regardless of where in the world they're located. Therefore, primary terrain doesn't refer to a particular area, such as the High Moor of the FORGOTTEN REALMS® setting, but to a general category of terrain, such as swamp or mountains. Conceivably, any combination of geographical features and climate could serve as a primary terrain, but for convenience, we'll confine the possibilities to nine general types:
This terrain type includes all areas consisting primarily of water, such as lakes, oceans, and rivers. At the DM's discretion, this category may also include islands and coastal regions.
This includes any region covered with ice and snow where temperatures rarely rise above zero degrees. The North Pole is good example of arctic terrain.
This includes any barren, flat areas covered with sand or hard-packed earth. Desert climates are extremely dry and hot, with daytime temperatures commonly in excess of 100 degrees, followed by much colder nights. Vegetation is usually sparse, with special adaptations. Much of a desert may be unsettled or unexplored.
This category comprises any woodland areas in temperate climates. At the DM's option, subarctic and subtropical climates may also be included. Forests abound with a variety of animal species, and vegetation flourishes. Not surprisingly, Forest is the primary terrain of choice for the majority of rangers.
These are highlands, often wild and rough, which may or may not be forested. They usually form an intermediate zone between lowlands, such as Plains or Desert, and the highest lands, which are Mountain terrain.
These are tropical lands (including rain forests) overgrown with dense vegetation and trees, and teeming with animal life. Such regions are often hot, humid, and hostile to civilization.
This category includes terrain consisting of high rocky peaks, typically 4,000 feet or more above sea level, with sparse vegetation, severe slopes, and jagged cliffs. Subtropical to subarctic climates are typical, though a wide range of temperatures is possible.
These are flat areas with stretches of low rolling land, including pastures, meadows, fields, and farmlands. Grazing animals are common here. Such regions are usually covered with grasses or scrub vegetation and are usually temperate in climate.
This includes bogs, marshes, and other low elevation areas with standing water or waterlogged soil. Many species of reptiles, birds, and insects live in these regions. Vegetation grows in abundance. The climate may be oppressively hot and humid or cold and misty.
An ambitious DM may wish to define these primary terrain categories more precisely. Instead of a general Aquatic primary terrain category, he may include both Freshwater Aquatic and Saltwater Aquatic, or distinguish them further by designating Temperate Freshwater Aquatic, Tropical Freshwater Aquatic, and so on. In such cases, the DM will need to adjust the primary terrain references elsewhere in this book; for instance, creating his own Freshwater Aquatic Species Enemy Table like the tables in Chapter 2.
For most campaigns, however, the nine categories listed above should suffice. Though obvious differences exist, say, between saltwater and freshwater settings, a ranger's associated skills--the ability to swim, an understanding of aquatic ecology, a familiarity with water-breathing creatures--are applicable to both. Hence, a ranger whose