Tuesday, September 9, 2008

West Marches via Savage Worlds?

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?

5 comments:

jamused said...

Yes, and curiously enough I'm also planning on using Savage Worlds. I doubt I'll do a full-blown West Marches set up...my friends and I just don't have enough time for pick-up games. It's more likely to be the back-up game for when we don't have a quorum for one of our regular campaigns, or when a friend is in from out-of-town and can't be shoehorned into the ongoing campaign easily. Unless I actually try to get something going playing online....

jamused said...

Oh, I forgot to mention, I already ran one session of this for an out-of-town friend and my wife. I started with Jeff Rients' Under Xylarthen's Tower as the local dungeon they had just gotten a map to, and Savaged it on-the-fly.

PatrickWR said...

That sounds great! Like you, I'm not sure exactly how deeply I'll delve into the sandbox aspect -- my goal is to make liberal use of published material and keep prior planning to a minimum. That seems to fit best with everyone's hectic schedules, at least here in Chicago.

jamused said...

Actually, my default for campaigns leans towards the "sandbox" style of play where nothing's guaranteed to be level appropriate, encounters aren't predisposed towards being part of any ongoing storyline, players have a heavy say in the direction of the campaign simply by what avenues they choose to pursue or ignore, etc. What's unusual for me is tying that all in with actual dungeons and parties whose motivation is just go into the dungeon and get rich and famous. That's the part that, for me, makes it seem so suitable for playing an evening here, some Saturday afternoon there.

grogtard said...

Anything Savage Worlds is sweet. Trying to convince my group to play and old school fantasy campaign using those rules.