Thursday, February 1, 2024

Hex24 Challenge: Week 4

Summary: Final seven hexes for the first month of the challenge, some thoughts on seas as regions, and the first random encounter table.


*Serenity Sea, continued (hexes 0301, 0302, 0401, 0402, 0603)

*Isola della Divinità (hexes 0501, 0502)
The view of the open waters is slowly beginning to be dominated by a headland island, one known as the Island of Divinity, its cliffs high and steep, surrounded with a thin jagged beachline. Remains of a small dock can be seen on the south side of the island, smashed and slowly chipped away by the waves.  
On the northern side of the island’s high plateau several picturesque villas of white stone can be seen, while on the southern side is a series of small houses of modest appearance. Several plumes of black smoke are rising from somewhere in the northern end.
Circling the island will uncover only a single passage leading up to its flat top, a barely visible narrow pathway on its western cliffs.

Map as of week 4

The sea, the sea! (on regions and seas)

Already by week 3 when I was writing descriptions for the sea “filler” hexes I realized the necessity to somehow unify and give structure to the waters, without having to provide a description for each hex.

Thus, a rather simple solution popped up:
  • All water hexes which belong to a specific sea will have one unifying description
  • The seas themselves will act as regions for the following mechanical purposes:
    • Each sea/region will have a unique(ly adjusted) table for weather procedures and a unique sub-table for the  “6 - Special” result, if any
    • Each sea/region will also have a unique random encounter table

Another thing worth mentioning is the actual theme and inspiration behind each sea/region. For now, I believe that I will create one sea/region per month, which so far in this challenge makes sense since all I’ve worked on was the Serenity Sea and, additionally, in the post for Week 2 I mentioned there being 12 seas. A month’s time is enough to clearly define and get a feel of a particular region and design-wise it seems easy to know the scope in advance somehow. For example, clearly the Serenity Sea is the calm and tame vanilla starter, inspired mainly by the real world Mediterranean.

Adjusted weather condition procedures for the Serenity Sea

Weather - roll d6 (GM)
1-3 - Clear sky (no effect)
4 - Cloudy (-1 to Celestial Navigation)
5 - Fog* (-1 to Celestial Navigation, -1 to Ship Navigation)
6 - Heavy clouds and rain (-2 to Celestial Navigation, -1 to Ship Navigation)
*This is mundane, not the Pale Death fog
In other words, the Sérénité does not have a "Special" result sub-table, simply because I feel like keeping the starting region easy going and relatively peaceful, as it has been described so far.

"Flagship Wellesley and Squadron Leaving Halifax Harbour" by John O'Brien

Random encounter table for the Serenity Sea

Roll d10:
  1. A glass bottle with a corkscrew floats stern side. Inside is:
    1. a heartbreaking love letter
    2. a declaration of war between previously allied nations
    3. a cry for help from a deckhand of a sinking vessel from way up north
    4. a map precisely outlining much of the southern coastline
    5. a treasure map in some previously uncharted archipelago
    6. a document contesting the ownership of “Malstraumur” (a brig of the Alfadirian colonies in the far north)
    7. a trade route charter of fair winds
    8. a tarot card, the character pulling it will draw a random card from a real tarot deck which will in some way mark the faith of the group (GM discretion)
  2. A dark galley appears far on the horizon, approaching at an alarming rate, propelled by oars and fair winds. A black and white flag depicting a skull and bones waves above its mainmast… Pirates! 
  3. An unidentified carrack sails close to you, but soon enough their mainmast waves a white flag of peace. If they get close enough, the crew lowers a plank for you to board their vessel, where they offer food and drink and song. Both crews sing and dance deep into the night, exchanging tales and briefly forgetting the troubles of the world. 
  4. A group of sailors drift in a rowboat, exhausted and dehydrated. If helped, they offer a tale of pirates seizing their vessel and executing their captain. On board was an important person of interest, a princess from the Kingdom of Thessala, en route to Isola della Divinità, a famous royal residential retreat on the northeastern edges of the Sérénité.
  5. Far on the horizon, port side, a ship is slowly capsizing. Some of its crew cling helplessly, some are already swimming away. One man proudly stands near the figurehead, waiting for the inevitable. 
  6. The water around the ship begins to manically splash and gurgle, as if some sort beast is about to rise from the deeps! Yet as moments pass you realize that it is simply a massive school of fish swimming around your vessel.
  7. Clutching only a small floating barrel, a man drifts in the waters aimlessly. He looks exhausted and hopeless, not even calling out to you for aid. If you drag him out on board, he will offer his story. He was a captain of a vessel known as “Tranquility”, whose crew has mutinied against him for reasons most foul and false! As he regains his strength, he is begins offering an extensive reward for the return of his ship.
  8. A beautiful young woman in silken turquoise garments sitting and contemplating in a drifting rowboat without oars.  If rescued, she can’t recall her name and seems to be in shock, albeit with a quiet and soothing demeanor. She is pale and thin and brings on board the smell of brine and a fresh sea breeze. She doesn’t remember how she got here, but only recounts that the name of the vessel she was on board previously was “The Wayfarer”, its fate or location unknown. If offered food and drink, she spends her time on board talking with the crew deep into the night, offering tales of the vast seas beyond, both wondrous and terrible. In the morning, she appears to be gone, only a small puddle of seawater left where she slept.
  9. A small uncharted island appears on the horizon. Some 50ft in radius, it lays lonely with only a little grove of trees on its surface. If the characters decide to dig and they do so to a significant depth, they uncover a buried trove of treasure which contains gold, numerous documents and, of course, a map.
  10. Dozens of bloated bodies float in the waters, silence and sorrow in the air all around them. What manner of ill fate fell upon them is a question left brooding in your mind. If the players are mad enough to pickpocket the dead, there is a 5% chance that a corpse has a magic ring in its pocket.
And there you have it, the first month is complete. So far I'm enjoying the journey, it is definitely an interesting mental exercise. There will be a rather big pause with posting since I will be travelling for the next two weeks, but the next addition to the challenge will probably be a mega-post for all entries made in February. But, until then, if anybody is still reading this mumbo jumbo I would appreciate some feedback, good or bad! Thank you for hanging around and take care.

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