Saturday, December 3, 2016

Some Thoughts on an "Organic Sandbox" Campaign

I'm itching to start up a new campaign with the old gaming group and I'm considering if I should make it an "organic sandbox" of sorts.

When I say "organic sandbox", I'm thinking a known but small starting area with requisite dungeon to kick things off, but then resorting to ample use of the following resources:

D30 Sandbox Companion

D30 DM Companion


Tome of Adventure Design

Various Dungeon, Wilderness, Urban and Village Dressing Books

Dyson's Maps

Swords & Wizardry Light

An assortment of adventures ready to roll

So, here's my idea. With the right resources at my finger tips, I don't even need to be a full step ahead of my players. I need the right maps uploaded into Roll20 that they might find useful (and i need to label them so they are easy for me to reference and know what they do) I get to start my players out with some adventure seeds early on (D30 Books and Tome of Adventure Design will come in handy) and my players will lead the way.

Of course, if they go where I think they plan on going, based on feedback, I may have a step or two on them, but even if they go in some random direction I'll have the tools to be prepared and keep the story moving.

In a way, its freeing, because you don't need to do a lot of prep for stuff they will never encounter. Its also scary, because you don't know what's going to happen next as a DM, or even "where next" actually is.

Swords & Wizardry Light will be the ruleset because:

A) I wrote the 4 pages but more importantly...

B) Since its only a handful of pages, the system gets out of the way and should allow for the play to roam freely. As I already have the rules scratched out for levels four and five as well as extra classes, its also a playtest of sorts.

Ideas? Thoughts? Share away. Did I overlook any resources? (I'n sure I did)

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  1. Sounds like a blast! I love the d30 series of books. The Creature Compendium also by New Big Dragon, and 30 Things can Happen ( Creative Mountain Games) have been useful for me during sandbox games.:)

  2. I've done something similar. I've gotten a lot of mileage out of the Adventurer Conqueror King books. Especially now that Lairs and Encounters is out. Also, Perilous Wilds has some good stocking tables for land marks and such. It's Dungeon World, but much of the book is system agnostic and can be used for inspiration.

    1. +1 for Perilous Wilds. That booklet is full of awesome. I'll even recommend Freebooters on the Frontier as a great go to lite game too. Id love to see it expanded.

  3. I think this would work as long as there is still a theme to the setting and why group adventures - something to provide cohesion and purpose.

    1. That's a good idea. For the campaign I am currently running, the players are all members of the same merc group that were hired to guard a wagon train into town. From there, they can do whatever, but also fall back on classic merc jobs.

  4. If you can find them, I got a lot of use out of the Citybook series (Blade/Flying Buffalo) and the City Cites, Country Sites, Castle Sites books from TSR.

  5. Great stuff. I would highly recommend The Perilous Wilds and the Castle Oldskull material to flesh out your list.

    1. This, Maezar?

    2. Holy shit, there are a ton of these.

  6. Looks like a great batch to start with and I'll second what Peter said about the Citybook series. And of course there is a small horde of small adventures somewhere to plunder.

  7. wizardawn.and-mag.com

    For all your random randomness. And, you don't have to convert anything to Tunnels and Trolls, because it's got that baked in.

  8. What about Beyond the Wall, especially Further Afield?

  9. I have fallen in love with Red box fantasy I found at Lulu.com. the pirate kingdoms world book had offered many new ideas. I incorporated a few elements of my own, had used a few petty gods and the players took it ran. Couldn't recommend Red box fantasy any higher.


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