Hexcrawl Resources


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.

Inspirational Reading:

  • 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.

Hex-Mapping Programs

  • 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.

Drop-in Adventures

  • 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.

Drop-in Maps

  • 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.

My Thoughts

  • 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.

8 thoughts on “Hexcrawl Resources

  1. Man, now you’re making me want to go back to this one idea for an exploration-based campaign I had…

    Thanks for the Trollsmyth link — I hadn’t seen that one before, and I quite like it.

    1. Yeah I only recently discovered that one as well, and there’s heaps of great stuff there to mine. About the exploration based campaign, I say go for it!

      1. Well, going for it would involve pausing work on the, oh, three other ideas I have going.

        ….I may have commitment issues.

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