I love a good Wilderness adventure.
You know what you rarely see though? A good Wilderness adventure.
In the lexicon of most GMs, it seems like the word Wilderness means 'Vaguely European Forest'. In reality it is defined as 'an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.' That covers a wide range of environments. A much wider range than English Woodlands.
San Juan County, New Mexico, USA
I did a Google Image Search for 'RPG Wilderness' and the most popular hits were exactly what I expected; a dozen pictures of forest terrain maps and adventure tiles. There was a lot of green my friend. A lot of green.
Then I did a Goggle Image Search for simply 'Wilderness' and I got mountains, rivers, deserts, the everglades, and more. The conditions in these pictures ranged from treacherous, snow-capped peaks to dry, arid plains baked by the Sun.
I run a lot of Science Fiction games as you know - Alien, Star Trek, Star Wars, Traveller; just to name the most prominent - and one of the reasons I love it so much is the chance to showcase various environments.
In Fantasy, especially Medieval Fantasy, it takes a long time to get from one place to another. Travel on foot or even horseback for an hour from your Bavarian-style Woodland home and you are very likely still in the woods of Fantasy Bavaria.
From single biome worlds like Star Wars' Tatooine to the more realistic planets of Traveller such as Regina, PCs can explore a wide variety of Wildernesses in a 'relatively' short period of time in the Science Fiction genre.
You can do a survey of a single world over the course of several sessions or FTL jump from a frosty Ice Planet to a one covered in monumental Mushroom trees with ease thanks to Warp, Hyperspace, or whatever your interstellar drive of choice may be.
My advice to you is...head out into the Wilderness. Go to different environments. Explore terrain that challenges you. What does it take to survive the frigid waters of an ocean just a little to far from its Sun to be comfortable? How do you climb mountains of sand or loose gravel, where getting a hand or foot hold seems nearly impossible.
Don't settle for yet another endless forest of same-old bushes and here-we-go-again trees. Do some research on Earth's more unusual and extreme regions. Find out what's required to live and/or work there and how it can impede or enhance an adventure.
Stretch out into the unknown and face the vast, untamed wilds; not just the familiar ones.
Entry 11 - Wilderness
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