Friday, August 31, 2007

The numbered hexmap in other genres

Still thinking about sandbox play over here. Besides D&D and Traveller, what other genres would the numbered hexmap work for? Off the top of my head:

Pulps focused on exploring Lost Worlds and distant continents

Basically, you need a genre where wandering the map and finding trouble would be a cool thing.


  1. Anonymous3:43 PM

    As far as post-apocalyptic goes, I've got a copy of the first Gamma World module, Legion of Gold. Seems like that is a good example of early game design, where an outdoor map would have strange pointless encounters peppered all over it. Kinda like the Keep on the Borderlands. I think at some time early on, someone decided that outdoor maps no longer needed to be treated like wall-less dungeons.

  2. Yeah, I got Legion of Gold and I totally see what you are saying. When I first read it I immediately thought "Hey, this is the Keep for mutants!"

  3. Not sure why you phrase the question theoretically; most of us have and do use numbered hexmaps for all those mentioned and more :)

  4. Not sure why you phrase the question theoretically

    Maybe I should have phrased it as "I've now got 4 JG hexmaps, what other uses besides D&D could I put them to?"

  5. Anonymous8:03 AM

    Somebody's coming, Ross muttered, hoarsely. But as they came into the street in which she lived they were met by a number of coaches on their way home, and on reaching the door of her brilliantly lighted mansion, they saw the last of the guests driving off in the last of the carriages, and several musicians coming down the steps with their instruments in their hands.. We must, therefore, admit that the dream invariably awakens us, that is, it puts into activity a part of the dormant force of the Forec.. There was a millinery store up the street, and thither with uncertain step he wended his way, feeling a little more elate, and altogether sociable.. He was sated; his soul longed to wipe a spiritual mouth on the back of a spiritual hand, and have done.. This afforded an excuse for the master's borrowing a horse and sleigh of somebody, and claiming the privilege of taking Miss Ellen home, while her father returned with only Aunt Sally and a great bag of bran from the mill--companions about equally interesting. I'd like three choice rooms, en suite, he said.. But look here, William, exclaimed Buller, it will get there just as we do; no horse could stand a roaring up in the air like that! Podington laughed.. In her phantasy going alone on the street signifies to have no man and no sexual relations (coire = to go together), and this she does not like.. I'm for every one's havin' a way of their own. Marchman, Sim's mother.. Whiskey is higher'n used to be, said Elder Brown; but the bartender was taking another order, and did not hear him.. It is such a rarity for a boy to request a whipping, that so remarkable a desire ought by all means to be gratified.. The postmark showed that it was from New York. The landlord was not in the house, but the yellow gleam of a lantern revealed his presence in the woodshed, and Mr.. Leonard very well by reputation, and they talked of her party that was to come off on this evening.. To be sure we, too, have called the dream absurd; but we have been able to learn from examples how wise the dream really is when it simulates absurdity.. ' This chanted recitation seemed to have a hypnotic effect on the freckled boy; his big pupils contracted each time Abner came to the repetend, Name yours.. My interest with--and as you wisely say--my--er--knowledge of my client--er--Mr.. I have known plenty of magic in eyes--and I glanced at the tender blue eyes of Prue--but I have not heard of any enchanted glasses...

  6. Man, spam has gotten really weird.

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  8. It's like, there's an evolution going on ... eventually the spambots will rise up against us all.

  9. Maybe I should have phrased it as "I've now got 4 JG hexmaps, what other uses besides D&D could I put them to?"

    Ah! Well, in ECGz#5 I'll have part one of a series of "Wilderness Development" sets of random tables :)

  10. Anonymous4:41 PM

    Gotta love wilderness development tables. I like the one for random wilderness terrain in the first edition DMG. If you do try to use it to randomize terrain by the mile hex, ends up looking like a crazy crazy mess. Mentioning Gamma World earlier on got me giving it a second look, and it seems thats entirely what they intended gm's to do. Make a general map and then start throwing random stuff from the tables all over it. After which, come up with some rationale for it all, if you want. Not entirely necessary.

  11. Hmmm...

    I don't know about pulp. It seems like in pulp, travel and exploration play a somewhat different role.

    I'm not sure how to articulate this at the moment, though.

  12. I don't know about pulp.

    But I do :) In my Fly From Evil campaigns, I use a chock-full-of-crazy hexmap to represent the inner dens of San Francisco's chinatown, so whenever a chase scene or other wierdness led the PCs that way, it took on the proper feel of an otherworldly maze in the heart of an otherwise mostly-comprehensible city.

    The hex-entries weren't random, though; every one was gleaned directly from my own pulp collection, each reflecting a different writer's nightmare visions of what Chinatown was like. Appropriately, absolutely nothing on the hexmap was taken from anything realistic (the historical Chinatown was essentially the exterior veneer).

    Worked beautifully; I highly recommend it.

  13. Anonymous8:18 PM

    Wow, that seems like a super awesome way to do it. I was intending on making a keyed city map for a pulpy game (was thinking of using crimefighters from that old dragon issue). Thought that each ethnic gang would have a zone of influence, and key money making operations, and that the crimefighters could stumble into them or go looking for them or whatever. The chinatown thing, now I'm gonna have to steal that one.

  14. The chinatown thing, now I'm gonna have to steal that one.

    That's what it's for, man :)

  15. That seems like a potentially cool way to handle chase scenes and such (though hexes seem like a bit of a kludge there).

    It doesn't really address my unarticulated point, though. :)

  16. It's like, there's an evolution going on ... eventually the spambots will rise up against us all.

    And they're probably going to become better able to emulate our conversations, so before long, we won't be able to tell from the post that the person posting is a spambot directing us into a marketing trap...until it's too late.

    Are YOU a Cylon?!

  17. Are YOU a Cylon?!

    Of course not! Dear God.

    GODS! I mean GODS! I said GODS!

  18. ...and, eventually, the marketing traps will evolve to the point where they are indistinguishable from useful content... and then I'll be really confused.

  19. Perhaps this is unsurprising given the numbered hexmap's wargaming origins, but it seems to me that a numbered hexmap would be very useful for any game that uses a war theme, from WWII games to, say, Greyhawk Wars. Numbered hexes make it easier to list where troops are stationed, where ambushes would be set up, where supply lines would be, where patrols would be frequent, etc. The tactical side of location.

  20. And on a less-military (but still tactical) front, our groups have used them a lot for domain management when the PCs are lords.

    But I use hex maps for everything; I don't think there's ever been a campaign of more than 4 months or so (including my current Risus campaign) that didn't eventually spawn a hexmap for some purpose or another, and quite a few have used a stack of them from Session One.