Reading Challenge 2023 in The World of Cartyrion | World Anvil

Reading Challenge 2023

For this year's Reading Challenge, I decided to use the opportunity to see how other people tackled some of the prompts that I did not complete for one reason or another. I'd like to use this Challenge as an opportunity to think outside my "box"... or at least to make my "box" a little larger.

There were a few prompts for which I simply couldn't think of something interesting related to the region of the world that I was focusing on, but there were three that stood out because they addressed topics that I rarely consider in any of Cartyrion's regions! They make me realize that, in my effort to create a world for fantasy adventuring, I may be focusing too much on the mysterious and sinister, and not on the more positive aspects of life needed to make the world seem more alive. The first two prompts I will be surveying fit this category.

The third is one I avoided because I've been focusing on gameplaying rules and a desire to keep them simple. But I also want Cartyrion - and the Laurels & Loot rules I'm building for it - to have unique twists on old ideas. I saw the last "Condition" prompt as an opportunity here, but couldn't come up with anything good. Some horizon broadening is in order here too.

So let's get into it!
Selecting Entries to Read
I've already described how I selected the prompts to explore, but what about the specific entries themselves? In proper TTRPG fashion, I decided to let the gods of randomness choose for me!

I don't own dice with 266, 196, or 153 sides (perhaps I need to expand my collection?), so a few seconds in a spreadsheet with a random number generator command had to suffice.

I generated my reading list live on a Twitch Stream, so the last step was to ask a viewer for a random d20 result for the number of times I hit the "Recalc" button before locking in the results. Thanks to itanshi for the assistance.

Somewhere in your world, describe...
... a popular summer tradition that involves art and creativity

SC.2023.10 Laidanese Seadip
(Entry 214 of 266)
A brief description of a "start of summer" festival linked to the establishment of a world-reaching peace accord, with lots of music and partying! The article included what I presume to be an excerpt of a manuscript that hints at a very interesting world.
Summer Arts Festival
(Entry 159 of 266)
The sci-fi version of a summer farmer's market or "flea market"! What could be more craft-oriented than that? The competition to demonstrate worthiness to occupy permanent space in the market is an excellent touch. And the chance to find some sort of rare artifact hidden amid the trinkets and junk provides a great opportunity for adventure hooks (as another reader had already pointed out in a comment.)
Fire Dancer Festival
(Entry 208 of 266)
Another "beginning of summer" tradition; this one apparently involves ritual dancing to honor specific deities. Are the dances choreographed or freeform? Likes and comments were disabled on this article, so I couldn't ask the author.

Three festivals... one with a political origin, one with economic undertones (that could presumably get cut-throat at times?), one with a religious basis. The prompt itself is a reminder that you need things like these to bring a world to life; these three articles remind us that there are many different reasons to have these parties.

Somewhere in your world, describe...
... a rare natural phenomenon that most people look forward to

(Entry 9 of 196)
Seemingly inspired by our real-world Auroras, the Veilwave seems to have magical calming properties! Feelings of well-being and peace make folks want to see it and experience it. But I also like the apparent juxtaposition of this good experience with whatever a Veil Storm is! (I wish there were a few links to let me explore this a bit more.)
Floraison du renouveau
(Entry 4 of 196)
A forest of trees that all flower at once on the same date every year... clearly some sort of divine intervention here. This was a wonderfully subtle way to make it clear that the deities of the world are real and take an active part in the happenings of the world.
The Migration of the Sea Flowers
(Entry 67 of 196)
Bright, multi-colored mini-squids that look like flowers floating in the sea current! A pretty image, and - as the article mentions - an omen for the fishing folk that good times are coming! No map, but a lot of description with tooltips even allowed me to form a decent image of what this part of the world looks like.

So... three examples of magic affecting the world. Two that provide the opportunity for great Adventure or even Campaign hooks: What would it mean if the anticipated event doesn't happen? Are the gods angry? Is magic broken? Is evil afoot? Another where two similar phenomena exist. They may or may not be linked somehow, but one is good and the other very bad. All three provide reminders that pleasant, looked-for events that somehow go awry can be great worldbuilding fodder!

Somewhere in your world, describe...
... a negative condition that has certain advantages

Blindness by Tris
(Entry 87 of 153)
Pardon the pun, but this article reveals a fascinating "view" into the magic of the author's world! Magic must be observable to be effective, hence blindness provides magical immunity. And there are many potential advantages to this immunity! I'd love to ask the author whether sight is required to cast magic, unfortuntely comments and likes have been disabled from the article.
Rune-Eyes by Sai_
(Entry 76 of 153)
Another sight affliction, and another "can see magic" benefit. What I got most from this article, though, was a reminder that too much reliance on "It's Magic" can be troublesome, especially if it introduces physical inconsistencies. (How can the person see at all if their pupils disappear?!)
Blessing of the Raven Queen by EXP
(Entry 131 of 153)
This article was essentially an adaptation of a "condition", and a people/cult, from Forgotten Realms into a homebrew world. It's an excellent reminder that, for home use anyway, everything in the published worlds is fair game if one takes a bit of time to fit things together.

Taken as a group, these three articles didn't so much help me think about new approaches to interesting afflictions. They all served, however, as excellent reminders that in order to make a world believable, it's important to maintain some consistency in how things work - even if magic is involved. (Perhaps especially when magic is involved!)

Upcoming Goals

I've got a few projects in progress that I really hope to get finished by year-end. At least one, perhaps two, will directly benefit from the experiences of summercamp and the reading challenge. That project is to get the Tyrnabay region rounded out and start getting it ready for publication. At the same time, I'll be putting lots of effort into my Laurels & Loot TTRPG rule system project (I really hope to have that publishable in time for the Kickstarter Zine event in February, 2024, but that's looking rather optimistic at this point.) And then there's my Dungeon23 effort - which is somewhat behind. This sort of bridges the two earlier projects, as it is set in Tyrnabay, and I plan to embed the Laurels & Loot rule system into its first incarnation.

The reminders about the importance of variety... the value of little tidbits that could blossom into adventure or even campaign hooks... taking inspiration from real-world phenomena to inspire magical imagination... all these things gleaned from the Reading Challenge will hopefully assist me in my efforts.


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Aug 23, 2023 21:08 by Deleyna Marr

I know it was random, but thanks for including The Spaceport in your list!

Aug 24, 2023 13:51 by Bob O'Brien

Believe it or not, your name came up twice in the original random drawings -- the Gods of Randomness REALLY wanted me to read your stuff! But I decided that I wanted nine individual authors.

Check out my latest efforts:
Laurels & Loot is a new, lightweight TTRPG rules system that hearkens back to the early days.
The Forgotten Academy is a mega-dungeon being created for the #Dungeon23 Challenge
Aug 25, 2023 17:39 by Deleyna Marr

LOL! Well I'm delighted to be read!!!

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