2019-07-24 Hex Describe Intro

Recently, @tuiren@pluspora.com asked how to get started contributing to Hex Describe and suggested a unicorn clearing. Based on the example they provided I wrote a little introduction on Pluspora, and since it turned out to be a bit longer, I decided to keep a copy on this blog.

The example given:

This clearing in the {tree type} forest is frequented by the unicorn herd {name of herd}. The clearing features a {clearing feature} which promotes a calm and restorative atmosphere. It also contains healing herbs such as {herb 1}, and {herb 2}. The clearing is patrolled by {number} {creature name}. The herd is led by {unicorn name} who can cast {spell 1}, {spell 2}, and {spell 3}. The herd knows information about the dwellers in {hex1}.

Something like that would work, yes! In terms of format, this is what we use:

;name of table
1,an entry
1,another entry with [other table] in square brackets

The number controls how often something gets picked. If all options are equally likely, as they often are, just use 1 for every option.

So, working with your example, and remembering (hah! this keeps getting harder, I know) the existing tables:

;unicorns
1,This clearing is surrounded by [tree] trees. It is frequented by the unicorn herd [unicorn herd name]. [calm clearing feature] Those with a knack for herbalism can find [magic plant]. The clearing is patrolled by [1d8 unicorns]. The herd is led by [unicorn] who can cast [save elf spellbook as spellbook] [spellbook 3]. [unicorn information]

;unicorn herd name
1,Golden Spirits

;unicorn
1,Golden Hair

;calm clearing feature
1,There is a cool pool of crystal clear water, here.
1,The meadow is full of flowers and buzzing bees and singing birds, a dream of pastoral happiness.

;1d8 unicorns
1,a unicorn
7,[1d7+1] unicorns

;unicorn information
1,The unicorns fear the influence of [nearby tempel power] and would like to see it destroyed.

To experiment, visit the rules section and paste the block above into the text area. If you have the Alex Schroeder map selected with the radio button, all the inputs get merged. You’ll get presented a list with all the rules. Find the unicorns rule, pick it, and hit Enter. You should see something like the following:

This clearing is surrounded by Fencethorn trees. It is frequented by the unicorn herd Golden Spirits. There is a cool pool of crystal clear water, here. Those with a knack for herbalism can find Fairy Cherry. The clearing is patrolled by 3 unicorns. The herd is led by Golden Hair who can cast 1. charm person, sleep, 2. glamour. The unicorns fear the influence of [nearby tempel power] and would like to see it destroyed.

Some things to note:

  1. Adding more stuff to the lists, such as names and features, is the simplest thing to do.
  2. Currently there is a lists of trees, but the forest names are generated using a different rule, although I’m sure those names could be improved, haha.
  3. Currently there is a list of magic plants, but no list of magic effects; right now they are simply used to generate fetch quests for alchemists.
  4. Knowing things about other hexes is tricky: do you just want a random neighbouring hex? Then that’s easy enough to do via adjacent hex; if you want more complex stuff you need to use here to indicate that here’s something you want to refer from elsewhere using nearby. The example shows how [nearby tempel power] would work because the map is full of things like here evil power as tempel power and the like.
  5. The spell book generating tables are super tricky; for the moment I’d suggest not to look into it, or to write a specific unicorn spell list (which would be cool as well).

In case you want to create a list of three unique items from a table, this is how you would use it:

;three unicorn spells
1,*[with unicorn spell]*, *[and unicorn spell]*, *[and unicorn spell]*

;unicorn spell
1,sleep
1,charm
1,impale
1,hold
1,terror
1,dreamland

So basically, adding and extending simple lists such as unicorn and unicorn herd name is the simplest thing to do.

Adding and extending lists such as calm clearing feature is even better. Care must be taken to keep the sentences short and relevant to players, however. We need some words for atmosphere but we need even more words that invite players to do interesting things.

Adding and extending special lists that generate plot hooks and quests is tricky but I’d be happy to help! 😀

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Comments

Use Text Mapper to Create Random Maps and Hex Describe to Create Random Campaigns by Troy Press. 🙂

– Alex Schroeder 2019-10-19 21:56 UTC


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