If I ever get around to sketching out my West Marches-style sandbox fantasy game, I’ll probably run it using Savage Worlds. When it comes to crunch, Savage Worlds and D&D 3.X are about the same (despite SW’s claims to the contrary). But for my money, SW is so much more fun, what with its exploding dice and playing cards and hyper-intuitive character generation. Plus, with the $10 Explorer's Edition, it's cheap and easy to equip your group.
My enthusiasm for running a character-driven sandbox game got a big boost this weekend, when I got my hands on the Savage Worlds Fantasy Bestiary Toolkit and the free 11-page PDF preview of Goodman Games’ Points of Light. Really, that 11-page preview is about as much as I need right now; it includes a detailed hex map and several dozen three-sentence entries for various map denizens. Combine that with a handful of critters from the Bestiary and the game pretty much writes itself. Which is the point, of course: the GM shouldn’t be doing much planning. Rather, the players should be driving the game forward by looking at the vast, empty, unpopulated map and making decisions as to where to go and what to explore.
I’m thinking I could get somewhere between 6 and 10 players to make characters for this game, then I’d run a session whenever any combination of three or more of them could get together.
Anyone else tinkering with a West Marches-type game right now?