Thursday, November 26, 2009

Some Sandbox campaigning advice

A lot of referees feel a little lost when running their first sandbox campaign. Feeling overwhelmed by the need to generate dozens of locales and having no idea what the PCs ultimate objective will be.

A good way to over come this is to make a sandbox setting but have a campaign where the PC are doing missions at the start. They are all members of the City Guard, one of the Guilds, or the King's Court. The mission helps focuses your preparations. Then let the players have free reign to decide how to accomplish the mission.

Then follow up on the consequences of their decision both bad and good. The follow up is important because this establish the sandbox nature of the campaign. Several sessions in, the players find themselves driving the campaign as they follow up on the consequences of the consequences of the consequences of ... well hopefully you get the picture.

By this point you will have learned what tricks and techniques work best for you. How to best use your (limited) prep time.


Marcelo Paschoalin said...

In my current sandbox campaign, the first time the PCs met they were asked to rescue a kidnapped woman who was abducted the night before. The only witness said three other women broke into the victim's house and fled north.
So far they didn't find the victim, but they had dozens of adventures on their own, once a while finding another clue of the whereabouts of the woman.
I think I could use this beginning once again with another group if I find time to run another game.

Pete King said...

This reminds me a little of the computer game Deus Ex, which is pretty sandboxy once you get into a mission.

Keith S said...

I've used the assigned mission to start off my campaign, which is intended to be a sandbox. My players have needed some extra direction (we play once a month) so I poll them on our group site with six options. The options are locations or events they've heard about recently (hooks). I usually get about 4-5 responses (out of 10+ players) and use that to focus my preparation.