Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Following the Breadcrumbs

A common complaint about the hexcrawl format is the breadcrumbs issue. That in order to gain a high level view you need to read a locale, read the surrounding locales, then their surrounding locales in order to get a sense of how it all put together.

This is why my hexcrawls setting (Points of Light I & II, Blackmarsh, etc) are more than just a series of locales keyed to a hex map. I purposely include a overview to explain the high level details of the area. Leaving the local details to the keyed locales.

This doesn't eliminate the "breadcrumb" issue, but the hybrid format does retain the hex-crawl format brevity with the overview providing what the author thinks are the important high level details. Because what goes into the locale is the local level detail the breadcrumbs are usually very short.

The current format I use for writing my hexcrawl is
  • Overview
  • Named Geographical Entries (usually spanning multiple hexes)
  • Special Notes (For example in one map I used this to list all the barbarian tribes which spanned over multiple hexes. In another I used this to explain the various factions engaged in a civil war. 
  • A list of Locales keyed to the map.)
It may be that some settings are mostly overview with a short locale list, and others it is vice versa. The author needs to look at the material and figure out the exact balance between travelogue and hexcrawl that works for this particular setting.

1 comment:

Havard: said...

Interesting point. I am more of an overview guy myself, but there definitely needs to be a bit of both to make a good product. :)