The Hexcrawling Game: Part 3 – House Rules

Part 1Part 2

Here, finally, is my first attempt at house rules for hexcrawling. Most of it, any way. A separate post on hazardous terrain will follow. There will also be playtesting reports, once they have seen actual use at the table. As you can see, I had to screw up the value of roads in order to make the movement point system work. But, I think that is a reasonable price to pay. We’ll see how it works out in practice.

The Step-By-Step Hexcrawling Day:

1. Determine the weather for the day.
2. Decide if the expedition is going to spend the day resting.
3. Decide if any members of the expedition will be foraging or hunting.
4. Make navigation throws to determine if the expedition gets lost, if necessary.
5. Choose which hex to enter, and expend Movement Points.
6. Decide if any members of the expedition are going to scout the hex, and expend Movement Points if any are.
7. Make Wandering Monster and Terrain Hazard checks, if necessary.
8. Repeat steps 5-7 until the expedition is out of MP or decides to stop for the day.
9. Determine the results of foraging and hunting, and then calculate food and water consumption.

Again, taking the steps in order:

1. Determine the weather for the day.

Roll 2d6 at the beginning of each travel day and compare the result to the following table. The precise form the weather takes is left to the Judge to determine based on what one would expect for the terrain.

Result Weather
2 Very Bad: No movement, no hunting, and no rest outdoors or in tents.
3-5 Bad: -2 on Navigation throws and -2 to everyone’s MP for the day (minimum 1 MP).
6-8 Normal: No effect.
9-11 Good: +2 to everyone’s MP for the day.
12 Very Good: +2 to everyone’s MP for the day, and the day counts as a day of rest as long as you don’t do a forced march.

Note: In hot terrain, such as deserts and jungles, characters in armor heavier than leather gain no benefit from Good or Very Good weather.

2. Decide if the expedition is going to spend the day resting.

If the expedition rests, they do not move, and cannot forage, hunt, or scout. One must rest 1 day of every 6, or the day after a forced march. If one fails to rest, they suffer a -1 penalty on attack throws and damage rolls until they do rest. Characters with the Endurance proficiency can go without resting after a day or more of forced marching, depending on their CON score.

3. Decide if any members of the expedition will be foraging or hunting.

Foraging costs each forager 1 MP per day. Hunting costs each hunter 8 MP per day. Not all members of the expedition have to hunt or forage. Those who do choose to hunt or forage are organized into hunting or foraging parties. Hunting and foraging parties may be separated from the main party when wandering monsters are encountered (see Step 7).

4. Make navigation throws to determine if the expedition gets lost, if necessary.

Unless the expedition is following a road, river, or similar feature, or is heading towards a landmark, they must succeed on a navigation throw or become lost. Once lost, the expedition realizes that they are lost, and where they actually are in relation to where they want to be, the next time they succeed on their daily navigation throw. While lost, whenever the expedition attempts to enter a new hex, roll a d6 to determine which adjacent hex they actually enter, with a 6 always indicating that they entered the intended hex.

5. Choose which hex to enter, and expend Movement Points.

Each character gets a number of Movement Points (MP) each day equal to twice his per-round speed, divided by 10. MP for normal human characters are shown on the following table. For anything else, you can calculate it yourself.

Speed Normal Forced March
30(10) 2 MP/day 3 MP/day
60(20) 4 MP/day 6 MP/day
90(30) 6 MP/day 9 MP/day
120(40) 8 MP/day 12 MP/day

Entering a hex costs a number of MP based on the type of terrain in the new hex and whether or not the expedition is traveling on a road, as shown on this table.

Terrain Type (Examples) Cost per 6-mi Hex …With Road
Clear (grassy plains) 2 MP 1 MP
Rough (desert, hills, wooded) 3 MP 2 MP
Very Rough (thick jungle, swamp, mountains) 4 MP 3 MP

Movement In Groups: MP are tracked for each character. Faster party members can choose to leave the rest of the expedition behind, to spend “extra” MP foraging, hunting, or scouting, or to simply discard any remaining MP left at the end of the day.

Forced March: Performing a forced march increases your MP for the day by half. You can choose to perform a forced march at any point during the travel day. If you do, you will need to rest the next day, as described in step 2.

Not Enough MP To Enter a Hex: If you don’t have enough MP left to enter a hex, you can’t. Discard some excess weight to increase your speed, or try a forced march.

Crossing Rivers: Crossing a large river, canyon, or similar obstacle costs 2 MP. If there is a ford, ferry, or similar feature that simplifies the crossing, then it costs only 1 MP. If there is a bridge, then costs 0 MP.

Flying: Do not double MP. Instead, all hexes cost 1 MP to enter, except for very high mountains, which cost 2 MP.

6. Decide if any members of the expedition are going to scout the hex, and expend Movement Points if any are.

Scouting a hex costs 1 MP, and you cannot make use of a road while you are scouting. Scouting a hex provokes a Wandering Monster check. Not all members of the expedition have to scout. Those who do choose to scout are organized into a separate scouting party. The scouting party may be separated from the main party when wandering monsters are encountered (see Step 7).

Scouting a hex reveals reveals any features of the hex that the Judge has decided will only be found when scouting – hidden thief hideouts or secret dungeon entrances, for example. Scouting a hex also allows the party to see landmarks at least 30′ tall in adjacent hexes, and landmarks at least 100′ tall up to 2 hexes away. Finally, scouting a hex reveals the terrain in nearby hexes. How far the scouts can see depends on the relief of the hex they are scouting, and the existence of other terrain that blocks line of sight, as described on the following table.

Relief Normal View Scouting View Line of Sight
Plains (difference in elevation between highest and lowest point measured in tens of feet.) Within hex (3 miles) Adjacent hexes (Can see hills 3 hexes away, and mountains 10 hexes away) Does not block line of sight from plains hexes. Does not block line of sight from hill hexes. Does not block line of sight from mountain hexes.
Hills (…hundreds of feet) Within hex (3 miles) 3 hexes (can see mountains 10 hexes away) Blocks line of sight from plains hexes. Does not block line of sight from hill hexes. Does not block line of sight from mountain hexes.
Mountains (…thousands of feet) Within hex (3 miles) 10 hexes (atmospheric haze blocks line of sight beyond 10 hexes) Blocks line of sight from plains hexes. Blocks line of sight from hills hexes. Blocks line of sight from mountains hexes.

Note that bad or very bad weather restricts line of sight to the current hex, even when scouting. Also, the spell eyes of the eagle and similar effects increase Scouting View distance to 10 hexes regardless of relief, but does not overcome blocked line of sight.

7. Make Wandering Monster and Terrain Hazard checks, if necessary.

If the expedition is traveling in Civilized areas, check for wandering monsters once per month, plus one additional time each day spent hunting, and another time for each hex scouted.

If the expedition is traveling in the Borderlands, check for wandering monsters once per week, plus one additional time each day spent hunting, and another time for each hex scouted.

If the expedition is traveling in Wilderness areas, check for wandering monsters every time they enter a new hex, or once per day if they remain in the same hex. If the expedition is hunting, they trigger an additional wandering monster check that day. They also trigger an additional wandering monster check each time they scout a hex.

If the expedition has split into multiple parties for hunting, foraging, or scouting, then roll a d6 for each wandering monster generated. On a 4+, one of the smaller parties (randomly determined) encounters the wandering monster while they are separated from the rest of the expedition. Otherwise, the expedition encounters the monster before they separate or after they have reunited.

Each time the party enters a hex containing hazardous terrain, roll a d6. On a 6+, the lowest level member of the party who has not encountered a terrain hazard within the last week, and who is not a member of a barbarian tribe native to the area, encounters a terrain hazard rolled on the table appropriate to the terrain (these will appear in a separate Hazardous Terrain post). If the victim or the party’s guide succeeds on a Land Surveying throw, they spot the hazard and avoid it before it strikes. The victim gains a +4 bonus on any Saving Throws prompted by the hazard if he has the Survival proficiency.

8. Repeat steps 5-7 until the party is out of MP or decides to stop for the day.

The party keeps moving into new hexes until they can’t, or no longer want to.

9. Determine the results of foraging and/or hunting, and then calculate food and water consumption.

A human requires 1 food item and 5 water items each day. “Human” includes human-sized and smaller humanoids, like Atlanteans, Telkaynie, Zargonians, and other demihumans and beastmen. It also includes human-sized and smaller animals, such as dogs and familiars.

A mount requires 4 food items and 20 water items each day. “Mounts” includes horse-sized animals used for any purpose, including riding and draft horses, camels, oxen, pack lizards, riding lizards, etc.

A food item may be rations or iron rations, and may be cheap, average, or expensive. Rations last for 1 week (1 day in a dungeon) before spoiling, while iron rations last for 2 months (1 week in a dungeon). Cheap rations have a negative effect on NPC morale, while expensive rations have a positive effect. Rations cost 25cp per item on average (Cheap: 5cp/item; Expensive: 40cp/item). Iron rations cost twice as much (Cheap: 10cp/item; Average: 50cp/item; Expensive: 80cp/item).

One can also purchase animal fodder for 5cp/item. Animal fodder lasts for 2 months (1 week in dungeons), and can be fed to to herbivorous or omnivorous animals with no ill effects. NPCs will suffer severe negative effects on their morale if they are reduced to eating animal fodder, but they won’t starve.

Water items are usually free, but if you want to transport water you need to have containers to keep it in. Water containers cost 3cp per water item and may include everything from small gourds and waterskins to casks, barrels, and kegs of various sizes. Due to bulk, water containers retain half their encumbrance even when empty (that is to say, 12 items worth of empty water containers equals one stone of encumbrance). Water containers can be refilled with foraged water items, or completely refilled whenever the party encounters a water source such as a lake, river, or well. Each party member can also consume the equivalent of 1 water item when they encounter a water source.

At the end of the day, every human forager makes a throw. On a 2+, the forager finds 5 water items. On an 18+, the forager finds 1d6x5 water items and 1d6 food items that count as cheap rations. A forager with the Survival proficiency gains a +4 bonus on his foraging throw, and always finds at least 5 water items and 1 food item. Grazing animals that forage find 5 water items and 1 food item that counts as animal fodder on a throw of 2+; if they did nothing all day except forage, they find 4 times this amount.

At the end of the day, every hunter makes a throw. On a 2+, the hunter finds 5 water items. On a 14+, the hunter finds 2d6x5 water items and 2d6 food items that count as average rations. A hunter with the Survival proficiency gains a +4 bonus on his hunting throw, and always finds at least 5 water items and 1 food item.

Foraging or hunting in hazardous terrain, such as deserts, may reduce impose penalties on the associated throw and/or reduce the amount of food and water items found. See the Hazardous Terrain post for details.

Once all foraging and hunting results have been generated, calculate food and water consumption for all members of the expedition, reduce (or increase) the expedition’s food and water stores accordingly, and then recalculate encumbrance.

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2 Responses to The Hexcrawling Game: Part 3 – House Rules

  1. Granger44 says:

    Quite cool, but it sure seems like you’d want a spreadsheet or an app to keep track of all this (and maybe even do all the rolls for you).

  2. You’re probably right, but I find I need a lot of spreadsheets to run ACKS. Fortunately, I have run my game from behind my laptop instead of a DM’s screen for a long time, so I already have a fairly elaborate campaign record spreadsheet. It has a party roster tab, calendar tab, tabs for tracking treasure and XP received, and a tab for tracking turns in the dungeon. Adding another to track the stuff I need for this system.won’t be an issue.

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