Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Back to the Hex Map

The idea of a hex map has been back on my mind lately. I've been thinking more generally of running an exploration-based game with no regular player group for a while, mostly because college gamers are flaky and I want to do something diametrically opposed to the dirty hippy indie games/Exalted that usually gets run around here. Since Swords & Wizardry came out, I've been thinking even more seriously about that, because I think it'd be a good fit, better than thed20 Modern that I was originally considering.

Plus, hex maps are cool. I had all kinds of fun making my first, despite never getting to run it. Game prep should be fun, and filling out a hex map is a good way to fill an afternoon.

I've already been doing a bit of thinking about what I would put on this theoretically hex map, despite really needing something other than a list of names from the 1972 census for my NaNoWriMo novel. Things that should be on the hex map so far:
  • Alien artifacts
  • Tombs of ancient tyrants
  • Temples to forgotten evil gods, preferably infested with snake-men
  • Several different tribes of goblins that the PCs can screw with and start wars between
  • Dinosaurs
  • Underwater Atlantean-analogue dungeons and relics
  • Robots gone berserk
  • Little towns with dark secrets
  • A mad wizard in a tower
  • Entrances to the Underworld, realm of the Twelve-armed God
  • Football-sized ruby
  • A dragon
  • A crashed spaceship
  • Carnivorous apes
  • Blind, death-cheese making monks
That covers most of the bases, but is there anything I'm missing?


  1. football-sized what now?

    *an enormous hedge maze infested with carnivorous topiary.

    *a lost valley, plateau or island
    *with dinosaurs!

  2. You probably should have homelands or outposts populated by each of the PC races you'll want in the starting game, too. Somewhere the PCs can say they came from, unless they all came from far away.

  3. Sounds like you want to come up with a classic sandbox with some gonzo elements. Excellent! Don't forget:

    * A couple secret societies never hurt, even if the players only encounter evidence of them, never the society itself
    * A vast, abandoned Dwarven kingdom
    * For that matter, why not a megadungeon?
    * Bridges with trolls underneath
    * A gate to another world, sword & planet-style
    * Pirates!
    * Folks that appear to be out-of-time but not futuristic to us (e.g., a WW2 squad on patrol, a news helicopter, a crashed fighter pilot)

  4. max: Ack. Good catch. And . . . "carnivorous topiary" makes me think "mad wizard with a thing for plants," always a good option. Or a Poison Ivy rip-off.

    trollsmyth: Yeah, that's a good point. I was toying with having the PCs show up in a boat, Morrowind style, but I'd probably get more mileage out of knowable, nearby origins. At least as an option, there's no reason the PCs can't show up in a boat if they really want to.

    restless: I do have plans for a megadungeon, at some point. Can't have a sandbox without a megadungeon.

    jrients: Sweet.