Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Everyday Items 2: Biomes, part 1: Plants & Fungi Part A

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The biome that a game is set in can affect many things. Oftentimes both PCs and DMs alike ignore (or at minimum downplay) this resource for storytelling, characterization, and plot?

According to Blue Planet Biones
A biome is a large geographical area [consisting] of distinctive plant and animal groups, which are adapted to that particular environment. The climate and geography of a region determines what type of biome can exist in that region... All living things are closely related to their environment. Any change in one part of an environment, like an increase or decrease of a species of animal or plant, causes a ripple effect of change in through other parts of the environment.  
 Let me break this down
  • A large geographical area: The general types of biomes are: Tundra, Taiga, Steppe, Grasslands, Deciduous Forest, Chaparral, Desert, Savanna, Rainforest, Alpine, Cave or one of several types of Aquatic (more about these later)
  • Consisting of distinctive plant groups adapted to that particular environment. When considering what plants can grow in a certain area consider the following: 
    1. How much light the plant takes does it need full, direct sunlight? Does it do best with morning or afternoon sun?
    2. What types of nutrients/ soil does it need? How does it get them? Does it need to be fertilized, given a specific soil in order to thrive? What specifically does it need?
    3. What types of pollination does it need? Does it attract animals, insects, or both to do its pollination.
    4. How does it reproduce? Does it have animals eat its fruit (if any) and get rid of the seeds as waste? Is it blown by the wind to another location? Does it stick to an animal's fur and fall off? Does it simply send a new part of the root out and start a new plant that way?
    5. Is it natural or has it been changed over time? Keep in mind that man alters plants so that they are able to grow in certain areas through cross breeding and grafting?
    6. What type of temperatures does it need? Too hot or too cold of conditions will kill most any plant.
    7. Is it natural to the area or is it an invasive species? Was it introduced accidentally or purposely in order to fight something else and now it's out of control?
    8. How much rain/ water does it need? How drought/ flood resistant is it?  
  • Any change in one part of the environment will cause a ripple effect through the other parts. Consider the following :
    1. What will happen if there's a drought in the area? How will it affect not only the people, but plants and animals in an area?  Will it cause neighboring kingdoms to go to war to prevent their people from starving to death?
    2. How can the PCs fight an invasive plant species that chokes off everything else? Who put it there and why?
    3. During a war, there's a flood that causes houses, trees, and ground cover to be swept away, How do the PCs get around this natural disaster?
    4. There's a medicine that one of the PCs or their loved ones need made out of a rare plant. To what extremes will they go to get it?
    5. There's a plant which gives off spores that infest and control people, animals, and monster. The PCs must find a cure for this strange and vexing malady. 
    6. Crops of a certain type of grain have suddenly become inedible. It's up to the PCs to determine why. 
    7. Strange weather, dramatically affecting both plant and animal life has been occurring. Certain species of plants are dying off and the animals that eat it are becoming scarcer. Other, more hostile animals are taking their place. It's up to the PCs to set everything straight. 
    8. Despite being rare, a certain type of plant lived in the area, but in recent years, has completely vanished. It's up to the PCs to determine what happened and why. 
More on Biomes next time. 

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