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Patrick Zoch
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A question suggested by

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If you were to recommend one published 'hex crawl' to read and/or to play, which would it be and why?



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Azukail Games
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Well, there's The Northern Tier. It's free in PDF and has lots of interesting tables for encounters.
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Rebus Carnival
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I suspect making the hex crawl is more fun the playing it. It is not that much fun to wander around not finding anything. The reverse case of tripping over adventure every time you roll the weather sort of defeats the hexcrawl format.

DCC #084: Peril on the Purple Planet

Is by far the best published hexcrawl I have read, and notable for being fairly small in scope.
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I have nothing to add, except that I like this question and will be watching replies closely. I read The Northern Tier in prep for our community hex crawl, but have limited experience outside of that.

The concept of these type of crawls is awesome to me, though, and I hope to eventually build out a full one myself (and run it). Getting different examples is a great early step toward that.
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John Constantius
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X1 Isle of Dread. The granddaddy of them all. It’s not in the same league as B2 Keep on the Borderlands, but my friends and I still had great fun.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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Tomb of Annihilation because it has good puzzles to figure out.
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Fantasy: Master of the Amulets (for TFT)

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Chuck Dee
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Desert of Desolation. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Mostly because we played it in RoleMaster.
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JohnConstantius wrote:
X1 Isle of Dread. The granddaddy of them all. It’s not in the same league as B2 Keep on the Borderlands, but my friends and I still had great fun.

I agree. I didn't use to think of it as a "hex crawl," and I still don't think that, taken literally, is the best use of it, but I reread it recently as more of an environment than any kind of plotted adventure and I really saw some of the potential it held.
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Tomb of Annihilation. It has something most hexcrawls lack - an ending.

A close second whilst not being a true hexcrawl in the sense most hexes are inaccessible is Cyclopean Deeps because its actually very imaginative
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Mark Wilson
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I have a couple new ones on my Drive Thru Wishlist, thanks all!

jodokast wrote:
It has something most hexcrawls lack - an ending.


Heh. This does seem to be a feature (or lack of one) in most older crawls. I wonder if it's because there was more of a focus on player-generated and/or organic arcs (so there'd be a "Master Plot" in most groups, it's just not codified in the text). Or if it really was just an open-ended exploration. Maybe some of the OSR people here can shed some light on that?

One more recent one I saw (linked on Twitter from a Drive Thru creator) boasted that it was OS style, but with an overarching plot you could hang on the crawl's framework if needed. Most modern audiences, I suspect, would need a similarly cohesive element.
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Leandro Couto
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The Dark of Hot Springs Island is so good! I like the tropical theme, it's uncommon in fantasy RPGs. The book kind of forces you to use its generator tables, though, which took me a while to adapt to.
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The forthcoming RPGG Community Hexcrawl isn't even published yet but it's already my all-time favorite.

By comparison, everything else is crap! laugh
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Across the Bright Face.
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Michael Ink
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Although, I don't recall ever playing a hex crawl before but Slumbering Ursine Dunes looks pretty good.
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Inkwan wrote:
Although, I don't recall ever playing a hex crawl before but Slumbering Ursine Dunes looks pretty good.


His point crawl stuff is pretty brilliant. I have incorporated most of it into my hex crawls as either short cuts or as short-hand for large sites.
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Peter Robben
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I truly don't know, haven't done any of those in decades.
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X1: The Isle of Dread

Still rockin it after all these years.
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I remember being impressed by the Volturnus arc of Star Frontiers adventures in my youth.

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Azukail Games
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rebuscarnival wrote:
I suspect making the hex crawl is more fun the playing it. It is not that much fun to wander around not finding anything. The reverse case of tripping over adventure every time you roll the weather sort of defeats the hexcrawl format.


I tend to consider hexcrawls to be joiners more than anything - they are the adventuring wilderness that joins together the urban adventure and the dungeon adventure. Rather than simply saying that the characters go to a destination, have some interesting stuff along the way as well, a world for them to explore.
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Michael Ink
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Azukail wrote:
rebuscarnival wrote:
I suspect making the hex crawl is more fun the playing it. It is not that much fun to wander around not finding anything. The reverse case of tripping over adventure every time you roll the weather sort of defeats the hexcrawl format.


I tend to consider hexcrawls to be joiners more than anything - they are the adventuring wilderness that joins together the urban adventure and the dungeon adventure. Rather than simply saying that the characters go to a destination, have some interesting stuff along the way as well, a world for them to explore.


That's what I always though until I saw this D&D 1st edition style OSR game Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures and this cooperative world building Further Afield book for this game. Further Afield takes an approach to hex crawls where each player basically describes a place they would like to see (not unlike our rpggeek "Create a hex crawl" but with about 2 -3 hexes described for a standard game's worth of players to start. Once the first hex is explored, the group does another round of hex creation if they want so that there is always more to do.

The great thing here, is that I think you should get to use the approach to DMin'g
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is always using (and seems to work great) but in-game!

Plus, the system allows for plenty of surprise as a secret roll is used to determine how accurate the description is as it came from either a rumor (Charisma roll), observation (Wisdom roll), or research (Intelligence roll). This means even the player that described the hex will often find things not quite what they expected but with the type of encounters and adventure they wanted.

Obviously, I am dying to try it out!
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Sounds neat! I might quibble with calling it a crawl if crawl you do not. I think that's the appeal of the point crawl, which is a great way to get 'crawl but lighter than the classic format.
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Michael Ink
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rebuscarnival wrote:
Sounds neat! I might quibble with calling it a crawl if crawl you do not. I think that's the appeal of the point crawl, which is a great way to get 'crawl but lighter than the classic format.


Ah, indeed! You can also add that level of detail into the hexes. For example, all players could add something into a nearby hex but it probably is expected to be more of a point crawl. So, is my other earlier example of the ...Dunes...
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Caroline Berg
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I have played far more board game hex crawls than RPGs (woo Barbarian Prince!)

That said, the one hex crawl I have played was a Dungeon World hex crawl - and I'm almost 100% certain that was not published but made up by the GM for our game... so I've got nothing for this. Despite loving hex crawls... looks like I now have a list of ones to try out!

Actually, now that I think about it, I've also created more RPG hex crawls then I've played... huh.
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