Sunday, May 8, 2011

Alternative Hexcrawl Concept

Here's a map for an alternative hexcrawl technique I'm knocking about:

Each hex side has a score for getting out of the hex in each direction (along a hex side). A party will have a given number of rolls each day/outdoor turn based on their movement rate and can only leave a hex if they get or beat the required roll (for now I'm considering 2d6 to be the roll). Multiple attempts to go in the same direction could get a bonus. Any number of modifiers could be applied to the roll such as travel mode, weather, guides, racial abilities and class abilities along with clever planning.

Just a notion for now but one that I felt like sharing as it looks like it could expand on the nature of hexcrawl play by having routes and specific terrain having an impact on play.


  1. Very interesting, so you're adding some randomness to movement rates. Some uncertainty. Like wind for ocean crawls.

    You might streamline it a bit by giving terrain types default values, the way board/video games do. Paths, passes, and roads could reduce these.

  2. Outdoor movement already has some randomness in it with the check to see if the party gets lost so that's what led me this way. Along with wondering why hexes are treated as humongous entities with little local variation unless someone goes to sub-maps.

    Just starting out on the idea but there are some rough baseline values for the terrains. Open land is a 4, Hills are a 5, Forests 6, Swamps 7, Mountains have an 8 with a fair chance of much more difficult travel. Some directions are easier so there are passes and such for a party to find. The roads are pretty easy to follow giving a travel roll of 3+ in open terrain, traffic, washouts, mud, poor choice of sideroads could all be reasons road travel is not always 100% sure.

  3. I like the approach, very old school in the sense that it is acknowledged that a game is being played, which I prefer than the purely open-ended roleplaying conception where everything is the whim of the dungeonmaster, but that's just my opinion.

  4. Runebound has a similar principle. I don't really like it for rpgs but for boardgames is actually enjoyable :)

  5. Very interesting, makes me wanna try it. Thanks for the idea.

  6. The idea has merit but the issue I see with it is that it is too gamey and repeated failure will frustrate the players as a mechanic.

    I would go with the assumption that the player can hold a rough direction but the roll represents how LONG it takes them to get out of the hex rather than a failure. The hexside are denoted with modifiers.

    The players get a certain total per day based on their movement rate. When they attempt to cross the hex they add it's modifier to the roll. They keep a running total when when it hits the daily limit you are done for the day.

    This is not as frustrating as they will get to their destination and it still supports the idea of routes.

  7. @Rob, I figure successive attempts should involve a bonus to the roll relative to the scale being covered. Thanks for the input.

  8. @Rob: Why not just give them the movement total and key the hexside to a die type and just roll and subtract?

    Easiest terrain (following a Roman road) is a flat 1, medieval roads a flat 2, tracks and open land with good landmarks a d4, rougher terrain a d6, and terrain without landmarks a d8 or some such?

  9. Outstanding idea I will be implementing a version of it in the Runequest 2 campaign I'm working on.

  10. @Herb there is something to that idea. Thanks for sharing that.

  11. I'm not a fan of the rolling at all. Topography in my experience doesn't relate to 'failure' to travel past a certain point unless something has physically impaired my ability - like a broken leg.

    I promise you, if I walk out into the country west of where I am now, I will walk through the hills and copse woodlands that form the lands up to the forests of the Rocky Mountains without there being any chance of failing to travel any given 20 mile section in a given day. Even without civilization, those lands are just not harsh enough to stop me crossing them.

    And at the same time, once I enter the forests beyond, if those forests were not civilized, I guarantee you that I would not cross a 20-mile hex in less than four days, no matter what the roll is.

    Things might go wrong, but those things have little or nothing to do with the way being blocked. There are places out in the mountains where yes, that's absolutely true, but those ways are blocked absolutely, without any realistic means of getting around them at all.

    The roll seems like a good idea ... but it just doesn't fit any situation I'm familiar with.

  12. Alexis, it's an abstraction and I addressed more of what it represents in later posts.

    I recall exploring a patch of swampy woods years back where we spent an entire day mapping a mile worth of "trail" before going back to camp. The next day we approached from a different direction and could see how we were letting the terrain slow us down.

    I've never beaten myself to death on a hike or camping trip either but I knew where I was going and had the gear for where I was.