West Marches Repository

Venus and Adonis Hunting - By Herman van Swanevelt

Venus and Adonis Hunting - By Herman van Swanevelt

My two campaigns have wrapped up, and I am looking for a way to run both groups together. I want a campaign that helps our schedules mesh, friends meet, and new people join up. Also one in which there could be multiple DMs (subtle nod to my amazing girlfriend and her interest).

I am thinking a West Marches style campaign is the way to go. This allows a rotating cast of characters to work together toward a common goal, and schedules to be... scheduled. For the uninitiated, here are the basic rules

  1. Adventures begin and end in a safe town. Everything else is "the frontier".
  2. It is player driven. They decide what to do. There is no overarching plot, per se.
  3. Parties contain a rotating cast of characters
  4. There is an emphasis on exploration and interaction with a dangerous environment.

There are more subtle rules than this, but this page isn't meant to define the campaign, I just want this to be a repository of links for myself and those who are interested in running it.

Things to read:
West Marches a Grand Experiment by Ben Robbins - The posts that started it all.
Hexcrawl - The Alexandrian - Theory and design for a hexcrawl, if you want to use a hex map.
Open Table Manifesto - The Alexandrian - Theory of an open table vs a dedicated table. A West Marches game moves toward the open table ideal.

Things to Watch:
The West Marches - Running the Game #30 - Matt Colville's explanation and take. 'nuff said. 
Hack Attacks - For the first five episodes Adam Koebel and Steven Lumpkin talk about hacking 5e for a West Marches style game. Awesome notes are in the video descriptions. The videos include a discussion on game theory and what a West Marches game is trying to accomplish.

Random Generation:
Donjon - Random generation tables for just about everything. It can even dump out a hexmap of a world. There are even random generators that follow basic rule sets (e.g. 5e, 4e)

Things to Buy:
Perilous Wilds - Overworld adventuring for Dungeon World, however the region generation rules fit almost any system and look fantastic.
Freebooters on the Frontier - A simple DW based system that uses the West Marches concepts.

Things to do:
Dnd5e doesn't do everything I want, so here are some things I want to work on before the campaign starts. Most of it involves adding structure. However, I want to be careful to not remove freedom from the players...

  1. Create a structured system for wilderness exploration - the DMG and the PHB feel lacking in the rules for overland adventures. I want that to be more formalized like Perilous Wilds or combat in D&D 5e. Think turns. Maybe.
  2. Create formalized downtime activities - How can characters invest in their starting town? What do they do with all the loot they have? What happens between adventures? How can this be used to foster character growth? D&D 5e doesn't really have formal answers to these questions: a couple of tables and lifestyle expenses doesn't really cut it for me.

Anything else?
Do you have an amazing resource for a West Marches games? Let me know and I'll check it out.