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Basic Information

A hill is a peak of land above sea level, like a mountain, but lower and not as steep. These geological formations can be formed by erosion or deposition of sediment. These areas can be grassy, or covered in trees, or devoid of vegetation as in a desert. Hills often fill the transition between flatter plains and rougher mountain areas. Note that there may well be some dispute between geographers and inhabitants as to whether a given terrain feature is a hill or a mountain.

Sometimes hills make good tactical positions as they can give defenders higher ground while forcing enemies to fight uphill. Because of this, many armies may construct fortresses on top of hills. This occupation may be contested by the native creatures of the hills however, such as hill giants or the burrow-dwelling halflings.

Agriculture in hilly regions faces a number of challenges, mostly to do with drainage, soil erosion and the difficulty of ploughing on a slope, but these have been overcome in a variety of ways and some crops actually seem to do better on a hillside than on flat land (grapes being a good example).

List of Noteworthy Hills

Real World Hills

Mythological Hills

Fictional Hills

Structures Found on Hills



Game and Story Use

  • Creatures such as halflings or sidhe might live within the hills themselves.
  • The party may have to cross through a hill area to get from a plains area to a mountain area, or vise versa.
  • An army may have to lay siege to a castle on top of a hill while archers fire arrows down at them.
  • Soldiers may have to defend the hill against hordes of enemies running up the side.
  • Players may come across a quiet halfling town in the hills.
  • At night, there may be evil drums and wailing flutes coming from the hills where dark cultists meet.
  • Perhaps there is a flood and the characters must seek higher ground.
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