Following up on my post from yesterday regarding location properties for developing a regional adventuring ecosystem — I wanted to talk a little bit about each of the following — mines, caves, and quarries. And canyons, for alliteration.

Actually, canyons are good for another reason.

Oblivion and Skyrim naturally feature all three as fairly generic adventuring locations, ranging from the more natural caverns, to hollowed-out areas of earth of both the above-ground (quarry) and the below-ground (mine) varieties.

A canyon then, could be seen as a natural equivalent to a quarry. Oh, though technically mines can be either above- or below-ground. Whatever. Moving on.

Caves are formed in a number of different ways, but perhaps the easiest one to visualize — for me, anyway — is a receding water level triggering sinkholes and whatnot. I don’t know that you get the iconic stalagmites and stalactites that way, but I did say sinkholes were easiest for me to visualize.

Mines then, tend to be tunnels into the earth — when you imagine the thing that people pull ore from, anyhow — and may or may not include those terrifying bottomless shafts that appear in films featuring subterranean locations.

Despite both mines and caves managing to be quite extensive — and having grown up with Journey to the Center of the Earth — I never really bought into the “Hollow Earth” concept, nor the vast, subterranean realm of the Underdark.

With “Dungeons” featuring prominently in Dungeons & Dragons, open-air locations like canyons and quarries seem to receive less attention. Compared to what I said about caves, I actually grew up hiking the canyon in my grandparents’ backyard, so I have a far easier time visualizing canyons.

My family visited the Grand Canyon during my formative years — oh, and there was that open-pit copper mine in Utah. I never actually visited it though.

Canyons and quarries strike me as really good adventuring locations because they both manage a claustrophobic feeling without actually restricting movement — a good box canyon should make the players nervous.

Bad things happen in canyons.

Oh, and bad things happen in quarries — accidents while excavating clay or stone can and should make it a good undead haunt. There’s other things too — you can totally stock an abandoned quarry with angry earth elementals.

Just thinking out loud. Don’t mind me. *whistles tunelessly*