There are many types of terrain in URW such as mountain, forest, marsh and water, with some sub-groups such as mossy and lichenous tiles. Different types of terrain have different properties.
A new feature in version 3.12b is the introduction of elevation. While it is not explicitly marked on the wilderness map, some tiles are higher than others.
Mountain tiles are gray, and look like rocks. These tiles are often on the highest point of elevation in the surrounding area. Mountain tiles tend to also have quite extreme variations in height, meaning that sufficient climbing skill is needed to navigate these areas. Some mountains also include caves, which are very dark (visibility is limited to the tile you are standing on). Nothing can be grown on a mountain tile; however, in version 3.11c (and unconfirmed for 3.12b) they can be changed to grass tiles by building and deconstructing something on them.
One of the most common tiles, there are three types of forest:
- Grove (alder)
All three types of forest always contain a few spruce trees, so that you can always build a shelter. Forest tiles (obviously) contain the most trees. Spruce forests restrict vision, but for pine forests and groves the whole area can be viewed and trees do not block your vision. Forests are one of the best areas to place traps, especially trap-fences.
Also called bogs, marshes are large plains with only a few trees and several small ponds dotted about. Throwing a metal item into one of these pools at night may appease the spirits, and is featured in the Advanced adventures course. Marshes are the only places where cranberries and cloudberries can be found. Due to its soft texture, animal tracks show up easily on marshes.
There are three main kinds of water tile: lake, rapid and river. Sea water is currently treated the same as a deep lake, only with a different tile. Water tiles require either punts or rafts to move on them, or by swimming (although this is risky). Water tiles are also a source of water along with rain. There is no difference to traveling speed if you are on a rapid tile; the only thing different water tiles affects is the chance of getting fish.
In winter, lakes and rivers will freeze over letting players walk over it. Only rapids are not frozen, making them good fishing grounds. A hole can be made in the ice with the Survival skill to allow access to the water.
First properly introduced in 3.12b, elevation plays a major role in how far you can see around you. If standing on a tile with low elevation, high elevation tiles will block your sight, while standing on a high elevation tile lets you see much further. Mountain ranges and hills tend to show where the highest area in the region is; however, elevation is currently not explicitly marked. Apart from line of sight, it affects little else.