Looking for thoughts on running a C&S open table


I’m not the most experienced RPG player. Just two months in, I run short encounters (C&S heavy mechanics) for third graders and a bi-weekly ICRPG game for fifth and sixth grade kids. I also just started playing at an open table, with adults, at my local shop. Before all this, I played some 3.5e in high school.

The open table idea has really resonated with me. I’ve nerd-dived into C&S mechanics but haven’t spent a lot of time on the world. I’ll bet most of my doubts will be addressed there.

Anyhow, in open tables players come and go, characters die a lot, and there isn’t a set story line. When I read C&S, sometimes I get the feeling that it is a great setting for the format.

Just my 2 cents. Wondering if others have thought of this too. Hoping to get some pointers or things to look out for.


For something like Open Table gaming I think for the most part any setting is just as good as any other setting, unless you are trying to construct a long form narrative from one game to the next then open table becomes difficult because there is never any consistency.

That said it has been awhile since I’ve ran an open table sort of game. But from what my dusty brain can bring out of the archives I think the only part of Crown and Skull that will need a bit tweaking to support open table will be the way players are rewarded.

When I did Open Table in the past there was always gold, loot, and experience that players were there for. All of that is combined in to the concept of Hero Points in C&S so there will need to be some allowance in how players are spending their hero points and when/how they are awarded.


More on this part, It’s basically West Marches. Since Hero Points make up everything in this game, a discussion must be had about loot that players will find being minimal but more important and that adventures should be shorter and more One Shot oriented. The shorter adventures will yield smaller rewards like 2 HP, but they still are considered Deeds.

  • Everyone will be part of the same hometown for simplicity’s sake
  • Everyone should have a backup character
  • Longer/ further adventures may require a PC to be dedicated beyond 1 session (hence the back up)
  • HP will be rewarded at 2 HP for a normal 1-session mission and higher if the mission is more dangerous and could potentially take longer

This will just require the Gamemaster to develop several adventures in the area (closer = easier, far = more dangerous but more rewarding). Players will be required to comeback to Hometown to spend and get training.

Keeping track of time and events is a must, so use a calendar.


I think C&S is perfect for a West Marches style campaign. I realised this while reading it for the first time. Things like the Hex Roll mechanics lend themselves to this style of play, so I started developing a setting straight away to give it a try.

I have quite a few players waiting to join my Foundry VTT game, but I’ve had to disappoint several of them simply to keep the party at a manageable size. With an open table/west marches game, I can invite them all!

I’m not sure how it will all work out, but I’m gonna give it a try and I’ll let you know what issues I encounter.



Thanks for the thoughts!

I hadn’t thought of hero points as rolling up XP, gold and loot. But it does. Having that conversation would be valuable. Then working with players to devise and test tweaks could be fantastic. Not only are we co-creating the world, we are creating the rules it operates on.

Hadn’t thought of the timeline either. Could be a mess, especially if there were two parties running in the same world. I saw somewhere that Gygax advised that, when a game is not in session, time in-world should run at the same rate as time outside the world.

Those are two good head scratchers. :grinning:


To simplify timekeeping, you can make every expedition adventure session take 1 week in game (Go there, do the thing, and come back to base, prepare for next expedition).

You can use DonJon to make a fantasy calendar or just use the standard calendar we use for simplicity sake. If you have different GMs running different adventures, agree to update the calendars accordingly. Then, compare notes and update what has happened and what’s available now. This will also give you an idea on what NPCs or Villains may be doing during that time. If a threat is ignored for 2 or 3 weeks, it obviously becomes worse…


Oh my! That got even more complicated. I’d just envisioned one GM. But two? :sunglasses:
Now that’s an ambitious endeavor. May just have to aim at it. LOL

Oh, and thanks for pointing me to DoJon. Very cool.


I am very interested in doing this very thing. I’d love to see what other folks do! I will share my work once I get off my butt.