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Chapter 3: Subsystems / Hexploration

Running Hexploration

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 172
Once you have your hexploration map ready, it’s time for the PCs to start exploring! Each day, the PCs decide how they plan on exploring, either learning more about their current hex or traversing a new hex. They do this by declaring one or more hexploration activities for the day. These activities take two forms: group or individual. The number of hexploration activities a group can accomplish each day is based on the Speed of their slowest member. If a group is willing to split up, faster members can perform more hexploration activities based on their own Speed, but such a decision may be deadly given the threat of random encounters. A group moving at a Speed of 10 feet or less is so slow it can’t even traverse an open hex in a single day; it takes such a group 2 days for each hexploration activity.

Table 3–6: Hexploration Activities Per Day

SpeedActivities per Day
10 feet or less1/2
15–25 feet1
30–40 feet2
45–55 feet3
60 feet or more4
This rate assumes the PCs are taking time to camp and rest at healthy intervals. When a new day of hexploration begins, the group can decide to take a forced march as long as no one in the group is fatigued. Doing so allows them to gain an extra Travel activity (or perform a full Travel activity each day if their Speed is 10 feet or less), but this is the only activity they can perform that day. A character can participate in a forced march safely for a number of days equal to the character’s Constitution modifier (minimum 1 day). Any additional days of forced march make the character fatigued until they spend an entire day of downtime resting.

Group Activities

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 172
Group activities require the entire party to work together in order to be effective; these activities each count as one of the day’s hexploration activities for the whole group. For instance, if the group had 2 hexploration activities per day and decided to Travel and Reconnoiter, no one would have any additional hexploration activities that day. There are two group activities: Travel and Reconnoiter.

Travel

Move
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 172
You progress toward moving into an adjacent hex. In open terrain, like a plain, using 1 Travel activity allows you to move from one hex to an adjacent hex. Traversing a hex with difficult terrain (such as a typical forest or desert) requires 2 Travel activities, and hexes of greater difficult terrain (such as a steep mountain or typical swamp) require 3 Travel activities to traverse. Traveling along a road uses a terrain type one step better than the surrounding terrain. For example, if you are traveling on a road over a mountain pass, the terrain is difficult terrain instead of greater difficult terrain.

The Travel activity assumes you are walking overland. If you are flying or traveling on water, most hexes are open terrain, though there are exceptions. Flying into storms or high winds count as difficult or greater difficult terrain. Traveling down a river is open terrain, but traveling upriver is difficult or greater difficult terrain.

Reconnoiter

Concentrate
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 173
You spend time surveying and exploring a specific area, getting the lay of the land and looking for unusual features and specific sites. Reconnoitering a single hex takes a number of hexploration activities equal to the number of Travel activities necessary to traverse the hex—1 for open terrain, 2 for difficult terrain, and 3 for greater difficult terrain. Traveling on roads doesn’t lessen the time required to Reconnoiter. Once the hex has been Reconnoitered, you can Map the Area to reduce your chance of getting lost in that hex (see below). You automatically find any special feature that doesn’t require a check to find, and you attempt the appropriate checks to find hidden special features.

For instance, if you were looking for an obvious rock formation among some hills, you would spend 2 hexploration activities to Reconnoiter the hex, and you’d find the rock formation. But if you were looking for a hidden tengu monastery somewhere in some deep forests, after spending 2 activities to Reconnoiter the forest hex, you would have to succeed at a Perception check as part of your Reconnoiter activity to find the monastery.

Individual Activities

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 173
Not all hexploration activities need to be accomplished as a group. In place of using a hexploration activity to Travel or Reconnoiter, each individual group member can instead perform one of these individual activities.

Fortify Camp

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 173
You can spend time fortifying your camp for defense with a successful Crafting check (typically at a trained or expert DC). Anyone keeping watch or defending the camp gains a +2 circumstance bonus to initiative rolls and Perception checks to Seek creatures attempting to sneak up on the camp.

Map the Area

Concentrate
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 173
As long as your group has successfully Reconnoitered the hex, you can use this activity to create an accurate map of the hex with a successful Survival check (typically at a trained or expert DC). When you have an accurate map of the hex, the DC of any check to navigate that hex is reduced by 2.

Existing Activities

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 173
Characters can use the Subsist downtime activity, which follows the same rules but assumes they’re using it after 8 hours or less of exploration. Any skill feats or other abilities that apply to Subsist normally still apply here. In general, the various exploration activities found in the sidebar on page 498 of the Core Rulebook (except Hustle) can be used as individual hexploration activities, as can skill actions in Chapter 4 of the Core Rulebook, at the GM’s discretion.

Random Encounters

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 173
When exploring, there is always a chance the PC will stumble upon random encounters, depending on the terrain. At the start of each day of hexploration, roll a flat check and consult the appropriate terrain type on Table 3–7: Random Encounter Chance. If the flat check is a success, the PCs have a random encounter, and on a critical success, they have two random encounters. Roll on Table 3–8: Random Encounter Type to determine the type of encounter. Once you know the type of the encounter, either choose from the list you made for that region or choose your own.

Table 3–7: Random Encounter Chance

Terrain TypeFlat Check DC*
Aquatic17
Arctic17
Desert17
Forest14
Mountain16
Plains12
Swamp14
* On a road or river, decrease the DC by 2. If PCs are flying, increase the DC by 3, but choose a hazard or monster that is relevant to flying PCs.

Table 3–8: Random Encounter Type

1d10Encounter
1–5Harmless
6–7Hazard
8–10Creature

Switching out of Hexploration

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 173
Most short encounters do not affect the number of hexploration activities that the PCs can perform during the day, but when the PCs take on multiple encounters or engage in activities that take hours rather than minutes, you’ll want to deduct the time from their available hexploration activities. For the story’s sake, it’s best to think of hexploration activities as the various things that the PCs have time to do in the daylight hours. For instance, maybe the group spends 2 of their 3 hexploration activities Reconnoitering a hex, finding a tengu monastery, and learning that it is a sprawling complex underneath a small wooded hill. You might decide that the PCs found it in the evening, and they have the choice between making a foray into the complex late in the day or pursuing some individual activities, camping for the night, and starting off fresh in the morning.