I needed a simple system for procedurally generating hexcrawl terrain and features, so I made one: Hexmancer. It’s two pages long, including design notes and acknowledgements, and you get to roll funky dice.
What it does
Hexmancer hexcrawls with your hexes, baby!
Hexmancer is designed to procedurally generate a fantasy borderlands/wilderness region in “fantasy Western Europe,” with occasional wasteland and weirdness, on the fly during play. It assumes that you’re placing dungeons/modules and perhaps a feature or two, but otherwise starting out with the PCs in a village surrounded by a blank hex map.
This 1.0 version has been through multiple drafts and rewrites, but hasn’t yet been tested in play.
(Update: I’ve now written up an extended example using 12 actual Hexmancer rolls, and I took that opportunity to tidy up some of the language and update the PDF.))
Other stuff you’ll need
You’ll need five dice: d5, d6, d20, d24, and d30. (The excellent, and free, Purple Sorcerer dice roller includes funky dice.)
Hexmancer will generate terrain, tell you when features are present, and determine what those features are — but you’ll need to create the actual features.
I’ve recommended six resources and provided one myself (“Byways and Waterways,” which is on the second page of the PDF). Five of the ones I recommend are Judges Guild products: Castle Book I, Castle Book II, Temple Book I, Village Book I, and Village Book II.
(I love Judges Guild stuff, and I’ve also written an overview of the Judges Guild’s Campaign Hexagon Sub-System and a bunch of posts about these books.)
Hexmancer is based on the system found in Wilderness Hexplore Revised, which was created by Jedo of the New York Red Box forums. The core “Terrain > Feature? > Feature” mechanic and the broad relationships between terrain types in Hexmancer owe the most to Jedo’s system.
If you use Hexmancer, I’d love to hear how it went!