Sunday, June 15, 2014

Spine your tropics

After playing a few D&D computer adaptations set in the "Sword Coast" region of the Forgotten Realms, many, many things bug me. I complain a lot.

For now, here's one of the more minor details: I don't like the idea of the Spine of the World or more specifically its geographic location. Granted, in a fictional setting it's usually nice to include a variety of environments and mountains certainly qualify. I also get that they wanted a definitive "end of the world" location up there in the north.

However, stylistically, mountains in northern regions are redundant. Increasing either altitude or latitude mostly serves as a vehicle for cold-weather creatures, societies and adventures but just one of the two will do.
Instead, a mountain range as a major geographical feature would provide a tropical region with a very poignant point of contrast (so long as it's not volcanic) quickly shifting from hot to cold biomes.

And speaking of which, volcanic crevasses tearing apart the blanched calm of a tundra adventure setting? Much more interesting than mountains, and at least as good for the purposes of an "end of the world" motif. Come on, Iceland itself looks like a fantasy landscape.

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