Monday, February 28, 2011

On sandbox settings: Realms of adventure

I rarely talk about settings themselves as I am a large proponent of self-created sandbox games. Exploration is a big part of RPG's and it just isn't as exciting (too me) when you can flip open a manual and see the hidden mysteries. The danger of not knowing whats going on in a dungeon while understanding the information exists.. is half the thrill.

But one thing I often see in homebrew sandbox games is a beautifully designed fantasy world that is boring to adventure in. These are regions deep with history and meaning...and no good reason people should quit their day jobs and muck around in a tunnel looking for coins and bopping goblins on the head.

A good realm needs not only the ability to immerse oneself in (at least enough for buy in depending on the seriousness of your game), but also to have REASONS to go adventuring. These should be places with logical reasons that people can avoid being tangled in "regular lives" and "regular jobs". There could be a big war on, or maybe there just was a big war and this region lost. Maybe the empire that once ran it has fallen and a dark age has begun? Maybe its a new frontier, lawless and wild. Maybe its a city so corrupt and disorganized that personal power is all that really matter.

Either way, my posts in the coming month will show three different sandbox settings I use based on pseudo-historical Scandinavia, Ireland/Scotland, and India.

For each region I will detail the local flavour that makes it unique, the reason why adventuring is possible and the reasons why adventuring is a good or even mandatory idea.

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