More people should know about hexcrawls, and the folks at Games Omnivorous must agree because their latest projects is a toolkit chock full of resources for expanding your roleplay into the superior, six-sided dimension.
The Hexcrawl Toolbox is exactly what it says on the tin: a system-agnostic worldbuilding kit containing physical tiles, tokens and markers, planning sheets and a hefty book of random tables and other encounter creation modules. Though it’s designed for fantasy settings, there’s little stopping the industrious group from applying some trans-genre imagination.
You might be asking yourself, “what the heck is a hexcrawl?” Those used to Dungeons & Dragons and other popular, narrative-focused tabletop RPG may have more familiarity with lush maps with a top-down view and an eye towards realistic-ish proportions. The hexcrawl, by comparison, stems from an old school approach to tabletop adventuring that emphases random elements in both encounter and world design.
Most hexcrawls imagines a space as a series of interconnected hexagonal tiles that remain a mystery until the players intentionally explore in that direction. As they choose a new spot on the grid and flip the tile, the group might encounter rumours, treasure, hostile monsters or NPCs. RPGs that use this method often lean into emergent narratives as the group connects seemingly disparate details or use clever game knowledge to overcome challenges.
The Hexcrawl Toolbox provides four different methods facilitators can use to build their maps. Random regions let chaos decide what the world will look like, while Hex-in-a-bag allows for some control as you throw a small selection of tiles into an included sack and draw when needed. The quest scenarios and uncharted lands approaches lean more guided and traditional while retaining the easy-to-parse qualities of hex grid tiles.
Also included in the toolbox is a sheetpad of random map designs and blank spaces for filling in rumours, encounters and treasures. It’s a fairly easy way to condense a night of tabletop adventuring into a single piece of paper for those moments when you lack the time or brain power for hours of prep.
The 48-page guidebook contains chapters on setting up and running the different hexcrawl methods, along with a catalogue of the 150 included hexes. These are split across eight biomes and include locations both mundane and fantastical - castles and villages sit alongside desert oases and nautical ruins built atop a giant turtle’s shell.
Three postcrawls come packaged with the box, their backsides already filled out by the project’s design team. Each one boasts a different quest objective and enough detail to hint at further adventure if a group decided to use their exploits as the foundation for a large campaign.
The team consists of Adriana Oliveira & Andre Novoa, alongside Mausritter’s Isaac Williams. Kevin Cannon is illustrating all of the hexes and accompanying art - Cannon previously worked with Games Omnivourous on hexcrawl settings Bottled Sea and Undying Sands. Graphic design was done by lina&nando, and Brian Yaksha is the editor.
The Hexcrawl Toolbox Kickstarter campaign will run through December 20th and is offering digital files for all the components alongside the physical version. Fulfilment to backers is currently expected to begin in May 2023.