2019-09-26 The natural campaign

I was recently looking at the monsters in Hex Describe. I was looking for stats and discovered that of the 1680 tables (!) I’m using, 130 looked like stat blocks. Wow. That’s a lot.

I was talking to J. Alan Henning as he was talking about themes – the monsters of Greek myth, of Scandinavian myth, of Gygax’ campaign, and I realized that the monsters I had added of my own accord to Hex Describe basically formed my “favorite” set and Alan suggested with a wink that I should write it up as a “Schroeder theme”. Hah! 😀

So what is my monster theme, what are the monsters that come naturally to me as I populate the wilderness and the underworld?

I should go through the monsters in my Halberds & Helmets Ref Guide again to check and see whether it reflects the visions that comes to me when I close my eyes.

I like the idea of animal-human hybrids without going all the way into anthropomorphic animals:

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Have you considered updating Hex Describe to allow the option of Greek, Norse, Gygax, or AlexSchroeder monsters? That sort of thing would give the hexes a specific feel that might be really nice. Granted that might be a lot of work but it would also be awesome.

– Ruprecht 2019-09-26 14:13 UTC


Do you mean the user — the future referee — was going to label each hex and say “here be Norse monsters?” Or do you mean that the algorithm would at times spit out an entirely Norse mini-setting and at other times and entirely Greek mini-setting? Neither of these would be something I would do myself, I think. It’d be more interesting to simply pick a different table set — like currently you can get three different sets of tables:

  • Alex Schroeder (best for Alpine maps)
  • Peter Seckler (best for Smale maps)
  • Matt Strom (best for Smale maps)

I think mine are the only ones still actively worked on, thanks to Ktrey Parker, Robin Green, and J. Alan Henning. Keeping these tables going is hard.

Starting a new set of tables is a massive undertaking and would probably need somebody with a strong vision and the willingness to press on for a few weeks simply to get it going. Thus, adding the option to customize the set of monsters is simply too much work for too little benefit for the people involved, I think.

It would be better to start much smaller: limit yourself to a particular kind of map, which you start creating manually, and write a simple set of tables for just “faerie forest”, “fey realms”, “fantasy Japan” or what have you, limited to the two or three terrain types you need, and slowly expand from there.

I mean, once you decide on Norse or Greek or Japanese monsters, wouldn’t it be great if you also had a map that looked like it could have been Iceland or Norway or Greece or Japan?

– Alex Schroeder 2019-09-26 15:35 UTC


I would think an entire setting. Hex by hex output would be the same as including every monster rather than having a theme.

I was thinking more along the line of the 10 monsters idea that has been bandied about the blogsphere, but 10 monsters with a Norse theme, 10 monsters with a Greek theme, etc. Toggle the theme you like and generate the hexes.

If it’s overly complicated, and it sounds like it is, then so be it.

– Ruprecht 2019-09-26 17:46 UTC


I just think that in order to be good it needs a lot more work; and by that I mean “good enough to make me want to use it for my next two year campaign.”

I’m still hoping to find people that will do it without my help. 😀

– Alex Schroeder 2019-09-26 21:55 UTC


“humans are monkey-headed people” is PURE IMAGINATION MAGIC, as far as I’m concerned. Thanks for that!

endonaut 2019-09-26 23:09 UTC


🙈

– Alex Schroeder 2019-09-27 14:01 UTC


Hold on a moment, did you say cheese-making orcs?

Colour me intrigued!

– Mamading Ceesay 2019-09-30 16:05 UTC


Hah! Take a look at the mountain orcs table:

The valley up here is hard to find. This is where the orcs of the Noisy Maw Ripping tribe raise mountain moose and make their well-known grassy and creamy cheese. 20 orcs led by Balcdog (HD 4) live here (HD 1 AC 6 1d6 F1 MV 12 ML 8 XP 100). 「5000 gold coins. 4 gems.」 「A potion of strength (foamy teal, smelling like dung, 20min, strength 18). A scroll of bashing walls (punch a hole 20m wide and deep into anything made of wood, earth or stone; living things, textiles, leather, metal, and all that are not affected).」 Balcdog is a famous sword smith in the Barbed Mountain Lion Slicer tradition.

A majestic palisade surrounds a big, saddle-shaped hut built in the Two Families style with a central hall and two domed rooms on opposite sides. Beneath some covers are tents and tent poles for the entire clan. The hut is guarded by 4 boars (HD 3+1 AC 6 1d8 F1 MV 15 ML 9 XP 300). There are three skulls hanging over the entrance, swinging in the breeze.

Actually, it’s the mountain orc product table and as you can see, these days they produce more than just cheese. But it started with cheese and yoghurts. My guess we’re talking about cryptoswiss orcs... 😀

– Alex Schroeder 2019-09-30 16:33 UTC


humans are monkey-headed people

The kind of genius that makes me laugh. 😀

A scroll of bashing walls (punch a hole 20m wide and deep into anything made of wood, earth or stone; living things, textiles, leather, metal, and all that are not affected).

20 meters???

– Björn Buckwalter 2019-10-01 13:11 UTC


Maybe that should be 20ft, you are right...

– Alex Schroeder 2019-10-01 13:54 UTC


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