2 July 2012

Fudge Dice & Hex Crawling

You might not know this about me, but I love a good hexcrawl. I think there is something to be said for a game in which the players just strike out across the world to see what they might find. If you're not familiar with hexcrawling then head over to The Welsh Piper, he has done a great overview.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been racing to put together a zombie hack for the always enjoyable Fate System. One thing that I really wanted to put into the game was some way to put together a city for survivors to wander their way through. This thought lead me to placing a hex overlay over top my city of residence and to the realm of hexcrawling.

The Collaborative Spirit of Fate

One of the really special things about Fate and the various games that use Fate is that they have a strong collaborative spirit. In Dresden Files the players populate a city with plot elements and characters. In Diaspora they create the very planets that they will visit. Just using a random table to populate hexes doesn't mesh with this collaborative philosophy that Fate has.

If a game of Fate is going to stay true to this collaborative spirit then the players need to be more involved with the hexcrawl.

  Hexcrawlin' With Fudge Dice

  1. The players should choose a starting hex. This is their hex of origin, where they start the game from or where their Headquarters is.
  2. Count the hexes adjacent to the origin and build a pool of fudge dice. The pool should have 3 fudge dice for each hex.
  3. Roll all of the gathered dice.
  4. Each player, in turn, selects a die and places it into an adjacent hex or notes the face value in the hex. Repeat until all of the dice have been used.
  5. Each of the adjacent hexes should now have a number of +, -, and ■ in them.
You should now have something like this:

You may want to click to enlarge.

The blue hex in the middle is our origin/hq hex. In case you're curious, there is a university at that location. I've highlighted the surrounding hexes in red. Unless you're at the edge of a map, one of the hexes is unreachable, or one of the hexes is already explored you are always going to have 6 of them. That means most of time the group will need to roll 18dF. You might want to do things in such a way that each player rolls 1dF on their turn until 18dF have been rolled if you don't have enough dice.

I went and rolled this out and, as luck would have it, I rolled six of each face. I placed them each into different hexes, as you can see above.

The last step is to define what those results actually mean. I suggest that each result corresponds to a fact of some kind about the hex. + results are things that are potentially beneficial to the player. - results are the opposite, potentially negative things. ■ are neutral, something that could go either way or that is indifferent. You may wish to make   results environmental factors. Players can combine like results together to write a fact that is more "powerful" or significant.

For a great collaborative experience you should write out these facts as a group, but if you want a more surprising game you could have the GM fill out the facts secretly. If you would like a middle ground then you could opt to have  ■  results be GM secrets and allow the players to fill in + and - normally.

Facts for the above map (starting with the topmost hex and proceeding clockwise):
  1. There are friendly survivors here. There is a food source here. One of the friendly survivors is a carrier. There are many scavenged out buildings.
  2. The coast guard regularly returns here to rescue survivors. The roads here have been barricaded.
  3. A friendly group of survivors is trapped in an apartment building here. There are damaged boats here.
  4. Zombie hoards roam this hex in large numbers.
  5. There is a hospital here. The hospital is occupied by a dangerous cult. A burst water main floods the streets.
  6. Zombies roam this hex. A fire has damaged many of the buildings here.
I stuck with the zombie apocalypse theme mentioned above, but this method could work with any setting. Actually, I think it would work much better with other settings. Zombie apocalypses are somewhat limited in their options.

You could also go a more traditional route and have positive, negative, and neutral encounter tables that you roll on after the values have been distributed on the hexes. This would require coming up with a new set of tables for every crawl, unless you made them very generic.


  1. This makes for a good game with my son this weekend.

    One option for me is to use 4 fudge dice... to add a more spice.

    And your Magic 8 Ball mechanic might be in it too. ;)


    -fudgebob dicepants

  2. 4 Fudge dice should work just as well. Heck, you could do even more if you really wanted to. I think at some point it would just be too many dice to roll, though.

    The magic eight-ball on the other hand, I take no responsibility for the strange questions your son might get a "Yes" answer for. (Unless it turns out great. I'll take all the responsibility for that.)

  3. Hi. I never post comments, but I think this is an awesome breakdown of how one might do a zombie themed hex crawl, regardless of system being used. I really appreciate the effort, and God knows I'll be using it for my next campaign. Thanks!

  4. Thanks Chad, I'm glad you like it. I've used it myself for the city done above and also using a map of Tokyo. Both times it went really well, so I think you will have a good time.



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