Hex Crawl Alphabet: D is for Dwarves

Viking Myke has some wonderful stuff

OK, we know that next hex over has a dwarven settlement of some sort in it. First off, what’s the general purpose of that settlement?

Dwarf Settlement Purpose (d6)
1-3: Mining
4-5: Military
6: Mercantile

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Hex Crawl Alphabet: C is for Castle

Sand castle by Sue McGrew

The PCs have stumbled across a castle in their travels. Who lives there? What are they up to? Well, I took a slightly different approach with this, and I thought the best ideas for what they are up to might come from the judge just thinking about what certain combinations of results below mean. For example, an overcrowded ruin might be home to a military force in need of a makeshift shelter. Interested to see if anyone finds these helpful or if there should be a bit more to this entry.

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Hex Crawl Alphabet: B is for Bandits

deviantART by Robedirobrob

Fantasy wilderlands are downright infested by bandits, brigands, and burglars of all stripes. Here are a couple of tables to help generate bandit camps. I’ve only concerned myself with the hit dice of the bandit’s leader, but bigger camps will surely have a few intermediaries with extra HD as well.

1d20: Bandit Leader HD / # of Bandits

1-8: 2 HD / 10 bandits
9-14: 3 HD / 20 bandits
15-18: 4 HD / 40 bandits
19-20: 5 HD / 80 bandits

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Hex Crawl Alphabet: A is for Animals

I’ve already quoted Eliot’s apocryphal advice about great writers stealing in a previous post, but I’ve got to bring it up again here. Michael Curtis’s Dungeon Alphabet (also in PDF) is one of the most ostentatiously useful and fun system-neutral supplements even published; if you don’t own it, you should. So last night when I got thinking about how I hadn’t done any random tables in a while, I got some inspiration and decided on a project – the Wilderness Hex Crawl Alphabet. Not surprisingly, I found that I wasn’t the first person to have this idea. Jim Pacek published The Wilderness Alphabet in 2010. Based on a couple of reviews I read, I think that the list of subjects I came up should differ significantly enough from his to justify proceeding with the project (especially since I already came up with a few potential table ideas for each letter). So this is the first in a series of alphabetical posts featuring tables to assist with wilderness hex crawls.

deviantART by Sampl3dBeans

Let’s start with Animals. Many a rural region is home to mythic animal that features heavily in the oral tradition of the locals. When your PCs arrive in a new village, roll 1d10 on each column to see what legendary animal dwells in the nearby wilds:

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The Unholy Aristocracy Revisited: d100 Demonic Titles

I did this once before as a d30 table, but that was clearly not a diverse enough set of options. Roll d100 for each column; there’s a 50% chance that the gender form of any title is inverted.

D100 Title of Domain
1 Ajaw Vultures
2 Anax Wasps
3 Archbishop Floods
4 Archon Locusts
5 Ard Ri Gluttony
6 Ayatollah Greed
7 Baron Sorrow
8 Basileus Vainglory
9 Boyar Forbidden Knowledge
10 Bretwalda Deceit
11 Caliph Scorpions
12 Cardinal Sloth
13 Censor Wrath
14 Chancellor Filth
15 Count Lamentation
16 Daimyo Envy
17 Danshaku Lust
18 Despot Sores
19 Duke Flies
20 Earl Worms
21 Emir Spiders
22 Emperor Tumors
23 Father The Unspeakable
24 Freiherr Pride
25 Fuhrer Usury
26 General Fornication
27 Governor Blood
28 Grand Vizier Massacres
29 Grobfurst The Stillborn
30 Hakushaku Violation
31 Hou Ooze
32 Huangdi Darkness
33 Imam Dragons
34 Imperator The Unclean
35 Jarl Rage
36 Jun Scarabs
37 Kaiser Sorcery
38 Khagan Bats
39 Khan Bile
40 King Blasphemy
41 Knyaz Rats
42 Korol Undeath
43 Koshaku Bones
44 Kung Dread
45 Legate Misery
46 Lictor Lizards
47 Lord Rot
48 Magistrate Swine
49 Maharajah Famine
50 Malik Toads
51 Margrave Slugs
52 Marquis Agony
53 Master Slime
54 Minister Snails
55 Monarch Ravens
56 Monsignor Crows
57 Morza Pestilence
58 Mufti Jackals
59 Mullah Lies
60 Mwami Skulls
61 Nan Madness
62 Nomarch Vomit
63 Overlord Corruption
64 Overseer Warlocks
65 Padishah Serpents
66 Pansoh The Flayed
67 Pasha Puss
68 Patriarch Slaughter
69 Pharaoh Drought
70 Pope Wild Beasts
71 Praetor Mutation
72 Prefect Malformities
73 Prelate Poison
74 Prince Boils
75 Progenitor Syphilis
76 Provost Lunacy
77 Raja Lepers
78 Reeve Phlegm
79 Ruhtinas Fire
80 Satrap Excrement
81 Seneschal Rust
82 Shah Maggots
83 Sheikh Grubs
84 Shishaku Cannibals
85 Shogun Plagues
86 Sovereign Murder
87 Sultan Nightmares
88 Tlatoani Hate
89 Tonghou Unknowable Geometries
90 Tribune Lice
91 Tsar Ghouls
92 Vicar Contempt
93 Viceroy Ecstacy
94 Vidame Impurity
95 Viscount Despair
96 Vizier Atrocity
97 Voivode Temptation
98 Vojvoda Gnats
99 Warlord Imps
100 Zi Hail

Unholy Nobility: D30 Demonic Titles

Sure, there are the big bads everyone knows — Orcus, Demogorgon, Asmodeus — but sometimes a lesser-known hellish bureaucrat is called for. Here’s a random table to help with those occasions. Roll 1d30 for each column to determine the fiend’s rank and sphere of influence. There’s a 50% chance that a demon is depicted as female, and the title’s form should be changed accordingly.

D30 Title of Domain
1 Prince Boils
2 Morza Pestilence
3 Despot Sores
4 Duke Flies
5 Emir Spiders
6 Caliph Scorpions
7 Marquis Agony
8 Count Lamentation
9 Viscount Despair
10 Baron Sorrow
11 Viceroy Ecstacy
12 Earl Worms
13 Padishah Serpents
14 Pharaoh Drought
15 Maharajah Famine
16 Khan Bile
17 Sultan Nightmares
18 Shah Maggots
19 Chancellor Filth
20 Lord Rot
21 King Blasphemy
22 Tsar Ghouls
23 Malik Toads
24 Ajaw Vultures
25 Shogun Plagues
26 Overseer Warlocks
27 Master Slime
28 Scourge Deceit
29 Father The Unspeakable
30 Boyar Forbidden Knowledge

Who’s the High Chief in These Parts? (Random Table)

The PCs have bumped into some barbarians, and they’re either parleying or are already defeated and being hauled back to the village. Who do these guys answer to? I put this together with the Arcturun High Chiefs of the home game in mind, but it is certainly generic enough to work for just about any fantasy setting.

d12 First Name Clan Part 1 Clan Part 2 Trait
1 Undrol Big River Significant portion of body covered with burn scars
2 Hathor Dead Eagle Missing tongue, but very capable of getting a point across
3 Grundas Feathered Axe Blessedly hirsute
4 Toktri Little Wolf Runes of warding tattooed on face
5 Jarth Blood Rock One empty eye socket surrounded by severe scarring
6 Yontoth Mountain Cleave Angrily growls or shouts pretty much everything
7 Arnda Grey Bear Blind, but has yet to lose a duel
8 Rogdek Split Sky Majority of nose chopped off
9 Stuldar Black Tree Nude most of the time
10 Fendrin Savage Hill Extremely soft spoken and stoic, even when angry
11 Mayrtolk Broken Moon Intensely spiritual and faithful
12 Nelthek Brown Skull Cannibal, but only with people of different ethnicity/race

Who’s the Toughest Mage-Type Person in the Area? (Random Table)

Following up from my previous post on warriors, here’s a table for magic-users. Roll 2d20:

How Tough is the Toughest Mage-Type Person in the Area?

1-2: 3rd level / Novice rank with a couple advancements
3-7: 5th level / Seasoned rank
8-13: 7th level / Veteran rank
14-18: 9th level / Heroic rank
19-20: 10th level plus / Legendary rank

Who is the Toughest Mage-Type Person in the Area?

  1. General practitioner studied in astronomy/astrology; has an impressive observatory and orrery.
  2. General practitioner who is elderly, kindly, and more than a bit forgetful; was once a powerful servant of the Great Old Ones before having mind shattered in a ritual stopped by self-sacrificing heroes.
  3. General practitioner of a highly academic bent; quite pretentious.
  4. General practitioner who is a former child prodigy/chosen one; now a dilettante and raconteur.
  5. Effigist focusing on the crafting of exquisite golems of traditional materials such as stone and iron.
  6. Alchemist consumed by the quest to perfect their craft and study the texts of peers and predecessors.
  7. Travelling alchemist who is a canny salesman; a bit lazy in the lab and produces potions with undesirable side effects. The toughest actual local is 2 levels / 1 rank lower; roll again to determine personality.
  8. Illusionist who believes that “reality” is an elaborate illusion of unknown purpose.
  9. Illusionist who is a skilled pick-up artist; dresses in a manner befitting a pirate.
  10. Pyromancer who is a bit quiet and generally keeps to themself.
  11. Chronomancer prone to trailing thoughts and exclamatory interjections.
  12. Summoner with a hyper-competitive outlook; favors elemental creatures such as fire lizards and lightning rats.
  13. Witch living on the fringe of the community and protecting it from the dark forces in the wilds.
  14. Witch living on the fringe of the community who occasionally corrupts virgins and steals children.
  15. Diviner who oddly always comments on future gastrointestinal health along with any other predications.
  16. Necromancer obsessed with flesh golems and other modified undead.
  17. Necromancer with a horde of skeletons ordered to defend against intruders, keep the house tidy, and make surprisingly tasty and not-at-all disgusting dinners.
  18. Infernalist who seeks political prominence and wealth.
  19. Thief of forgotten and forbidden lore (aka “adventurer”) with an arsenal of deadly artifacts; will not hesitate to electrocute anyone who looks at them the wrong way.
  20. Doppelgänger; roll again to see who it replaced.

Who’s the Toughest Warrior-Type Person in the Area? (Random Table)

After I posted my randomly generated city map, my buddy Bryan and I had an exchange about why I think Vornheim is better than the random city charts in the 3E DMG. Basically, I think it comes down to a philosophical difference: Vornheim is designed to help you come up with an answer you need when your players put you on the spot, whereas the 3E DMG tables were designed to be used ahead of time to give you info that there was a good chance you’d never need. As Bry put it, “Knowing there are four 1st level clerics, two 2nd level clerics and one 4th level cleric really wasn’t all that important.” It also helps that Vornheim is basically system-neutral, despite having some old-school compatible stats listed in a few spots.

However, he got me thinking about this a bit more, and I realized that sometimes it might be helpful to quickly determine who the biggest fish is in a given pond. Once you know who that is, you’ve probably got a good sense of who else might be kicking around beneath them.

So presented here is the first of my random tables designed to determine who the toughest character of a certain type is in an area, this one covering warriors. The definition of an “area” is whatever you need it to be.

Roll 2d20, use one to determine who they are and the other to determine how tough they are:

How Tough is the Toughest Warrior-Type Person in the Area?

1-2: 3rd level / Novice rank with a couple advancements
3-7: 5th level / Seasoned rank
8-13: 7th level / Veteran rank
14-18: 9th level / Heroic rank
19-20: 10th level plus / Legendary rank

Who is the Toughest Warrior-Type Person in the Area?

  1. Ex-military type haunted by the past; quiet and solitary.
  2. Ex-military type atoning for a sense of guilt by protecting the defenseless.
  3. Ex-military type with fond recollections of the glory days; regales anyone who listens with old war stories.
  4. Ex-military type who wields power and influence through intimidation and sadistic action.
  5. Mercenary with a heart of gold … literally. A clockwork golem of such magnificent and meticulous design that few will ever know its true nature; slew its creator centuries ago.
  6. Church Knight who lives by humble example and cares for the needy and sick.
  7. Church Knight with a hardline “fire and brimstone” attitude.
  8. Church Knight who is secretly aligned with a blasphemous heresy/cult.
  9. Ranger who protects the locals from a distance but rarely interacts with them.
  10. Ranger who protects the wilderness from the “threat” of civilization; known to kill locals who venture into the wilds.
  11. Ranger who is really just passing through. The toughest actual local is 2 levels / 1 rank lower; roll again to determine personality.
  12. Barbarian mercenary with a penchant for carousing.
  13. Barbarian berserker seeking peace and quiet; troublemakers won’t like it when he’s angry.
  14. Barbarian braggart who talks at no end about personal prowess, especially while engaged in combat.
  15. Swashbuckler who patrols the night, protecting the innocent.
  16. Swashbuckler who makes grandiose public displays; highly delusional.
  17. Hunter of the supernatural; well-educated and extremely pragmatic.
  18. Hunter of the supernatural; overly suspicious to the point of paranoia.
  19. Tomb robber (aka “adventurer”) equipped with myriad methods of murder; favors a crossbow.
  20. Doppelgänger; roll again to see who it replaced.