Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Prepping a Sandbox Campaign: Part 2

Step 2: Ignore or Change Everything Else

Seriously. Your job is not to follow the whims or will of the author. Your job is to create a world that you have fun with. This is one of the reasons I prefer products like Blachmarsh and the Wilderlands. The terseness used by the authors gives me permission to use, ignore or change anything I want. There is no canon I have to break. There is no intricate back story I have to re-craft. The implied effort of the author is only invested in a few sentences at most. Thus, I am not going to hurt any one’s feelings (or be challenged by a canon-nazi).

Indeed, I would imagine that Rob would be thrilled at seeing me take his Blackmarsh setting and run with it in whatever direction I want to take it. He did exactly the same thing with the Wilderlands, after all.

I also know from personal experience that once a campaign begins, I very rarely have to re-read or even look at the published campaign material. Everything that happens is driven by character action (or inaction). I use the stuff I care about and let them react to what PCs are doing. The results are almost always fun for me because the campaign is no longer the published material, it’s mine.

From Blackmarsh, as published, there are two things that I immediately want to change:

  • As written, Scytheback is a very old red dragon. I want an ancient black dragon who knows how to polymorph self. (Red dragons bore me, acid breath is terrifying and polymorphing dragons are awesome NPCs).
  • I want to change the name of the Blackmarsh Rangers to the Blackoak Rangers. It makes it much clearer that their HQ is Blackoak Castle and it emphasizes that they are an independent organization that is willing to help any Lawful cause that helps bring stability and peace to the region.

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