This is just a half-formed thought inspired by noisms and steamtunnel's recent posts on just how big and potentially full of adventure even a single 5/6/8-mile hex is.
Hex map icons, by their nature, only indicate the single most salient feature to be found in that particular 21/31/55 square miles of landscape. Sure, you can drill down to a more granular level with the help of nested hex map templates (such as Welsh Piper's fine 1/5/25-milers), but creating a whole new map for a smaller-scale area is a whole extra chore for the already-busy GM. I don't know about you, but I want to minimize my level of extra work thanks.
Could we perhaps add a simple 'emergent exploring' rule that allows the party to uncover more stuff (up to the limits of the GM's taste/patience) the longer they stay in a hex?
- Castles, cities and the like should all be in plain sight unless intentionally hidden away (like Gondolin or Derinkuyu). Heck, roads point you directly to most of them.
- Infamous lairs, ruins and dungeons should, of course, retain their "Here be dragons" hex map icons and easy-to-find status. The yokels can point out exactly in which direction the castle we don't go near lies.
- More obscure lairs, lost ruins, buried tombs and especially treasure map loot should require a bit of active hunting out by adventuring parties.
Perhaps integrate this into the Wandering Monster encounter rolls that are already part-and-parcel of wilderness exploration in Classic D&D? Just tack the 'discovery' chance onto the existing roll so that it goes from being
d6 1-2: encounter, 3-6: no encounterto something like
d6: 1-2 encounter, 3-4 fruitless wandering, 5-6 Eureka!with the Eureka! result representing discovery of a previously known (to the party) but locationally undetermined feature.
"I told you the Tomb of Screaming Death was out here. Pay up."Thoughts? Suggestions? Accusations of reinventing the wheel?
"Alright, but I want a discount for the sheer length of time you dragged us around this filthy swamp."
Is there already such a rule hidden away in the TARDIS of a game that is OD&D?