I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.

- William Blake

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Sandbox quest, Part II

Part I here. Still looking for cool dungeons, ruins and encounters to scatter into my new sandbox campaign.

I'm using Dark Fantasy Basic with a few changes, but any OSR adventure will do (and even some 5e -see below!).

As I've said, it's a lot harder than I expected - I almost gave up in favor of just proposing a series of adventures.

I'm currently on session 3, and it's been going well. It was a hard work but not that I've made a map an chose a few dungeons, things are starting to run themselves.

Well, here is my second attempt at finding cool locations and good hexcrawls.

FWIW, I'll also note that I've written my own OSR adventure, The Wretched Hive. I already ran it with this group. It contains the stuff I find important in these modules: coherence, different monsters, variety, etc. If your tastes are similar to mine, check it out!

Anyway, here is batch two:

Isle of the Unknown: This looks perfect! Weird monsters, forests, coasts, creativity, no orcs, goblins or skeletons (he skipped the familiar stuff on purpose). The art is amazing. Good map and well organized. I like the Greco-Roman flavor too. Unfortunately, it is all too random and lacking coherence (it has thematic coherence - statues, zodiac signs, etc. - but not much about the society, factions. etc.). Hexes are barely related, towns are described in an incredibly terse fashion, monsters rarely get a word about behavior or languages. This is "funhouse hexcrawling" to the max. Not what I want right now. Well... maybe use some bits.

Morgansfort - This has been recommended repeatedly. A free BFRPG hexcrawl! With a well-made home-base, maps, and three dungeons! The dungeons, however, are full of the stuff I dislike: a succession of goblins, kobolds, orcs, skeletons and giant monsters. Well, it is a start, and I like the town itself, maybe I can ignore or change some of the dungeons. So... Yes.

The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan - This has a great balance of vanilla, classic, weird, and flavorful.  It is small and fits the theme. I'm looking at the 5e version, which also has some great art (but no PDF version, and I'm playing online). So, I might get the original, or use the one I have. Yes!

Gregorius21778: The Four Flames & the Final Archway - The author sent me a copy so I could check this one out. And it checks a lot of boxes: it has a naturalistic vibe, it somehow feels like a real place instead of a collection of goblins and orcs (there are none of those here). The enemies are bats, worms, things you might find in a cave - in addition to the foul things that haunt the place. Yes!

BTW, he also sent me 20 Sacred Sites (yes!) and suggested 20 Encounters in the Ruins of the Elder Beings (maybe), which are decent additions to scatter in a sandbox. I've included the first in my folder (some entries are more useful and interesting than the ones in Isle of the Unknown, above), and I'm torn on the second one - it is good, but I feel I need to add a cave map (and maybe some additional stuff) to make it work properly.

Coming up: Some DCC RPG modules, and more! Leave any suggestions in the comments!

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  1. BFRPG Monkey Isle would seem perfect for your needs https://www.basicfantasy.org/downloads.html - but there is a ton of good free Basic Fantasy stuff to use.

  2. I recommend BF2 Fortress, Tomb, and Tower: The Glain Campaign, especially Fortress of the Iron Duke, a cool riff on Palace of the Silver Princess.

    1. Thanks! Will definitely check both Monkey Isle and Fortress of the Iron Duke!
      BFRPG has tons of cool stuff indeed!

  3. Monkey Isle has locations on the north shore left blank for GM development, you could place a colony site there, you could use eg Morgansfort (I agree the dungeons are dull, but I named a few of the fort NPCs) :) or even the village in The Chaotic Caves.