Originally inspired by Wargaming with Dragons* and Demographics and Hiring**. Which I somehow managed to bookmark without saving the source, so I don’t know who to credit. But obviously ACKS is filling some of the same design space.
I’ve been kicking around the idea of running a hexcrawl game where players start with 1st level characters as normal, but 20 men at arms as well, and deal directly with overland travel and combat from day one. So there’d be dungeons and lairs on the map to deal with as normal, but dealing with wandering monsters, brigands and free mercenaries (but I repeat myself; the 30 Years’ War is a real world influence) would be a major part of play as well.
So essentially an open-ended wargame in D&D. I figure I’d put out a big hexmap for the players, just make the major landmarks common knowledge, and see what they do.
Anyone done this? Any advice, best practices, or just table stories?
I’m getting hung up on a couple of things. First, how much ready opposition to provide, and how much in the way of quests. I’ve seen sandboxes go better when there’s some initial direction to get your feet under you (or rebel against) than when the GM just says “go forth and sandbox!”
Second, how to pitch this. I’m not converting a regular game group or night, but I do have a large pool of people I’ve played with or GM’d for. So I can handle drop-ins or differing player groups just by asking them to agree on a mission to cooperate on. But more modern style games (3.5/Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, Shadowrun, others) have been the biggest draws in this community.