Hex Journal Basics

The “hex journal” system is a way of exploring and conquering a randomly generated hex map using the simple game rules from Fate Accelerated Edition. I chose the latter because it’s not hard to remember my character’s six approaches and five aspects, and that’s all I need. I don’t even have to look at my journal to decide and resolve actions.

The real inspiration, though, was the kingdom building rules from Pathfinder. I only partially use them as presented, but the goal is to expand the reach of my character’s hometown. To start, I use the generator at DM Muse, which gives some very detailed descriptions of the marked map locations. In the first map I made, the northern town was isolated from the rest, so I figured it was a good starting point, and I used its description to build the town.

After that, I also used the dungeon generator to create a space where I could test my new character’s abilities. The character, the town and the dungeons will all be separate posts to write in the future, but for now, I want to focus on play.

Essentially, the idea is to have the character find challenges out there in the world, and since Fate doesn’t do well with experience and gold, use build points for the kingdom as rewards. That way I could return home and work on the town in between adventures. (I am still keeping track of gold somewhat, but I haven’t fully established its use yet. Work in progress!)

The generators are actually for Dungeons and Dragons, so I looked at this handy guide to Fate monsters and, for ones not included there, just kind of approximated as well as I could. When faced with questions that the generator can’t answer, I would turn it into a yes or no question and roll the Fate dice, treating positive as yes and negative as no.

The last issue was the fact that standard encounters were made for groups of characters. I could make more than one character, but that would require remembering more stats at once and complicate the roleplaying aspect. At first I tried lowering enemy stats, but I was constantly trying different amounts on the fly and not focusing on the game.

In the end, here was my solution: the player character can do two actions per turn, with some limitations. The two actions cannot be the same type (Attack, Defend, Overcome or Advantage) or use the same approach. Also, the same combination cannot be used two turns in a row. For example, I could create a Clever advantage and then make a Forceful attack. I couldn’t do the same thing on my next turn, but I could make another Forceful attack and then Carefully defend.

This whole thing is not really tested – I’m just starting my first short campaign, Hexhunter. In future posts, I’ll let you know how it went in more detail. Feel free to comment with any questions!

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Author: Phil N. Schipper

22-year-old creative writing student at Western Michigan University. After self-publishing my first book in April of 2013, I turned to game design. Also contributing at OpRainfall.

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