Here Grognardia talks about the loss of D&D's Endgame. One of the reasons that made my Majestic Wilderlands so long lasting is because I never lost the endgame Grognardia talks about. My campaigns were always about the players making a mark on my world. About building that stronghold.
Over the years the concept expanded from literal stronghold building. I had a few do what it took to enter divine service to one of the Gods, some established whole realms after becomeing a ruler, guilds, even something as mundane as opening a potion shop was a big deal to one of my players. The past decade the trend has been to climb the ladder in one of the big organizations (temple, guild, royal court, etc) and achieve a position of power rather then build a castle in the wilderness.
Regardless of what the player choose in the end they were deeply satisfied because they made a difference. I continue to reward them by using the result of past characters action as the background for the next campaign
When I got into writing professionally and drawing maps professional. I was really focused on doing what it took to get the Majestic Wilderlands. More than just to see my personal campaign I knew that I could do something with the Majestic Wilderland that the other settings were missing and that was to offer a fun endgame.
However in 2003 I didn't have all of this expressed coherently. So much was wrapped in the idea of publishing the Majestic Wilderlands. It wasn't until I pitched Points of Light to Goodman Games that it all started to come together. Forced to look beyond both Bob's Wilderlands and mine I really had to think about what made a sandbox fun.
Aside from freedom to roam, easier prep, a well designed sandbox will have opportunities to for players to make my mark. So when Dwayne and I wrote up Wildlands, Borderlands, Southlands, and Acheron we made sure there were plenty of things players could do to alter the landscape.
Now having done that (and again with the upcoming Points of Light 2) I have to consider what is the next step. To me the answer is to get into the rules business. Give referees the support needed to run the endgame whether it is building a stronghold, estabilshing a dynasty, or just opening a potion shop. Then return to the sandbox of Points of Light, Wild North or Wilderlands to give things that the referees can use to drop in their games.
I am glad James talked about this at Grognardia as it reinforces the ideas I already have. I intend to restore the old endgame. In style.
Hopefully I will get a shot at publishing the Majestic Wilderlands as well. We will see.