I recently purchased a bunch of these blank cardboard hexes from Amazon, but my plans to use them to build a map hex-by-hex as the PCs explored the region of my campaign world fell through due to laziness.
However, to avoid allowing them to gather dust and go to waste, I’ve discovered a new use for them: what I’m calling the Hex a Week (or Probably Month) post. Each week (or more likely month) I’m going to draw a map of a hex and post it along with location-of-interest details, random encounter tables, and a brief overview of the goings-on therein. In doing this, I hope to build an entire region for a sandbox campaign. Going forward, I’ve set for myself a few guidelines to work within for designing the hexes:
- Allow the setting and tone of the sandbox to emerge through the hexes themselves. No design takes place beforehand, outside of the hexes. Metaplots will emerge as more and more hexes and sites are developed. Everything is local.
- Each hex is 6 mi. across and will contain 1d3+1 sites of interest. These sites may be major or minor, important or simple window-dressing. Relationships between sites will be developed over the course of the development of the hexes.
- Roll a 1d6 to determine the next hex that will be developed in relation to the current hex.
There probably should be more, but I think these will suffice to set things in motion, so without any further explanation, here’s Hex 0001:
Hex 0001 – The Village of Pranfz and Surrounds
1. The Village of Pranfz
Within the logging village of Pranfz all of the women are said to be witches. These rumors are, of course, vicious lies spread by travelers who observe the village’s odd marital customs.
For weeks at a time, the men of Pranfz log the Murmuring Weald, a forest to the west of their village, only to return for a single day and a night to deliver their timber for sale to traveling merchants. They spend this night in the beds of their wives.
The fear of the village men, however, is not for the women of Pranzf, but sheer terror at facing the jealousy of their forest wives. The identities of these beings, or even certainty of their existence, is unknown to the women of Pranfz. What is known is that when a boy comes of age and he joins his father, his uncles, and grandfathers in the Murmuring Weald to gather timber, he abandons his relationship with his female relatives. Marriages are forced affairs, predetermined by the village’s elder women, and the men only copulate with their wives on nights they are home under the darkness of the new moon. All weddings in Pranfz happen on the night of the new moon.
2. The Lavender Bridge
A single tower rises from the western end of this covered bridge built of light purple stone stones. The tower sits at the northern end of a barbican that guards access to the bridge and the crossing along the Lowly Road where it approaches the bridge on its western side.
The bridge’s tower serves as the home of Tanzel, a ruddy-cheeked and red-haired man who, decade after decade, appears to be perpetually nearing 50 years of age. He always bears a smile underneath his voluminous, walrus-style mustache.
Tanzel offers sundries for purchase by travelers. These include most goods found on the general equipment list, though the more expensive items may be unavailable or in limited quantity (according to the Referee’s taste), as Tanzel does not keep a full store. Most of the goods he acquires come from merchants who’ve bartered for passage across the Lavender Bridge. In addition to these goods, Tanzel will attempt to sell travelers the strange fish he catches in his nets below the bridge from the
Often, during conversation in an off-hand manner, Tanzel will refer to his “brother” who lives with him at the bridge, but never is this brother seen by visitors. Rumors tell that the bridge is more than it seems and offers not only passage across the Lavender River but across the stream between realities into the weird Otherworld said to exist alongside this one. As well, the bridge is said to have secret chambers built within its broad pilings.
3. The Slug Caverns
Here be slugs of unfortunately usual size for the region. While hunting them is dangerous work, doing so is lucrative work. Slug eggs are a delicacy in both Pranfz and the nearby city of Zfanfen. As well, alchemists, wood-women, and other dabblers in the fine art of questionable brewing.