Yesterday, while falling asleep, I suddenly had an idea for a grand sand-boxy adventure module for role-playing. Now I'd like a few opinions on the idea, and possibly some suggestions for where I could go to develop it further (forums or something where I could sound board the concept a bit more, etc.,).
Imagine having a module based not so much on a specific story but on a relatively small setting, say the Valley of Sannomme, which has been snowed in by unseasonable and early snows. The core of the module is a detailed map with travel times (possibly even hex-gridded) and a detailed adventure calendar with time-triggered events (the heavy snows, the false spring, the rumbling of the Great Ice, the wintery earth quake, the raiding of the hungry goblins, the first village runs out of food, the baron steals the peasants food, etc.) and a weather forecast per-day for the whole module.
The premise, let's say, is that Father Frost has been slain by the Ice Queen, gripping the lands in an ever-deepening winter. The module starts out with the players assuming it's a simple dungeon delve, or something, at the start of winter, but then the winter starts to bite harder and harder and everyone begins to realise that something is wrong. Then the module becomes a race against time to stop the Ice Queen and bring spring back to the Valley before everyone literally starves and freezes to death.
Every time the players travel from one location to another, the ticker progresses. Every time they rest, time goes forward. The longer the winter lasts, the worse the terrain gets. The longer the winter lasts the more ridiculous prices for food get and the more abandoned villages they find. The module thus becomes something of an endless winter simulator, with NPCs dying off as things get worse and worse, and the only thing the DM needs to do to keep changing the world is marking off the days.
Probably a good idea would then be to have several different maps - one for the start of winter, when the Solmont pass is snowed over, blocking access to the rest of the Kingdom of Majeane to the south, then another for the first heavy snows, then one for the harsh freezing wasteland ...
Has this kind of stuff been done before? I just don't know. :S