The Game Master's Handbook
What's in it?: The Handbook is designed to make running the game as stress-free as possible, with immense details to help the GM answer all manner of questions. Here's a list:
A full, extensive set of lore and history with detailed maps of the realms and world.
100+ pre-made, immersive side-quests that can change how the world works and the game plays, with each side-quest having major or minor results if failed or succeeded.
14 cities, 12 towns, and 13 villages, each with their own maps and information.
30+ different and exciting points of interest in the world with their own maps and lore.
A campaign story-line with its own maps and possibilities for alternate endings.
10+ new armors, 10+ new weapons, 10+ new magic items, 50+ new trinkets and 20+ new, world relevant monsters.
A revised alignment system that evolves roleplay and gameplay.
And much more!
How vast is the world-building?: The Handbook has an entire section on the world history and current wars, as well as a timeline with notable events. In play-testing, we've found that you can spend much of a campaign in just one Realm, due to how large the world is. There's information on all of the nations with detailed descriptions like how they would act politically; what their soldiers look like and how well they fight; and the structure of their political system.
How do you run a game without a primary quest?: The book has tips and systems set in place to help you build a story around what your players do. Give them the world map and start them in an area of your choice with a narrative hook of your choosing, starting them there with a quest and building it as they play. Read information from the setting as your players encounter it, but this also requires a bit of improvisational skill. There's also plenty of side-quests, which you can introduce to your players as they adventure the world, and you can easily start them off on one of these quests.
Top the left is an example of the NPC stat blocks. For many of the characters in the game, they’ll have these stat blocks, as well as an expanded description and set of stats at the back of the book. Monster stat blocks are red. Items/loot also use similar stat blocks, but they are either blue or yellow.
Is there a main quest?: There is a main quest line, which isn't the aim of the sandbox module but is included anyhow. It follows the players on an adventure to prevent a secretive, rising Empire from reviving a deceased god, who in the past has used creatures of sinister creation to wreak havoc on the world. The quest is less detailed than what you would expect from a traditional module, however, it is extensive, and also has a lot of its own information for characters and places.
What new systems are there?: One of the more important systems is the Time system, where some quests have 'time restrictions' that the GM doesn't tell the players about, and consequences if the quest/s aren't fulfilled after the end of their time. There's also a roll-table at the start of the module which you can use to define major events. Each idea on the table has an extensive description of how it affects the world.
Maybe the players decided not to take on the quest to save the Princess from the Witch, and now the King has gone to war with all magical beings, changing how you play the game forever, and keeping things new and fresh in the world.
As well as these systems that affect the general world, there are also systems for purchasing homes, land, and even building your own nation or guild.
Is there maps and art?: Plenty of it! A map for each of the realms, cities, towns, and villages, as well as a map that expresses the areas that each of the nation's control. And there's plenty of artwork of the world and characters to aid the Game Master with inspiration and cool things to look at.