Volume 1 Issue 38 – Sandbox Adventures

Gamers often complain about being railroaded in a campaign, but giving them complete and total freedom can just as easily derail game. This week on Roll For Initiative, we talk about the ultimate free flowing campaign, the sandbox campaign. And we have a special guest DM, as  Stephan McClanahan joins us for a very sticky Creature Feature Theater. You’ll hear all this and more as we celebrate our one year anniversary on this week’s issue of Roll For Initiative.

5 comments on “Volume 1 Issue 38 – Sandbox Adventures”

  1. Chris Bensen

    I love that you covered the Lich, a very popular foe for players in my campaign. One of the most powerful NPC’s in my campaign is a Chaotic Neutral insane lich who speaks in rhyme and rarely seems to make sense, yet what he says is riddled with clues and hidden messages. A slightly related foe that I love is the NPC class of Death Master which was in one of the old Dragon Magazines. All very useful for taking a campaign into the darkness!

  2. Troy M

    Good show, I think of Xykon (Order of the Stick) as the ultimate Lich model.

  3. Hiatas

    Hello, lads. Playing catch-up once again, but I just wanted to throw in my thoughts as a sandbox DM. The secret is preparation. After all, there has to be a box to hold all that sand, right?

    From the DM side:
    Yes, take notes during the session–lots of notes–and review them between sessions. One of the strengths of a sandbox campaign is its ability to respond to the players. A DM has to be able to not only pick up the threads from the last session, but should also have a picture of how those threads will be woven in the session to come. At times (and with players’ permission) I’ve tape recorded sessions if I knew I wasn’t going to be able to take notes.

    As an aside, I ran a sandbox campaign for two years, recording and transcribing every session. Chronicling something *that* thoroughly kept the game incredibly fresh, even after months of play. However, it was a *lot* of work and I wouldn’t (heck, couldn’t) ever go to that degree again.

    <b?From the Players' side:
    Have solid characters. Sandbox adventures aren’t just player-driven, they have to be character-driven. Some of my best hooks and plot twists didn’t come from me, they came from my players. Well-defined characters can also prevent the ruin of a sandbox adventure by providing the DM with tailored excuses for why a character would stay involved (not to mention helping the DM avoid situations where characters, if appropriately roleplayed, would out-and-out refuse to participate).

    The Ultimate Sandbox Adventure
    Just wanted to share this story…

    Back in my time at university, one of the groups I gamed with regularly had a player who was incredibly imaginative, but rather… unfocused. The DM at the time was notorious for planning a whiz-bang initial session. At some point before the next session, he would telephone the imaginative player and ask, “So… what do you think is going on?” As the imaginative player spun a yarn, the DM would take notes. By the time of the next session, the imaginative player had forgotten the conversation but the DM had an adventure ready to go–and usually a darned good one, too.

    No, the player never caught on but he did admit at times that some things “seemed familiar” when the DM finally ‘fessed up to what he was doing.

  4. dredstar

    Sorry if I’m being a little dense here, but I’m having great trouble locating the show notes for Issue 38. I can’t go back in time long enough on your forum, it only seems to archive about a months worth of information. Can you help, please?

  5. Producer Matt

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