Introduction Edit

This page serves as a reference to DMs and players as to what mapping method is being utilized in Hexworld. The information here was pulled from a Welsh Piper Article written by Erin Smale on 10/21/2009[1]. Examples were provided on that article and should be reviewed for clarification. For further world construction information review the Encounters page on this Wikia[2].

Choose Climate Edit

The first task is to determine climate. This affects the precise terrain you place in the next step. For example, if you're placing forest, climate indicates what type of growth exists (e.g., conifers in cold climes, deciduous in temperate, or jungle in tropical areas). While not exact, the guidelines below are sufficient for our purposes:

  • Arctic - Cold all year round
  • Sub-arctic - Four distinct seasons, with a short, cool summer
  • Temperate - Four distinct seasons, each of roughly equal duration
  • Sub-tropical - Four distinct seasons, with a short, warm winter
  • Tropical - Hot all year round

Assign Hex Terrain Edit

Terrain placement does not rely on a random function, since it's too easy to end up with unrealistic results (e.g., swamps next to deserts or mountains next to plains). Besides, who wants to roll dice for each hex anyway? Instead, I assign a primary terrain type to each atlas hex, then fill in the remaining sub-hexes with related terrain types. This lets you place terrain sensibly, but with the benefit of some speed.

Let's begin with some basic terrain types:

  • Water - lake, sea, or ocean; may be ice-covered in arctic/sub-arctic, or seaweed-choked in tropical/sub-tropical areas
  • Swamp - marsh, bog, fen, or moor; will be partially frozen most or all of the year in arctic/sub-arctic climes
  • Desert - arid land; sandy in tropical/sub-tropical, barrens in temperate, or snowfield in arctic/sub-arctic
  • Plains - grassland, savannah, heath, or scrub; this is farmland in settled hexes, tundra in arctic
  • Forest - woodland; mixed deciduous/evergreen in temperate, conifers in sub-arctic, or jungle in tropical/sub-tropical
  • Hills - rocky ground, rough or broken land (up to 1,000' above sea level)
  • Mountains - peaks, ridges, and mesas (1,001' or more above sea level)

Assign a terrain type of your choosing to the sub-hex at the centre of the atlas hex. This defines theatlas hex's primary terrain type. The rest of the sub-hexes are broken down as follows:

  • 18 whole hexes - assign 9 primary terrain, 6 secondary terrain, and 3 tertiary (or "wildcard") terrain; distribute these as you see fit
  • 12 half-hexes - there are 2 half-hexes along each edge of the atlas hex; assign any non-wildcard terrain as desired

Terrain type designations are pretty straight-forward:

  • Primary (P) - the most prevalent terrain type in the atlas hex
  • Secondary (S) - the second-most common terrain relative to the primary type
  • Tertiary (T) - the third-most common terrain relative to the primary type
  • Wildcard (W) - highly uncommon, but possible, terrain relative to the primary type

Secondary, tertiary, and "wildcard" options for each terrain type are shown on the following table:

Water Swamp Desert Plains Forest Hills Mountains
Water P W W W W W -
Swamp W P - W W - -
Desert W - P W - W W
Plains S [1] S T P [4] S T -
Forest T [2] T - S P [5] W [8] T [11]
Hills W - S [3] T T [6] P [9] S
Mountains - - W - W [7] S [10] P [12]
  1. Treat as coastal (beach or scrub) if adjacent to water
  2. 66% light forest
  3. 33% rocky desert or high sand dunes
  4. Treat as farmland in settled hexes
  5. 33% heavy forest
  6. 66% forested hills
  7. 66% forested mountains
  8. 33% forested hills
  9. 20% canyon or fissure
  10. 40% chance of a pass
  11. 33% forested mountains
  12. 20% chance of a dominating peak; 10% chance of a mountain pass; 5% volcano

When all the sub-hexes are filled, you may move onto an adjacent atlas hex, whose primary terrain type is any valid terrain on the table above (i.e., primary, secondary, tertiary, or wildcard). If you need some polyhedral guidance, assign the following weights and roll 1d12:

d12 Result Adjacent Hex Terrain [1]
1-6 Primary
7-9 Secondary
10-11 Tertiary
12 Wildcard
  1. Relative to the current hex's primary terrain type

Terrain Assignment in Atlas Hexs Edit

Let's assume a temperate climate. I'll assign "Plains" to the centre hex, which becomes the atlas hex's primary terrain. According to the "Plains" column on the Terrain table, the remaining sub-hexes are assigned as:

  • Plains (P) - 9 hexes
  • Forest (S) - 6 hexes
  • Hills (T) - 3 hexes (alternatively, you could sprinkle up to 3 wildcard hexes: water, swamp, and desert)
  • Plains, Forest, or Hills - 12 half-hexes

I roll 1d12 for each of the six adjacent atlas hexes. Based on the primary terrain of "Plains" in the current hex, my results on the Adjacent Hex Terrain table are shown below:

Terrain assignment in adjacent hexes

  1. 1d12 = 4 (Primary = Plains)
  2. 1d12 = 11 (Tertiary = Hills)
  3. 1d12 = 9 (Secondary = Forest)
  4. 1d12 = 8 (Secondary = Forest)
  5. 1d12 = 5 (Primary = Plains)
  6. 1d12 = 8 (Secondary = Forest)

Using these primary terrain results, I can easily fill in the adjacent atlas hexes (cutting the distribution by 50% since only half of each adjacent atlas hex is shown). The image at right shows only the primary terrain assignments (based on the d12 results above) in the remaining atlas hexes on the map.


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