So for the first time since the move in early October, I'm going to be running a game for some friends online. While I did want my first game to be face to face, it's still nice to get to GM again. And there is still time open to run a game in real life.
So the game of choice is 5e. While I'd prefer to try and run ACKS, the players are more familiar with 5e. And right now, given their revolving door of GMs and failed games, I think they could use some familiarity to ease their fears that my game will tank after a couple weeks.
So the question now is... what to run?
I have a setting I've been using for a couple of years now. It's based on a fantasy styled Caribbean, inspired by much of the folklore and cultures therein. While I like it and will continue to run games there, I've decided to expand the setting more. Inspired by South America's cultures, folklore, and terrain, I want to do something set there.
The terrain is a big thing for me, because I love exploration. And South America has a great amount of varied, extreme terrain. Huge mountains, large deserts with the largest salt flat, massive rainforests... it's really exciting.
I've also been reading a lot about the different folklores and peoples there, which has been really fun. Great inspiration. It's helped me decide what I want to do for the campaign.
Here are the two ideas I have for it:
1. War has ended, but the continent is in turmoil. Ka Macha, new leader of the great Rational Quencha Empire, has won the civil war and now owns the empire. However, he now has to succeed in holding and repairing the land that is shattered by famine, violence, and hate. The players are currently paid body guards for a nobleman who is being sent to a fort hamlet as an act of reclaiming and repairing it for the Quencha Empire.
This sets the players on a set goal at the beginning, but then opens it up to the sandbox a little later. I prefer easing players into the sandbox because I find that those that aren't used to it do freeze up a bit. After the initial adventure, they can leave the noble's service and do their own thing. Since this is also on the frontier, there is plenty of open wilderness to explore, take over, and own for the players. But for those that aren't interested in wilderness, there is the town and its people that they can interact with.
2. The great Quencha Empire has consolidated its holdings and now seeks to add other tribes and city states into their control. The players are scattered tribes and bands, each driven from their lands into the great and terrible rainforests. In this, the players unite the squabbling tribes into one great kingdom to oppose the mighty empire.
This is a sandbox game with a sort of goal oriented metaplot. While it is a bit more buy in, I feel it's open enough where the players can still do what they want if they decide to take a break from being rulers. Plus, from a personal perspective, it turns the Law = Good Guys Chaos = Bad Guys around some as now, the players are the barbarians and beastmen dealing with adventurers and would-be conquerors driving them from their livelihood.
I'm leaning more towards the first one, though I do like the second one a lot. Tell me what you guys think. Also, for anyone that knows more about South American history, culture, and folklore, I'd love to know more about it for more inspiration.