"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Lots of talk today about hexcrawls, for instance: Here and Here.

I was going to post a reply on Chgowiz's blog but I decided to make a quick post about it.
There are three basic points of Chgowiz's post:
1. Hex scale;
2. Stocking; and
3. Finding stuff in the hex.

I typically use 6 mile hexes. I do this because in B/X all of the base overland daily movement rates are divisible by 6. Also, all of the terrain modifiers are 2/3's, 1/2 and/or 3/2's. So typically we are still dealing with multiples of 6 or easy fractions of 6.

To stock the hex map I use for the Northern Marches I use the same method to stock a dungeon as given in the Basic Rulebook.
Roll a d6:
1-2 Monster - these can either be lairs or dungeons
3 Trap - I use this for actual traps, difficult terrain such as a river crossing, cliff face, etc., or clues such as trails, totems, footprints, etc.
4 Special - I often use the Judges Guild Ravaged Ruins table
5-6 Empty
The Northern Marches wilderness is designed so that the further the party gets from the town of New Hareth the more dangerous the encounter, I can then pick monsters of the appropriate difficulty and terrain.

Now a 6 mile hex is a lot of space. Finding a specific feature, such as a cave mouth or a lone cabin, in an area that large could actually be quite difficult. With regards to the party finding something in a 6 mile hex I take two approaches:
1. If they are searching for something specific I will either let them find it automatically if it is large or make a Find Secret Doors check to find a smaller object.
2. If they are just passing through a hex, I usually give them a 1 in 6 chance of spotting what is there unless it is really large, tall or otherwise easy to spot. I like the fact that the party can find something new on a subsequent trip through a hex.


  1. Two comments:

    #1: It only makes sense to use six miles to a hex...they have six sides! That's synchronicity, baby!

    #2: Damn! I wish I'd thought of that before! I've always been at a loss for stocking wilderness hexes. Thanks for showing us "the easy way!"
    : )

  2. I'm dealing with this IMC at the moment. I'm calling it a 1-in-6 chance to find something that's already placed in a hex when they pass through it, and an additional chance (1 in 6) for some kind of encounter (which could be a monster, lair, ruin, red herring, whatever). This would replace the standard # of checks per day in the DMG. Probably see how it works tomorrow.