So I'm sort of obsessed with the idea of Tower Girls. The game itself is fetishized to a cringey degree, but the idea behind it is interesting; There is a powerful dragon and he has trapped 10 princesses in towers around his land.
Simple. Cliche some might say. But I like it and it's for an equally simple reason; There is plot here. In a sandbox world it can be easy to just assume the players will find joy on their own. That might be true. But even in an episodic show there is an through-line, or, something that ties it together. In D&D the through-line is the world that the sandbox (or episodic journey) takes place.
In Tower Girls the world is set up: there are 10 towers (which equates to 10 dungeons full of loot), with 10 princesses (which creates 10 quests with further implication, each one can be planted in different areas of the map and each one can create complications and interesting decisions for the players), and a dragon (which gives the players a BBEG or possible quest giver if they're going the evil route).
If you take that and add in the standard affair of side quests, dungeons, wilderness exploration, a scavenger hunt quest, and whatever-the-hell-else you want, you have a sandbox jam-packed with adventure.
I've been struggling with whether I should map my world or not, because it's definitely not done. I have a few areas (like the Everwood, Aberdeen, Ogura) but I don't know if that's all there is. But I think I can start mapping specific areas and then link them together later.
I don't think I can type anymore. I just feel exhausted.