Questions tagged [sandbox]

Sandbox role-playing focuses on promoting freedom in terms of player choice and influence within the game.

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Help with motivations on Player driven games

I hope someone can give me some help. I've been running a sandbox campaign for a few sessions now, and I'm having the problem on how to explain to my players what are good character motivations. They ...
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74 votes
11 answers
9k views

How can I run an open-world game with vast power differences, without resulting in constant TPKs?

I would like to run a game with an open world, where the party can explore unconstrained. I would like to do it in D&D 5E, but the power differences are very stark between levels. How can I make ...
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26 votes
3 answers
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I'm having difficulty getting my players to do stuff in a sandbox campaign

I've been a GM for about three years now. I've been GMing for this group for almost two years next month. I have an issue with motivating my players to take action. It's a sandbox campaign and they'...
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8 votes
1 answer
309 views

How does PC access to life-restoration magic affect a westmarchian game?

One of the hallmarks of a westmarchian game is danger, with a high likelihood of character death. From Grand Experiments: West Marches: The environment is dangerous. Very dangerous. That’s ...
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6 votes
2 answers
744 views

How much money do traders have to purchase PCs' goods?

In my setting money is fairly important, as I am running a West Marches style campaign. I don't want the one lowly trader in the village to be able to purchase everything the PCs wish to sell, but I ...
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14 votes
3 answers
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How can I encourage player engagement between sessions in a West Marches style game?

I'm currently nine sessions into a West Marches style game with a pool of 20 players. The sessions are going well, and the players enjoying themselves, but I have a concern: One of the central ...
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8 votes
3 answers
487 views

Running an Unstructured Narrative

What measures and pitfall should I consider when running an especially unstructured narrative in Pathfinder? In the campaign I am running that has started recently, I am attempting to run a fairly "...
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5 votes
4 answers
914 views

Briefly resolving the pickpocketing of 10 gp a day

Context: A sandbox campaign with players having a stable of characters. One character of one player is kleptomaniac (has the envy drawback), which requires them to steal 10 gp (a large amount of cash) ...
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14 votes
6 answers
3k views

Remembering to add tracks and signs of wandering monsters

When refereeing OSR sandbox game (using whatever rules; key parts are player-driven sandbox play with neutral referee, and rules as negotiable representation of fiction) I use random encounters: ...
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19 votes
3 answers
3k views

How can I satisfy two groups who want the same quest in a West Marches campaign?

I recently started a West Marches style game because of our group's increasingly deteriorating attendance. We still wanted to play when we get a chance to get together but not everyone will be able to ...
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How well are low level PCs able to defeat high level NPCs in B/X D&D?

For a Basic/Expert game, I want to populate the campaign area with important and influential NPCs, who are doing their things independent of the player's activities. The goal is to have the players ...
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2 answers
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What and How to Prepare In Advance For the Next Session? [duplicate]

So I'm starting a new campaign with a group this week, I'm the DM with 4 PC's (2 are long-time RPers and 2 are fairly new to D&D). I've got notes made for the first session, how the party meets, ...
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17 votes
5 answers
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What would the effect of removing death saves and just having characters die at 0HP be?

I am currently attempting to create a campaign, inspired both by West Marches, and earlier editions of D&D (mostly OD&D and 1e AD&D), but still keeping the 5e rules that my group are ...
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8 votes
4 answers
440 views

How can I incorporate intrigue and inter-NPC-factional depth whilst maintaining speed & spontaneity in a sandbox game?

The scenario... My players are meeting lots of NPCs, and the galaxy around them is as deep as they desire... Whilst the flavour of our game is Action/Comedy (a little like Fifth Element) I'm ...
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15 votes
2 answers
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Way to manage world factions and events

Abstract I have a loosely interconnected world where news travel slowly, but steadily so when a trader from a far off place comes visiting your place, what does he know? Whats his latest perspective ...
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86 votes
14 answers
22k views

My PCs have a plan that will get them all killed; how and why should I save them?

Related: How do I help my players figure out how to stay alive in a realistically-deadly sandbox campaign? I am running a sandbox game for a group of players who are used to more traditional ...
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30 votes
7 answers
4k views

What's the best way to present a sandbox world to your players?

In my sessions, I let my players play in a sand-box world. There is a main story that I always plan that they could follow, and I have no problems with them doing so. However, I would like my players ...
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5 votes
1 answer
347 views

How can I facilitate choice of one of a large number destinations in an off the rails game?

My players have become fugitives from the law, so they are fleeing the country. My problem is I haven't been able to get a concrete destination or travel path from them. We did manage to narrow the ...
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5 votes
3 answers
446 views

How much creative and descriptive power should I offer my players? Is it different for sandbox campaigns? [closed]

I know that as a GM you have to have some skill with your words to make the descriptions really come to life. However, as I think more and more about my next sessions, which are probably going to be ...
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11 votes
3 answers
1k views

When does CR become an issue in the absence of magic items?

I'm interested in running a Hexcrawl Sandbox style game in pathfinder. The hexes would dictate what range of CR the encounter tables would contain. What I'm wondering is at what CR magic items start ...
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13 votes
4 answers
11k views

How to effectively (pre)build encounters for a 'Sandbox' Setting

I have a dilemma for my user created (original) High Fantasy setting. I have every zone, NPC, region and it's potential creatures all designed and solid. It's been a long running RP over Forums for ...
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4 votes
2 answers
254 views

Random weather in flight-centric campaigns

This is inspired by a quick gander at the answers (in particular, the Empire Weather tables) to Randomly-generating weather for a sandbox campaign. How do you adapt Empire Weather, or a similar ...
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20 votes
3 answers
3k views

How can I effectively run a sandbox campaign playing 2 hours every week?

Premise I'm a relative new GM who only run a 2 years long heavily railroaded fantasy campaign that went south for various problems and that I decided to drop. Now I started to run a sci-fi sandbox ...
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  • 1,459
32 votes
5 answers
5k views

How do I prevent my players from hopping on a railroad when I'm not railroading?

All my previous GMing experience is with tightly-plotted railroads, and my players are used to (and generally happy with) riding the rails. Right now I'm setting up a sandbox campaign to break out of ...
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6 votes
6 answers
2k views

How do I make random adventures relevant to player motivations in a Sandbox Hexcrawl Campaign?

I've spent my vacations planning my very first sandbox, however, I noticed that, being a hexcrawl, most of the time my players will be exploring the world and sometimes, they might spend a lot of time ...
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1 vote
3 answers
3k views

How do I avoid "prepping too much"? [duplicate]

I'm prepping a hexcrawl-style game, my first sandbox game ever, and I'm expending all the online resources I can to learn how to run them and prep them. I'm actually having a lot of fun (and work) ...
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1 vote
1 answer
2k views

Any tips on how to build my first and highly hostile Hexcrawl? [closed]

I'm starting to develop my first sandbox campaign ever, I'll be using 5e to run it and I'll start the game in October, so I'm taking these two months to prep everything. I'm using Hexographer as my ...
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17 votes
10 answers
8k views

How can I effectively introduce hooks into a sandbox adventure?

I will soon DM a new D&D adventure. It's in a setting of my creation, and new characters will be created for it, with backstories tied at least in some ways to the setting. I intend to give my ...
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29 votes
5 answers
2k views

How to present players with options without railroading them?

We're playing Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition. I'm a new GM, mastering a party of mostly new players. I take campaign design rather seriously, and I hate railroading. I love coming up with crafty ...
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34 votes
9 answers
3k views

How do I escape the Quicksand Box?

I have a very significant problem whenever I try GMing any given game; I try to provide a world with a lot of wiggle room for the characters as well as factions/NPCs they interact with. Oftentimes my ...
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9 votes
3 answers
4k views

Structure for a political sandbox game

I am looking for a fairly structured approach to creating, preparing for, and running a political game. To be more precise, I am looking for the following: A structured approach or even a game ...
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15 votes
5 answers
1k views

Should the DM try to actively fix party wealth in a sandbox game?

This question is inspired by this WBL question. The consensus seems to be that WBL is important. But in a sandbox game , where the course of action is determined by the players, what should be DM's ...
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11 votes
2 answers
989 views

How much, and what kind of, advance planning is appropriate for a sandbox campaign?

New GM attemping to get ideas for a campaign down something similar to a tabletop fallout game. How much info is too much info for general prep? Can there ever be too much? Or is there a general ...
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  • 613
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

DM organization ideas for Sandbox campaign

I have over the past couple months been putting together Ideas on how I would run an All Flesh Must Be Eaten campaign. How do other DMs organize their Bads or Locations that the PC's might wish to ...
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  • 613
17 votes
9 answers
4k views

How do I help my players figure out how to stay alive in a realistically-deadly sandbox campaign?

Related: What to do when a player character does something that seems suicidal? and How can DMs effectively telegraph specific dangers in D&D? I like playing sandbox-style RPGs (whether ...
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  • 4,019
59 votes
11 answers
8k views

What to do when a player character does something that seems suicidal?

Every now and then a player character does something extremely risky because "it would be fun." What are some good ways to handle this as a GM, for the different styles of play? I like ...
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  • 4,019
19 votes
11 answers
2k views

How do you keep the party on the map?

I'm running a fairly sandbox game, where the party can wander around easily from place to place. When the party visits areas I've prepared something for, they generally have a good time. When they ...
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20 votes
7 answers
1k views

What happens in adventure locations between adventures?

I'm running a sandbox with several adventure locations that have been visited, but not entirely cleared, and ones that have been left open for new residents to arrive. I'm looking for a method for ...
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  • 9,717
44 votes
10 answers
10k views

Randomly-generating weather for a sandbox campaign

I'm running a sandbox campaign and I've been looking for a method of randomly determining the weather for the day. Features I'm looking for: Low-to-medium handling time during play. Big tables are ...
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56 votes
13 answers
2k views

How do I help my players not get caught up on smaller plot points?

I just finished having a conversation with one of my players, and was led to a question I'm not sure I know how to answer. I'm running a sandbox campaign (D&D 4e, if it makes a difference) where ...
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  • 5,520
161 votes
13 answers
20k views

How can DMs effectively telegraph specific dangers in D&D?

There are some play-styles of D&D in which the spectre of player-character death is considered a feature of the game rather than a bug. For my own reasons (which aren't the point of the question), ...
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58 votes
6 answers
26k views

What is Sandbox play?

How would you describe the concept of sandbox play? How about to someone who is used to adventure modules or adventure paths?
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