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54242027 No.54242027 [Reply] [Original] [4plebs] [archived.moe]

As a GM, how do you deal with planning and pacing a 1-20 sandbox campaign?

>> No.54242602

>>54242027
As in level 1-20?

Same way I would any other sandbox campaign. Map and populate a relatively small starting area, drop the players in, and see what kind of situations they're attracted to. Never plan more than a session or two out.

>> No.54242889

>>54242027
>>54242602

Planning not far ahead is VERY important. Sandbox means sandbox, and your players WILL do whatever they want to, and you'll never be able to compensate for any of it in advance. Let them know that pacing is in their hands, but it won't be "railroady" of you to forcefully insert a BBEG once they cross into level 20 for your TPK.

>> No.54243125

I always try and get in how many sessions a player can play. Then plot level advancement around sessions. 1 session = appropriate amount of levels depending on how many sessions a player can attend. So if players can only have about 10 sessions, 2 levels a session. Try and plan all major advancement that way.

Then as others have said, don't plan too far ahead. Work it session by session. Have an overarching plot but if it gets stale, change it. If characters break or destroy something plot important, fuck it, work with something else in the next session. As long as the world feels like it's growing, it is growing.

>> No.54243674
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54243674

>>54242027
>how do you deal with planning and pacing a 1-20 sandbox campaign?

pic related seems like a good decision.

>> No.54244188

>>54243674
I want to try and do that.

>> No.54244221

>>54244188
DO EET

>> No.54244280

>>54243674
>The interesting part is that the players create a random 5-min character, and then grow to love it as he fight for his life
This is more or less why a lot of people play OSR games. You could get this feeling with a much simpler system in a hexcrawl campaign, given you put an hour or 2 in ripping off tables from blogs

>> No.54246288 [DELETED] 

>>54244280

>> No.54246569

>>54243674
It sounds like there would be absolutely no room for storytelling and very little roleplay though. It's closer to a wargame than an RPG at this point. Whether or not it's fun depends entirely on how well balanced the core rules are, which I have a suspicion are a lot better balanced in this format than people give them credit for (no prep/magic item choice instantly kills all of the wizard's power level)

>> No.54246662

>>54246569
This. It sounds fun, but it's closer to Talisman or some other board game by this point. Unless there is some overarching plot, and everything besides it is randomised, but it doesn't seem like it.

>> No.54246680
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54246680

>>54242027
I do it rather mechanically and just create 20 different MMO style 'zones' within my map, composed of roughly 6 12 mile hexes each going from level 1 to level 20 and allow players to explore them. I create a layered flowchart that links the various areas together in order to guide them around the various zones and let them freeform of course if they will.

Granted this is possible because I'm running a wilderness hexcrawl and would be more difficult in a sandbox within a more settled region (though the question how did this city manage to settle amongst fields of balors is an interesting one to answer ) but the principles the same.

>> No.54246761

>>54246569
Just because things are randomly generated doesn't mean there can't be roleplaying. You can randomly generate an NPC who roleplays with the PCs and becomes their patron - sending them to do stuff or needing help.

Sometimes random NPCs can actually breathe some life into roleplaying - forcing the DM to RP outside his comfort zone or to do characters he always loved but never managed to get into a tabletop game.

>>54242027
Have large scale objectives that can be fulfilled in a variety of ways. That way you can plan out certain things. If you keep dropping hints that X great castle is full of treasure, eventually the party will get bored and want to go there. You can thus plan out the castle for a dungeon crawl or BBEG encounter.

Its like an elder scrolls game - you have a massive open world where you can do anything, but the main quest still exists and the party will feel inclined to do it once they run out of ideas. Especially if NPCs keep referencing the main quest or a sub-quest.

"I hear the streets of Daggerfall are haunted at night..."

>> No.54246784

>>54246569
>>54246662
Personally, I think 3.5 is an awful system for a role playing game. It already leaves no room what so ever for role playing due to the stringent and highly math based rules. it's already a war game with its grid movement and HP, adding a purely random factor feels like a better way to enjoy it as a war game with out wasting time writing a story that's going to get bogged down by arduous combat and players crunching for every last bonus they can scrounge to pull together some stupid build or other.

>> No.54246802

>>54242027
>1-20 campaign
It's shit. Limit yourself to 5 level range at most (e.g. 1-6 or 5-10 or 14-19 etc.).

>> No.54246806

>>54246784
>It already leaves no room what so ever for role playing due to the stringent and highly math based rules
And yet our group almost always spends more time role playing than anything else.
Sounds like you've just had inexperienced groups or groups who preferred to paw over rules and power-game rather than roleplay.

We all enjoy roleplaying, so thats what we do. That's what D&D so fun for us - the freedom to imagine a character and how they would act and to see them interact with each other and the world the DM provides. The mechanics of the game purely serve to facilitate this experience and are rarely the focus of attention.

>> No.54246854

>>54246806
>Clearly the only reason anyone would hate this masterpiece is because they didn't experience it properly. No negative opinion about 3.5 could ever be formed legitimately from comparisons to other games and a long career of role playing. They must just be bad at it.

>> No.54246884

>>54246854
More like
>poster states X system has no room for Y dynamic
>Is shown to be incorrect, as many many people enjoy Y dynamic in the system
>gets flustered and projects about being bad at the system.

>> No.54246916

>>54246884
>In my opinion, 3.5 is bad for X reason.
>Your opinion is wrong because I I don't like it and you're a bad roleplayer!!!!!
>Opinions can't be wrong
>REEEEEEEEEE STOP PROJECTING I PROVED YOUR OPINION FACTUALLY WRONG WITH MY OPINION!!!!!!

>> No.54246948

>>54246884
Well they're both correct as they're speaking from personal experience.

Player X struggles to roleplay in 3.5 due to the mechanical constraints of the system impeding him.
Player Y is able to look past those constraints and perhaps doesn't see them as such at all and roleplay with his group anyway.

I'm not sure how far this goes in answering the questions A:Is 3.5 D&D a mechanically restricted game? B: Does a system with a heavy mechanical basis impede or encourage roleplay ?

>> No.54246999

>>54246948
I feel like the mechanics hinder more than help. even if your argument is that you're a good enough role player to move past them like >>54246806 ultimately what you're saying is that you learned to live with the hindering factor.

That you're such an amazing role player that you don't need the system, is not a defense of the system.

>> No.54247143

>>54246999

I think I'd agree with you for the most part.

You need an accurate definition of what roleplay is first. In my mind it's making decisions for my character or characters that I believe that character would do within the context of the world.

You can 'roleplay' in theory in any game. I can roleplay when I play Warhammer 40k and make decisions for my 'characters' represented by my units and HQ figures that make sense for them in the fiction rather than what makes sense mechanically in game but we wouldn't call 40k a particularly satisfactory roleplaying game.

In this sense the mechanics impede roleplaying as there's two separate goals. >A:Roleplay my characters.
>B: Defeat my opponent in the 40k mission were playing.
There's zero incentive for A within the system so the default become B.

If we extrapolate this to D&D we likewise often have two separate goals as well. >A:Roleplay my characters.
>B: Succeed in the adventure. Which often means killing monsters, avoiding traps and gaining treasure which are often resolved purely mechanically.

Since D&D is a 'roleplaying game' players are 'meant' to roleplay but there's little within the system to encourage the behaviour beyond the metagame idea that it's a roleplaying game.

Often a player who does A at the expense of B in a game is seen as a problem player. For example the Paladin who thinks slaughtering a bunch of bandits rather than capturing them is wrong , even though capturing them is mechanically more difficult . Ironically this is often because the Paladin is forced to play a Lawful Good alignment AND has to abide by that or suffer mechanical penalties.

A good roleplaying game intrinsically needs mechanics within it that steer the conversation the players have at the table towards roleplaying their characters. D&D fails at this as the conversation in D&D is often mechanical in nature and the 'roleplay' is often merely narration of the mechanics or pure fiat between the players.

>> No.54247155

>>54242027

Not a DnD campaign but:

For my Masquerade chronic i am trying to create a nice Sandbox.

>Every player creates his char in advance, so that i can use their Story in the creation of the Sandbox.

>Plan a somewhat railroaded one-on-one introduction session for every PC so that they end up in the same City and a social frame that gives them a reason to work together.

>After that i have a relationship web for the Vamps in the City and a Map with the important locations.

>The Players are very low in the hierarchy at the start so they are bossed around in the beginning. They learn how the System and the Setting works.

>The Sandbox is still limited here but the players get to decide how they solve the tasks given. They form alliances and gain enemies in that stage.

>Once they are released from their status as fledgelings they gain their own little domain and play the political game. The Plot is supposed to write itself from that point on because the players ambitions clash with that of the NPCs of the City.

>After that i have mapped out a global history that changes the sandbox and allows for occasional Monster of the Week sessions. This global plot changes the rules of the ingame world and can serve as my tool as ST if the game becomes stagnant.

I hope the players are familiar enough with the game once they hit full sandbox.

>> No.54247928

>>54247155
Nice, would play

>> No.54248299

>>54247928
Thanks. Its a lot of work preparing all that.

>> No.54248862

>>54248299
I know, I'm currently preparing a similar urban campaign with PCs being street criminals, starting low and climbing higher in the gangs hierarchy and getting entangled into the conflicts between them. Not for any specific group of players yet, it's a "things I want to run one day" kind of project, but it's a lot of work

>> No.54249048

>>54248862
And the Players are unable too fucking think of a character idea. I mean i am going the extra mile of including the players sires as NPCs if it fits. And they are unable to come up with a basic char concept. Except for one who had his background ready quick and already wrote a story.

If you like we can exchange some of our stuff later when i am Home (and the thread is still up). I have a lot of crime related stuff too.

>> No.54249119

>>54249048
>they are unable to come up with a basic char concept
Seriously? In V:tM? The game has pretty much a dozen premade character concepts already with all the different clans and their stereotypical members. It really shouldn't be hard to come up with something interesting.

>> No.54249211

>>54249119
Well one is just lazy. He will probably come up with a good idea.

The other one thinks

>muh Vamps are gay

But he really wants to play with us. When i asked what kind of mortal he thinks could be an interesting basis he also had no idea.

I really think he is going to be That Guy.

>> No.54249678
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54249678

Is there a collection of GM tip&tricks somewhere in one place? I only find fragmented advice

>> No.54250617

>>54249678
that would be very convenient.

>> No.54250810

>>54242027
You have to make sure that the setting contains threats from level 1-20, and a reason why the level 20 threats don't destroy/conquer/protect the level 1 threats.

A good example of this is The Madhouse, from DnD. It's a big planar metropolis in Pandemonium, populated with all sorts of Demons, from Dretches to Balors. But, it has no formal rulership, so you can get away with pretty much anything without interference from opponents significantly outside your level range. At the same time, there really are Balors in this complex, so if you actually want to seek out higher-powered enemies, that's doable.

>> No.54254196 [DELETED] 

>>54250810

>> No.54257486
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54257486

>>54249678
Here's some of it anon

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