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Automated Hexploration Rules?


Kingmaker

Shadow Lodge

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Has anyone come up with any rules for automating hexploration later in the AP? I've read a number of posts about the 'issue' of the new kingdoms rulers being forced to explore hexes and how this ruins verisimilitude.

We've just completed Stolen Lands and my players are looking forward to the Kingdom building aspects of the AP, but they are already questioning whether their PCs are expected to continue to explore the land. From the conversation I think they are looking to see the kingdom grow, still deal with the threats/plots (I'm going to be bringing the threat of the fey queen into the picture sooner), but don't really want the relatively trivial task of exploring.

I was thinking of introducing a simple rule, something along the lines of:

In the Improvement Phase each month, spend 1BP to hire/outfit Experienced Scouts (emphasis on the 'Experienced'. These folks need to be good enough and equipped well enough to survive out the wilderness). They can explorer 10 hexes per month - they have to be adjacent to one another as chosen by the PCs.
The Scouts will not deal with Landmark sites/fixed locations, but can handle wandering monsters (I did think about % chance of them not coming back, but that seems a bit overly complicated tbh). They will map, identify landmarks, report on the types of monsters etc.
The PCs do NOT get the 100xp per hex explored (which is irrelevant really in my opinion) and obviously miss out on random encounter XP/items, but there are other ways to get XP so I'm not too concerned about that.

Obviously this could be extended by extending the Event Phase to include scout events, having the Marshal be in charge of extending the kingdoms boundaries, or introducing a Ranger position to do that.

So, has anyone tried something like this in their own KM games, or aware of any pitfalls of doing so? To be clear, I'm not looking to remove that aspect of the game, just allow it to happen once the PCs have bigger issues to deal with (like Pitax, Nyressa, rampaging Owlbears etc)


Sort of relatedly, here's a kingdom event I've designed:

Adventurers! (continuous)

A new adventuring party applies for charter to explore nearby hexes - if they are denied charter they cause 1 Unrest by complaining about it in taverns. Every month there's a 40% chance the adventurers clear a random hex, a 40% chance they die in the attempt causing 1 Unrest, and a 20% chance the party retires.


I like it. I'm sure my players will be asking about that at some point.

Perhaps it should be a kingdom building roll to determine the number of hexes? Maybe a Loyalty check, is it makes the DC, divide result by 5 to determine the number of hexes that month.

Shadow Lodge

DMFTodd wrote:

I like it. I'm sure my players will be asking about that at some point.

Perhaps it should be a kingdom building roll to determine the number of hexes? Maybe a Loyalty check, is it makes the DC, divide result by 5 to determine the number of hexes that month.

That's not a bad idea! I'm not sure how big loyalty results can get later in the campaign though. Would <result>/5 end up with a silly number of hexes being explored?

I figured on 10 a month purely on the basis that it's an easy number to remember and that, assuming an average of a 30 day month, that each hex takes 3 days to explore - especially once you've included the time to travel to point of start and return to the rulers to report back the results.


Seeing as we are about to start the final chapter on this wonderful AP, I almost wish I would of thought of something like this when the group was big into exploration. They did not have too much of a problem exploring hexes, it was a bit of a break actually from the rest of the high tension stuff I put them through. I will admit that we did skim over the last map pretty fast, considering the limited encounters and other personal reasons.

If I were to adopt something along the lines of "automapping", I would definitely stick to 10 or less hexes per month explored. Normal exploration is 1 day per plains/hills, 2 for forests, and 3 for mountains. If your players decide to increase loyalty more than other stats, then the loyalty/# would get out of hand, by the last module they could explore half a map easily in a month. And with 1 week to do kingdom maintenance, you only have 3 weeks to explore.

I would think that if they hired someone to explore, that could work out nicely. But I still think it would be better to get a report of "dangerous conditions" exsisting in a hex that the PC's would have to take care of personally.


Ahkmed wrote:
I would think that if they hired someone to explore, that could work out nicely. But I still think it would be better to get a report of "dangerous conditions" exsisting in a hex that the PC's would have to take care of personally.

That's what I was thinking as soon as I read the idea. Basically, the PCs would spend X BP and get Y number of new hexes per month. Some subset of the Y would be ready-to-claim, with reports of minor monsters cleaned out. Some subset would require them to offer a reward or otherwise pay an extra BP or two to claim, to have someone specifically clean out moderate monsters and/or minor magical sites. The remainder would require the PCs direct intervention, and they would just get a report of "We saw this, and ran" or "We were attacked by a _____ and half of us died".

Come to think of it, I might use this as part of my Warden subsystem.

Andoran

Bobson wrote:
Come to think of it, I might use this as part of my Warden subsystem.

I would like to know about this "Warden subsystem". I'm currently expanding on the Kingmaker rules for use in my homebrew setting, and anything that will add rules will at least be interesting.


DemonicEgo wrote:
Bobson wrote:
Come to think of it, I might use this as part of my Warden subsystem.
I would like to know about this "Warden subsystem". I'm currently expanding on the Kingmaker rules for use in my homebrew setting, and anything that will add rules will at least be interesting.

sirmattdusty came up with a sets of mechanics for several of the various kingdom positions. He has a set for the Diplomat (Diplomacy and Trade), Spymaster (Spy Network), General (Military Advisors), and Warden (Warden Patrols). The D&T rules are great, the Spy Network rules I'm not sure about, the Military Advisors are a fancy way to say "Choose from a set of buffs for your army", and the Warden Patrols have a great concept but they make no sense as written. You can read a bit more about it from when I mentioned it here.

I'm in the midst of rewriting the Warden system, although it's kindof been on a backburner for a while. I'd also like to come up with more ideas for the other positions, but I haven't had much luck. I could have sworn I started a thread about that at some point, but I can't find it.

Andoran

I'd be interested in seeing your rewrite of the Warden subsystem. Like I said, I want to expand the Kingmaker rules for use in my own homebrew setting. I don't know of anyone who's successfully done that yet, though. I've been trying to figure out where the initial BP would come from, as there is a lot of frontier far, far away from any other country in my setting, and that would be most likely where the rules would work.


Ahkmed wrote:
If your players decide to increase loyalty more than other stats, then the loyalty/# would get out of hand, by the last module they could explore half a map easily in a month.

I don't see a problem with that. Let's call that 30 hexes. If it's loyalty/5, that requires a loyalty check of 150.

If their kingdom has numbers that high, that should be able to explore 30 hexes. They can afford multiple adventuring parties going out, they've got all sorts of merchants coming and going with reports of what they encountered on the road, they've got multiple towns with multiple outlying farms providing info, they've got access to flight and other magic that would make exploration trivial.


I'm toying with the idea of something similar, but basing the number of hexes off of the Marshal leadership position. Right now I proposed to my players the possibility of having 3 hexes of their choice plus 1 per point of bonus from the person in the marshal position explored each turn automatically. That should give anywhere from 5-7 hexes, maybe 8 or 9 eventually, to the players each turn, plus whatever they choose to explore on their own.

Although, I also left in the caveat that on occasion their marshals may fail to explore a hex, or even fail to return at all. The marshal patrols may run into something they can't handle and fail to complete their exploring, or fail to return at all, depending on what exactly is in a hex they go to explore. This way if a patrol of marshals stumble upon a dragon lair, for example, they may lose members and fail to explore the hex, but the PCs will know why. Or they could run into a dangerous ruin and all get killed or captured by something within the ruin, and the PCs will only know that one hex that the marshals disappeared without a trace. Either way could open up the way for further PC sidetreks, or for the PC leaders to hire outside adventurers or even mobilize an army depending on how they want to take care of a problem.


idilippy wrote:
I'm toying with the idea of something similar, but basing the number of hexes off of the Marshal leadership position.

Many people have swapped the names of the Warden and the Marshal, to reflect more accurate use of the terms. Warden = Wilderness, Marshal = Cities. I'd actually forgotten that they were originally backwards. So we're talking about the same position. :)

Quote:

Right now I proposed to my players the possibility of having 3 hexes of their choice plus 1 per point of bonus from the person in the marshal position explored each turn automatically. That should give anywhere from 5-7 hexes, maybe 8 or 9 eventually, to the players each turn, plus whatever they choose to explore on their own.

Although, I also left in the caveat that on occasion their marshals may fail to explore a hex, or even fail to return at all. The marshal patrols may run into something they can't handle and fail to complete their exploring, or fail to return at all, depending on what exactly is in a hex they go to explore. This way if a patrol of marshals stumble upon a dragon lair, for example, they may lose members and fail to explore the hex, but the PCs will know why. Or they could run into a dangerous ruin and all get killed or captured by something within the ruin, and the PCs will only know that one hex that the marshals disappeared without a trace. Either way could open up the way for further PC sidetreks, or for the PC leaders to hire outside adventurers or even mobilize an army depending on how they want to take care of a problem.

Yeah, same basic idea. You're doing it per-month for free? I was thinking making them pay, but using the Warden/Marshal's stats is an interesting idea. If they were paying per hex, I'd probably give them a cost-per-hex and they could pay for any amount up to twice their leader's stat, but I think you have the right balance if it's free.


Some preliminary math on the subject:

There are 25 encounter sites in book 1, out of 43 hexes (58.1%)
There are 21 encounter sites in book 2, out of 34 hexes (61.8%)
There are 46 encounter sites in books 1+2, out of 77 hexes (59.7%)
There are 23 encounter sites in book 3, out of 63 hexes (36.5%)
There are 26 encounter sites in book 4, out of 77 hexes (33.8%)
There are 16 encounter sites in book 5, out of 77 hexes (20.8%)

If you make the assumption that encounter sites represent just the things the players need to deal with themselves, it's clear that the players' involvement in exploration should go down as the kingdom gets larger. This fits with what's logical for adventurer-rulers.

Any auto-explore rules should be scaled such that the encounter-site discovery rate should be roughly consistent throughout the adventure path. We should be able to use these percentages and the suggested kingdom size for each book to calculate a formula for number of "free" hexes per kingdom size, and then we can scale that however the GM wants (per month, per season, etc). Once I've done that, I'll share the results.


My players asked if they could build small 20 man unit armies as scouts breakdown as 5 ranger, 5 rogue, 5 support personnel, 5 runners, that take information back and forth to the nearest outpost on a daily basis.

Effectively; scouting troops, minus the door to door cookie thing.

major bonus it covers the warden angle and gives the Warden troops to command and move.

something similar for the Marshal using the precincts as a specialized barracks of course using towers built into the city walls doubling as precincts. (my players are hugely space conscious)

City guard being 1 part policemen, 1 part city defense, 1 part eyes/ears so looking into it a small army per district of these guys helps keep the peace and prevent open rebellion,spys,general thuggery, enforce laws, etc. etc. etc.

so a small army per tower considering 4 towers a wall, 3 walls in the primary district (one water side) the city guard army was 240 this is a 24 hour shifts concept so the city guard is always on duty doing patrols of the city. (which I set up their OM as a bonus against in city events)

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