... now with 35% more arrogance!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Random Subhex Wilderness Generation PDF

I've done many posts on random wilderness generation tricks, including some recently. But sometime back in 2012, I did a short series about "subhex" wilderness crawls, mapping random wilderness at about the same scale as a dungeon. In other words, mapping individual boulders, trees, hillocks, huts, and roads.

I removed those posts along with many others that I planned on overhauling at some point, but I put it on low priority. I didn't think it was all that popular, especially compared to my hex-level wilderness posts. But then Justin Alexander said, "Hey, what happened to those?"

So I redid them as a PDF. Subhex Wilderness Crawls: Random Local Terrain and Landmark Tables for Class-and-Level Exploration Fantasy RPGs.

Turns out I did a lot  more rewriting and creating new material than I'd originally planned. I did several tables that weren't part of the original series, including a revamped version of the Landmarks table from the non--subhex posts. It's a major overhaul, but I think it reads a lot cleaner now and is easier to use than before.


  1. Thanks for posting this PDF. I spent a little time this past Sunday playing around with it. The 5d12 method seems to produce more realistic results, in terms of distances, but, for most terrain types, puts interesting landmarks at the outer edges of a single sheet of graph paper. The drop die method was better for my purposes since it puts more points of interests on a single sheet. I used two of the paths off the starting point to create a coastline. It ended up being too straight so I used it as a general guide with natural looking irregularity added by using a rule that I borrowed from ICE's Campaign Law for creating coastlines. The end result was a map of a nicely detailed small area with a lot of opportunity for adventure.

    1. Thanks!

      What was the coastline rule you used?

  2. It is really dead simple ... just a percentile die roll. 1 to 50 is Coastline and 51 to 100 is Open Sea. When I picked up that Rolemaster boxed set back in the late 80s, I didn't really notice the little 3 page section on random geography generation tucked away in Campaign Law. The measurements are 5 mile hexes so it lines up well with the scale of most D&D/retro-clones rules. When I dropped that last set of 5d10 for extra landmarks, two of them landed in the waters off the coast. I ignored the type of landmark one die indicated and just decided it was a shipwreck because I like shipwrecks. The other die produced a shrine where sinister fish-men bring the captives from their nighttime raids to be sacrificed to their foul god every full moon.