Campaign Pitches: Hexworld

Michael O. Varhola

One of our most popular recent episodes of the weekly d-Infinity Live! webcast was devoted to brief "elevator pitches" for game campaigns of various sorts, ranging in duration from a finite number of sessions with an end date in mind to entire settings that might be used indefinitely. We read a bunch of these during the show, including ones written by co-hosts and viewers alike, and discussed them from the points of view of game masters, players, and publishers. I pitched an idea that I have had in mind for awhile that and which I think has some potential and have dubbed "Hexworld." A brief description of it appears below. And to hear what my co-hosts had to say about it and the other pitches that appeared on the show, check out d-Infinity Live! Series 4, Episode 7: The Great Campaign Pitch

Nothing will likely seem amiss to characters in their first adventure or two, until they try to stray more than a day’s journey from where they began and discover that they have reached an impenetrable barrier. Eventually, investigation will reveal that this barrier is just one edge of a six-sided, 30-mile-wide area in which the party is confined and that there is only one spot through which it can be crossed. Through this gate they discover completely unfamiliar surroundings within an area of equal dimensions, and beyond it and adventures unique to the setting there is yet another such space. Ultimately, a canny party will discover that they are traveling across a world covered with thousands of 30-mile-wide hexes, each a distinct microcosm with just one way in and one way out!

* By its very nature the Hexworld is a meta environment that role-players will instinctively respond to and which uniquely serves many needs of an RPG campaign. It is perfect for one-off adventures and gaming groups that constantly want different sorts of challenges and environments, but without requiring that the game system or even the party be changed.

* This setting is very much in the spirit particularly of Philip Jose Farmer’s “World of Tiers” and “Riverworld” series and the presumption is that the Hexworld has been created by an advanced race as a sort of planet-sized menagerie or experiment.

* One idea for the barrier is for it to appear transparent and to separate parts of a larger area. This is, however, simply an illusion. After a point, magic, technology, or artifacts might be acquired that will allow glimpses of the true nature of the adjacent areas (although such knowledge is only relevant for the area that can actually be passed into).