Created By: Mr.Bubbles on December 29, 2016 Last Edited By: Mr.Bubbles on March 9, 2017
Troped

Regional Redecoration

Better redraw the map.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
trope
"Gentlemen, we may not make history tomorrow, but we shall certainly change the geography."
General Sir Charles Harington before the mine detonation at the Battle of Messines, World War I

Maybe it's a volcano, an earthquake, some object from outer space, a Person of Mass Destruction, a nuclear war, etc. Or maybe it's an intentional method of terraforming. In fiction, many events have a tendency to alter the local geography. Better get to redrawing those maps.

Often also a form of Artistic License – Geology. See also California Collapse for one variation of disasters. This isn't meant to be confused with the long-standing geographical differences that might be present on an alternate Earth. Also overlaps with Terrain Sculpting. Victims of this are often throwaway countries.

This has nothing to do with changing borders between countries.

Examples

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

Fan Works
  • The Heroes fanfic Deep Sleep has Peter and Sylar unintentionally shatter the North American continent during their fight. The resulting Bad Future has a huge gorge running from the Gulf of Mexico, through the Great Lakes, and up into Hudson Bay and along the St. Lawrence river to the Atlantic.
  • In From Bajor to the Black, Eleya narrates that the Cardassians blew the top off Mount Bahatan with a battleship's main disruptors so they could use it as a landing site for ore freighters. In the present, the site is a Bajoran Militia training base.

Film
  • Happening all over the place in 2012. Southern California is destroyed an enormous earthquake, which creates a huge canyon in Coachella Valley before sinking all the land into the ocean. Las Vegas is split in half by a huge fissure, Hawaii is buried under lava, but perhaps the most impressive example, however, is the Earth's crust shifting 23 degrees to the southwest, which places the new magnetic south pole somewhere in Wisconsin and conveniently moves the Himalayas closer to Jackson and his family. This also somehow causes the African continent to rise by several thousand feet, saving it from the resulting floods.
  • Nihon Chinbotsu (Japan Sinks) (1973). A weather survey group discover that the Japanese archipelago is moving towar the Japanese trench, which will cause all the land to sink into the ocean.
  • Escape from L.A.: On August 23, 2000, a massive earthquake causes the San Fernando valley to flood, turning the Los Angeles area from Malibu to Anaheim into an island. The theocratic president for life decides to use it as the country's new maximum security prison, exiling anyone who doesn't conform with his new "Moral America" laws.
  • A.I.: The ice caps have melted, causing the oceans to rise significantly. When David and Teddy visit the ruins of New York City, the Statue of Liberty's torch and most of the buildings are just ruins sticking up out of the water.
  • Waterworld has a similar situation to the above, except the entire world is underwater. Aside from the very tops of the Himalayas
  • Lex Luthor's plan in Superman Returns involves creating an entirely new continent in the Atlantic utilizing kryptonian technology. This will destroy most of North America and cause cataclysmic damage to the rest of the world. He intends to force them to turn to him as a savior.
    Luthor: You can print money, manufacture diamonds and people are a dime a dozen, but people will always need land. It's the one thing we aren't making anymore.

Literature
  • Mortal Engines: During the sixty minute war, the Earth's geography was forever changed. South China was flooded, Antarctica de-frosted, seas moved around, pretty much everything north of New York City froze solid, and Central America ceased to exist.
  • Worm: this seems to be the Modus operandi for the Endbringers. Leviathan in particular has a streak of defacing local geography with his macro-hydrokinetic abilities. He's responsible for sinking Kyushu, which turned Japan into a third-world nation, and Newfoundland. He nearly does this to Brockton Bay, attempting to sink the city into an aquifer.
    • Later on, Scion obliterates Great Britain with relative ease. The island is said to fold "like crumpling paper in a hand."
  • A non-violent example (surprisingly) in The Man in the High Castle: during Project Farmland, the Germans drained the Mediterranean Sea, turning it into a fertile farmland.
  • In The Wheel of Time, the Breaking of the World was a cataclysm sparked by the Dark One corrupting and driving insane every magically capable male in the Age of Legends. Their uncontrolled power rearranged the map, flooding some regions and raising impassable mountain ranges; the ruins of one coastal city are found halfway up a mountain in the middle of a desert.
  • Mistborn's world of Scadrial has had a couple, courtesy of an artifact that bestows the power of a Piece of God for a few seconds every millennium:
    • In the Lord Ruler's Ascension, he moved his home country's mountain ranges, just to hide the evidence of his Ascension, and raised the Mordor-esque volcanoes that cover his Empire in ash.
    • In the Final Ascension of Sazed, he fixes the damage the Lord Ruler caused the planet and creates a perfectly fertile river basin to nurture the new civilization.
  • 11/22/63: In the Bad Future, there's an offhanded mention that the earthquakes, which are caused by the protagonist's meddling with time, caused Hokkaido and three smaller Japanese islands to sink sometime in 2007.
  • RCN: In the backstory, The War of Earthly Aggression ended about a thousand years ago with a massive asteroid bombardment that left the planet's geography unrecognizable. The plot of book three starts out as a treasure hunt for a large diamond engraved with the pre-bombardment continents.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games
  • Warhammer40k: Earth (now called Terra) lost its oceans long ago and several mountain ranges have been leveled to make way for colossal cities.
  • Gamma World 1st Edition. The epic battle between the terrorist group The Apocalypse and its opponents released powerful energies that caused continents to buckle and oceans to boil, massively changing the surface of the Earth. Among other things, it caused inland seas to appear in the North American continent.

Video Games
  • During the Great War in Fallout, it's said that entire mountain ranges were created as the ground buckled and moved under the strain of thousands of atomic explosions.
  • Pokémon
    • Tyranitar's pokedex entry states that it can knock down mountains and bury rivers when it's angry. Maps have to be redrawn accordingly.
    • Kyogre possesses the ability to expand the oceans by flooding the land, while Groudon can expand the continents by raising land and boiling away the water. They did battle in ancient times.
  • In background material for Deus Ex, a massive earthquake hit the West Coast in the 2030's, destroying much of San Francisco and dumping all of California south of Lompoc into the sea. The ruins of Pasadena now sit on the new coastline and world maps show North America missing the Baja California peninsula.
  • At the halfway point of Final Fantasy VI, Kefka unbalances the world and completely changes the landscape. Continents are split, separating towns once a short walk from each other, a new island appears in the corner of the world, and the Serpent Trench, which used to run underwater, now sits above the surface.
  • In Grand Theft Auto III, a massive construction site sits where there was a neighborhood in Liberty City Stories. Why? Because Toni set off a massive explosion under it under orders from Donald Love.
  • In the backstory of Mass Effect, an unknown civilization fired a kinetic weapon with such power that a glancing blow from its bullet left the planet Klendagon with a rift hundreds of kilometers long. Mass Effect has a sidequest set on that planet's moon, giving you an ample opportunity to see the rift with your own eyes.
  • World of Warcraft has a Cataclysm Backstory involving the Great Sundering. Ten thousand years ago, Queen Azshara created a portal for Sargeras in the Well of Eternity, the heart of Azeroth's magical power, to lead his forces to conquer the world. With no other choice, Malfurion Stormrage and his troops destroyed the well, which set off a catastrophic chain of events. The continent of Kalimdor shattered into four smaller landmasses and several islands. The area where the well occupied is now a swirling vortex known as the Maelstrom.

Web Comics
  • In Erfworld, the Dirtamancer Sizemore gets to do this through a powerful Mental Fusion that lets him awaken a dormant volcano. Once the rush runs off, though, he's absolutely horrified.
    Sizemore: It was magnificent, Warlord. Horrifying, but... I can't describe it. I actually modified the terrain type, like a Titan.

Web Original
  • Has happened on more than a few occasions in SCP Foundation, but they've all been covered up as just being part of Earth's natural geography. For example, the Marianas Trench wasn't around before a massive containment breach. It also wasn't initially underwater.
  • What If? entry Drain the Oceans shows maps of Earth in various phases of being drained from water by a portal at the bottom of Challenger Deep. The "sequel" follows that up with maps of Mars getting filled with water dumped from Earth.
  • Episode 6 of Super Mario Bros. Z is called "Brawl on a Vanishing Island" for good reason. When Axem Red uses a chaos emerald to power up the Breaker Beam, the resulting blast levels the mountains. By the end, Mecha Sonic blows up the entire island.

Western Animation
  • It's not yet confirmed if the major geographic divergences in Steven Universe are due to the Gems' alien interference and advanced terraforming technology, but it's been heavily implied. These changes include: Florida being an island; Australia divided by a winding trench; a large chunk of western Africa seemingly moved across the Atlantic and stuck onto South America; and Russia being largely replaced by a massive sea. Gem activity has also been shown to have created large swathes of rugged, infertile terrain in the process of incubating new Gem soldiers.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: At the start of Season 3, a new city called the Crystal Empire appeared in an area that used to be a frozen wasteland. Canon maps of Equestria drawn since then have had to change to incorporate the new city.
  • A creative example occurs in The Fairly OddParents! when Timmy wishes for an older brother. To explain his absence, Timmy states that he'd been studying medicine in Tibequador and then wishes that the country were real. Cosmo and Wanda situate the nation in Central America and it seems to be populated mostly by tribal peoples. Later, in Timmy the Barbarian, Mr. Crocker (as a powerful wizard) asks Timmy what the capital of Tibequador is, implying that the nation was never unwished.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Almost 300 years before the start of the series, a powerful earthbending warlord named Chin the Great had conquered most of the Earth Kingdom, save for Ba Sing Se and the peninsula home to Avatar Kyoshi. In order to protect her home, Kyoshi severed it from the rest of the continent, creating Kyoshi's island. As a consequence, Chin, who had been standing at the mouth of the peninsula, ended up plummeting to his death as the ground beneath him became unstable.

Real Life
  • The page quote refers to the Battle of Messines in World War I, when the British Army attempted to break through German fortifications by tunneling beneath several strong points and planting explosives. The craters left by the operation are still visible today.
  • This naturally happens over long stretches of time with continental drift. The biggest example is the collision between India and Asia creating the Himalayan mountains.
  • Land reclamation involves artificially claiming new land from bodies of water.
  • An accidental example would be the (re)creation of the Salton Sea. In the early 1900's, farmers were irrigating the basin known as the Salton Sink using canals dug to the Colorado River. In 1905, heavy rain and melting snow caused the river to swell, overflowing the canals and diverting the water into former riverbeds that emptied into the basin. This gradually caused it to flood over the course of two years as engineers tried desperately to stop the flooding. Today, the Salton Sea is the largest lake in California.
  • The 2011 Tohoku earthquake moved Japan up to eight feet sideways in some places.
  • 3,600 years ago, the Greek island of Santorini experienced one of the largest volcanic eruptions in human history. It lead to the disappearance of the Minoan civilization and transformed the island into an archipelago.
  • Sea levels can entirely change the shape of landmasses. During the last ice age, the sea level fell enough that British Isles were joined to Europe as a peninsula, Australia merged with New Guinea, and a land bridge joined Siberia with Alaska. This bridge is believed to be how many species, including humans, migrated to the Americas. On the other end of the scale, many dire predictions about climate change suggest major coastal regions will be underwater.
  • The Cumberland Gap is a 12-mile pass through the Cumberland mountains, a region of the Appalachians. It was a key passageway through the mountain range for both natives and settlers. A major feature of this gap is the Middlesboro crater, which is home to the town of Middlesboro, Kentucky. Geological analysis has suggests this was formed from the impact of an asteroid the size of a football field around 300 million years ago.
  • Atlantropa was a proposal to build a series of giant dams across the Mediterranean, causing the water level to drop by 200 meters. Once this happened, there would be plenty of land available for colonization between Europe and Africa, along with massive amounts of power generated by the dam. The designer hoped this would put an end to growing hostilities and usher in a new era of peace. Except that all the new land would be salt flats; completely unusable for any kind of agriculture. Plus, as some meteorologists have suggested, the project could have diverted the Gulf Stream and sent temperatures falling across most of Europe.
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • December 30, 2016
    Diask
    • What If entry Drain the Oceans shows maps of Earth in various phases of being drained from water by a portal at the bottom of Challenger Deep. The "sequel" follows that up with maps of Mars geting filled with water dumped from Earth.
    • In the backstory of Mass Effect, an unknow civilization fired a weapon with such power its bullet left a planet Klendagon with a rift hundreds of kilometres long. Mass Effect 1 has a sidequest set on that planet's moon, giving you an ample opportunity to see the rift with your own eyes.
  • December 30, 2016
    Arivne
  • December 30, 2016
    BKelly95
    Video Games
    • At the halfway point of Final Fantasy VI, Kefka unbalances the world and completely changes the landscape. Continents are split, separating towns once a short walk from each other, a new island appears in the corner of the world, and the Serpent Trench, which used to run underwater, now sits above the surface.
    • In Grand Theft Auto III, a massive construction site sits where there was a neighborhood in Liberty City Stories. Why? Because Toni set off a massive explosion under it under orders from Donald Love.
  • December 30, 2016
    Leporidae
    Western Animation
    • It's not yet confirmed if the major geographic divergences in Steven Universe are due to the Gems' alien interference and advanced terraforming technology, but it's been heavily implied. These changes include: Florida being an island; Australia divided by a winding trench; a large chunk of western Africa seemingly moved across the Atlantic and stuck onto South America; and Russia being largely replaced by a massive sea. Gem activity has also been shown to have created large swathes of rugged, infertile terrain in the process of incubating new Gem soldiers.
  • December 30, 2016
    intastiel
    • In The Wheel Of Time, the Breaking of the World was a cataclysm sparked by the Dark One corrupting and driving insane every magically capable male in the Age of Legends. Their uncontrolled power rearranged the map, flooding some regions and raising impassable mountain ranges; the ruins of one coastal city are found halfway up a mountain in the middle of a desert.
    • Mistborn's world of Scadrial has had a couple, courtesy of an artifact that bestows the power of a Piece of God for a few seconds every millennium:
      • In the Lord Ruler's Ascension, he moved his home country's mountain ranges, just to hide the evidence of his Ascension, and raised the Mordor-esque volcanoes that cover his Empire in ash.
      • In the Final Ascension of Sazed, he fixes the damage the Lord Ruler caused the planet and creates a perfectly fertile river basin to nurture the new civilization.
  • December 30, 2016
    CactusFace
    Video Games
    • A gameplay feature in Worms is that weapons, especially explosives, can destroy entire mountains. At the end of a match the map will usually look vastly different than in the beginning.
    • In Stellaris the use of full orbital bombardment can lead a tile of the planet to change into a giant crater.
    • In the Space Stage of Spore players can collect tools to create mountains, oceans and rivers and recollorate the planets landscape.
    • In the last mission of The Settlers 5's first expansion you need to drain a giant lake which initially fills out almost all of the map.
  • December 30, 2016
    intastiel
    Another:
    • In Erfworld, the Dirtamancer Sizemore gets to do this through a powerful Mental Fusion that lets him awaken a dormant volcano. Once the rush runs off, though, he's absolutely horrified.
      Sizemore: It was magnificent, Warlord. Horrifying, but... I can't describe it. I actually modified the terrain type, like a Titan.
    Incidentally, "Redectoration"?
  • December 31, 2016
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Gamma World 1st Edition. The epic battle between the terrorist group The Apocalypse and its opponents released powerful energies that caused continents to buckle and oceans to boil, massively changing the surface of the Earth. Among other things, it caused inland seas to appear in the North American continent.
  • January 3, 2017
    StarSword
    Neon Genesis Evangelion again:
    • After dropping an N2 bomb on an Angel, a NERV officer complains that they'll have to redraw the map of Japan again.

    Literature:
  • January 3, 2017
    StarSword
    Fan Fiction:
    • In From Bajor To The Black, Eleya narrates that the Cardassians blew the top off Mount Bahatan with a battleship's main disruptors so they could use it as a landing site for ore freighters. In the present, the site is a Bajoran Militia training base.
  • January 14, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    You know, that fanfic example makes me wonder if this is really a subtrope of Artistic License Geology. Blowing away the top of a mountain to create a flat space is an example of this trope, but not an example of ALG as it can be done in Real Life and has been done like with Cerro Armazones to create a platform for the observatory.
  • January 14, 2017
    sailing101
    ^ Not all of the examples are geological in origin. We have massive explosions, alien invasions, and plain old fasioned terraforming.
  • January 14, 2017
    StarSword
    ^^I don't think it really counts as Artistic License unless the story justification is unrealistic (for example, expecting a low kiloton-range nuclear airburst to reshape a mountain range). Otherwise you're just providing the Justified Trope case for a modified geography.

    And see also mountaintop removal mining.
  • January 14, 2017
    Mr.Bubbles
    A few examples would probably be somewhat plausible in reality, but if we're talking about a landmass sinking without a trace, then it's definitely artistic license. There's also things like the sea level drop caused by ice ages or earthquakes causing changes in landmasses. For example, after the 2011 earthquake, the coast of Japan moved by as much as 13 feet to the east.
  • January 15, 2017
    intastiel
    Tidied a couple wicks that weren't displaying correctly.
  • January 21, 2017
    StarSword
    TV:
  • January 22, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    I've taken the liberty of changing "A subtrope of Artistic License Geology" to "Often also a form of Artistic License Geology" per my argument above. Also, it should probably be explicit that California Collapse is a subtrope - meaning that the citation in the film example should probably be removed.
  • January 22, 2017
    intastiel
    Corrected example indentation for the Mass Effect example.
  • January 23, 2017
    Arivne

    Zero Context Examples have been marked as such. They need more information to show how they fit the trope.
  • January 23, 2017
    longWriter
    My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: At the start of Season 3, a new city called the Crystal Empire appeared in an area that used to be a frozen wasteland. Canon maps of Equestria drawn since then have had to change to incorporate the new city.
  • January 25, 2017
    StarSword
    Page quote:
    "Gentlemen, we may not make history tomorrow, but we shall certainly change the geography."
    General Sir Charles Harington before the mine detonation at the Battle of Messines, World War I

    Real life:
  • February 28, 2017
    intastiel
    Can overlap with Terrain Sculpting.
  • March 1, 2017
    Gamermaster
    Madara from Naruto mentions this as a Badass Boast, saying that it's a good thing that his rival Hashirama isn't present since they won't have to redraw the map "that much". He then cuts a mountain in half.
  • March 4, 2017
    BKelly95
    Comic Books
    • In one issue of GI Joe A Real American Hero Marvel, Cobra tricks the Joe team into setting off a large explosion and triggering a fault line. The result: a chunk of land rises in the Gulf of Mexico, becoming an island and Cobra claims it as Cobra Island almost as soon as it stops rising.
  • March 5, 2017
    Omeganian
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ot2vw9ydth33dow6jy9myz4t