The Goal-Oriented Sandbox

One of the games I’m running right now is something I’m calling “Centre of the World,” because the urban location for the opening of the campaign is supposed to be a city that considers itself just that.

I included the pitch for “Centre of the World” in a previous post, but here it is again:

The group are minor agents for the Urban Prefect in the city of Hadrapole – once an outpost of the dread Aeolean Empire, and now the most prosperous and powerful city in the world, trapped between its old masters and the Holy Kingdoms, a collection of squabbling states bent on exporting their messianic religion. In the middle of this powder keg, strange, ritualistic murders begin to occur. Think Lankhmar meets Constantinople meets Seven.

The style that I intend to use is a “goal-oriented sandbox.” The idea is that there is a goal or set of goals – in this case centred on a series of murders. As the GM, I have a variety of information – who is doing it, their plans, relationship charts, and a timeline. What is not set out is how the PCs should or can approach the problem. Further, all that information I have is support, it is not “canon.” The PCs actions and the players’ desires can change how this all unfolds.

I have done this before, specifically in the published adventure the Khorforjan Gambit. What I found what that this method of running a campaign or adventure is much easier done when one is not publishing it for others. Everything that one as the creator might short-hand or accept as a given needs to be spelled out in a published adventures, so the reader has all the necessary information available.

It will be interesting to see how the goal-oriented sandbox unfolds, given that my players are pretty creative and involved.

You can learn more about Lankhmar  at Wikipedia.
You can learn more about Constantinople at Wikipedia.
And you can read about the movie Seven also at Wikipedia.

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