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WEST MARCHES: Duration: Ideally these will be shorter runs, around 2.5 hours max. Similar to how we used to do Fighting Circus, right into the action. Good for weeknight games. Still working out the nuances to get all of the westmarch elements (exploration, random encounters etc) in within the desired time frame. Treasure: Every place of interest in the game contains at least one treasure horde. Usually only one, but sometimes learning secondary areas to explore that may be beyond the party’s level and expected to be revisited at a later session etc. I want found treasure to be impartial so when the loot is found each player in the party rolls a special luck roll (/r 2d20). The totals get added up and we use the result on the treasure horde table in the DMG. Changing landscape: There are TONS of creatures of all sorts out in the wilderness competing in an extremely harsh environment for survival. You can bet that if you clear out a stronghold, it won’t be long before new inhabitants move in. It’s totally viable to scope out locations that have been visited before, to see if anything new of interest is going on there. Resting: It’s natural for a party that’s gotten themselves into a tough battle to want to take a long rest. But sometimes players look to regain all their resources a little too frequently for my gritty campaign style. I normally satisfy myself by balancing this out with rolling for random encounters, but when there aren’t larger campaign stakes and time crunches characters often just go back to sleep Hoping this will encourage players to rest when they need it but put a limit on the amount of rests available before heading home. SLOW NATURAL HEALING (optional rule from DMG) Characters don't regain hit points at the end of a long rest. Instead, a character can spend Hit Dice to heal at the end of a long rest, just as with a short rest. This optional rule prolongs the amount of time that characters need to recover from their wounds without the benefits of magical healing and works well for grittier, more realistic campaigns. DM style: I've started to talk about DM style in advance of anything I run, thought this was all the more important here because the nature of Westmarches makes me want to run things pretty different from my usual style, I'm pretty excited to get to do some things that can be a lot of fun but can kinda mess up things in how I like my 'civilized world campaigns' to go. One example is there will be wayy more loot!! more examples here: More combat/tactics focused than usual (search the land for a point of interest, clear it out, get as much loot as possible, do it all again next week) Politics are very low, some story lines may start to reveal themselves down the road but to start, you're just here to brave the dangers of the wilderness untouched by civilization and reap the spoils. To go along with the above, you can consider that any creature labelled as evil in the monster manual can be objectively considered evil. Life clerics you can feel as guilt free slaying a goblin camp as an army of skeletons. Further yet along the same line there will be a little less roleplay (and by that I mean NPC interaction) than on of my one-shots or campaigns (which usually has a lot). It doesn't mean that you can't try to negotiate with NPCs and monsters, or that it won't be critical at times, but it will be a lesser focus than my typical game. Deadliness is higher than ever. This doesn't mean I'm going to throw absurdly impossible encounters at you.. well not exactly, but the locations and things you can find in this westmarch have been planned and put in place. I think that's the real fun of this sort of thing, you can feel like you're exploring a real existing world. The danger is that if you’ve ventured somewhere that's way higher level than your character, you need to be able to identify that and flee or be felled (and I think that part can be a lot of fun too, even if it leads to the occasional oblivious party wipe :S). Note: Some dungeons will be layered with different CRs (ie 1st level is CR 1, 2nd lvl might also be CR 1, but then woah all these things are serving a fucking demon!! Get your loot and GTFO, make note of the site for a future visit. On the note above harder CR will be proportionate to better loot (I'm looking forward to those moments where the players are making tough decisions in the heat of battle and promise of treasure Vincent: “we gotta get outta here that thing is gonna wreck us” Malokai: “but think of the loot! I think we can take it..?' Gandalf: “what good is loot when you're dead! Run - you fools!” Exploration higher than usual: Ah this one is really refreshing, exploration opportunities is something I'm constantly trying to do better in my campaigns, a westmarch setting is just a big great unknown so that will enable some pretty cool opportunities here I think. Rules: Will be using the rules from the following site (I believe they are the original rules), but with some slight modifications for my styles and purposes: http://arsludi.lamemage.com/index.php/78/grand-experiments-west-marches/ Here are the rules as written from that side, along with comments and details of what I've changed and what I've added: 1) There was no regular time: every session was scheduled by the players on the fly. (works great with the 'pickup game' focus of our channel) 2) There was no regular party: each game had different players drawn from a pool of around 10-14 people. (we will be open to everyone in the channel, and fire as other pickup games do) 3) There was no regular plot: The players decided where to go and what to do. It was a sandbox game in the sense that’s now used to describe video games like Grand Theft Auto, minus the missions. There was no mysterious old man sending them on quests. No overarching plot, just an overarching environment. A couple of new elements I'm going to use in my West Marches games: Reincarnation and soulbinding: As much as I love the idea of 'the deadly wilderness' there's a problem regarding player death in this sort of campaign that needs to be addressed. Here's the situation: You find a sweet magic sword at lvl 3, but then you die at lvl 4. You like the idea of a deadly campaign but are still really bummed because you lost all your awesome loot and gear. Here's what I'm going to do to ease the pain a bit: 1) reincarnation - there's some scary magic in the western lands, and death is not working as usual. When a player character dies their soul floats back to the starting town and re-materializes as a new (different) character. The character is at whatever level they died at, minus 1. 2) soulbinding: you can spend 2 weeks of downtime and 50gp to souldbind an item to your character's soul. Soulbound items re-materialize with your new body. You earn one week of downtime activity per session played to spend as you choose, this is just one option, the rest of the options are as per Xan's guide. If you don't have Xan's just ask around in chat what some good options are, someone will help you.
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