The Isles of Mist – A free hexcrawl adventure

Thild Hex Map 2

Alright, here it is, the promised adventure for my Thild map.  Here’s the Introduction:

Deep within an icy fjord at the very edge of civilization sit the Isles of mist.  The islands are home to a few hearty fishermen and herders, as well as a population of giants in decline.  Yet the myriad ruined cities, strange monuments and burial grounds scattered about the land bear witness to a more illustrious past.  Little is known about the former inhabitants of the isles.  Legend has it they were powerful mage lords that tempted the fates and were cursed to an eternal death without rest.  It is also rumored in dark taverns that the islands are a haven to pirates.

This is a hexcrawl adventure I wrote for my own campaign setting.  However, the information contained within is generic enough to allow it to be used in most fantasy settings, especially given that the adventure takes place on a set of islands.

Also, I kept the mechanics for this system-neutral.  The benefit of doing this is that this adventure can be run with virtually any rules set.  The downside is that slightly more prep is needed from the referee when it comes to things like filling out monster stats and adjudicating the nature and quantity of treasure.  This last bit is important since magic is rare in my setting and the economy is based upon a silver standard.

If you’ve never run a hexcrawl adventure I’ve included a walk-through on the basic structure of this sort of adventure and offered a set of “how-to” mechanics within the doc.  Elsewhere on the site I also have a resources page that links to a lot of helpful information and supplements for hex crawl adventures.  I’ve also tried to improve the Hex Key format to make running this adventure as smooth as possible at the table.

This adventure, and its maps, took quite a bit of time and effort so please, if you do decide to use it, leave a comment and let me know what you think.  I’m open to constructive criticism too if there are bits that you think could have been improved on.

The original player’s handout map can be found here.  The map above is for the referee. The adventure pdf can be downloaded below.

EDIT: I found a few editorial mistakes, including one rather glaring mistake with the rumors tables so I’ve uploaded a corrected version:

Thild Hex Map 2


UPDATE: several entries within this adventure were meant to be further detailed at a latter time.  I haven’t gotten to all of these yet but below are some links to additional content relating to the Isles of Mist adventure.

Players Guide – a little over a year ago I rebooted this campaign with our new gaming group.  At that point I added a player’s guide to the Isles that not only acts as a quick introduction to the area, but contains a bit more info about the Isles than I initially included in the Hexcrawl.

Den of Lycans – this is a short site based adventure that I did for the One-Page Dungeon Contest a few years back.  This functions as an expansion of entry 1204 (Cave Therell) in the Hexcrawl.

The Thedron Barrows – a mid-sized tomb-raiding dungeoncrawl adventure that fills out the entry for 1104 of the Hexcrawl.

It Came From the Sewers – a short site based adventure set in the city of Thild (entry 0907).  This was not mentioned in the Hexcrawl, but I used this adventure to introduce my new gaming group to D&D.

Preview of Hightop Dungeon – this is megadungeon for entries 1002 and 1003 that is still in the early stages of development.  Thus far I’ve completed work on the town of Hightop, which sits right atop the dungeon, as well as the dungeon’s first and second level.

I will continue to update this list as more entries are added.


12 thoughts on “The Isles of Mist – A free hexcrawl adventure

  1. I like it! One thing I’ve never quite understood about how hexcrawls run and that no one has explained in their “how to do a hexcrawl” posts (at least as far as I’ve seen) is to what degree do the players interact with the hex aspect of the hexcrawl. By that I mean, do the player’s go “Well, we just dealt with the ancient tomb in hex 0506, so let’s go east to hex 0507” or “Well, we just dealt with that ancient tomb, so let’s head towards those mountains to the east” and leave the DM to figure out the hexes?

    Also, I’ve noticed a handful to typos in the pdf — would you be interested in a list?

    1. Actually Justin Alexander talks about this in his hexcrawl series. He opts to have the hex apparatus to be invisible to his players as he feels it poses a barrier to immersion. He just asks the players what they want to do and where they want to go (usually this involves them picking a starting direction and striking out into into the unknown). He does all the hex based mechanics behind the screen.

      I’ve seen others who are much more explicit about the hex mechanics. They give their players a hexmap and let them decide where to go. I personally prefer Justin’s method, which is why I made two separate maps for this adventure, the player map not including a hexgrid.

      Oh, and yes, I would definitely like to have the list of typos if possible. I found some myself and uploaded an amended version but I’m sure there are plenty more that missed my edditting. If you like, you can send them to me at Thanks much.

      1. Yes, that’s correct as far as I understand. But many who, like myself, have joined the hex-crawl revolution use it as a source of inspiration for the sort of campaign setting we hope to evoke.

  2. I followed a link here and I must say this blog is AMAZING! I am following and will be checking in pretty regularly.

  3. Following based on just a glimpse of your hex crawl. interesting stuff, thanks.

    Something I’ve been meaning to consider in a hexcrawl is terrain height and visibility in pc selection of destination and ability to navigate. the equation for visible horizon distance depends upon height of observer/target (over the rest of the land) and the radius of the planet (assuming a spherical one). i wanted to reward the pcs for finding tall trees, climbing mountains and such.

    1. Hi Red, my pleasure. Wow, that sounds like a useful formula to have on hand. I’ve been considering spot distances and the horizon as well, though I hadn’t come up with any handy formulas for calculating these. I’d be curious to see what you come up with.

  4. This is really excellent. I’m just getting into hex-crawls as a GM, and have a brand new group of first time roleplayers that I think will really dig the exploration. It’s much more contained and digestible than some of the big published hex-crawl settings too. I’m going to run this using Dungeon World.

    1. Hey thanks GCPDblue! I hope the Isles of Mist serve you and your party well. One of my aims in this adventure was to present the information in an accessible manner, glad to here you find it to be so. Cheers!

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