This is the twenty-third post in a series detailing the 34 steps I recommended for making a Fantasy Sandbox Campaign.
Today's post will cover steps 29 to 32.
- Pick the 12 most important NPC or Monsters
- Write a paragraph describing each and fully stat them.
- Pick the most six common encounter type. (City Guard, Border Warders, Bloody Hand, Orcs) Write a paragraph and fully stat them.
- Scan your description for any regional organization and write a paragraph on them. Fully stat the most common encounters involved with them.
My choice of using a small example like the Isle of Piall constrains my choices of what to pick for important NPCs, Monsters, encounters, and organizations. It does illustrate an important point about making a sandbox, its scope.
The details increase geometrically with the area covered by the setting. Piall is five hex columns by five hex rows and has about 27 entries. Blackmarsh has 27 hex columns and 19 hex rows and has 94 entries. Finally my upcoming "Into the Majestic Fantasy Realms" has four maps each with 31 hex columns 41 hex rows along with 200+ entries each. The amount of detail grows geometrically as the size of the map grows. Make the map twice the size in terms of hex rows and columns, and you will have to put in four times the work.
If you pick a smaller number of locales to flesh out on a larger map this will mean more to make up as the campaign progresses. For your first sandbox make it a size that you feel comfortable with. The time estimate that accompanied the first posts of this series was based on an area the size of Blackmarsh, a map the size of a regular piece of paper, with about 100 entries total.
What to Detail?
The most important NPCs or monsters on the Isle of Piall should be the ones that the players are likely to interact with. Once you determined this list then describe their capabilities and/or plans in detail. Given the limited scope of the Isle of Piall I opted to describe 14 individuals and their associated organizations.
The NPCs of Piall