The Alexandrian

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ENCOUNTER CHANCE: Check once per watch. The time at which an encounter takes place during the watch can be determined randomly (see Watches).

CHECKPER WATCHPER DAY
1 in 1d616%66%
2 in 1d633%91%
1 in 1d813%57%
2 in 1d825%82%
1 in 1d1010%46%
2 in 1d1020%73%
1 in 1d205%26%

BORDER ENCOUNTERS: % chance in a hex bordering on a different region of rolling on that region’s encounter tables.

EXPLORATION ENCOUNTERS

Exploration encounters only occur during watches in which the characters are traveling or otherwise exploring the area. They do not occur during watches in which the characters are resting or otherwise stationary.

LOCATION: This exploration encounter indicates that the characters have encountered a keyed location within the hex. Most hexes have only a single keyed location. For hexes with multiple keyed encounters, determine the location encountered randomly. (Some locations may have occurrence probabilities.)

On Road/River/Trail: The location is on a road, river, or trail. Parties traveling along the road, river, or trail will automatically encounter the location. Parties not on the road, river, or trail will usually not encounter the location.

Visible: The location is large enough or tall enough to be seen anywhere within the hex. Parties entering the hex automatically spot the location. (If a distance in hexes is given, then the location can be seen from that many hexes away.)

Hidden: The location is difficult to spot. When this encounter is generated, make a second encounter check. If an encounter is not indicated, the location has not actually been found. (If the party is in exploration mode, make the second check twice.)

% LAIR: The percentage listed is the chance that the creature is encountered in their lair. If the creature is encountered in their lair, the encounter is considered an exploration encounter.

Note: This check functionally generates a new location for the current hex (the lair of the indicated creature type). Over time and thru play, this encounter system will continue to add new content to your hex key (helping to fill the vast, howling emptiness of a typical hex).

% TRACKS: The percentage listed is the chance that the creature’s tracks are found (not the creature itself). Tracks are only found as an exploration encounter. Characters must make a Survival check at the appropriate DC to notice the tracks. Tracks are usually 1d10 days old. DMs can determine where the tracks lead (although they’ll usually circle back to the creature’s lair in both directions).

Note: Check to see if the encounter is tracks. If it is not, then check to see if it’s a lair. If it is not, then it’s a wandering encounter. Notice that these additional checks will substantially reduce the odds of a night time encounter (when the party is not on the move).

SAMPLE ENCOUNTER TABLE

Encounter Check: 1 in 1d8

Border Encounters: 50%

Encounter Type (1d20):

1-10: LOCATION

11-20: OTHER

1d20
Encounter
% LAIR
% TRACKS
1-3
Lizardmen (hex A10, A13)
30%
50%
4-5
1d2 tree trolls (hex C13)
40%
50%
6
Adventurers
10%
75%
7-9
Ghouls (hex A12, E9)
20%
50%
10-12
Zombies (hex E9)
25%
50%
13
Bat Swarm
20%
5%
14
Jungle Bear (hairless, use black bear stats)
10%
50%
15
Carrion crawlers
50%
50%
16
Giant leech
Nil
Nil
17-18
Orcs (hex B7)
25%
50%
19
Wild boars
Nil
25%
20
Tyrannosaurus Rex
Nil
50%

Note: I indicate hexes which are already keyed as potential lairs for this creature type. This can inform the nature of wandering encounters and/or suggest a potential origin/terminus for tracks.

Go to Part 5: Spot Distances

This material is covered by the Open Game License.

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15 Responses to “Hexcrawl – Part 4: Encounter Tables”

  1. Jack says:

    Let me make sure I understand how this works, using your example table: Each watch, if the characters are near a border (what counts as “near a border”?), roll percentile. In not on a boarder or the percentile is >50, roll a d8. On a roll of 8, there’s an encounter; roll d20. On a roll of 10 or less they find the keyed location, otherwise they roll another d20. On a roll of 4 the group encounters Tree Trolls from C13; roll percentile, if it’s less than 50 the group has encountered tracks. If higher than 50, roll percentile, if lower than 40 the group has encuntered the Troll’s lair; if higher than 40 the group has encountered wandering trolls.

    If the d20 roll had been 20 instead, the first percentile would be T-Rex tracks if less than 50, but you skip the Lair roll and go straight to a wantering T-Rex if it’s higher than 50.

    Correct? So % border, then d8 encounter, then d20, then d20, then %, then %, possibly breaking along the way if you get certain rolls?

  2. Justin Alexander says:

    Yes. Although:

    (a) I usually don’t use border encounters. It’s a useful mechanic in some situations, but it does add to the number of rolls you need to make.

    (b) You could very easily put together encounter tables that conflate the location-check onto the table. (So 1-50 on a percentile table would be location; 51-00 would be the specific encounters.)

    So you could very easily reduce it to encounter check, generate encounter, check tracks, check lair.

    If you wanted to get sufficiently complicated with your encounter table, you could also conflate the lair and track checks onto the encounter table so that you would just have two die rolls.

    This post is the “full expansion” in order to make each facet of the content generation clear; but you can conflate it down quite a bit.

  3. Jack says:

    Do you build a separate encounter table for each hex, or are they assigned some other way? I’m guessing the latter, since you have a generic “location” listed, but I could be wrong?

  4. DireB says:

    So what determines the number and type of dice to roll?

  5. Justin Alexander says:

    @Jack: The map is broken down into regions, which usually comprise multiple hexes. Another option would be to construct a different encounter table for each terrain type.

    Or you could say “screw it” and just prep one encounter table for the whole map.

    I would recommend against prepping a different encounter table for each hex. The prep-to-value ratio is way too low.

    @DireB: The dice are whatever you decide them to be. In general, I recommend maintaining a 50% chance of a successful encounter check being the hex location. Anything less than that, and the geography starts to lose relevance (which can also affect navigation).

    The “Encounter Chance” table at the top of this post is there as a quick reference of what the percentage chances break down as. Figure out how often you want encounters to happen in a given region: Barren wasteland? You might want a low chance. A well-patrolled forest teaming with goblins? Crank the odds up.

  6. Muninn says:

    Do you ever play with a chance for multiple simultaneous encounters (ie. a sort of “roll again on this table twice” thing)? Either for the party running into two different threats (or non-threats if the table has encounters with things that aren’t immediately hostile) or for something like the party stumbling across a shrine, only to find that a bear is currently foraging in the area.

    (also, there’s a slight typo on your probability chart: 1 in 1d10 should be a 10% chance. It looks like you accidentally duplicated the 25% from the 2 in 1d8 roll)

  7. Justin Alexander says:

    Re: Multiple simultaneous encounters. I haven’t, actually. But it’s a great idea. You could add that to the encounter table or you could just keep rolling for encounters until you fail to generate on. (So you’d check 1 in 1d8. If you roll a 1, you roll the 1d8 again to see if there’s an additional simultaneous encounter.)

    Combines well with the full system: The PCs could encounter a lair with multiple creature types in it. Or the tracks of two different creatures crossing or encountering each other. Or the lair of one creature with a different creature in it; or the tracks of a different creature circling it.

    I’ve also corrected the typo. Thanks! (Tables are the most error-prone thing on the site because I have to re-type every entry by hand from the original source document.)

  8. Yahzi says:

    Love the idea about lair/tracks.

  9. Kevin says:

    Have you given any thought to making the lair and tracks rolls into one d% roll? Take the carrion crawlers encounter with a 50% for both. The way I understood it is that you roll to see if it’s a lair, if not, roll to see if there’s tracks. It can’t be both lair and tracks.

    Wouldn’t it be easier to roll one d% and on a roll of 1-25 its a lair, or 26-50 its tracks. Fundamentally it is the same probability of occurring with one less die roll at the table.

    In the same vein you could eliminate the d20 to determine whether it is the keyed encounter or not by rolling a d% in it’s place where 51-100 means it is the keyed encounter and 1-50 is the random table entries.

    Instead of being d8, d20, d20 d%, D%
    It becomes d8, d%, d%

  10. Frank Lazar says:

    Remember when Dave Hargrave had a massive brain fart and put in his Arduin Encounter tables “Percentage Liar”?

  11. Jack says:

    @Kevin, actually I think it comes out to be a 50% chance of tracks, a 25% chance of lair, and a remaining 25% chance for wandering crawlers.

    Also, I think you’re only reducing from
    d8, d20, d20, d%, d%
    to
    d8, d%, d20, d%

  12. Kevin Grob says:

    I missed something crucial to my second point it seems. The way I thought it, (but didn’t type it[sorry]) was that the keyed encounter would be 51-100 on the d% and the actual random monster table filled in the 1-50. Which would eliminate the d20 roll to determine if it’s a keyed or random encounter. There’s still 50% chance it’s the keyed encounter and 50% its random. It also frees up a lot more numbers to assign encounters to, with 50 possible random encounters in stead of 20. And in the case of multiple keyed encounters in a hex, all you have to do is split the 51-100 up into parts.

    I didn’t think to keep in mind the sequential rolls. Good point. If I were to convert that table I’d have to divide the %Lair by the %Tracks to arrive at the correct number. (rounding to taste)

  13. Dan Dare says:

    With the help of an spread sheet you could convert the whole thing into a single percentile roll.
    01-50% keyed encounter
    51-52% tracks – lizard men
    53-55% lair – lizard men
    56-57% wandering – lizard men

    etc.

    (No I didn’t calculate the percentages, just made them up on the spot for the example :)

  14. James says:

    Do you have a general guideline as to setting the tracks%? Or do you just wing it and go with what feels right?

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