Category Archives: Building a Sandbox

13th Age-Style Icons in the Sandbox, Part 3: Creation, First Pass

I am exploring the creation of icons for a sandbox campaign setting. Icons can be useful in a sandbox for several reasons. Icon agendas provide a overarching plots for PCs to interfere with; Icon relationships provide many ‘sides’ for PCs to align with, often with conflicting or ambiguous goals; Icons can illuminate and personify themes […]

13th Age-Style Icons in the Sandbox, Part 2: Definition and Planning

A couple days ago I briefly considered using something like 13th Age-style icons in a sandbox setting. Having had a couple days to let it sink in, I still like the idea and I’m ready to develop it further. Defining Icons Icons in 13th Age are powerful NPCs. They are personally powerful and capable (that is, high […]

13th Age-Style Icons in the Sandbox, Part 1: Introduction

One of the cooler ideas in 13th Age is the icons, thirteen powerful figures who have their fingers in intrigues all around the campaign. In fact, I consider the breadth of their influence their defining factor rather than their personal power. I am starting a new project where I will facilitate the creation of a sandbox setting. The working […]

XP and Rewards in the Sandbox

A few days ago I talked about Unusual Rewards in the Sandbox, and figured I’d respond to some of the comments I’d received. I agree that it is a good idea to assign nominal monetary value to the various rewards. Experience points in many old school games are primarily driven by acquiring treasure. If I […]

Unusual Rewards in the Sandbox

The other day I was working on The Keys of Heraka-at and realized that by and large ‘conventional treasure’ is not a major feature of this adventure. The primary reward of this adventure is the knowledge needed to become the new Donnerkonig — the items that are needed, where they can be found, and what […]

Tales of the Donnerkonig

The other day I described the Hall of the Faded Kings as — or rather, updated the description to — This great hall is lined with mosaics showing great acts of the Donnerkonig over the centuries they ruled, from the mighty acts that established their powers, through acts during their reign, and even the diminishing […]

Refining the Keys of Heraka-at

On Saturday I posted an overview of The Keys of Heraka-at, breaking out the various areas of the adventure. Now it’s time to start working toward more detailed development. I’m not ready yet, but considering that each of the areas of the adventure site could be small maps and are at a bunch of different […]

A Quick Overview of The Keys of Heraka-at

The Keys of Heraka-at is an adventure that allows the PCs to learn the truth of the fall of the Donnerkonig, and to potentially become the new Donnerkonig. This adventure takes place in and around a large stone outcrop near Heraka-at, the capital of Sturmhame. The adventure site as a whole is intended to guide […]

Preparation and Player Agency in the Sandbox

Player agency is a critical element of role playing games to me. One of the things that greatly dissatisfies me about most series of modules is how much they tend to need the story to progress in a certain direction. The label ‘Adventure Path’ itself rings player agency warning bells in my head — ‘path’ […]

Overkill? Somewhat, But For Reasons

I’ve been asked on Google+ if it is really necessary to do all of this work making graphs and thinking about things far away from the adventure I’m actually working on. My answer is, I suppose, a mix of “not really” and “it can help”. Not Really If I want to create a standalone adventure, […]