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Yora
2016-08-08, 05:46 AM
In the past I ran my campaigns always as a series of individual adventures that are all very much scripted and have the party get directions from an NPC and once at their destination they will get a pointer where to go next until their quest is completed.
It always was okay, but as a GM I never found it really satisfying and felt that there could be a lot more than that.

I've been looking into sandbox campaigns for a while now, but now that I've started planning my next campaign I am not really feeling it either. It seems even more bland without a real focus what the players are trying to achieve in the long run. In campaigns that are running for some time this often seems to evolve by itself as the players get attached to opposing one of the major factions or taking over one of the areas. But I've always made bad experiences with slow buildups and the initial enthusiasm quickly fades for everyone involved.

I think what I am really looking for is a campaign that has a strong initial hook and clearly points the players toward a general long term goal, but then leaves them a lot of room in choosing their allies and methods and decide for themselves how they want the greater conflict to turn out.

Sounds like a solid plan to me, but I don't have any practical experience with it or know any procedures and methods that help making it work. Is there any advice or suggestions you can give me?

I think it's probably necessary to have a semi-open world. If the players are meant to do their own planning then they need to have a wide range of resources available to them. The players need to know a good number of NPCs who they could ask for information and assistance, either for free or for a price. They also need to know about settlements where they can resupply and a map to plan the routes they want to take. I think it would also help to have their opponents have several outposts and strongholds which they can assault to gain information or to distract their enemies or just generally disrupt their forces and resources.
I could imagine a campaign in which the players first have to find information about who the newly appeared enemy is, then learn what resources they have and how they are organized, next working out a plan to disrupt them, and finally defeating the enemy leadership. And to mix things up, friendly settlements will occasionally request help with other problems that are threatening them. Which may or may not be connected to something the primary opponents did.

It would be in an open world environment and nonlinear with very strong player agency but not leave the players to find their own fun. And would have a tighter focus than a sandbox, with the GM only having to prepare a single main opponent in detail instead of offering three or four to let the players pick one they like.

DrStubbsberg
2016-08-08, 08:09 AM
If you've got the setting details mostly nailed down, the best starting point might be to get some character backstory from the players - this should give you plenty of potential plot hooks and ideas for the direction to go that may best interest your party. Even if any of your players aren't the sort who enjoy backstory creation, see if you can coax at least a couple of sentence out of them, even if it's incredibly broad-strokes it'll help (my current campaign, whilst not sand-box, is running to a conclusion in pursuit of a plot-hook from our powergamer's 2-3 sentences of background, spoken at the table during character gen).

Depending on whether you expect Character Gen to take the entire first session, you may want to have a fairly bare-bones initial mission planned to tide you over until you've got the background together.

Lorsa
2016-08-08, 08:50 AM
In the past I ran my campaigns always as a series of individual adventures that are all very much scripted and have the party get directions from an NPC and once at their destination they will get a pointer where to go next until their quest is completed.
It always was okay, but as a GM I never found it really satisfying and felt that there could be a lot more than that.

I've been looking into sandbox campaigns for a while now, but now that I've started planning my next campaign I am not really feeling it either. It seems even more bland without a real focus what the players are trying to achieve in the long run. In campaigns that are running for some time this often seems to evolve by itself as the players get attached to opposing one of the major factions or taking over one of the areas. But I've always made bad experiences with slow buildups and the initial enthusiasm quickly fades for everyone involved.

I think what I am really looking for is a campaign that has a strong initial hook and clearly points the players toward a general long term goal, but then leaves them a lot of room in choosing their allies and methods and decide for themselves how they want the greater conflict to turn out.

Sounds like a solid plan to me, but I don't have any practical experience with it or know any procedures and methods that help making it work. Is there any advice or suggestions you can give me?

I think it's probably necessary to have a semi-open world. If the players are meant to do their own planning then they need to have a wide range of resources available to them. The players need to know a good number of NPCs who they could ask for information and assistance, either for free or for a price. They also need to know about settlements where they can resupply and a map to plan the routes they want to take. I think it would also help to have their opponents have several outposts and strongholds which they can assault to gain information or to distract their enemies or just generally disrupt their forces and resources.
I could imagine a campaign in which the players first have to find information about who the newly appeared enemy is, then learn what resources they have and how they are organized, next working out a plan to disrupt them, and finally defeating the enemy leadership. And to mix things up, friendly settlements will occasionally request help with other problems that are threatening them. Which may or may not be connected to something the primary opponents did.

It would be in an open world environment and nonlinear with very strong player agency but not leave the players to find their own fun. And would have a tighter focus than a sandbox, with the GM only having to prepare a single main opponent in detail instead of offering three or four to let the players pick one they like.

I've ran games like this on several occassions. In fact, I would say that's more or less the most common way I do run my games.

I think you're already on to the key here; it's to give the players the "starting point" so to speak. Things happen to them, help is requested, adventures are presented, but how to solve them is left open for the players.

The good thing is that you only really have to plan the start of adventures, your players will take care of the rest.

One thing I found to be quite good to keep in mind is those two last sentences. Include adventures that have nothing to do with the main threat, or at least only tangentially. Make sure that there's always something for the players to direct their efforts towards, but don't force them to engage with any adventure you present.

Anyway, I realize this is very short, and if you still need some help or inspiration later, I can write a longer one.

Yora
2016-08-08, 10:41 AM
Any ideas are welcome.

Jay R
2016-08-08, 12:28 PM
The barriers between this plane and a plane containing a great demon and many horrible monsters is slowly breaking down, here and there, in different ways. This creates lots of little missions, all over the place, with different terrain, monsters, and problems.

Yora
2016-08-08, 01:52 PM
That seems more sandboxy to me. It's a general state of upheaval but does not really have any goal, antagonist, or victory condition.

Tiktakkat
2016-08-08, 03:46 PM
First, learn the Magician's Choice.
That is where you ask someone to choose between two options without telling them the consequence of their choice beforehand, then adjust your response based on their choice. Example:

Magician: Pick a hand, any hand.
Mark: Your left hand.
Magician: Behold! The miracle within my left hand!

Magician: Pick a hand, any hand.
Mark: Your right hand.
Magician: Behold! The miracle within my left hand that you passed over!

What that means is do not commit your plot to any particular choice before the players make it.
You have a BBEG.
Where is he?
Whatever dungeon the players go to.


Next, set up a number of options at each level of relatively equal value.
Don't have one 1st level adventure, have 4.
Whichever one the players do get's them a different NPC contact.
Repeat that as needed throughout the early part of the campaign, allowing the PCs to select just which NPCs they wind up attracting.
If you like, you can use the Magician's Choice on this, and simply wind up reusing the various NPCs at different points, perhaps giving them different degrees of power and gratitude depending on when the PCs meet them.
This can easily play into having several outposts, as each adventure can be set in a different one, allowing a different kind of engagement with them.


Of course the big thing is how to get the adventures for this.
If you have enough published material sitting around, just adapt it.
Take the first adventure from several adventure paths and set the hooks out in front of the PCs as they start.
Then, without pushing a continuation, or even disallowing a continuation, put the second adventure out for them and let them select again, making adjustments to account for another party having completed the initial parts then gotten killed or wandered off or the like.
Lather, rinse, repeat until you have them at whatever point you want them to pick a path to complete.

Of course this will require a good deal of work cross-referencing and adapting, but it has a benefit of being reusable simply by taking other options at each stage.

goto124
2016-08-08, 07:29 PM
I thought that's called the Quantum Ogre...

Yora
2016-08-09, 03:02 AM
Among other things. But in my experience it's best used for minor things where the players don't have any expectation what difference their choices might make. It's effective to give yourself some wriggling room, but when you use it to negate efforts and plans the players have made it's just cheap. And once they catch on to that you can pretty much scrap the rest of the campaign because it's no longer fun to play.

thirdkingdom
2016-08-09, 08:21 AM
The game I'm running right now, using ACKS, was pitched as Judges' Guild Wilderlands meets Oregon Trail. There's a vast wilderness, largely unmapped, to be explored, and I threw them half a dozen plot hooks that took them in different directions into the wilderness. The PCs all started between 4th and 5th level, so the long-term arc of the game is to explore, claim and clear a tract of the wilderness to establish their own domains.

Additional hooks and adventurers have sprung up from an equal mixture of pre-placed lairs and random encounters that have subsequently been developed based on their interest.

Yora
2016-08-09, 09:08 AM
That also seems like a straight up sandbox to me.

thirdkingdom
2016-08-09, 09:46 AM
That also seems like a straight up sandbox to me.

<headdesk>

You asked for ideas on how to run an open-ended, sandbox style game with a defined goal. Several people have made suggestions. I'm not sure what else to say.

AMFV
2016-08-09, 10:16 AM
Make it some kind of large scale political event. Give the players motivation based on that. For example, they're all squabbling nobles trying to seize control of the throne (or lands or whatnot). That's a defined goal, and it's very open-ended, different players will want to do different things. Or give them a specific antagonist or what-not, then leave it up to them to stop him/her/it, you can even make it somebody that's likely to not notice them till they're getting close, to give them more initial freedom in how they empower themselves. Basically you want a pseudo-sandbox, where there's more open-ended at the start.


As a result you want a lot of player freedom in how they obtain initial goals (raise a certain amount of money), obtain a castle, or whatever. And then a specific goal towards the end (reclaim noble houses, rebel against a powerful dictatorship and/or invading force). Those are the kind of scenarios that I think would lend themselves to your aims.

BayardSPSR
2016-08-10, 03:00 AM
To clarify, you're talking about a campaign with a hook, a defined goal/enemy, and a sandbox in between? Like a pitch of "Sauron, Dark Lord of Mordor, wants to take over the world; have at him?"

Yora
2016-08-10, 04:15 AM
Here is my current plan, as far as I developed it yesterday:

The system will be B/X D&D with every unnamed NPCs being level 0. (Those who aren't warriors or spellcasters as well.) XP will be only around 20% from monsters; 60% from finding treasure, magic items, and magic locations, and 20% from completing goals. There will be enough stuff to reach level 5 when everything is done. (Which is twice as much as needed for level 4.) Few creatures will be immediately hostile and many interested in talking and open to offers to cooperate.

The PCs have come to a remote settlement that has come under threat from something in the nearby woods and the leader has send messages to allies to send help. (1st level characters are already above average.) In the forest live three hags whose activities led to monsters getting close to the village. There is also the ghost of a fourth witch who was killed by the other three to use her magic to power the thing they are working on. The players have to learn about the presence of the hags, find their three lairs, and somehow stop the threat they pose to the village. There will be some sages and witches in the area who can give them pointers in interpreting the clues theyfind, and also some caves and ruins that hold magic to weaken the hags and protect against their powers. The ghost can be particularly helpful if the players get her to cooperate. I think there will be three lairs, the ghost ruin, and maybe six more locations where the players can find useful tools and information, for a total of about 10. Also the main village, a second village nearby, a druid shrine, and the house of a witch. Also two other groups of adventurers who are in the area. One happy to cooperate and the others looking for an opportunity to kill and rob the party.
The players will be free to choose the order in which they visit the places and what methods they want to use against the hags.

The two challenges I see is putting out enough clues to not get lost but also not make it too easy, and to make it so that the players have good reasons not to clear out every possible place before dealing with the hags. It should be an option, but not the obviously best choice.

Lorsa
2016-08-10, 04:54 AM
The two challenges I see is putting out enough clues to not get lost but also not make it too easy, and to make it so that the players have good reasons not to clear out every possible place before dealing with the hags. It should be an option, but not the obviously best choice.

If the hags are continually causing problems, then dealing with them in a quick manner would be the best choice. Which makes visiting every possible place not the best option by default.

Yora
2016-08-10, 05:29 AM
Increasing the threat over time would lead to the danger of the players feeling that they make no progress and their efforts are constantly negated. But keeping up a constant regular pressure might indeed work quite well. The longer it takes the less will be left to save, but rushing ahead too early and being repelled with no progress to show will also cost them time.

It's probably also smart to make it impossible for the party to try to hole up and repell everything that comes from the forest. Going on the offensive needs to be the only viable option to end the threat. The focus is to explore the forest after all, not to fortify the village. I could see letting the players build additional defenses to give them more time in the long run. That's also a plan that should be rewarded. But only to slow down the threat, not to stop it.

Lorsa
2016-08-10, 05:46 AM
Increasing the threat over time would lead to the danger of the players feeling that they make no progress and their efforts are constantly negated. But keeping up a constant regular pressure might indeed work quite well. The longer it takes the less will be left to save, but rushing ahead too early and being repelled with no progress to show will also cost them time.

It's probably also smart to make it impossible for the party to try to hole up and repell everything that comes from the forest. Going on the offensive needs to be the only viable option to end the threat. The focus is to explore the forest after all, not to fortify the village. I could see letting the players build additional defenses to give them more time in the long run. That's also a plan that should be rewarded. But only to slow down the threat, not to stop it.

If the threat is towards more than one village, it would be hard simply to fortify one. If they try, you could simply have the hags attack another village, which they will hear words about later. Technically they could try to rally all the nearby villages into one fortified one, but then that causes problems with food supply, how to bring livestock etc. If they want to go for that option, let them deal with the consequences, my guess is they will end up going on the offensive at some point or another.

And I didn't imply the threat would necessarily grow larger. As you say, a constant level is good, enough to make time a concern, but not enough to make the run in without any preparations.

Yora
2016-08-10, 06:13 AM
Yes, I just wanted to add my thoughts on the topic and why your suggestion is better than a similar alternative.

2D8HP
2016-08-10, 08:35 PM
Here is my current plan, as far as I developed it yesterday:

The system will be B/X D&D.......
The PCs have come to a remote settlement that has come under threat from something in the nearby woods and the leader has send messages to allies to send help. (1st level characters are already above average.) In the forest live......I AM SOLD!
:biggrin:
Sounds AWESOME!
I envy your players.

lacco36
2016-08-11, 01:23 AM
I agree with Lorsa - this is my primary modus operandi as the GM.

The process I usually use:
- taking "hooks" from character generation,
- first "adventure",
- brief peaceful intermezzo,
- write down all "loose ends",
- let them choose their next adventure,
- add in complications, hooks, contacts,
- repeat.

Riddle of Steel gives me lots of "story hooks" (I'm not going to use "plot hooks" - these are just possible story beginnings), thanks to the spiritual attributes. If you know that the warrior is destined to "die in a sea of dark ones' blood", you know he's supposed to fight the dark ones. If another one is driven to "kill his arch-enemy", it's a good idea to incorporate him somewhere.

First adventure is seemingly not connected to any of these. I usually prepare a short one-shot, in which they venture to some enclosed remote area, discover some mystery, fight off some foes and generally get two or three other "story hooks". They found cellar full of human meat? Who do the bandits sell that to? Who is their contact in the city? What is this map? Why does the bandit leader has a tatoo like that? And what door doeas this elaborate key belong to...?

After that, there's a brief intermezzo, where nothing dangerous happens and they can start to plan a bit. The peaceful moment is important - it will prepare them for next "excitement" and will give them time to think. If they go from one fight/dungeon to another, they won't think about the story hooks.

And I get to write down all the "loose ends". Anything I can use for next adventures - hooks (e.g. the key), clues (e.g. "they come when mist comes"), complications (oh oh, mist...) and contacts.

When they choose their next adventure (let's discover who's the meat-seller's contact in the city!), I sprinkle some of the complications on top. Usually I have around 2-3 story lines that are woven each into the other - one which they follow, one which runs on the background, and one huge, which they are about to discover at any time... :smallbiggrin:.

I used this process for Soldiers of Fortune PbP here on the forum.


I envy your players.

Man, me too, I'd love to play some "old school" game... :smallbiggrin:

Yora
2016-08-11, 03:47 AM
Doesn't basing the campaign on the PCs require that you prepare the setting after the characters have been made? I think mot players are eager to start planning right after character creation, and it would be difficult to create characters with backgrounds if you don't know what the campaign will be about.

lacco36
2016-08-11, 07:45 AM
Doesn't basing the campaign on the PCs require that you prepare the setting after the characters have been made? I think mot players are eager to start planning right after character creation, and it would be difficult to create characters with backgrounds if you don't know what the campaign will be about.

Well, that's what the first adventure is for - it is usually fairly universal, but I include some basic clues to the overal story. It gives me as the GM time to prepare for what is to come - and gives me time to sprinkle some foreshadowing.

As for the use of backstory input into game:
Let's say I have 3 PCs created by players... a fighter, a ranger and mage.
The fighter is destined to be a war hero.
Ranger hates slavers.
Mage wants to find a "mass true ressurect" ritual, which was lost in previous age.

So now the "allies" from your example come from two different kingdoms and each wants to "protect the settlement" for its own reasons, maybe leading to a war later.
The second adventuring group is part of slavers guild - they don't want to kill the PCs, but trap them and sell.
And the witches have clues to the ritual.

However, the players can find out most of this after the first adventure - the mage can find a tattered remains of a tome with pictures and symbols related to resurrection, and the party can see the slavers in action (from distance) and even alienate them, and the allies can send a small group, but the "campaign" will take its form after they come back from the first witch lair.

Will they join the slavers? Or try to eradicate them? Ok. The slavers guild offers their services to one of the kingdoms and captures/recruits the witches somehow to use them as "cannon fodder".
Will they join one of the sides and fight in a war over the settlement? And what is there so valuable that two kingdoms send their forces? Let's say they do... so now the slavers join the opposite side and they try to use the witches too!
Will they go kill all the witches? Where will they find a full copy of the book? Ok, they will be caught in crossfire of the war and will need to make choices. And one side has slavers...

And if they don't do any of these? Fine, no problem - the witches are still there, terrorizing, while the armies protect the villagers, but are slowly succumbing to the flow of monsters, and the slavers roam the area freely...

Joe the Rat
2016-08-11, 10:14 AM
The setting and setup can be a cyclical process. You come in with a basic scenario (hags in the woods, threat to the local villages, ruins to tumble for loot), share what the players need to know for the setting (X style game, culture is Y, your party will initially be created/summoned/sent/shanghai'd from various prisons to answer a request for aid.) As the players start adding details or ideas (where can I be from? Can I be local? Where did I study? Can I have a subplot about X?), start looking for hooks in their questions - and bounce your own ideas. "You want to have studied at a prestigious wizard college - perhaps they sent you to help because they are looking for the Tome of McGuffin, which is rumored to be in the area?" ...and then add it to the list of Things to Find. Maybe it's buried in the Tomb of McGuffin. Maybe the hags have it.

Have a toolbox of sideplots which you can whip out as random encounters.

have a plot web - which locations, treasures, or people have links to other events. No one person knows the whole story, but different people may have different elements. Build up clues over time - the "Rumors" list at the starting adventure town is a starting place for this - both as a source of adventure ideas, and as hints to the bigger story.

Yora
2016-08-11, 01:13 PM
Adding character specific sidequests that get tied into the prepared campaign instead of just tacked on certainly sounds like a very practical approach. It's something you can do later and you don't even have to get them worked in all at once.

Another nice idea I had is that the guy who made the call for adventurers turn out to be an unpleasant bully who isn't liked by most of the villagers and the competing adventurer party is some equally unpleasant old friends of his. But none of them have anything to do with the hag and the village leader honestly wants the threat to the village ended. But somehow removing him in an elegant way would get the party support from the other village elders who take over after him. If they handle it badly it makes things only worse.
I expect that player will see some kind of conspiracy but it turns out that he's just an awful guy.

Joe the Rat
2016-08-11, 02:20 PM
That's actually an important point. Many things may be tied together, but not everything has to tie together.

Yora
2016-08-11, 03:45 PM
There's not just a single thing going on, but I think in a campaign with a clear goal, most things should in some way result in something helpful regarding the main goal. Even when the players think they are setting out to do something completely unrelated, I think it's nice to have them get some kind of minor advantage they wouldn't have gotten otherwise. Even if it's just another optional ally or an item that will be really helpful with an obstacle they will most likely face as part of the main quest. It's great when the players think "good thing we did that detour, this item came really handy".

My idea for the ghost of the fourth witch also goes into that direction. It will first be rumored as one possible source for the supernatural threat that can either be ignored completely, but can turn out to be an ally against the common enemy. It also gets access to more background information that is not necessary to the main quest. But when the players have to work for it and it's also optional, I think they will be much more interested in it. Usually background information is hard to remember when it comes as a wall of text. But when you have to work for it and could miss it it will seem much more important. It's a bonus that could be missed so you better take notice. Regular questgiver blahblah will surely be mentioned again by the GM in case something of it is important for progress in the adventure.

Another thing I've seen frequently mentioned as being what makes the game Morrowind better than Oblivion and Skyrim is that there are different zones of fixed difficulty that will be easier when the players come back later. In a shorter campaign over only three or four levels it probably won't be too noticable, but when you plan ahead for 8 or 10 levels it will make a major difference. It creates a strong sense of progress and achievment when a previously too challenging obstacle becomes doable because the PCs have learned new skills and became more durable as part of their adventures. Having the enemies always be "level appropriate" somewhat negates that. It's worse in videogames where there's a limited number of skins for monsters and you get beaten up by a bear at level 5 and easily kill dragons at level 5 and once you get to level 50 you still get beaten up by bears and have no trouble killing dragons. But if you first only encounter goblins, then only orcs, and then only gnolls regardless of the places you visit it's still a bit lame. When the campaign is nonlinear, making some areas too hard for starting characters is a good thing.

Not quite sure how I want to handle the three hags. The players will be able to take them on in any order but it would be a bit disappointing if each fight gets easier than the previous one. Maybe make it so that the first one is caught by surprise and has little defenses in place and the others then get more bodyguards in response?

Joe the Rat
2016-08-12, 08:02 AM
Power scaling - both on the part of the party and their encounters - is important, but it should not necessarily be consistent.

I agree that there should be areas or situations the party cannot handle themselves - and that should be clear to them. If they are 5th level, and they see an ancient dragon roaming around, "Nope" is a perfectly rational response on their part (as it is likely fatal if provoked), and a hint that there's a dragon to deal with down the road. If you have an old man with seven canaries wandering along and the party attacks him (because PCs), that's probably a little unfair, unless they happen to recognize that as Bahamut in human guise. This can also encourage parley.

The hags may be too much without some allies or resources. You can look at these boosts not in straight power, but in countermeasures - learning a secret entrance that bypasses the worst guardian, or exactly where the lair is so you don't have to burn half you day's resources swamp crawling, or a charm that counters a specific attack or power of the target. Making your melee masher immune to the hag's mind control could be a game-changer.

The other side is that as the party acts, the powers that be (messing everything up) will take notice, and start ramping their own defenses. After the first few actions, have them up defenses or gain power or allies to deal with the adventurer issue. Those random "agents of the big bad doing stuff" missions or encounters turn into "big bad sending agents to hunt down the party. If they are big on gathering intelligence (send pack of whatever the hell hags send packs of, scry to see what the party does), then they develop countermeasures that will make the fight more difficult.
Hell, the jerkass governor might decide that the party is getting too popular, and arrange a little sabotage.

Lorsa
2016-08-13, 06:40 AM
Not quite sure how I want to handle the three hags. The players will be able to take them on in any order but it would be a bit disappointing if each fight gets easier than the previous one. Maybe make it so that the first one is caught by surprise and has little defenses in place and the others then get more bodyguards in response?

There are many ways to deal with that, and your response is one of them (not a bad one at that).

Another idea would be to have the other two hags team up after the first is dead, so the party now has to fight two at the same time. Alternatively, if they're more solitary, one of them bunkers up with better defensive measures whereas the other goes on the aggressive and ambushes the party. Ambushes are always harder pretty much by default, and I don't think it's against a hag's personality to use them.

Yora
2016-08-13, 07:11 AM
First fighting one and then fighting two is certainly an interesting option for such situations. But I already have great plans for the three lairs and want to use them all. :smallbiggrin:

One idea I am currently considering is that one of the three is willing to make a deal and sell the other two out. If the players agree she will not stab them in the back later, but the other two will of course claim that when they hear about it.

Update on the background: Right now I plan that the four original witches planned to make some kind of golem but needed a source of magic, so three of them murdered the fourth and used her heart to power the golem. The ghost of the fourth witch wants her heart back so she can be revived. In return she'll help killing the other three.
The golem is controlling the other monsters that come from the haunted forest and is in turn controlled by the three hags. The one hag who wants to betray the others says she will call it back and have it leave the village alone, but for that they have to kill the other two hags first.

Independent of that there's a group of gnome miners who can provide weapons that deal double damage to the hags and their main minions. For that the players have to deal with monsters in the caves the gnomes are working in.
There's also a group of druids who can make amulets to block charm spells of the hags. They do it for free but the players have to find and collect the components. Not sure what exactly that will take. (Visiting the gnome cave and the ruin haunted by the ghost would be great ways to let them discover these places.

I am having a lot of fun working on this. I think after I've run this I'll write it down as an adventure like Slumbering Ursine Dunes or Qelong.

Joe the Rat
2016-08-15, 09:02 AM
Another option might be a Schrodingers' Quickening or Rising Stars Coven approach. (Lord I'm old).

Killing hags in a coven makes the other(s) stronger. Their power is connected through the circle. If one dies, the others gain her measure of power. Or one hag has a ritual or item that allows her to absorb the power of other circle members to charge up - and possibly utilize coven abilities on her own. Gives you a rationale for boost, or for one hag's end game to Hag-volve into a stronger form (Green hag to Night Hag, for example).

That might be a bit too cheesy.

kyoryu
2016-08-17, 09:32 AM
Check out Dungeon World, Apocalypse World, and Monster of the Week. They have great advice on setting up open-ended adventures. I'll post a bit of a summary later.

Yora
2016-08-17, 10:15 AM
Please do.