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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
     
    J-H's Avatar

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    Default High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    I'm plotting out general details for my next campaign, with an eye towards making it publishable. I'd like to know if I'm off-base.

    The party arrives from out of area, and there are some geographic boundaries to keep them from going too far off the map (mostly because doing so surrenders the area to a malevolent deity incarnating).

    I did a quick list of "Hexes that need to be on the map," including some buffer zones because it doesn't make sense to have everything super-close together. I'm at 36 hexes so far, and I'm sure I'll end up with at least 50... some just may not have much to find.

    My thoughts are to have:
    -Map with hex numbers/names for DM.
    -Blank map for party to fill in.
    -Summary map key for DM listing each hex number and name and a 2-3 sentence description.
    -Separate section/chapter/etc. for each hex.

    Each hex chapter then includes:
    -Name/designation
    -Terrain type(s) present, max 3, with modifier to ground travel speed.
    -Description of any special environmental effects, etc.
    -Random encounters (Airborne)
    -Random encounters (Ground travel)
    -Unique places or encounters of note. Probability of discovery. (Survival check? Time? Perception?)... then details on these.

    The unique places/encounters then get detailed within the hex chapter. Dungeon-specific "boss monsters" are written out within the chapter, as they are likely linked to the specific terrain and environment. NPCs or monsters that may move around are detailed in a separate chapter.

    50 hexes times 1-6 pages per hex = 50-300 pages!

    This seems like a lot. On the other hand, a campaign covering levels 13-20 has to have a lot, and it should be designed so the party skips some areas entirely.

    Is this kind of how professionally published hex-crawl type stuff is published & formatted?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Hex crawls can be difficult to pull off at high levels. As they generally depend on the characters walking through all the hexes to reach their destination.

    When you can fly/teleport/cloud hop form one place to the other, many hexes may never be visited.

    If you have a solution in mind for this, I would very much like to hear!

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    J-H's Avatar

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    The legacy party playing this has a cleric and an Arcane Trickster and no other casters :-P

    The BBEG is going to be presented as too Big to handle without first knocking down his support network, and potentially gaining allies and artifacts. Thus, there's motivation to explore.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DrMartin's Avatar

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    I find it a big plus when each and every hex has more features to it - at least three, in fact:
    One that the group will encounter pretty much as soon as they enter the hex, another one after they have traveled through it or explored it a little bit, and a truly hidden one.
    You can switch one and two depending on where the group is coming from (direction or story-wise, according to what makes more sense / is more interesting).
    Now, note that the hidden feature doesn't have to be a monster / dungeon / treasure, it can very well just be a ribbon or a note of color - it can be something that only gives the GM a card up his sleeve, or some context in describing the rest of the hex.
    Hector Morris Ashburnum-Whit - Curse of the Crimson Throne - IC / OoC
    Bosek of Kuru - A Falling Star - IC / OoC
    Gifu Lavoi - Heritage of Kings - IC / OoC

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    I would recommend you check out Jon Stater's work, especially the Nod 'zine. One or two of his earlier issues are available for free.

    When I do hexcrawls I use 6-mile hexes, divided into smaller 1.2 mile hexes. The larger hexes are roughly 32 square miles, so enclose a lot of space. Each hex contains 1d6 features and 1d6 lairs. Hexes can either be traveled through (in which case the characters only find things are either directly in their path or immediately obvious from afar) or explored. It takes a certain amount of time to explore an entire hex, based on the terrain within.


  6. - Top - End - #6
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    In addition to 50 or so highly detailed hexes, you should have maybe two or three times as many "empty" or less detailed hexes, with maybe two or three preset encounters, with these encounters outlined in maybe a paragraph or so.

    So, if for highly detailed areas you have 1 - 6 pages of text per hex, for these less detailed areas you should have 3 to 6 hexes per page.

    You should also have some tables or rules for weather, random encounters, large scale events etc. that cover the entire mapped area. If there are nations or other large organisations, maybe have a separate map for the GM which shows just the borders of these powers, notes which hexes are contested and some rules for how the situation will develop when and where the player characters don't interfere. One simple mechanic that touches on all of these would be a calendar reaching a year or more into the future, detailing seasons, phases of celestial bodies, movement of people and monsters between hexes, etc.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Quote Originally Posted by Democratus View Post
    When you can fly/teleport/cloud hop form one place to the other, many hexes may never be visited.
    It depends what the goal is. Teleport is not actually very good for exploration. If the goal is "get to the enemy fortress in the center of the Screaming Peaks", sure, Teleport will skip over a lot of stuff. But if it's just "there's some magic sites scattered through the woods, go track them down", it's not as useful.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    I think there’s still plenty of ways for D&D in general to screw a hex crawl blue, regardless of objective. Now while there’s pretty much a good way for a player to do that to anything in any system, which doesn’t mean you should never create characters even though smashing a system into stupidity with RAW character design is possible in many cases- this one is unique in that it wouldn’t need to involve egregious RAW breaking.

    Need recon? Great. There are spells for seeing distant places. There are spells to turn you into an orbiting predator drone with illusion-see through capability. There are spells that point you at an enemy and detect them for you. And so on.

    Now each of these can be countered by creating enemy and environmental considerations, but pretty soon you either end with retroactive GM fiat, an absurd world of jungles of anti-magic trees with constant storms overhead, or the players penetrating the system anyhow because they only need to find one thing that works.

    Again, that could be true of virtually anything - we just had a thread where many people thought breaking the system was “just good mechanics” - but in this case it wouldn’t even take that much effort; you might do it unnoticed. I mean, if you need to explore 50 hexes, do you walk through each one or set up comparatively simple magic answers to your problem?

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Quote Originally Posted by Democratus View Post
    When you can fly/teleport/cloud hop form one place to the other, many hexes may never be visited.
    What in blue Hell gave you the idea that most hexes are visited even in a lower-level hexcrawl?

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    What in blue Hell gave you the idea that most hexes are visited even in a lower-level hexcrawl?
    The two multi-year hexcrawl campaigns that I am running gave me that idea.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Try going to different planes and implementing the truly weird in each hex. Maybe have an inverted castle in a 6-mile hex in the shadowfell. Maybe have a hunting ground where powerful ancient hunters gather in the beastlands.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    I think there’s still plenty of ways for D&D in general to screw a hex crawl blue, regardless of objective. Now while there’s pretty much a good way for a player to do that to anything in any system, which doesn’t mean you should never create characters even though smashing a system into stupidity with RAW character design is possible in many cases- this one is unique in that it wouldn’t need to involve egregious RAW breaking.

    Need recon? Great. There are spells for seeing distant places. There are spells to turn you into an orbiting predator drone with illusion-see through capability. There are spells that point you at an enemy and detect them for you. And so on.

    Now each of these can be countered by creating enemy and environmental considerations, but pretty soon you either end with retroactive GM fiat, an absurd world of jungles of anti-magic trees with constant storms overhead, or the players penetrating the system anyhow because they only need to find one thing that works.

    Again, that could be true of virtually anything - we just had a thread where many people thought breaking the system was “just good mechanics” - but in this case it wouldn’t even take that much effort; you might do it unnoticed. I mean, if you need to explore 50 hexes, do you walk through each one or set up comparatively simple magic answers to your problem?
    With a game like the OP is proposing -- I'm assuming the system is a higher magic system like Pathfinder or 5e -- I think the main thing is to have player buy-in and an understanding. "Yes, I know there are ways to easily solve this with magic, but I'd like for this to be a game about exploring the uncharted wilderness (which is really what a hexcrawl is), and we should work together to come up with ways that it remains fun for everyone without breaking the conceit that I'm shooting for." I've played in one 5e hexcrawl that got rid of a bunch of the spells -- such as create food and water, teleport, etc. -- because the DM wanted to run an Oregon Trail-style game, which 5e doesn't do a great job supporting.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    Need recon? Great. There are spells for seeing distant places. There are spells to turn you into an orbiting predator drone with illusion-see through capability. There are spells that point you at an enemy and detect them for you. And so on.
    Again, divinations (until high level) are not that great for getting actionable intelligence on their own. If you have a piece of the puzzle, you can build on that, but "there might be a thing out there and it could have some properties that might be interesting to you in the event that you were able to find it" is not really enough for the likes of Scrying to go on.

    Now each of these can be countered by creating enemy and environmental considerations, but pretty soon you either end with retroactive GM fiat, an absurd world of jungles of anti-magic trees with constant storms overhead, or the players penetrating the system anyhow because they only need to find one thing that works.
    "Jungle of constant storms and magical static" sounds like the exact kind of place that a high-level hex crawl should be taking place to begin with. Exploring a mundane environment of low level stuff is a low level adventure, so it should not be surprising that high level characters aren't particularly impressed by it. Just as your high-level hex crawl should involve high-level monsters, it should involve a high level environment as well. After all, there needs to be some reason why it's the PCs doing this and not a much larger number of lower level characters.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tanarii's Avatar

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    Is this kind of how professionally published hex-crawl type stuff is published & formatted?
    The best Hex crawls have procedurally generated content for a large number of hexes. Then you salt it with special locations no ore than a page each.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    One of the better published Hex Crawls I've used was The Dark of Hot Springs Island.

    Every hex detailed and pre-filled. Factions, events...everything you need for a hex crawl campaign.

    It even has a companion book for the players that is a journal written by someone who has adventured in the area and written down what they encountered.

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Great posts, thank you!

    My current map of the area is 28x28, and that's 784 hexes. Even accounting for some ocean, I think I've made it a bit too big.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    Great posts, thank you!

    My current map of the area is 28x28, and that's 784 hexes. Even accounting for some ocean, I think I've made it a bit too big.
    Not necessarily. What's the size of your hexes? Remember, high level characters have abilities allowing them to travel hundreds of miles in a day.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Not necessarily. What's the size of your hexes? Remember, high level characters have abilities allowing them to travel hundreds of miles in a day.
    Assuming 6-mile hexes that's around 24,300 square miles, or roughly the size of Latvia. That's certainly not too large for a hexcrawl, and is smaller than the hexcrawls I usually run.

  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    I wouldn't start with more than 10x10 for 12 mile hexes. Especially if it's intended to be an adventuring area for a single party. (Edit: if you're using 6 mile hexes, you'll want to have about 4 'empty' hexes for every special encounter hex.)

    If you're serious about making a hex crawl, read this series:
    https://thealexandrian.net/wordpress...games/hexcrawl

    Also if you start to lose focus, because making a hexcrawl is a HUGE project, this is worth rereading for inspiration to keep going:
    http://arsludi.lamemage.com/index.ph...-west-marches/

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    10x10 is pretty small to have at least 12 different city/faction bases with any degree of separation.

    I haven't worked out the exact speeds yet, but they should have an air-skiff that lets them travel maybe 60 miles per day via air if they fly for 24 hours. If I assume 12 miles per day in jungle (there's probably a ranger), then that lets them cover 1 hex on ground or 5 by air in a day.

    EDIT
    How's this?

    Each hex in the map is 12 miles across.
    Overland Travel Speed
    The average party speed based on a 30’ move speed is 3.4 miles per hour, so in an 8 hour traveling day, a party of typical humanoids can walk 27 miles. Since overland travel is rarely in perfectly straight lines, it’s reasonable to round this to 24 miles, or two hexes, of straight-line travel per day in open terrain. In difficult terrain, such as forests/jungles, mountains, and swamps, this is halved to 12 miles, or one hex, per day. However, if a Ranger is in the party and has the appropriate favored terrain, the party’s speed is unaffected.

    Airborne Travel Speed
    The air-skiff, a small magically-powered flying boat, travels at a speed of approximately the same speed as a running man, and can thus travel at 2 times the overland speed of the party, or 1 hex per 2 hours of travel. It only flies in the sunlight, so the party must land after 12 hours of travel, giving a speed of 6 hexes (72 miles)per day. Note that the air-skiff may be forced down by phenomena such as solar eclipses or storms, including storms generated by Control Weather.

    Searching a Hex
    A hex has an area of approximately 108 square miles. A detailed search of the entire hex on the ground takes 36 hours (4.5 walking days). A detailed search from the air takes 18 hours (1.5 flying days). Note that it does not take the entire searching time to necessarily locate anything, as the percentage chance of locating something within the hex goes up with every 2-hour search increment that passes.

    Airborne Encounters
    The air-skiff travels at a height of 100’ above the ground, which is sufficient to clear all but the tallest of trees. Over jungle or forest areas, it is difficult to see, and the party’s chance of identifying encounters or points of interest under the canopy is reduced to 25% of what it would normally be.
    When traveling over open terrain, the party is very visible at a distance, reducing their chances of traveling without notice greatly.
    Airborne encounters will be less common, but are more likely to be deadly.
    Last edited by J-H; 2020-08-23 at 03:52 PM.

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    Tanarii's Avatar

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Agreed with airborne travel and exploration possible, you'll want more hexes. But that is a LOT of prep to do, because reasonable you'll want something that can be found in every 12mi hex. Not necessarily a big something, but something to make exploration worth it. Possibly even several less important somethings if they come back and explore again in more detail later.

    The latter you'll definitely want to do procedurally, basically encounter tables that isn't just creatures. I'll point back to the alexandrian for that, he has good examples.

    For the major point of interest you might want to rely heavily on procedural generation too, of a "subtable" variety. E.g. the primary table points at a lairs subtable, villages and towns subtable, mini dungeons* subtable. Then you throw 4-5 items on each one to star, and in your downtime / prep time, you add a few to each table between adventures.

    *steal these by hacking out parts of adventure modules

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Yep. Do the speed figures look reasonable?

    Current plan is have most hexes just refer to "Jungle ground" or "Jungle flying" tables with a modifier based on how hazardous they could be... for example, near the enemy cities, it'll be "roll between #s 50 and 100" where that's the block of numbers that contains most of the enemy patrols and enemy allies... then I have 1-4 "exploration" items in each hex.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    Yep. Do the speed figures look reasonable?

    Current plan is have most hexes just refer to "Jungle ground" or "Jungle flying" tables with a modifier based on how hazardous they could be... for example, near the enemy cities, it'll be "roll between #s 50 and 100" where that's the block of numbers that contains most of the enemy patrols and enemy allies... then I have 1-4 "exploration" items in each hex.
    I do 1d6 lairs and 1d6 features per hex. Your speed looks right, but it should take a lot longer to fully explore a 12 mile jungle hex. I would say three days would be good to explore a 12-mile grasslands hex, and at least a week to explore a jungle hex that big.

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    There's a soft timelimit (undetermined as of yet) as an ascendant regional deity attempts to manifest permanently on the Material Plane. If that goes off and the party hasn't rounded up enough firepower, the campaign could well end with a failure and TPK.

    Because there is some amount of time pressure, I don't want to over-penalize exploration, even if it makes the game a bit less realistic.

    I'll probably have exploration be a Survival + Investigation + Perception + time invested check, with each item in the hex having a "DC" to find, based on how concealed or not it is. They can find everything given enough time, or they can find it by having excellent skills, instincts, and search patterns. They'll get a bonus on the to-find rolls if they have been given a description of what they're looking for, landmarks, etc.

    Edit:
    Spoiler: rules
    Show

    Searching a Hex
    A hex has an area of approximately 108 square miles. A detailed search of the entire hex on the ground takes 36 hours (4.5 walking days). A detailed search from the air takes 18 hours (1.5 flying days). Note that it does not take the entire searching time to necessarily locate anything, as the percentage chance of locating something within the hex goes up with every 2-hour search increment that passes.

    There are two categories for each hex: Random Encounters, which are most often hostile creatures, and Exploration Encounters. The probability of a Random Encounter for every 2-hour increment of time that passes is given in the Hex entry, as is the appropriate table/section to roll on.

    Exploration Encounters are almost always stationary, and can be natural features, hostile or non-hostile camps, ruins, or any number of other things that have to be searched out to find. Each Exploration Encounter in a hex has a DC to locate it. Each player in the party may roll one out of Perception, Investigation, or Survival. The Help (Advantage) option is not available for this roll. The highest roll for each of the 3 skills is used in this calculation:

    Perception (Wis) + Investigation (Int) + Survival(Wis) + 10 per 2-hour period.

    So a party that rolls:
    Perception (Wis) 24
    Investigation (Int) 18
    Survival (Wis) 20
    And spends 6 hours searching (30)
    Has a total score of 92. Any Exploration encounters with a DC of 92 are less are located by the party, in ascending order.
    Last edited by J-H; 2020-08-25 at 04:15 PM.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    There's a soft timelimit (undetermined as of yet) as an ascendant regional deity attempts to manifest permanently on the Material Plane. If that goes off and the party hasn't rounded up enough firepower, the campaign could well end with a failure and TPK.

    Because there is some amount of time pressure, I don't want to over-penalize exploration, even if it makes the game a bit less realistic.

    I'll probably have exploration be a Survival + Investigation + Perception + time invested check, with each item in the hex having a "DC" to find, based on how concealed or not it is. They can find everything given enough time, or they can find it by having excellent skills, instincts, and search patterns. They'll get a bonus on the to-find rolls if they have been given a description of what they're looking for, landmarks, etc.

    Edit:
    Spoiler: rules
    Show

    Searching a Hex
    A hex has an area of approximately 108 square miles. A detailed search of the entire hex on the ground takes 36 hours (4.5 walking days). A detailed search from the air takes 18 hours (1.5 flying days). Note that it does not take the entire searching time to necessarily locate anything, as the percentage chance of locating something within the hex goes up with every 2-hour search increment that passes.

    There are two categories for each hex: Random Encounters, which are most often hostile creatures, and Exploration Encounters. The probability of a Random Encounter for every 2-hour increment of time that passes is given in the Hex entry, as is the appropriate table/section to roll on.

    Exploration Encounters are almost always stationary, and can be natural features, hostile or non-hostile camps, ruins, or any number of other things that have to be searched out to find. Each Exploration Encounter in a hex has a DC to locate it. Each player in the party may roll one out of Perception, Investigation, or Survival. The Help (Advantage) option is not available for this roll. The highest roll for each of the 3 skills is used in this calculation:

    Perception (Wis) + Investigation (Int) + Survival(Wis) + 10 per 2-hour period.

    So a party that rolls:
    Perception (Wis) 24
    Investigation (Int) 18
    Survival (Wis) 20
    And spends 6 hours searching (30)
    Has a total score of 92. Any Exploration encounters with a DC of 92 are less are located by the party, in ascending order.
    That looks good. Here's what I use to populate hexes with features:

    1-3. Geologic
    4-6. Structure
    7-9. Resource
    10-12. Lair
    13. Hazard (1-3), Sign (4-6)
    14. Dungeon
    15. Terrain
    16. Settlement
    17. Water.
    18. Magic
    19-20. No Feature

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    This is going to call for a spreadsheet. I need to find a way to pivot spreadsheet data into Word text. Mail merge isn't it...

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    The best Hex crawls have procedurally generated content for a large number of hexes. Then you salt it with special locations no ore than a page each.
    I'm guessing you're not counting the random encounter rules as "procedural generation." What would you suggest as the bare minimum for procedurally generating a hex crawl as you go?

    For example, is Tomb of Annihilation a good example? (I would argue "no," despite liking it; filling the travel with adventure was sometimes a struggle when I ran it, and it definitely didn't stress the party's resources.) Assuming not, how would you suggest making a procedural generator for it? Not necessary to do it, but what sorts of approaches and techniques would you recommend to making one for it?

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    I'm guessing you're not counting the random encounter rules as "procedural generation." What would you suggest as the bare minimum for procedurally generating a hex crawl as you go?

    For example, is Tomb of Annihilation a good example? (I would argue "no," despite liking it; filling the travel with adventure was sometimes a struggle when I ran it, and it definitely didn't stress the party's resources.) Assuming not, how would you suggest making a procedural generator for it? Not necessary to do it, but what sorts of approaches and techniques would you recommend to making one for it?
    I'm not sure what your question is. When I generate hexcrawls, as stated above*, I assume that each 6-mile hex as 1d6 lairs and 1d6 things of interest. Typically, about 25% of generated lairs will be normal animals or non-combat encounters. I use the random wilderness encounter table to generate lairs, with the exception that I roll 1d15 for a category (the encounter tables go from 1 to 12); 13-14 are creatures from another source and 15 are unique/custom monsters.

    Features are placed at the same time. They don't have to be valuable, but are something interesting, that deserve a few lines of text. They may lead to an adventure or they may just be a curiosity; an old lean-to once used by shepherds, now collapsing and long abandoned. A shallow grave containing the corpse of a traveler that succumbed to injury long ago. Etc.


    *Note that I'm running games using a B/X clone, which has specific rules for random encounters, etc.

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    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    How is this for a sample format? Note, text sizing isn't perfectly carried over from Word.

    00.00
    Climate
    Roll 1d6 on entry; on a 1, a rainstorm is taking place for the next 4 hours.
    Terrain & Speed
    This hex is part of the Western Ocean, a deep saltwater ocean. Foot travel is not possible. No penalties or bonuses to travel by ship or swimming, except for storms, which impose a 25% reduction in speed. The party has Advantage on perception checks to detect ground-based encounters & exploration objectives. Searching takes place at double normal speed.
    Borders
    This hex is bordered to the east by foothills that rise towards tall mountains, which are visible if the weather allows it. In all other directions, it is bordered by ocean.
    Random Encounter Frequency & Table
    Every 2 hours, roll 1d6. On a 1, the party encounters a Random Encounter.
    By Air
    Use table A12. Consider rolling both, and having ground-level encounters visible from the air.
    By Ground
    Use table G12.
    Exploration
    120 The party spots a crashed air-skiff 20’ under the water. If they investigate it closely, Investigation DC 10 shows a hole through the motive mechanism, apparently from a lightning bolt. DC 15 reveals that it appears to be more crudely designed and constructed than current air-skiffs. DC 20 lets them find a locker mounted under a bench, which still contains 2 Healing Potions. Several octopi are nesting within the wreck (Stealth 17), and may squirt ink and dash away if disturbed. If substantial underwater movement happens (salvaging the wreck, chasing octopi, etc.), roll 1d4. On a 1, a pair of giant sharks appear to investigate.

    note, the "120" references the Exploration check. With >300 hexes, I don't want to type "DC " a bunch of extra times, and anyone running this will get familiar with the format really quickly.
    There's only one Exploration thing here because this is a corner square along the least significant and least-populated area of the map.

    I want to really nail my format now, before it gets copied into all 20 columns & 18 rows worth of hex entries. Going back and even changing the font sizes or italicization will be a pain.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Default Re: High-level hexcrawl-ish format

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    How is this for a sample format? Note, text sizing isn't perfectly carried over from Word.

    00.00
    Climate
    Roll 1d6 on entry; on a 1, a rainstorm is taking place for the next 4 hours.
    Terrain & Speed
    This hex is part of the Western Ocean, a deep saltwater ocean. Foot travel is not possible. No penalties or bonuses to travel by ship or swimming, except for storms, which impose a 25% reduction in speed. The party has Advantage on perception checks to detect ground-based encounters & exploration objectives. Searching takes place at double normal speed.
    Borders
    This hex is bordered to the east by foothills that rise towards tall mountains, which are visible if the weather allows it. In all other directions, it is bordered by ocean.
    Random Encounter Frequency & Table
    Every 2 hours, roll 1d6. On a 1, the party encounters a Random Encounter.
    By Air
    Use table A12. Consider rolling both, and having ground-level encounters visible from the air.
    By Ground
    Use table G12.
    Exploration
    120 The party spots a crashed air-skiff 20’ under the water. If they investigate it closely, Investigation DC 10 shows a hole through the motive mechanism, apparently from a lightning bolt. DC 15 reveals that it appears to be more crudely designed and constructed than current air-skiffs. DC 20 lets them find a locker mounted under a bench, which still contains 2 Healing Potions. Several octopi are nesting within the wreck (Stealth 17), and may squirt ink and dash away if disturbed. If substantial underwater movement happens (salvaging the wreck, chasing octopi, etc.), roll 1d4. On a 1, a pair of giant sharks appear to investigate.

    note, the "120" references the Exploration check. With >300 hexes, I don't want to type "DC " a bunch of extra times, and anyone running this will get familiar with the format really quickly.
    There's only one Exploration thing here because this is a corner square along the least significant and least-populated area of the map.

    I want to really nail my format now, before it gets copied into all 20 columns & 18 rows worth of hex entries. Going back and even changing the font sizes or italicization will be a pain.
    That looks pretty good. You might consider clumping the terrain specific stuff at the beginning of the book: "Oceans use this random encounter table, have this movement modifier, etc." Variations from the norm can be noted in the text. For random encounter/weather events you could include a standard terrain specific table in the introduction, with, say, 6 entries, but have a 1d8 roll, with the last two entries representing specific hex encounters. For instance, the ocean encounter table could be:

    1. Pirates
    2. Mermen
    3. Whale, killer
    4. School of fish (doubles amount of food that can be harvested)
    5. Great white shark
    6. White whale
    7. Hex specific
    8. Hex specific

    That way, if the hex has, say, a merman village in it, you can add some text to the hex that reads "roll on the standard ocean encounter table, plus the following:
    7. Merman patrol
    8. Rebel merman splinter group looking for allies to overthrow the merthrone."

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