Bech
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat 23 May 2020, 15:13

Running the game

Sat 23 May 2020, 15:27

Ok Im new to Forbidden lands and havent been GM before so please excuse me if I ask the obvious for you: the guidelines abort running the game are pretty simple and state you shouldnt prepare the sessions (Or max 30 min) That sounds daunting. How are you preparing? also id like to know how players experience a campaign thats mostly about jumping from one clue to the next - without a large campaign plot. Is it enough to discover legends, find loot and build a castle? So any tip on the long term planning (Or lack of it) is also appreciated. Cant wait to get started.
 
Vcutter
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat 23 May 2020, 09:55

Re: Running the game

Sat 23 May 2020, 15:57

The goal of sandbox play imo is player freedom and the feeling that they live in a changing open world.
I achieve this in my campaigns with the following:
1. Ask players what they intend to do next session. This should help you a bit with more focused prepping and therefore is crucial. You can devote the little prep time to fleshing out that particular ruin where they might want to go or the route there.
2. Have some sort of "timeline what will happen if PCs do nothing" or "goals for NPCs and factions and how they pursue it" -system. I would recommend checking out various PbtA systems (Dungeon World etc) on how they handle what they call "Fronts", also Forged in the Dark games handle factions with clocks etc. There are many ways to achieve this.
No matter what kind of system you use the idea is that the world does not revolve around the PC's. Have NPCs have goals and what will happen in what timeframe if PCs do nothing. Note that to get them interested you need to inform them via rumours and news etc. about what is happening in the world during every session.

Short example:
You want to have Coven of Hags in the nearby bog as a factor in your campaign. You want them to try to invade/curse a nearby village
Perhaps you give PC's legends about them and treasures they have but they are not that interested. So the hags go on with their devious plan.
1. Rumours about sickness in the nearby village, dead fish turning up in river
2. Same village has some people dying of this weird new sickness, there seems to be no cure and local druids are worried about plants dying as well.
3. Some of the dead villagers start coming back as undead!
4. Village is on the brink of disaster, they send out call for help with a promise of reward but no one dares to go there because of rumours of a powerful curse
5. Village is destroyed by the hags. Populaion completely turned undead.
What will be the Hags next move? You decide.

At any point the PCs might intervine. When to advance from 1 to 2 to 3? You determine the rate and of course PC actions affect it as well. Maybe their actions slow hags plans or completely stop them. However, if they do nothing the village is destroyed and world is changed. Overall I advance my campaign plots at the rate of one step every 1-3 sessions, you want to give PCs time to act especially if you have few plotlines in the background.
Now have a couple of plots/factions like this in the background and tie that in with legends and locations and artifacts. Perhaps a particulas artifact lifts hag curse? Perhaps a remote monastery has plants that cure illness? This gives players a sense that there is a living breathing world around them and they have the power to affect it.

Final note: good sandbox campaign requiers player buy in more than other ways of playing. If the PCs have goals and motivations and they actively pursue them it runs beautifully. If they expect GM to tell them what to do it pretty much loses its purpose. In FBL Dark Secrets can easily be tied into sandbox plots btw, as can strongholds...
 
User avatar
Eldhierta
Posts: 396
Joined: Thu 19 Feb 2015, 10:39

Re: Running the game

Sat 23 May 2020, 16:39

The goal of sandbox play imo is player freedom and the feeling that they live in a changing open world.
I achieve this in my campaigns with the following:
1. Ask players what they intend to do next session. This should help you a bit with more focused prepping and therefore is crucial. You can devote the little prep time to fleshing out that particular ruin where they might want to go or the route there.
2. Have some sort of "timeline what will happen if PCs do nothing" or "goals for NPCs and factions and how they pursue it" -system. I would recommend checking out various PbtA systems (Dungeon World etc) on how they handle what they call "Fronts", also Forged in the Dark games handle factions with clocks etc. There are many ways to achieve this.
No matter what kind of system you use the idea is that the world does not revolve around the PC's. Have NPCs have goals and what will happen in what timeframe if PCs do nothing. Note that to get them interested you need to inform them via rumours and news etc. about what is happening in the world during every session.

Short example:
You want to have Coven of Hags in the nearby bog as a factor in your campaign. You want them to try to invade/curse a nearby village
Perhaps you give PC's legends about them and treasures they have but they are not that interested. So the hags go on with their devious plan.
1. Rumours about sickness in the nearby village, dead fish turning up in river
2. Same village has some people dying of this weird new sickness, there seems to be no cure and local druids are worried about plants dying as well.
3. Some of the dead villagers start coming back as undead!
4. Village is on the brink of disaster, they send out call for help with a promise of reward but no one dares to go there because of rumours of a powerful curse
5. Village is destroyed by the hags. Populaion completely turned undead.
What will be the Hags next move? You decide.

At any point the PCs might intervine. When to advance from 1 to 2 to 3? You determine the rate and of course PC actions affect it as well. Maybe their actions slow hags plans or completely stop them. However, if they do nothing the village is destroyed and world is changed. Overall I advance my campaign plots at the rate of one step every 1-3 sessions, you want to give PCs time to act especially if you have few plotlines in the background.
Now have a couple of plots/factions like this in the background and tie that in with legends and locations and artifacts. Perhaps a particulas artifact lifts hag curse? Perhaps a remote monastery has plants that cure illness? This gives players a sense that there is a living breathing world around them and they have the power to affect it.

Final note: good sandbox campaign requiers player buy in more than other ways of playing. If the PCs have goals and motivations and they actively pursue them it runs beautifully. If they expect GM to tell them what to do it pretty much loses its purpose. In FBL Dark Secrets can easily be tied into sandbox plots btw, as can strongholds...
+1
 
Mr Oldtimer
Posts: 173
Joined: Sun 14 Apr 2019, 12:01

Re: Running the game

Sat 23 May 2020, 18:44

First of all, congratulations on starting your GM career! Hope you'll enjoy it!
Regarding prep time, bear in mind this prep time requires some experience and knowledge of the rules, world and so on. As a new GM, there might be a need for more than 30 minutes prep time, especially while learning the rules and figuring out the base line of YOUR game. As mentioned above, having a few factions and a basic knowledge of what they want to achieve might take some time before first session or at least in the beginning of your campaign. Also, if you want detailed maps it will require some planning but once you get started and the players get the hang of it, the time needed for preparation decreases.
 
Konungr
Posts: 207
Joined: Mon 10 Jun 2019, 09:39

Re: Running the game

Sat 23 May 2020, 20:38

The best tricks are whats called minimalist DM prep.

Ultimately it's about maximizing the effectiveness and usefulness of what you prepare instead of preparing a bunch of things that won't even get used.

For reading recommendations I suggest you look up The Lazy DM and the Return of the Lazy DM. Both have invaluable tips for preparing games. Next I would look up articles on websites like the Alexandrian. I don't wholly agree with everything he has on there as DM tips but hes always heading in the right direction and it's great advice in general.

I am currently working on a series of docs for myself. Things I am printing onto 1/2 letter sized pages in a landscape format. But these "cards" are going to include all the random event tables for traveling around so I don't have to go digging through a book to access them while playing. I also intend to print up all the monsters attributes and attacks onto 3" x 5" cards to fit in my note card case (which has alphabetical organizers inside it). That way if I need stats for a hydra on the fly I can just pull out my note card and go. I would make a note card for any major NPCs and such as part of my DM prep. I would also take the little stat blocks of typical NCs and put them onto cards as well. Need some bandits? Typical Aslene or Orc tribe of choice stat block for each of them with gear of my choosing. My GM screen has all the weapon and armor combat stats on them so I can equip any random NPCs on the fly without needing to reference secondary materials. This also includes all the critical injury tables and magic mishaps. I don't ever want to dig through a book for information if I don't have to.

Do a lot of work up front so you never have to do hard work again.
 
User avatar
Burgonet
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri 22 May 2020, 16:37
Location: Toowoomba, QLD, AU.

Re: Running the game

Sun 24 May 2020, 11:13

You need to prepare to tell the story at the table.
So have twenty names of random NPCs ready to go, perhaps sorted by cultural groups.
Develop a working knowledge of the factions of the game - not just the kin but the differing religions and historic ones.
Be able to have a basic working knowledge of how the rules work, this will take time at first but you'll get there quickly over a few sessions.
Be prepared for the players to make decisions and learn to let them make them instead of herding them towards any expected outcomes.

And also try to develop a working understanding of the genre, not just 'Tolkien Fantasy' but Sword-and-Sorcery and pre-LOTR movie expectations of a broader fantasy genre.
Now a lot of these movies are laugh-out-loud terrible but I can recommend the original animated LOTR, The Sword and the Sorceror, Conan the Barbarian, The Beastmaster and even Hawk the Slayer to get a sense of how fantasy stories were told on a meagre budget.
"A sense of humour... is needed armour. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life." - Hugh Sidey.
 
Konungr
Posts: 207
Joined: Mon 10 Jun 2019, 09:39

Re: Running the game

Sun 24 May 2020, 12:13

And Fire and Ice. Just give the orgasm chair a pass.
 
Bech
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat 23 May 2020, 15:13

Re: Running the game

Sun 24 May 2020, 16:50

Thank you everyone for great advice :)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests