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D&D General what's your favorite starting town?

Mannahnin

Adventurer
Really, you can run a whole campaign in a big city.
Sure can.

Though it can be nice to contrast it, too. The 5E game I've been running is set principally in a great, ancient grey city full of stone tower blocks and weird baroque nobles and goings-on. The starting PCs were all younger scions. But their first initiatory quest into full adulthood took them into the Feywild, which IMC is more like a traditional D&D fairy tale world, albeit with humans few and their villages scattered. Most of the campaign has been split between this two highly contrasting settings, via a gate the nobles have access to.

BTW, I want to express my compliments on your choice of handle and avatar. That cover art is the same as the copy of the book I've had since I was a kid, and man was I affected by that story. So good.
 

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The Shackled City Adventure Path is set almost entirely in the city of Cauldron and the surrounding jungle. I loved that setting as a GM and player.

I'm currently running a small campaign set in Falcon's Hollow, a small town on the frontier that specializes in the lumber trade.

Even when I use an established setting I tend to file off the parts I don't like and slowly turn it into my own.
 

Really, you can run a whole campaign in a big city.
I think Waterdeep and Undermountain are great for the amount of detail they have gotten over the years. Not only in supplements and adventures (even in Dungeon Magazine) but in novels too. Of course alot of it has been rehashed from edition to edition but there really is enough to keep a gaming group adventuring there for decades where the DM has so much to work with. I can't think of another city that has gotten that amount of detail in D&D. IIRC, Waterdeep was the very first Ed Greenwood ran.
 


I'm currently running a small campaign set in Falcon's Hollow, a small town on the frontier that specializes in the lumber trade.
Was that in a Pathfinder adventure or supplement? I ran a short campaign there maybe 10-15 years ago that was a lot of fun. I font remember much about it but remember it being a nice place to start a campaign. Think I was looking for something small to start with and came across Falcons Hallow. Ah yeah it was in the Darkmoon Vale if I'm not mistaken?
 

Great thread.

I don't want to quibble, but I think there's a distinction between a starter town and a starter campaign.

For example, I'm about to wrap up Dragon of Icespire Peak, from the Essentials Kit, which is set in Phandalin. I really like that campaign and would gladly play it again. But I don't like Phandalin. I think it's unremarkable, without any distinctive features, characters, or conflicts. If I were to play Dragon of Icespire Peak again, I'd set it in Fallcrest, from the 4E DMG. Something about the map of that town just fires up my imagination. It's got all sorts of interesting landmarks, implied history, and obvious adventuring locations.

Anyway, I'd agree with many of the above posters that great starting towns include:
  • Sandpoint
  • Cauldron
  • Daggerford
  • Waterdeep
Paizo is notably successful at making great starter towns.

I'd also like to give Ptolus an honorable mention as a very gameable big city, although I think it needs a stronger starter adventure.
 
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Rhenny

Adventurer
My all time favorite city to base adventures from is Sanctuary, a city from The Thieves’ World compilation of short stories. Many years ago, I think it was D&D 2nd edition, I picked up a box set (probably a third party publishing co) and I read two of the books edited and compiled by Robert Lynn Asprin. Then I ran a gritty campaign where most NPCs and PCs were neutrally aligned, more shades of gray. The city and stories are great for moral ambiguity and self-serving characters. We had a blast.

I also liked running and playing adventures out of Phandalin. Smaller villages like that are much easier to get a handle on and grow outwards. WotC did a nice job with the Lost Mines of Phandelver.
 
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Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
My last campaign. PCs are all siblings of a baron who owns a fortified city very similar to Carcassone (France) and the surrounding lands. I often use real life places and fortifications. At first the adventures were mostly outside the city. At level 7 they started involving political plots and secret underground invasion of the city. Soon the city will be the focus of a border war.
 

The Keep on the Borderlands is pretty good for a starting base for the players. It does require more detailing of NPCs by the DM, but IIRC the "Return" version is more detailed.
 

Was that in a Pathfinder adventure or supplement? I ran a short campaign there maybe 10-15 years ago that was a lot of fun. I font remember much about it but remember it being a nice place to start a campaign. Think I was looking for something small to start with and came across Falcons Hallow. Ah yeah it was in the Darkmoon Vale if I'm not mistaken?

Falcon's Hollow is in Darkmoon Vale and is a host of a few Paizo adventures. I think Paizo even put out a setting book for Darkmoon Vale but, I haven't read it. Falcon's Hollow is the setting for Hollow's Last Hope, Crown of the Kobold King, Revenge of the Kobold King, Hungry are the Dead, and Carnival of Tears. Though you can easily take any of the other forest centric adventures and have them occur near Falcon's Hollow. It's what I did!
 

Falcon's Hollow is in Darkmoon Vale and is a host of a few Paizo adventures. I think Paizo even put out a setting book for Darkmoon Vale but, I haven't read it. Falcon's Hollow is the setting for Hollow's Last Hope, Crown of the Kobold King, Revenge of the Kobold King, Hungry are the Dead, and Carnival of Tears. Though you can easily take any of the other forest centric adventures and have them occur near Falcon's Hollow. It's what I did!
All those adventures ring a bell. Think I cannibalized them for my own campaign as well.
 


not-so-newguy

Explorer
My all time favorite city to base adventures from is Sanctuary, a city from The Thieves’ World compilation of short stories. Many years ago, I think it was D&D 2nd edition, I picked up a box set (probably a third party publishing co) and I read two of the books edited and compiled by Robert Lynn Asprin. Then I ran a gritty campaign where most NPCs and PCs were neutrally aligned, more shades of gray. The city and stories are great for moral ambiguity and self-serving characters. We had a blast.

I also liked running and playing adventures out of Phandalin. Smaller villages like that are much easier to get a handle on and grow outwards. WotC did a nice job with the Lost Mines of Phandelver.
Your post inspired me to start rereading First Blood 😁
 

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