Quick post today. How many of you use physical landmarks in your game, whether real or fictional? Are there locations in your game the repeatedly pop up? A favorite watering whole the party goes to after an adventure? Perhaps a theater one of them likes to take shows in? If you don't use landmarks and repeat locations, have you considered the possibilities they can bring?
One of the best things a standard location can give your game is a cast of regular NPCs. Maybe they aren't vital to the game, but they help give the game a sense of life. If the location is a tavern, maybe these NPCs are a couple of regulars. Good sources for town gossip but also with some gripes and moans about their own lives and how unfair things can be. Thing is, mention these people enough and your players will start to react to them. They will, without thinking about it, begin to develop attachments to those NPCs. Which is when a problem in Bob the Mailman's life can become the launching point for the next adventure. At which point, well, you have your PCs nicely hooked.
A Place For Roots
Adventuring is a listless lifestyle with lots of traveling. These repeat locations give the game some roots to grow from, check back in, and show how things have changed. What has happened in the world while the PCs are away? What has happened to their favorite haunt? Has anything changed? Maybe it just presents the normal welcome feeling of a home.
A Different Side Of Your Game
The best thing these locations can do though is let you explore a different side of your game. If your game is all about the adventuring, then maybe a session or two in the repeat locale gives RP and quiet time for everyone to enjoy. A bit of scandal, a bit of gossip, and a bit of fun. Maybe the place gives respite from the local drudgery of cops and robbers, or a neutral ground for the war between werewolves, vampires, and hunters. The point is, this lets you explore different sides of characters, both NPCs and PCs alike. You just have to use them.