11: Choose Plots (use Custom or Commercial modules as needed)
I had went through a large selection of modules, both home brew and existing commercial products, and found some that would fit the continent, and more importantly the levels of the players. Since we were starting with Level 1 characters, I leaned towards a few that would be considered campaign scenarios in their own right, i.e., covering a range of levels from 1 through 5 and 3 though 7. I also chose a few so called One Offs, being short enough to get the players feet wet if they chose that specific route as they explored the world. A few notables are listed here:
Castle Zagyg (City of Yggsburgh)
Witch-fire Trilogy (City of Corvis)
If your interested in short adventures to be included in your own sand box style game, I'd recommend searching various AD&D websites for adventures created and posted to the files/downloads section. There is a literal plethora of great adventures waiting to be used, and or added into any campaign. I've a folder on an external hard drive filled with such items - and they always serve as inspiration when needed.
12: Create a series of Adventure Hooks
Since the campaign would be starting at Troyen, the home of the Bloated Blowfish, I needed to devise a series of plots that would stand as possible paths to give the players a range of things to do. These were set up not as "must occur" events, but rather would stand if the party couldn't decide on a course of action.
Using a few of the module ideas I listed above in step 11, I started fleshing out where each module would be located, and fitting all the pieces together. I decided to focus on 12 initial adventure hooks and the breakdown was as follows:
6 Wanted Poster
2 Help Wanted Signs
3 NPC Interactions
The Note would be given to one of the players as part of his background story, while the 3 NPC interactions would be spread out through the small town of Troyen and at the Bloated Blowfish. One of the Help Wanted signs was the traditional Guard the Caravan, while another was of the "Find My Missing Child" variety. The Wanted signs varied from "Dead or Alive" to "Reward for Capture". The posters and signs were displayed on a literal "Work Board" that was set up in the corner of the gaming room prior to the session beginning.
During our session, and over the course of an hour or so, the players ambled over to the board, looking at items and then conferring with each other. Each player had a vote, and after some very interesting discussions, they decided the caravan would be the best way to start. So the journey began, first stopping off at Corvis, and eventually arriving to Jo'sRun.