6 October 2012

DM Tool: Random Terrain Features

In working on some hex-crawling stuff, I realized I needed some tables for minor features on travels through hexes. These would also work well for a West Marches-style hexless wilderness crawl (perhaps especially for that!).

The idea is that with a good network of landmarks, the players can travel in a more believable manner than, "Let's head North into that Forest hex". This way, the players can say, "Let's head past that rocky outcropping and into the forest, then make for that copse of evergreens we found." I think that's got a bit better feel!

How to Use

Roll d10 three times a day (or to taste) and compare the result to the number in parentheses next to the terrain type.

Roll another d10 to see what kind of feature you find.



Explanations of Some Terms
  • Swamp: wetland characterized by trees.
  • Marsh: wetland characterized by grasses.
  • Moor: Covered in peat bog, rolling hills, wet, foggy (e.g. central Wales, Dartmoor). Peat harvesting can be lucrative. Organic matter in the peat suffers only minimal decomposition.
  • Quaking Bog: A layer of peat, sometimes a metre or two thick, floating on top of water. Possible to fall through a weak spot, which would likely be deadly. Can be detected by feeling the ground "quake" a little.
  • Wadi: depression in the ground, possibly a dry streambed or lake. Can be dangerous during rain, as flash floods are possible.
Plains (6+)
  1. Rocky Outcropping
  2. Copse
  3. Copse
  4. Stream 
  5. Spring
  6. Hill
  7. Hill
  8. Wetland
  9. Wildflower Meadow
  10. Wildflower Meadow
Moor (8+)
  1. Rocky Outcropping
  2. Rocky Outcropping
  3. Copse
  4. Copse
  5. Stream 
  6. Spring
  7. Dominant Hill
  8. Quaking Bog
  9. Pond, or Small Tarn/Loch/Lake
  10. Grandfather Tree
Forest (6+)
  1. Rocky Outcropping
  2. Copse (Different Tree Type)
  3. Thicket
  4. Thicket
  5. Stream
  6. Spring
  7. Grandfather Tree
  8. Clearing
  9. Clearing
  10. Wetland
Hills (6+)
  1. Rocky Outcropping
  2. Rocky Outcropping
  3. Copse
  4. Copse
  5. Thicket
  6. Stream
  7. Spring
  8. Grandfather Tree
  9. Cliff
  10. Cave
Mountain (8+)
  1. Rocky Outcropping
  2. Rocky Outcropping
  3. Broken Ground (poor footing, treacherous)
  4. Broken Ground
  5. Permanent Snow Deposit (mini-glacier in a crevice)
  6. Stream
  7. Waterfall
  8. Cliff
  9. Cave
  10. Crevasse
Desert (8+) 
  1. Rocky Outcropping
  2. Rocky Outcropping
  3. Rocky Outcropping
  4. Salt Pan 
  5. Oasis
  6. Hill
  7. Hill
  8. Wadi
  9. Wadi
  10. Wadi
Jungle (8+)
  1. Rocky Outcropping
  2. Hill
  3. Swamp
  4. Swamp
  5. Marsh 
  6. Marsh
  7. Stream
  8. Spring 
  9. Grandfather Tree
  10. Clearing
Edited, 2012-10-07: I've edited this chart a little to clean it up and conform it to another chart I'm working on in this series, one on man-made landmarks.

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