West Marches Style

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catalyst's picture
West Marches Style

I'm getting involved in running my first West Marches style game, and I've been trying to soak up as much information and advice as possible in preparation. Have any of you ever run/played in such a campaign? If so, what advice do you have? I'm also going to be using Fantasy Grounds and Discord to run this game online. I'm familiar with both platforms, but if anyone has any advice on specific ways to leverage them for this style of game, I'd love to hear it. It also seems like setting up a campaign Wiki would be a good idea, but I might let the players think that up on their own :)

The rules I've set so far for my campaign are:
1. Players can suggest or join sessions on an at-will basis. There is no assumed set party – characters can adventure in many different groups. Wednesday night is the assumed game time for this campaign, but players may choose to arrange adventures at other times, if the DM is available.
2. Each session is presumed to be self-contained. Players venture into the wild, find or are found by adventure, and return home each session.
3. New characters start at level 1. Characters keep whatever gold and XP they earn from session to session, and characters may group with other characters of any level.
4. Every character starts each session in the village of Rohalvic. If characters have not returned home by the end of the session, they automatically return after play has ended.
5. Players are penalized a cost of 1GP/Lvl per mile they must travel back home after the end of a session.
6. The world persists beyond each session. If players have made a change in one session, other players will see that change if they follow the same path in a later session.
7. Rohalvic is, for whatever reason, safe. Adventure is found beyond civilization's edge. Characters can rest here between sessions and come to no harm. Likewise, there is nothing of interest for you back in the Southern Lands. Adventure is found in the wilds beyond.
8. Each player selects a quest for their character. When you have completed a milestone towards your major quest, you will gain XP equal to an easy encounter. When you have completed your quest, you will earn XP equal to a hard encounter, and may write a new quest for your character. This XP is awarded directly to your character and not shared with others in your party.

Talanall's picture

@Cronono has some experience with it.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono's picture

I like West Marches games, but you can run afoul of a couple of issues if players aren't prepared for it. What edition are you using?

catalyst's picture

5e is my edition of choice these days