Landscapes for Writers and Game Masters

Building Authentic Natural Terrain into Imagined Worlds

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About the Book

Landscape science viewpoints help tell fascinating stories, whether in fiction or at the table of a role-playing game. The world’s varied terrain provides innumerable examples of scene-specific challenges and resources for story characters. Each region has distinctive land features, compelling story locations, and intriguing traits. Landslides, floods, coastal erosion, glacier movement, and volcanism have surprising aspects that can deliver fresh plot points and alter the social character of an imagined region. Characters traveling different river types encounter very different puzzles, opportunities, and combat environments. That same essential variety awaits within other classic adventure settings, such as caves, mountains, deserts, shorelines, and volcanic zones. Atypical landscapes such as tundra, karst, and vast glacier surfaces can breathe fresh air into stories told in many genres.

This handbook, intended as a reference source for creative writing and game world building, delves deeper into many landscape characteristics that help set the tone, shape character behavior, and, in many cases, drive the plot forward. With chapters divided into diverse geographic environments, from rivers and shorelines to caves and volcanoes, learn how important setting and scenery are for the development of a storyline. Hundreds of examples illustrate ways that knowledge of the terrain can deliver plot points, add veracity, pose key problems, establish conflict, and naturally lead into the next scene. Discover how authors and game masters effectively weave their stories using land and terrain.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Scott Rice-Snow is a professor of geological sciences at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, with published research in river, glacial, and karst geomorphology, as well as hydrology, geoarchaeology, and geoscience education. He also hosts the website, documenting unique landscape features and their narrative/gameplay potential.

Bibliographic Details

Scott Rice-Snow

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 150 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8357-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4504-9
Imprint: McFarland