I started by throwing the party into a bad situation and I thought it would set the tone for the game by the first adventure location being a burned down Hommlett. I set the village on the coast, in the farflung wintery North. I shipwrecked the party and let them wander around.
So, this first hub was a bust. The party got spooked, and after only investigating a little they fled the area in a pair of fishing boats. I'll post my after action reports of the subsequent sessions.