Dec 27, 2021

Placing Locations in Hexes

Here's a simple and fast system for placing locations of interest in a single hex on a grid. I am assuming a four hour watch as the basic unit of travel movement. Hexes can be divided into six equilateral triangles, for anyone who didn't know that.

1) Number the six triangles of the hex in clockwise order starting from the top

2) Roll a d6 and a d4

3) The d6 determines which sub-triangle of the hex the location is in. The d4 determines how many hours of travel into that triangle the location is (4 is the centre).

Variant: You could use d4-1 if you prefer fewer things in the centre and more things by the edge.

That's it, that's the whole system. I find it very fast in practice, and you can use a simple notation in your key to track this that looks like:

AA:17 Haunted Castle (1:3) 

where "AA:17" is the hex coordinates and "1:3" is sub-triangle and hours of travel in.

When the PCs search a hex randomly, they either pick one of the six sub-triangles, or the referee can roll a d6 for which sub-triangle they search if they have no preference. I make each search take a single watch.

The speed really helps here with populating a lot of content into hexes.


  1. That's a great subsystem! I might have steal it for my next hexcrawl.

  2. When using hexes, I generally don't have a reason to also use smaller units of measure. If players want to revisit a place they'll need to travel to the same hex, but once there they're close enough for me not to bother with additional navigation. I'm curious what others are doing with their hexes that I'm not, to warrant this more granular approach.

    1. Can be useful when you want the group to find something specific or hidden inside a hex. Like they know the cultist's lair is somewhere over in the Terrible Swamp (Hex XY) but not where inside the Terrible Swamp, and wandering around a Terrible Swamp can have consequences.

    2. Domain building: Resource discovery and exploitation. Hex clearing: lairs and structures.

    3. @Ava, how would knowing the location within a hex help with that? Presumably players aren't pointing at specific parts of the hex they want to explore.

      My inclination would be to have the players spend a travel turn searching, with a random chance to find what they were looking for. The chance being cumulative over multiple searches, but incurring an encounter risk each time.

    4. @Unknown, I am familiar with running all those situations, I'm just not clear on why placing a location in a specific part of a hex helps to run them better. When building a domain, for example, are people drawing border lines through hexes, instead of along the edges of the hex? That seems to defeat the point of using a hex in the first place to me. What benefit is gained?

  3. hexmaps are for wargaming. That game board mentality to orientation likely doesn't match the drawing skills of those player characters [i.e. maps would likely be very rough out of scale diagrams]who have very little basic graphic skills and picture literacy [which IS learned] or the time honoured landmark to landmark orientaion skills of our species.
    P.S. picture literacy should be an in game INT skill.