Sunday, November 23, 2014

Game log for 23 November 2014

The characters

Anêr, human swashbuckler
Yémos, human cleric
Mayhem, short human barbarian
Caleb, human wizard

As they walked over a hill, they heard a shrill voice scream out, "Kill them!" They looked down, and it struck them that they knew that voice. It was the voice of the woman whom Anêr crippled a few days before.

Sure enough, she was standing on her crutches, and her four friends were coming for the heroes. Two of them started charging up the hill, and two more nocked arrows. Caleb and Mayhem got ready to fire back, while Yémos cast Shield on both Mayhem and Anêr. As the two sides came to meet each other, and one missed Mayhem, while the other felled Yémos. Mayhem missed his shot, but Caleb singed one and Yémos gave one a cut on his face. Mayhem pulled out his axe.

After a few seconds, both the fighters in front had fallen to Mayhem, and he charged down the hill, Anêr after him, while Caleb fell to an arrow. One of the archers ran, while Mayhem and Anêr took down the bigger one. They nabbed the woman on crutches, who spat in their face. Thus, they bound her face as well as her limbs, and took her latest haul: 250 copper farthings, 25 silver pennies, and 9 gold pieces. Then they awoke their fallen spellcasters, stopped the bleeding of the bandits, and brought the whole lot to Ōndrûnks.

There, they sold the equipment of the bandits for 900 copper farthings, and bought some rations. The guards took the bandits, and Yémos looked for a new tent, but there was none for sale. They spent the night in Magog, smelling the apples. The next morning, they checked out the peasant hovel of Bîs, the bandit leader on crutches (which they heard from Bîs, the owner of Magog, and as gainsaid to Bîs, the big archer among the bandits), but there was no booty there, only a few crops in the garden.

They passed through Lúrās, where folks gave them dirty looks, went through a short rain shower, passed a man pushing a lumber cart on the road, tried to buy a tent in Lûtē Downs but again could not, then made it to Mīstássun. There, they went to Caravan Outfitters, a shop with incense burning in the Market Ward near the West Gate, and there bought a tent, some Minor Healing potions, and paut.

Having made it into town still early, they ate dinner at The Pantry, looking for Nabbrášus, hoping she would work as a new patron. There Arrūnús, the owner, told them that Nabbrášus hasn't been there since she met them, so after dinner, they followed Arrūnús's directions and went to her home in the Merchants Ward. On the way there, a humming man with only two teeth bumped into them, and Anêr grabbed his hand when it was near his coin purse. After some chatter, where the man said that he was not trying to rob them, they let him go. They made it to Nabbrášus's home, where an orc with a tattooed lip and a slave collar told them to come back the next day, as it was late.

That night, they went to crash on the floor of the Scarlet Harlot. Yémos was casting Watchdog on their belongings when Praidīvós came into the tavern, and asked for his demon blood. After some shouting and Yémos telling Praidīvós about their plight at Dībités Rock, Praidīvós stormed off, saying he was going for the guard. Thus, the gang went outside the gates, and Mayhem found a good spot for a camp where they spent the night.

The next day was 8 Blôs, and they went to the home of Nabbrášus the next morning, and signed a contract with her to help out for three months at her mines in the Áos Hills. She paid them the first week's pay, 25 silver pennies each, right away, and from there, they went to go train.


When all was said and done, they had 20 character points each to spend, so we talked for about an hour about how to spend them. Caleb looks like he's becoming a member of the Order of the Sun to help with his blasting skills. He needed to spend only six points: two on skills, three on spells, and one on the style's perk. Mayhem will goose up his Weather Sense and Outdoorsman, and learn Fast-Draw (Axe). Anêr is learning Weapon Master (Rapier), which will give him two more points of damage. Eric couldn't figure out what Yémos would do, and truthfully, I didn't have good suggestions. I didn't charge them training costs since it seemed mean at this power level to make them spend money to be able to spend their character points.

I'll find out what they're doing over the next few days with a few die rolls. Once they get to the mines,  they'll go down into them, which will become a more traditional dungeon game for a bit. I'm going to think of old school elements over the next few weeks. In three weeks, they'll set forth, and likely in the next session or two, they'll go into the mines. I know I want to look at intelligent swords. I don't know if I want to go the megadungeon route. Mines lend themselves well to this, but also to many small dungeons. And they have so much invested into traveling gear and skills at this point that spending too much time in a dungeon seems like a waste.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Central hex crawl link repository

I'm trying to put together a good list of hex crawling resources on the web. I'll update this as I get more things to put here, and have better comments. I'm doing this since it took me awhile to find all these myself, and, after I started writing this post a few weeks ago, Christopher Rice posted his to-do list for a GURPS Dungeon Fantasy campaign that, based on the list, seemed akin to mine. So Ghostdancer, this is for you, among others.


Trollsmyth One series heavy on theory. Gives you a good understanding of a hex crawl, but isn't heavy on mechanics. I often use his monster motivation table in part 17.
The Alexandrian Another series heavy on theory. Alexander has some mechanics with his.
Rob Conley Once you go through the theory to understand what you're running, go through this to start designing the sandbox. It kind of peters out about 60% of the way through, though most of the rest is easy to guess.
Hex-Based Campaign Design The Welsh Piper has a pretty good set of tables for the fixed encounters.
Twenty Quick Questions for Your Campaign Setting With the two above it, you'll narrow down what you need to write. I wish someone could come up with twenty questions as great as this list for other topics.
Improving the Hex Key Format Something that has bugged me for a bit, which is the best format for all these entries.


These are mostly bunches of tables. You want tables. You will have trouble finding enough tables. They help when the players go off the rails, and since you're not laying down rails, you'll use them constantly. The first set is mostly for the sandbox, and the second set is for dungeons. Finding a dungeon will break up a boring trek. Most of these are NOT free, though some are cheap.

Yes, I shelled out for lots of these, over a period of about two years.


d30 Sandbox Companion A masterful assortment of tables, and no, I'm not overloading it with praise. If anything, it needs a sequel to add even more of its amazing set of tables. I use this PDF more than any other, and it's my go-to source for road encounters. Cheap.
Ultimate Toolbox This was my earliest set of tables, and I used them quite a bit in early design. As a side note, I had the original Toolbox at my side when I ran D&D a decade ago. Not cheap.
Kellri's Old School Reference The fourth one is the gem you need. Generally handy, though it suffers from a bad PDF index and from coming from many older books. You need to look hard in here. Free.
Ready Ref Sheets The granddaddy of all of these, some of the tables are still handy even today. Some of them are better done in the d30 Sandbox Companion. And some of them are best left in the Seventies. It's also a great bit of gaming history. Cheap.
The Wilderness Alphabet Written as an above-ground answer to the Dungeon Alphabet (below), it does give a bunch of tables for rolling up random items in the wild. It would benefit from a publisher to give it better formatting and artwork. Cheap.
GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 16: Wilderness Adventures I'm not planning on pimping my preferred system (wait, I just did that), but this is handy for actually handling play in the wild. I ran my campaign for months before it came out, so you can do it, but this makes it much easier. OK price. Something of a modern, focused Wilderness Survival Guide.
D&D Expert Set It still has its uses. It brings me nostalgia more than any product here, other than maybe the Wilderness Survival Guide. Cheap.


Tome of Adventure Design I got this in a Bundle of Holding throw-in, and for something I didn't expect to use, I use it a lot, especially for its dungeon design tables. I got it too late for its sandbox design tables to be handy, though, truth be told, I'm listing stuff with better such tables. Not cheap.
d30 DM Companion The dungeon version of the d30 Sandbox Companion. It doesn't do much when everyone is above ground, but has loads of handy tables for when they're underground. I'm often surprised by what I find when I go looking in here, and it isn't a long book. Cheap.
The Dungeon Alphabet A good book of dungeon ideas. It's a spur for ideas down in the dungeon. OK price.
Tricks, Empty Rooms, & Basic Trap Design What it says on the tin. Incredibly handy for what it does. It has frigging drawings of the kinds of pit traps, man. That's just neat. Free.
D&D Basic Set I still use its dungeon stocking table. Cheap.


Hex Crawl A blog that its author seems to have forsaken last year, which is a pity since we need more of its tables and ideas. 30aug2016 The author has truly forsaken it AND its domain registration.
Run a Game: The Hex Crawl Another theory resource like the first two, this one is short.
are phantasia: Hexcrawl Resources A list of other resources, including a thread I started in the Steve Jackson Games Forums.
Gnome Stew Old School Fantasy Hexcrawl Resources Yet another list of resources.


One-Page Wilderness System This one might be the most important one. It lets you run a hex crawl somewhat like a dungeon. I use a variant of this to handle wilderness encounters away from civilization (the d30 Sandbox Companion handles encounters between settlements). And the advice on clues is fantastic. I even imported clues into random encounters in the dungeon.
Cities Alright, you buy this one, but I use this for the town encounters. Cheap.


Hexographer It's free for casual use, and is good for the drawing-impaired among us, including me.