Untamed wilderness is a staple in many campaigns, yet it is seldom present in encounters or hex keys. This became a problem in my home campaign, where the PCs kept running into people or things constructed by people an awful lot for being alone in the wilderness. So here are 20 locations that are just wilderness: no dead adventurers, no overgrown ruins, no elfin hunting parties - just things that could presumably be there regardless of civilization.
1. A suffocating blanket of spider web covers the land, with only the tallest firs piercing through it. Sounds become muffled and light dim, as countless broken threads fill the air.
2. Elk cemetery. The remains of a hundred elks that have come to die here, remarkably intact as if unmolested by scavengers
3. Hunting ground. Mangled remains of deer and beavers hang from the forking branches of old trees, their stench attracting flies and wasps in the millions.
4. A small pond, only a few feet across, where a large toad is being eaten alive by tadpoles.
5. The forest is silent here, and dead birds litter the ground.
6. For as far as the eye can see all trees stand dead, with lichens like cerements covering their gaunt frames.
7. A wild-fire must have raged here, for the pale birches are charred and broken and the damp ground black with soot. When the wind blows, burnt branches fall in clouds of ash silent save for the muffled thud at impact.
8. A large boulder lies fallen from the skies in the bog. Migrating birds flock around it; incapable of leaving its magnetism, they cackle in fear and confusion or turn to cannibalism as they starve.
9. Under the roots of this old alder lies countless broken skulls, as if the tree grew out of them.
10. Tumorous mushrooms cover the aspens here, draining their life. The air is thick with spores.
11. A dead Auroch. Birds are eating it clear to the bone, but the head remains intact and strangely life-like.
12. A giant wolf lies dead by a pond, apparently drowned. Banded leeches crawl over its body in a futile search for blood.
13. A dying elk lies by a wind-fell. Attacked and abandoned by a predator that took its hind-leg, it brays to its kin in panicked confusion.
14. The alder-trees are crawling with pale larvae that eat their leaves and spin silky cocoons from the naked branches.
15. Black vortices of swarming insects rise and fall over the bog. Anything yellow will attract thousands of them, laying eggs and stinging indiscriminately.
16. The trees stand skeletal under black cormorant nests on a ground made sterile by their droppings.
17. A sinewy vine is piercing the old trees here, slowly toppling them with its strangling grasp.
18. The corpse of a great wyrm, more than twenty paces long. Dead for long, its inherent toxicity have prevented it from being eaten and left it in a half-mummified state.
19. Animal mass-grave. In a crevice lies the bones of countless hares, squirrels and other small animals. All bones are split and the marrow removed, but there is no sign of tools.
20. The hundred-man oak. A gnarled tree, tall as a hundred men. A wyvern (HD7, L, bite 1d10+poison) lives among its branches, poisoning the proud tree with its saliva. Anyone touching the tree must save or be beset by hopelessness causing them to always act last.