Thursday, 31 August 2017

Hot Springs Island - How We Roll

OK, lets look at the information and the way its actually intended to work.



Hexes are only 2 miles across (I originally thought they were larger)

Time/exploration and movement are unified.

  • 1 watch is four hours.
  • 1 watch to cross a hex
  • 1 watch to explore a hex - finding the next available point of interest.
  • Each hex has three points of interest - one obvious, the other two you have to find or be guided to.

The entrances to a number of dungeons are within one of these secondary or tertiary points of interest, which PC's will find either by exploration or by being sucked into the network of NPC interactions

There is a recommended tabletop poker-chip method for recording time which looks like it would work reasonably well.


Homie be rollin'

There is EXTENSIVE use of multiple tables to provide complex situational results, so this is intended to be not just an adventure zone, but a multiply-explored place. All the tables work on a 3d6-read-across principal, one table usually leads you to another, or to a re-roll on this one.

I think you're meant to encounter something pretty much every watch and pretty much every journey, the complexity and depth of the encounter tables seems to recommend this.

Lets give it a go, assuming I roll a 10 every time - we'll have a look at what comes out and how many rolls there are;

Ok, lets say the PCs are in light jungle (there are seven types, Light, Heavy and Mountainous Jungle, Volcano, Volcan*ic*, Ruins and Villiage. Most rolls are going to be some kind of jungle.

Roll 1 - They encounter a beast of some kind, go to the beast table.

Roll 2 - (Look for the 'Light Jungle' column, becasue the Beast table itself is subdivided into area types) - they encounter a Giant Centipede.

Roll 3 - What's it up to? It's in Combat.

Roll 4 - What with? Lets say we roll an 11 this time. Its in combat with a Boar.

Depending on how dangerous we judge a giant centipede to be, we may be encountering more than one. Theres a random number generation here thing as well, which takes us to;

Roll 5 - How many Centipedes? 10 means d4

Roll 6 - The d4 rolls 2.

BUT - if we look in the back there are three different kinds of Centipede with different poison effects, so I suppose we can just choose one if we like.


Homie Be Flippin'

Every individual hex has its own most-common encounter table embedded in it with motivation and numbers table included.

The main encounter table page also has pretty much everything you will be needing to generate an encounter, so you will be flippin' either once, or not at all.

This is meant to be small
and deliberately a bit out of focus
so you can't just yank the page info.

Its also pretty obvious that for everything in the island, it has a range of stuff that it is doing and relatively little of that includes specifically-looking-for-the-PCs-to-fight-them.

But another big element of this is that, whether you are running it from the book or from a tablet, you will still need a second, self-designed document, as a monster manual because none of these things have stats.

If you are running old-school then it should be relatively simple to string together some hit points and AC's. The book itself gives you good general information about any special effects, enough to run them descriptively.

If you want to run it in 5e then the aesthetic is normie enough that you can yank most templates easily out of the Monster Manual and add or change whatever you need to. But you are probably going to need to actually do that and create a little sub-monster-manual for yourself and run the creatures out of that.

The quasi-Normie aesthetic is probably another reason that WotC will be interested in it. It's not full-on Hipster D&D edgelord dream-vision bullshit like you would get from certain recent darkly handsome yet still somehow single award winners.


Roll Deep?

Once you get used to it, the main encounter table is, I would guess, if you involve the players in rolling dice and giving you results, about 60 seconds or more work each time, and you are probably combining that with a 'point of interest' (it is, effectively, a pointcrawl).

For every table a meaningful number of the more-common results mean one encounter effectively interacting with another.

(One is 'defecating', so nice to see that included for once.)

Also there's nothing to say what to do when you roll a second encounter and that tells you to roll another encounter. Realistically you would just link them up but it would be fun to go full-Aspergers and just keep adding guys.

This is from page 5;

"This is, absolutely, a lot of rolling. Because of this, digital maps are available so you can roll everything up by touching the party's current location on a computer, phone or tablet."

> Has anyone tested these? Leave a comment below or on G+ if you have.

The more I read this and think about it the more likely I think it is that WotC will probably contact Jacob, either to license it or to consult with him on a App or something. HSI is designed to be workable without any digital or phone element, but if you have the app or the digital file then it is going to squat out a complex situation quite neatly, so it works both ways. And I think, for various reasons, WotC really wants you to have an app on your phone and this would be a good way to get you there; release the new splatbook and it either comes with a free app or you get a free update to your current WotC app to run it.

Thinking about how people use apps on their phone, an app-per-product probably makes more sense, though I think the company would probably prefer one main one. Though there is no reason you couldn't have a main WotC app that governs the rest and you download and delete your others based on what you buy & what you are using.



All of this is just for 'outside' encounters. The 'Dungeon' encounters have their own sub-system, also based on nested 3d6 rolls.

You start with an opening 'Whats Happening' table, which effectively gives you a meta-story

So you always (usually) have the map on the same page as the tables and the key, that's good.

Like the outdoors encoutner tables, the dungeon tables have a range of results from different factions. Unlike the outdoor ones, you are (usually, probably) going to be rolling a whole range of results and this means most dungeons will be a network of interconnected, sometimes opposing, elements, with the range of potential motivations blurring the lines between monster/animal and NPC.

And again this is a relatively heavy rolling system, though nowhere near as heavy as the outdoor system. But becasue the results can be so complex, there might occasionally be a handful of problems with integration, probably nothing that a decent DM can't fudge.


The logic of the tables, the explorability of the island, the multiple points per hex, the multiple factions, animal groups and the whole thing really meshes in the central encounter tables. If you are not into these then you will only be buying the book to tear it apart and it isn't the best suited to that. Though if you do want to buy it to tear it apart then there is a LOT of stuff in it.

So at this point readers are thinking either; "Nope. This rolls too deep for me.", "This is how I roll" or "I might roll with you."

If its either of the second two; read on into the next post.



  1. I just bought this solely on the basis of your last post, haven't really had a chance to look at the PDF yet other than skimming it... but based on THIS post, I can't wait to put it to use.

  2. i make players roll encounter dice then blame them - so could roll a dice each or ive used different colour dice so i can roll all at once

    i have set of 10 different colour 2d6 just for brp automatic rifle and machinegun damage

  3. Any word on those digital maps that do all the rolling for you? I'm really interested in this part of HSI