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.
The recommended resources section used to be more robust, but I edited it in February 2020 after the current owner of Judges Guild turned out to be a massive fucking asshat.
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!