Monday, April 8, 2019

See The Forest For The Trees

Here's another handy-dandy table for adding some more botanical flavor to your fantasy wildernesses.

Again, my focus is still on Forests for the time being, but Trees tend to be present in most terrains1:

Generate uncommon names for real-world trees, or graft-together completely new arboreal creations. I find that arming myself with 3-4 types per large woodland is generally sufficient, but I'll produce a new one when the terrain starts to change or I want to telegraph a shift in the overall hex biome.

I like to make a quick note when I make a new one, just for verisimilitude's sake if they ever come back through an area. As the title of the post says though, don't get too bogged down in details. Tables like this are intended to help provide inspiration and gingerly sprinkle on some flavor here and there. Even just a single distinctive tree can serve as a useful waypoint/landmark (“Meet up by that old Rotcoat Willow”).

Some quick results from the table seem to pass the "sniff test" so to speak:

  • Yellow Briar Privet
  • Cat Blister Laurel
  • Gnomeblind Beech
  • Towerleaf Paw-Paw
  • Elf Shield Yew
  • Stinkbark Hickory
  • Queen Flower Tallow
  • Graveknot Gum
  • Sweetpetal Hemlock
  • Tombseed Pine
  • Deer Pip Cherry
  • Priestburn Cypress

Might experiment with weighing results by Precipitation/Climate/Terrain somehow, or even placing more "common" trees lower on the table so that smaller die can be rolled to make them more prevalent. Ideally, I'd start by breaking out Broad-leaf and Conifer trees in some way, because that can go a long way to informing climate.

1. Save maybe Deserts (although one could remix this as Cacti/Succulents], Oceans [Weird Kelp/Coral?], and Polar environments.

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