Scenery Shenanigans

by Words and Chaos

I’ve been experimenting with scenery generation. I divided it by biome, terrain type, and then three features. So it spits out something like this:

Mountains Cape Few trees Bars A crater
Woodland Knoll Small religious building Flagstones Furnace
Mountains Bay Old Ash Many boulders Ore mine
Jungle Peak Boards A bed Bench
Taiga Saltflat Cross roads Plain obelisk A lean-to
Taiga Dale Gallows Bee hive Gutter
Marsh Chasm Quarry An irrigation ditch Broken wagon
Shrubland Flatland Carved Obelisk Pile of stones Standing stones
Rainforest Overhang Fresh corpses Lighthouse Bell
Rainforest Estuary Skilled Carving Ring of sharp stakes Ruins

I’m not sure if biome is technically the correct term, to be honest, but it’s broader than something like ‘a hill’, so it’ll do. Regardless, it works pretty well for me. I was able to get the following out of it in about ten minutes:

‘There’s an island off the cape. At an abandoned building site on the island you find a single chair and a wagon wheel.’

‘A stretch along the peninsula is dominated by seed strewn shrubland and haphazard nests of insects. There is also a discarded crate.’

‘In a savannah, on a river bank, the road runs out. The end of the road is marked by a broad pillar besides which is a scruffy merchant’s shop.’

‘A rocky glacial coastline where someone built a lighthouse. Apparently they had a preoccupation with punishment. The bottom of the lighthouse features a prominent scaffold and a pair of heavy chains nailed to a rockface.’

‘Through the highlands, beside an inlet, you find a bedroll tucked under a sign directing you to a pig farm.’

‘The woodland ravine used to contain a river. That river has long run dry. Now there are just disparate bones and skeletons. And a noose…’

‘A series of bluffs out in the plains mark the location of a temple surrounded by high fences. A nearby tree buzzes with the endless work of a beehive.’

‘A stone-strewn estuary, where they set prisoners to work on a farm as a means to earn their redemption. When they weren’t planting crops and looking after animals, they’d make things in the workshop. There’s still the famous blocked up tunnel under the walls where some of the prisoners made their escape…’

‘A coastal hamlet with a prominent bell tower. It sits on a broad hill surrounded by a ring of sharpened stakes. At the foot of the hill, by the side of the road, there’s a scaffold with a noose.’

‘A dry river bed threads through the bluffs of a small island populated by nothing much apart from the berry bushes. Outside of the dry riverbed, the only thing remarkable about the island is the tall impaler’s spike.’

I was able to sketch a little map out based on ten of these. The geography f the whole thing almost certainly doesn’t make much sense – there’s a lava lake more or less next to a tundra. Also, because it goes from the macro right down to the micro, if you’re trying to use it as a mapping inspiration it’s a bit weird to try and mark something like a beehive in a forest. There’s ways and means around things like that – a key or something at the side, but it was an interesting experiment and kind of worked.

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