I am midway through keying my Thild Island Map for my upcoming campaign and will be posting more on this in the near future. In the meantime, here are a list of resources that I found helpful when thinking about how to design my own hexcrawl. This is by no means an exhaustive list. I’ll likely be adding to it as I discover more helpful information. Feel free to let me know of any resources on the topic you find helpful as well.
- The West Marches: this is the campaign that launched a thousand Hex maps. The model provided in these session reports is, I believe, in large part responsible for the revival of the hexcrawl with the OSR community. Fantastic stuff!
Design & Mapping
- Hexcrawl: a very useful series of posts by Justin Alexander on his philosophy behind designing the mechanics of a Hexcrawl.
- Hex Crawling: a useful thread over at the Steve Jackson Games forum on the mechanics behind a hexcrawl.
- How to Make a Fantasy Sandbox: a comprehensive treatment of the process of creating a keying a hex map using a “Top-Down” approach.
- Hex-Based Campaign Design: offers a very useful method for quickly and simply creating and keying a hex map from the “Bottom-Up”.
- Hex Mapping: another insightful and comprehensive treatment on the topic of creating and keying a hex map.
- The Hex Crawl: a nice quick write-up on how to design and integrate the points of interest in a hex map.
- Hexographer: is far and away the most popular software for creating hex maps. It is a Java-based program in which you “stamp” symbols onto hexes. Available both in pro and free versions.
- hexGIMP: is a script for GIMP (an open source raster graphics program similar to Photoshop) which comes with custom brushes and allows you to create and edit hex maps using GIMP.
- Inkscape Hexgrid: is an extension for Inskscape (an open source vector graphics program similar to Illustrator) that allows you to create a hexgrid in Inkscape.
- DrawHexGrid: is a simple intuitive program that allows you to create a hex grid in various styles which can then be imported into your graphics program of choice.
- Wildgen: is an online random Hex-Map generator.
- WOTC Archives: years ago WOTC released a slew of short free modules for Third edition. These were listed on a single page but they’ve since taken it down. However if you search the archives for “FREE Original Adventure” you can still find them.
- D&D Adventures: has links to several free adventures. I haven’t actually played any of them though so I cannot vouch for the quality.
- Dragonsfoot Modules: several free modules written by members of the Dragonsfoot community are available at their site.
- One Page Dungeon Contest: since 2009 this contest has produced hundreds of creative dungeons that are perfectly suited for dropping in a hex crawl.
- Dyson’s Dodecahedron: Dyson has several free short dungeon delve adventures free to download at his blog. And he’s got such great style!
- Prescott’s One Page Adventures – A recent find for me. Michael Prescott has done some really impressive one page adventures over at his blog.
- RPG Now: has loads of free adventures for download, as well as even more available for purchase.
- WOTC Map-A-Week Archives: WOTC still has a slew of great free maps perfect for dropping into a Hex available in their Archives.
- The Cartographers Guild: there are loads of talented cartographers who make their work freely available via a Creative Commons licenses at the Guild. Incidentally, this is also the best place to go if you seek to learn how to create your own maps.
- Dragonsfoot Maps: there are a host of entries here ranging from campaign maps, to dungeons to the floor plans of building.
- Paratime Design: Tim Hartin has created several free to download dungeon map packs. He also has loads of dungeon and town maps available for purchase.
- RPG Now: has a smattering of free battle maps, inn maps, continent maps, dungeon maps etc as well as hoards more available for purchase.
- In Praise of the 6-Mile Hex: a convincing argument for the advantages of a 6-mile hex scale over rival hex scales (it convinced me at any rate).
- Simple Hexcrawl Horizons Table: a table which shows how far a character can see given their survey height (assumes a 6-Mile Hex scale).
- Hexcrawl Hazzards: a helpful post on thinking about how to incorporate traps, terrain hazards and tricks into your hex map.
- Hexcrawl Encounters: some helpful advice on how the function of hex encounters, the right level of depth to add to each encounter and some useful examples.
- Hexcrawl Sandbox Procedures: a thread over at story games with some useful suggestions for planning and running a sandbox hexrawl adventure.
- Bat in the Attic Sandbox Tags: Rob Conley over at Bat in the Attic has loads of helpful pots on hex related topics tagged under “Sandbox”. Worth a look.
- The Welsh Piper Hex Tags: Erin Smale over at the Welsh Piper also has loads of goodies on this topic to help hone your game.
- Hexcrawl Sandbox Procedures: a discussion thread that tackles the question of how to run a hex crawl with some nice insights.
- Point Crawl Series: Chris Kutalik offers a nifty way to visually organize the connections between points of interest within and between hexes & dungeons.
- Hexcrawl Procedures: in which I offer an order-of-operations set of procedures for the mechanics of running a hex crawl.
- Improving the Hex Key Format: an attempt at presenting the content of hex keys in a more accessible and easy to reference manner.
- Two Ways to Design Hex Encounters: compares and contrasts two different methods for hex-crawl design, and the advantages of each method.
- The Isles of Mist: a free island based hex crawl I created which begins with a short primer on how to run a hex crawl campaign.