Describing and accounting for differences in the woods and forest that characters may encounter in outdoor adventuring can be limited by the GMs familiarity with the nature of woodlands. The following is meant to describe the various woodland one would find near to settlements and habitation. The woods described here could be found on hex maps described as Open, Cultivated, Light Forest, or Moderate Forest.
Coppice- an area of woodland in which the trees or shrubs are normally cut back to ground to stimulate growth as well as to provide firewood and timber. Carts may be able to navigate if recently maintained and equestrians should have little trouble.
Young trees will be frequently cut back in sections (coups) and allowed to regrow for a few years until harvested (and cut back again). Quick growing trees will be harvested fro firewood as frequently as every three years where as slower growing hardwoods will be allow dot grow for half a century for their timber. Quicker growing shrubs will be kept away from the more valuable wood.
A maintained coppice is a sure sign one is nearing an active habitation.
Paths will be clear and obvious in an active coppice (some spots far from harvest may still be rather wild looking in comparison).
Crown Cover: 1-2 .Very Sparse 3. Sparse 4-5. Low 6. Moderate
Thicket- a very dense stand of trees or tall shrubs. A thicket will prohibit equestrians, may inhibit visibility over distance, and can be dense enough to prohibit swift travel by foot.
Paths will generally skirt thickets but some game trails may lead into and wind about.
Crown Cover: 1. Moderate 2. Dense 3-6. Very Dense
Covert- a small dense thicket in which game may easily hide. No one is riding a mount through a covert and likely would not be able to lead one through such a patch of wood either. Movement by foot may be difficult and visibility is certainly impared.
A path may bound a section of covert but is unlikely to pierce it, game trails will be narrow and difficult to follow.
Crown Cover: 1-3 .Dense 4-6. Very Dense
Stand- an area of trees where the tree growth is relatively homogenous. A dense stand may be as troublesome to navigate as a thicket but sparse stands are easily navigated afoot or by those on mounts.
Paths and Game trails in all but the denser stand will usually be easy to spot and follow unless the terrain is otherwise difficult.
Crown Cover: roll d6 on chart at end of article.
Brake- a planted or naturally occurring row of trees and or tall shrubs with accompanying undergrowth that serve as a barrier either visually or physically. Organized cavalry simply can not pass through a brake in formation, bodies of troops on foot may have difficulty, riders should typically wish to pass around than through a brake, it is even possible for a brake to be dense enough to prohibit travel by foot for individuals.
Paths and trails may skirt or follow a brake but will seldom if ever penetrate such a feature.
Crown Cover: 1-2. Moderate 3-4. Dense 5-6 Very Dense
Ancient Woodland- an old-growth forest centuries old in age that has been managed periodically over the years. Ancient woodlands will be rich in a diverse range of plants and perhaps wildlife due consistent periods of clearing and introduction of desired species.
As ancient woods have been and likely still are managed their boundaries are often well defined by banking, a ditch, and possibly runs of low rock wall (in areas with enough stone), some will be clearly bounded by hedges and it isn’t uncommon for streams to standing stones to serve as boundary makers for the current (or former) owners.
Well defined paths and trails are not an unusual feature of an Ancient Woodland.
Crown Cover: 1-2. Sparse. 3. Low 4-5. Moderate. 6. Dense
Estover- a section of wood that tenants are allowed to take wood and timber from by their landlord for the repair of their home, industry, fences, and for firewood. an ester may have a more tightly defined and restrictive boundary than may be found with other wooded spots.
Estovers will often have a obvious entry path and perhaps a work area but will seldom have much in the way of game trails due to the nature of the wood use.
Crown Cover: roll d6 on chart at end.
Woodland- a low density forest with plenty of open patches and sunlight. A woodland may be naturally occurring or a result of lapsed or meager land management. Except for the occasional thicket, brake or bracken mounted travel through such an area would not be difficult but organized cavalry may still have some trouble.
A woodland may have winding paths in various states of use and repair and surly has game trail aplenty if there is sufficient wildlife.
Crown Cover: 1. Very Sparse 2-3. Sparse 4-5. Low 6. Moderate
Grove- an area of trees with minimal or no undergrowth. A grove will typically but is not exclusively in place for the cultivation of nuts or fruit. A grove may be bounded by denser thicket growth or clearer boundaries such as hedges, banking, ditches, and rocks.
Paths in groves are often broad and obvious but some may be difficult to distinguish from the general ground cover of the grove.
Crown Cover: 1. Very spare 2-3. Sparse 4. Low 5. Moderate 6. Dense
Orchard- a large area of trees (or shrubs) maintained crop production. The planted and maintained nature of an orchard is often rather obvious but some may take to more natural growth patterns if allowed. The lack of other invasive species of plant life and undergrowth should be obvious to most folk, indeed the presence of undergrowth and other plants may indicate an orchard with owners in financial distress or recently absent.
Orchard paths will be clear and generally well maintained to facilitate the industry of the orchard.
Crown Cover: 1-2. Very Sparse 3-4. Sparse. 5. Low 6. Moderate
Crown Cover for a woodland or forest- the amount of upper canopy that provides cover for the ground beneath.
1. Very Sparse (1-10%)
2. Sparse (11-30%)
3. Low (41-50%)
4. Moderate (51-670%)
5. Dense (71-85%)
6 Very Dense (86-100%)
Crown Cover will impact on how readily one can find cover against arial observation and distant sighting.
A few past posts on Terrain:
Shore Approach: http://aeonsnaugauries.blogspot.com/2011/02/shore-approach.html