Monday, May 9, 2011

My thoughts on sandboxing

A few days ago I read some reviews of old Swedish modules, the shared heritage kind of thing, if you like. I noticed that one module was described as a "fishtank", and the way it was described it was clear that some kind of sandbox was what the author was describing. That made me look at what was provided, and how that stack up.

I guess anyone interested in the subject have seen Rob Conley's major series of posts on how to create a sandbox? I have a suggestion. Don't read it. Yet.

That series, while informative and exhaustive, is way too much. To start a sandbox you need far less. This module that ignited the fire fuelling the this train of thought provided far less.

  • A sketchy map, with some atmospheric names, is great for inspiring wonder and creating ideas for adventure.
  • Some NPCs who move about this area, with clear motives and plans for players getting involved in, helping or thwarting.
  • Pro active players who can look at that map and run with the ideas generated from it.
  • Player characters with ambitions and short and long term goals.
  • A few McGuffins.
I'm pretty sure that is all there is to it.

Note that I have never successfully ran a sandbox campaign, so what do I know?
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