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LFP Grenzland (Borderland) - An Open Table West Marches-style Game

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JochenL

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  • Title: Grenzland (Borderland) - A West Marches-style Game
  • System: Dungeon Fantasy
  • Setting: Sword and Sorcery (read more: English or German)
  • Story:
    • Base and Mission Campaign with changing players and characters
    • Depending on the mission chosen by the players, the optimal character complement will change
    • Sub-optimal party composition is part of the fun, though
  • Sessions:
    • Once a month up to once every other week
      • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday
      • From 7 pm CET (earliest) till midnight (at most) - about 3 hours in length (optimal)
      • German or English, please indicate your preference
    • On Discord using video chat and theater-of-the-mind
  • GM profile: JochenL
The upcoming Season One is my proof-of-concept. At this time, I want to invite German-speaking players, at least for the first few sessions. After testing and tweaking, I want to open this up to all English-speaking patrons comfortable with gaming in European time zones.

Q&A:
  • What about character creation? You are free to create your character on your own, following the rules. If you don't have the rules (yet), I can provide you a pre-generated character. If you feel uncomfortable creating a character on your own, I will gladly help you. Let's find a date and time so I can guide you through the process.
  • Where can we talk in-character to prepare for our next mission? Please use the associated Borderland - Dancing Cauldron thread for this.
  • How does scheduling a game session actually work? You say when you want to play and what you want to do. When you are at least 3 players (and at max 5), and I am available as a GM, we will have an appointment! So when some else suggests a time and a mission, chime in early to reserve your seat and/or discuss alternative times/missions, so we come to an appointment soon. Please give me at least a week of preparation for that game! That said, I will surely suggest a date and time (but no mission) now and then. Especially to get new players started or to kick things off.
  • When are you available then? I am usually available to GM from Tuesday to Friday, starting at 7 pm CET until midnight. I prefer to keep the length of game sessions to about three hours, give or take half an hour.
  • I am an English-speaking gamer; when can I partake? Create a character, and take part in the in-character discussions immediately! Please give me one or two starting sessions to sort things out. Then I will open up the table to all interested players.
  • I am not exactly European time zone compatible, but interested in your game; is there a chance...? Create a character, and take part in the in-character discussions! You will also be able to follow along with the adventures as they will be made public due to a West Marches-style game's nature. If you can gather a group of like-minded players during a time I can manage, I will try to get a game up for you once in a while.
  • My English is not good enough to game by! I can only offer games in German and English. Please add whether you would prefer an English or German game and whether you can or cannot do it in one of the other languages. That way, players know when to join or not.
Map of the Borderland

 
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Stephan Hornick

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I just read your West Marches description in English and German (which are indeed a little bit different), followed your link of What defines a West Marches Campaign, and followed up by reading all the great articles from Ben Robbins about West Marches. This was a treasure of knowledge!

A long Shadowrun campaign of mine, which I had named Redmond Runners by the way, had many West Marches style elements (although I didn't know about it then). Then again, some "must haves" were different in my games. Some weeks in and I experiencing a strange irritation about what we had created. I tried to get my mind around it, but failed. I couldn't name, what it was and didn't know that I had mixed styles!

West Marches style elements:
I had a big pool of players, many with more than one character, changing groups, many pre-defined areas of gradually increasing danger, stringent history of places, I was interested in every PC, there usually was a rift of level between PCs, in-between summaries, as well as newsflashs and interviews.

Non-West Marches style elements:
But it was mostly designed as an urban setting, I had always adventures and plots planned, I tweaked them for the attending PCs and player preferences, I co-created all PCs, there were many, many NPCs that made a difference, I needed to announce when sessions were going to be played (my players were just incompetent to coordinate themselves).

Social Trouble:
Due to the West Marches style influence without announcing it as such (because I didn't know), we had A LOT of social trouble:
For example, player A didn't want to play with player B, playing styles would vary drastically so that cliques evolved, some players tried to bribe me, some players just felt like they had been left behind, others would frantically beg for another session, some would request "a normal group" instead, and so on,

This is just a warning to keep in mind, like Ben Robbins also pointed out.


So, back to your game, Jochen.
  • Do we introduce our PCs here? I suggest we do.
  • I would also suggest to share information here, but not as Ben Robbins suggests like a metagame, but rather in an in-game fashion, i.e. writing nice texts to which other PCs can react and thus create something like an ingame discussion of people (PCs) in that tavern... What do you think?
  • Further, do you want a tavern for gossip like Ben described?
  • Do you want to define it yourself or do you want one of the players or all of the players to introduce bits and pieces?
  • Also, would you mind to post some pre-game rumors about the areas surrounding the home town? That way, we may soon decide on our first exploration.
  • When we collect the party and set an (outgame) date for the adventure, I guess you can always declare bad weather or other event, that prevents the party from departure, in case you as a GM are not available, right?
 

JochenL

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Stephan Hornick

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Also, would you mind to post some pre-game rumors about the areas surrounding the home town? That way, we may soon decide on our first exploration.
I seem to not have read to the end of your English introduction. There are your first bits of information all right.

At once I would be intrigued to investigate who owns the gold mines at the moment and what lies beyond.
 

JochenL

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Do we introduce our PCs here? I suggest we do.
You are free to do so - and I would like it! I will not require players to intro their characters here. Everyone should be prepared to intro their characters at the start of a session, though.

I would also suggest to share information here, but not as Ben Robbins suggests like a metagame, but rather in an in-game fashion, i.e. writing nice texts to which other PCs can react and thus create something like an ingame discussion of people (PCs) in that tavern... What do you think?
You are definitely welcome to do this in-character here. I will summarize changes on a more meta-game level in a stream and keep the world up to date.
I like the idea of tavern talk!

Further, do you want a tavern for gossip like Ben described?
I could imagine that being a separate thread. This one for planning and coordination (real world and meta). The other one for in-game/in-character talk (and action).

Do you want to define it yourself, or do you want one of the players or all of the players to introduce bits and pieces?
I would prefer that you run your îdeas by me in private to gauge the impact on the game and give feedback before you post it for all to read.

Also, would you mind to post some pre-game rumors about the areas surrounding the home town? That way, we may soon decide on our first exploration.
I already prepared stuff that I will post soon, and I expand on it while we speak.

When we collect the party and set an (outgame) date for the adventure, I guess you can always declare bad weather or other event, that prevents the party from departure, in case you as a GM are not available, right?
Sure. What are you aiming for? Keeping the in-game thread plausible? I have the feeling I missed something when reading your question.
 

Stephan Hornick

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I could imagine that being a separate thread. This one for planning and coordination (real world and meta). The other one for in-game/in-character talk (and action).
Yeah, I figured. Please create it. I would also suggest to write the intros there.


I would prefer that you run your îdeas by me in private to gauge the impact on the game and give feedback before you post it for all to read.
(y)


Sure. What are you aiming for? Keeping the in-game thread plausible? I have the feeling I missed something when reading your question.
Exactly. Just a way for you to say, no I can‘t at that day and ingame reasons why specific groups did plan to go, but then couldn‘t after all. Besides, it seems like a nice additional tool for you to introduce seeds. Weather maybe standard, but an averted goblin attack on the city, a localized earthquake and resulting accident at the gates, the closing of the city gates due to the suspicion of a plague brought to the city by a traveller, etc. may be nice new story seeds thd PCs may pick up to investigate. Only important factor: it has to come from outside.
 

JochenL

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I like that kind of constructive "criticism" - I'll gladly incorporate this into the game!
 

JochenL

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I extended the Q&A part above to answer some more questions.

  • How does scheduling a game session actually work? You say when you want to play and what you want to do. When you are at least 3 players (and at max 5), and I am available as a GM, we will have an appointment! So when some else suggests a time and a mission, chime in early to reserve your seat and/or discuss alternative times/missions, so we come to an appointment soon. Please give me at least a week of preparation for that game! That said, I will surely suggest a date and time (but no mission) now and then. Especially to get new players started or to kick things off.
  • When are you available then? I am usually available to GM from Tuesday to Friday, starting at 7 pm CET until midnight. I prefer to keep the length of game sessions to about three hours, give or take half an hour.
  • I am an English-speaking gamer; when can I partake? Create a character, and take part in the in-character discussions immediately! Please give me one or two starting sessions to sort things out. Then I will open up the table to all interested players.
  • I am not exactly European time zone compatible, but interested in your game; is there a chance...? Create a character, and take part in the in-character discussions! You will also be able to follow along with the adventures as they will be made public due to a West Marches-style game's nature. If you can gather a group of like-minded players during a time I can manage, I will try to get a game up for you once in a while.
 

JochenL

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And another one:

My English is not good enough to game by! I can only offer games in German and English. Please add whether you would prefer an English or German game and whether you can or cannot do it in one of the other languages. That way, players know when to join or not.
 

JochenL

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I added a map of the region to the top post.
 

Stephan Hornick

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Thank you! You even added more to the latter link! I'm really looking forward to it.
 

JochenL

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I have been asked about a "Session 0" - Character Creation + Q&A.

What about next Thursday, April 8 starting at 7 pm CET (i.e. UTC+2 as we started daylight savings time last weekend)?
 

Rardian

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Hi guys, I'm going to play a "cat folk" character but I don't like it that they see themselves as cat-boys and -girls. Thus, I'd like to give that race some lore. Is anyone else thinking or decided about playing a cat folk char, and want to help me come up with something? Just hit me up via DM and we can figure something out. Would that be okay for you, @JochenL? And you have more you want for them already besides roaming the "Golden South"? (I would just drag you into any upcoming conversation if you're fine with that.)
 
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Stephan Hornick

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Will you just come fron the south or have you been in the borderland longer? Or have you joined some kind of travelling group?
 

Rardian

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I have a backstory at hand, and it will include my recent arrival in the borderlands with one of the frequent tobacco caravans run by cat folk. Are you aiming at anything specific, Stephan?
 
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