OSR: the Veinscrawl

Veins of the Earth is an amazing book.

I've attempted to unpack some of the astonishingly dense content into a more digestible and immediately accessible form. I've written a hexcrawl incorporating as much Veins content as I could manage, plus a few more factions, races, and encounters.

Veinscrawl PDF


•Words by me.
•Editing, layout, and magical production values by David Shugars.
•Art by Lungfungus.


•162 hexes.
•Rules for navigating underground.
•Ten fully detailed factions plus additional oddities and treasures.
•Elaborate random encounter tables.
•Many other tables, useful tools, and tips for running games in the Veins.
•The seeds of empires.

The hexcrawl is designed to be a framework, not a set-in-stone document with clearly defined rules and laws. If you mix up the order of a few hexes, don't worry about it. If you decide to add a faction, change an encounter table, or only use a small portion of it, go right ahead. Provided you keep the goals and values of Veins of the Earth in mind, you can improvise freely and nothing terrible will happen. I wrote it for myself, mostly. It shows. Rewrite it for you.

Bonus Content

Greyscale Map
Full Colour Map

Cave Map (with grid)

Cave Map (without grid)
Take a sheet of black construction paper and cut a hole in it. If you need some caves in a hurry (for chases, etc.) use these maps. The circle is the 30' light radius of a lantern.

Veinscrawl Villages 1

Veinscrawl Villages 2

Benda over on Chris McDowall's Discord has created a neat spreadsheet map of the Veinscrawl.

The map is conceptual. Hexes take 6 hours to cross. The entire map could be folded on top of itself or crushed into a ball. It does not describe a flat plane or a uniform area. It describes the relationship between areas.

Not Appearing In This Hexcrawl

For a Different Campaign:
Anglerlich, Antiphoenix, Civilopede. You could add all 3 in easily enough. Define a random route through the hexes; the Civilopede will be there. Add the Aniphoenix to a random encounter table or to a hex. Use the Anglerlich to lure the PCs into the Veins.

I Don't Know How To Run This Encounter (to my satisfaction):

The Egengraü, Gegenscheim, Phantom Hand of Gargas, Tachyon Troll, Knotsmen, Spectre of the Bröcken. Feel free to add them in. The Knotsmen could easily replace the Ghouls in the hexcrawl, or they could be added as a new faction.

Unfolded, the hexcrawl map looks a bit like this.

Notes on the Map

I'm proud of it. It's designed almost like a dungeon. Strip away the hexes and the depths and the map becomes a series of faction-specific "rooms" connected by neutral "hallways". There are high challenge areas, hidden areas, secret doors, and plenty of weird and interesting content to keep players occupied for a very long time.


  1. This is delicious! Thank you!

  2. Why on earth did you put so much effort into this free thing with no patreon or anything, you maniac?

    I've been putting off running the Veins until any two of the following things happen :

    1. Hurst finishes the DCO version 2.
    2. You release this.
    3. My players decide to go down one of the random holes I leave lying around with no specific hook.


    1. Like I said, I wrote it for me. I wanted to run a Veins hexcrawl. One didn't exist. I wrote it.

    2. And may I say, thank you. I’ve been hounding all your sweet posts and mangling them to my own devices, it’s super cool I get to see how you put them all together.

    3. I know. I wasn't being entirely serious. It was meant as a backwards way of praising your work/generosity/etc.

      EVERYONE BUY KIDNAP THE ARCHPRIEST! It's also by Skerples and also excellent.


  3. I'd never heard of Veins of the Earth until today. I opened this document and I still don't really know, but what you've put in here is one of the two most amazing things I've seen this year (the other is Hot Springs Island).

  4. Hey, want to say thanks for publishing your work. I love reading your game reports and have print offs of tons of your stuff.
    You rock Skerples.

  5. I just read this and oh wow! Fantastic work! So very creative that this feels like a wonderful and proper supplement to Veins of the Earth. You captured VotE's style and creative flair and dug even deeper. And while I'm here, I purchased Kidnap the Archpriest for my group to run through soon. Another outstanding module. Keep up the fantastic work!

  6. Amazing work! Thank you so much for sharing it!

  7. Any chance for a POD version from DTR or something?

    1. Unlikely. I don't own the rights to a bunch of the stuff inside.

  8. Hoolleeee.... this is awesome and you're awesome for just making it available.

    Do you recommend giving players a blank hex map without labels, or just blank hex paper and make them map it? Latter seems more Veins-esque but I'm curious about what you do (I've never run a hex crawl before).

    1. No need to give them a hex map. There are mapping ideas on pg. 6 of the Veinscrawl. Just have them map what they encounter and draw a messy diagram, like the ones my group uses: https://coinsandscrolls.blogspot.ca/2018/05/osr-veins-of-earth-session-3-and-4.html

    2. Cool, I'll look into that. Currently running the 5e starter set for my table, but I'm interested in running a weirder campaign (possibly Veins) if they're up for it afterwards. I notice the der0 aren't included in this Veinscrawl - is that just because the Drow conspiracy was already in, and it would get a bit crowded?

      I take it you don't run 5e? I've found some resources for converting from OSR to 5e, but it does seem like it'll be a challenging shift.

    3. Got to check the ol' table of contents; dEr0 are on pg.62.
      Converting this content to 5E is possible, but you may want to consider using and learning an OSR-type system. It's very challenging to convert between them; the initial assumptions, design choices, and goals are very different.

  9. Hey, can you comment on the color map about what the hex colors mean? Maybe I missed it, but I don't see any legend or such in the pdf...thanks for making this amazing work!

    1. Oh sorry! I think it's in there somewhere. Light grey = Littoral. Mid grey = Profundal. Dark grey = Abyssal. Shallower to deeper. Deeper is warmer and weirder.

  10. Is this color map still accurate? I'd like to print it for use with the Veinscrawl book. The map in that book is only in grey.

    1. Yup. I prefer black and white PDFs wherever possible. Makes printing easier. The colour map is accurate.

  11. this is gonna end up being the bottom of the Chasm in TotSK. Sick.

  12. This is amazing stuff for coronacampaigns. Thanks again for making it.

  13. I LOVE the wandering diagrams. I always thought there should be a way for the DM to figure out where the part REALLY goes compared to where they think they are going (and probably keep their real location/path secret).