I recently, finally, started to play 2010's Fallout New Vegas. I bought it on sale, but had never gotten around to it due to thinking it was some kind of mere add on to Fallout 3. Nope. Obsidian studios were told by their overlords to pump something out and they really did a good job.
Okay, so the thing that is inspiring me as an elfgamer is the way missions are set up. Basically, it is a sandbox world. You can go anywhere, but some areas are just plain dangerous, so you have to listen to the NPCs to see which routes are relatively safe.
NPCs will give you missions. They are all optional. Your actions can prematurely end them if you don't think carefully and kill the wrong people or something. The NPCs also usually give you an idea of where to go. Most of them even mark a place on the map you could check out.
I'm thinking this kind of approach could be particularly useful on Carcosa. My players have--thanks to risky psychedelics-- managed to glean the workings of a few rituals, but they are still a little rudderless. I do appreciate the few rituals that mention geographic locations though. I've been thinking about ways to give them more quests.
In the most recent sessions, they inadvertently created a horn-mutation on a lobotomite's forehead. The horn gained psionics and sentience and soon set itself up as a god-king amongst the locals. Now its followers are asking the party to fetch them some pink stones so they can strap them to their heads and look more like God-emperor Horny. Meanwhile, the "true" king of these locals is trying to get the PCs on its side.
What I need to do soon is to have a small camp be encountered the next time the PCs are out exploring. The camp will have a sorcerer looking for a few humans for sacrifice purposes. The PCs will probably suss this out as evil and work to kill the sorcerer, or maybe they'll get down with evil. It's their choice; we have X-cards and social contracts to protect us. You can choose to do an evil run in New Vegas. It changes the outcome of the game, and makes people's opinions of you start to sour.
Speaking of opinions, you can usually use your words to steer conversations to peaceful outcomes in FONV, or insert expert observations thanks to your skills. I like that. Unlike a game with a reload system, there is no reason to keep the dice out of the equation though.
Freedom. Consequences. Many little things to do everywhere on the map. I do recommend New Vegas style sand-boxing.
Here's further inspiration:
Share good posts with good goblins. Claytonian at the gmails.