It pays to enrich your Exploration pillar

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  • The exploration pillar has been a hot topic of discussion recently. And there seems to be a great need for some help enriching the exploration pillar in the game. Exploration really covers everything that doesn't involve combat or social interaction - so pretty much 80-90% of many games! More of a foundation than a pillar.

    So what does the exploration pillar contain specifically? Pretty much every inanimate object you can think of (and a few animated ones too!) This wiki page will gather input from the Enworlders to provide ideas, references and examples of exciting, interesting and engaging things to enrich your adventures.

    Tangible

    Tangible items are objects and locations that the players can interact with physically.

    Artifacts
    • Armor
    • Statues
    • Tomes
    • Tools
    • Weapons

    Locations
    For locations, be mindful of presenting something for the PCs to hear and smell beyond just what they can see! For example the sound of the crashing waves outside a sea cave and the smell of the seaweed that coats the cave floor. Or, the smell of rotting vegetation in the fetid swamp and the occasional burp of fermented gas bursting through the surface. In buildings, does it smell fresh or stale? Are there curious or familiar noises?
    • Natural
      • Sea Coasts
      • Deserts
      • Swamps
      • Mountain Passes
      • Ancient Forests
      • Jungles
      • Rivers
      • Cliffs
      • Canyons
      • Ridges
      • ...
    • Built
      • Castles
      • Dungeons
      • Inns
      • Mines
      • Sewers
      • Shops
      • Shrines
      • Taverns
      • Towers
      • Temples
      • Villages
      • Towns
      • Cities
      • Ruins
      • Henges
      • ...

    Traps
    • Simple
    • Complex
    Trinkets


    Intangible


    Intangible items are cultures, cults, mysteries, plots and rumours. These are things that can spice up your game and perhaps lead to adventure.

    Further Reading

    Art books can provide a lot of inspiration for locations. The Art of Magic: the Gathering books provide a lot of evocative imagery. The Innistrad and Zendikar ones in particular.

    Searching for RPG ideas on Pinterest will reveal a bunch of images of maps, locations, buildings and potential NPCs for example:
    Pinterest Sample.png


    Dyson Logos provides a wealth of simple but useful maps.

    DMs Guild also has many options.
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