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Fantasy Generators - The Six Environments
Six Fantasy Environments Rural Wilderness

Fantasy Generators - The Six Environments

Duncan Thomson

Looking at six environments for adventures and generators for Fantasy.

[Photo by Mandy Beerley on Unsplash]

Breaking Things Down for the Sea

One of my current projects is creating generators and tables for the Sea, here on Rand Roll and over at Chaos Gen.

This came from thinking about how games are played and how generators could be created to cover a variety of adventures in Fantasy RPGs.

A while ago I thought about of ways to split up environments of play in Fantasy RPGs, or at least ways to split them up for creating generators.

One of Six Environments

The six environments I'm using are...

  • City. One of the most popular and easy to define. This covers large towns, fantasy cities such as Waterdeep, Lankhmar, Altdorf or King's Landing. Adventures might involve thieves guilds, political intrigue, heists, sewer trips or rooftop chases. RPGs and adventures such as Blades in the Dark, Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, ¬†Shadows over Bogenhafen and Council of Thieves.
  • Dungeon. The focus of many older fantasy rpgs, these are locales underground or in ruins, featuring ancient fortresses, underground vaults, haunted mines and cavern complexes. Undermountain, Tomb of Horrors, many OSR Games, Five Torches Deep, Maze Rats.
  • Sea. The focus of this article, from islands and ports to open seas and storm-wracked wilderness coasts. Adventures cover underground cities, smugglers, exploration and pirate shenanigans. Skulls and Shackles, Ghosts of Saltmarsh, 7th Sea.
  • Wilds. The parts of the world which are not 'Civilised', it's a blurry concept about what is wilderness and what is not. But the wilderness will often be mostly untouched and reclaimed (by nature) mountains, moors, plains, desert, swamps, forest and cold lands. Adventures will be exploration, travel and ruins. Forbidden Lands, Ironfang Invasion, Isle of Dread.
  • Beyond / Planar. These are the realms beyond the mortal. The Astral Plane, the Realm of Dreams, The Faerie, the ¬†Shadow World, the Elemental Sea, the alternate dimensions. Adventures could involve anything from the other environments, but with the twist of being somewhere unknown, possibly with few resources, allies or knowledge. And different rules of existence. Possibly Space Fantasy might fit in here. Planescape, Spelljammer, Wilds Beyond the Witchlight.
  • Rural / Hinterlands / Backcountry. This is a catch-all for "settled / civilised" lands that are not part of a city. Farmlands, small towns, frontiers, well-travelled roads and rivers. Often these are not the focus of adventures, but are a massive part of most fantasy worlds! I think in adventures they are usually used as part of other environments. Not sure on known adventures or rpgs! Maybe Against the Cult of the Reptile God or Village of Hommlet.

Supporting the Environments

Starting with Sea, I'm hoping to build tools and tables for each of these environment.

I'm also exploring each looking at existing generators and tables with Tool Guides for Each and followed up with PDF Guides for each (bit by bit). Plus tags of each with related articles and gens on Rand Roll and Chaos Gen.

Hoping to create themes (such as Horror and Faerie) that can be used across the envinonments and also combine each with Terrains (such as Coastal, Mountain) and Ancenstries (Elves, Gnomes, Badger-folk) that can also be used with them.

Finishing Up

There's more on this to come with a look at current sea project here and at Chaos Gen.