I've been working on a sandbox setting that would be a AD&D/OD&D hybrid. I was inspired by Judges Guild's Wilderlands, Robert Conley's Point of Light setting, Badger's excellent "The Wilderness Architect" article, and the wilderness setting from the Cook/Marsh D&D Expert Set.
The region was once known as the Archmagery of Tregarth and was ruled by a family of Wizards who exerted their power over the region from the imposing Dragonscar Castle (which is sort of my Castle Grayskull meets Castle Amber meets Greyhawk Castle). The political authority has largely collapsed in the region--leaving several villages and the town of Rivermead to fend for themselves. These areas of habitation are relatively safe, but outside the villages the region is rife with raiders, monsters, and wild animals.
To the north is a the Black Eagle Barony (from the Cook/Marsh Expert set) and to the south are the frayed borders of the decadent and ancient Maurelian Empire.
The PCs will start in the village of Tarvan--I'm thinking I'd like them to maybe even be from the village.
Here's the map:
Purple is mountains, Primrose is hills, dark blue is water, aqua blue is marshland, dark green is forest, light green is plains, and yellow is arid plains.
Here are some locations of note on the map:
The Caverns of Everlasting Darkness: An underground stronghold that is a locus for chaotic humanoids (basically my local version of the Caves of Chaos). And, of course, there's a nasty Minotaur lurking in there.
The Ghostwood: A haunted forest plagued by the spirits of a dead elven kingdom.
Temple of the Nameless One: A temple to one of the forbidden Chaos Gods whose noxious influence brings madness and death (think horrible Lovecraftian deity). The temple was destroyed long ago when the Maurelian Empire more firmly controlled the region. There have been rumours that the Temple has been reoccupied, but even the Goblins in the region fear to come to close to its ruined walls.
Port Ren: A city that thrives as a haven for pirates and slavers. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and well you know the rest. . .
Barrow Fields: A vast arid plain set with burial mounds of an ancient horseriding warrior people. This culture occupied the region long before the Maurelians entered the region.
The Old Keep: My starter dungeon with lots of skeletons and such (ruled by a cursed Skeleton King!)
The Black Eagle Barony: I was never particularly enthralled with the Baron himself but the name is good. I was thinking a Baroness with various distinctive henchmen would rule the Barony. She's not an intended as an explicit "villain"--she's just self interested and wants what she wants. She'd like to get more control over the Valley of Tregarth and is seeking the undermine the Sheriff of Rivermead.
The Sheriff of Rivermead is appointed by the town council of Rivermead and is charged with maintaining law and order in the the villages of Rivermead, Tallow, and Tarvan. The reality is that the Sheriff is a good man, but he is surrounded by corruption and lawlessness.
The Tower of Wailing Stars: A mysterious tower that seems to phase in and out reality. I'm thinking this is a slightly higher level location involving extraplanar baddies (Githyanki anyone. . .). Its current situation is the result of a magical experiment gone wrong.
The Forbidden City of Shahara: A large ruins site located on an island. Not sure what's going on here yet. Any thoughts?
Fort Uzar: A Maurelian outpost occupied by hardbitten troops who might not be to friendly toward wandering adventurers as the region is rife with bandits.
The Sea of Dreams: was once a thriving ancient kingdom but it was wiped out in some sort of cataclysm (doesn't every fantasy setting have to have a cataclysm). However the psychic echoes of this kingdom still plague those who sail the sea--giving them strange dreams of lands long dead.
Votus Marsh: The Lizardmen here are aggressive and hate outsiders who stumble into their domain. They ride giant swamp beasts and hunt down all hapless folks who wander into their marshland home.
Faringdale: A Halfling community overseen by an elected ruler known as the Autarch. The community is highly suspicious of outsiders and "big folk." Their soldiers are well trained and organized. Faringdale has suffered numerous incursion attempts by the Orc Tribes to the south. So far the Autarch's men have been able to fend them off.