Category Archives: Campaign Setting Design

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 great 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, […]

Next Steps in the Sandbox: Developing Donnerkonig Heirs

Yesterday I started moving from macro scale to micro scale, outlining a set of possibly-related campaigns. Now I’m digging for some more detail in Donnerkonig Heirs. I’ll start by working on the graph for the campaign. I know I’ve got Keys of Heraka-at and four adventures to acquire the treasures needed later. I’ll be looking […]

Macro to Micro in the Sandbox: Mapping the Donnerkonig Chronicle

In Layers Upon Layers in the Sandbox I described how things can be linked together. Now it’s time to put it into practice. First, I’ll map out some potential campaigns. I know of two already, The Donnerkonig Heirs and Return of the Donnerkonig, and can imagine several others. Some are possible follow-ons from Return of […]

Layers Upon Layers in the Sandbox

The campaign and scenario design methods I use encourage nonlinear design and play. They are fractal in nature, applying to many levels and degrees of scope. This can lead to a rich and complex campaign setting. At the adventure level, it is pretty easy to devise encounters that hold nonlinear relationships to each other. Multiple […]