Quick-and-Dirty Sandbox Prepping

Fri 8
Posted by at 7:02 pm. Filed under: Design Notes, Inspiration | Tags: , ,

As I’m working my way about halfway through the Adventuring Generation rules, what should I find in my Reader but an excellent post by Zak Smith that explores the nature of the Sandbox campaign from a different perspective: Character motivation.

There’s some gentle nudging about character motivation in the rules I’ve written so far, but it’s generally assumed that the primary incentivisation of the game comes from the Dungeon Master; this largely comes from my own tendencies and the fact that most of my gaming experiences have involved groups that require fairly blatantly-dangled plot hooks. Nevertheless it’s important for me to realize that there will probably be plenty of players out there that may want to approach OSH from a player-directed sandbox perspective, and I believe that there should be room for this gaming style in the rules, if not full-on encouragement of it.

The Adventure Generation rules are written to create the sort of mini-sandbox that comes from classic modules like Secret of Bone Hill or Isle of Dread. I mean, the hexes are all there and they get filled in one by one, albeit fairly quickly and dirtily. These are substantiated by a Threat Generation System that is supposed to create a growing malevolence in the area; so that hopefully no matter what the PCs’ motivations end up being, this threat is the prime opposition.

One thing I’m very excited about is that even if Old School Hack as a game itself never really generates anything beyond passing interest, the Adventure Generation portion is malleable and useful enough for anyone looking to build a quick mini-adventure or fill in a portion of the map; so much so that I hope to release it here on the site as its own little step-by-step section. Stay tuned!


As a side note, several DMs and I had an extremely successful online Game Discussion Roundtable session last night. The topic was, appropriately enough for this post, “Prepping for your next session”.

What do you think?