Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hexcrawling so travel and exploration earns EXP.

Travel and exploration are among the motivations for characters in old school RPG play but aside from seemingly aimless wandering about and the risks of random encounters and the rewards in discovered dungeons there is generally little said to encourage traveling and exploration. The following is an example campaign setup to encourage and reward travel and exploration along with class appropriate exploits.

Sample Campaign Hex Map (suggested scale 12 to 30 miles a hex)

Awards for travel, exploration, and other exploits appropriate to various classes tied to location on the hex map.

Each named place on the map earns the visitor 100 exp upon the first visit to each location.

Dueling Swordsmen and Bravos
For fighters and violent thieves dueling someone of the duelists level or higher at the castle, a town, or a tower earns the winner an extra 100 exp. Surviving a duel earns one 25 exp. One can earn the bonus exp at a location but once a month.

Meditating at the monoliths.
Should a magic-user be able to visit a monolith from dawn to dawn without suffering  points of damage in excess of their level they or casting a total number of spells in excess of their level they gain magical insight. On the first qualifying visit a magic-user learns a random spell of the appropriate level of the monolith if able to cast spells of that level. On return visits a magic-use will be able to ready an additional spell of the appropriate level in excess of what they may normally ready if able to cast spells of that level (the bonus spell is lost once cast).
Amhainne- a 1st level spell.
Beirte- a 2nd level spell.
Triurre- a 3rd level spell.
Ceithre- a 4th level spell.

Mystical Duels
Spell casters may duel each other at a monolith site. If one or more spells or magical devices are employed by the winning duelist they will gain a 200 exp bonus as per spell level of the monolith.

The Jousts of Castle Merthyre
Once a year at Castle Merthyre a jousting tourney is held that lasts for five days. There is a fee of 30 gp charged for each day a knight is enters the lists, some knights pay more as a portion of this fee is awarded to the families of knights who are crippled or die in the tournament (typically 1/3 of the total of such listing fees are divided among survivors of the slain).
One the first day only those who have never jousted before at Merthyre may do so. Surviving a tilt earns one 50 exp on the first day. Winning a tilt earns 100 exp above other exp bonuses for winning a tilt. Each jouster will ride at least once against another and may choose to ride as often as can be arranged. Whomever wins the most bouts is the Champion of the Neophytes. The Champion earns an extra 100 exp due to the glory earned.

On the second and third day all who have rode on previous tournaments may compete. All jousters are paired off against each other with a winner of each round being promoted until a Champion Ritter is declared. Surviving a tilt on the second or third day earns one 100 exp, a winner of a round earns an extra 200 exp above other exp earned. If a knight refuses a round after the 1st their opponent is promoted as winner (but only earns ½ the exp). The Champion Ritter earns an extra 250 exp.

On the 4th day all winners of a round on days one through three may joust. Whomever wins the most jousts on this day is the Champion Cavalier. Surviving a tilt earns a bonus 100 exp, winning a tilt earns an extra 250 exp above other exp earned. The Champion Cavalier earns an extra 300 exp.

On the 5th day the champions joust.  The three champions of the first four days and all previous tournaments who arrive will all be paired off by random drawing, the winners of each joust will then be paired off round after round until there are only 2 remaining jousters to be Declared Grand Champion of the tournament. The Grand champion of  the previous year may sit out all but the first round should they choose to do so until the final match of the day. Surviving a tilt on this day earns one 150 exp. Winning a tilt on this day earns one 300 exp above other exp earned.  The Grand champion earns an additional 500 exp above all other exp earned and the tournament purse (1/2 all entry fees and between 2,000 and 5,000 gp depending on the year).

The wicked life of Thieves.
A thief earns double the exp for goods stolen the first time they commit theft in a town and leave their mark.
If a thief steals from a tower and leaves their mark they earn triple the exp for doing so on the first successful theft.
Stealing from a temple or the Castle Merthyre and leaving a mark will earn the thief triple exp each time they do so (once per week at most).
Stealing from a dragon den earns a thief 10 times the normal exp award but only if the dragon sees their mark.

Exploring Ruins.
Each adventurer receives 250 exp for the first expedition they join to a ruin in which they return with a souvenir (rocks, bricks, and paving stones don’t count, nor do coins).

Some rewards for the faithful
Visiting each of the three temples earns a cleric 500 exp for the first visit.
A Lawful worshipper earns double exp when sacrificing at the Temple of Order.
A Neutral worshipper earns double exp when sacrificing at the Temple of Harmony.
A Chaotic worhsipper earns double exp when sacrificing at the Temple of wrath.
Visiting the master of a tower and converting them earns a cleric 150exp per level of the master of a tower.

Studying at a Tower
A magic-user that visits a tower and studies for a week with the master of the tower earns 500 exp for the first such study session.


  1. I like these ideas a lot. When I start a new Hexcrawl I think I will write objectives like this in. Thanks.

  2. This is really cool. I may adapt some of this for use with my Stars Without Number game.

  3. Glad you like them I was working on a complicated concept post and realized the best way to explain it was simply to provide an example.
    I left the monsters out for a change (aside from the unnamed lair/dragon dens) as they are a complication to getting other business done.

  4. I really liked this post; so I added it to my Best Reads of the Week. I hope you don't mind.

    1. Glad you liked it enough to tell other people.

  5. Fantastic ideas! You need to add some share buttons on this site dude so we can spread the love!

    1. Be free with linkage, my blog-fu is a bit weak it took me over 3 years to get tables right.

  6. Sleeping Gods, Forgotten Foes
    The gods of antiquity feature in the myths of the age. Praying at the lost temple of a "defunct" god confers a floating +1 bonus if the PC is involved in a quest that closely maps to a mythic conflict of that god, plus a onetime magical favour* at a crisis point in the quest and a special XP award at the "end".

    So the players need to know the myths of the campaign and then stumble across a relevant temple. Researching the myths through anthropological street crawling and archaeological hex crawling and then linking them to both an ongoing concern and a previously ignored altar is a continuing activity that grounds the PCs/players in the setting.

    *special spell slot, dream consultation, monster summoned by deity, weather control on voyage, & similar.

    1. The reveal for a goal should certainly be tailored to fit the style that works for the campaign,DM, and players.