At the back of the Tomb of Annihilation book, in Appendix B, there is a random encounters table for Wilderness Encounters on pp. 194-195. The different terrains listed in that table are as follows:

  • Beach
  • Jungle; further divided into:
    • No Undead
    • Lesser Undead
    • Greater Undead
  • Mountains
  • Rivers
  • Ruins
  • Swamp
  • Wasteland

So that's 9 different terrains in total.

Looking at the map on p. 39, there doesn't appear to be any legend for describing the different terrains. The only key is as follows, and only shows what the lesser and greater Undead territories look like*:

The only descriptions I can find in the books are on p. 38, which lists the different terrains under the Travel Distances and Navigation sections but does not expand on how to identify these areas on the map, and on p. 40, which is just the section Undead Territory, which only explains the undead territory as per the above key.

The description of the random encounter table, Wilderness Encounters, only says: "Roll percentile dice and check the Wilderness Encounters table for the terrain appropriate to where the characters are", without actually elaborating on how to determine that.

From the map itself, a lot of it is obvious; where the map shows a lot of trees, clearly that's Jungle, and for hexes that intersect mountains, clearly that's Mountain, etc. However, Ruins, Swamp and Wasteland are quite ambiguous to me with only the map to go on.

So is there any way to determine these terrains besides just eyeballing the map, and how am I supposed to identify Ruins, Swamp, or Wasteland from the map (if eyeballing really is the only way)?

* There's also "Ruin" included in the Key, but I assume this is the location of a specific ruin rather than denoting that it's a type of terrain, especially given that the black square icon turns up in different terrains (for example, the Orolunga ruin is clearly in a hex of Jungle terrain), so I am unconvinced that the black square icon for "Ruin" is related to the "Ruins" terrain.

Below I have attempted to identify each of the 9 different terrains from the map, as well as my best guess as to what they are (some are obvious, others less so, hence my question):

  1. Beach, because it's next to the water, this makes sense to me.
  2. River, because that hex contains a river running through it.
  3. Jungle, clearly, as it's all trees; specifically, "No Undead" Jungle.
  4. Jungle, Lesser Undead, due to the light yellow colour coding and the black skull and crossbones.
  5. Jungle, Greater Undead, due to the dark yellow colour coding and the red skull and crossbones.
  6. Mountain, because this hex is well within the mountains.
  7. Maybe Swamp? It looks kinda watery, and it is near water (the river in this case), but isn't actually water, so that's my best guess...
  8. This could be anything, the round shapes could be Swamp-like areas, or is that supposed to be Ruins? They don't look much like ruins to me.
  9. This isn't Mountain, because 6. is Mountain, so I guess this must be Wasteland?


1 Answer 1


The types of terrain aren't explicitly linked to the hex grid. You can learn what they are by reading each area.

The module does not make a 1-on-1 link between both. Your analysis is mostly correct, and you can also adapt to the situation rather than to the specific tile.

  • Beach and River: perfectly correct.

I think any type with water and land can be a Beach tile, both on ocean or on a river, and if PCs are actually on the river (using canoes and such), I roll for River. That being said, both tables overlap a lot, so it's fine if you do it your way

  • Jungle, Lesser Undead, Greater Undead: again correct. This one isn't too complicated to guess, as it is actually marked in the map legend.

That being said, we already find some ambiguity. Check out the bottom right corner of Aldani Basin. Clearly water (River), but clearly Lesser Undead. In fact, Heart of Ubtao describes it as a swampy forest:

A massive chunk of earth and rock torn from the earth drifts over the swampy forest,

  • Mountain: correct as well. Mountains are fairly obvious in the map.

If PCs are at their base, rolling on Jungle or something else isn't going to be ill-suited either.

  • Wasteland, Swamp, and Ruin: these are more ambiguous.

Wasteland is any deserted or blighted area. Swamp is any boggy or murky area. Valley of Embers is fairly simple.

and fall like rain onto a blackened wasteland.

The Valley of Lost Honor doesn't use the word wasteland, but falls under the same category.

The bones of the fallen Eshowe are gone, along with everything else-swallowed up by lava pouring out of the volcano west of Hrakhamar.

But other areas mix and match. For example, Nsi Wastes are described as

In the heart of this wasteland is the ruined palace of the warlord Ras Nsi: a crumbled stone fortress

So you can see how they fall on both areas. You determine where your PCs are actually exploring and roll accordingly.

Port Castigliar and Mezro are both described as ruins.

it provides access to the ruins of Port Castigliar and Mezro.

To sum up, you have a good analysis to start with. If on the spot, assume 8 to be wasteland as well. Otherwise, read up on the specific areas players are on (if any) and better specify what is happening.

On a more personal note, the tables overlap a lot, and I wound up selecting specific encounters for each area, which allowed them to be more diverse and allowed the PCs to explicitly tag what enemies they found where. Remember to make random encounters matter, both lore-wise (introduce them to the animals of Chult which are represented by the 9 gods), resource-wise (make the party feel like they're struggling for survival), and entertainment-wise (wave over easy or simple encounters; make things fun for your table).


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