A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Hex Crawl Chronicles 2 – The Winter Woods – Pathfinder Edition

Hex Crawl Chronicles 2 – The Winter Woods – Pathfinder Edition by John Stater is a role playing game supplement published by Frog God Games for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. As such, it is covered by the Open Game License although no parts are, according to the license, considered to be Open Game Content. The supplement is also available in a Swords & Wizardry version. This is the second in the Hex Crawl Chronicles range of wilderness sandboxes. The Northmen race from the first supplement appears again and the region also includes part of Black Water, which is covered in more detail in the next in the series, Beyond the Black Water.

The supplement is available from RPGNow as a PDF for $4.99, a print on demand softcover for $9.99 or both softcover and PDF for $9.99. The PDF is the version reviewed although it was purchased at the reduced price of $3.74.

This is a 48 page PDF, one page of which is the front cover, one page the front matter, one page the Table of Contents, one page the Open Game License and three pages are ads for other products.

Hex Crawl Chronicles 2 - The Winter Woods - Pathfinder EditionThe supplements starts with an overview of the history of the region, followed by Adventures in the Wilderness. There is a set of random encounter tables, with four different regions – Black Water, Grasslands, Moors and Wooded Hills – for encounters, some of which are quite dangerous (1d8 aboleths for example).

Next is a section on the Black Arks which are captained by Beyonders and crewed by undead. More can be found on the Beyonders in Beyond the Black Water. There are also details on the three races of men found in the region and on random patrols.

The major section of the book is the encounter key. There is a full page colour map measuring 50 hexes across and 25 down for 1,000 in all, although only 97 of these are actually covered. There are also 20 rumours, some true, some false, one neither, all connected to different hexes.

Some hex descriptions are quite short, with only a paragraph or so, whilst others are longer. One has a small tomb with a battlemap (which appears to have a Wheel of Fortune inside it!), but there are no other maps for the hexes.

Hex Crawl Chronicles 2 – The Winter Woods – Pathfinder Edition in Review

The PDF is reasonably well bookmarked with the major sections and the minor ones at the beginning bookmarked. Each hex is bookmarked, but the various new magic items are not, which would have been helpful. The Table of Contents covers a similar depth. Navigation is as a result okay.

The text maintains a two column format and only a few errors were noticed. There is the full colour hex map, one small battlemap and a couple of around a third of a page in size black and white illustrations that are appropriate for the related text. Given that the cover is used for every entry in the series, presentation is okay.

The hexes are detailed well and quite evocatively; there’s a definite ‘feel’ to the area. Many of the hexes connect to others in some way, making it feel more like an interconnected place than simply a bunch of unconnected encounters plonked on a map. There is also a common thread running through regarding the rise of the Queen of the Winter Wind. This is briefly covered at the end, saying that it is related to glaciation of the region and gives a couple of suggestions for developing this, but really, this is up to the GameMaster to develop.

There are a few new magic items and what would appear to be some new monsters, or at least not Paizo monsters, throughout the text.

This is another well detailed area that can be used as a source of adventure in itself or as an area for connecting together an adventure series, which would be a great use for it, making adventures seem to be in a living environment rather than mostly disconnected events. As with any wilderness region, players can stumble upon encounters that are too dangerous for them. GMs may have difficulty integrating the area into their own campaign world, and it would probably require a bit of modification to do so. This is partly due to how well described the region is. This type of supplement will appeal to those who enjoy old fashioned hex crawls. Those that don’t will probably not enjoy it. Hex Crawl Chronicles 2 – The Winter Woods – Pathfinder Edition can be found by clicking here.


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