Monday, April 8, 2013
The Density of Hex Keys
Richard's Dystopian Pokeverse has an article on six-mile hexes, mostly about differences in density of things found in hexes, with a suggestion of using different dice sizes for encounter rolls based on the density. I'm not sure why the things he talks about suggest six-mile hexes instead of five-mile hexes, but the irreconcilable religious differences over hex size is one of the reasons why I started talking about two league hexes instead.
Anyway, he brought up examples of how a single hex may actually contain several settlements, not just one. This reminded me of something I read in the First Fantasy Campaign recently: Dave Arneson talks about stocking hexes for wilderness exploration and suggests that each hex should have 0 to 4 possible encounters. It's interesting how we went quickly from that to just one encounter per hex.
I think a lot of the sparseness in classic and OSR products is mostly an artifact of space considerations. There's not much room on a standard map to note the names of more than one settlement per two-league hex, so we fell into the habit of just labeling one per hex, or more often one every few hexes. Recording a unique encounter chart for every hex would take up more space, so we fell into the habit of just one encounter listing per wilderness hex. It might be worthwhile to explore ways of adding back that variety without creating cumbersome map keys.