2020/10/07

OSR: Massive Community Hexcrawl - Open Submissions

I started a community hexcrawl on Patreon. Since it seems every interested Patron has contributed, I've decided to open the project to everyone. Hear ye, hear ye, get your hexes in before it's too late.


V 1.5 PDF

I really like the land that's slowly emerging. The high, star-blasted peaks of the Barren Fells, the slab-sided slopes of the Bluffs, the oozing Wastes, the desolate Badlands, and the contentious and turbulent Savannah. The mysterious Researchers, the aloof Rust Monks, the dead Pallid Knights, the mutated Protean Army, and the mysterious Kalawi Tribe. Wurms, golems, psychic elephants, and stranger things besides. Like Arnold's Centerra, there might be weird stuff everywhere but the world is still a real place with real people experiencing real problems. The setting feels like it could be bolted on to the Ultraviolet Grasslands, Dying Earth, or other similar settings without too much trouble. It's similar to Gus L.'s Dread Machine, but more factional and much larger. You could stick some of the Trilemma adventures or White Plume Mountain in here too. 

Please avoid direct pop culture references. I reserve the right to edit all submissions (or ignore them). All text will be licensed under CC-BY-NC.

Pavel Kolomeyets

To Submit:

Post a comment with one hex and one encounter. You can submit multiple hexes and encounters in separate comments, but I'll try to give everyone a chance before looping back to the same authors. There are a surprising number of hexes to fill, but it's still first-come, first-serve.
 

Hexes

In the format:

#.## - [Faction] - [Landform]


Terrain: [max 66 char. including spaces. Describes the general features of the hex.]

Obvious Feature: [max 107 char. including spaces. Describes a specific feature: a village, a standing stone, a dungeon hint, etc. Something the PCs will find if they wander into the hex.]

Hidden Feature: [max 107 char. including spaces. Describes a hidden feature: a cache, a cave, a dark secret, etc. Something the PCs might find if they search or spend time in the hex.]


#.## refers to the row.column number from the hex map. If you don't have a specific hex in mind, leave this blank or use #.##.
[Faction] must be one of the following: 
Neutral, Kalawi Tribe, 
Researchers, 
Rust Monks, 
Protean Army, Pallid Knights.
[Landform] must be one of the following: Badlands, 
Barren Fells, Bluffs, Savannah, Wastes.

Factions and terrain types are briefly described in the PDF. Hexes take 6hrs to cross. They could be twenty miles of flat open ground or one mile of trackless wilderness. Don't worry about scale, worry about density of gameable content. Try as hard as you can to make every word or phrase capable of supporting an interesting session.
 

Encounters

In the format:
Omen:
[max 66 char. including spaces. The hint the PCs get if they move cautiously.]
Encounter: [max 124 char including spaces. The encounter itself with descriptors.

Ariel Perez

Notes on Community Projects

Sticking to a very strict, very brief format makes collating material much easier. I sometimes need to trim a word or polish a phrase, but it's a lot easier than open-ended bestiaries.

Short character limits inspire creativity. It's easy to get an idea across in a long blog post, but can you write a snappy, evocative, and useful sentence? It encourages people to focus on the essentials.

It's essential that the project's coordinator maintain motivation and drive. If they stop caring, the whole thing falls off the radar. Handing the project off to someone else leads to more problems, even if a style guide and copious notes are provided.

Concerns / Problems
The broader the project's scope, the more likely similar ideas will appear. Terrain types and factions were entirely crowdsourced, and tended towards aesthetics of ruin immediately. Idea reinforced idea. This is great (because the hexcrawl feels very cohesive), but it did lock the project in a specific direction.

Without direction or knowing what's already been submitted, people tend to submit what they think is useful, leading to duplication. See: Petty Gods. With clear direction, and knowing what's already been submitted, people tend to riff and reiterate, leading to reduced creativity. Early adopters set the tone for all following submissions.

After an initial burst of enthusiasm, interest in a project rapidly fades. It's tricky to keep the flow of submissions going. The coordinator can fill in blanks if needed.

There's no easy solution, and a solution may not be necessary. These are just things to keep in mind.

37 comments:

  1. 3.5 - Researchers - Bluffs
    Terrain: Trio of high buttes in a windy plain of scrub grass and gravel.
    Obvious Feature: Metal scaffolds, ladders, and bridges frame and span the buttes. Onion-shaped structures visible on top.
    Hidden Feature: A river runs beneath the buttes, harnessed as a subterranean power source for manufacturing and research.

    Encounter:
    Omen: The wind shifts, conveying nearby keening barks and rattling metal.
    Encounter: Two horse-sized capybaras heavily augmented with armor and implants. Three keepers are having a hard time controlling them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 1.4 Researchers - Barren Fells
    Terrain: ash-covered basalt descents
    Obvious Feature: granite aquaduct carrying black water from 1.4. Drinking it brings you closer to both death and undeath.
    Hidden Feature: Paper golems tending meditative redoubt. Last mortal researcher curates vital secrets in coded rock garden

    Encounter:
    Omen: Scrap of paper with an arrow drawn on it, held down by a stone
    Encounter: 2d4 paper golems, like origami folk. Knives cut like steel. Gentle but deadly when panicked.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 3.2 - Neutral - Wastes
    Terrain: Huge turtle shells lined with stars and old skulls. Always bright.
    Obvious Feature: City where bright lights live inside shell. Pool in centre grants wish once a century. Time passes faster.
    Hidden Feature: Sleeping corpse of starchild. Body parts possess magical power. White-furred ratman lives in its heart.

    Encounter
    Omen: Multicoloured shooting star appears overhead. Sound of singing.
    Encounter: 4 bright ones, collecting tribute for the Shining Machine. Create solar flares as they walk. Asks for a precious memory.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 3.1.- Neutral- Terrain: Badlands- Jagged limestone outcrops. Few plants larger than lichen.
    Obvious Feature: A single bristlecone pine, twisted by wind.
    Hidden Feature: A rock shelter, carved with the names of people who have slept there.

    Encounter:
    Omen: Barking like laughter, the smell of wet fur.
    Encounter: A hyena-like beast of burden. Visibly starving. Pack contains a large, folded tent.

    ReplyDelete
  5. 3.7 - Rust Monks - Wastes
    Terrain: Saltwater sinkholes and ferrous fenland. Manufactured reedbeds.
    Obvious Feature: Massive basalt altar balances atop a vast obsidian centipede. Its sharp feet impale headless carrion birds.
    Hidden Feature: Shimmering puddle only visible when facing south. Water drawn from here varies in acidity by altitude.

    Encounter
    Omen: Horrid bleach scent blows by. Nigh-imperceptible dip in humidity.
    Encounter: Sick-looking protean squire staggers blindly, tears streaming its face. Its lower back writhes with larval parasites.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. >no longer content to Skerp from the patrons, he Skerps from any and all
    Yikes!

    1.1 - Neutral - Wastes
    Terrain: Gray and rust-orange dirt. Sickly brown grass. Curious beams, rods, and pieces of metal protrude.
    Obvious Feature: Bands of purple-hued humans who survive as hunter-gatherers gather in grass huts. They shun outsiders, save for their priests who are keen to trade, converse, and probe.
    Hidden Feature: Hidden in the wilderness is a crater wherein lies the god-thing K'zthuggah, The Water That Eats. Sacrificing a friend, relative, or loved one to it grants a boon, often tainted.

    Encounter
    Omen: An unbroken red trail stains the ground. It is not blood or paint.
    Encounter: 1d3 Things of red ooze, slug-like below the waist, humanoid above it, and faces contorted into soundless screams. [Chaotic, HD 1, AC 9, MV 9, Hit only by magic weapons]

    ReplyDelete
  8. 8.1 - Pallid Knights - Badlands
    Terrain: Lone and level sands. Extreme temperature. No cover. No landmarks.
    Obvious Feature: Corpses in red maille or white litter the sand. Their bronze swords are valuable and only a little haunted.
    Hidden Feature: Pallid warcamp, only at night. Will soon raid the "Amorites" in 8.2. Never will; and there are no Amorites.

    Omen: Dustcloud, hoofbeats. In darkness: flashing sapphire curse-lights.
    Encounter: 8 horsemen, including leader and chaplain. Angered a Wizard (6HD/AC18/2d10 claws) who is close behind. Better start running.

    ReplyDelete
  9. 1.3 – Neutral – Bluffs
    Terrain: Dried lahar, bluffs reach up like hands. Everything is sinking.
    Obvious Feature: Titanic humanoid figure buried up to armpits in mud. Made entirely of decaying iron. Village on head.
    Hidden Feature: Point of giant’s spear. Hidden behind a far bluff, stabbing up from the mud. Researcher scout waits here.

    Omen: A patch of liquidised mud and a horrible stench.
    Encounter: Giant, filthy rust worm, born from giant’s innards. Liquidises mud to pull down prey. Smells awful, sounds worse.

    ReplyDelete
  10. 2.3 - Rust Monks - Bluffs
    Terrain: Sharp, jutting cliffs covered in artificial tessellations.
    Obvious Features: A watercarved stair winds up the cliffside, small niches hold shrines where the monks meditate.
    Hidden Features: Every fifth alcove hides a rusted lever, together they control the cliff’s patterns. Potentially a memetic weapon.

    4.5 - Neutral - Bluffs
    Terrain: Colossal weather worn granite spires rise up from the hills.
    Obvious Features: Even on clear days lightning arcs between the spires and may hit any metal objects brought between.
    Hidden Features: Three Researchers lurking about in a camouflage autowagon taking notes.

    4.10 - Researchers - Wastes
    Terrain: Low clay mounds writhing with malformed golems.
    Obvious Features: A rickety observation tower guarded by a quartet of armoured golems at the center of the mounds.
    Hidden Features: Inside is filled with golem whistles and maps of the wastes. Certain locations are marked with red circles.

    ReplyDelete
  11. 2.9 - Kalawi Tribe - Savannah
    

Terrain: Silvery grass sea, gently swaying.
    Obvious Feature: Massive grass-less plain. Single-person wattle and daub huts, spread out. Hairless, speechless elders.
    Hidden Feature: Intricately carved clusters of tusks in fractal patterns. Randomly scattered, hidden by grass.

    Omen: Sudden sweltering heat. Loud sounds of breaking branches.
    Encounter: A baobab branch appears far above you. Thick blue leaves, shimmering bark. Its chrome oval fruits are priceless.

    ReplyDelete
  12. 5.7 - [Pallid Knights] - [Barren Fells]
    Terrain: Empyrean heights cut by river canyons drink deep the cerulean lake
    Obvious Feature:The Lament of Joscail, a stone keep keeping silent watch over dead Knights, their hollow armor in mid fight
    Hidden Feature: Here lairs the great Lindwyrm, jealous ever of adventurers, whose mythic struggle with a knight is repeated

    ReplyDelete
  13. 7.5 Kalawi Tribe - Wastes
    Terrain: Smoky glass brambles growing steadily, glass dust chokes the air.
    Obvious Feature: Toppled tower of clear glass, shattered. Surrounded by thick brambles. Called "The Smokestack" by locals.
    Hidden Feature: Cave oasis, with clean water and mushrooms. Entrance has delicate glass circle of protection around it.

    Omen: Singing, a high pitched whine, like glass edges rubbed together.
    Encounter: A trio of bramble fiends, smoke in their veins and glass in their voice, planting a young bramble at the edge of the wastes.

    ReplyDelete
  14. 5.5 - [Kalawi tribe] - [Badlands]
    Terrain: Sandstorms whirling against stark pillars creates ceaseless noise
    Obvious Feature:Wind and sand rushing through the Etch carries endless deafening noise fading away ever new petroglyphs.
    Hidden Feature: The Tai-Asal of the Yawaal, ritual kritarchs of the tribe. They speak only the hand-language of judges.

    ReplyDelete
  15. #.## - Neutral - Savannah
    

Terrain: Windswept grass plains
    Obvious Feature: Massive fractal monoliths of smooth white or black stone, hovering and slowly spinning in the air.
    Hidden Feature: Sometimes the shapes dip close enough to the surface to enter into the empty 1950's federal office within.

    Omen: The monoliths speed up their dance, ululation fills the air.
    Encounter: A soft spoken accountant in a modern suit steps from behind a bush. Carries a hidden revolver. Offers gold for observations.

    ReplyDelete
  16. 1.7 Kalawi Tribe - Savannah

    Terrain: Stands of red-leaved trees dot the scrub. Tall obsidian spires.

    Obvious Feature: Tribal stronghold extracts, works obsidian. Exports across the land. Ivory tusk walls. Ivory scale armour.

    Hidden Feature: Internal struggle supplanted rightful heir. Their partisans lair in obsidian cave, skin cut by sharp edges.

    Savannah Encounter 5:

    Omen: Silk scraps caught on trees, melodic song, delicate items dropped.

    Encounter: Lone young harpy covered in once-fine silk and jewellery. Will (incompetently) tell fortune for scraps. Means well.

    ReplyDelete
  17. #.## - Researchers - Badlands
    
Terrain: A huge strip mine going into the earth. The pit intersects gigantic bones

    Obvious Feature: The strip mine was built to harvest the marrow of titan bones. These creatures are functionally immortal so their marrow is an infinite form of sustenance.

    Hidden Feature: A tunnel leads to the skull of a titan. Its brain is still active and it has an eye to see and possible communicate with.


    Badlands Encounter
    Omen: A plume of black smoke on the horizon.
    Encounter: An ancient excavator, posessed by demonic entities, haunts these lands.

    ReplyDelete
  18. 7.4 - Rust Monks - Savannah
    Terrain: Sage-coloured plain, studded with regular rows of crusted tumuli.
    Obvious Feature: Smallholdings worked by lay sisters of the Rust Monks. They have plenty of fowls, but lack cloth.
    Hidden Feature: The buried husk of an Æther refinery, now used by a gang of moonshiners. They hold perennial bacchanals.

    Encounter
    Omen: In the air ahead, a kite-lifted gondola piloted by armed trackers.
    Encounter: A migratory herd of 2d20 mauve scale-kine. They are bulky, well-coordinated and wary of anyone on two legs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. [Not irrelevant?]
      The doctrine of the Rust Monks may have some link to Ruskin's 1858 lecture The Work of Iron, in Nature, Art and Policy.

      '...because we cannot use a rusty knife or razor so well as a polished one, we suppose it to be a great defect in iron that it is subject to rust. But not at all. On the contrary, the most perfect and desirable state of it is that ocherous stain; and therefore it is endowed with so ready a disposition to get itself into that state ... for in that condition it fulfils its most important function in the universe and most kindly duties to mankind. Nay, in a certain sense, and almost a literal one, we may say that iron rusted is Living; but when pure or polished, Dead. You all probably know that in the mixed air we breathe, the part of it essentially needful for us is called oxygen; and that this substance is to animals, in the most accurate sense of the word, 'breath of life'. .... The iron keeps all that it gets; we, and other animals, part with it again, but the metal absolutely keeps what it has once received of this aerial gift; and the ocherous dust which we despise so much is, in fact, just so much nobler than pure iron, in so far as it is iron and the air. Nobler and more useful - for, as I shall be able to show you presently - the main service of this metal, and of all other metals to us ... [is] in making the ground we feed from and nearly all the substances first needful to our existence. For these are all nothing but metals and oxygen - metals with breath put into them. .... [These] have been rendered fit for the service of man by permanent unity with the purest air which he himself breathes. For there is only one metal that does not rust readily; and that in its influence on Man hitherto has caused Death rather than Life; it will not be put to its right use till it is made a pavement of, and so trodden underfoot.'

      Delete
  19. Isolated encounters, reposted from Patreon.

    (Barren Fells)
    Omen: Branching hoodoo, hanging motley bulbous rocks, crisp footprints.
    Encounter: A mineral dryad, mighty, inhumanly beautiful. Molten metal waters her, rarer is better. Trades fruits of valuable geodes.

    (Barren Fells)
    Omen: Sled-like tracks in snow. Bloated animal corpse with burst chest.
    Encounter: Parasitic Alpine Scorpion, bear-sized, snow-colored. Toxin causes paralysis and frostbite. Nests with taken shiny trinkets.

    ReplyDelete
  20. #.##-neutral-wastelands
    Terrain: crater-pocked red earth, old steel beams
    Obvious feature: Crashed spaceship
    Hidden feature: Uranium reactor of said spaceship.

    Omen: small electric zaps and sentences in unknown language.
    Encounter: 2 hologram warriors. Explain that they will let players go if given valuable information, will otherwise fight.

    ReplyDelete
  21. 8.10 - Protean Army - Badlands
    Terrain: Dry riverbeds, multicolored canyons, fossils in the walls.
    Obvious Feature: Protean encampment, filled with wounded soldiers.
    Hidden Feature: Murdered courier, bag full of messages.
    Omen: Rumbles of thunder from beneath the earth.
    Encounter: Angered swarm of fossilized sea life

    ReplyDelete
  22. #.## - rust monks - barren fells

    terrain: volcanic and meteorite craters, hard to differentiate

    obvious feature: a monk tending their garden of rust bonsai, growing from meteorites

    hidden feature: one of the larger meteorites is an egg, waiting to be incubated

    omen: are you seeing corners twice?

    encounter: an agglomeration of cormorant and sea lion squeezed into humanoid form, ejected from planar exploration

    ReplyDelete
  23. ## - Neutral - Wastes
    Terrain: Forest made of giant fungi.
    Obvious Feature: A stone throne covered in mold and fungal growths stands in the center of the fungal forest.
    Hidden Feature: A gold-plated mushroom effigy under the mold: a new fungus grows in its general vicinity every day.

    Omen: Small mushrooms growing in unlikely places.
    Encounter: Animated skeleton of a knight covered in fungal growths. Constantly releases spores, can't speak but understands language.

    ReplyDelete
  24. 4.3 - Protean Army - Barren Fells
    Terrain: Windswept plateaus, narrow arch bridges over dizzying chasms.
    Obvious Feature: Camp of Proteans preparing an attack on the Pallid castle to the south. Sending spies to adjacent hexes.
    Hidden Feature: Ruins of an alien city at the canyon bottom far below, storing cursed ancient weaponry of great power.

    Encounter (Barren Fells)
    Omen: Broken glass, acrid smells, strange clangs and beeps, curses.
    Encounter: 1d6 researchers plus servitor golem, mounting a telescope. Versed in astronomy, surprisingly misled about the surroundings.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks everyone! Approximately 20 hexes remain.

    ReplyDelete
  26. #.##-neutral, wastes.
    Terrain: desert land pocked with holes and tunnels.
    Obvious feature: hole leading into tunnel network
    Hidden feature: small group of people living in tunnels

    Omen: low, raspy rumbling.
    Encounter: giant, blind sand mole. will present itself as tame if large hook in side is removed.

    ReplyDelete
  27. #.## - Neutral - Badlands
    Terrain: Jagged obsidian spikes erupt from the ground in clusters.
    Obvious Feature: Huge spike of living amethyst. Moving very slowly, attempts to absorb and desiccate all plant matter.
    Hidden Feature: Sentient wizard skull encased in crystal. Rest of bones in amethyst spike, was once the wizard’s body.

    Omen: Flakes of rust, oil drip stains, short-wave radio chatter.
    Encounter: 1d4+1 rusting mechanical hounds on patrol. Attempt to inject targets with tranquilizer and drag them to destroyed prison.

    ReplyDelete
  28. 3.4 – Neutral – Barren Fells
    Terrain: Jagged cliffs. Between then, craters filled with black glass.
    Obvious Feature: A pass running north–south. In it, a heavily fortified trading post run by Ronnie Ray-Gun, a retired (actually exiled) researcher.
    Hidden Feature: A titan lies buried here, comatose. Its nightmares periodically manifest; they are hostile to all, but only actively seek out the Pallid Knights.

    Omen: Nightmarish visions of old enemies and dead friends.
    Encounter: 2d4 giant nightmare spiders with faces of old enemies or dead friends. 2HD, poisonous, wall-climbing.

    ReplyDelete
  29. #.## - Neutral - Bluffs
    

Terrain: Karsts, tall bushes cover pounds and creeks.
    Obvious Feature: Maze of eroded limestone. Damp. Many insects and small animals.
    Hidden Feature: Large network of narrow caves. Underground rivers. Caves may flood. Bones and loot deep down.

    Omen: Large dried nymph skins.
    Encounter: 1d4 large dragonflies. 2 HD. AC as leather. Bite 1d6. Burning spray from tail 1d6, save or blind.

    ReplyDelete
  30. 3.03 Pallid Knights – Bluffs

    Terrrain: Steep canyons, steam leaking from sulphur stained walls.

    Obvious feature: Porous lumps hang overhead, monkey ghosts dart out of the holes.
    Don’t let them slip into your lungs.

    Hidden feature: Behind mineral crusts narrow stairs go up and branch off to alcoves full of brittle remains of fine armor.

    ReplyDelete
  31. #.## - [Rust Monks] - [Wastes]
    Terrain: Dry creek bed, pockets of sticky liquid seep up and evaporate.
    Obvious Feature: 2d3 initiates grunt as they maneuver and tilt immense parabolic dish hanging from scaffolding by chains.
    Hidden Feature: Fuschiagogue in charge of apparatus watches via telescope, intervening if all initiates become distracted.
    Omen: Bursts of high-pitched clicking answered by a low-frequency hiss.
    Encounter: Under-Thing comes for its scaffolding-hung baby. Flip a coin for each initiate. Heads attentive to ritual. Tails distracted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uggh : I think I editing myself out of meaning. Should read :

      Encounter: Disk-repelled creature comes for its captive baby. Flip coin for each initiate. Heads attentive to ritual. Tails distracted.

      Delete
    2. aaaaand : after reading 1.5 under bit more light of day and understanding that T/OF,HF and O/E are different axis, revise again to make the E not T/OF/HF dependent. Many apologies.

      Encounter : Tunneling mega-creature stalks offspring's captors but is held at bay by talisman or scientific apparatus.

      Delete
  32. (Having trouble signing in; hopefully this takes this time. -- Rodger Thorm)

    #.## - Kalawi Tribe – Badlands
    Terrain: Sandy; rocky; few plants. Scattered stone pipes jut from ground

    Obvious Feature: 2 roads cross area allowing swift (3x) travel in cardinal directions. Off road is hard & slow (4x slower)

    Hidden Feature: Giant 20'+ dia. pipes descend deep below ground at steep angles. Used for Kalawi initiation rituals

    ReplyDelete
  33. Couldn't help but take the (now deleted) spam as an entry and try my best to interpret the oracle .
    #.## - Researchers - Bluffs

    Terrain (66) BONUS DEPOSIT UP TO 50%
    Declining open mine with a newly discovered seam of Terrasnakus.

    Obvious Feature (107) BISA DEPOSIT PULSA RATE TERMURAH !! 1 ID BISA MAIN BANYAK GAME
    (Cheapest Pulse Rate. You can play lots of games).
    General lethargy and zombification close to pit (PCs save vs Petrification). Staggering workers.

    Hidden Feature (107) SPORTBOOK - TOGEL - CASINO
    Sportbook, Lottery, Casino
    Foremen in gas masks betting on who will collapse, who will turn homicidal.

    Omen (66) SLOT - POKER - DLL
    Naked man wriggling into hole hissing the gospel of Pachyrhachis.

    Encounter (124) KLIK DI SINI = Daftar cmc bola KLIK DI SINI = MAIN SLOT GRATIS
    (Click here : List of cmc balls. Click here : Free Slots)
    Shifty nomad tends fire on the outskirts, unwilling to get closer. Will pay for ball of Terrasnakus but it must be stolen.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Neutral - Badlands
    Terrain: Lichen-marked, jagged black stone. Circular pits, some flooded
    Obvious Feature: Five towering stone spires. Standing within either grants destructive power or sunders one's body
    Hidden Feature: Massive eel-like water spirit, containing an entire ecosystem. Drowns travelers to feed its hungry flock

    ReplyDelete