The Borderland Provinces “campaign” is designed for characters who like to travel across wide regions, and Game Masters who like to run such “sandbox” campaigns. There are upsides and downsides to running a sandbox campaign rather than one where the characters are presented with a series of clear objectives, all of them roughly designed for the character’s current level of experience. A sandbox campaign like the Borderland Provinces requires that the players are able to identify objectives for themselves, or else they may become paralyzed with indecision, looking for the “right” place to go. So, on the Game Master’s side of the GM screen, it’s very important that the characters are presented with lots of choices wherever they go. This - as any experienced Game Master will immediately note - makes a lot of work for the Game Master. How do you generate those choices? Do you need to prepare five or six different adventures for each time the characters enter a tavern and start asking questions?
This book is a resource for generating journeys, but in doing so it allows you to fill the world with a realistic jumble of objectives, possibilities, opportunities, and motivations for the characters, keeping them from asking, “Well, what are we supposed to do?” It might take them a bit of practice to switch into the “sandbox” mentality, but soon they will be asking, “Which opportunity do we want to take?” And that brings us to the reason for this book, because at that point they’re going to need lots of options, and it’s your job to produce those options.
So we get to the well-known fact about running a sandbox campaign. It’s not necessarily more work for the Game Master, but it requires much more improvisation and thinking on your feet than a programmed adventure path does. It’s a method used more by experienced Game Masters for this reason, and there are actually some groups of players who feel like it’s too unfocused. However, for those who like the feeling of forging their own destinies in a living world, the sandbox style of play in unparalleled. The Lost Lands: Borderland Provinces is designed for that difficult but highly-rewarding type of Game Mastery, and this book is a tool for handling the “journeying” part of a sandbox.