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Plants are your fronds
It's no wonder that adventurers often overlook the surrounding flora when presented with endless volumes of magical creatures and otherworldly beasts. After all, if they don't have the time to check the size of a room before casting fireball, they certainly won't stop and smell the bloodroses. However, while most may unintentionally disregard their leafy surroundings, plants offer many opportunities to enhance a campaign's immersion.
One of the simplest ways to craft a captivating environment is to appeal to the player's senses, and there may be no better vehicle than the surrounding plants. The sweet smell of fresh honeysuckle, the sting of a cactus needle, or the bright tang of a ripe blackberry can trigger real-life memories that instantly set a mood. Plants can provide numerous opportunities for players to connect with and experience their surroundings, enhancing the visual their mind creates for each new setting.
Beyond everyday sensory interactions, the most common way a player may connect with plants is through various spell components. Parts of oak, yew, and spruce trees are typical, along with other plants like sumac, mistletoe, or phosphorescent moss. Certain spell casters may even require edible plants like rhubarb, carrot, corn, or cabbage.
While higher-level spells often require a rare or costly ingredient, most components are relatively easy to procure. However, creating scarcity is a simple way to generate new campaign opportunities. Game masters may cause shortages through famines or droughts, a renewed war effort, or a greedy ruling class. Although, they can just as easily customize a player's spell components to require a rare specimen that better aligns with the story or provides new challenges to a seasoned player. Regardless of the method, having players search for limited materials may inspire them to see more of the world, encourage a more expansive spell list, or facilitate new and exciting side quests.
Whether sending players to search for climbers and creepers or mushrooms and moss, the residents of Toril will always need a plant or two. Healers may require herbs for particular medicines, chefs may seek exotic fruits and vegetables for complex recipes, and luthiers may need uniquely resonant woods for their finest instruments. Player characters with artisan tool proficiencies may even need to quest for specific plants for their own uses.
Get to know the seeds you sew
Beyond sourcing, players may find that an understanding and familiarity with plants may aid them in their artisan endeavors. Crafting can be an excellent way for players to fatten their coin purses, but it takes more than owning a set of tools to create a consumable good competently. While the game may not require players to fully understand their craft, working knowledge can go a long way to aid in immersion and enrich roleplaying opportunities.
Those proficient with Carpenter's or Woodworker's tools may need to know the inherent differences in wood varietals and how to use them skillfully. A painter may need a thorough understanding of the required vegetal components and the relative recipe for each of their pigments. Even cartographers may require a base knowledge of plant life to help inform them where domains start and stop.