One of the tools I use to encourage a player led game in This is Thracia (my D&D Next Playtest campaign) is the rumour tables.
When a player makes a new Character and then each month of real world time they get a rumour. If they have an appropriate Theme, Skill, Background or good excuse I will give them another.
Each ties into either a location on the game map, something that happened in play or one of the NPC’s in town.
Here are the first twelve Rumours on my table as an example (and a bonus to anyone playing This is Thracia)
|1||Douvan Stahl has found something at the “Dragon Burial Site” Whatever it is it scared away his guards.|
|2||Passara was sleeping with Xavian|
|3||Valthrun the sage will pay good cash for books about The Temple of Elemental Evil. Apparently the Churches want him to do more research for them|
|4||The Clerics at the Church of Hades will pay for heretical relics associated with Death cults (and reward people for wiping out such cults)|
|5||Bugbear brigands in the old dwarven mine east of town are working for spider monsters.|
|6||Cryofang the White has woken from his slumber and has been seeing flying over the black wood.|
|7||Bruno has been acting very strangely since he came back from being missing|
|8||The Ruins of Troy hold many riches but great danger from the unquiet dead|
|9||The Giant Pirate Grethan Greybead is looking for the people that killed his Goblin first mate he is offering a reward.|
|10||Torendil is looking for a potion of stone to flesh to restore his sisters head.|
|11||There was a rash of murders in The City last month|
|12||Frances Gottlestotch (the tavern owner) is missing|
Last week I picked up a copy of The 50 Fathoms explorers edition. It is a pirate themed Sandbox Campaign for Savage Worlds. One of the most interesting parts about it is that like Skyrim it is a completely open world but it has a overarching plot. the Idea being that your players can bump into bits of the meta plot as they explore and choose to pursue it or not.
I also ran Deadlands Hell on Earth last weekend. We played Infestations a dime novel written by Charles Ryan who I used to work and game with before he moved back to America. We used the pdf of the new Reloaded version of the setting.
Ant has started a spinoff campaign based on my Dnd Next Playtest called This is Rome. So now if you want to play and live near either Aldershot or Birmingham you can.