I was on the Atlantic coast a few weeks ago and I enjoy exploring the different environments that I don’t normally see near my central home in Piemonte. At the top of the list are the different federal nature reserves nearby, especially pea island and Alligator River† While birds are my main motivator to visit (especially later in the year) the wetlands on the Carolina coast are home to black bears, alligators, and other reptiles, and is the only wild location of the critically endangered red wolf

Of course I was still thinking World of Warcraft and Dungeons and Dragons between outings, and it struck me how seldom you see these kinds of environments used for a fantasy campaign or game environment. 5th edition does have the Ghosts of Saltmarsh adventure, and on Azeroth you’ll find the Wetlands, the very edge of the Swamp of Sorrow, the swamps of Theramore and the south coast of Krasarang Wilds – although that’s arguably more of a jungle coast than a wetlands coast. However, compared to the number of forests and mountain areas, the coastal wetlands are very pale.

It’s easy to see why creators love dark woods or jungles: the dramatically reduced visibility results in more thrills for adventurers. High-visibility areas, such as deserts or tundra, either have their own set of environmental challenges or have a tendency to create a blinding storm when necessary. While you could throw a hurricane in a swampy coastal environment, generally the only challenges you’ll face are slippery creatures lurking beneath the surface or a Murloc or lizard camp.

I would like to see a more creative use of neglected ecosystems, as there are only so many mountain enclaves and forest houses that an adventurer can visit before they all meet. Wetlands have been hugely popular for settlements throughout history, and the battle against the unrelenting ocean drives many a historical narrative. Meanwhile, steppes can be more than just horse riders and nomads, and a rocky shore that resembles the coast of Alaska or Howling Fjord allows you to combine arctic and coastal encounters in new ways.

What do you say? Think a coastal wetland is too boring to build many adventures from? Can’t get enough of alpine peaks in your games? Or do you get tired of deserts and jungles all the time? Call below!

#settings #dont #attention #fantasy

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