First off, the sandbox. I got the idea from Gabe’s latest D&D game posting at Penny Arcade. It talked about a recent switch to the sandbox-style gameplay after reading this article on a much more massive take on the idea. The concept is that instead of the DM having to plot-hammer the players into his own injection-molded story, it will be THE PLAYERS (and their characters by proxy) that determine the path the campaign takes. You want to save a village? Fine! you want to slay a dragon? Good luck!

Currently, the only defined place in the campaign world is the town of Three Corners and some of the surrounding farmlands. The rest, is to made up on the fly. Encounters will be done as non-linear mission style, similar to Grand Theft Auto. You can pick up as many missions (basically plot threads) as you wish. These encounters can be roleplaying, skill challenges, or simple hack-and-slash. Or a combination of the three. There will even be random encounters like in old school Final Fantasy (or more accurately, old-school D&D).

The point is, you guys shape the world as you see fit.

But you also have to remember, even when you are not there, the world continues to turn….

The basic rules of the sandbox:
  • Town, cities, and other bastions of civilization and the areas within one mile of them are considered “safe zones”, meaning no encounters. These places give the party chances to heal and purchase items without worrying about anything else. The only town where there will be an encounter will be Three Corners, where your characters will meet, and the game system will be demonstrated and tested.
  • As you step out of the safe zones, you will have encounters. The only limit on these is one of distance; the difficulty increased the father from civilization you get. So while you could fight a dragon at first level if you really wanted to, you will hav eplenty of time and distance to reconsider before it is too late.
  • I am working on a way to actively map the party’s progress through the world. Once that is available, I will implement a movement system similar to Gabe’s Resolve Tokens.
  • The second most important rule: this si a team effort. So you have to decide on where to go as a team. The main advantage of this style of play is that players don’t feel beholden to one story or another. You can put plots on hold while you follow another thread.
  • The most important rule: YOU PROPEL THE ACTION. I am not telling you where to go; you decides where you want to go and what you want to do, and I facilitate it, usually in a way that causes your deaths is fun for all. But you guys have to want to play.

Now, me as DM. well, I am fairly easy-going. Mostly due to my own rookie status, I am not going to make a big stink about my interpretation of rules and such.

That said, THE DM IS ALWAYS RIGHT. Yes, even about that. Okay, let me be a bit more fair: you can question my decisions, or how a rule is played, but I would like to not fight about it. If you want to do something that isn’t relaly defined in the rules, let me know. Luckily, 4E allows me to find ways of not saying no. So there is no reason for rules-lawyering.

The hierarchy of rules goes like this – BOOK-> LOGIC -> ME. If there is no clear rule in the book, then we go with what logic dictates the situation should be. If that doesn’t work, then I make my call, and it is final. I can change my mind later, but unless it was an egregious violation, it won’t be changed retroactively.

Oh, and I am quite open to bribes. Nice, juicy bribes.

Okay I am sleepy now, I will figure out the rest of this later.


The Laughing Hound Chronicles weavcld weavcld