Category Archives: Site News

Enderran Agenda for 2020

Plans and Other Whimsy

I know, I know. I am great at making plans, maybe not so great at following through with them. But, contrary to what you might believe, not finishing things actually annoys me greatly.

One of the things I realized I really want to do is decluttering. Both in real life – it is amazing how much crap one accumulates if one lives in the same spot for a decade – and digitally. And Enderra.com is at the top of that list.

I started the process last year, with the big blog cleanup of 2019. I quietly continued that cleanup since then. There is more work to do, but there’s very little return on time invested after a certain point, and I’ll likely just fix whatever I find when I find it, rather than actively looking for stuff to change.

So, anyway, what’s my plan for Enderra.com?

Well, simply put, I’d like to turn Enderra into and actual thing. Something I can look at and say, “yup, this is done”. I mean, we all know that fictional worlds are never “done”. What I mean is something someone who finds their way to this site can grab and use. A complete campaign world. I will identify what “complete” means in another post.

The Future World of Enderra

From this point forth, everything that has ever been posted about Enderra is non-canonical. Enderra, in its almost 30 years history (oh boy – I am getting very old), has always gone through revisions and changes. Some minor, some major. And while I am happy to re-use old material, I don’t want to be bound by it. Times change. Tastes change. And one has to wonder if the world really needs another pseudo-medieval European fantasy setting.

(Indeed, the main reasons why I keep the “Enderra” name are a) it has history and b) I’d have to come up with a new name…)

While much remains to be worked out, and this really warrants at least one future post, I do have a general idea of what Enderra should look like.

  • D&D compatible: There are a couple aspects of Dungeons & Dragons I do not like, but in the end D&D remains popular and accessible, there’s a huge body of third party material out there, and, well, it works. (And this is an excuse for me to finally pick up D&D 5th Edition.)
  • Sword & Sorcery: Enderra has always been more of a low magic setting. Not that there were no major plots or high stakes, but the player characters were always more likely to free some prisoner, search treasure in a dungeon, fight some dark cult, or hunt some criminal than to have a tea party with the gods. Dragons exist, but are rare.
  • No Color-Coded Morals: Speaking of dragons, they’re not color-coded to alignment. Nor is anybody else. Some cultures, organisations, or species may tend towards specific alignments, but that’s it. In reality, nobody does something to be evil; villains are just as convinced they’re “doing the right thing” as the protagonists are. In the context of D&D, alignments are a tool to aid gameplay, nothing more.
  • Wilderness and Exploration: Enderra has always been reasonably civilized. Sure, with a lot of wilderness between the towns, but most of the known world was under the control of one organized, functioning kingdom or another. I’m thinking of limiting the civilized spaces a lot more, with most of the world wild and untamed. Of course, adventuring opportunities abound. Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition stipulated a setting type called “Points of Light” which is the right direction (again, I’ll post more detailed thoughts on this later), but I am thinking about “The Frontier” and a possible land rush.
  • Technology: I am very tempted to move the technology forward a little, notably to include firearms. I’ll have to see just how well it works. More technology probably moves the setting closer to a Fantasy Western. Which actually sounds like fun.

As usual, all of this will probably be refined as we go.

Last but not least – a teaser: I signed up to host the RPG Blog Carnival in February. I always enjoyed running these events, and they always spurned me on to create stuff.

The Big Blog Cleanup of 2019

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? My apologies. All I wanted was migrate to a new host, and then… things happen. And then other things did. And then it was Wednesday. And then suddenly 2019. You know how that works, right?

I’ve been absent from RPGs, world building, and writing for way too long. I never really stopped creating, just didn’t post much anymore.

I intend to do an overhaul of the site, clean up some of the older stuff, but above all… just get all these damned ideas out of my head and onto, well, what passes for paper these day.

Here is what’s changed so far.

  • New header image: I changed header images around a bit, I am somewhat happy with the current one. The “Martian” one was too science fiction specific. And I really used the snow one long enough.
  • Improved Shakespeare & Dragons Archive: All of the MP3s are now hosted on Google Drive.
  • Better archive sidebar: Collapsing list for the archives in the sidebar for easier navigation.
  • Advertisement free: Removed adsense and analytics. Added a cookie consent bar for the WordPress cookies.
  • New categories: Tried my best to re-organize the site. The new categories are:
    • Worldbuilding: Everything related to worldbuilding. Methods, techniques, and so on.
    • Worlds: Posts directly covering the worlds I design. One sub-category for each world/setting.
    • RPG: Posts related to role-playing games.
    • Plot-a-Day: All posts with plot ideas
  • New host: Updated software, new host, all sparkly and shiny. (I hope..)
  • Site Optimizations: I did some tech stuff and Enderra.com went from a Google Page Speed Insight score of 14 to 84 – a huge improvement. I hope this is notable to visitors, too.
  • Deleted a bunch of old, minor posts: I’ve deleted a whole bunch of older posts – basically applying what I call the “Twitter test”. If a blog post would work better as a tweet, it got removed. I did make some exceptions where I thought something was worth keeping.
  • Other Worlds: Likewise, I went through some of the older settings and removed a lot of cruft. Where posts were worth-while to keep, I put them into a new category – “Other Worlds“. This usually means there’s less than a half-dozen posts about a given world.
  • All the Links: Over the years, I posted “monthly” about new links I found. Needless to say, many of those links are broken, outdated, et cetera. And even for those that aren’t, I can’t imagine anybody actually going through all those old posts. So I’ve collected them on one page and will subsequently verify them all.

I’m still not happy with the state of Enderra.com but it’s a big improvement.

Update, 2020-01-09: Amazingly, it’s been almost half a year again. Well, I’ve not been entirely idle. I’ve continually cleaned up the blog. Changed the header again, optimized page speed, but above all, I’ve removed small, pointless posts, fixed a bunch of tags and categories, added a bunch of “featured images” to posts – that kind of stuff.

Settings Poll Result

I decided – rather arbitrarily, I’ll admit – to close the settings poll. First of all “THANK YOU!” to all of you who did cast a vote.

The results are:

settingspollSo Enderra and Antarctica are tied. Somnium – the Science Fiction setting – is in second place, followed by post-apocalyptic Desolate Earth, the parallel worlds setting Terra, and Arnaron.

I knew Enderra and Somnium would score relatively well – I posted a lot of Sci Fi stuff, and worked on the map much; and Enderra is, after all, the namesake of the site; I am, however, surprised Antarctica and Arnaron scored so well. As for Terra and Desolate Earth, I think those are just genre votes.

I am not sure what exactly I can take away from these results, except that people by and large voted for what I post about already – I guess perhaps that I should focus more on Fantasy-ish things. We’ll see – I already know that I need to focus better anyway.

 

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… 😉

Thanks to Adam for pointing out that the downloads of Shakespeare & Dragons episodes 10 and 13 were broken. I think it happened when Google updated Docs to become Drive. Anyway, I have fixed them, now hosting them on my own server.

As a VERY SPECIAL BONUS… I noticed that I actually have a 16th episode, “The Missing Ingredient”, which I never uploaded because for some reason it also does not show up in my iTunes. It’s now been added – enjoy!

Links:

  • Episode 10 – Plot Part Three, Structuring Plot from Character Desires and Forces of Antagonism
  • Episode 13 – Setting Part Two, Creating Cultural Attributes
  • Episode 16 – The Missing Ingredient

 

I actually didn’t except this, but the Cartographers picked my suggestion for the February/March challenge: Map a river! I guess this means I actually have to submit something for a  change… and so should you!

Guys – I wish you all a merry xmas (or whatever variant of the traditional mid-winter pagan festival you may be celebrating) and, in a few days, a happy new year! Thank you all for dropping by – and I hope to see you again next year!

 

This is the 400th publish post since January 29th, 2008. In the four years the blog had 385 comments (including my own, though) and in the past 15 months just over 45000 page views (excluding my own).

Thank you all for visiting, reading, and commenting – I am happy about every single visitor and really appreciate that you took the time to pop in!

In recent days I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot. I really want to clean enderra.com up a little. I’ve identified three issues that I think I need to handle:

  1. Layout is too messy
  2. Worlds section needs cleanup
  3. Topics covered

I think layout and the world section are fairly straight forward, but let me explain #3 a little.

Enderra.com was originally just a small site about my RPG stuff. I eventually extended it and, in ’08, made it into my main worldbuilding site. I think that move was okay, but now that I am beginning to actually have some settings that I can cover in greater detail, I wonder if one general blog is such a good idea.

Instead, I imagine one generic worldbuilding-and-sundries blog and then one blog per setting. At first, that would be a blog about the science fiction setting.

Alternatively, it may make sense to keep all blog posts here – since they are usually about design as much as they are about what is actually being designed – and then just have a dedicated and more static site for each setting, which could also link back here for posts that cover the setting.

What would you guys prefer? I’d really like your feedback – after all, this blog is for you as much as it is for myself.