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I need a world that is hard, but not impossible, to live on but also to be found on. How can I best accomplish this?

I am working on a world sort of like the planet in the movie Predators. In the world I'm working on, a race uses it for military special-ops training. They take a death-row prisoner and drop them on this world with minimal gear/supplies and leave them there. Trainees are then tasked with hunting them down.

I want this world to be as difficult to live on, traverse, or track someone down on as possible without downright killing them immediately.

I want interesting or unconventional ideas, not just "A jungle world". I want ideas that will make a jungle look easy to traverse. Aspects about this world that, at first, seem irrelevant but render entire strategies useless. Details that turn this planet (or moon) into a living hell.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Renan, Mephistopheles, Starfish Prime, We are Monica., ltmauve Oct 20 at 17:25

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Isn't forest or jungle terrain the classic setting for this? Why not use that? $\endgroup$ – Priska Oct 20 at 6:43
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The ideal world would match the environment that the soldiers in your military expect to face combat in. There is little point in training in on a freezing ice world, learning the skills needed to survive there if you are facing combat in an urban cityscape.

Armies such the the British and US ones have built training centres that simulate conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq as they are the combat environments they expect to fight in, in the past when combat was expected to be against Soviet forces British troops would train in Norway to learn to face the cold.

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  • $\begingroup$ Actually I'm pretty sure a planet is big enough to support a range of different environments. Seems kind of a waste limiting one type to a world but that was what the OP asked for. $\endgroup$ – Thorne Oct 20 at 23:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Thorne I presumed he was thinking of the classic SciFi trope of a one biome world. I agree a world will have multiple environments in real life. $\endgroup$ – Sarriesfan Oct 21 at 6:50
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How about some planet with massive amounts of caves or old mines. Little different than jungle. And the underground nature would make things more 3-D. Also would interfere with a lot of radar, IR, lowlevel light surveillance. Also, perhaps interesting physical challenges for pursuers/pursued in terms of the mine/cave setting (sinkhole rivers, etc.). One interesting aspect could be occasional forays to the surface for food or just to change things up, and then returns into the caves. Call the planet "Warren" to give it some color.

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  • $\begingroup$ Seguing comment for the headpost (don't have the points to put it there): You need to read Rogue Male, if you have not done so. theguardian.com/books/2013/mar/15/… $\endgroup$ – guest Oct 20 at 10:02
  • $\begingroup$ I object. The planet must be named Bob. $\endgroup$ – Gio Oct 21 at 20:03
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Ice World

Constant snow storms reduce visibility and hide tracks. People need to shelter in caves to avoid storms and hunt the native life for food in between storms. You don't want to be on the polar ice when storms hit.

Volcanic active regions provide areas to get warms and old lava tubes make excellent shelters if you can avoid the local predators.

The abundant native life make thermal cameras hard to use as they trigger false positives and provide a ready food supply.

Heat and water are you main problems which are easy to get in the volcanic regions but aren't rich in hunting as the areas attract large predators.

If you can take down a large predator, their skins make excellent warm clothing and good camouflage but are dangerous and hard to kill.

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I would go with an area (not planet since a single biome world is impossible to sustain a biosphere) of plains. A similar environment to the one we (and possibly the hunters) evolved in would be an ideal hunting/training ground. It is not that easy to survive there for an untrained human, although it would be possible, and it would also be good for hiding. lots of tall grass and human-sized creatures to confuse any heat scanners. There can be some other challenges for the warrior, such as some sort of plains predator similar to a lion or something.

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I'd go with a planet that has frequent storms that stops electrical, or at least the advanced stuff, equipment from working. No drones, no satellite...etc

Then for the actual Ground. I would go with a series of very large island were the sea is near impossible to cross without proper equipment, that separates the groups but also if someone is determined enough they can cross it

Then for the Islands I think the ideal conditions would be if they are far enough from each other so that they have very different geography not limited to the ones below. So I'll just assume that the islands, again large things not small dots of land, have very different features.

  1. A large mountain range with a complex system of caves, mines, underground lakes...etc. Would provide quite a challenge for any hunter. Not only can't they see their prey or track it, but it's huge enough to consume time. Also the nature of the close quarters would mean that modern/space weapons take somewhat of a hit. An attacker could always have the element of surprise. Not to mention rigging places to collapse, making traps...etc.

  2. Absurdly thick and lush forests complete with large beasts and poisonous creatures.
    Another hellish environment where the hunter has to keep their guard all the time and have to focus and use more traditional methods rather than relay on tech. The hunted should be at least familiar with the type of forest because with minimum equipment they would just die. So a veteran soldier or someone from a similar world against your hunters is ideal. Again not a lot of visibility. traps, treacherous terrain, and predators both in the form of large killer creatures and small but still dangerous ones.

  3. Urban ruins. Obviously this requires either having ruins on the planet or making them for the hunt. But either way urban settings are quite fun. Close quarter fighting, thick large materials for cover, a network of buildings and passages, snipers, and large amounts of materials for traps and weapons.

I think those are the most fun and diverse settings suitable for a hunt. There are a lot of other places or scenarios but that's what I would go with.

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