Iron Marches is a ‘sandbox’ style roleplaying campaign, using a heavily house ruled version of Iron Heroes as the rule set.

‘Sandbox’ campaigns differ from more traditional, story based, roleplaying games in that the game has no overarching plot – just a consistent, dangerous environment. Because players can explore anywhere they choose, PCs have to work together and pick their battles — there is nothing stopping them from strolling into areas that will wipe them out. Players are encouraged to pay careful attention to their surroundings and the potential dangers their characters face. If a region beyond the mountains is full of high level monsters, they don’t become less dangerous because a group of 3rd level PCs manage to get over there.

To facilitate this style of play, there are a couple of ‘rules’ which everyone should attempt to follow:

  • Players initiate adventures, schedule games, decide where to go, and organize an adventuring party. Each session can have different players. If you can play once a week, that’s fine; if you can only play once a month, that’s fine too.
  • Gaming sessions should be organized via the Iron Marches Facebook page, since that’s something everyone can see. A normal scheduling thread would be something like “I’d like to play Tuesday. I want to go back and look for that ruined monastery we heard out about in the Dire Forest. I know Mike wants to play, but we could use one or two more. Who’s interested?” Interested players chime in and negotiation ensues. Players may suggest alternate dates, different places to explore (“I’ve been to the monastery and it’s too dangerous. Let’s track down the witch in Pike Hollow instead!”), etc. — it’s a chaotic process, and the details should hopefully sort themselves out.
  • All sessions are subject to DM availability, and players must tell the DM where the party is headed well before the session.
  • The party should try to get back to town before the end of each session, making each game a different sortie into the wilderness. If a party gets stuck, those characters can’t play with another group until they get back to town, unless someone mounts a rescue mission.
  • In order to facilitate the above, all character matters (leveling up, purchasing equipment, etc.) should be handled prior to when the game starts.
  • Sharing information is a critical part of the game. Since there is a large pool of players, the average PC will only be in a limited number of the games. Pooling resources and cooperation will be essential to the PCs’ success. Did you stumble into the barrow mounds and barely escape with your life? Warn other adventurers so they can steer clear. Did you slay wolves on the moors until the snow was red with blood? Brag about it so everyone else knows how tough you are.