Let's talk about sandboxes, open worlds and hexcrawling

Monayuris

Explorer
As I have been building my sandbox, I have realized I want the action to be largely player driven primarily by want of treasure (because I want a decent amount of dungeon and lair raiding). The things, it is really hard to find stuff for players to spend money on in 5E.

Does anyone know of any DMGuild or other 3rd party resources that develop a good economy for 5E -- from downtime business investment to training costs to benefits from carousing and so on? What I do not want is the primary money sink to be powering up (especially in the form of buying or making magic items).
I mentioned earlier: On Downtime and Demenses by Courtney Campbell is a good place to start.

I just gave my players a copy and said you can do any of these things. They are just starting to take advantage of it, but there are a lot of things one can do in the book during downtime.

1. Brag about their exploits for extra XP
2. Study an adventuring site / scout for bonuses to saves
3. HIre retainers and followers and sidekicks
4. Carousing and training (learning new skills)
5. Getting involved in power struggles
6. Building constructs vehicles, researching magic and lore and so on.

It has a version for both 5E and Basic / OSR. Its pretty comprehensive. I recommend checking it out.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Why not just use the standard terms short rest (breather), long rest (short rest), and one new term for the new rest: extend rest (long rest). It seems like your just making things more confusing.
Breather does not refresh abilities that say they refresh on a short rest. It only allows expenditure of HD to recover HP.

Renaming breather to "short rest" might mislead players into thinking that their short rest recharge abilities will recharge with that rest, which they would not. They would recharge on a "long rest", while long rest abilities would now recharge on an "extended rest". That seems pretty confusing to me.

Taking that into account, what do you think?
 

davout1805

Explorer
As I have been building my sandbox, I have realized I want the action to be largely player driven primarily by want of treasure (because I want a decent amount of dungeon and lair raiding). The things, it is really hard to find stuff for players to spend money on in 5E.

Does anyone know of any DMGuild or other 3rd party resources that develop a good economy for 5E -- from downtime business investment to training costs to benefits from carousing and so on? What I do not want is the primary money sink to be powering up (especially in the form of buying or making magic items).
{WH} Fortresses, Temples, & Strongholds, rules for building and customizing player-owned structures! - Dungeon Masters Guild | Dungeon Masters Guild

Note: I have not yet read it.
 

dave2008

Legend
Breather does not refresh abilities that say they refresh on a short rest. It only allows expenditure of HD to recover HP.

Renaming breather to "short rest" might mislead players into thinking that their short rest recharge abilities will recharge with that rest, which they would not. They would recharge on a "long rest", while long rest abilities would now recharge on an "extended rest". That seems pretty confusing to me.

Taking that into account, what do you think?
OK, I missed that. The only issue I have is with recharging daily abilities after 3 days. I prefer my players recharge abilities frequently (we use 5 min short rest) and even longer healing times.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
OK, I missed that. The only issue I have is with recharging daily abilities after 3 days. I prefer my players recharge abilities frequently (we use 5 min short rest) and even longer healing times.
Of course a group must go with their preferences. Mechanically, depending on the party composition, longer healing times might be countered to some extent by more frequent ability refreshes. There could be no immediate concern with that, unless a DM is also envisioning that NPCs are making the most effective use of the rules that they can. I know some DMs prefer to say that PCs are an exception, which relieves them of needing to think about how what works for PCs might work for NPCs. I go the other way: what works for PCs most certainly also works for NPCs. So I have to think more about all comps, and not just the one to hand in my current party.

Features I like about my version include
  1. When the party are travelling on a scale of weeks or months, the pacing of encounters to recuperation is different from that in a dungeon. So with in mind the DMG guidance (and my own experience) of the ratio of encounters to rests in terms of attrition of party resources, I find the game is more in line with that and flows very naturally if the evening rests effectively become Short Rests.
  2. I tried the DMG guidance on Long Rests, but found that it puts them out of kilter with the frequency of Short Rests, which in turn pushes mechanically-minded players toward classes that are relatively better if there are more Short Rests per Long rest. Therefore I shortened the DMG version to 3 days.
  3. But this all meant there was a gap when it came to spending HD, as pacing that out over days feels a little too infrequent. Hence the Breather, which I stole from someone else (can't remember who). My innovation (or clarification) was simply to show how rests could fold into the next longer version.
  4. A really good consequence of less frequent Long Rests is on the big spells that have campaign implications, like any spell that feels like it should have a pronounced impact on the economy or the conduct of war, or a strong political effect. It paces those out more over a year so that the large scale situation is less volatile.
 

Reynard

Legend
I mentioned earlier: On Downtime and Demenses by Courtney Campbell is a good place to start.
As an aside, this PDF is pretty pricey. That's okay, I believe people should be able to make real money writing (as a freelancer and author myself) but the preview does not give the impression of a professional grade product. Can you offer a more comprehensive review of it, or point me to one, before I would spend so much on it?
 

dave2008

Legend
Of course a group must go with their preferences. Mechanically, depending on the party composition, longer healing times might be countered to some extent by more frequent ability refreshes. There could be no immediate concern with that, unless a DM is also envisioning that NPCs are making the most effective use of the rules that they can. I know some DMs prefer to say that PCs are an exception, which relieves them of needing to think about how what works for PCs might work for NPCs. I go the other way: what works for PCs most certainly also works for NPCs. So I have to think more about all comps, and not just the one to hand in my current party.

Features I like about my version include
  1. When the party are travelling on a scale of weeks or months, the pacing of encounters to recuperation is different from that in a dungeon. So with in mind the DMG guidance (and my own experience) of the ratio of encounters to rests in terms of attrition of party resources, I find the game is more in line with that and flows very naturally if the evening rests effectively become Short Rests.
  2. I tried the DMG guidance on Long Rests, but found that it puts them out of kilter with the frequency of Short Rests, which in turn pushes mechanically-minded players toward classes that are relatively better if there are more Short Rests per Long rest. Therefore I shortened the DMG version to 3 days.
  3. But this all meant there was a gap when it came to spending HD, as pacing that out over days feels a little too infrequent. Hence the Breather, which I stole from someone else (can't remember who). My innovation (or clarification) was simply to show how rests could fold into the next longer version.
  4. A really good consequence of less frequent Long Rests is on the big spells that have campaign implications, like any spell that feels like it should have a pronounced impact on the economy or the conduct of war, or a strong political effect. It paces those out more over a year so that the large scale situation is less volatile.
First I am with you that NPCs/monsters and PCs follow the same basic path and everything should be considered in that light. However, I also think high level PCs / NPCs are extremely rare. This is the basic equation I use: 1/100,000 get to 5th level; 1/1,000,000 get to 10th level; 1/10,000,000 get to 15th level, and 1/100,000,000 get to 20th level. With a world population of about 250-300 million that means only 2-3 PCs/NPCs are 20th level. Given that the roman empire was about 45 million (roughly the size of the typical "playground" in my games), it is conceivable that the PCs never come across an NPC above 15th level and only a few above 10th level.

If your version works for you great! Personally we have a different version of rest and recovery that ties into other house rules that works for us. I apologize, but I am not really interested in further analyzing how it would work for the typical group.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
First I am with you that NPCs/monsters and PCs follow the same basic path and everything should be considered in that light. However, I also think high level PCs / NPCs are extremely rare. This is the basic equation I use: 1/100,000 get to 5th level; 1/1,000,000 get to 10th level; 1/10,000,000 get to 15th level, and 1/100,000,000 get to 20th level. With a world population of about 250-300 million that means only 2-3 PCs/NPCs are 20th level. Given that the roman empire was about 45 million (roughly the size of the typical "playground" in my games), it is conceivable that the PCs never come across an NPC above 15th level and only a few above 10th level.
I'm using higher rates - About 1/250 people through one means or another gain tier 1 class equivalence, and from that base dwindle to around 1/5 per higher tier, e.g. 1/1250 are tier 2. I mention that for anyone interested in seeing what drivers of differences in campaigns can be. Here, we both have power-parity between PCs and NPCs, but greatly differing demographic rates; probably inclining us to our (differing) preferences.

Personally we have a different version of rest and recovery that ties into other house rules that works for us. I apologize, but I am not really interested in further analyzing how it would work for the typical group.
Nothing to apologise for. We can park that here. I was not by any means saying that your way is wrong :)
 

dave2008

Legend
Here, we both have power-parity between PCs and NPCs, but greatly differing demographic rates; probably inclining us to our (differing) preferences.
Very True!

Nothing to apologise for. We can park that here. I was not by any means saying that your way is wrong :)
I just don't like to not leave a thoughtful response, but my creative/analytical juices are low at the moment.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
As an aside, this PDF is pretty pricey. That's okay, I believe people should be able to make real money writing (as a freelancer and author myself) but the preview does not give the impression of a professional grade product. Can you offer a more comprehensive review of it, or point me to one, before I would spend so much on it?
I think clicking quick preview gives a reasonable glimpse... shows you the contents list and lets you preview a section to get a sense of the style and focus.

[EDIT: it does seem deucedly expensive, though. Or at least, pricey enough to think twice about picking it up on the off-chance. I too would want to see a review to decide on it.]
 

Monayuris

Explorer
As an aside, this PDF is pretty pricey. That's okay, I believe people should be able to make real money writing (as a freelancer and author myself) but the preview does not give the impression of a professional grade product. Can you offer a more comprehensive review of it, or point me to one, before I would spend so much on it?
True, not exactly a cheap pdf.

Personally, my group has just started using it, so I don't have a lot of concrete data on how well it works. So far, they just go for the bragging for extra XP as the most common option (which makes me think it is too good).

I did find a review here:


I agree with the point it makes about the peasant and noble lists, but those are a small part of a 250+ page book. I don't intend to use them, anyway.

The kickstarter page may also have more details here:


The author was providing a manuscript download to backers during the kickstarter, unfortunately it has ended.
 

aquilesopkarg

Villager
I am just beginning the process of building a new sandbox. We won't play in it for some time (I am currently running Avernus) but I want to get a jump start on building all the interesting elements that make sandbox/open world/hexcrawl games fun.

So, as a free roaming thread, let's discuss that style of play -- from theory to concrete examples, advice and tales from the table, and products that are useful in that context.

As a starting point, a long time ago I wrote an ENWorld blog post Called seven Sandbox Essentials, Showbox jiofi.local.html tplinklogin

One thing I want to do differently this time is make sure I bake in lots of things to do during downtime. I want leveling to be slower with options for characters to build things, rather than constantly delving dungeons, killing bandits and hunting monsters.

So -- what's your take on sandbox D&D campaigns?
I just think that having players and their characters discover setting elements simultaneously is much easier that constantly trying to figure out what natives of the starter village might know.
 

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