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47849970 No.47849970 [Reply] [Original] [4plebs] [archived.moe]

So I'm making a sandbox like campaign where the party has a general quest line but can literally do whatever they want. Any suggestions or advice for this game? looking for some off the wall stuff to add into this game.

>> No.47849982

Swords are metaphors for penises.

>> No.47849995

I recommend you do a pre-game brainstorm to figure out how the PCs know each other and why they're hanging out at all.

>> No.47850000

As of now i have a quest to find and kill a lich who made an undead legion and is attacking some towns. thus the party goes to kill it but cannot find the phylactery. they go all over the place to try to find it only to discover the lich's phylactery is another lich, its wife. the reason for the attacks was to be reunited. they can kill both of them or let them be happy idc which.

>> No.47850014

start and end the campeign with quests involving killing dire rats. Even if the final boss is like a wererat wizard with his army of awakened dire rat fighters.

>> No.47850036

i assumed to do as much haha. I was going to show them the map ask them where they're from and ask them why they are where the game starts "in that tavern place there with the bomb ass chili". basically its going to be a rather large party so I'm asking for anything that will make the game fun and somewhat challenging

>> No.47850046
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So basically...?

>> No.47850082


Yes, but I don't know what that is.


>> No.47850127


In doing my first real campaign, after running some danger rooms with vets. My characters are all first time players.

First is listen to Nerd Poker, Sark is an incredible DM and I learned a lot about how to set up a campaign from him. Dangle a lot of plot threads but have a goal. They all need to come back to that goal eventually, but your PC's will grab one of those threads and decide for them selves what adventure you're running for the next few sessions.

create ways for the plot to get back on track. If a scenario is taking forever speed it up. You're a shepherd to a flock of well armed sheep, they'll eventually find their way but it helps a lot to open a couple gates. Once again Sark is great at this and helped a lot.

Its easier if your party is wholly evil or good. My PCs went evil and I explained at the beginning that it would be sweet if they wouldn't kill everybody they came across, and I give pretty nice xp for savvy swindling or power grabs. Telling them exactly how much xp they got for a clever move encourages other players to try and think sneaky to represent evil. More underhanded and tyrannical than psychotic and blood crazy.

Notes, names, and a thorough mental fleshing out of the world is important. You gotta be able to explain how stuff works and reward good roleplaying in the setting.

>> No.47850199

nice! thanks for the advice ill have to check that guy out. and ill have to detail my plans a bit more thoroughly now to make sure they follow the few quests i have planned out.

>> No.47850305

Have some pre-made encounters, NPCs, etc, basically like pulling them out of a bag. Use your storytelling to spin them together.

>> No.47850458


One other tip, if your players are new you gotta hook them on the rp side of DnD and I had tremendous success in my villain. a well hated villain can be all the motivation they need to really invest in a quest. In my campaign it took the form of Trivigogg, a high level elven mage who is ostensibly on the same quest, but simply levitated up the mountain they're adventuring up. Since then he's been sending illusions of himself to shittalk the party

>Let me guess, you must be a warlock. Is reading a tome just too hard for you or did you take it up on a dare?

>WOOOOOW a whole seven goblins. Look at you, savior of... This rock.

>Listen, you look like you're putting a lot of effort into climbing this wall but I just want you to know its all for naught and I am eating a dee-licious roast right now.

Our rogue botches and sinks his dagger into his own thigh, the words 'Smooth move tree-humper' echo faintly down the cavern.

If they don't desire something enough, make them hate something enough. The line above made my rogue call a cig break so he could furiously plan his 4th level abilities.

Its the little things that make DMing worthwhile. Hours of work and a swollen writing wrist, but you spend the whole time going "Maannnnn I hope they think this is as clever as I do"

>> No.47851057



Watch-learn, man-thing!


>> No.47852541
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Pic related. Prepare things (names/places/encounters/etc.), but don't be beholden to them. Giving players freedom will inevitably go off the tracks, so build broad concepts with wiggle room instead of a master plan.

Ask yourself and the players questions. Get to know the world you're building, and criticize yourself to see if it holds up. If you find something confusing or farfetched, the players will be way ahead of you. And asking players questions reminds them of their agency and gets creative juices flowing.

Shoot for verisimilitude. Don't be realistic, be "realistic". Nobody's asking you to deconstruct the setting, but it should be internally consistent.

Try to avoid saying 'no' when possible and use 'yes, but...'. Players ought to make their decisions, and while you can certainly nudge them in the right direction their choice is their choice. Right or wrong, clever or stupid. When doing combats/checks/dialogue, let players describe what they do, and try to make failures entertaining instead of a straight shutdown.

>> No.47852547
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>> No.47852552
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>> No.47852577

Pretty much what everyone else has said. Have some story threads, encounters, and characters ready to go if the PC's run into them. But also be prepared for them to miss all that, and you end up having to improvise something.

A good example I have of this is from a Star Wards d20 campaign I ran. The group were tasked with hunting a rancor, in order to give it as tribute to a Hutt crime boss. They had a Steve Irwin inspired hunter NPC with them. During combat, he (meaning me) consistently failed his rolls and was generally shit. The PC's started to suspect he wasn't 100% on the level. Obviously in my plans he was exactly who he said he was, I just had bad rolls. But I liked their theorising, and decided to change the plot I'd come up with to make it so he was impersonator, actually an Imperial assassin who was trying to get the party killed in the wilderness on this mission.

Also, make sure you know what skills/DC you are going to set for any challenges/skill checks you characters have to make, and be consistent with them. There's always that one dick who says "ohhhh but 3 weeks ago it was only a DC15 to do blah blah blah".

>> No.47852879


"Yep, a DC15 sounds about right for then. But This week it's a DC20. Might want to look into why."

>> No.47852945


Yeah. Sandbox is terrible. Everybody says they want it but it always turns into a huge disaster because first they lose the thread then they get bored then they do stupid stuff in pursuit of amusement. "Off the wall" is just admitting defeat early.

Have a loose plot outline on hand so that you'll always have an answer for "what should they do next" and don't be afraid to advance it via a sudden event if the game is starting to bog down.

Once that spine is in place sprinkle other plots, characters, and activities around it and see what catches their interest. As long as they're bouncing around the setting doing things and having fun let them run with it, when it bogs down go ahead and advance the main plot.

Pretentious as it sounds, think of yourself as a musician. It's great if you can take requests but if someone doesn't have one ready don't just sit there and wait until someone asks for a song you know. Just play *something.*

And like musicians keep giving each other something to build on. "Literally doing whatever they want" isn't free-form, it's just noise.

>> No.47853019

Every single first time DM I've met (myself included) has tried to run a sandbox where "you can do ANYTHING!"

This is a bad idea. Sandboxes don't work in tabletop like they do in video games. Preparing one quest is difficult for newbie DMs and trying to make multiple quests that your party might not even see? Really hard.

Tabletop games by their very nature are games where you can do anything. That doesn't mean you should do everything. Prepare one or two really solid quests and be prepared to pull shit out of your ass when the players go on crazy tangents. The best DMs aren't the most prepared but the most flexible, malleable, and good at improve.

>> No.47853158

sandbox is just a campaign where the GM says "do whatever lol" right? it's not the same as a story driven campaign in a sandboxy setting, is it?

i'm doing my first campaign with the latter, and it's working out fine. the players basically just get vague jobs to do, and then they have to use some detective work to think of a plan and then they'll gather materials and info from the sandbox, and then they execute the plan. there's also an overarching main goal that they're supposed to get to, so these various side jobs don't feel like they're just meaningless bullshit (hopefully). they said they're having fun so i guess it's going okay, especially since this is my first campaign

it helps that i'm lifting fluff and stuff from other stuff as often as i can, and the whole world is actually based on a world in text based rpg so i know what would happen if the players just kept walking west for some reason.

i also ran a session that was confined to a much smaller space with no sandbox as an experiment, and the players didn't seem to like it half as much

>> No.47853484

"Sandbox" sometimes gets used in an iffy way like it's the opposite of "railroad" but it really isn't. It originally meant a form of gameplay where the player had to create their own goals and determine their own methods of reaching to fulfill purely intrinsic motivations.

Or, to put it bluntly. just dicking around like you would playing in a sandbox. Maybe you want to build a sand castle, maybe you want to try to sketch the Mona Lisa off-hand with your eyes closed, maybe you want to make a hot wheels ramp out of some old magazines and see how far you can launch a car with a rubber band. The goals, methods, and ultimately meaning and enjoyment are all up to you. This is a terrible way to do anything as a group, including RPGs.

Structuring a campaign around decisions like "things are getting rougher closer to the front and they would probably appreciate it if we headed that way for backup, but we might also want to consider detouring through [large city] and seeing if we might be able to sell a few more war bonds to bring some more equipment with us for the foot soldiers. Either way it's going to take a week or two to get the whole group ready to move so if Jake wants to finish helping put the new roof on the orphanage and Tommy wants to check on his sister now might be a good time, otherwise let's start provisioning" isn't "truly" sandbox it's just...letting players have as much agency as they actually want, I guess.

>> No.47857304

> first time DM
> party can literally do what they want
I can't recommend this, OP. At least heavily incentivize your adventure.

>> No.47859744

PC creation: tell the players about the "railroad companies" you have and try to find out what their railroad desires are.
Give them the railroad hints. Set IRL timer for when the railroad leaves.
Sandbox with the players; including them chartering a train on your rails.

>> No.47862578

my plan is similar to yours. where they can do odd jobs around villages, my plan is to have radiant quests like in bethesda games in each village/city but the main emphasis being on larger quests like the lich hunt.

I am trying to plan different things for different areas. and race and faction relations for each area so things are interesting in each location.

the other thing i was going to do as make references to all the campaigns we were all in before to get a few laughs and nostalgia in.

as for incentives for the main quests i was going to have those give xp and the radiant one give money. that way they have to do a balance of the two without it being too forced.

>> No.47864333

A sandbox is extremely hard to run for your first game.

Try to have the PC's stay in a small area for a while, ESPECIALLY if they're new players, otherwise they'll get overwhelmed.

>> No.47864389

all the players are veterans. so far everyone has done a campaign but me. I'm not expecting a masterpiece or anything just something fun to pass the time til someone gets a new idea or until Starfinder comes out haha

>> No.47864521

Then I would recommend focusing on NPC's and plot hooks.

Give the NPC realistic goals and wants, that will make the world feel more lived in.

And best of luck.

>> No.47864597

will do. i figure have the NPCs want things actual people would. due to my sense of humor ill add a few goofy ones here and there but primarily serious.

and thanks for the luck imma need it lol only advantage i have is that im an amateur voice actor so i can give different characters different voices

>> No.47864631


Yeah, I wouldn't call that "sandbox" per se. You're still providing goals and next actions, you're just letting the players decide what optional things they want to participate in and when.

Frankly, it's a brilliant way to structure a campaign and I applaud it.

>> No.47864710

well i figure with skyrim and fallout the side quests are where the money is but the main quests give you so much xp so i figured id try to use that system haha. plus it gives characters the ability to actually use the craft skill for a change which i feel is never used enough

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