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Savage Hexcrawl - Part 1: Mapping & Travel

Last time on Savage Hexcrawl we looked into the basics of hexcrawl play style. Today, we will look at how the players utilize the hex map to record their travels, map their journey while keeping the game Fast, Furious and Fun!



Mapping

Sample Players' Hex Map
It is players' responsibility to map their journey. They should already have a (preferably numbered) hex grid and pencils for drawing. For the sake of consistency, it's best if one player will be designated the mapper of the group. The mapper will draw the terrain type for each new hex the group visits. You don't have to be an artist - simple terrain type symbols, or even letters are perfectly acceptable. Best time to draw the map is when the GM describes the journey and checks for encounters.
If you want to note some of your smaller discoveries (6mile hex can hold a lot of things!), it is best to use a notebook. Just write the number of the hex and your discovery. Who knows, the party might want to return to it in the future.


Travel

Most OSR systems use some kind of speed attribute to calculate how much a character can travel during the day, then divides it by the hex size to calculate how much the party can travel during a day. All this math does not mix well with the Fast, Furious and Fun idea of gaming that Savage World has. In Savage Hexcrawl we simply use characters' Pace. Trust me, it works. It was not only playtested, but the math behind it works... if you squint a bit. Most importantly, this approach is Fast, Furious and Fun!


Determining party's move speed.

The party's Pace is equal to the Pace of the slowest character. This is the amount of "move points" you have for the day of travel. Basic, plain Hex requires 2 points to travel trough (1 to the center of a hex, another to exit it). A party of humans, in perfect condition can travel 3 of those hexes, roughly 18 miles in a day (6 to 8h of active travel, and few hours for stops, food etc.).
Various factors can affect characters' Pace, and by extent can change  the amount of points the party will receive for the day. Using vesicles or mounts will allow you use their Pace. Many other things will hinder your speed - most importantly fatigue and injury. Each point of Wounds and Fatigue lowers your "daily Pace" accordingly, even if you are riding a mount or driving a vehicle. If you are lucky enough to be a passenger - your are skipped when determining the lowest Pace. Suddenly, a donkey cart is not a bad investment.


Cost of Travel

Now that you know how many move points the party has for the day, you can start your journey. It is easy to travel on flat plains or on the roads. This way you can travel nearly 20 miles a day. Other terrains are not as fun to travel trough. 
Each terrain type has an assigned point cost to travel trough it. It starts from 2 points for easy travel trough plains or on the roads. Places like forests, hills or deserts will have a cost between 3 and 4, while going trough Mountains can will cost 6. Other things, like encounters, severe weather or crossing a river can add to this cost. So while in theory, a party can travel 3 full hexes each day it does not happen that often in practice.

Exploring a Hex

So far you know how to travel, but where is the promised exploration, you ask? Fear not! When you enter each hex, the GM will check if the party stumbled upon anything - most of the time they won't. But each hex can hold many secrets - small villages, ruins, travelling theater trope etc. If you want to explore what the area holds, the party can spend a move point and one player (let's call him the expedition leader) can make a Notice check wit a modifier designated by the GM (usually a minus). This symbolizes the party slowing down and exploring, instead of just traveling trough the hex. You can retry the Notice check as many times as you want, but each time, you need to spend a movement point. 


Camping

Travelling for a whole day in the wilderness is tiring. The party needs a good night's rest to recharge. When or they decide to stop travelling for the day, one character needs to test Survival Skill to find a good place for the camp. Any remaining movement points are added to the test on 1-to-1 basis. For each Success and Raise the party chooses a card suit. When the GM checks for encounters during the night, the party can ignore any encounter of the chosen suits (their camp is well hidden, they see the threat beforehand and know how to avoid it etc.). Critical failure on the Survival test means that the party wanders most of the night looking for a place to sleep - the characters will suffer a level of Fatigue for the next day.


Other


  • Feel free to use the rules for Dramatic Interludes to spice up the travel even more - after all, you are not just travelling in silence.
  • Don't be surprised that you won't encounter something each day. The campaign timeline, events or the fact in which hex you are can change the encounter chances.
  • If you encounter something that you are not prepared to tackle - don't be afraid to back away. You can always come back here later and check it out.


Next time we will go into more detail about the terrain types and what they can hold. Stay tuned!