Suggestions for mashing up Princes of the Apocalypse and West Marches?

I'm going to try something a bit crazy - a mashup of West Marches (WM) and Princes of the Apocalypse (PotA).

Princes of the Apocalypse is a highly reviewed D&D 5e campaign that came out this spring. It takes players from level 1 to 15. There is zero chance I can schedule a traditional campaign of this type - calendaring is just too tough.
West Marches is a campaign style where there are 10-20 players but only 3-5 show up for a given sessions.

I already have ~15 interested players and I'm going to try combining WM and PotA over the coming months. I'd love any thoughts and tips you all have.

Here are some initial things I'm considering:

* There will be some frame story about why all the players are working together and interested in the main quest
* All players will automatically level up together so there's no penalty for missing a few weeks
* We'll be sending session recaps out so that folks can stay updated on campaign progress
* I'll likely create some side game / content for activity happening away from the table - i.e. what characters are up to between sessions or when not present


  • Princes of the Apocalypse had caught my attention recently because the book is just so beautiful. West Marches style playing I had to look up.

    I can imagine kicking this off with a Microscope RPG session that could help flesh out some basic themes and events.
    This could give you the interesting option of going back and forth in the timeline. Thus, players could get to play their characters on different levels (on the timeline) or possibly play different characters (i.e. their former character's ancestor or grand-child).
  • Whoah - that sounds amazing, though super complicated.

    I've been wanting to use Microscope to build a world for an RPG for a while - I bet the 'scenes' could be replaced by adventure sessions.

    Princes has such rich worldbuilding and timeline that I'm going to hold off on using Microscope for this campaign. I think I'll try it out for the next one!
  • OK.
    Well, you could focus each session on a specific question based on the Princess timeline. So, PCs can basically do whatever they want, in a sand-box style, yet the players still have a common question that they should be able to answer in that session.
  • Looks like I'm going to run it a bit more straight forward for now but I'll definitely be experimenting as the campaign progresses.

    My frame story is that the different Factions (Lord's Alliance, Zhentarim, etc) are experimenting with a new cross organizational peace-keeping force to promote prosperity in the backwaters of the Realm. The players all signed on to help with the first rollout of this program. Some will also belong to the Factions.
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