So, here is my latest scheme to kick off a campaign with my boys. It will be centered around the Swords & Wizardry module Grimmsgate and have sandbox elements.
The background will be that 1000 years ago, the combined forces of humans, elves and dwarves defeated the Dark Lord™ and his minions. In the process, however, the kingdoms were shattered, barbarians invaded, chaos reigned and the world fell into a Dark Age™. The world pulling itself out darkness but, unbeknownst to most, new threats have appeared and chaos is once again encroaching upon the newly re-civilized lands.
One who can see the new darkness is the mysterious wizard Eduran. He will ask the characters to meet him at Grimmhold, the village near Grimmhold Keep. Grimmhold Keep is the base of Lord Wulfric Grimmson, whose barony is the closest to Grimmsgate. Eduran will tell the players he wants to speak with them for two reasons. The first is that one of them has inherited a house in Grimmsgate from a previously unknown great uncle. His second reason will be the encroaching darkness as explained in the beginning of the module. This will be writ large however. He will ask the characters to act as his agents and to fight the darkness and push it back. The kings and rulers of the land are blind to the threats so until he can convince them otherwise he needs to work through freelancers, mercenaries and adventurers. If the characters are successful they can then use a reviving Grimmsgate as a base of operations for other adventures I will plug into the surrounding area. Eduran will also say he will send along other adventurers in a few days to supplement the party (as there will only be two players.) He will send one of his apprentices to assist them also. It will turn out, though, that this apprentice is an agent of chaos and will at some dramatically appropriate point betray the party. This will be further down the line though.
So, that's my idea. Once again riddled with cliches.
The first decision I need to make is which version of Swords & Wizardry to use. Unfortunately, I think S&W White Box is out. My players will want more choices, particularly for classes. So that leaves S&W Core or S&W Complete. However, I've really been grooving on the The Heroes Journey Fantasy Roleplaying by +James Spahn and would like to use that. I'm going to do a mini-review of it soon but succinctly put it is a greatly modified version of S&W White Box intended for, well, heroic role-playing à la The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. The drawback to The Heroes Journey in this context is that I would have to do some conversion work. And frankly I'm lazy.
So, any feedback on the setting idea or on which system to run would be appreciated.