Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Stocked Sandbox

Not an earth-shattering idea, but if I were to try and make a new B2, a sand box product aimed at newer DMs, players, and groups, I would try to add features in the sandbox that allow for other kinds of adventure.

Sure you have caves and dungeons nearest, you have a bit of dark wilderness to explore.  But you also have, in a ring a little farther out from the starting location:
  • a village that needs defending à la Seven Samurai
  • a heavily protected but legally accessible site, like a temple or shrine, that players might want to heist something from
  • a town just large enough to allow for hunter/hunted type scenarios
  • an infamous prison/enemy camp players might need to make a prison break from if captured

So the things each of these kinds of adventure need would be subtly cooked into the setting.  If players want to engage those sandbox toys, they can and the DM will be helped by them existing already.  The DM would also be given what would help with each kind of adventure.  So, the temple would be mapped with guard patterns and schedules and a friction point type escalation plan.  The village would have a tactical scale map and a bit about the attackers' goals, strategies and time table.  The hunter/hunted would have a layout of leads and escalating reprisals by the hunted.  And maybe it wouldn't need to be in a town, it could be a secret society or evil type that spans the whole map.  The prison could also function as a place to perform heist-like rescues, having it perform double duties.

What other types of adventure would you want to provide for in a basic, all-purpose, but classic campaign?

  • Maybe a hopping tower that would be good for solo adventures.  It travels around so it can be wherever the player happens to be, it's smaller and contained so one player won't be overwhelmed, it's rare so it's something cool the one player that came get's to brag about experiencing it to the other players.
  • The tiniest bit of sea to allow for sea adventures, maybe a fishing village right on the edge of the map.
  • an un-activated, magical portal of some type as a wild card.
ps. Blogger's not letting me even get to the comments page for some reason, maybe my work browser.


  1. This is exactly what I'm trying to do with my Blasted Jungle sandbox. Village, shrine, castle/town, and prison...as if we were reading each other's minds. :)


    Other types of adventures "seeded" in the Blasted Jungle:
    -Faction intrigue with various NPC "personalities"
    -Joy ride mission or time-based vehicular scenarios.

  2. While liberally scattering fishhooks in real sandboxes is considered bad form, it's the best way to sandbox for RPGs.

  3. Thanks all, and that is pretty cool fireinthejungle. I think I might try to make my vision of this happen, maybe this summer.

  4. What about castles? You could have one huge abandoned castle and/or multiple occupied castles like they talk about in Wilderness & Underworld Adventures in OD&D. The occupied castles hint at the end game possibilities of the PCs (forging their own domains) plus, jousting! Though If I had a fighter Lord of a castle who wanted to joust a PC I think I'd have them do it on giant snakes, or golems made from random things in the castle... anything but horses.

  5. Good idea, I was trying to keep it kind of backwoodsy, frontier, but a castle would provide opportunities for laying siege, for occupying and refurbishing, and maybe this fortress could serve as the prison listed above too.