Here are three hex maps from my current “Panzoasia” campaign world for Old-School adventure role-playing*. I’m sharing them as examples for newer DMs and GMs, who may be curious about how to properly create and scale such maps. I created these maps from scratch using InkScape, but there are many useful hex mapping programs that can potentially make the job a lot easier for you.
The first map is the “Ultimate West” region of Panzoasia, broken down into 432-mile hexes. The positioning of the green hexes might seem off, but it is a deliberate attempt to make each one enclose as as rich an area for adventuring as possible.
This next map shows Hex # 9 from the 432-mile scale map above, broken down into 36-mile hexes. Remember, the scale is the distance between the centers of two adjacent hexes.
This last map shows Hex #97 from the 36-mile scale map above, broken down into 3-mile hexes. This is the area around the town of Osterm, and where the PCs from my new Campaign have begun their adventures. Notice that while the terrain type shown in the 36-mile hex is predominant among the 3-mile hexes, there are actually several other environments also present. I chose a 3-mile scale for the hexes (rather than the the more common 6-mile one) because three miles (or, one league) represents the distance a healthy person can travel over level ground on foot in one hour. Also, three miles is the approximate distance to the horizon for a person of average height standing on a plain. This means that travelers in the center of a 3-mile hex can usually see to at least the center of every surrounding hex, provided the view is not obscured – by trees, for instance.
You will notice that I have not named every village directly on this map, but simply keyed them with a single or double-letter code – for example, (A), or (AA). That’s because even in a sparsely-populated frontier land such as this there are so many small farming villages that indicating all their names would create an illegibly busy effect.
*Note: I’m currently using the 1991 D&D Rules Cyclopedia as my core rules set for adventures in the “Ultimate West” of Panzoasia, but the setting is meant to be compatible with the broad range of Old-School retro-clones, and related OSR games.