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Chapter 3: Subsystems / Hexploration / Designing a Hexploration Map / Populating Hexes

Random Encounters

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 170
You can instill additional danger into your hexploration by including random encounters, whether they take the form of interesting features, natural hazards, or creatures native to the terrain. It can help to create a series of short lists in advance, each including a mix of three types of encounters: harmless, hazards, and creature encounters. Then create tables to randomize the results, or simply pick whichever encounter you think would work best for your hexploration narrative when these encounters occur (as described in Random Encounters on page 173). It’s often easier to create a list by terrain rather than for each hex. The forest hexes could have their own random encounter list while the plains beyond have a different list, possibly with some overlap.

A harmless encounter is just that: the party is in no danger from it. Harmless encounters can be opportunities to flesh out the world with interesting bits of set-dressing, like a shrine on the side of the road dedicated to a minor god, opportunities for the party to interact with other travelers, or simply interesting or noteworthy moments on the road, like a distant and dazzling electrical storm.

Hazard encounters can include those located in the Hazards section on pages 520–529 of the Core Rulebook and pages 77–81 of this book, primarily the environmental hazards and haunts. You can also create your own hazards using the rules found in Building Hazards on page 74.

Creature encounters can use the creatures found in the Bestiary, or you can create your own using the rules found in Building Creatures on page 56.

Plan your hazard and monster encounters with a degree of flexibility so you can tailor them to the PCs’ current level, perhaps by creating a lower-level encounter and including notes on how to scale it up. Alternatively, if you want to run a more challenging or open-world hexploration, don’t adapt to your players at all. Make a variety of encounters, some of which are so powerful that the correct tactic is to flee. You can even create a chase to make the escape exciting (see Chases on page 156).