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A region is an area of the world that you may select when choosing a location for your fort.
Each region is made up of several biomes affecting available flora and fauna. A region also has one or more climates, and may be in the presence of good or evil civilizations. Maybe most importantly, a region also usually contains several differing "stacks" of stone layers that may or may not map with the biomes. Some information on what the region contains can be gathered from the Map legend.
Surroundings affect the types of plant life, wild animals and creatures which will appear in play within a given biome. It is possible to start a fortress that overlaps multiple alignment types (for example good, evil, savage, and benign). Some players consider this desirable, as it provides diversity in your little corner of the world, but it also has its dangers in the form of more ferocious wildlife.
One region occupies one tile (represented by a single character/icon) in the middle embark map (accordingly titled Region) and is shown in detail in the left Local map where you pick your precise actual site map from the area blocks shown there. There are 256x256 = 65536 regions in a large world. Each one is composed of 16x16 = 256 blocks (or area blocks, as shown on the Local map) of 48x48 = 2304 tiles each. This results in 38,654,705,664 tiles total before you take Z-layers into account.
Choosing Regions pre-embark
When starting a new fortress, the game allows you to choose almost any regions on the world map. Different regions have different creatures, trees (or lack of same, depending on how mountainous, dry or hot the region is), different climates, maybe a source of water (fresh or salt), and alignments ranging from good to evil and benign to savage.
A rough list of region types follows. The combination of these factors help make each game unique.
See biomes for a complete list of combinations.
Too cold and you'll freeze, too hot and you'll die of thirst. Somewhere in the middle- dragons will get you.
In colder environments, surface water will freeze for more of the year. Additionally, fierce enough cold will cause massive frostbite damage to extremities if outside too long (oddly enough, this tends to cause bleeding to death). In hotter environments, surface water may evaporate faster than it is replaced by rainfall (so if there is no brook or river then there may be no source of water after a few months). Hot enough climates can even cause any exposed alcohol to boil away.
Trees are chopped down for wood, a very versatile building material.
- Heavily forested
Other means shrubs and bushes, or maybe cacti. These can be harvested for food and seeds.
Surroundings affect the types of plant life and wild animals which will appear in play. It is easily possible to start in a local region containing multiple alignments.
Benign Neutral Savage Good Serene Mirthful Joyous Wilds Neutral Calm Wilderness Untamed Wilds Evil Sinister Haunted Terrifying
Some plants and animals are unique to a certain type of surroundings and will only be found if those surroundings are present (somewhere) on the map. The creatures article has an Alignment heading that will tell you whether or not a creature can possibly show up in a specific alignment. Note that most creatures also require a specific climate to spawn in. Again, it's important to check the specific biomes making up your site. Once a creature spawns on the map, it is under no compunction to stay in its own biome and can roam as it pleases. Because of this, the specifics of what means what can be difficult to pin down sometimes.
Neutral regions are the easiest to understand. They generally mimic the real world, with recognizable wildlife depending on the area. They can be quite dangerous depending on the region (much like the real world), holding anything from generally non-aggressive but physically powerful enemies such as gorillas and elephants to the very aggressive and very dangerous giant eagle. As one might expect, Benign Neutral zones are really very safe, while Savage Neutral areas can pose some major difficulties, depending on the dominating climate and landforms. You'll find most of the standard aboveground plants in these alignments, such as prickle berries, rope reed, wild strawberries and the like.
Good biomes tend to have less aggressive and weaker creatures, exception made for the pain-in-the-ass unicorn. Good regions also support the wild sun berry, which makes the best booze in the game. There are generally slight changes between Benign Good and Savage Good.
Distinctive flora & fauna
- Animals: mountain gnome, satyr, unicorn, merperson
- Plants: sun berry
- Trees: feather tree
- Vermin: fluffy wambler, fairy, pixie
Evil regions are more dangerous than their Neutral and Good counterparts across the board. At their root, Evil regions are modified Neutral regions. In addition to a pack of other creatures that are nasty, dangerous, and spiteful such as beak dogs, harpies, and ogres, Evil regions modify their Neutral base by infecting many (but not all) of the indigenous creatures with various forms of undeath. Undead have a resistance to piercing attacks (precluding Crossbow-heavy defenses) and are always far more aggressive than their living counterparts, and they leave a fraction of the corpse benefits (zombies fall down rotten and are unbutcherable, skeletons only leave bones). Clearly, hunting undead animals for food is pointless, and finding kills in a countryside crawling with undead is outstandingly dangerous. Undead shrubs are useless for gathering, too. Also, fish can be infected with undeath, and can even walk on land to attack fishermen. Even Benign Evil is very difficult for beginning players to earn a niche to work in, so it should be reserved for a challenge play only.
Distinctive flora & fauna
- Animals: ogre, dark gnome, beak dog, foul blendec, grimeling, werewolf, harpy, troll, strangler, nightwing, ice wolf, blizzard man, sea monster
- Plants: sliver barb
- Trees: glumprong
- Vermin: demon rat, blood gnat, knuckle worm, phantom spider
Savage surroundings are typically more dangerous than their Neutral or Benign counterparts, due to the creatures found therein. A savage Good region is called Joyous Wilds, a savage Neutral region is called Untamed Wilds, and a savage Evil region is called (and can be truly) Terrifying.
Distinctive flora & fauna
- Animals: giant eagle, giant cheetah, giant leopard, giant jaguar, giant tiger, giant lion, tigerman, slugman, snailman, leechman, giant desert scorpion, sasquatch, sea serpent
- Plants: whip vine
- Trees: highwood
- Vermin: two-legged rhino lizard, moghopper, fox squirrel, acorn fly
Region · Biome · Climate · Surroundings · Map legend · Calendar
Badlands · Desert · Flatland · Forest · Glacier · Lake · Marsh · Mountain · Murky pool · Ocean · River · Rocky wasteland · Sand desert · Swamp · Tundra