<a rel="me" href="https://mastodon.cloud/@jasonpettus">T</a>he personal journal of author and photographer Jason Pettus

Minecraft Enderman Ranch 06: My Lewis & Clarking weekend is ON.

Part 6 of my new Minecraft storytelling campaign, in which I finally have a free weekend to get super-high, pack my digital camping gear, and travel to the far edges of my known world for exotic resources

#minecraft #videogame #storytelling #roleplaying #adventurer #v1.17 #tycoon #industrialage #camping #roughrider #wilderness #travels #lewisandclark #explorer #jungle #badlands #caribbean #warmocean #jungle #resources

The 'known world' of my Minecraft v1.17 storytelling universe

Hooray! After a long three weeks of endless freelance work, I finally have a free weekend here in Chicago to get super-high, listen to EDM on Spotify, and go on my first v1.17 Lewis & Clark-style camping trip across the “known world” of my universe! This is a major part of the roleplaying storytelling campaign I'm doing with this particular round of Minecraft, that I'm supposed to be this sorta eccentric guy who loves putting together a minimalist kit of camping gear (bedroll, flint and steel, a little food and my tools) and just traipsing off into the wilderness, to go find rare biomes and then collect exotic resources that can only exclusively be found there, establishing a teleportation pad at each new location so that I can then in the future travel instantaneously back whenever I need more of whatever can be found there. (To remind you, part of my roleplaying is the “house rule” that I can use the /tp “cheat” command, as long as I adhere to some logical rules, like only being able to TP back and forth from official TP “platforms,” and being forced to visit all locations by foot first before I can build such a platform. It makes it easier to accomplish my goals, a feature I think should exist in the main official game, which is why I don't mind using the cheat.) Then once I gather this stuff, I always bring it back to my main 10,000-square-block commercial industrial ranch, and use technological innovations to grow massive amounts of the exotic resources to then trade with all the villagers in my network, leading me to becoming a massively rich tycoon.

The 'known world' of my Minecraft v1.17 storytelling universe

Another “house rule” I follow, that I also wish existed in the official game, is that I pretend that among the wandering traders who regularly stop by my ranch (an actual real thing in the official game), they rarely but sometimes have the opportunity to sell me an actual detailed map of the 10,000 or so blocks that exist in each direction from my home, which is how it is that I can go out and do my wilderness exploring in the first place. (In reality, I'm using the third-party service Chunkbase, which takes your map's seed number to algorithmly reproduce an exact duplicate of your universe's map.) Here's a look at mine, stretched out to as far as it needs to go to encompass every exotic biome I plan on visiting; and so later this Saturday evening, I'll be sitting down with a few beers and my vape pen, and plan on doing the walking and boating required to go visit all these places, and set the 16 teleport stations I'll need to return to all the ones I want, including 13 villages, two natural formations, and my coming cult camp in the deep woods (but more on this in a bit).

The 'known world' of my Minecraft v1.17 storytelling universe

Like the last incarnation in 1.16, before I had to start all over to accommodate the release of 1.17, I was lucky enough to spawn in an area where four villages were all within walking distance, a central circle for myself and my immediate neighbors that in this game I'm calling “The Shire.” As you can see, when you really blow up the map, my 100 x 100 industrial ranch is actually quite large, and I'm just a 60-second horse ride away from my first four sets of trading partners, which I'm giving backstories and descriptions to in order to better play the storytelling game I'm doing out of this particular campaign. Closest to me is Forest View, which is also the first village I'll be building up into master level, rehabbing and improving, and running a direct train line to from my mansion adjoining my ranch; then to the northwest is the Bedu, a secretive group of desert dwellers with a completely different culture and religion from the Medieval-esque Forest dwellers. To the southwest is a village known as Magirium; long ago a half-ruined portal into a magical netherworld was discovered and rebuilt, and now the place attracts a large crowd of magicians, scholars, con artists and petty criminals. And then to the due west is the City of the Dead, a shadow of its grand splendor from thousands of years ago when it was a cosmopolitan mecca in the desert, but now with its main city temple being the only building left aboveground and in one piece.

The 'known world' of my Minecraft v1.17 storytelling universe

Heading northeast from here, then, we get into the Midlands; nothing that noteworthy in itself, but where I will eventually build out my trading network to accommodate another seven villages, and also a vast grassland where I'll easily be able to kill the 80 or so cows I need for all the leather needed to make bookcases, an enchantment table, and blank books that can eventually hold magic spells. (To remind those who are new, one thing I'm not industrializing at my ranch is slaughterhouses; so I'm only going to have a small stock of animals free-ranging around my mansion's fenced estate, enough for occasional food and arrow feathers. The one and only thing I need a lot of animals for is my initial build of my enchantment center; but that's a finite number of cows only, so instead of breeding and slaughtering them regularly like normal, for this campaign I'm going out to this humongous area of plains, sunflower plains and savannas (all biomes where cows naturally generate in large numbers), and using “frontier rights” to do a one-time slaughtering of all the cows I'll need for that project, and otherwise only keeping six or eight of them around back at my estate.

The 'known world' of my Minecraft v1.17 storytelling universe

Once you get to the east edge of the Midlands, then, you hit the first warm ocean closest to my spawn point; and that's the exclusive location in Minecraft for finding the “Carribean island” type resources that were introduced in v1.13 (“Aquatic”), like turtles, sea lanterns, coral, kelp, tropical fish, and more. Luckily there's a village right on the water's edge, known by the locals as Buena, so I'll just build a cabin for myself at the edge of town and be able to grab more warm-water items whenever I want. This is my personal favorite stuff in all of Minecraft as far as cool decorative items, so I'm always excited to get some of this Caribbean exoticism back and transplanted into my private lake back at my home estate. Across the ocean, then, is the most eastern civilized end of what all of us in these two dozen villages consider the “known world,” the woods-dwelling harsh military society that runs Ostland. And of course, before leaving the Midlands, visiting explorers are always encouraged to sneak out north of Buena one afternoon to spy on the fortress of one of the bloodily violent private militias that exist out here in our rough and lawless universe. They're a constant problem and will never go away, tough men with few morals and no squeamishness, who will just rush in and kill everyone at a place for the purpose of stealing all their stuff. Me? I kill these damned pillagers whenever they cross my path at my libertarian ranch; frontier law gives me the right to do so legally, and I fly the purloined banners of the roving gangs I kill to warn off potential new ones (which, admittedly, rarely works, which is why I'm also in the process of building a fortress wall around my entire 10,000-block ranch as well).

The 'known world' of my Minecraft v1.17 storytelling universe

If you go north of Buena, you'll hit both a desert and a village named the Death Crescent, full of both desolate settlements and the fossilized remains of massive prehistoric creatures that once roamed the land. There are so many, in fact, and in such exquisite shape, that there's an entire museum out here at the edge of the village, with paved roads that lead to entirely excavated skeletons and active digs further out from them. (The fossils are real things in the game, introduced back in version 1.10; so I'll actually be able to virtually dig the sand around them until fully unveiling them, and also be able to actually construct the tourist paths from there back to a cabin-like sandstone “museum.”) Then northeast of that is the first jungle biome closest to my spawn point, known as “Raincloud Forest” and mutually agreed by all two dozen villages of the known world to be left alone as a protected international nature preserve. This is the exclusive biome for such exotic resources as cocoa, melon, parrots, pandas, and of course the all-important bamboo, the only thing you can make highly useful scaffolding out of, and which provides this hauntingly beautiful decoration for an untamed Asian garden back at my estate, complete with tall flowing banners, swinging lanterns, red gates, a landscaped pond with bridge, and a Zen sand garden.

The 'known world' of my Minecraft v1.17 storytelling universe

Ah, but Ostland's only the last civilized stop of the eastern known world, not the end of the universe! According to the handful of foolhardy far-edge explorers like yours truly who have been out that far and lived to tell the tale, if you tramp east of Ostland through the woods for two days, then ride a canoe eastward another day, you'll come across a fabled village of religious monks who live on an entire island made exclusively of magic mushrooms and the mycelium soil needed to grow them. The monks, both men and women, eat the mushrooms in order to go into feverous trances, then perform dark sexual rituals at their co-ed monastery, which supposedly involve the ritual killing of cows that roam the land with magic mushrooms growing right out of their skin. But this is all stuff of legend, fanciful tales to scribble into the sketchy edges of explorers' maps like my own, so who knows what I'll actually see once I actually get out there?

The 'known world' of my Minecraft v1.17 storytelling universe

The 'known world' of my Minecraft v1.17 storytelling universe

So after that, 5,000 blocks away from home, I'll just teleport directly back to the Shire instantaneously, drop off all my gathered exotic goods, then start making my way northwest for a while by foot, and then shoot up north by canoe until reaching the Badlands. This is the exclusive biome in Minecraft for finding colored terracotta, which can be used on their own for really cool sold-colored walls or patterned adobe huts in building construction, or to represent massive Indigeneous decorative wall hangings in giant ranches and cabins and places of that sort; or dyed into whatever color you want, if you don't like the ones that generate naturally in this biome; or glazed into amazingly colorful patterned decorative blocks, that can be laid out in specific larger patterns to make up the bottom of pools and fountains, a mural, a decorative sidewalk and more. It's also claimed by my brotherhood of far-edge explorers that there's an abandoned massive mine in these badlands, still full of riches but with so many monsters that it chased off all the traditional mining companies. There's supposedly treasures just to be yanked right off the wall, or by opening hastily abandoned treasure chests; but it's also supposedly a terrorizing place where deadly creatures exist around every corner, and not for the faint of heart.

The 'known world' of my Minecraft v1.17 storytelling universe

And then finally, a late addition to the game if I end up needing it will be the idea that I've finally gotten my industrial ranch all built out, have finally traded with my neighbors enough to get them all leveled-up into masters, and have nothing else left to do; so my storytelling idea at that point would be that I as the now billionaire tycoon go insane, and decide to start this violent religious cult around the otherworldly Endermen I and other rural settlers swear we see at the edges of our farmlands every evening at dusk. I would follow some online instructions I found for making banners that look like Enderman faces, then plaster them all over my estate; build a tall, narrow tower in the shape of an Enderman to serve as a landscape focal point, cult headquarters, and the storage space for the enchanted weapons all the master villagers around me make for me; and also build a massive luxury A-frame cabin resort in the middle of the tall-tree taiga biome directly south of my ranch, where the cult would entertain business guests from the dozen villages of my trading network, then that night would introduce them to the dark cave I once found out here while exploring, and the mysterious, glowing purple portal to a netherworld I found in the back of it. Who knows what dark treasures lay beyond...

I was going to space out all this exploring over several weeks; but then I thought, “You know what? I think if I dedicate a Saturday night to this, I could do all the stops and TP platform constructions in one evening,” so that's what I'm doing tonight, while I drink beer and smoke cannabis and listen to electronic music, hell yeah, now there's a great Saturday night. So in reality, this is actually part 1 of a two-part bigger blog essay; and I'll link to part 2 here tomorrow once I finally go on the journey, take a bunch of screenshots along the way, and get another write-up like this one done of the adventure's highlights. I'm looking forward to it, so I hope you are too!