I've recently discovered the concept of a hexcrawl through the web - it's completely unknown in my face-to-face gaming circles. It sounds fun! There are tons of good resources online to help GMs create hex-based sandbox worlds, lots of them aimed at a minimum of preparation designed to give the GM lots of evocative starting points to improvise from in play. Here's one
I liked, in case anyone is interested.
But there seems to be much less about actually running a hexcrawl once you are playing. This is classic RPG textism - the actual in-play procedures are almost all implicit and passed around by playing with other people. I can make guesses at what other people's play looks like, but it will probably just end up with me porting my own assumptions from other games. So, I appeal to Story Games: First, do you know of any existing texts that would teach me how to referee a hexcrawl? And secondly, if not, how about you tell me something off the top of your head?
Some specific things that I'm interested in that don't seem to be mentioned in the texts I've read:
- Is the hex map a "GM secret" - like a dungeon map might be? Do the players then map as they go along? Or is the whole world, with all its labelled towns and dungeons, revealed at the start?
- I was thinking of including published modules as scattered adventure locations in my hex map, and letting the PCs pick up rumours from the few days travel away. But a lot of modules assume specific terrain types, and a 6 mile hex isn't a large area. Even with tens or hundreds, I wouldn't expect to see much climate variation, realistically. Do people just hand wave this and have much faster changes in climate ("Oh look, the desert next to the farming area")? Do you have extremely long journeys through hundreds of hexes? Do you restrict yourself to one or two climates? Do you have long "non-hex" journeys been fully mapped out areas?
But a general overview of procedure would be good.