Have you ever heard about the Talecember Art Challenge, or Worldbuilding?
If you think that creating a character is difficult, imagine what a challenge it is to create a whole new universe!
This challenge is on an entirely different level than the rest listed on this site. I do have to admit that when I’m gathering info about art projects, I mostly focus on the “drawing challenges”.
Talecember differs, as it’s suitable for artists, writers, gamemasters, musicians, programmers, philosophers – and truly only your imagination and knowledge are the limits!
What is Talecember?
Talecember is a daily art challenge dedicated to world-building. It takes place during December on a Reddit forum “r/worldbuilding” (it’s quite new, and is slowly gaining participants outside of the subreddit).
Its goal is to create a world/universe, inspired by a given prompt list for each day of December.
The name Talecember is a combination of two words: Tale, and December.
There are no restrictions regarding the use of media or genre. You can draw, create a map, write a description of the world or a story, create a game, or music – it’s entirely up to you.
hashtags: #talecember #talecember2021 #worldbuildingchallenge
Talecember Prompt list 2021
The current, 2021 prompt list is nature-themed, and its main focus is on geography and biomes, and the things living in them. It was created by @u/Faranesque and published on Reddit.
The Prompts are divided, and as you can see on the list – 9 days are dedicated to Flora, the other 9 to Fauna, and next 9 days focus on geography. The first and the last prompts are left to your decision on what you want to focus on.
In comparison to the prompt list from 2020 year, there are 2 break days.
Additional info from Faransque:
– If you want you can share your work on Reddit. I will make a post on the r/Wordlbuilding for each day, you can share your work in the comments.
Ps. If you are posting on other social media, add the hashtags to make your works easier to find!
Who created Talecember?
The Talecember challenge was created by Faran – u/Faranesque, in 2020, and posted on the subreddit r/worldbuilding. The challenge was well received and immediately gained followers.
Below you can see the Talecember 2020 list of world-building prompts, focusing on different aspects of a fictional culture each day of December.
Here are some examples of other artists’ works. I hope that they will inspire you to join the challenge. Till now most of the works I found are in written form, story, or descriptions.
I’m extremely and positively surprised by the stories that people can create for the prompt in such a short time. They left me with this heavy thought that having good luck matters much more in becoming a well-known writer, than the talent itself – because these Redditors definitely have the skills and incredible imagination. I believe that these stories shouldn’t be left just as comments under Reddit posts.
Prompt “Legend” – by Sanderf90
In the early ages the land was dry and the mountains were alive.
They walked the earth and stepped their large feet into the skin of the world breaking and cracking it and leaving behind dale and canyon.
One such mountain was so happy to be alive that he danced and skipped across the land, happy as a child to see the world. But he was unaware what occured in his wake.
So once a brave knight rode out from a destroyed village. He sought out the giant and wished to slay it. But when he found him, the giant was not an angry beast, but a curious figure fascinated by his new little friend.
“Such a small thing?” he asked. “I did not know you existed.”
And so the knight told him of the world beneath his feet. The humans, the birds, the dogs and the cows. He told them of the little critters that dwell in the trees and the large beasts that make their homes beneath the ground.
The Giant listened in awe. Such a world that he had never seen. He must see it! So he rose to depart again but the Knight stopped him. For there was a second part to his tale.
Wherever the giant put his feet he found life. And where he found life, he left death. His recklesness had cost the lives of many things.
It broke the giant’s heart. So he made a promise to the knight never to take another step again, as long as he lived, and they live eternally. And so he lay there, falling asleep and letting the grass grow on his back. But the heartbreak was too much and from his eyes sprang salty tears which flooded the land like rivers, and lakes and seas.
And thus from the mountain the sea was born.
The mountains still live today. Listen closely and you can hear them snore in their sleep. Perhaps one day they’ll wake.
Prompt “GOD” – by keeperofwell
Keeperofwell: Im a day behind, but I will catch up tomorrow. This is a religion in my DnD world. The Morning Lord is a reimagining of the dirty in Curse of Strahd.
You sparked the flame of life in the world;
You enlightened those shrouded by darkness;
And you uplift us from the chaos.
You will rise.
Through your light we receive;
Through your fire we breathe;
And through your spirit we live.
You will rise.
May we eternally serve your radiance;
May we be bestowed the power to rid the world of chaos;
And May our enemies feel your wrath.
You will rise.
For today’s theme ‘Monster’ I would like to tell you why lush orchards of the long abandoned Montesi Estate hang full of delicious fruit each year, yet none of the locals ever go near it.
House Montesi was one of the most influential families in all of Andor, and despite their odd appearance, as every member of the family had bright, purple eyes, were beloved by the common folk of the villages around their estate, as they were quite generous, holding frequent festivities for everyone around, and barely taxing the commoners. All of that changed, however, when around two hundred years ago, the then current duke returned from the second war and learned that his wife had died in labour. The grieving widower took his son and his remaining servants and abandoned the estate, permanently moving to his winter residence in the mountain.
After he had not been heard from for a few years, some of the more adventurous villagers started snooping around the estate, in search for anything valuable left behind. This is the story of one of them.
It took him several more kicks until the rotten door finally gave in, opening up an entrance to the abandoned estate. The smell of rot and mold was overwhelming, and thick layers of dust covered the floor, and what remained of the furniture inside. After taking one last breath of the cool, fresh autumn air outside, he went in. The place was in a horrible state of decay, most furniture had not withstood the test of time, and mold covered most walls. The beautiful oil paintings that had once covered the walls of the entrance hall had curled up, revealing even more mold on the walls behind.
“Well, moldy gold still pays for the food on my table.” he thought to himself, as he took the ancient oaken steps up to the gallery. He still remembered the building from the many parties and balls the Montesis used to hold. As a child, he had loved them for the exotic delicacies and the exotic animals that the children could pet and ride on, and as an adult he had loved them for the exquisite wine and the dancing. He even met his wife on one of those balls. Now, however, no music filled the halls, no laughter. Just the wind outside, and the skittering of rats on the walls. He made his way up the stairs, almost falling at one point as one of the rotten steps cracked beneath his feet. At the top, he spun around, unsure which way to go.
But suddenly, there was a smell in the air, an all to familiar smell: that of roasted almonds, coated in sugar. Nobody had been to the house in ages, just where could it be coming from? Curious, he followed the scent through a partially caved in corridor, and as he turned another corner, he could not believe his eyes: the entire hall was filled with the sights of his childhood: Men in colorful costumes were handing out bags of roasted nuts, jesters and jugglers were performing the most amazing shows, throwing razor-sharp knifes high in the air, catching them with their teeth, as another was spitting fire behind them. Awestruck, he wandered into the room, and a lady in bright facepaint put a giant balloon into his hand. Then, through the laughter and excited chatter, he heard it: the music.
It was the same song they had played when he first saw his wife, and he almost ran into the next room, where dozens and dozens of dancers spun around, as a merry band of musicians played the most breathtaking, yet playful tunes. Someone grabbed him by the hand, and before he knew it, he was in the middle of it all, spinning and whirling, happy faces and laughter all around him. But just then, as the initial wave of wonder and excitement slowly faded, he started asking himself how all of that was possible. Why had he not heard them from outside? Why had he not seen any lights? How had the Montesi returned without anyone noticing? And most importantly, why could he smell fresh blood?
As suddenly as it had started, it was over. The lights, the music, the celebrants, all were gone in the blink of an eye. He found himself lying on his belly, right on the moldy stone floor. Stone? He remembered the entire upper floor having parquet flooring. He turned around, and noticed he was no longer in the upper halls, he was in a dark, narrow corridor made from stone, and the thick, stagnant air he was breathing suggested that he was somewhere underground. He looked down on himself, and noticed that his formerly clean clothes had turned warm and damp, and suddenly he understood where the smell of blood had come from. Again, he looked up into the corridor, and where before he had seen only darkness, a single pair of glowing, purple eyes was staring back at him.
For those wondering, the creature described in the story is a remnant. They are born from souls unwilling to leave the world, with unfinished business or a grudge outweighing their desire for peace and rest, and therefore returning to their body. They can however not sustain that unnatural existence for long, as their lifeforce is already depleted. because of that, they abuse the fact that they are half in this world and half in the next to lure unsuspecting prey into their domain, as they are unable to stray too far from the place they have died. To achieve that, they leech from the victim’s own mind, using their most pleasant memories as bait. The remnant in this story is what remains of the last duchess of Montesi, forced into an arranged marriage with a man she despised, her own cousin, and dying bearing his child, alone and forsaken by the world, was enough to turn her into the unholy abomination she now is.
If you are interested in reading more of the stories and concepts that participants came up with, you can read the comment section on Reddit. The prompts are from Talecember 2020
- Lost Arts
- The youth
- The poor
Hey, wouldn’t it be great to see an art challenge that’s a collaboration between the writers and illustrators? The stories are good enough to be illustrated…It’s just a thought 🙂 Hope I will see your artworks for the Talecember art challenge!