This is part of an ongoing series of articles regarding a setting I wanted to develop for role-playing. This article focuses on the environment of my "fantasy western" campaign setting. Since this is the first substantive article regarding this setting, I suspect it will have a lot of loose threads that would likely warrant a second visit once more of the characters, organizations, and cultures are better fleshed out.
When I use the phrase "Western themed," one of my intents is for the setting to have the look and feel of classic western film. From an environmental perspective, I expect this world to look a lot like sparsely settled Arizona or eastern California. High plateaus, vast plains, deserts, and rocky badlands make up the bulk of the terrain. There may be pockets of dense forest here and there, perhaps nestled away in a secluded valley, but most of the world will have sparse vegetation. Shrubs and cactus are most of the green a resident of this world expects to sees on a day-by-day basis.
|There is some vegetation, but the color palette is|
made up of mostly reds and browns.
|Classic Western style!|
Filgaia, the world of Wild Arms 3, is interesting because it has no oceans. Instead, it has a sea of sand that the party must traverse with a sand ship. I spent a significant amount of time considering whether this would be something to implement within my own "fantasy western" setting. It emphasized the decaying world message really effectively but it also felt a little bit... well, silly. It was hard in my mind to determine how a sea of sand wasn't just, well, a desert.
|Right. Sailing... on sand.|
|No ocean is too deep when you're a giant, I guess.|
At World's End
Why is the world dying? Why have the oceans turned to salt and silt? Honestly, I prefer to take something of a sandbox approach to this issue. People have theories, but the truth will depend on the players. Of course, as I go on, I will elucidate different possibilities as to why the world is dying, usually colored by the perspectives of people that live in it, but none of them should be considered necessarily true. Like the destruction of Cyre by the Mourning, the catastrophe that is causing this world's slow death should be something of a mystery that develops as a party plays through a campaign.
|Expansive, dusty plateaus that need be traversed|
by horseback seem the right style.