Sunday, April 11, 2010

Adventure Path vs Sandbox

We played another session of my campaign Saturday night. I think everyone had a good time and this time there were no character deaths, although Tayloritos character dropped to zero hp, staggering him but not killing him.

The PCs are an interesting bunch although they are designed to do an adventure path and are not as effective in a sandbox. Part of it is play style. The adventure paths move you along the story with very little effort on PCs parts. Information gathering is limited to a dice roll or two and its usually pretty obvious where to go next if you have any choice at. Roll-playing (combat skills) is more important then Role-Playing (non-combat). I think part of the reason this has been so entertaining is that everyone has been willing to take part in the non combat parts of the game - brawling with drunks, flirting with floosies, robbing sleeping guards and containing their hatred of halflings!

With this campaign I am trying to make the world as real as I can so there is lots of stuff going on, much of it not related to the main plot at all. Throw in a few red herrings and it can be pretty difficult to figure out how to advance the quest. The PCs are starting to be more tactical in combat laying ambushes and shutting down enemy casters but they still have a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later. A classic moment was when Dero-bane said, "Maybe we should interrogate these guys" only to realize the last one had just been killed. Ooops. Speak with Dead is nice but when the dead are compelled to speak they will be cryptic and vague.

But all is not lost. There are still several clues left to follow up and the plot is still advancing even if they don't see it yet. The PCs now have a name to attach to the enemy but its nature is still unclear.

And they got their first taste of Afhridi and caught a glimpse of the Baroness of the Lakes. Cool!


Rognar said...

I think it is a natural tendency, when playing evil characters, to build a "natural born killer" type and we have an abundance of them. Everyone assumed the other guy would make the socially-adept scoundrel who would do all the talking.

Okay, we all assumed D-bane would do it.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

I gather then that you are running your campaign more in the sandbox style?

Rognar said...

I'd say it's probably a bit of a hybrid. We have a specific quest in mind, namely, uncovering the new slaving operation that has recently started making the Great Dismal Swamp even more of a miserable place than it already is, but how we do so is largely up to us. Unfortunately, leaving it up to us has turned it into a massacre so far.