The plan… Following the advice of Ben Robbins at Ars Ludi, I’m going to play 2-3 sessions of Microscope to develop how the Mad Lands came to be. I have two of three historical and independent events in mind. I’ll gather some fellow gamers and we’ll chronicle the backstory. I imagine this becomes the setting bible, not to be just vomitted on players but to help me frame decisions and rulings. The BIG rocks so far are:
- A godsfall event, where celestial entities war and the fallen have “fell” to the mortal realms…the mad Lands.
- The great Elf-Dwarf war. ‘cause that never gets old.
I need another event! I’m not sure what that is though, hoping one shakes out during the Microscope series.
Then I’ll break out my Mad Vandel’s Map pack and An Echo Resounding/Red Tides from Kevin Crawford to layout the big rocks of the world west of Westhold. I used An Echo Resounding once before during a Buring Wheel series of all Dwarves exiled to some uncharted jungles-cape. That was a 20-25+ session run and we did not use all the material generated! I liked how it generates and organizes locations (towns, lairs, ruins) and the tags/traits and resources in manageable units.
I’m also doing a deep dive into The Alexandrian essays on node-based scenario design I prefer situation prep over prepping a plot. Alexander has put a ton of thought into this and articulated some of what I’ve been doing and new venues to explore with this method. I think it fits perfectly with West Marches/Open Table games. He also writes much about Open Tables too which is timely! The Welsh Piper is also a very solid resource.
Create player handouts! A jumpstart PDF which’ll have B/X or Forbidden Lands cheat-sheet rules and starter details for the Mad Lands.Time permitting, I’ll individualize these for each player/vendor in my Mad Lands Kickstarter.
And naturally, my Pinterest Mad Lands board for inspiration!
What are your methods and tools for building sandboxes?