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General What's your favorite starter sandbox region?

Mercurius

Legend
I don't mean entire world, but a relatively self-contained region that's purpose is to be the starter region for a new campaign. Ideally it would involve numerous adventuring opportunities that wouldn't run out after a few levels, have countless locations to explore, interacting factions, at least a settlement or two, etc. You know, the type of region that you spend the first 5-10 levels in, and then either shift to the Underdark (or equivalent), the larger world, the planes, etc. Nentir Vale is a good example, or the Dale Lands in FR.

What is your favorite and why? Feel free to post maps and links, if it is not well-known product or if you have a wiki of your own.
 

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David Howery

Adventurer
agree with City of Greyhawk. It is surrounded by a lot of interesting stuff. The last time I used it as a campaign setting, I ended up moving a few other WoG modules to be near it...
 

Tyler Do'Urden

Soap Maker
Lendore Isles Series (Secret of Bone Hill, The Assassin's Knot, etc.)

You've got towns and villages, tribes of restless humanoids, thieves guilds, a castle full of low-level NOPE... between Lendore Isles, Village of Hommlet and Keep on the Borderlands, Lendore is by far my favorite low-level sandbox.
 



Shadowdale. From there you can spread out to the various other Dales, the Forest of Cormanthor & Myth Drannor, the Moonsea or even Cormyr. The area has a built in antagonist, the Zhentarim and theres lots of setting information out there for each.

Waterdeep, Undermountain & Skullport is also great too. Again lots of source material available.
 



THEMNGMNT

Adventurer
Having started two 5E campaigns in Phandalin, I can conclusively state for myself that I don't like Phandalin. That's not to say I don't like the Starter Set or Essentials Kit adventures. I like them a lot! But Phandalin itself is dull as dishwater to me. I think every starter town needs some sort of defining feature or quality and I just don't see that with Phandalin. So, next time I kick off a new game with D&D noobs, I'll be swapping out Phandalin for 4E's Fallcrest. Fallcrest has a lovely, evocative map that's a delight to look at and fill with adventure hooks. So I think Fallcrest + Starter Set + Essentials Kit would make for a strong starter sandbox.

I'd also vote for the ruins of Neverwinter from 4E -- a great combination of dungeon crawl and urban adventure that is highly customizable.

And looking at Rime of the Frost Maiden, it also seems to be a very strong starter sandbox.
 

THEMNGMNT

Adventurer
I always like the Daggerford region of FR since the Under Illefarn days. The remake, Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle used a lot of the old stuff but was fine and I would still like to see updated to real 5e over the playtest.
I like Daggerford a lot, too, and I've got extensive notes on how to mash up Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle with Scourge of the Sword Coast, both from D&D Next. Together, they'd make a great starter sandbox.
 


Orius

Adventurer
I prefer homebrew stuff myself, I tend to find working with published material harder. I've used Haranshire from Night Below, but it's not a great starting point; the whole area is out in the boonies, is somewhat limited from its tiny population and is at least twice as large as it really needs to be.

First Place: The City of Greyhawk.

What did you think I was going to say?

Second place is Ratik.

Third place? You're fired.

No room for Hommlet?
 

Mercurius

Legend
Shadowdale. From there you can spread out to the various other Dales, the Forest of Cormanthor & Myth Drannor, the Moonsea or even Cormyr. The area has a built in antagonist, the Zhentarim and theres lots of setting information out there for each.

Underrated, imo. Shadowdale and the Dalelands don't get a ton of love because it is quintessential Realms and thus attracts a certain amount of grognard hate and young 'un indifference. But you really get a lot within the extended region you describe - plus Anauroch not far off.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Having started two 5E campaigns in Phandalin, I can conclusively state for myself that I don't like Phandalin. That's not to say I don't like the Starter Set or Essentials Kit adventures. I like them a lot! But Phandalin itself is dull as dishwater to me. I think every starter town needs some sort of defining feature or quality and I just don't see that with Phandalin. So, next time I kick off a new game with D&D noobs, I'll be swapping out Phandalin for 4E's Fallcrest. Fallcrest has a lovely, evocative map that's a delight to look at and fill with adventure hooks. So I think Fallcrest + Starter Set + Essentials Kit would make for a strong starter sandbox.
t Maiden, it also seems to be a very strong starter sandbox.

I agree with this. Phandalin has a nice setup on paper, but just lacks...soul, I guess.
 


Bitbrain

Black Lives Matter
Not sure if it was intended to be a starting area or not, but my old DM always seemed to start off his Golarion games in this one city ruled by this absolute £¥@$# of a queen.

By all the gods of Pathfinder RPG, I hated that place.

EDIT
Just checked online. The city was Korvosa, the queen was Ileosa.
 
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