The Winter Woods are situated in the northern climes where the snow
falls from late Autumn to early Spring. The map can be roughly divided
into fi ve geographical regions. The extreme west is a land of thickly
wooded canyons, mesas and buttes divided by rushing streams that fl ow
into the Great River, visible in the southwest corner of the map. The north
central portion of the map is a rolling prairie of tall grasses, wildfl owers,
leaping gazelles, browsing wisent and mammoth and prowling smilodons.
The prairie and canyon lands are bordered on the east by a land of forested
hills, gentle compared to the western lands, and very fertile. The extreme
east of the map contains what the native folk call the “Black Water”, a
vast sea of viscous, black water that gives off an acrid smell and is said to
harbor things better left unseen. The shores of the Black Water are a moor
of black, spongy ground and perverse fungal growths, some growing as
tall as trees. The natives of the Winter Woods believe they know what lies
beyond the Black Water, but are hesitant ever to speak of it lest “they”
prick up their ears and take an interest in the teller of tales.
Hex Crawl Chronicles
When the game was invented and sold in a little woodgrain box, the author told us a required supplement was an Avalon Hill game called Outdoor Survival. This was a wilderness survival game that consisted of a hexagonal map system that players would travel around, trying to find their way back to civilization, all the while trying not to die of thirst or get eaten by bears. This game map was used as the first wilderness “hex-crawl” for what eventually became D&D. Later, Judges Guild took this to a whole new level with the Wilderlands series. For many years, hex crawling was just the way the game was played. This series brings that back, or supplements existing games that use that system of travel.
What a hex crawl is, literally, is a wilderness sandbox of areas, encounters and villages that players travel around in. It provides no story line, just hundreds of story hooks and possibilities. An example of what this looks like that I published a few years ago can be found at:
These books provide a sub-setting in your own campaign world. They populate the world, and allow you to let your players explore that world, rather than just “travel 20 days” to the dungeon. Written by John Stater of NOD fame, each of these supplements details an area with a specific theme. Monster and NPC statistics are provided for each encounter area detailed.
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