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I am creating a Pangaea type continent for a D&D series with some friends and I was wondering (since this continent will last us years) if we should add every biome to it. IE: equatorial dry/wet season areas, polar, and wetlands, and everything else, or would it a better idea be to have smaller islands with the biomes that will not be visited anytime soon?

I am asking this from a logical perspective rather than a opinionated perspective. So please don't respond with an opinion, respond with how this would change the creation of the world and affect the various lifeforms on the planet.

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For the most part, you could have all the biomes if the supercontinent is properly positioned and aligned (i.e. if it crosses the equator and generally half is north and half is south of the equator).

The biggest problem is that the biomes will be in thin strips along the coasts, because the interior of the continent will be a huge, dry "continental" steppe. The interior will be so far from the moderating effects of the oceans, and indeed so far away from the oceans that moisture will mostly have evaporated from the air long before it reaches the central parts of the supercontinent. The vast majority of the supercontinent will resemble the steppes or prairies, surrounding a central desert which would make the Gobi desert look like a hospitable place for a resort.

The other "missing" biomes might well be mountains, since they are created by the process of uplift as various plates are driven together. If this is an older planet and the continents are reforming a supercontinent (for example the Earth of +100 million years in the future), then you will have your mountain ranges, but an older planet won't have the vigour of a "new" planet (the core is cooler) so your mountains might not be as impressive as the Andes or Himalayas.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm thinking that it would post separating, around 1000 years after the reformation of the super continent. $\endgroup$ Jan 13, 2016 at 3:01
  • $\begingroup$ Biomes take a long time to form, more like millions of years. Your existing biomes will have been changing over the millennia that the continents have been moving into place, but once the continents grind into each other there will be a long period as creatures jump over the old boundaries and establish themselves or are outcompeted by invaders. After a thousand years, you will still have species competing for the new territories and the central portion of the continent drying out. $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Jan 13, 2016 at 3:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Christopher Blackburn In order to avoid this lack of oceanic winds and rains, your continent could have large continent sized peninsulas. $\endgroup$ Jan 13, 2016 at 4:02
  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to add that having inland lakes can help with the dryness... Though those require specific circumstances to be there, but it isn't unheard of and there are stranger things that could happen. In short you could have a massive landmass and dot it with inland lakes or oceans to scale back the deserts. I'll leave that to others to explain how that would happen sense honestly I only know the basic in this regard. $\endgroup$ Jun 21, 2017 at 4:30
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Don't be shy.

Fantasy world don't have to obey the common laws of physics. They need some form of logic, the most obvious breach of realism should get some explanations, but that's it.

So, you can have anything and everything, just remember Tchekov's Gun rule : talk about it only if it's useful. You can draw a broad picture of your continent, prepare a few answers for the most obvious questions and a couple locations with heavier background where you expect your characters to come from or to go tomorrow.

On the topic of Islands versus pangea, you have to consider the mindsets of the inhabitants.

It's hard to give a more detailed answer as the options are really opened.

Aim for believable, keep in mind how the inhabitants should be and you'll get something good.

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