Creativity sprees incoming – World Anvil Summer Camp and RPGaDay

Every July, WorldAnvil hold their Summer Camp, and Autocratik has just announced this year’s RPGaDay. I have taken part to various degrees over the past few years and plan to take part again this year.

What are they, and why should you care?

WorldAnvil Summer Camp

WorldAnvil is an online worldbuilding tool, where you can describe your world with maps, timelines and assorted wiki-style articles, with easy cross-referencing. It was started as a present from Dimitris, the lead developer to his wife Janet to keep track of her characters and locations for her writing, and it proved so successful that it has become a major community

My Mystara WorldAnvil site would be rather more impressive if I spent more time curating it. To get a real idea of what is possible, see some of their featured sites:

To me, the part I’ve made the most use of, and the core of the tool, are the different types of article, each with their topic-specific prompts to inspire. There are 25 different article types:

  • Buildings
  • Characters
  • Conditions
  • Documents
  • Ethnicities
  • Geographic Locations
  • Generic
  • Items
  • Laws (natural and metaphysical)
  • Languages
  • Materials
  • Military Conflicts
  • Military Formations
  • Myths and Legends
  • Organizations
  • Professions
  • Prose
  • Ranks and Titles
  • Settlements
  • Species
  • Spells and Abilities
  • Story Plots
  • Technologies and Sciences
  • Traditions and Rituals
  • Vehicles

Each one has its own set of prompts and sections to inspire you. For example:

  • Buildings have Owners, Alternative Names, Purpose, Alterations, Architecture, History and Tourism
  •  Myths and Legends have Dates of recording and setting, Summary, Historical Basis, how far the myth has spread, Variation, Cultural Reception, and its effect on Literature and Art
  • Species have Scientific Classification, Geographic Distribution, Anatomy and Morphology (what they look like), Perception (how they perceive the environment), Reproduction, Ecology and Habitat, Biological Cycle and Dietary Needs and Habits

Of course, you don’t need to follow the prompts at all – each article is based around a core text area; the benefit of the different categories here is that it feeds into the navigation.

As you would expect from a web-based product, cross-linking is built in, along with rich-text editing and images. You can also have maps with pins which take you to specific articles.

WorldAnvil Summer Camp

The feature which has brought the most to my world, however, isn’t actually any of the world-building tools. It’s the annual Summer Camp. This is hosted throughout July, so the 2022 Summer Camp is about to start.

They have four waves of prompts, with the target for the really keen of one article per day, and badges for different levels of participation.

  • Ten articles qualifies for copper, and the copper wave of ten prompts will be released on Friday 1st July
  • Twenty articles qualifies for silver, and the silver wave of ten prompts will be released on Saturday 9th July
  • Thirty articles qualifies for gold, and the gold wave of ten prompts will be released on Saturday 16th July
  • For the super-keen, 31 articles qualifies for platinum, and the platinum wave of the final prompt will be released on Saturday 23rd July

To qualify for your badge, you need to write articles in response to at least the requisite number of prompts. Each article has to be at least 300 words long and be published by the end of July.

You can sign up for free, and all the functionality you will need for summer camp is fully supported on the free tier.

Why is this so good? Well, it has really helped flesh out my world. Articles which have been inspired by summer camp prompts include:

  • The Adventurer’s Malady and Domenech’s Ability Restorers came from two prompts last year – an afflication suffered by a part of the population, and a technology which has made a difference – see the series of articles that has inspired
  • Khoronus and the Chardastes Wing – two of the characters in my new campaign are associated with this, and I think it’s also the location for the main library
  • The Tanneries and The Tannery Residents were inspired by a series of prompts about hostile environments and the people and creatures who live there
  • The Ghost Kobolds were inspired by “Ethnicity: Describe a counter-culture in your world, something outside the mainstream culture of the place.” They are a significant feature in the background of Akorros. Along with other prompts which I think I won’t highlight in case any of my players are reading…
  • I haven’t yet used The Secret Language of Flowers, but it has helped shape my mental view of a northern section of Akorros and some factions; this was “a secret code or cypher in your world”
  • …and there are many more… slightly above 30 in total which have helped me develop my understanding of my setting

I covered the prompts for 2020 and the first ten prompts for 2021 in detail in separate posts if you want to see what sort of thing they will be.

Here’s what I wrote in 2020, and here’s what I wrote in 2021.

Dancing is over for the summer at the end of this week – perfect timing to start responding. And I’m delighted to see they are releasing the prompts slightly earlier this year – I felt the pressure previously with the silver, gold and platinum prompts being released on the 10th, 20th and 30th.

Are you wanting to develop your world? Join Udan, jump over to WorldAnvil, watch the prompt pages for Summer Camp, take up your hammer and get building!

RPGaDay

RPGaDay is a different sort of inspiration. They have a series of prompts throughout August for RPG content creators to post in response to. I managed a few in 2019, I managed to hit the post every day in 2020…and then in 2021 I didn’t post anything except a follow-up after the fact.

The good thing about this is that it’s not just for bloggers/vloggers/content creators. It’s also for everyone interested in reading about/watching about/being inspired by others.

The seeds will probably be posted soon…in the meantime, I’ve got some world-building to concentrate on…

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