Hexcrawl Random Landmark Generator

June 17, 2019

I've found myself with a bit of free time as I'm getting ready to transition from some introductory adventures to an actual campaign with some new players (possibly; I'll leave it up to them if they want to just keep doing disconnected adventures), so I've been amusing myself by setting up a potential hexcrawl.  Well, actually, I'm not sure if I would run it as a point-crawl, as free exploration with the hexes being a construct only on my side of things, or as an open hexcrawl, but the important thing is that I made up a map and started putting stuff on it.

 

In doing so, I decided to have something in pretty much every hex.  Admittedly, there are a few that I left empty because filling out even just a 10x10 map is a lot of work, but 97% coverage is pretty close.

 

However, as I just said, filling out a 10x10 map is a lot of work.  Even after placing the detailed adventures that I wanted to seed and the towns/villages/etc. to support them, and then putting in ideas for stuff that I thought sounded cool, I still had plenty of space to go.  Thus, I started poking around the Internet for help and came across this neat hexcrawl encounter generator.  I went through the whole map with that to check for minor encounters, and any hexes that still didn't have anything in them were given a landmark.

 

Sadly, there seems to be a general dearth of hexcrawl landmark generators that are inklings of ideas instead of being something with extra baggage.  Sure, I could take out that baggage and replace it with my own ideas, and that's how I started out, but I got annoyed enough by it that I ended up coming up with my own system.

 

It was fairly simple to do, so I'd think that most people trying to set up hexcrawls have their own systems already, too.  However, I figure there's no harm in sharing it.  Enjoy:

 

Table 1: Type of Landmark (1d3)

  • 1-2 - Fabricated (go to Table 2)

  • 3 - Natural (go to Table A)

 

Table 2: Fabricated Landmark Details (4d8 + 4d4)

  • Type

    • 1 - Altar/Shrine/Temple

    • 2 - Building/Structure

    • 3 - Carving/Relief

    • 4 - Marker/Symbol

    • 5 - Monument/Obelisk

    • 6 - Statue

    • 7 - Roll again here and on Table A, combine

    • 8 - Roll twice and combine

  • Made of...

    • 1 - Earthworks (clay/mud/plaster/soil)

    • 2 - Common metal (bronze/iron/lead)

    • 3 - Rare metal (brass/gold/silver)

    • 4 - Petrified organic matter (bone/plants/shell/wood)

    • 5 - Plain stone (basalt/granite/limestone)

    • 6 - Fancy stone (gem/marble/obsidian)

    • 7 - Unidentifiable (alien/magical)

    • 8 - Roll twice and combine

  • Notable because...

    • 1 - Easy to spot from a distance

    • 2 - Local legend

    • 3 - Local superstition

    • 4 - Misinterpreted purpose

    • 5 - Natural oddity/resources nearby

    • 6 - Simple curiosity

    • 7 - Site of a battle/birth/death/injury

    • 8 - Roll twice and combine

  • Original Purpose

    • 1 - Artistic/Whimsical

    • 2 - Commemorative

    • 3 - Cultural

    • 4 - Decree/Punishment

    • 5 - Historic

    • 6 - Religious

    • 7 - Special (go to Table 3)

    • 8 - Roll twice and combine

  • Age

    • 1 - Prehistoric

    • 2 - Ancient

    • 3 - Old

    • 4 - Recent

  • Condition

    • 1 - Ruined or defaced, unrecognizable

    • 2 - Weathered and/or overgrown

    • 3 - Fair, restored and/or maintained normally

    • 4 - Pristine, maintained exceptionally well

  • Local Reaction

    • 1 - Feared

    • 2 - Loved

    • 3 - Unaware it exists

    • 4 - Worshipped

  • Size

    • 1 - Under 3 feet

    • 2 - 3-10 (1d8+2) feet

    • 3 - 11-20 (1d10+10) feet

    • 4 - Enormous

 

Table A: Natural Landmark Details (3d8)

  • Type

    • 1 - Boulder

    • 2 - Burrow/Cave

    • 3 - Canyon/Cliff/Ridge

    • 4 - Earth/Rock formation

    • 5 - Fungus/Plant formation

    • 6 - Geyser/Pond/Spring

    • 7 - Pit/Quicksand/Sinkhole

    • 8 - Roll twice and combine

  • Notable because...

    • 1 - Easy to spot from a distance

    • 2 - Local legend/superstition

    • 3 - Looks like a person/being

    • 4 - Magical properties (go to Table 3)

    • 5 - Natural oddity/resources nearby

    • 6 - Site of a battle/birth/death/injury

    • 7 - Unnatural origin

    • 8 - Roll twice and combine

  • Age/Fame

    • 1 - Prehistoric/Famous

    • 2 - Prehistoric/Unknown

    • 3 - Ancient/Famous

    • 4 - Ancient/Unknown

    • 5 - Old/Famous

    • 6 - Old/Unknown

    • 7 - Recent/Famous

    • 8 - Recent/Unknown

 

Table 3: Special Purposes (2d6)

  • Purpose

    • 1 - Dimensional rift

    • 2 - Hidden compartment

    • 3 - Magical boon

    • 4 - Magical curse

    • 5 - Teleportation

    • 6 - Roll twice and combine

  • Trigger

    • 1 - Any interaction

    • 2 - Connected to a legendary being

    • 3 - Disturbed by "others"

    • 4 - Disturbed by "same"

    • 5 - Requires a sacrifice

    • 6 - Astrological event

 

A few notes:

 

I wanted this hexcrawl to be an "Old World" setting (as in a world with a lot of history, not related to our actual continents).  This meant there was a lot of room for things to be lost in history, and thus fabricated landmarks are twice as likely as natural landmarks.  For a more "New World" setting, either give them even chances or favor natural landmarks.  The age category divisions may need to be adjusted as well for that, but I'd think any place where people have been around in some capacity for at least a century or two should be able to work with them as-is (just take "prehistoric" as figurative, if needed).

 

Where examples or options are given in an entry, those are numbered to be capable of either being a self-contained sub-table or stimulating further creativity.

 

It is possible to end up with seemingly-nonsensical combinations, like an enormous obelisk of alien material causing teleportation with any interaction which is a simple curiosity that the locals worship. I like to try actually making things like that work before giving up on them, but it's hardly a huge loss to adjust a few results or to simply reroll.

 

I left certain details ambiguous on purpose, like the creators of a fabricated landmark or what exactly is meant by "same"/"others" in Table 3.  The results are meant to fit into an existing history rather than to generate/reshape it.  The common/rare metal split and size categories were based on an Earth-similar setting, but those are simple enough to adjust if you have something different in mind (since you would've had to actually think of something different first).

 

The majority of these landmarks will be entirely mundane excuses to have some local flavor/lore.  I think that's fine.  I like a low fantasy setting, I can always assign extra properties if I want something more fitting for high fantasy or a faerie tale, and these don't need to serve any greater purpose than to be something neat that stands out.  Besides, even if an ancient shrine build as punishment that was the site of a famous death is just a mundane thing, I'm sure players can still interact with it in fun ways, and that's what counts.

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