The Thracian Hexcrawl
Player's Guide to Hexcrawling
The hexcrawl campaign structure focuses on wilderness exploration: The world is full of interesting places and your maps are filled with “here there be dragons” (quite literally). Think of yourself as a trailblazer. You can stick to the roads, but if you do you probably won’t find the coolest stuff.
(It’s referred to as a “hexcrawl” because you’ll be mapping hexes. See below.)
TRAVEL: Wilderness travel is handled by hour, by watch, or by march. (A watch is 4 hours; a march is 8 hours. A march generally represents a full day of travel.) Tables on the next page indicate the number of miles you can travel, modified by terrain and circumstance.
• Hustle: A character can hustle for 1 hour without penalty. Each additional hour of hustling between sleep cycles deals 1 point of nonlethal damage. (Mounts suffer lethal damage.)
• Forced March: After 8 hours of travel, each additional hour of travel in a day inflicts 1d3 points of nonlethal damage. (Mounts suffer a lethal damage.)
MAPPING HEXES: Hexes are useful for mapping the wilderness because they’re omnidireectional – no matter which compass direction you move in, you can simply count hexes to determine how far you’ve gone.
• Terrain: Each hex is mapped with a type of terrain.
• Hex Key: You can either write the interesting contents of hex directly onto your map or key it to a separate document.
• Scale: Popular hex scales include 1 mile, 2 miles, 5 miles, 6 miles, 12 miles, 20 miles, 30 miles, and 50 miles. I recommend picking a scale which usefully maps to travel speed.
• Actual Distances: The distances listed on the travel tables are average distances. Real distances will vary. Experienced travelers may be able to more accurately gauge the actual distance traveled each day.
• Becoming Lost: It is possible to become lost in the wilderness, in which case your actual direction of travel will veer away from your intended direction of travel. Once you realize you’ve become lost you will need to find a way to reorient yourself, otherwise you will continue wandering.
MODES OF TRAVEL:
• Normal: No modifiers.
• Quickly: You move quickly during any watch in which you hustle. It’s easier to get disoriented or lost while moving quickly.
• Cautiously: Cautious movement is made at ¾ normal speed. You are less likely to get disoriented or lost while moving cautiously. In addition, you are less likely to randomly encounter threats.
• Exploring: While exploring, characters are assumed to be trying out side trails, examining objects of interest, and the like. Movement is made at ½ normal speed, but you are more likely to find anything of interest in the area you’re traveling through.
• Large locations will be visible from great distances.
• If a location is on a road, river, or similar trail that you’re following, you’ll automatically encounter the location. (Assuming it isn’t hidden in some way, of course.)
• If you’re familiar with a location, you only need to navigate into the same hex on my map and you’ll find it automatically.
• Unfamiliar locations (even those you’ve been to previously) need to be searched for. If you think you’re in roughly the right area, switch to searching the area.