I'm starting to develop my first sandbox campaign ever, I'll be using 5e to run it and I'll start the game in October, so I'm taking these two months to prep everything.

I'm using Hexographer as my go-to software, however I have several issues on how to develop my Hexcrawl world:

A Little about my Setting

I took two source materials to inspire my world: Nier and Fragile Dreams. Both are post apocalyptic worlds where magic exists, and enemies are mostly incorporeal beings or creatures that represent the "past" of mankind. I took Nier's magic usage, fantasy and varied settings (deserts, plains, coast, mountains) to think of the base world, and then Fragile Dreams for the dungeons (as I plan for my dungeons to be abandoned hotels, malls, hospitals, amusement parks, etc, that now are hosted by goblins, ghosts, drakes, etc).

The only races I'm gonna let my players run are Warforged, Dragonborn, Dwarf and Human.

The world has only a few inhabitants left and traveling is something only a very few brave (or foolish enough) do. My players are just villagers who are stronger than the rest, who will travel to unravel the mystery behind a sickness that makes people disappear, which s related to the past of their world.

Villages are few and far between, there are no big cities, people are mostly very friendly or very paranoid, and they live in structures similar to ours but with more of a "medieval" society build. There are still modern sewer systems, and some minor modern technologies such as basic medical care exist, but communications, traveling and such is "old school".

My Problems

  1. I can't decide the size of the world. It's supposed to take my players from Heroic to Lower Epic Tier.
  2. Being a hostile world, I don't know how many encounters I should throw in per day.
  3. Since there are only about 5 to 6 human settlements that count as "hubs" in that world, the rest being only small housing areas with about 3-4 inhabitants, I don't know how to fill the rest of the hexes.
  4. Besides the dungeon, what else could interest my players and bring them enough action and roleplaying in such a desolate environment?

closed as too broad by SevenSidedDie, Chuck Dee, doppelgreener, wax eagle, Wibbs Jul 12 '14 at 2:01

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Tip: "Any tips for [incredibly broad topic]" is a sign that your question isn't focused enough for a Q&A site. Consider a forum, or do some research so you can ask for specific help with specific problems. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 11 '14 at 21:52

Having written a number of hexcrawls you should go with a hex grid 30 hex columns by 20 hex rows. When you export it with hexographer choose resize and export as png and go with 3 hexes per inch.

The 600 odd hexes will allow you place between 50 to 100 entries. At 5 miles per hex this will create a region large enough to contain the initial adventures. The party is unlikely to wander off the map for the first few session at this size.

I recommend adapting my How to make a Fantasy Sandbox to a post apocalyptic world. While I use standard fantasy tropes the process I outlined will work with any number of genres and sub genres.

Even with that it can be tough coming with ideas after first two dozen or so locales. I recommend secured as many random tables as you can to generate ideas. I recommend the following

The Encounter that can be found in

The nice thing about 5e is that it is close enough to classic editions of D&D that you can use their resources to generate the content you need.

The idea is not to slavishly follow the results of the tables but use them as idea generators to inspire you to create the wealth of detail you desire.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's funny... I just came home and found your article on Google, I come here and you link me to it! I'll check it out \$\endgroup\$ – Aldath Le'Carde Jul 12 '14 at 0:59

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