This is an age-old problem for me ... but when Arduin started talking about geomorphs several weeks ago, the old thorn began to dig into the ol' haunch in the same way it has a hundred times. What I've long wanted would be geomorphic tiles that represented urban sections, which could then be fitted together to make villages, towns and cities.
Obviously, just drawing up town sections which would feature a couple of houses plus a street or two isn't the problem. It's having those sections be fitted with hexes so that they could be used if a combat arose.
I've tried making the sections AS hexes ... but creating unified hexes so that at six points they can fit seamlessly with any other hex is more troublesome that it looks. True, you don't have to have a road on every edge - but there is a difficulty that in sectioning off a hex with roads, you wind up with triangular sections upon which to set buildings. Some other individual might be happy with that. They might even consider the triangular construction to be representative of the curious culture of their world. But not me. I like squares.
Alternately, I could go the way of later editions and throw out the hexagon as the mapping system for battles. I could change to squares. If it wasn't for that damned hypotenuse. Funny how my bow fires further if I turn 45 degrees ...
Wouldn't it be wonderful, I try to imagine, if somehow a tile could be made that was a square, and at the same time that tile could be hexed so as to be useful in combat. Unfortunately, hexes and squares just don't get along. There's no way to overlay hexes overtop of a square in such a way that when the square is turned, the hexes line up. For example:
Still, a part of me doesn't care. Which is odd, since I was just hung up on the hypotenuse a paragraph ago ... and this is unquestionably worse.
In spite of everything, I'll probably go this way. My biggest question right now is how many 5-foot hexes across should the square be? The compromising concern is that my research tells me that Medieval town houses tended to be 13 to 18 feet wide, and 35 feet long ... with another 15 or 25 feet back of that for a yard. Assuming we'd want to get the whole house on a hex, plus the street in front of it, we're talking about a square at least 60 feet on an edge. 80 feet (16 hexes) would be better, since then I could get houses built on both sides of a 10' wide lane, and then have house yards + center courts as a separate tile.
I can't say for the moment if a 16 hex diameter tile is too large, too small, or just right. Certainly its too big for a dungeon ... but maybe not for an urban setting. I haven't done much work on it. But its been a few years since I've tried, I've learned a lot in those years and Arduin has got me thinking. Perhaps I might manage something in the next few months.