Tag Archives: Enderra

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 I had not been happy with some of the decisions I had originally made, so I advanced the timeline and changed a lot of stuff around.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.

 

Poll Results and a New Poll

Thanks to everybody who has voted in the poll where I asked what topics I should cover. In total, I received 116 votes.  The results were not that much of a surprise; you guys voted mostly for what I have been posting about anyway:

pollresults

It’s easy to explain that – if a certain type of post is common, the people who are attracted by that will vote for more of the same type. Still, it’s good to know my readership.

As a consequence of this poll, I will retire the plot-a-day series – it’s been mostly plot-a-quarter anyway, and I haven’t quite been happy with them anyway. They’ll stay in the archives, but don’t expect any more of them.

The one true surprise is that Game Design received so many votes, considering I have not posted much about it, especially lately. I have heard you, and I will pick up my efforts to design a game system again. Just give me a little while to get some other stuff out of the way.

As for genres, science fiction was the clear winner over fantasy, but again, I have been posting a lot of science fiction stuff. I won’t alienate those of you who enjoy it that way, so no worries, but I will provide more fantasy posts as well because I believe it’s underrepresented. The site, after all, is called Enderra.com after my fantasy world, and it’s a shame that there is so little material on, well, Enderra here.

The New Poll

The new poll is even more blatant: With this I wish to find out which of my settings are actually interesting to you guys! Let me know – and I will give you what you want… 😉

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.

Enderraspace

During the day, the Sun is the most prominent object in the sky of Enderra, and its light drowns out all other objects. Very rarely some of the moons or even parts of the Glitter can be seen during daytime hours. During nightfall, the scenery changes: The dark sky is sprinkled with stars. Some of these, “The Wanderers”, move around: The Planets. Enderra has three moons, and one very special feature called “The Glitter”, a thick ring that surrounds the planet and dominates the night sky.

The Sun: The sun is the embodiment of the solar deity, Helion. It is identical, for all practical purposes, to Earth’s sun.

Enderra's Moons
Relative sizes of Enderra's moons in comparison to Earth's moon

Illustration 1: Relative sizes of Enderra’s moons in comparison to Earth’s moon
Dures: Dures is the largest moon. It is silvery-white, and its surface is heavily cratered. Its orbit – and thus phases – is 31 days long. The visible size of Dures in the sky is about 50% larger than Earth’s moon.

Meriel: This is the medium-sized moon, orbits in 62 days. It is colored blue-green, with many white streaks, that some astronomers say are clouds.

Neron: The smallest of the three moons, and nicknamed “blood moon” because of its red coloration. Usually, it is orange-red, but in some nights it is a dark, deep red. It orbits in 93 days.

The Glitter: The Glitter is a ring around Enderra. It is a collection of tiny asteroids and dust; it does not look as solid as Saturn’s rings look on some photographs; rather it appears as an extremely thick band of stars that crosses the sky. The Glitter is used as a navigational aid and appears in many myths and legends.

Planets: The Wanderers

All worlds in Enderra’s solar system are spherical.

Goras: Appears to be a small, yellowish and very bright planet. Goras is a desert world, scorched by the close sun. The air is too hot to breathe. It has no moons.

Sharee: A very bright, white planet. Jungle World – Jungles and swamps, complete with monsoon rains and heavy cloud cover. Dinosaurs and other reptiles are the dominant lifeforms. One moon. White coloration is due to the thick cloud cover.

Kayla: Larger than the other planets, but darker than Sharee and Goras. Yellow-brownish color. A desert world, larger and further away from the Sun than the other two, this world is much less hostile. It has one asteroid size moon.

Delora: A small planet of white and blue-green coloration. “Cold” desert World, very few plants, Tundra and Taiga. Ice caps at the poles. Dried-out canyons and oceans. There are many sites of ruined cities spread around the globe, indicating the former presence of a now extinct civilization. There are short “green” times during the spring and fall; the summers are rather hot (about like the northern Sahara desert on Earth). This planet has 3 moons; two of asteroid size and one larger moon.

Celeste: A large bright blue planet. Huge Air World with a core of liquid fire. Many smaller chunks float around the air sphere, some of them as big as small moons. Virtually all of them support some form of life. 5 Moons and a ring system.

Aeron: This world is only medium sized as far as air worlds go, but it’s still large enough to have a solid core only a little smaller than Earth. It also has many moons, some of which orbit within the atmosphere.

Aguara: Medium Sized Water World. The surface of the water freezes when the planet moves away from one of the suns in orbit 11. There are permanent ice caps at the poles.

Orec: Small air world; cold, windy, no solid bodies in the atmosphere. This world is dark and scary; rumour has it that the planet is haunted. It has 10 minor and 5 major moons as well as a thin ring system.

Mikturu: Medium-Sized water world. The water is kept from freezing because this world has a small fire-body moon. In fact, temperatures on the world are very comfortable or even tropical. Far below the surface, volcanoes heat the water.

Dakordu: Ice World; A world of eternal snow storms and glaciers. There are some ruins scattered over the surface, many of them buried beneath the snow. Four moons, two of them only of asteroid size.

Nemesis: “Ice ball” – basically a sphere of black ice, polished like a mirror, reflecting all light sources. There is no atmosphere, and the planet has no moons. Nemesis is feared by space travelers for it is said to be cursed and inhabited by the frozen souls of those who die in deep space.

Update: Diagrams of the solar system are available now too.

What’s In a World Name?

I recently discovered that a lady on Twitter has the given name “Enderra”. I didn’t quite figure out what that means, yet, but it might be a variant of Endrra.

Endrra is Albanian for “Dream” and Turkish for “rare”.

There are other meanings for similar words:

Ender means “rare” in Turkish. (Someone clear this up for me, pretty please?)

Endera is a family of moths. It is also “either” in Swedish.

Indera is the Malay name for the Hindu god Indra.

Enderra is also quite close to Andorra, though this also wasn’t my inspiration for picking the name.

None of which are related to how I actually came up with the name. I think I didn’t tell that anecdote to many yet: When I was building my world way back in ’92, I urgently needed a name for it and I just couldn’t think of anything. At the same time I was listening to the radio, tuned in to a station with the code/abbreviation NDR2. And when I rearranged and twisted it, NDR became En Der Rah. Enderra. I liked it, and it stuck.

Where did you get your campaign world’s names?

Sandbox: Step 1b – Still Mapping the World

The first step of the Sandbox experiment turned into a much longer post than I had anticipated, and when I was done it was very late. I simply did not have time to do the last part of the first step, namely placing rivers and forests.

I did well by that decision; it took me two evenings to get it done. Now the world looks much less barren:

Got woods?
Got woods?

It probably still needs some additional rivers but this will do for a start. Some details for illustration purposes:

Rolling down the river
Rolling down the river

Ice, ice, baby
Ice, ice, baby

In the next step, I will finally get around to actually writing some background about this world. Stay tuned.

Continued in Part 2.

Sandboxing a World – Foreword

By chance – thank you, cartographer’s guild poster – I came across The Piazza which linked to a series of articles by Rob Conley about creating a “Fantasy Sandbox”. I have only skimmed the beginning, and it looks like a fairly logical process not unlike what I do anyway, so I decided to use it to create my “Consolidated Fantasy World”. I’ve done this sort of experiment before: When I created Arnâron, my Barsoom replacement, I followed ideas put forth in the now defunct Shakespeare & Dragons podcast – even if I did not post about every single step.

And that is something I’m going to do different this time around; I expect to post the results of every step in the process. Rob writes he expects the entire process to be about 24 hours of work, so it is tempting to try this in weekend of insanity, but instead I’ll aim for one step per day. If I get through these steps faster, then that’s fine of course.

Consolidated, you say?

So what is that “consolidated fantasy world” anyway?

As you probably know, my fantasy world is Enderra – the namesake of this site. Enderra was originally developed in a mad two week bash for a 1992 GURPS campaign, and recycled years later for our Dungeons & Dragons campaigns after massive redesigns. And after I stopped gaming, I began to create “Enderra v3”. It never got “done” – as you will know if you’ve followed my work for any period of time, I tend to get distracted by all kinds of new ideas way too easily.

Some of those ideas also covered fantasy worlds. Naturally, these were mostly collections of ideas rather than real designs. But in the end I have to admit that I have only a very limited amount of time, and that it is impossible for me to actively maintain a number of fantasy worlds (even one is difficult!) and so all the material I create (and eventually publish) should feed one setting.

Since the Fantasy Sandbox process does not specify the necessity for prior planning, I will leave it at that – but of course I already have a lot of ideas on where I want this to go as well as a good amount of material from previous Enderra incarnations to base this work on.

Let’s see what happens…

Enderra World Update

The past weeks I’ve been working on collecting notes about Enderra, the fantasy world. I’m going through my written material, all the way back to the first notes about the world, and gathering it all up in one document in an attempt to create a concise and definitive world book about Enderra. I’m at the point where I “only” have the notes about adventures from the Enderran Dungeons & Dragons campaigns left, and the Tales from Enderra. The Tales were a series of sword & sorcery fiction I wrote in circa 1995, and they’re about 50,000 words in total. The adventure notes are much shorter, but there’s still a lot of material in them.

Even so, I’ve reached a nice milestone today: The new Enderra World Book is just over 30,000 words long. And that’s just existing material, I added very few “new” things to it.

As a little sneak preview I thought I’d share the all-new work-in-progress Enderra map with you guys. This pushes the history of Enderra about 30-50 years into the future from the 1999 D&D campaign.

I expect to be done with gathering “old” material in about a week or two, and then I’ll start editing it. From the looks of it, Enderra will become my first World Book after all. I also have a tentative plan for the first additional book for the Enderra setting, but I won’t reveal this just yet. 😉

Stay tuned for more Enderran updates to come!