NeverEnding: Making Your Stories About YOU!

NeverEnding is a small startup. We don’t have a lot of money (understatement). We don’t have a lot of followers (yet). What we have is a big dream to change the face of tabletop roleplaying games by creating the tools that allow players and dungeon masters to see themselves in their games and better share their stories.

Allowing players to see themselves in their games has been one of our goals since the beginning. We’re working hard to make it a reality with our character builder, scene builder and video animator.

We realized early on, that if we want people to be able to create characters that looked like them, the character builder would be a critical first step. Being able to have a character with naturally curly hair and choosing from a variety of skin tones needs to be a given – but there are other aspects that get missed beyond hair and skin tone. Little things like glasses or freckles can make a difference. Having different body types that are maybe more average or curvier than the typical superhero can make the game better for many. Having a variety of ways someone can feel represented helps them enjoy the game more.

So, we’re doing all of that and more. It’s important you feel like you’re reflected in your game – if that’s what you want. But it isn’t just so you can feel represented. A diverse character builder might be a virtual way of exposing more people to others who look different from them. For example, one of the reasons we included prosthetics in our builder as a base feature is to dispel the idea of disabled people as inherently weak or helpless or broken.

We’re also creating hairstyles and clothing options that reflect non-European cultures as well. There’s nothing wrong with the traditional knight in platemail that we’ve come to expect in the typical medieval tropes of many TTRPGs. But those tropes don’t have to preclude us including options based off of the beautiful beaded coats worn by the Baggara warriors from northern Africa in the late 18th century or the spiked armor of an Indian executioner from the same period. There are many, many rich and gorgeous cultures around the globe. We want to explore them with you. One of the places we’re consciously pulling inspiration from right now is the variety of cultures and peoples of Africa. For too long there’s been this idea of Africa and her people being “less than” or a monoculture. Nothing could be further from the truth. We want to work with artists and experts to reveal and display the myriad gems of splendor available from those storied lands.

This is a huge undertaking. Exhausting and sometimes scary. There is a LOT of art to be created in our platform and a lot of programming work still to be done. We have high hopes. We have plans. We won’t get there all at once – and we hope people have patience with us along the journey.


I recognize now that, even though we’re small, we also have opportunities to lift people up as we try to do something amazing. We have a Kickstarter June 12. We’re planning stretch goals. Initially, I was hoping to connect with some bigger name established artists. I realized today that all those artists started off small and became big, because more people saw their art. With that in mind, I am putting out the call for artists of color who’d like to help us develop and fulfill stretch goals for the character builder and the scene builder (both critical components for our animator).  We only have 9 days to plan things out, but we can work together on figuring some specifics as the days go on.

A shortlist of what we’re thinking includes backgrounds and props reflective of different areas and environments around the world, hairstyles and facial hair as well as clothing and armor inspired by West Africa, Thailand, and other places, monsters from other mythologies. The list could go on.

We do have a certain art style. We have always planned on expanding it, and that can be part of the discussion as well. We will put some priority on artists who think they can fit within our style and help us expand our options – but we want to hear from anyone with ideas for how we can make this bigger and better.

Send portfolio links to jvandoren@beneverending.com

Let’s change the face of TTRPGs together.

Sincerely,

Jamie Van Doren
Founder/CEO
NeverEnding, Inc.


PS: No, this will not be the only opportunity for black creatives and others to work with us. The road ahead is long. There’s plenty of room for us to walk together later.

Monster of the Week: Young Kraken

young kraken
The fearsome young kraken

Raw tentacled fury of the sea, the young kraken lives in the nightmares of those who dare to travel through the ocean…

The Mighty Kraken…. Baby?

This Monster of The Week even has Brittany Spears singing (“Oh, baby, baby“). That’s right -we’re going to discuss the Kraken’s adorable equivalent: the Young Kraken. For me, the first mental images that it conjures up are of squishy, slimy little Nemos, unable to defend themselves from a harsh world. If you’re in the same boat (boat, ha), you might’ve forgotten that this segment is titled Monster of The Week.

So why are we focusing on a weaker version of it’s elder counterpart?

If you don’t want to wipe out your lower level (even mid-level) adventuring party, this little guy is more than a cute marketable version of the terrifying ruler of the deep, they’re a potential long-term BBEG who grows in power with them. Where the fully grown Kraken is an extremely intelligent and ancient eldritch nightmare, their young are powerful foes that are not nigh impossible to defeat (and slightly less tremble-worthy) – as well as prone to plotting vengeance.

Is This Where “Whipper Snapper” Comes From?

Even in infancy, it is capable of comprehending information at the average intelligence level of, say, those who enjoy edgy adult cartoons (adult swim, anyone?). While not as large as their mature counterparts, they’re still much larger than the largest Owlbear. Krakens are also known for being extremely evil. The Young Kraken is no different. One might hope that being an independent and highly intelligent creature, it might rebel against its elder brethren and start a movement pushing against the traditionalist evils of Kraken-kind; maybe be intelligent enough to see the importance of a better society with equality for minorities and higher minimum wage?

Unfortunately, the Young Kraken isn’t capable of actual revolutionary alignment change – nor speech (makes holiday meals with old Uncle Kraken, much easier). They are, however, capable of telepathy within a 120ft radius. They even have the ability to breathe in and outside of water (so there’s still the option of opening yet another a big corporate chain store on the corner).

Kraken as deadly adults or inexperienced youth can execute their schemes on both land and water. The adults are more likely to attack directly when their schemes are uncovered, while young Krakens will retreat and nurse their wounds until an opportunity for revenge appears. Remember, they’re long-lived. They may wait years or decades after they’ve been thwarted to come after your adventuring party.  

Who would you like to see on a future Monster of The Week post? Comment below, and if you haven’t done so already check out our other tweets for more information on NeverEnding’s upcoming animation platform!

Check out our last Monster of the Week post here