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Sandboxing in a Live game?

   
Sandboxing in a Live game?

I am running a game and I had the idea of Sandboxing parts of the game that way they had time to 'work' on their chacters with out filling pressured by the campaign itself. I plan on these moments to be like 'weeklong events' which would give them time to craft, gain money, geather, ect.

However I am not sure if this is a good idea In person, due to the fact I am dealing with new players to the game and they may want to be lead around a bit more then your average player here on the Weave. I know I have one player that would enjoy this, since he is taking the game much like an a single player RPG; "So the point of the game is to level?". I Expressed to him that its also about the story and the world around him, and how he interacts with it. Oddly enough he is the one asking the most questiones; which some of them I didn't have answers to since I kinda rushed into this 'world'.

One good thing this allows me to do, is gauge their intrest in the world; changing it to fit a bit better to what they would like to see. This is my first campaign to dm, so alot of it I am learning as I go; How to DM, not the mechanics of the game. One fear of mine is I'll do horrible and completly ruin their intrest in such a game. I do have alot planned, its just getting from A to B, C, D and eventualy to Z(the end).

I just wanted other peoples opionion on this matter; so, what do you think? Good/Bad idea?

Hmn. Sandboxing in your first DM attempt, especially in person... I would personally discourage it, especially since you say you quickly put together a world. To run a sandbox well, you have to have a firm grasp on the setting and the world, and provide enough opportunities for the players to not get bored, while keeping every opportunity interesting and fun. This is better done when you have a full-fledged setting, either yours or another's, but a full-fledged setting nonetheless, and you have full knowledge of its workings. The simple fact that a player made questions - about the setting, I presume - that you didn't know how to answer tells that you aren't ready to sandbox, at least not in that particular setting.

Secondly, I confess that I haven't played many expressive face-to-face games, but I'd guess that running a sandbox in real time is harder than through PbP. In a sandbox, you have to react to wild and strange choices from the players all the time, meaning that you need to be very good at improvisation - and again, have a good grasp of the setting. To run a good sandbox, knowledge of the setting is essential.

Now that the critics have been made, I think it is still possible, if you really, really want to do it. However, you'll have to think ahead and define what you want these eventual sandboxes to be; for example, you have to know in what city/village/town/whatever the players will be when you trigger the sandbox. Knowing this, you have to fully flesh out that location until you know it very well; you may not know the setting as a whole, but if you have a perfect grasp of the location the players will be spending in their sandbox time, you will still be able to react easily to any choices and provide enough hooks and options to entertain them.

Lastly, a concern about sandbox is the type of player you have. You say they are new to role-playing, but that isn't the problem; some players simply do not play well in sandbox. It is a matter of being reactive or proactive; proactive players go ahead and make their own choices, earn their own keep, while reactive players are more comfortable feeding off the GM and other players, just reacting to their choices and the path they show them. Obviously, if your players are of the reactive type, it is a bad choice to make them go through a sandbox, unless you shower them with hooks and choices - though it would still be less fun to them, I guess.

All in all, that's my two cents. Sandbox can be a very interesting experience (though I never did it in face-to-face), but it requires the right players, and a lot of planning and knowing by the part of the GM. If you decide to continue with it, good luck! (:

I greatly understand what you mean. In game tonight, I decided to go against the idea. The point where I did is when I had a player who was part of somthing, decide that it wasn't important enough to pay it any further attention. So a plot line to allow them to Learn more about the area and emerce(?) themselves in the world completly crashed. I have two (of the three I had tonight, ussaly 4) that are intelligent players but are Reactive, the Proactive player I have makes Brash choices that endanger the whole party, and is also the one that decides not the follow the plot hook laid infront of him.

Though I maybe using the term wrong, my idea of doing this in-person is as follows. 'In this week, you have downtime as you wait(or other) do as you wish' which would (hopfully) take up a game sessions as I float between the players doing their daily routines and maybe any 'group' work that a duo would partake in. In this mannor it wouldn't be adventuring for gains, but more for their own personal enjoyment. This would only happen in-town, as this is the place where the most could be done; be it earn money, spend money, learn about the world, ect. Leveling wise, I don't plan on them going to a trainer persay, unless they are learning somthing Unique and not normaly in the class; Alternate Class features. I do plan on allowing Retraining and so forth, becuase of said 'sandboxing' time.

As for the world that surrounds them, I know some things I have planned; but I agree I don't have enough of a full fledged world for them to explore outside the 'nation' I have placed them in. I plan on them to explore most of the area, before moving back to their home nation, or to the south, north or east. Each area I have an ideal enviroment in mind, desert to the east, artic to the north, mixed marsh to the south; but no culture or idea what is done there. Though I fiqure, they need to know more about this place before moving on in the world.

Again with this being my first DMing experince I maybe biting off more then I can chew; but isn't that the typical of any new DM?

True enough on the last comment. (:

My personal motto on this case is that you can only learn by doing it.

Anyway, back on topic.

Well, you have to ask yourself one question: would it be enjoyable? I mean, I know that I would find it fun and entertaining to be let loose in a city and be able to do whatever I wanted for my downtime, in a game. Then again, I'm not the usual kind of player. By what you said about your players, they don't seem to be the kind to like this type of approach to gaming; I can almost guess that, just after you said that they were free to go out into the city, they would just sit there and stare at you, trying to figure out what to do.

Perhaps, because of your players being more on the reactive side, you could limit their choices. Instead of letting them loose, come up with three or four interesting options, and make side-quests/minor adventures off of those options. These minor adventures do not need to involve combat, levelling or anything of the sort; try to make the rewards for them immaterial. Respect with a local power (the army, or a guild, or whatever fits in your campaign), a favour from someone important himself, a lady's love, or even some gold to boost the party's resources.

Also, another thought, since you're playing face-to-face, I'd discourage doing solo mini-adventures, because they would quickly grow boring to the other players, who would be just waiting for whoever was at the solo adventure to finish. In face-to-face, it is better to always try to have the group together, playing at the same spot, because you cannot divide yourself. Even if they have fun while doing their own thing, they will spend 3/4 of the session waiting (since you said there are 4 players), which can be pretty boring - and especially harmful if they're new players.

I actually had a cahnce to DM a game once.
The game literally started like this " Hey, let's play DnD, Ladle, put something together"
I said, "really? like now? I won't be able to get a story together"
They said, "We just want the battle parts anyway"
and it turned out to be the longest running 100% sandbox game i've ever made.. took me twenty minutes to put the world together, and an hour to make characters with the newer members.

The way i play DnD, i find it more fun to change my character sheet 100 times, and battle battle battle, regardless of the difficulty. I just have that kind of fun, and then when i say, "I want to do this" I do it.

And as the DM for that game, I let them have anything they wanted, and gave them wine with their cheese. They respected me enough to not break my game. And i was proud. the game later ended when a player threatened to kill another player (IRL) and ran out to his car to get his hatchet, and then another player joined the army, leaving us with two and me... too much





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