This is going to be a Dungeon Crawl Classics weekend of sorts, as I am sitting here in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern PA and the only reading material I brought with me was the DCC Core Rulebook and and the adventures I printed out for it. Need to learn what I plan to run.
My Adventurer Conqueror King System campaign is most certainly sandbox in nature. While rails may appear on occasions, the players are free to jump on or off at will and avoid them all together. They are most certainly adding their own voices to the story.
3e, Pathfinder and 4e like to enjoy their adventure paths, which are pretty much railroads on steroids with lots of bells and whistles to distract the players from the idea that they are on rails. The path would end if they didn't get from point A to point B with each installment, and that would not be good for the bean counters.
Dungeon Crawl Classics is different. It's use of adventures reminds me very much of my early days of gaming, when we really didn't give a shit about towns, towns folks, wilderness (unless it was included in some random encounters in the module) - all we cared about was the dungeon. Heck, I think it was years before we worried about motivations beyond leveling, loot and gold.
I'm not saying you couldn't run DCC as a sandbox. I'm sure you could at the very least find away to link the adventures. That's not the point of DCC as written. The point is to explore dungeons, kick ass (or haul ass if it goes bad) and survive to adventure again later. It is refreshing in it's basic goals.
Alright, back to reading.
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