GreenTongue
 member, 889 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Tue 5 Nov 2019
at 18:33
Does Hex Crawling Entirely Within A City Work?
Would this require more work than it is worth?

Has anyone done it and if so, how did it go?
praguepride
 member, 1515 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Tue 5 Nov 2019
at 22:28
Does Hex Crawling Entirely Within A City Work?
So, in my opinion, you've got to start with the question of "What is the point of it?"

Imo hex crawls are around exploration so if you can build elements of exploration into your city then sure, why not?

The main problem I could see is that cities are usually a lot easier to understand what is around the corner. It's not like a vast unexplored wilderness...or is it? There are ways you could bring those elements of exploration and discovery into the game.

FOR EXAMPLE if you want to do a thieves guild game then the players might not know which territory is patrolled by which group or is under which gangs control. Then the hex crawling is more about discovering who controls what block of the city and then working to undermine/expand into that area.

You could do a political hex crawl along the same lines where you're trying to get the support of different groups (merchants, tradesmen, guards, priests etc.) but you have to explore each block to understand who controls it, who influences it etc.
NowhereMan
 member, 338 posts
Thu 7 Nov 2019
at 06:31
Does Hex Crawling Entirely Within A City Work?
I've done it a couple times with post-apocalyptic cities, but I don't see why it couldn't be done with a regular one. Even if you know roughly what to expect, the things you'd be expecting to find in a hexcrawl would still be "secret". Your dungeons, ruined temples, and hidden treasures are replaced by gang hideouts, abandoned warehouses, and little bodegas with absolutely bomb taquitos.
evileeyore
 member, 261 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 7 Nov 2019
at 11:42
Does Hex Crawling Entirely Within A City Work?
I can see hex crawling a city if and if either a) the city is so large that standard "area knowledge" doesn't apply* or b) there is no way to have any real 'area knowledge' before campaign start or to maintain up to date knowledge after the campaign starts.

As praguepride mentions, a greater part of hexcrawling is lack of knowledge, so once that knowledge becomes available, the game quickly ceases to be a 'hexcrawl'.


* For example, I live in Orlando Fl, which is in the Greater Orlando metropolitan.  Greater Orlando (often mistakenly referred to as "Orlando" by outsiders and tourism boards) comprises 3 major cities (Orlando, Kissimmee, and Sanford), almost 50 cities and towns with more than 10K residents and almost twice that with less than 10K.  It is just over 4K square miles.

If we lost near-instant communication (pre-radio) then knowing what was going on everywhere in it would be impossible, so everytime you needed to go do something outside your local reference area you'ld essentially be hexcrawling (yeah, your geographic map might not have changed, but if it's been long enough you might not know who the local power figures are, so your 'social/political map' would need updating).
GreenTongue
 member, 890 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Thu 7 Nov 2019
at 13:40
Does Hex Crawling Entirely Within A City Work?
In reply to evileeyore (msg # 4):

Also living in Orlando, I think if travel was limited to foot, it would be very hard to keep current on things outside a small radius.
Still, it is a spread out town. A high density area would be somewhat different.

One factor that could be in play is a number of people that a person can "know" how many of them are the "Movers and Shakers".
Hunter
 member, 1533 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Fri 8 Nov 2019
at 05:08
Does Hex Crawling Entirely Within A City Work?
In reply to GreenTongue (msg # 5):

As someone who's limited mostly to walking, I can tell you that this is more or less true.   I've found between a third and a half of a mile is about the limit in terms of distance.
facemaker329
 member, 7132 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Fri 8 Nov 2019
at 05:32
Does Hex Crawling Entirely Within A City Work?
That depends on where you live...I've been without a vehicle at a few points in my life, I live in a suburban area...the nearest store WAS a little over half a mile away (it's since closed and is now a Vasa Fitness Center, the nearest store is now about 3/4 of a mile away).

But given that humans walk at between 2 and 4 mph (on average), going anywhere that's a mile or more away requires some kind of incentive, just because of the time commitment involved (like getting my car back from the shop, which is another mile past the grocery store mentioned above...when I have to get work done on it, if it isn't something they can get to immediately, I walk home and then walk back when they call to tell me the car is done...it's a hike, and it's not something I would do on a regular basis without some pressing reasons to do so.)

But back to the question at hand...I don't see why you couldn't treat a cityscape as another type of terrain to explore (which is what I take the term 'hex crawl' to imply).  The trick is coming up with a motivation for it, which can be dictated, so some extent, by the setting.

--Post-apocalyptic survival setting?  You bet, no problem, especially if your PCs don't have any sort of established base that they're operating out of and therefore need to daily scavenge for necessities.

--Fantasy setting?  Could be...are they trying to locate a specific type of shop?  Looking for some kind of den that a creature has set up?  Just moved into the city and are trying to get a handle on the neighborhood and who's in it?

--Horror?  Certainly...which house is the nearest witch/mage/vampire inhabiting?  Is there a sewer access that giant snakes or Pennyworth can creep out of and snatch victims?  Does someone's house have just a few too many exotic plants growing around it that could be housing some kind of creature?  Is the cornerstone of some building in town actually an ancient altar to the Elder Gods that some cult uses for sacrifices on special occasions?

You can do just about ANYTHING, in any game or setting, provided you can come up with a logical motivating factor for doing it (as opposed to basically saying, "Here's a sheet of paper...this is town.  It's blank because you don't know anything about it.  Go explore.")
DaCuseFrog
 member, 80 posts
 SW Florida
Fri 8 Nov 2019
at 05:39
Does Hex Crawling Entirely Within A City Work?
Why does it have to be walking?  Horses, or a wagon team, would generally work in a larger city and could help you get around.  Not to mention you could use them as plot points (almost ran over a prominent person, someone stole your horse, where do you leave it when investigating on foot?).
facemaker329
 member, 7133 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Fri 8 Nov 2019
at 07:13
Does Hex Crawling Entirely Within A City Work?
Well, that depends a lot on the setting and the makeup of your party.  If you've got a bunch of fantasy characters who are just getting started, having a horse or wagon might be beyond the scope of their financial capabilities.  If it's an urban horror setting, having horses is kind of impractical.  If it's post-apocalyptic, there may not be any horses left...

It doesn't have to be walking...but unless one of your characters is a serpent or bird of some kind, almost everyone walks, so that makes it easy to make it a universal concept.  I mean, you could do a hex-crawl with X-Men characters and have Nightcrawler teleport into the next hex to take a look, even...you don't even need the horse.  The limits are whatever the GM puts in place...
Gaffer
 member, 1589 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Fri 8 Nov 2019
at 12:55
Re: Does Hex Crawling Entirely Within A City Work?
DaCuseFrog:
Why does it have to be walking?  Horses, or a wagon team, would generally work in a larger city and could help you get around.  Not to mention you could use them as plot points (almost ran over a prominent person, someone stole your horse, where do you leave it when investigating on foot?).

Because most cities are actually walkable in terms of "exploring" and horses would be more trouble than they're worth.

We forget how much and how readily people used to walk before public transportation and personal vehicles came along. Cities before the mid 20th century were fairly compact; many still are.

Unless you know in advance that you'll want to move a big something or a lot of something, animal transport is rather inconvenient. You can't park a horse and cart and walk away like you do an automobile. Horses get hot and thirsty and bored. And, as you mention, may be prone to getting stolen. Better to do your exploring on foot and come back with transportation if you need it.