First Town

Relatively central location for most of the start of an RPG. This can be a city or, less specifically, a small island or continent. Once the characters Get on the Boat, other areas may seem unusually less extensive regardless of their implied size, and the party may not spend as much time in any other location as the first, or talk to as many people. Particularly in older RPGs, the First Town is prone to being a sleepy pastoral village with cute background music and lots of trees and flowers.

If the hero lives there, this town is a lot more endangered.

Often fulfills a similar role to the Hub Level in Platformers.

Examples:

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    Action-Adventure 

    Beat 'em Up 
  • Stage 1 of Mad Stalker: Full Metal Force takes place in a city during a crisis. You can see the city folk running from the scene as you punch giant mechas in the face.

    Platform Game 
  • Firstep Village in Something Else. Luigi will meet with friendly NPCs and mooks of the Evil Guy while he explores this level.

    RPG — Eastern 
  • A staple in the Final Fantasy series:
    • Final Fantasy I has Cornelia, where the Warriors of Light begin their journey.
    • Altair in Final Fantasy II serves as the headquarters of La Résistance, until La Résistance takes back Fynn. Doesn't save Altair, though.
    • Narshe in Final Fantasy VI. Its proximity to the mines and the cliff where the frozen Esper is found make it a key location throughout the game.
    • Midgar in Final Fantasy VII. Also notable for also being the largest city, in both literal and gameplay terms. The game also plays with this trope a bit with Nibelheim, which fits the classic form of the trope much better (it's the sleepy hometown of The Hero), but is only seen in flashbacks, and thus has fully lived up to its Doomed Hometown status before the start of the game. What is left of Nibelheim is inhabited by actors placed there by Shinra.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, Balamb Garden is simultaneously the first town, the Doomed Hometown, two dungeons, a sidequest initiator, and your Global Airship for the first half of the game.
    • Rabanastre in Final Fantasy XII. Not the largest town in the game (though when you get there, you only get to travel through part of the town). However, you get to know Rabanastre quite well inside and out, including the sewer system and lower-class area.
  • Traverse Town in Kingdom Hearts (with Destiny Islands as the Doomed Hometown).
  • Twilight Town in Kingdom Hearts II.
  • Werites Beacon in Tales of Legendia, which in fact serves as the sole city, and most important location, on the Legacy itself. The player can return directly to Werites Beacon from nearly any point on the Legacy by using 'ducts' located throughout the island/ship.
  • Mother's Day/Podunk in MOTHER 1.
  • The aptly named Onett in Earthbound. The name is even lampshaded: the first four cities are called Onett, Twoson, Threed and Fourside. A sign in Twoson even says "we got that name because we weren't first".
  • MOTHER 3 has Tazmily, which is an interesting example as it is essentially the only town in the game, save for a location in the final chapter of the game.
  • Caldor Isle in Lunar: The Silver Star is the first continent, and Alex and Luna's hometown of Burg is the first town, complete with rustic charm and cute background music.
  • Pokémon has Pallet Town, New Bark Town, Littleroot Town, Twinleaf Town, and Nuvema Town. The general design for the Pokémon variant of the First Town is Hero's home, Rival's home, Pokémon Lab, and Professor's home (sometimes the same as the Rival's). Typically, the other towns will have at least five buildings. Also, for some reason, the First Towns each have a resident fat guy who raves about technology.
  • Vale in the first Golden Sun game.
  • Toad Town in Paper Mario. Sure, you don't get to explore it much the first time you're there, as you automatically go right to the castle, but after you return, it's pretty much the hub to all other locations.
  • Athlum is this in The Last Remnant and it's also the base of operations as the ruler of Athlum, David is one of the main characters, as well as his four generals.
  • The village of Tenuto in Eternal Sonata. Talk about sleepy pastoral villages! The narrator in one of the opening cutscenes informs us that it's also called "The Village of Flowers". Although gameplay doesn't start there, it does start on the path to Tenuto. You leave it fairly early and don't return for a while, though.
  • In certain games in the Sa Ga series, such as Romancing SaGa and SaGa Frontier, the first town often depends on which hero or heroine you choose to play as.
  • The Ys series has Minea (Ys I), Barbado (Ys I remake), Lance Village (Ys II), Redmont (Ys III/The Oath in Felghana), Promarock (both versions of Ys IV, though Dawn of Ys precedes it with a sequence in Minea which is more like a glorified prologue), Xandria Port (Ys V), Rehdan Village (Ys VI), Altago City (Ys Seven).
  • Kamiki Village in Ōkami.
  • Chrono Trigger averts the idyllic utopia somewhat when you find out its law enforcement is corrupt and prone to executing people without trial...though this is later revealed to be the work of a monster out for revenge against your party, and it's ultimately unclear if the kingdom was at all like this without his influence.
  • Played with in My World, My Way. The big castle the princess lives in is actually named "First Town", but you don't get to do any sort of interaction there (other than traveling between lands and the occasional cutscene wherein the princess doesn't get her way). The actual First Town that fits the trope is called "Grass Town".
  • Jirinaar in Albion is pretty much your starting town in Albion, if we ignore the prologue. It's also the most iconic place in the game, due to its unique architecture and friendly locals.
  • In Faria, the player begins in Ehdo, "the biggest town in the Kingdom of Faria."
  • Colony 9 in Xenoblade Chronicles, with a few caveats: it's a bustling metropolis instead of a sleepy town, there's overarching sidequests that will keep you coming back for half the game to turn them in, there are level 30+ monsters in the area that will effortlessly tear your rookie party a new one if you go too far off the beaten track, and despite being raided by Mechon early on, the colony only takes a beating and pulls itself together during a brief timeskip.
  • Star City in Monster Racers. Despite being a globetrotting adventure, this town is the one you always return to—presumably because it's the only one that deals in all the monster racing equipment you need, and also because it's where your home monster racing headquarters are.
  • Tokione in Opoona. Although every single city in the game is gigantic, Tokione is explicitly recognized as the biggest, and you return to it several times throughout the game because of the various functions it offers. Interestingly, the second city, Lifeborn, becomes more of your "home base," though Tokione fits the other criteria better (as well as actually being first).
  • In Terranigma, Crysta is the only town in the first chapter. You then get cut off from it and don't get to return there until much later, though not before encountering a Ghost Town that looks like a carbon copy of it.
  • Each game in the Lufia series has one: Alekia, Elcid, Patos, and Parcelyte.

    RPG — MMO 
  • In World of Warcraft, there's the First Town for each race (some quests, class trainers, an inn, etc.) and then there's the capital for each race, which is meant to be the hub.
  • Almost all Artix Entertainment MMOs have one:
  • Lumbridge in RuneScape.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic splits the class-specific First Planets from the faction-specific hubs: Seperating Force-senstive and Badass Normals of each faction, (Tython for the Jedi, Ord Mantell for smugglers and troopers, Korriban for the Sith, and Hutta for bounty hunters and Imperial agents), which is either a Academy for Jedi and Sith, a relatively small and low-level location on the outskirts of the on-going hostilities between the Empire and the Republic for the normals. The hubs are then the respective factions' capitals (Coruscant for the Republic, Dromund Kaas for the Empire) and fleets, although you cannot access the latter before clearing all story missions on the former.

    RPG — Western 
  • Ultima IV has eight major towns, and which one of them becomes your First Town depends on your main Virtue at the start of the game (just as your class does): for instance, Bards start near Castle Britannia, while Paladins being near Trinsic.
  • Wizardry 7: Crusaders of the Dark Savant features several First Towns, depending on whether the player starts a new game or imports from the previous game, including Nyctalinth, Ukpyr, and Dionyceus. However, New City arguably fits this trope best, as it contains more stationary friendly NPC's than the rest of the world combined.
  • Harmondale in Might and Magic VII. Most of the other settlements are larger, but it does have a convenient number of amenities closely bunched together, it is the first town after 'Noob Island', it is your home base, it is most important in the first half of the game, and it is larger relative to the implied actual size than most of the other settlements.
  • TaskMaker and Tomb of the TaskMaker both have Castle Hall, which is loaded with friendly NPCs, shops for just about everything you will need on your journey, and treasures. Almost all of the monsters are hidden in catacombs that are (mostly) inaccessible until the final task.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout had Shady Sands.
    • Fallout 2 starts you off in your home village of Arroyo before getting referred to the town of Klamath.
    • Megaton in Fallout 3 - not the first settlement, but the first major one after you Get on the Boat. In a twist, you can nuke the place twenty minutes into the game, taking many major quest NPCs with it, in which case its "central hub" status is delegated to Rivet City and/or Tenpenny Tower.
    • Goodsprings in Fallout: New Vegas. The town is based off a real town with the same name.
  • The First Town in Diablo, Tristram, was in fact the only town in the game. Diablo II had a more conventional starting town in the Rogues' Encampment, with many other towns later after you Get on the Boat. Diablo III starts you off in Tristram again (New Tristram, to be precise, though you do get to explore the old town during the early parts of the first act) before you Get on the Boat.
  • This happens in about half the Infinity Engine games.
    • In Baldur's Gate, the town of Beregost is likely to be this, too: It has some of the best stores early on, and more quests than any other early area until you get to the titular metropolis. Alternatively, Candlekeep also qualifies.
    • In Planescape: Torment, Sigil is not just the First Town but also where you find the portal to the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, despite traipsing all over the planes since starting, and is easily the largest area in the game. More specifically, the Hive serves as the First Town in Sigil.
    • Baldur's Gate II has Athkatla, a big city that for as much as half the game will serve as your base of operations.
    • Icewind Dale II features the walled city of Targos, which you defend from an attack, and then venture from, and then return to; it makes up at least the first third of the game.
  • Averted in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura. Shrouded Hills is the first settlement you come across, but it's tiny compared to virtually every other town in the game.
  • A staple in The Elder Scrolls series from Morrowind onward:
    • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind lets you get your first bearings in Seyda Neen: a small fisher village notable almost exclusively for hosting what appears to be the only Imperial customs checkpoint on the Vvardenfell island.
    • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Chorrol is a slightly bigger version than usual, but it tends to become the First Town for most players, thanks to its proximity to the Weynon Priory—the first location you have to visit in the course of the main quest after escaping from the Imperial City dungeons.
    • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Riverwood fits the classic version. Its a small sleepy town with minor quests and depending on how you got there, an NPC who will hook you up with some free starting gear. Whiterun might be a better fit over all being the first hold the player likely goes to likely being the first place the player will become a Thane and having the cheapest player home.
  • The planet Taris in the video game Knights of the Old Republic is essentially a big version of this trope.
  • The Citadel in Mass Effect is used as a First Town right after the initial mission to Eden Prime. It remains relevant throughout the story, right up to the final battle. In Mass Effect 3.
  • In The Witcher, the "First Town" is a village on the outskirts of the character's destination city; it's cursed, corrupt, fraught with more danger than the city, and it's left in ruins by the player character. The sleepy pastoral village comes later halfway through the game.
  • Fable I has the Hero's Guild, Fable II has Bowerstone and Fable III foregoes this trope and instead chooses to have the Sanctuary serve this purpose, though it's actually meant to be the pause screen.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Lothering in Dragon Age: Origins. After the battle, it is the very first place you travel and is has a couple vendors, two companions, and a cluster of relatively simple side quests within the town. It is a useful stop but cannot be returned to as it becomes overrun with darkspawn, killing everyone left in the village and burning it to the ground. Denerim succeeds it as the hub after that.
    • Haven in Dragon Age: Inquisition is the first settlement you end up in after the intro sequence and become the title organization's first base of operations. It also becomes a Doomed Hometown at the end of Act I.
  • The first Borderlands has Fyrestone, a sleepy, isolated backwater. Its population seems to consist of... Dr. Zed, Claptrap, and Marcus' voice. Still, it has a bounty board (where you acquire missions), a low-level shield/health vendor, a basic ammunition vendor, and a low-level gun vendor. While it definitely isn't much, it suffices until you find the later town of New Haven and the various bounty boards available beyond that.

    Simulation Game 
  • Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon games take place almost entirely in the first town.
  • If you can count Animal Crossing, then My Sims is another example. The town proper is where you start, and where you spend a lot of time, given that your workshop is there, and the only way to the other sections (the forest and the desert).