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The following are the different types of terrain which appear on world maps in the Dragon Quest series. For information regarding vehicles which can travel on each terrain, see List of vehicles in the Dragon Quest series.
Land is a common terrain which can be traversed by walking.
Water is the most common type of terrain and is only traversed via various vehicles. Most commonly, a ship is used to travel on water.
Swamp is a less common terrain which often features a spotted purple/grey/black appearance. Walking in a swamp normally causes minimal damage to the player's characters.
Desert terrain is generally orange/yellow in color and can be traversed by walking. It typically varies from land in appearance only.
Passable mountains generally have a lighter coloring than impassable mountains. They are named to imply that they can be traversed on foot, rather than requiring a specific vehicle. In the original Dragon Quest, walking on passable mountains caused the player to move more slowly. Passable mountains have a higher chance of monster encounters than regular terrains.
Impassable mountains are typically dark in color and have the appearance of steep slopes and cliffs. They are not able to be traversed by walking and normally are the last type of terrain to be traversed in a game using a special vehicle. Often, the last few locations to be visited are surrounded by impassable mountains.
Shoals first appeared in Dragon Quest II. They prevent a ship from traveling in certain areas of the water much in the same way as impassable mountains do on land. Shoals are typically traversed by vehicles which can fly.
Found in snowy regions, ice is usually found in caves. Walking across it will cause the entire party to slide in that direction until they run into an obstruction.
Found in some dungeons, a damage tile looks like it is electrified. It will cause greater damage than swamp terrain to the player's characters. The damage can be prevented by casting Stepguard.
Found in volcanoes, lava damages the player like swamp terrains.