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D&D 5E Hexcrawls/wilderness adventures

AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
So, if I understand correctly you have "encounters" based on either the hex (e.g., they find the ruins in hex 0112) or from a random table, without any concern how many that is. That's what I'd like to do instead of forcing X number of encounters to make the total meet the magic "6 to 8 per day"

Do you roll the random table once per hex? Or do you do it based on time? Or distance? I'll be using 6 mile hexes as well (so, 4/day at normal pace). I'd like to make sure I'm rolling random encounters enough to give the players the idea that anything can happen at any time (so, don't use all those spell slots!).
Yes, encounters fall into two categories - those which are static (this ruin in this hex is inhabited by this many Yuan-ti, these related creatures, and contains these specific treasures), and those which are determined at random from a chart.

I check for unplanned encounters fairly regularly with a relatively low chance for each check. My notes say I was checking every hour, with the chance of encounter ranging from 10% to 20% but typically being 15% with the variation being based on what terrain the party was actually in (for example, in jungle hexes the chance was 15% whether day or night because the creatures living in those areas didn't primarily favor day or night, but the chance in hill or mountain hexes was 20% during the day and 10% at night because most creatures there favor daylight, and coastal hexes had the reverse so that the most likely encounter would be sahuagin coming ashore at night).

And since the players know that the number of encounters isn't completely predictable (since it could be anywhere from 0 to 20 or more depending on dice and exactly how large any "dungeons" they might come across are) , they have no difficulty in playing their characters as cautiously "conserving ammo."

Another thing I do to play up the uncertainty is to actually describe the weather (with this wonderful little webtool: http://donjon.bin.sh/d20/weather/) which might result in something like unexpected heavy rain which complicates travel - it'd reduce encounter chances, of course, but it also might mean that their plan for a 10 day trip just stretched to 12 days whether their supplies like it or not. As such, my players also dedicate a bit of their limited resources like spells to being sure that they can mitigate the harsh effects of whatever environment they are in (Even though it doesn't commonly come into play due to being so high level, Mordenkainen's magnificent mansion is my group's collective favorite spell.)
 

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Reynard

Legend
Supporter
I just ran a heavily personalized Isle of Dread over the course of 7 sessions at TotalCon this past weekend (see my sig) and every time I do one of these (this is my 6th ongoing con hexcrawl) I learn a couple things. For Isle of Dread, one thing I learned was to make sure there was at least one thing of interest per hex. If there was no static encounter or location there, then there was a free random encounter roll (note that not all random encounters are combat and some "encounters" are actually mini-dungeons). The other important thing I realized this weekend was that the Isle is HUGE. I ran 6 sessions of it in November at Carnage and 7 sessions this weekend and the map was still hardly filled in. You could turn an area the size of the Isle into a full length campaign without a problem, especially if you take care to include people, factions and other non-wandering elements.

Tangentially related: I really need a solid easy to use, abstract encumbrance system for 5E. Fiddling with individual item weights is a pain, but part of the fun of hexploration and dungeon crawls is forcing players to choose what to bring and what to leave behind.
 

not-so-newguy

I'm the Straw Man in your argument
I just ran a heavily personalized Isle of Dread over the course of 7 sessions at TotalCon this past weekend (see my sig) and every time I do one of these (this is my 6th ongoing con hexcrawl) I learn a couple things. For Isle of Dread, one thing I learned was to make sure there was at least one thing of interest per hex. If there was no static encounter or location there, then there was a free random encounter roll (note that not all random encounters are combat and some "encounters" are actually mini-dungeons). The other important thing I realized this weekend was that the Isle is HUGE. I ran 6 sessions of it in November at Carnage and 7 sessions this weekend and the map was still hardly filled in. You could turn an area the size of the Isle into a full length campaign without a problem, especially if you take care to include people, factions and other non-wandering elements.

Tangentially related: I really need a solid easy to use, abstract encumbrance system for 5E. Fiddling with individual item weights is a pain, but part of the fun of hexploration and dungeon crawls is forcing players to choose what to bring and what to leave behind.

Have looked at this inventory tracking sheet? http://www.dmsguild.com/product/170999/5e-Inventory-Tracking-Sheet-with-Simplified-Encumbrance

It uses slots instead of weight. It seems like a viable option, but I have never used it myself. You can view the sheet in the preview.
 

feartheminotaur

First Post
Yeah, the size of a few of the maps I found in modules was quite daunting. I made a 12x12 (ish) map for X4, and even with just 144 hexes, I still only have half of it filled.
 

Libramarian

Adventurer
After much cogitation I have achieved greater clarity regarding wilderness adventure.

The reason it hasn't worked for me is because the model I was working with was that you have level-appropriate, attritive dungeons surrounded by high variance screaming wilderness. The humans are hiding in town and the goblins are hiding in a cave, and if the adventurers can make it to goblin cave then they can do some real work. The wilderness is like this gauntlet you have to run through, dodging wyverns and ettins like a mouse scurrying across the kitchen floor.

This is really pretty strange and not much fun. It certainly doesn't feel like actual orienteering.

I want to do something different: the wilderness is the level-appropriate, attritive part, and the dungeons are the freaky, high variance part. Wilderness exploration IS more dangerous than basic dungeon crawling, not because "crap, a dinosaur" but because the attrition has a death spiral aspect when you add in exhaustion and the potential for getting lost.

So the wilderness is the "dungeon", and the dungeons are the push-your-luck sub-levels with the best treasure but the weirdest, most dangerous monsters and traps.

In fact to make the dungeons even more tempting, I'd allow the party to take a long rest there. You either have to go back to town for a long rest, or squat in the spooky ruin. And it looks like bad weather for the next few days.
 

Bayonet

First Post
I would love to run a 'living world' hexcrawl for my players, tight village and environs level, sprawling frontier style, etc. My major problem is that I can't draw for crap. Show me an overland map, and I'll think up hundreds of fun encounters, plot points, etc. Tell me to make that map, and It's a slow grind.

So, I wanted to ask if anyone knew of a decent repository of pre-made, unlabeled maps with hex overlays, or perhaps a random generator that makes them. Cheap or public domain, preferably, but I don't want anything to do with pirated stuff.

Thanks, guys. Have fun planning!
 


I would love to run a 'living world' hexcrawl for my players, tight village and environs level, sprawling frontier style, etc. My major problem is that I can't draw for crap. Show me an overland map, and I'll think up hundreds of fun encounters, plot points, etc. Tell me to make that map, and It's a slow grind.

So, I wanted to ask if anyone knew of a decent repository of pre-made, unlabeled maps with hex overlays, or perhaps a random generator that makes them. Cheap or public domain, preferably, but I don't want anything to do with pirated stuff.

Thanks, guys. Have fun planning!

This thread may be of some help.

http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?478401-Very-cool-source-for-wilderness-maps
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I would love to run a 'living world' hexcrawl for my players, tight village and environs level, sprawling frontier style, etc. My major problem is that I can't draw for crap. Show me an overland map, and I'll think up hundreds of fun encounters, plot points, etc. Tell me to make that map, and It's a slow grind.

So, I wanted to ask if anyone knew of a decent repository of pre-made, unlabeled maps with hex overlays, or perhaps a random generator that makes them. Cheap or public domain, preferably, but I don't want anything to do with pirated stuff.

Thanks, guys. Have fun planning!

www.hexographer.com
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
For inspirations/generation for hexcrawls, I *highly* recommend Yoon-Suin. It's a book written with old D&D (B/X I think?) in mind, but it's almost system agnostic. It is *brimming* with flavor, filled with tables to design encounters, ruins, locales...
 

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