ACKS Regional Map Generator

I wrote a little something that generates 30x40 hexmaps seeded with locations for play. If you open that url in a browser, a pdf is generated for you.

The map is drawn on a hexmap following the guidelines set down on page 235 of the rulebook.

I’ve tried with Safari (seems to work well) and Chrome (seems to not work as well). Let me know if you find this useful. And, if you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

How awesome! That will be highly useful for any fresh sandbox.

This is indeed awesome, especially when the settlements line up and you go “Well, must be a river or coast there.” So far I’ve gotten one map with 1 megadungeon way out in the middle of nowhere, and one with seven (!) megas. Think I’m going to keep regenerating until I get ~3.

Also it looks like there’s a slight bug, at least on Firefox. If you set civilization direction and then turn it back to No Civilized Lands Bias, it remains biased in the direction that you had it set to. Fixed by turning the bias number down to 0, but that seems like a silly workaround.

I’ve noticed weirdness with how different browsers cache form data from request to request.

Despite my many years writing software, front end web development is not my forte. I’ll see what I can do about it, though.

Thanks for using the tool!

Not at all; thanks for writing it! And yeah, I’d believe it was a caching issue; reloading the page seemed to reset it.

I updated the generator to include terrain - with color!

I added some very basic terrain modeling, so you will see hills, forests, sea/lake regions, and so on.

Hmm… interesting. I feel like the un-terrained ones were more useful to me, actually. Blank hexes with markers for points of interest spoke to my Traveller GM side :P. Why is this large zone empty? Maybe it’s desert. Why are all these downs in a line? River. Why are these dungeons all clustered here? Massive cavern system / goblin warren. Low-detail randomness is inspiring. Any chance you could make terrain a toggle?

Yeah, I could certainly do that.

I updated the generator with an option to NOT generate terrain. Enjoy!

This is super useful!

I quite like your text for “No terrain”. Never been called “Old School” before :stuck_out_tongue:

I wanted to say thank you for making this program. I also wanted to ask you about a couple of things. As far as I know the only publication I know that has a random surface world generator is the 1st Edition D&D, Dungeon Masters Guide! I have not seen another random land scape generator any where else. The 1st ED DMG has only a single number chance of coming up with water and its conditional. I was wondering if you could write up and publish on paper a random number land scape generator that people could use dice instead of the computer. Your program does a good job of clustering water with water and land with land, and swamps with swamp, and mountans and hills grouped together. Which is not an easy thing to do. Our planet is about 32% clustered land mass and 68%% grouped water areas.
My next idea is could you make an option to create a map bias towards a less settled area and more wilderness. I’m thinking about using the larger hex maps with several smaller hexes within the bigger. Ok, I’ll shut up and leave you alone. Before you start taking my name in vain LOL


I would be happy to explain how I came up with this program. Everything I use is pulled from information that’s out there on DEM and water flow (on the internet).

I’ll give a very brief breakdown on how it works. I use midpoint displacement to generate a height map which generate pretty satisfying, “realistic” terrain. Then I simulate water flow and see where the water is likely to be. I have a few additional changes upcoming that will show you where the rivers are. It needs work because I haven’t put in anything that deals with “pits” - the areas where the water flows end up “blocked” from flowing further.

I’d like to add more things like simulating orographic weather and rain shadows to allow for drier areas, etc. Again, those are things that I will add down the road.

Right now the percentages and distribution of “locations” are based on ACKS rules. It wouldn’t be too hard to allow for you to tweak those numbers.

I’m just glad you found it useful and fun. I sure had fun creating it.

I just updated the application at to include rivers. The algorithm still has flaws - pits, for example, but it work well enough. And, as always, you can opt for a “blank” hexmap with just adventure locations. Enjoy!

That’s really cool!

Thanks and I’m glad you like it. If you use it, please tell us about it in the actual play forum.