Category Archives: Enderra

E2015: The Moons of Enderra

Back when I first designed Enderra, I decided that it had three moons and a (thin) ring system. I did this mostly for the imagery, not really thinking about the consequences much. Multiple large moons can have severe effects on the planetary environment. Universe Today has a summary of some of the effects of adding a second, Moon-sized, moon to Earth.

twomoons2
White Moon, Meet Red Moon

The scenario they describe is extreme, and I am not quite sure where they get some of their numbers (tides “thousands of feet” in height seem off) but I am sure they know more about this stuff than I do. Anyway, even with lessened effects, I have come to think of three moons as excessive.

At the same time, I do like the “exotic” visuals. Let’s ditch one moon and the ring system.

Enderran Moons . Size Comparison
Enderran Moons . Size Comparison

I’ve done some math to make sure the moons don’t cause huge problems. I mostly used GURPS Space for this, since I couldn’t find formulas easily, and ran the numbers for the Moon (of Earth) through the same process – for verification. Even when the two moons align, their effect on tides should be at most twice that of Earth’s Moon. The actual tidal levels, though, depend a lot on geography and local conditions. Yes, we will have some tides that are more extreme than on Earth, but it won’t mess with the fundamental state of affairs. Nights will be a bit brighter, and there will be a little bit more volcanism on Enderra than on Earth.

Both moons are tidally locked to Enderra – that is, they always show the same face to Enderra. The White Moon’s synodic month is 30.33 days, the Red Moon’s is 43.22.

What’s in a Name?

The two moons are simply named “the Red Moon” and “the White Moon”, similar to how Earth’s moon is just called “the Moon”. I might give them name later (the three original moons had names) but I think I like the simplicity of “Red Moon” and “White Moon”.

E2015: Revisiting Enderra

Planet drawn with Inkscape
Planet drawn with Inkscape

Oh, Enderra. You were my first fantasy world. I named this site after you. And yet, I have neglected you for a decade. I am sorry.

I’ve recently been in the mood to do some fantasy world-building again. Part of it is that I’d really like to get back into gaming; part of it is a desire to get rid of all those post-Enderran attempts at fantasy worlds that are cluttering my Worldbuilding folder. And part of it is that I’ve been doing too much Science Fiction in the past few years.

And there’s another reason. My nephew is going to be old enough to start gaming in a few years. I should prepare for that.

Enderra is now over twenty years old. It was created, more or less ad-hoc, for a GURPS Fantasy campaign, but it’s been used with my own D&D clone rules, Tunnels and Trolls, AD&D 2nd, D&D 3rd, and even TORG. We played campaigns of our own invention and “official” modules. The Temple of Elemental Evil, to me, is not in Greyhawk – it’s in Eastern Enderra.

Enderra already went through one major revision, in circa 1999 when we started our D&D campaign. I had not been happy with some of the decisions I had originally made, so I advanced the timeline and changed a lot of stuff around.

So – what are my goals for Enderra 2015?

Since Enderra is not actively used by anybody, and I have published very little of my material, I feel like I can afford to reshape the setting from the ground up – apply everything I have learned about world-building in the past twenty years. One of the lessons I learned is that it really helps to have design goals and guidelines:

  1. Enderra Is Real: Well, it’s of course not really real; but the approach should always be that “this is not a game” – Enderra is a parallel earth, and can easily be found in a universe one phase shift away from our own, if you just know how. I believe that treating it as “real” will help make the right design decisions.
  2. Enderra must be internally consistent: This is really my number one golden rule for worldbuilding. Everything must make sense inside the setting. If there’s a Raise Dead spell, then why isn’t the world ruled by immortal kings? Or is it? Hmmm!
  3. Enderra shall not be a kitchen sink. Do you remember Eberron? “If it exists in D&D, it exists in Eberron”. Or consider RIFTS. Kitchen sink settings rarely work out well.
  4. Enderra is not a hexcrawl: Hexcrawls might be compelling, but a world consists of more than random hexes filled with combat encounters. Enderra is a place, its inhabitants lead lives, plot against each other, wage wars… I’ll use the story-based approach described by Paul in the Shakespeare & Dragons Podcast.
  5. There are no holy cows: I’ve got a lot of material and notes about Enderra. I have even more in my head. I will re-use material where I can, but if there’s a better way to do something then I will change it.
  6. Enderra shall be a fantasy setting that works with D&D and its clones.  This doesn’t mean that much, considering how archetypical D&D really is. It does imply certain assumptions, for example how magic works, and will guide certain thematic or stylistic choices.
  7. Enderra must be compatible with Contact Light: Enderra is the “lost homeworld” of the Contact Light setting. This places some minor restrictions on my design – for example, I can’t turn Enderra into a Ringworld.
  8. Produce a publishable World Book: By publishable I don’t mean “for sale”, but my end product should be a campaign guide that other people can use. This places some limitations on the scope of the work, and above all, provides me with a measurable goal.

Let’s get cracking.

 

The Icy Embrace of Winter: Borell

February’s Blog Carnival is about the Icy Embrace of Winter, and I will be posting on an assortment of winter-related topics. To start my contributions off, I decided to post something I almost never do. Information about Enderra – the titular world of this blog. Enderra is host to a large pantheon; the Enderran god of Winter is Borell:

Borell
snow-flake-8God of winter, ice and snow, coldness
Personality: Grim, emotionless, stubborn
Appearance: An old man, bearded and grim and clothed in furs.
Symbol: Snowflake
Alignment: Neutral (evil tendencies)
D&D 3rd Ed. Domains: Water, Air, Winter
Preferred Weapon: Long bow

Borell is the grim lord of winter. If the world was built according to his will, then everything were to freeze over, and snow would blanket the world. Borell is constantly locked in conflict with Helion, the solar deity, and neither of the two gods can ever gain an upper hand in their struggle. The seasons are the direct result of this conflict. This means that Borell is one of the most powerful gods, as he is able to stand up to the sun god himself.

Borell is usually depicted as a grim man wearing furs of arctic animals. He wears a long bow on his back. He has gray eyes and white hair, as well as a white, thick but short beard. He is grim and bad tempered, and doesn’t acknowledge his worshipers much – although his clerics are granted spells as normal.

As a consequence, Borell doesn’t have many temples or an organized cult. Instead he is usually worshiped by hunters, savages who live in the subarctic and arctic areas, and by rural folk during the winter months. His holiday is Snowfall, which is celebrated when the first snow falls (and thus never falls on the same day). On this day, people pray to Borell and ask for a merciful – short and mild – winter.

 

Enderran Epic Moment in Gaming

I haven’t actually played an RPG in a long time (I’d like to get back into it, in the unlikely event that any gamers in Berlin, Germany read this) and consequently I do not usually have much to contribute to the RPG Carnival. However, I feel I have an anecdote for this month’s topic, “Epic Moments In Gaming”:

Back in 1992, we were running a GURPS Fantasy campaign, set in the first incarnation of Enderra (yes, the namesake of this site). During one session, the players explored a dungeon found under a local tavern, where slavers were keeping kidnapped citizens imprisoned. They were cooperating with the main antagonist of the campaign, an evil wizard. In one room, a group of the wizard’s henchmen were summoning a demon. This was really just intended for color – the players were supposed to pass this room quietly by, as the enemies were clearly way too powerful for them.

I hadn’t quite gotten the hang of player psychology then.

The group’s mage announced: “I cast a fireball, as powerful as I can make it, and center it on the demon that is materializing!”

Everybodye else: “Noooooooo!”

The fireball incapacitated or killed the mages summoning the demon, but did not harm the demon at all – it being completely immune to fire damage. It quickly devoured the mages, then escaped the dungeon, sparing the players – it had other plans, and besides, they had freed it, and that put it in a good mood. The players completed the dungeon and then escaped through the tavern, which by this time was ablaze.

Over night, the fire spread and burned down half the harbor district. Volunteers who had arrived to help fight the fire had been found mangled and partially eaten. The players decided to flee the city by boat that very morning.

The campaign ended, and a few years later we revisited Enderra. The timeline had advanced by a thousand years, and in between the terrible Demon War had devastated the lands. (This was my way of retconning the world to conform to my current notions of what a fantasy setting should be like.)

A few months into this new campaign, the players rescued a wizard from an extraplanar prison on an ice world. They did not recognize his name – Darka Terem – from the first campaign, but after his demonic guardians had been defeated and he was free, he told him that he had been imprisoned there after having walked into a trap. He and his friends, companions and hired mercenaries had been fighting in the Demon War.

“It was a terrible war,” he told them. “And it had all happened so suddenly, after a single demon got loose in the port city Ellienhaven. Never found out where that beast came from but it burned half the town down and escaped before anybody could find it and defeat it – and then it called in the legions of hell that almost destroyed our world.”

The characters obviously had no relation to the events of the first campaign. But my players looked at me, and you could see actual shock on their faces.

“Oh shit,” the guy who had played the wizard in the GURPS campaign said. “That was our fault, was it not?”

That moment alone repaid me for years of hard work as a game master…

I’ve been digging through old files all day working on… something. During that digging, I unearthed something very interesting. According to documents from 1998, Enderra saw its first game session on October 23rd, 1993. Now, I will probably never be entire certain if that’s right, but it was a Saturday – and the files and the folder look like they were evolved from my very first notes about the world.

It’s good enough for me. October 23rd is now officially Enderra Day. And it gives me 1.5 years to prepare some sort of celebration for its 20th anniversary.