Hidden Territories brings the hexcrawl style of fantasy gaming to table top board games, with elements of role playing games (RPGs) we all love: persistent characters who level up, have special skills and abilities, acquire magical and mundane gear, with classes such as the classic warrior, mage, and rogue. The world you explore in Hidden Territories comes alive with a card-based artificial intelligence system, a unique storyline revealed through challenging encounters, and a kingdom peopled with monsters, enemies, and other Non-Player Characters (NPCs).
The objective of the game is to explore the Kingdom of Westri so as to complete a series of quests. As you encounter baddies and allies, a story will unfold; it is up to you to take on the enemies of freedom and bring peace to the kingdom. The game board is a corresponding version of the hex grid map. The players will explore the area moving from hex to hex, completing their quests and encountering all kinds of people, places, and adventures. Play extends over multiple sessions.
Travel around the Kingdom of Westri, a place full of points of interest for the players to explore . While exploring the game board/map — different story lines emerge in a milieu made up of relationships, conflicts, alliances, and plots. This is put in motion by the combination of quest, encounter, and event cards. As you play, you come across NPCs to "interact" with. Your path across Westri, your choices, and hex-specific details build a unique experience, each session.
In Hidden Territories, characters join together to explore the many regions of Kingdom of Westri. Become battle-hardened as you acquire legendary weapons and wield potent magic. Conquer monstrous hordes and discover fabulous treasures. Make allies — and enemies who will try to thwart your quest. Over time, if you survive and discover the clues that lead you to the source of all evil, you will become powerful enough to face your ultimate nemesis. Together, can you defeat the spreading darkness?
Start with the set of pre-defined characters, archetypes of the magical medieval fantasy setting. When playing the game, each player selects a character to play. You can travel separately, or as cooperatively as a party. Each character has its own strengths and weaknesses, with stats and other traits described on the card. Different strategies should be employed, based on the character selected, in order to be successful.
Each character has different attributes for moving, fighting, using magic, and other special abilities. Level up by spending XP to learn new skills -- following a skills tree based on class and other prerequisites. Different species (humanoid, elf, dwarf, etc.) grant different benefits and constraints. Stats help determine likelihood of success of challenge dice checks.
Why does everyone want to control Westri — because it is the crossroads of the Multiverse? This small kingdom in the western region of Glatheriel is the only place known to have nexus points. These portals to other universes are obviously of great import. And he/she who controls these, wields tremendous power!
Internal division tears at the heart of Westri. Many factions, guilds, religious orders, and others try to unsettle the balance, often encouraged from forces outside the borders, and across the multiverse. The supporters of the “Pretender King” are gathering to decide issues of succession, against the hasty crowning of Griswold, supported by the lords and other nobility who are “Loyalists.” This upheaval comes at a bad time, as the forces of chaotic evil marshal to try to overrun the land.
Unearthed in the wilderlands among some long-lost ruins, an artifact was found that could resurrect the captains of an undead army, representing a struggle between gods, demons, and others. It is here that you can fight these forces of chaos, and ultimately, an even greater power. Will the darkness, pouring forth from a portal to the demon realm, spread to all the regions of the Kingdom, before you succeed?
The game starts with your party of heroes enjoying a grog at The Unicorn's Inn, agreeing to adventure together.
Players explore the kingdom to accomplish quests. When PCs move to enter a new hex, find information by hex number from the game board in the Gazetteer. Roll dice based on the challenge rating of the hex, to trigger an encounter or find a point of interest keyed to that hex.
The PCs experience an event, encounter monsters or NPCs, or find a specific points of interest in that hex. Some encounters may be keyed to the Adventure Guide; how you resolve an encounter can shape future events.
Players’ characters can find or win fabulous treasures, magical artifacts, and gold or jewels. As players overcome challenges, their characters gain experience which can be spent on greater magical spells, skills, or other abilities. Leveling up is needed to face the more powerful bosses, as is the help of other players and NPCs.
Who is the enemy? Well, it depends — the object of each session is determined by the adventure quest players choose. Victory in a session is mapped out by the Challenge Mat, but the game continues over multiple sessions.
In the intro quest, the object of the game is to collect the necessary artifacts to defeat the Big Baddie. But who is that? Meeting with NPCs may yield Lore cards, and tracking down rumors may help unmask the evil behind the threat! Searching the wilderness can uncover helpful magical items, or trigger an encounter with a monster.
Glatheriel is the D&D campaign setting by Tom Termini. The northern continent includes a varied patchwork of both human and non-human realms. The human realms sample various Earth-Prime historical cultures. Elves, dwarves, and other medieval-style fantasy species are represented, as well as elemental chaotic species such as Orcs, giants, and others. The world started to take shape from game sessions in 1978, through the early 1980s, and then revived in 2011, continuing through today. Background materials examines many neighboring nations, covering basic elements: cultural and geographic features. This offers a brief history and timeline for each nation; basic geography, climate, and ecology; and, fundamental social and political concepts of the particular region.
You don't always have to fight to overcome challenges! In some encounters, you have the choice to run away or face your enemy in combat. In other encounters, parlay, trade, or even convincing the NPC to join your party are options.
Villages, towns, cities, castles and other habitations can offer safe haven to rest and heal. Or, harbor new threats -- does the Thieves Guild want those jewels you found, or the Temple that artifact? You can buy, sell, or trade in the "civilized" areas of Westri.
Players take turns navigating the board (hexes display the terrain or habitations). If players travel together as a party, they gain certain advantages. Each turn a character may visit villages, towns, keeps or other locations (where items and allies can be found). Players may face an encounter (which provide challenges and potential enemies), or interact with non-player characters.
A major component of Hidden Territories is the board, a large map of the Kingdom of Westri, divided into hexagons. Each hex is either a terrain type (mountains, plains, river, swamp, forest, or hill) or a habitation. Some hexes have roads, for easy traversal.
Hidden Territories is the hex crawl, and is filled with terrain types, cities, rivers, roads, etc. Based on a random card and corresponding guidebook, there are adventure sites and encounters in many hexes. This simulates the use of randomized content often seen in hex crawl or sandbox RPGs.
Hex crawl is a technique for running wilderness adventures in a fantasy role-playing game. It provides rules for travel, exploration and encounters and is usually paired with sandbox style play to create a truly open world game. The players experience of a hex crawl is that of uncovering a lot of secrets about an area and exploring however they want — there are story hooks along the way and knowledge gained from encounters.
When characters enter each hex, perhaps the party has stumbled upon something — either specific to the location or via an Encounter Card? Each hex can hold many secrets — villages, ruins, traveling monsters, etc. If you want to explore what the area holds, the party can spend action points and roll, modified by certain thier stats. This symbolizes the party slowing down and exploring, instead of just traveling trough the hex.
Magic is pervasive in Westri. Mages can acquire more knowledge for his/her spell book, prepare them for the day, and each spell costs “mana” to utilize. Which College of Magic do you follow? You can acquire spells, or perhaps divine blessing or other spheres of magic as well -- including nature magic, powers used by monsters and forces of chaos.
Priests may call upon deities to rain down divine might, or heal a fellow character's wounds. Clerics and mages have innate powers, but true energies are channeled through artifacts or learned from ancient scrolls. Whether you're an arcane wizard or a priest of some sect, you need to acquire special cards to tap into Mana or channel divine powers.
The game system uses a Pace attribute to calculate how far a character can travel during the day. The party’s travel time is equal to that of the slowest character. Spend "move points" for the day of travel. Using vehicles or mounts improves movement rates. Many other factors will hinder your speed — encumbrance, fatigue, and injury. One-hex movement in any direction is generally allowed. Special items and skills can potentially impact basic movement.
There is an element of wilderness survival: players track rations, fatigue, and items carried. Weather and other “global” events affect the party as they wander into dangerous areas. Even "safe" havens may contain threats of a different sort. The Kingdom of Westri is an open world, and many events are influenced by player-driven actions and decisions. The kingdom is filled with treacherous terrain, haunted ruins, and monsters — but players determine to investigate to complete quests.
How much loot or gear can you carry? Maybe you have a mule, to help? Item cards represent weapons, armor, and other equipment your character is carrying. Items have a value, which is how much gold you must spend to purchase them (or to sell them!).
Items grant your character extra abilities, as listed on the text of the card. Your character’s strength, backpack capacity and other encumbrance factors may limit what you carry.
Equipment and other items enable you tp add a whole new dimension to your character. Show off all the loot found during adventures, carry specialized gear, and, of course, charge up magical weapons and artifacts for added "oomph" overcoming challenges.
The game board - map of the Kingdom of Westri, divided into 500 hexes.
Chits - to be placed on the board or on the player's mat
Game play is fast and simple compared to "traditional" roleplaying games, as encounters are managed from the “A.I.” on various cards — and the Adventure Guide. Each turn, players simultaneously draft action and skill cards, modified by their characters' statistics. A pool of action points is determined by a roll of the dice; players allocate among themselves the points to spend on movement, exploration, combat, and other actions. Mana is accumulated and spent to power magical spells and divine favors.
As your characters' minis advance across the game board, spend action points for movement and exploration. Flip cards for encounters, or read the hex-specific information in the Gazetteer. Did you find haunted ruins, is there a dangerous river to ford? Getting lost in the wilderness sounds bad -- during the day, you may be safe, but when you camp at night, will monsters come out to eat you? In a town you can seek a temple for healing, sustenance at an inn, or a shop to buy and sell.
Fighting and wounds are handled with a dice pool and a threshold system. That is, damage is handled by rolling a handful of dice, then count up points to meet a certain target number or higher. Remove all those that fail to meet this threshold. and the remaining dice determine how many "hits" are deduced from health points. Not all challenges are overcome with the dice-pool combat system. Skill checks are handled with a roll of the dice, modified by your character’s attributes.