Showing posts with label hexcrawl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hexcrawl. Show all posts

Friday, February 18, 2022

The Dread 'n Mechanics

In my post about our hexcrawl sessions, I was trying to show my son the difference between visceral and existential threats by using ghouls as the monster. 

Ghouls are ghoulish. They are the wolves of the undead world. On either of two attacks, they can paralyze a target. And then they eat you. There is also the concept of being turned into a ghoul, which is out of scope mechanically but may hang out in your player's head. Dang, that's all so scary. It's also existential as it begs the question, do you want to engage this threat or flee? 

Unless you are an elf who is immune. Or if you don't know what a ghoul is or does, then it's less scary. The existential threat changes from fear of being eaten alive (existential) to the likelihood of loss of life or limb (visceral). 

In these events, a paladin slammed into a pack of 5 ghouls not realizing what they were. No one did. Once the paladin was paralyzed, everyone realized what these things could do. The party had a choice: try to regroup and come up with a plan or press the attack. 

They decided to press the attack for a couple of reasons. First, I was trying to explain to my son that a pack of ghouls against 4th level characters isn't much of a threat. 

Ghouls have 9 hp, which makes them 2 or 3 hit monsters. I come from a wargaming background where hits count. With a d6, the average roll is 3.5. That's your damage against the 9 they have. Chances are you will kill them in 2 to 3 rounds and in that last round, they won't have time to do anything important.

Second, in pressing the attack, the party was preventing the downed Paladin from being eaten. The party had the ghouls outnumbered. The rank closing in on the ghouls was made up of a Fighter, an Elf, a Cleric, and a Ranger. On the wings, a Bard and Theif had bows ready. I used green to display characters that were not threatened by the ghoul's special attack: the Elf by her nature, and the Bard and thief were at a safe distance. 

My son objected to this as the ghouls swing twice. But they are facing armored opponents and have much less of a chance of hitting than the player characters do. Additionally, they strike with much less power, 1d3 hp. If they hit, then the paralysis comes into play. That is a whole other die roll where the player characters stand a good chance to resist.  

I explained to him that the threat is the most important part of the fight. With the odds loaded in the players' favor, the ghouls don't have much of a chance of winning. The players should know that, but maybe they don't. 

That's great. The Cleric is in the front rank and has a chance of pulling a Big Damn Hero moment by attempting to turn. Potentially, the Cleric could take out some or all of them. If a ghoul paralyzed someone, the Bard and the Theif have a moment to save the day with a timely arrow. Even an unaware party has some great counter moves for a paralyzed character. 

Thanks to some really awesome die rolls (from the DM's perspective), the last round of combat occurred simultaneously. In the exchange Rolf, the Fighter was hit and paralyzed as he took out his ghoul. I could not have planned that outcome, thanks to random dice. 

"So, what happens next? How long are the paralyzed?" my son asked. 

My answer was simple. The rules don't say, so I guess I, the DM can keep this sense of dread up as long as I want to. In a hexcrawl, that really doesn't come up as much as it does in a dungeon. A hexcrawl is ruled by long-term mechanics, usually days over minutes. Hurrying in a hexcrawl is done in hourly increments. By any reasonable measure, the paralyzed characters will be up before the DM has to call another event. 

A party in a dungeon doesn't have the luxury of waiting it out. They will if they have to, but that cranks up the threat level. Stuff happens fast. When in a dungeon setting I will tell every player that they feel the effects of paralyzation kicking in regardless of their saving throw: 

"Your arm feels like putty and lead..." 

"Pins and needles race up your leg..." 

"You are so cold..." 

Unless I feel it's too much stress, that is. Sometimes, the players don't need more stress. It's a judgment call that needs to be made in the moment.  

So what happens next? In this case, the party took action that resolves everything. They dropped the tent and walked the Paladin and the Fighter to the hex with trees and shrubs. Then some return to pick up the tent and settle in for the night. Presumably, the Fighter and Paladin will stand up on their own before morning. 

The great thing about ghouls against a well-trained and armed party is you can adjust the feeling of threat without tinkering with mechanics or dice rolls. 

Since I mention dice rolls so much, The Red Dice Diaries has a nice pair of episodes on fudging die rolls. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Hexcrawling Tiny Hacks and Secret Rolls

Now that I have two sessions of a hexcrawl down, I thought I would share some tiny hacks and secret rolls happening. 

The first is using The White Box by Atlas Games for tracking purposes. In my last post, I used meeples for character tokens, reserving the red ones for opponents. 


Meeples are little figure tokens. The White Box is loaded with all kinds of cool stuff for gaming. If $30 is too rich for you, try a search for used on Abebooks. The White Box by Jeremy Holcomb on Abebooks.com. 

Using tokens for the party enables the players to see basic information without turning the Theater of the Mind into a game like Car Wars or something. The players were able to determine the approximate range and distance to targets and come up with plans for dealing with problems. 

Normally, I would grab whatever tokens were on hand for the players: a chess set, a Risk game, dice, etc., but I had other ideas for the tools in The White Box. 

Old School Essentials has a great item-based encumbrance system. You can download the rules and tracking sheets here. The quick gist of the rules is you can have 2 items in your hands plus 10 items in a pack and still move at 120'. Two more items drop you to 90" and so on. 


Since the majority of the stuff my players are carrying is not their personal property and also consumables like food, I had them use the small blocks from the set to figure it out. Green is the full 120" movement while yellow means 90", red is 60" and 30" is black. By doing this visually, the players were able to visualize picking items up from a pile of gear and load up their boots. 

I also have a few environmental hacks to help me DM my first hexcrawl. Since the players are on the Island of Sardinia, I have simply googled the weather in Palau, Sardinia. Todd Leback's Into the Wild has some great rules for generating weather, but this is one less thing for me to track. I'm 99.99% certain that Mr. Leback didn't expect someone to use his book to hexcrawl a real-world place, so there is that. 

The characters are also experiencing some other things not included in the session reports. Since they are on a grassy plain, their line of sight extends to the sea. Every time they enter a hex in a direction that faces the sea, I roll a 1d20. On a 1, they spot something in the water. 1 and 6 is their ship, 2 and 5 is a different ships and finally, 3 and 4 are one of those dreaded sea serpents. Additionally, once per hex, I allow the party to actively search for The Zypher. The only difference is they roll a 1d20 instead of me. Should this come up after I make my secret roll, I will override my roll with the party's die roll. 

This puts some agency in their powers of observation and planning. Quite a few times, a ship has passed by but it wasn't their ship. They seem to appreciate that detail because they are not ready to give up their quests, but if they did, the real civilized world calls. 

I cannot tell you how pleased I am with this collection of rules, from Todd Leback's Into the Wild to the hardcover of OSE's Rules Tome. This is my new favorite combo. Good thing too, because it looks like they'll have another kickstart campaign coming soon

Session 2 - Bounty on the Beach and a Ghoulish Discovery

Session two covered two days, which brings us to the 3rd day on the island. We break off from the action at midday of day 3. 

The party rested up uneventfully the first night and is trying to figure out what to do next. Not having horses has them hamstrung. They have too much equipment to carry and some of it like the saddles is pointless to take along with them. Bartholomew, Masha, Alex, and the two sailors are charged with determining what will go and what will stay. 

While they are busy with that, the rest of the party splits up into two teams, red and blue. Red Team is the Cleric Garven and William the Ranger. Alice the Elf, Rolf the Fighter, and Gerwinder the Paladin make up Blue Team. They decide to ditch most of their gear and set out exploring to the south by two different routes. 

And much to my embarrassment, I realized that I accidentally set up the party on the map of Sardinia, not Corsica. I scrolled too far south. Oh... I'll just roll with it.  

Each small hex is 1.2 miles and the weather is good. It's been cloudy and warm for winter, in the 60s (or 16° C). Since this map is based on a real place, I have simply been looking at the real weather in Palau, Sardinia. Why reinvent the wheel?  

Red Team moves to the grasslands at a slow pace. On the way south, they encounter nothing. Blue Team moves down the beach and onto the grasslands. The blue team has an animal encounter right away. They notice two strange-looking donkeys or mules following them. They are unable to approach them too closely but determine they must be some sort of feral ponies. 

On the way home, Red Team encounters Ezekiel the warhorse. The animal can speak to humans but is rather closed-lipped about how he got there. As the two teams return to camp, an odd thing happens. The feral ponies start to follow Ezekiel. The warhorse advises the Paladin that there is a herd of ponies and he has been trying to avoid the beasts since he got here. 

That of course begs the question of how he got here. 

Ezekiel tells the party that the horse sling fell overboard as the sailors tried to take it down. Two sailors went in the water with it. The horse jumped in to rescue them. Having done his duty honorably, he was annoyed when the men walked off northwest. 

Back at camp, everyone greets their newest adventurer. Bartholomew and the sailors are super excited to see the extra pack animals and tried to lasso one of the ponies. The thief took a kick to the chest for his trouble. 

While Garvin quickly ministers Barth's chest injury, Alex, Alice and William assess the ponies. They are too small to ride and too skittish to capture. It's an odd standoff as the ponies seem to be attracted to Ezekiel but too scared to approach the adventurers. 

The party settles in for night two on the island, no further along than when they landed. But they discover quite a few things about each other. It turns out that both sailors were rowers elevated to seamen. Sammy likes to fish and the George likes to whittle. They were leading the mules because neither is very adept at seamanship, yet. 

Ezekiel shares that the other two sailors took off towards the northwest. Gerwinder explains that the horse is being literally accurate. The last time the horse saw them, they probably walked exactly direction up the beach. 

Alex discovers that Sammy and Alice can sing and the music brings the ponies closer. Alice was able to toss some fruit at them and they tolerated it. Once to food was gone and the music stopped, they retreated. They hope the routine will tame the ponies, but they have their doubts. 

The day three plan has the party moving westward and then south. It wasn't the plan, but the two missing sailors are without food and water. Also, the party has more food than they can easily carry. The Ranger and Theif want to hang it in a tree. They can see the foliage of shrubs and small trees to the southwest. They'll be moving pretty slowly due to the load, but if they can find the other sailors, they can share their supplies and load. If not, they'll cache the extra food. 

I am using the item-based encumbrance tracker for OSE. The party is trying to tote their personal gear, two tents, and 24 saddlebags full of extra food and supplies. I've decided that each individual saddlebag is a little smaller than a backpack so two together are about the size of 1 and 1/2 backpacks. Each mule can carry 4 or one of the tents. Ezekiel can carry two saddlebags and a rider. 

Before setting out, they fill the rowboat with the saddles, extra baggage cover it with the tent, and rope it down. The sailors were great at this. 

They have 24 saddlebags. The equines are carrying 10, the two sailors are carrying 4. That leaves 10 extra bags. They leave the remainder at the campsite with the intention of reaching the stand of trees and shrubs by midday. This should leave time for them to cache some food in a tree and return for the rest. However, the party is of the opinion they may not want to or have to. 

They make it 3.5 of the 5 miles to the shrublands before trouble occurs. William spots footprints leading south. He gleans that two men passed through the area at a run. The terrain is undulating, so they don't see anyone in the distance even though it's grasslands. 

In a low spot, Ezekiel freezes and Misha lets out a shout of warning before unleashing a magic missile. Five men are approaching from behind the party, the magic missile strikes the first to little effect. Alice, Barth, and Alex pull their bows and step in front of Misha. The sailors form a second barrier between Misha and the attackers. The 4 fighter types have to turn around and rush back to defend the rear of the party, with Gerwinder and Ezekiel looping wide to avoid missile fire. 

In the first round, a flurry of arrows and missiles hits three of the men, but none drop. They are approaching fast. Misha and Barth with the two sailors start backpedaling. Alice advances with Rolf, Alex, Garvin and, William. The Paladin is just out of striking range. 

In the second round, the Paladin surges forward and slashes one of the men. As one, they turn on her. As the party rushes to her aid she yells out, "Ghouls!" Since all of the ghouls have attacked, the party runs straight into them. They down 3 ghouls as the horse stands over Gerwinder. 


Round three starts in a tie for the initiative. Alice barks, "Get back!" but no one listens. Alex and Barth have moved to each side hoping to angle an arrow into the ghouls next round. Everyone gets hit. All of the ghouls are down, but Rolf flops to the ground paralyzed moments after the last ghoul falls. 


Bartholomew makes an executive decision and unloads the tent mule so that Rolf and Gerwinder can be carried to the shrublands. He will stand guard over it with Alice. Once the party makes camp, they can come back for them. Garvin the Cleric makes only one change to this declaration, he will also stay with the Theif and Elf. 

This brings us to midday of day 3. We'll pick back up next session. 

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Session 1 - A Very Bad Day at the Beach

I have the party all set. There are eight 4th level characters. The quick details are: 

  1. William, Ranger
  2. Gerwinder, Paladin
  3. Alex, Bard
  4. Rolf, Fighter
  5. Misha, Magic User
  6. Garvin, Cleric
  7. Alice, Elf
  8. Bartholomew, Theif

Their goal is to land on the beach of the island and move south, tracing the shoreline. They are looking for furred animals, freshwater sources, and any trails or paths that hint at the location of the shrine of Terminus. Their ship, the Zephyr will check in on them from time to time. The captain of the ship has found a nice place to put the explorers down, a rock shelf with very shallow water. Due to the wind and currents, the captain has to put the starboard side of the ship closest to land. 

The party briefly explored the beach while a group of 4 sailors brought their gear to shore using a large rowboat. Two of the sailors were left on the shore to watch the gear while everyone else waded out to the ship to help with the mules and horses. 

The ship used a sling to lower 4 mules down to the water. It took two people to settle the mules and get them wading ashore. Gerwinder and Rolf awaited the first horse, Ezekiel the warhorse to be lowered to the water. 

At that moment, the crew on the deck sees a surge of water coming towards them. There are sea serpents bearing down on the party in the water. 


Since no one is surprised due to the range, the captain bellows orders to raise the anchor and drop the oars in the water. Bedlam ensues because of the men in the water near the ship, the horses on the deck and the sling is still in the way of the oars. Only the port-side rowers get into the water. The ship is backward with the port side facing out to sea. 

The party loses the first round of initiative. The first sea serpent lashes out at the third mule but accidentally bites a sailor between it and the mule. Satiated, it turns away as the party is knocked to and fro. The first two mules make for the beach taking Garvin the Cleric and Bartholomew the Theif with them. Masha is pushed away by surge while the fourth mule and Elf use the same push to move away from the beasts.  

The Ranger, Fighter, Paladin, and Bard splash forward to meet the second sea monster with swords. Everyone else tries to get out of the water with the mules. 


The party loses initiative again and the sea serpent tries to devour the mule. The mule takes 4 points of damage and cannot land a hit. Only Rolf and Alex are in range to strike and manage to roll a 20 and 19, doing a total of 11 points of damage. 


The Serpent is hell-bent on taking the mule and stays in place giving Gerwinder and William time to close. It mistakes the sailor as an attacker and bites him. Onboard the ship, the captain gets the crew moving and the ship rows backward and sideways a bit.  


The mule thrashes away while the serpent finishes off the sailor. The Bard and Ranger miss, while the Paladin hits with another 20 for 7 more points of damage. Rolf barely manages to hit but rolls enough damage to kill the sea serpent. The first serpent has disappeared in the distance while the third is confused by the thrashing oars and combat. 


The last sea serpent rushes behind the party and they manage to wack it a few times. 


The sea serpent manages to grab the mule but takes a series of fatal blows for its effort. 

The tired party stumbles ashore. While not mentioned in the above notes, the party has taken minor damage from being battered by the surf. They don't have a lot of good options as the ship has pulled back away from the shelf. The first sea serpent is circling the corpses in the water. No one wants to wander out there and the ship doesn't have any weaponry. The crew does have slings and bows, but the crew is not confident in their own abilities considering the serpent could attack the ship and sink it. The bard and ranger have taken a couple of potshots with arrows, but it's ineffective. 

The captain and the explorers have a frustrating shouting conversation across the water. The explorers will take the two sailors with them south. They will leave the horses on the ship. The party takes stock of its resources and realizes how lucky they were. No one was wearing armor in that fight. 

They have their supplies, three mules, and two extra sailors in tow. The mules were meant to carry two large tents, water, and food, plus some equipment like lanterns, oil, firewood, and a handful of spears. Additionally, they have 8 saddles, 8 saddlebags full of supplies, and a rowboat. It's beginning to look like they have too much stuff. 

They decide to set a watch for the afternoon and set up one 8 man tent for the night. Since there are two extra members of the party, setting watches is easy and the night passes uneventfully. 

By morning, things are looking better. Bartholomew, Alex, and the two sailors have cobbed together a 3 or 4 man tent out of horse blankets, a pair of reasonably serviceable backpacks from some saddlebags, and hatched a plan to cache the saddles and extra supplies with one of the two 8 man tents. 

Two serpents are circling in the sea. Maybe more because the corpses are all gone. The ship nowhere to be seen.  

Also on the downside, someone has named all of the mules Barth-a-mule. The Bard pointed at the Paladin and she muttered an ungodly oath that it wasn't her. She also roundly curses her armor and the lack of a horse. These are real problems, she can't walk fast in plate armor and they have far too much gear for 10 men and 3 mules to carry easily. 

The Cleric, Theif, and Bard urge the party to stay in place one more day and night while they try to get a handle on all of the gear they have to transport.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Review - In The Hollow Of The Spider Queen

This review needs a little background or perhaps a disclaimer of little background. I picked up this game set off the indy rack at Gather & Game, a local shop. Unbeknownst to me, there is a  whole game system out there called "Powered by the Apocalypse". 

I had zero awareness of this ruleset and at this moment, I can't decide if "In the Hollow of the Spider Queen" or "Powered by the Apocalypse" needs a 5 gold star rating. 

Yes, there are games I simply don't know about thanks to a vibrant OSR and general explosion of gaming systems available. 

Perhaps both need 5 gold stars. By the time I complete my 52 reviews for 2021, I'm sure we will know. 
Title: In the Hollow of the Spider Queen
Rule Set: Powered by the Apocalypse 
Year: 2021
Author: Aaron M. Sturgill
Publisher: Trail of Dice Games
Pages: 60 pages, plus character sheet and 3 color maps. 
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

In the Hollow of the Spider Queen
In the Hollow of the Spider Queen
In the Hollow of the Spider Queen

"In the Hollow of the Spider Queen" is an intriguing concept, just reading the back cover. It is a DM and one-player hexcrawl game based on old-school crawls. 

Whoa. Sign me up.   

Now for the twist, the rules are meant for one referee and one player but are scaleable so that up to 3-5 players can join the fun. 

And there is no need to wait. The set comes with one character sheet and a 3-page explainer of how to create a character. Like D&D, characters have a couple of stats to populate. Your character will have a spread of points that are positive, negative, or neutral. In addition to those, you have Resolve and Hit Points that are modified by two of the stats you previously selected. Gather your gold, pick equipment and answer some questions to start playing. 

This system uses an XP clock that turns lemons into lemonade. If you botch a roll, you fail but also fill a tick of the XP clock. Get four ticks, receive one XP point. XP is used to gain many advantages, so taking a risk is usually always worth it even if you fail your roll. Languages use the same sort of clock to create a dynamic scale of proficiency. 

In the DM's section, we get the core rules plus details on the world or Continent as the author calls it. By the rules, this set is a little more complex than combat. The set has an interesting system of Resolve vs. HP loss, which means that players can be defeated (or not) by something a little more complex than an axe blow to the head. Should the hero die, there are options for continued gameplay. 

The Continent is populated by various races or factions all spelled out on their own page. Each page has a detailed description, a helpful list of names and rumors which apply to the race or faction as a whole. Each page builds on the last to create a great history and background of the world the players will explore. In this case, less is more. 

What is so impressive about this little book is the fact that so much is rammed into 21 pages. There is still half a book to go. 


Page 22 introduces the movement rules. This is a hex crawl, after all. Characters have 3 starting locations. Where your player(s) will go is based on the questions they answered in the creation process. Random encounters are linked to locations, delivering the DM information as they need it. After that, the lands of the Continent are described. Within those descriptions, there are more random Encounter tables paired to locations with the lands. Again, necessary information is provided only when needed. 

To flavor and enhance gameplay, the ruleset comes with 2 Appendices and an index. Indexes seem to be a highly underrated feature in the digital age but are amazing when you have a physical copy. 

I am amazed that for just $16, this book does everything as advertised on the back cover. You can pick up either a physical copy or a digital one at DriveThruRPG for a few bucks less. In looking at the author's website, this is not an either-or proposition. If you find a physical copy, you can request a pdf at the website.  

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Hex Pack Update

Today, I added some more files to my Hex Pack. This update adds color and centers the hexes so that there are 19 complete hexes and 12 partial hexes. There are 9 colors, the 7 of the rainbow plus white and grey. 

If you have already purchased The Hex Pack, the update is waiting for you in your DriveThruRPG library. 

If you haven't purchased it, take a look. It's pay what you want. Or check out my other products. 






Swashbuckler Character
Class for D&D and AD&D


Swashbucklers for D&D and AD&D
Zero to Hero:
Uncommon Heroes

Zero to Hero
Zero to Hero
Character Sheet
for AD&D

Character Sheet
Character Sheet for AD&D



Kobold’s Folly
Mini Setting

Kobold’s Folly
Kobold’s Folly
Compass Rose
Inn Mini Setting

Compass Rose Inn
Compass Rose Inn
The Hex Pack
The Hex Pack
The Hex Pack

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Lighter Reading - What I Do on Wednesdays

I'm reading for my next couple of reviews. I like to print stuff out for reading. Today, I fired off The Lake of Abominations -- Hex 17.23 by Third Kingdom Games (Todd Leback) to the printer. Since I have Mr. Leback's Into the Wild coming in the mail, I was going to use this as a model for a hexcrawling module. 

Yeah... I don't know about a hexcrawl module, either. 

Anyway, this funny thing keeps happening. My printer insists that blue is a grey scale color. 


I should have printed in color, because the whole thing is packed with color maps. But in grey scale, my printer keeps coloring the black lines of the art in blue. I couldn't do that if I tried. I actually like it a lot.  

Wacky technology. 

Anyway, back to the module idea. I'd like to revamp both my Kobold's Folly and Compass Rose Inn mini-setting maps into full blown modules. It will probably take months.

I also have a third idea for a map of Miledown, another setting placed in the middle of my Peninsula of Plenty map. Miledown is a small town in a valley. I already have the cover art ready to go. It's just a matter of writing... you know... a description, a story and an adventure.

Little things.  
Let's hope this comes out
less phallic looking.
Of course, since I am going to need maps, I am updating the Peninsula map to a standard 6-mile hex map. When I started out, I was just blue skying and didn't have the scales right. This will fix that. I have an area 150 hexes by 60 hexes planned. About the size of Italy, which the campaign is based on.

One upside to this is I now have a name for the Human Capital: "Rhoom". I wanted run with a counter-factual idea that Remus instead of Romulus survived the foundation of the city. 

Guess what? That doesn't work because Rome was named before Remus and Romulus and "Romulus" means "a man of Rome". Crazy ancient mythology. 

I decided to just steal from Shakespeare: 

That her wide walls encompassed but one man?
Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough,

In Shakespeare's time, "room" and "Rome" were pronounced differently and rhymed, making the pun complete. So with a little poetic license the capital is now called "Rhoom".  

I started with the Lake Potamus area and moved out from there. This lake is squeezed between forests, mountains and savanna lands. It's named for the Hippos that live in the region. 

This detail allows me to have chains of forts and fortified houses on the plains. They are fortified against the wildlife and not actual invaders. It's kind of handy because it keeps the Rhoom Empire and Elven Dwarven Combine in a cold war in the area. It's hard to travel the savanna without encountering beasts. 

This is the valley of Miledown.  


It's less thought out right now, but coming along nicely. Since it is a hidden vale, they don't have many visitors. It doesn't look unusual to visitors but it does have several mysteries. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Filling in the Blanks by

Todd Leback
Filing in the Blanks Filling in the Blanks

Title: Filling in the Blanks
Publisher: Old-School Essentials
Author: Todd Leback
Cover Artist: Jenna Drummond (jendart.com),
Interior Artists: Chad Dickhaut, Adrian Barber, and Dan Smith
Year: 2020
Pages: 79 pages
Rating: 5 of 5 stars

This particular book comes in two forms, the preview edition and the regular edition. I have both. The preview edition is a text only copy of the main concepts of the full book, which is more than enough to let you know if you would want or need this title. 

Starting at the beginning, let me tell you about the author. Todd Leback is the author of a series of books on Hexcrawling. He has also written on topics such as domain building, authored a one page dungeon and had two successful Kickstarters. The most recent, as mentioned before, is the book Into the Wild. This should be out in about a month or so. He started playing with the Red Box D&D set and enjoys the OSR style of play with family. He runs a great Patreon page which provides 5-8 pages of Hex based content to his patrons every 3-4 weeks. As I mentioned in my review of Hexcrawl Basics, the link to both his Patreon and Jenna Drumman's sites are too small so I have reproduced them here. 

Filling in the Blanks is all about generating hexes. He covers geologic features, habitation of a variety of sizes, resources, hazards, lairs, etc. Of course there is a bit about magic and weather. This product is totally table driven with the text providing guidance and examples for usage. Those three together are great for demonstration of how the game is supposed to work. It's also a great way to allow for adaption to specific campaigns and thematic settings. 

My personal favorite part is on graveyards, but I think most people will like the section on Inns. That one seems to be the most useful for any campaign. Maps are in color, while the art is black and white. Somehow, I suffered a printer mishap and all of the black and white art came out blue tinted. I actually like that, but is probably my own problem. 

All in all, this is a great book on the someone who is well versed in hexcrawling. The only slight weakness is the lack of links back to Hexcrawl Basics. That title makes a good primer for what this book covers. While this title is only 79 pages, it is can feel like drinking from a firehose. There is a lot of information packed into this book. 

It would make a great addition and edition for anyone desiring a full featured exploration of the concept of Hex Crawling. While written for Old School Essentials, it can be easily adapted to any rule set. I might even be using this for a continuing Star Wars campaign. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Let the Hexcrawl Addiction Begin

I am really intrigued by the concept of Hexcrawls. I've never done this before, but the OSR community does not disappoint. 

Within minutes, Goblin’s Henchman pointed me to their In the Heart of the Unknown - Procedural Hex Crawling Engine Product: 

In the Heart of the Unknown - Procedural Hex Crawling Engine
In the Heart of the Unknown - Procedural Hex Crawling Engine
In the Heart of the Unknown - Procedural Hex Crawling Engine

I don't know what it is about art for Hexcrawls, but I love it. Click the link and check out In the Heart of Unknown. It's very cool. 

So I took a closer look at Third Kingdom Games and found a whole series of products. Of course, being a little daunted by the whole Hexcrawl experience, I needed the basics. I downloaded Third Kingdom Games, which I mentioned in my last post.  

Hexcrawl Basics
Hexcrawl Basics
Hexcrawl Basics

They also have map packs for Hexcrawls, which gives me a point of reference to get me started on this whole new way of gaming. 
 
Lake of Abomination Map Packet
Lake of Abomination Map Packet
Lake of Abomination Map Packet

I could spend weeks pouring over the stuff produced by Third Kingdom Games and Goblin’s Henchman. And probably will. 

When I created my Map Pack, I should have known I was going down this path. This is a very boring template for hexes, with 3 different colors of hex in three styles. It's also has a commercial license. So, please grab a copy and use it for for your hexcrawl or your product. 

The Hex Pack
The Hex Pack
The Hex Pack

Since I am looking to provide tools for you, I do have a walk thru so you can create your own DriveThruRPG links with HTML. Give that a try, if you like. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Hexcrawling

 I started a new project called Miledown, a hex crawl adventure. 


It just came to me as art, translating it to an adventure is going to be a trick. I can't think of the last time I used a hex map for my players and wonder if I have ever really ran a hexcrawl at all. When I ran the kids through B2, that map is a grid. Not a hexcrawl at all. 

That's ok. DriveThruRPG is to the rescue. Why reinvent the wheel when someone is an expert wheel maker? I picked up Todd Leback's Hexcrawl Basics. Before this project I had been eyeing the book simply for the cover art. I love it. 

I guess if I am going to use this for ideation, I had better do a review. It's all printed out and ready to read. I can't wait. 

Check back soon for that review and progress on my own hexcrawl project.