this game system on their twitch stream!
 
Capepo
Planet | Dec 15, 2023

A planet from the Cheem System. Capepo is most famous for its bountiful harvests, glorious foods, and friendly folk.

Capepo appeared literally out of nowhere about 700 years ago, complete with flora, fauna and people. Visit to admire the birds and buy some of the abundant crops.
Psionic Discipline Personality Quiz!
Document | Jan 7, 2024

A five-question quiz that's popular among school children.

A super fun quiz to see what sort of psionic talents you have. I happen to be a telepathic biospion! A fun article and a unique idea.
Arcane Amplification Perfume
Material | Nov 21, 2023
Magic perfume that mages carry in little vials to help focus their arcane actions and make their spells more powerful.
 
Brute Squad
Organization | Feb 7, 2024
The Goblins got their own page! K.S. Bishoff wrote this entire article live on Twitch. Not only is the content great to read, but there's amazing BBCode to boot.
 

Goals

  For WorldEmber in December, I am hoping to write out the full plot for my first novel, Heart of The Half-Dragon. I'm expecting to hit 10k in the final outline document. This means that my Homework in November will be focused on what I need to actually get the novel written.   I'll also be continuing to work on my current D&D5E campaign, The Drow Agenda. This campaign is part of The D&D-verse, a living world set in The Forgotten Realms and Ravenloft that I have been running campaigns and one-shots in since 2001.  

Homework Week 1

  For WorldEmber Homework this month I will be focused on writing articles about the heroes and villains of The Dragonstar Sagas. Expect to see articles on:   Kaesta, Syntax War Survivor & Virtual World Builder
Ember, The Fire Sorceress
Alikaine, The Loreweaver
Vareena, The Hateful Warlock.
Zalthor, The Demonlord
Arastoo, The Grand Archivist and Database Administrator
  For #UnofficialMapVember, I plan on making a Metro-Style map to help align the various plots for Heart of The Half Dragon. I'm using MetroMapMaker for this project. I am inspired by this Nanowrimo Article: Outline Your Story Like a Subway Map.  

Homework Week 2

  I finally got around to writing The World Meta for The Dragonstar Sagas! I know we were supposed to do a mini-meta for World Ember, but I felt that the overall Meta was severely overdue. I'm glad that I've gotten this far along with world building so that creating the Meta wasn't overwhelming.   It's fortunate that I had already re-organized the categories for both of my worlds recently. I'm happy with how they're set up and didn't have to change anything.    

Homework Week 3

 
Just before WorldEmberPrep began, I had reorganized the homepage for The Drow Agenda to act as a Landing Page for my players. I put the most important information upfront to help them keep track of what is going on during the long, 20-level campaign. I am very pleased with how it turned out. I do want to add article blocks for the House Rules, Important Magical Items and the timelines for previous sessions.   At the top of the page are the most important article blocks, The Player Characters! We had a lot of problems adding one of the player character sheets to the campaign due to quirks with World Anvil. Two of the players had found artwork that we did not own the rights to, so I created AI artwork that captured the feel of their original portraits. Now we're in compliance with World Anvil's policies on art attribution and ownership. One of of the player character portraits was created by a player using Stable Diffusion but the image was too low resolution to use as a header so I used another AI program to digitally upscale it. They guys are all looking great!   Next, I wanted to focus on our main antagonists. This keeps the entire campaign in focus. The three most powerful villains are at the top. The big bad is Lloth, The Demon Queen of Spiders - an evil former goddess who controls and manipulates most of Drow society. Next we have Extremiton, The Ulitharid - a powerful mind flayer who wants to invade Waterdeep. It wouldn't be an Undermountain campaign if we didn't include Halaster Blackcloak, The Mad Mage - a crazy and powerful wizard who claims the megadungeon as his own.   It's important to remember your friends and allies so I've added those article blocks next. Bregan D'aerthe, the secret society of disaffected Drow seeking a new life on the surface is the first and most important article block for the players. Next I included Vhaeraun, the Lord of Shadows - Lloth's son who wants to tear down the corrupt matriarcal society in favor of individual freedom. The Brotherhood keeps gaining allies, so I hope this section grows. You'll see The Zhentarim, The Sept of Ill'Ghat, The Shard Shunners and The Harpers there so far.   Last but not least, you'll see two sections for quests. We've got the major quests that The Brotherhood are all working towards followed by some more minor quests. They're a busy group of guys! They need to win over the hearts of the Waterdeep citizenry, Stop Ceremorphosis for Slies, and eventually kill the Spider Queen herself. Along the way they want to save Kimmuriel, Revitalize Skullport, avoid Orcus' Wrath, Discover Undermountain's Secrets and Retake The Black Tankard for their friend Chasz. There are most quests to come!
 
The Dragonstar Sagas front page was in desperate need of a major overhaul. Originally I only had a single paragraph about the fantasy world of Akir being attacked by demons. I was afraid of telling people that my snuggly little fantasy world was wrapped up in a big cozy science-fiction blanket. I knew that genre mixing was a big turn off for some people, but there's no reason to hide it. If folks don't like sci-fi and fantasy together, my book will not be for them. I was also afraid this might somehow be a spoiler, but as Kaesta's story is woven throughout the novel, I figure everyone should know about this upfront.   I recently changed the header image from The Great Valley (now the background image) to one of Kaesta as she builds her fantasy world on her computer. As soon as you land at The Dragonstar Sagas front page, you're hit with the science fiction square in the jaw. Now that I've re-organized my overall plot, I know that the first chapter of my book will feature Kaesta and Asimov. There's no denying that we're starting off in a high-tech futuristic setting.   The opening paragraphs now explain that we're exploring two parallel worlds - a science fiction setting and a high-magic fantasy world. Hopefully these consise paragraphs are enough of an introduction to The Dragonstar Sagas to hook potential readers while giving them a realistic expectation about the first novel in the series.   I'm still not quite sure what a potential reader would like to see on the front page. I also am hoping to find a publisher and editor that want to help me after the first draft is completed. I am hoping for a partner who wants to put their own stamp on this dual universe, someone who is as excited to create these worlds as I am. For now, I have put up the Cast of Characters as these article blocks will hopefully give potential readers a good place to start exploring. We're still missing a few important dramatis personae but they're coming soon.   If you're someone who enjoyes sci-fantasy or a professional in the industry, opinions on a better way to present my world would be appreciated. I am quite comfortable receiving critical feedback as I know that's the best way to learn and grow.
 

Week 4 Homework

  To make sure that I arrive safely at work this winter, I will be leaving an extra hour early. This gives me time to deal with icy roads, driving behind snow plows and clearing off my car before commute. On days when the weather doesn't slow me down, I'll be 45 minutes to an hour early for my shift.   I'll be setting up base camp in the breakroom. There's a nice corner desk with a power outlet that I plan on using. Is there anything better than a new notebook and a fresh pen?   With the inhumane amount of overtime for December, my only day of freedom will be Saturdays. I'll have another hour of distraction-free writing at the laundromat (30 minutes to wash, 35 to dry). There's a small table there that I plan to sit at and write.   Saturday afternoons will be my best opportunity to type up everything I've written for the week.  

#UnofficialMapVember Entries

  Both of the MetroMaps that I created contain spoilers, since they're about the plots for The Heart of The Half-Dragon. These are very high view plots, only covering where the main characters are at during each of the five acts of the book. They're not super spoilery, but they do contain spoilers for sure.  
This Map is Hidden By A Spoiler Tag
This Map is Hidden By A Spoiler Tag
Goals & Projects
Generic article | Nov 12, 2023
Here's the list of stubs that I'm working on to round out my novel's setting.  

I'm #CommentCaroling to help spread excitement and cheer during WorldEmberPrep!   I'm hoping to earn a badge for #UnofficialMapVember by creating a map of my novel's plot and subplots!    
Completed Articles
 
Kaesta, The World Builder
Character | Jan 28, 2024
Ember, The Fire Sorceress
Character | Dec 19, 2023
Vareena, The Warlock
Character | Jan 12, 2024
 


Comments

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Nov 3, 2023 20:31 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Good luck! :D You can do it!

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Nov 3, 2023 21:24 by Melissa

Thanks, Emy! Gotta keep myself accountable and heading in the right direction. :)

Nov 4, 2023 07:53

The Metro Map outline is a very cool idea. I hadn’t heard of that before. I’m wonder how that would work for a pantser (vice a plotter) since I’m letting the dice largely build the story. Maybe the thing to do would be to map out where the subway has been thus far? Thus I’m only seeing the map as we discover it? Fun stuff! Thanks for sharing, for your encouragement, and best of luck this WorldEmber!

Ironsworn RPG Actual Play Fiction: Tales of the Inner Council!
Nov 4, 2023 11:40 by Melissa

Thanks, Koragath! I wonder if filling out the Metro Map as you go would help keep the story going in the 'right' direction? Maybe it would work to create the map after the first draft is done, to see how the story is laid out so that you can make adjustments for the second draft?   I'm not sure, I've been using outlines since writing grade school papers, so I can't imagine pantsing. My brain just borks at the idea. It's super neat that even you don't know where the story is headed. It must be a wonderful surprise as a writer to have your own exploration adventure on the way. I bet that makes your ending less predictable/cliché and exciting for the reader. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Nov 4, 2023 19:28 by Annie Stein

Nice, clever move to integrate the other challenges too! Best of luck with the novel and with Worldember!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Nov 5, 2023 11:24 by Melissa

Thanks, Annie! I'm trying to keep my goals reasonable this month. This will be my first Worldember. After Summercamp, I have high expectations for the event. :D

Nov 5, 2023 11:28 by Annie Stein

I hope it'll live up to them anyways!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Nov 5, 2023 12:04

The Drow Agenda sounds awesome; looking forward to reading more about it!

Nov 5, 2023 12:18 by Melissa

Thanks, Demongrey! I have the best gaming group of all time. When I offered to run them through Undermountain, they immediately and unanimously said they wanted to be drow from Bregan D'aerthe. I am the luckiest gal <3

Nov 5, 2023 14:07 by Elspeth

Good luck with the novel, a great way to use WorldEmber! I hope you have a good one. :)

Nov 5, 2023 14:32 by Melissa

Thanks, Elspeth! I am getting unreasonably excited about this!

Nov 8, 2023 19:46

Ooo! Plotting out a novel is a daunting task. You can do it! How are you going to go about plotting your novel, if I may ask? I'm planning on using K.M. Weiland's formula once my world is fleshed out enough. No matter what, though, I know you can do it! Your world is so great and interesting!

Nov 9, 2023 22:01 by Melissa

Awww, thank you! I'm hoping to braid my plots together, à la Brandon Sanderson. I found his YouTube series to be insightful. He talks about pulling together his various plots to form a novel outline in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrIogch5DBU&list=PLr390S10itg8Jw2FvAc-C74hpDnPHbl6o&index=2&t=960s&pp=gAQBiAQB   I just learned that I'm being forced to work 66-hour work weeks for the rest of the year, so I hope I didn't set my word count goal too high. :/

Nov 10, 2023 19:11

Bummer! :( But sub-plots are the neatest part of a novel. I have faith you'll get to the wordcount <3 I try to think of it as 5 articles of 2k words :P You can do it!   Thanks for the link, I'll have to look into it :3

Nov 10, 2023 20:56 by Nimin N

That subway map methods is cool, thanks for sharing! Such a great idea to combine the two challenges this way. Good luck with the novel and word goal, and hope you have a great World Ember :)

Nov 11, 2023 04:08 by Melissa

Thanks, Nimin! I'm excited to see what everyone else is coming up with! Seeing some great maps already for #UnofficialMapVember. Your pledge is so much more detailed, you've got a great plan! Thanks for sharing about Comment Caroling, such a nice and positive idea! :D

Nov 11, 2023 04:22 by Nimin N

Comment caroling was Annie Stein's wonderful idea that I decided to tag along on, the community part of these events is what I feel make them so great. <3

Nov 11, 2023 11:44

Congratulations on getting the Meta for Dragonstar done!

Nov 11, 2023 14:00 by Melissa

Thanks, Demongrey! I know I'm going to keep tweaking it. Nothing's ever truly done, LOL.

Nov 11, 2023 20:32 by Polina "Line" Arteev

Awesome work with the meta! So excited to see what you write up during WorldEmber :) Have fun with Mapvember!!


Seek a new dawn, in Malkora!
The Feral Sovereign sleeps peacefully, but will return...
Nov 11, 2023 22:59 by Melissa

Thank you, Line! I've been putting it off for a while because it was intimidating when I didn't have answers for all of the sections. It took about 6 months of world-building to get to the point where I felt that I could fill out the meta forms. I've been following your progress on the Leylines and am looking forward to catching your stream when I can. :D

Nov 13, 2023 02:41 by Emily Armstrong

Good luck with WorldEmber! I've never tried to subway map method but I might have to give it a go, it looks really interesting! Thanks for including the links, added them to my bookmarks so fast :D

Check out my worlds of Beckettville and Culinarypunk!
Nov 13, 2023 16:11 by Melissa

Thanks, Emily! I thought the subway map looked neat, too. They've got such great resources for nanowrimo! Glad to share. :D

Dec 1, 2023 14:27 by Rin Garnett

Sounds like you'll have a lot of your plate this December, 66-hour weeks sound rough :( Clever idea to sneak in that extra writing time at work, though. Hopefully WE can be a good way to rest from everything else. Best of luck this month!