Terrain is made up of multiple criteria when it is related to this website. I used the following information to separate the components of terrain with some examples of what I did;
- Temperature & Humidity
- Frigid (Snow and Ice)
- Temperate (Mild)
- Hot and Humid (Tropical, Jungle, Swamp)
- Hot and Dry (Desert)
- Below Ground (dungeons, caverns, caves)
- On Ground (castles, ruins, roads and paths, etc…)
- In the Air (IE., on a cloud)
- In Space (IE., Spelljamming)
- Landscape Type
- Sand Dunes
- Phlogiston (refer to Spelljammer)
- Planar (Inner, Outer, Elemental, etc…)
- Sparse (Village)
- Average (Hamlet)
- Above Average (Town)
- Large (City)
- Excessively Large (Metropolis)
There are other factors that would make up my definition of ‘terrain’. However, I wanted to simplify my logic to make it easier to come up with an easy to manage solution.
Within Dungeon Magazine, things like populace and landscape are not always defined. As a result, I don’t have anything marked down. For Dungeon Mastering purposes, I would use anything not marked as an opportunity to get creative.
There will be ways in which an adventure doesn’t fall into a ‘standard’ setting. For example, a dungeon on a planet in Wildspace. I would put this in the dungeon realm even though you have to travel through the Phlogiston and then land on a planet surface before going inside.
There are many ways to define what a character will encounter. Additional things not listed are (just to name a few);
- Weather patterns (rainfall, snowfall)
- Special earth/weather events (tornados, earthquakes, etc…)
- Special town events (a triathlon in the local city, tax collection, etc…)
- Unusual events (insect plague, lake water is algae infected, etc…)
Suffice it to say that the material is vast. However, my design will try to make it easier to find the specific type of scenario you are interested in.