Articles for SummerCamp2023
So here are all the articles I prepared to submit or submitted for SummerCamp2023. Since I'm using a design tag to generate this list, I cannot intersperse the block with the following contextualizations, but since I actually managed to have and stick to a naming convention this summercamp, all my 40 articles out of 42 should be in order.
SC.2023.01. Tsou Ministry of Culture
I wrote this comparatively late in the process, originally, I wanted to analyze the nation of Aegypsom, and the city of Kementarian, but as the competition went out, I discovered I had a nice, tightly wound web of relationships between the Tsou actors I already had, the buildings in Tsou which I could see myself writing about, the ancient civilization, and the fact that the frontier area I ended up describing is in a no man's land between Kagomei, Tsou and Moniq. I look forward to detailing Aegypsom, perhaps for Worldember?
SC.2023.02. League Headquarters, Casho Arnd Federation
A true one-shot in this competition, it's a call-back to earlier summercamps' conflict: (All-Greens go All In!
), trying to look briefly into the organization heading Casho
, the most popular sport in Arnd, and how it related to other powerful organizations, by seeing them in their own home, visited by even more powerful visitors, and under threat by the teeming masses of the people, always the most powerful force around.
SC.2023.03. WATER, DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE
I was wondering about this one, then realized, the best way to make something feel powerful, is to look at someone lacking that particular thing, and seeing how it makes them feel. Adding a bit of carbon-credits 'make it look good' reference, and you have this article, about hydro power.
SC.2023.04. Silver Maskfish
Here you have one of the fun ones. A Silver maskfish, or greyhoundfish, is a type of local dolphin, gathering in groups for protection against their cousins, the black maskfish, aka orca. They've still managed to impress the cultural zeitgeist more, going back to pre-industrial times in arnd, and becoming ingrained with the local heraldry. Besides, the black maskfish as are most efficient, group hunting predators larger than a polar bear, are just too horrible to contemplate, except, we will, later...
SC.2023.05. MONIQAN EXILES
This one feels a little unfinished, hopefully I'll go back to it in september and fix the issue or two with it, but it was the first one I had a clear idea for, I think. How the conflict between the Kagomei and Moniqans defined them both, and how the intervention of the Eurani, and their unilateral redefinition of their treaty with the Moniqans marked all their future relations with one another. It didn't hurt that it changed the Kagomei from a Realm, to an Empire, simply because after this, it owned land in a different archipelago. For Moniq, it was quite different, the mishandling of the crisis created internal unrest, and that led to internal dissent, exiles and general unpleasantness, leading to a diaspora with far reaching cultural impact.
SC.2023.06. Battle of Minao Island
I'm not going to win the competition this way, this one also feels a bit rushed. I started talking about the battle that led to prompt five, but I feel I have much more to add to that.
SC.2023.07. TSOU SILK MANDARIN
This one I feel I had more time and inspiration to spare on, it details the responsabilities of the character described later, in prompt 39, and how much of a spymaster he is, hidden in shadows, driving the secret police to political ends. Also adding ties between a character I wrote for a bit of local Megamisama colour(@mako), but that keeps turning up because of her job at Tsou custom house
, and her familial ties to the Tsou ruler.
SC.2023.08. SKIPPER'S CHILD
So, sometimes, despite the fact that is has a single known religion, and some of its priests have footage of meeting the Elements, aka their gods, some traditions show up that don't fit the mold. I actually thought of the tradition before I really thought of the disaster, but the two are intertwined: people know of the disasters, which don't occur that frequently, because of the tradition, which no one wants to dare or challenge. I also had fun defining the wind speed scale for Kagomei, based on the colours they value most highly. Mako also visits, to give her outsider's perspective, they share the disaster, but not the tradition, and so she needs a few pointers, and shares Rainbow Tearer, which I think is a pretty cool alternative name for a disaster.
SC.2023.09. MANDARIN OTTERS
So in the first wildcard prompt, I guess I accepted an unofficial mission, about making it about ducks, to increase my chances of winning(you had to be there). Now, don't get me wrong, ducks would be playful enough on their own, but I figured since I wasn't the only in the chat at the time, I needed an edge. Turning to my trusty midjourney prompt, I generated a duck-like playful animal, Mandarin Otters, competing for living space and food with the Green-footed otter
I had detailed for a prior competition. I'm keeping in reserve for later competitions the giant sea otter, who are also playful, but, well, you can't submit two species for the same prompt, so there. Be warned, the giant sea otters hold hands, or paws, while swimming, and so they are the cutest holders of murder mittens you will ever see. Since I'd had already detailed a condition for green-footed otters, created a special green-footed otter with the condition: Jor-Jie
, and both species are included in the new aquarium, you can expect to see both species again in Arnd.
SC.2023.10. Laidanese Seadip
This one was a bit of harmless fluff, I was instantly reminded of my time in Paris, France, and especially the free outdoors concert I attended for La Fête de la Musique
there, so it felt natural to submit this as an entry. But I had to do a bit of a think to find an appropriate occasion, the folks of Arnd certainly are not averse to partying in good weather, but I wanted this to be a particularly raucous humdinger, so I reflected on recent events worth celebrating and who it happened to. Quickly, I thought of the Laidanese people, in the city-state of Lai Dang, where the Lai Dang treaty was signed, would have lots of reason to celebrate. Now, I had hinted in prompt 5 that they had been colonized by the Moniqan disapora at least in part, and so I decided to write those facts in together.
SC.2023.11. Undana-Ré atoll
So, the first frontier prompt, I had a bit of a trouble with, I wasn't sure where I could find in Arnd that wasn't populated with their 8.5 billion people. I'd also made them suing for peace and economic free trade with the recent treaty of Lai Dang, so, what place would be in a no-man's land? Well, I had a demilitarized zone, ever since Sailboats
, probably one of my first articles for summercamp2020... Wait, it's been that long?
Anyways, the Tsou demilitarized zone was a thing, but it wouldn't necessarily make a land unclaimed or wild... I thought of Escor, the land of pirates, who keep any larger powers at bay through violence, but... I didn't feel like yo-ho-ho-ing this summercamp. So I thought, what if it was 'new' land, so that no one had the time to claim it yet? How do you create new land? Well humans do it all the time, but they usually do it to add new claimed lands... So it had to be a natural process... And atolls, especially volcanic ones, tend to create new lands when coral beds and volcanic processes make new islands where no one was looking... I've tried to keep the next 8 to 10 prompts on the island, for both coherence reasons, and as an extra challenge.
I also let a lil bit of conflict between Linnaeus Van Pelt
and Shibué Dandelion
, when they're returning from Lai Dang, and the signing of the treaty there, and where they participated in the sea dip(prompt 10). Hopefully, it'll spice things up just enough to make people want to read.
SC.2023.12. Undana-Rama Village
So, this prompt is a village on prompt 11's atoll. What are the people like? And importantly for this, who is writing this story? He's descendant of the people from prompt 5, holding the job for prompt 13, writing for prompts 14,15, 16, 18 and 19 and described in prompt 17. He wrote the letter in prompt 20, as well. His cultural perspective, I'm letting show, to show the difference between the Tsou, who'll be important in the two next waves of prompt, and the Kagomine, which is most of what I've written in the world up to this point, their neighbours. It's no accident the atoll is in unclaimed land close to both, and to Moniq, which has cause for conflict with both, and both which could claim are offshoots of.
So, a bit of shout out in the name, first, I've been a Dune/Frank Herbert fan for a while now, and I play in a TTRPG: Dune, Adventures in the Imperium, using the Modiphius 2d20 system weekly. When I needed a job of someone adventuresome, discovering, Planetologist just fit, and was pretty great, since with new land, you need a discoverer.
SC.2023.14. Schimpola, the Schupla-dwelling Frog
SC.2023.16. Volcanic Undana Ash
SC.2023.18. Schupla Frog Soup
So, I had the idea for the frog, the plant it came from(15), the ash(prompt 16) being used in the recipte(prompt 18) during the stream where this wave's prompts were announced. I'm not a biologist, though, so hopefully it doesn't sound too horrible or unbelievable. I also mixed in the continuing story for the conflict between Linnaeus and Shibué, for the same reasons as before. But also because I thought: 'hey, here's a rare recipe you've never had before' would fit Linni and Amarat's relationship, and the deception of it not traveling well would hit a nice emotional beat.
SC.2023.17. Florin Haban
So, except for being an explorer, Florin is just mister everyman. There to give an unbiased, curious gaze to share with us, and tell us about the world. He also cares deeply about biodiversity, and wants to save the new species he hopes no one has seen before(for his own fame) but also because it's the right thing to do.
SC.2023.19. Dam of Undana-Ré
I'll probably need to tighten this bit of writing later, but for now, it'll stand as how someone like Florin might be perceived, a technocrat with connexions(and a writer, shocking, I know!). Mostly by people he convinced to help him, so they are generally well-meaning to him, but jealousy is universal, and credit is always contentious, through the lens of the place he convinced others to build, to save the animal species of 9 and 14, and the plant species of prompt 15.
SC.2023.20. A letter sent in secret
So this is going to hit hard, but turns out our man in number 17 has been dead all along, and only around to tell us about things he can no longer enjoy, or appreciate. He also knew Mako from her childhood, and she and her aunt give us context on how he got assigned to the atoll.
Also keeping the trend of having conflict between the characters, I let a little conflict simmer here, with the fact that the Tsou are implying the Kagomine are up to no good, to their faces. The Kagomine, which despite the Tsou being a larger, more prosperous nation, had to develop more military technology because of the Tsou and Moniqan not leaving them alone, so they can respond point blank: if we wanted it, you couldn't stop us.
So this one will probably give people a bit of trouble. I tried to call back to Skipper's child here, but I just re-read it, and I don't see it clearly. So it's now outdated to consider flag officers of a female persuasion unsuitable for childbearing, but I never said that in the article. Cue all the facepalms. I also tried to hint that Dentrag, Piersa and Mako were going closer, having them call what they've been doing double-dating, but that ends up a little busy, I'll need to clean that up in editing.
SC.2023.22. Tsou Dawn Standard
And this bit of worldbuilding is particularly dense. Because of prompt 5, many cultures are derived from the Moniqans, who view 'the dawn' as the expression of the strongest principles, and representative of their rulers. The Kagomine, which are derived from the Moniqans, but did so before prompt 5, yet were still involved, differentiate themselves in a few ways, one of which is that they place things 'above' the dawn, something unthinkable for Goghur, Rannick, Tsou, Laidanese or Moniqans. This is represented in the five medals for each of these kingdoms, each the Supreme Grant one can receive in that country. Now, during the stream, I wondered, what if the Dawn Standard for one of these nations referred to an actual object, perhaps carried by the Grand Master of the order, in that nation? I ran with it, and you have prompt 22, about the crown prince of Tsou, and the discussions between the characters help flesh out neighbouring nations a bit I hope.
SC.2023.23. Old Tsou City
So, I've had New Tsou City as the capital of Tsou for as long as I've known one of the polities of the world was called Tsou. This prompt allows me to explore what old tsou city is like, and what does it do. It's inspired in part by the Delhi/New Delhi idea, but I've not been to either, just read about them, and then did my own take on things. Here, Mako earns her keep, by pointing out Tsou and Kagomine might be neighbours, with a shared ancestor, but they definitely don't do the same things, for the same reasons. I've also got the districts to flesh out for later.
SC.2023.24. Reiki Tsu'Reik
Arnd is not our world. Repeat after me, Arnd is not our world. One of the things I've written in my Meta(but I've lost some meta, so it may no longer match my memory), is that Arnd is what happened if two very misogynistic cultures hadn't happened: the ancient greeks, and the ancient romans. I picked them because I knew more about them than some of the alternatives, and they were the common thread for 'western' civilization, so they'd allow me to show differences that would have a huge impact. I also used Fractal Terrain 3 to generate the original maps, so Arnd does not look much like our world. The cultural differences I've only begun to explore, but one of them is certainly that a Saami princess, looking quite scandinavian, wearing traditional Tsou clothing, wouldn't draw the same reactions as in our world, necessarily, and that's before accounting for the fact that Saami is only seperated from Tsou by an Ocean. In a sense, they're closer to Tsou than China would be to Lapland or Finland, since an ocean is more easily crossed than the Himalayas, Mongolia, the Tatar plains, Ukraine, etc... All this to say the common ancestor Moka and prince Donovan share is a bit different in looks from either, but certainly culturally she blazed the trail both follow now. Given more time I need to explore her personality further, she's just a placeholder for the conflict between her descendants, as-written.
Another idea I had while listening to the introductory stream. Many cultures have jobs that started in religious orders, for religious or cultural reasons, and are now replaced by technology and automation. Tying it to the festival of prompt 29 was just gravy, and allowed me to explore what parts hadn't changed so much, and what parts just wouldn't fit a modern paradigm.
SC.2023.26. The Poetry of the Elements
I kept wanting to write this as a poem about rainbows, but never got around to it.
SC.2023.27. Razhul (Raˈθul)
So, for this ornery bird, I generated a picture, which led to inspiration to write what you see, which ties it to a simmering conflict I've had in the world since 2020, at least. Then forgot to attach the picture. Here it is:
The picture tells a lot about the bird, a very fierce raptor in colours of dawn and flame.
SC.2023.28. Ancient Tsou
The ancient Tsou aren't done justice in this article, it's much too short for that, but it does bring into the new vs old conflict, and allows prompt 5 to appear again, it's even more important than I remembered. Also prompt 24 gets to be artful to us.
SC.2023.29. Tsou Cherry Petal Day
So here is a festival, about the fall, and in the spring before, Piersa is very clever, and manages to ask to visit a country she's technically at war with(but knows of a thaw in relations).
So, I was afraid talking about rainbows was going to be boring, so I had a pedant try to butt in about some unimportant thing, like pedants do. I probably shouldn't have bothered.
SC.2023.31. Pelican-Class Logistical Skycutter
The military, any military, lives by its stomach and logistics. Food, ammonition, other supplies, all need to go where needed, or the soldiers cannot be effective. I started with a peek behind the curtain of the military-industrial complex, tied it with a main character: Amarat, and here you are.
SC.2023.32 Silk Express Road
So, the prompt was about distant communication, and with Arnd having the equivalent of cell technology, certainly it was a possibility, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it'd not tell us anything about the people of Arnd. They're not defined by their communications, or its availability. But, the ministry of culture of the Tsou very much wants to define the people of Tsou, and restricting their communications to inspect and control them, that's very much something they'd do. It tells us something about these folk.
So this is probably the article I'd be the proudest of, if I'd gone back to it around the last day of the challenge, for an edit or two. It certainly has the more interesting conceit I've come up with, I think, of all the prompts. Make a silent language, using clothing. Just a note, this happens when Mako, Dentrag and Piersa are still in Megamisama, before the trip that would see them visiting Old Tsou City, I don't think I clarified the timeline, for one. The Wungli, a(I thought) throaway name I made for Shacur Meihomei: The act of rising above all others
in the Coronation challenge, turned out to be useful, and composed of many parts, who could be used to mean the parts of speech, or tell something about one's wants, or oneself, depending.
SC.2023.34. The New Etruscan Citizen
I won't lie, this one feels very topical, very: twitter renamed to X, and probably won't age well. But at the same time, I thought that having had articles about spies and spy agencies and spymasters, having an article about newspapers, and how spies can use the same would be interesting, maybe even on point for the curriculum of a military academy(those paying attention will notice I've used that idea quite a lot, I get more feedback from readers for "in class" material, so far).
SC.2023.35. Black Maskfish
Linni and Shibué are traveling, we're going back in time to prompts 11 or so, and they are looking to the ocean... What do they see? Well, only a social sea mammal, but one quite different from prompt 9, and different from prompt 4, although related. Truly the master of all it surveys, the most lethal animal in all of arnd, not least because of its unique communication abilities, great intelligence and great bulk.
I didn't tag prompt 36 properly, so it doesn't show.
SC.2023.37. The proclamation of silk
So, a prompt about a letter. Well, I already wrote about a proclamation in prompt 7, which is the boss of prompt 1. How would one create a new, important and powerful job? Well, most cultures so far, and Arnd's cultures are close enough to ours in that respect, to create something, you need to write about them, and get that writing in a public place, so concerned people can learn about them. After first I goofed, having only one Han Tsu'Reik, but having him named in a proclamation 32 generations ago would leave him a bit old in the tooth... So I ended up creating Han Tsu'Reik the younger, and the elder, and that worked much better.
SC.2023.38. Desolation of Lack of Counsel/qeî dǎ zhuoùng (ʨʰei̯˥˩ ta˧˥ ʈʂwou̯˨˩˦ŋ)
Now I've already hinted at this building in the last prompt, just like having a paper saying what the new powerful person can do, it is very helpful to give them a place to work. Most government offices, see what I did there? It's an 'office' it needs a workplace, by having a place, it can do work, it is an office, which employs officers. Most government offices rank relative to other government offices in the same country according to how large and centrally located their offices are, and what budgets are assigned to such for them to control. I try to show all that about the Ministry of culture's headquarters in old tsou city in the article above.
SC.2023.39. Han Tsu'Reik, the younger
So, I've already shown this person 'on-page' he's not totally horrible, but like most spy-masters for totalitarian regimes, his company is not the healthiest. He enjoys the shadows, and as he says himself, he has no illusions that his role was to strike from them, for his ruler. He also made me realize I'd never thought what would diplomas be like in Arnd before now. The ancient Greeks and Romans not having influenced society means Ph.D. and the like would be immersion-breaking, so I just played with a few sounds, and lo and behold, that old friend of my ears was playing on my playlist: Stromae, a belgian musician and producer, already used the verlan(a french tradition where you invert the syllables of words) of Maestro. I decided right there that Stromae Maediplo, verlan for Master's Diploma, would be highest post secondary degree. I added Manjorney Maediplo
the equivalent of bachelor's, for journeyman diploma, and Pertex Maediplo
the equivalent of a master's degree, for expert diploma.
Well, prompt 9 has the most adorable critters in the history of critters, so how can I bring them back? Hmm, well if I'm out of ideas for a prompt, and it's about a condition, make it their condition, since the great majority of conditions people think about affect humans. So now, I get a condition affecting an adorable critter, which is bad, but has some good spots, how do I not mess it up? Well, make it a hearthwarming story about how the critter gets rejected for his condition at first, but finds love later. But first, get some medical text in the way, can't have just cute animals, people will demand a picture(which I forgot to put in this article, it's in the other one), and not read! Which being as I'm a writer, is a crime. So how do make people read? Well, if it's a cute story about an otter that's sick, but still overcoming great odds, finding love, and making cute babies for that otter aquarium I hinted at some prompts ago? I'm in, and I'm sure some of the others are too. The medical text has to be about someone being wrong first, that explains why people think it was wholly bad, the story shows us why it's not wholly bad, and we finished reading, it was a cute story, so we're good.
SC.2023.41 Kagomine Secretary of Defense
Well, I didn't see the stream where those were announced, just refreshed the summercamp prompt page, and bang! New prompt, who dis? I never got around to 42, which is a nice pun about the meaning of the universe, see Douglas Adams, you'll thank me later. But I did get to think about 41, and thought about the secret they had to keep, before even deciding who was keeping it. Then tied it to my characters, who had been dealing with this secret all through the prompts so far, although I hadn't noticed at the time. Way to go me, I wish I thought of it, it's more like my main characters being related to royalty means any state secrets end up being their problem. Vulnerability is always something you want to keep to yourself, so it won't be exploited. I also have been looking at classification of secrets lately, thanks to Linnaeus becoming State Undersecretary for Classification, he gets to see how that sausage is made.