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Villainous Badland, Heroic Arcadia

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Good people, good place. Bad people, bad place.

In fiction, especially in visual media where Black-and-White Morality is in play, it's very common for the home bases of the heroic and villainous factions to be easily distinguished by the way they reflect their inhabitants' morality and philosophies.

Typically, the heroes will live in lovely, peaceful settings bursting with life. These may include rural, pastoral arcadias, peaceful wildernesses, well-kept, clean and bustling settlements, shining castles, and the like. Plants and animals thrive, the sky is bright blue and things like poverty, refuse and the more unpleasant sides of civilization all seem blissfully absent.

The villains, by contrast, will all live in godforsaken wastelands barren of any green life, often little more than stretches of sand and rock surrounding the villains' ominous base. If anything can be found here besides the villains themselves, the local life is typically dominated by monsters, leafless trees, and traditionally reviled animals such as vultures and rats. When these areas aren't good old-fashioned deserts, expect to find copious amounts of pollution, refuse, and sprawling, chaotic urban growth to contrast the heroes' cleaner and lusher homes. If the sky isn't always dark or overcast, it'll often be a sickly yellow or an ominous red.

Sometimes, it's established as a motivation for the bad guys to embark on that war of conquest in the first place: The others have better land, let's take it.

One corollary is that, should the bad guys be able to take over the good guys' territory, the heroic arcadia will shift to match the villains' own landscaping preferences. Sometimes this will be explained or justified on-screen, such as through the effects of pollution, warfare, or urban neglect. Sometimes this will happen for no particular reason, with the land withering and the sky changing color as soon as the villains move in.

This sometime leads to logical issues concerning Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: if the bad guys live in a blasted wasteland where nothing grows and the good guys in a fertile, harmonious kingdom full of farms and forests, how can the villains possibly support a horde or army capable of outnumbering the good guys' forces? If addressed, this can however provide the reason why the bad guys are invading — they cannot support their numbers in their sterile waste, so they need to take over the place that actually has food.

See also Arcadia, for depictions of idyllic pastoral lands in general. For a more extreme version of the first half of this trope, see Mordor, where the land is outright evil, hostile, and corrupted as opposed to just barren, ugly and inhospitable. If this appears in video games, expect the Sorting Algorithm of Threatening Geography to apply — generally, the game will start in the pleasant heroic lands (typically represented as a Green Hill Zone) before moving into more villainous levels (the Lethal Lava Land, Eternal Engine, and so on).

Compare Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains and Good Republic, Evil Empire. This trope may come into play in works centered around Dreams vs. Nightmares. This can overlap with Fisher King when a specific land shifts between Arcadia and Badlands based on the personality of who rules it. For the same basic concept applied to individual characters, see Beauty Equals Goodness. Subtrope of Shadowland.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Amulet: The Big Good of the series, Cielis, is located in the lush and green Windsor, while the evil Elves live in the desert wasteland of Gulfen.
  • DIE: The comic plays with the trope and fiercely deconstructs it. In general on the world of Die, the more pleasant-seeming lands seem to be run on more moral lines, and oppose the badland areas; in particular, the rural, quasi-Arcadian Little England is in perpetual confrontation with the hellish Eternal Prussia. However, this confrontation is based on World War I, with all that implies; the rulers of Little England seem uncaring about spending the lives of their rustic subjects in an endless conflict.
  • New Gods: The story centers around two locations: one, New Genesis, is a beautiful paradise world led by the wise and benevolent Highfather; the other is Apokolips, a grim, dystopian planet led by the tyrannical Darkseid.
  • The Smurfs: The original Smurfs comic typically depicts the titular characters living in a pretty forest blooming with flowers and friendly animals, while Big Bad Gargamel lives on a deserted hill. However, this was subverted in very early canon installments where the Smurf village was also situated in the middle of a deserted wasteland filled with just rocks and dead trees, called The Cursed Land. This aspect was progressively forgotten as the franchise got further and further into Sugar Bowl (mixed with Crapsaccharine World).
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Venus is a lush planet inhabited by winged maidens who follow Aphrodite's law, like the Amazons of Paradise Island which is likewise a very nice place. Mars, ruled by Mars, is a cruel place that upholds such virtues as deception and violence and is a barren wasteland.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Wastelands are the result of environmental changes from corruption spewing from Dark God-worshipping Keepers' dungeon hearts. Light God-worshipping surfacers get medieval towns, while the elves live in forests.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Ant Bully: The ants live in the middle of a green and well-tended lawn, while the aggressive and Wicked Wasps nest in a patch of sandy desert dotted with cacti... and sitting rather incongruously in the middle of a manicured suburban garden.
  • The Black Cauldron: The heroes live in a peaceful land of meadows, farms, and green woodlands. The Horned King's castle is a looming, angular fortress in a rocky land shrouded in fog.
  • FernGully: The Last Rainforest, being an unsubtle Green Aesop, plays this very straight. Ferngully, as expected from the name, is a lush rainforest, while the tree wherein the spirit of destruction Hexxus is sealed in is black, twisted, bloated, dripping with oily vileness and sitting in the midst of a patch of completely barren land. The Leveler, a man-made machine possessed and used by Hexxus to do his foul bidding, also leaves a trail of devastation in its wake.
  • The Land Before Time: This is largely played straight in the first few movies, where the peaceful herbivores live in the lush and idyllic Great Valley, seemingly the only hospitable land left in the world, while the outside lands where the villainous carnivores live are wastelands of rock, deserts, and tar pits. This falls by the wayside by later movies, however, as the outside lands come to be green, lush, and with their own populations of peaceful dinosaurs, with the only inhospitable part remaining being the continuing presence of predators.
  • The Last Unicorn: The Unicorn's forest is rich with greenery explicitly due to her presence inside. When she and her companions arrive at the castle of King Haggard, there is no plantlife at all, as it's situated at the edge of a rocky precipice bordering the sea.
  • The Lion King: The villains live in benighted, inhospitable wastes in both the original movie and its sequel, contrasting the fertile savannahs of the Pride Lands where the heroic lions live and Timon and Pumbaa's green and idyllic jungle oasis. In both cases, the sky above the villains' lairs manages to be always dark and overcast.
    • In the first movie, Scar and the hyenas lurk in the Elephant Graveyard, a grey, rocky wasteland filled with bones and massive skeletons and visible from Pride Rock as a patch of shadow on the horizon. Scar manages to turn the Pride Lands into a second version of this once he takes over — somehow, he's such a terrible ruler that the rain stops falling, the rivers dry up and all the animals leave; the first thing that happens when Simba kicks him out is that the rain starts falling again. A big part of the hyenas' motivation for following Scar is based on getting access to the Pride Lands and the abundant food there, which they normally can't get because the lions keep them out and their own home base has nothing to eat.
    • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride: Scar's old followers were exiled into another empty patch of wasteland outside the Pride Lands. This seems to be mostly empty, dusty desert, the only feature of note being a titanic termite mound where the exiled lions live.note  Much like the hyenas, the lions' motive is to get out of the wasteland where they were sent and take back control of the Pride Lands.
    • The Lion Guard: The hyenas similarly live in a wasteland, but in a twist this also applies to the non-evil ones. Meanwhile Scar's resurrected demon ghost lives in a Volcano Lair. In the third season however the antagonists are nomadic so they don't live in any particular dumpster.
  • Pooh's Grand Adventure: In contrast to the peaceful, lovely fields and woodlands of the Hundred Acre Wood where the main characters live, the Skullasaurus' lair is in a gloomy, fog-shrouded land of gray crags, bare rock, and leafless trees under a slate-gray sky.
  • Sleeping Beauty: The heroes live in green and peaceful fairytale kingdoms. Maleficent's castle is a dark mass of towers perched on a tall peak in a dark land of rocky crags under a stormy sky.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie: Robotnik and his robot minions live in an industrial sprawl surrounded by overgrown ruins in the gloomy depths of the Land of Darkness. The heroes instead live in the lush, tropical islands floating in the sky high above them.
  • Twice Upon a Time: Dreams are created in Frivoli, a candy-colored land of whimsy, and delivered by Greensleeves and his Figmen of the Imagination. Nightmares, on the other hand, are produced in the Murkworks, a logics-defying spire cobbled out of dark, ominous architecture, and delivered via bombs by vultures.
  • Wizards mentions in the prologue that thousands of years After the End by way of nuclear war, the uncivilized areas of the Earth regained their greenery, whereupon elves and faeries reappeared. It is here that The Hero Avatar and The Heart Elinore reside. The irradiated wastelands are home to misshapen mutants who are the descendants of humanity, many of whom dwell in the Wretched Hive called Scorch. There, the villain Blackwolf launches his Evil Plan to overrun the world.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alice in Wonderland (2010): The Red Queen resides in Salazen Grum, a bleak, blighted, almost desert-like region of Underland with dead trees and no grass as far as the eye can see. Her sister the White Queen, by contrast, lives in Marmoreal, which is something of a fairy tale castle surrounded by lush vegetation (albeit in pale colors to match her personal aesthetic). No prizes for guessing which of the sisters is on the side of the hero.
  • Descendants: The Isle of the Lost is a dingy, bleak, almost shantytown-like place where the air is filled with smog 24/7 and where the villains of the Disney canon were sent to after their defeats (even if they canonically died; yes, it's odd). Compared to that is the United Kingdom of Auradon, a lush, sunny, and pristine area like you would expect out of a fairy tale, where the heroes and their descendants live.
  • Mio In The Land Of Faraway has the lush and beautiful Land of Faraway contrasting with darker, more barren Land Outside.
  • Star Wars:
    • Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope focuses on two planets.
      • The first is Tatooine, whose whole environment is barren desert wasteland where Luke's uncle and aunt live as moisture farmers. While not actually home exclusively to villains, it exists in the Outer Rim of the Galaxy where civil laws are frequently are said not to stretch, and its main space port Mos Eisley is used by morally grey characters such as bounty hunters and smugglers. Obi-Wan even describes Mos Eisley as "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."
      • The second planet, Yavin IV, is a hospitable moon that is mainly forestry and green is home to the base of the Rebel Alliance and are more definitely good.
      • The third major setting of the first film is the Death Star, the monochrome spherical battle station of the evil Galactic Empire that is presented as looking like a more conventional moon, barren and also cold in contrast to Tatooine which is visually warm, but similar in nature, both contrasting with Yavin IV.
    • In the prequel trilogy, the Corrupt Corporate Executives of the Confederacy of Independent Systems use the desert planet Geonosis as their base of operations in the second film and the Lethal Lava Land of Mustafar in the third film.
    • The Hutt Cartel is run from Nal Hutta, a polluted swamp planet, and their main commercial center, Nar Shaddaa, is a City Planet with a brown sky and Used Future buildings.

  • The Last Unicorn: The Unicorn lives in a pristine lilac wood, and encounters the human characters while traveling through a medieval land of fields and woodlands. The villainous King Haggard rules from a gloomy castle on the shore of a wasteland of stone and barren fields.
  • The Legend of All Wolves: The Shifters' base is stark, metallic and decorated with stones, while the Pack's Homelands is a lovely forest full of life and their main buildings are homey and well lived-in. This also comes down to their philosophy: while the Pack is one with nature, Shifters see it as their duty to tame the wild.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien's preference for the traditional English countryside shines through in how the heroic homes are portrayed in the novels. Conversely, him seeing said countryside being taken over by factories influenced the appearance of the villainous factions.
    • The Shire is very much an idyllic pastoral countryside, while the Hidden Elf Villages of Rivendell and Lothlorien are closely intertwined with the natural setting around them — Lothlorien itself is seamlessly integrated with the forest it's built into and out of.
    • Speaking of The Shire, the villainous aesthetic infects the Hobbits homeland when Saruman takes it over in The Scourging of the Shire at the end of the novels.
    • Saruman's fortress in Orthanc is a heavily industrialized waste, filled with smoke, burning forges constantly churning out weapons, and military camps packed with orcs. The movies make it a point to show Saruman destroying the former gardens and the nearby forest of Fangorn in the name of industrialization and war.
    • Ironically played with in regards to Mordor itself. The northwestern parts of Mordor, known as the Plateau of Gorgoroth, fit the bill of a hostile, deserted wasteland, consisting chiefly of rocky barrens dominated by the looming shapes of Sauron's dark tower and the burning volcano of Mount Doom, but its southern half is covered in great swaths of incredibly fertile farmland and a large freshwater lake. Sauron uses human slaves to work farms in the area to feed his orc army. Naturally, however, we never actually see this region of Mordor, and it exists largely to justify how straight this trope is played in regards to the parts of Mordor we do see.
  • Mio My Son: The main character is brought to the lush and beautiful Land of Faraway, ruled by his father the fair king, but then ventures into the darker, more barren Land Outside, ruled by the tyrannical knight Cato.
  • Warrior Cats: Downplayed. All the Clans are technically neutral, but ThunderClan is predominantly the protagonist Clan and ShadowClan is the traditional antagonist Clan. In the first arc, ThunderClan lives in a lush forest full of wildlife while ShadowClan lives in a dirty, scraggly, swampy territory full of vermin and next to a garbage tip infested with rats. This is even reflected in their diets — ThunderClan cats typically feed on tasty game such as songbirds, wood pigeons, mice, and squirrels, while ShadowClan is frequently noted to chiefly eat frogs, toads, and rats, much to the other Clans' disgust.
  • The Wump World: Before the arrival of the Pollutians, the wumps' planet sports lush green grass and clear water as far as the eye can see. The Pollutians transform the planet into a smoggy concrete wasteland after taking over. The happy ending consists of nature overtaking the ruins of their cities.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: This trope is in full display once the Orcs terraform the green and lush Southlands into the wasteland known as Mordor. All the other Races, whether they are Men, Elves, Dwarves or Hobbits thrive in places of beautiful nature or cities of great beauty, but the Orcs can only live and prosper in places where the sun could never reach them.
  • Savage Kingdom, a nature documentary series, shows the protagonist Marsh pride living in a lush territory with an abundance of prey. The exiled lionesses live in the northern outskirts.
  • Star Trek: Earth is the capital of The Federation and is a mix of lush wilderness and techno-utopian cities. Qo'noS, by contrast, is the homeworld of the Klingon Empire and seems to be perpetually covered by dark clouds. Subverted with the other main villain race; the Romulan homeworld is a stunning Space Romans Citadel City among rolling green hills.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • With only a couple of exceptions, the Outer Planes are not supposed to be places of punishment for the dead. Lawful Evil characters go to a place of rules and ambition, Chaotic Evil characters go to a place where the strong rule the weak, and so on. Yet the good-aligned Upper Planes are pastoral and beautiful, and the evil-aligned Lower Planes are various flavors of wasteland and inhospitable wilderness.
    • Played with in Dark Sun. The evil wizards who rule the world literally wither the land when they use magic. Being green and pleasant means a place has no evil wizards; this can be because goodly folk are in charge, or it can simply mean the place is stuffed with cannibal halflings and the wizards figure it's not worth conquering.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: The Radiant Queens' Kingdoms are currently utopic places in a literal Dream Land, while the All-Consuming Darkness' plane of origin, the Dark World, is Exactly What It Says on the Tin — a warped, wasteland-looking version of the real world where everything alive freezes. Interestingly, there is a justification for the Dreamlands being like this — they were originally created by minions of the Darkness as a Lotus-Eater Machine where they could trap the Radiants, so it'd make sense they designed the place to be as pleasant as possible.
  • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: The central home realm of the Order factions, Azyr, is a beautiful world of star fields surrounding Sigmarheim, an immense city-slash-fantasy space station of elegant domes, soaring spires and wide avenues. This is in stark contrast to the base realms of the other three groups of factions — Ghur, home to the forces of Destruction, is a primordial realm of harsh environments and tectonic upheavals roamed by monsters and barbarians; Shysh, home to the legions of Death, is a bleak realm of finality and sterility ruled by undead empires and a few hardscrabble mortal nations; and the Eightpoints, home to the mortal hordes of Chaos, is a blasted wasteland home to nothing but twisted abominations and apocalypse cultists.
  • Warhammer Fantasy:
    • While the Old World isn't exactly Arcadia, being a rough copy of the European continent and thus mostly filled with crowded cities and darksome woods, the Norscans come from the Chaos Wastes, which in addition to being as cold and unlivable as the real-world arctic circle are filled with vicious beasts and are frequently invaded by daemons.
    • The High Elves live in Ulthuan, a large island covered by wide fields, green woods, shining fortresses, and majestic mountains. The Dark Elves instead hail from Naggaroth, a dark and cold land of harsh peaks, icy wastes, and monster-haunted forests dominated by the black spires of the dark elven cabals.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: Given that the entirety of the game is built around a Green Aesop, it's not surprising that the heroes rule the wilderness and the villains squat in toxic waste dumps.

    Video Games 
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Spiral Mountain, the home of Banjo and Kazooie, is an idyllic rural place, while Gruntilda's Lair is a dank and grimy structure. The theme is continued in Banjo-Tooie with the Isle O'Hags; the good characters like the Jinjos, Bottles' family, and Jiggywiggy are found in the green forested areas near the beginning, while Gruntilda and her sisters are holed up in Cauldron Keep, an ominous high-tech fortress surrounded by a corrosive moat and directly above the polluted Grunty Industries (which provides power for the Keep) and the Quagmire.
  • Battalion Wars plays this pretty straight, with the various good-guy nations either coming from temperate forest areas or beautiful beachy archipelagos, while the villainous Xylvanians live in a weird grey desert full of pools of toxic waste. No wonder they're trying to conquer new territory.
  • Black & White 2: Each faction's territory changes in response to their Karma Meter. Evil territories become volcanic wastelands with cities of grimy black-and-red stone beneath a dim, reddish sun. Good territories are brightly lit, teem with wildflowers and butterflies, and have verdant Shining Cities with many fountains.
  • Defense of the Ancients: On the lower left side is the Sentinels, considered the good guys and the terrain are marked with the much more fertile and environmental friendly green trees and plains, and the structures are based on the Night Elf faction. Meanwhile, on the upper right side is the bad guys' side, the Scourge, so the area terrain is darker and more barren, with structures based on the Undead faction. This is carried over to one of its Spiritual Successor, Heroes of Newerth, where the Legion (good guys) takes the Sentinel side, and the Hellbourne takes the Scourge side.
  • Dota 2: Subverted. While the general feel of the map is the same, the conflict between the Radiant and the Dire has become Grey-and-Gray Morality.
  • Donkey Kong:
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem Gaiden: Zofia, where The Hero Alm hails from, is blessed by the goddess Mila to have lush, fertile vegetation and a comfortable climate. Meanwhile, her brother Duma is the patron god of the militaristic Rigel, which is cold and barren to force its inhabitants to grow strong or die. Rigel invades Zofia at the outset of the story, prompting Alm and his friends to join a rebellion to push back the Rigelian forces.
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War and Fire Emblem: Thracia 776: The northern Munster district is depicted as fertile farmlands, whilst Thracia is shown as a mountainous and barren region with infertile land. Thracia is actually villainous because it's a badland; the dispute between its founders split the country in two and cut off Thracia from sharing in the abundant resources of Munster. This resulted in Thracians turning to mercenary work to survive and its King Travant to adopt any means to take the north.
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening: Ylisse is a pleasant, Ghibli Hills region and the home of the heroes, surrounded on one side by Regna Ferox, inspired by Mongolia and with a climate about as pleasant, and on the other by Plegia, whose most notable locations deserts and swamps and is ruled by a Religion of Evil with no redeeming qualities. However, the Feroxi prove to be astute diplomats as well as proud warrior race guys, and quickly become allies.
    • Fire Emblem Fates: Subverted. On the surface, we have the peaceful, prosperous Kingdom of Hoshido with rich crops and illustrious landscapes on the one hand, and an inhospitable Death World of cold climate, roaming robbers, wastelands and warmongers that is the Kingdom of Nohr on the other. However, the majority of Nohrian soldiers and commanders aren't exactly malevolent towards Hoshido even though they started the war. Meanwhile, although Hoshido is generally displayed as more sympathetic, some Hoshidan chacaters express wariness or outright hostility towards their Nohrian opponents. Finally, on the Revelations route, both teams eventually join forces to take on the actual mastermind behind the war.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic III: Used for the Good and Evil factions (the Neutral ones don't quite fit the trope in morality or terrain), with the Good factions (the Castle of Erathia, the Rampart of AvLee, the Tower of Bracada) hailing from grassy plains, thriving forests or pristine mountains (not exactly teeming with life, but peaceful, beautiful wilderness), while the Evil factions (the Inferno of Eofol, the Necropolis of Deyja, the Dungeon of Nighon) hail from volcanic wastelands, brown, dead dirtlands and dark, barren underground — and in the case of the volcanic wastelands and the dead dirtlands, it is respectively outright stated and suggested they made previously more pleasant lands that way by their actions.
  • Kingdom Rush: The good guys live in the idyllic kingdom of Linirea, while the Evil Overlord Vez'nan lives in the dead forest wasteland of Varladul.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Lunar: The Silver Star: The world at large is beautiful and green thanks to the influence of the goddess Althena. The Vile Tribe, who turned their back on her, are confined to corners of the planet which are craggy and barren, and in the Updated Re-release, the villain's plan causes the world of Lunar itself to start being drained of Althena's magic, reverting it to its state prior to the games: the lifeless rock that is Earth's moon.
  • Mega Man Zero: Inverted. For most of the series, our hero's group, the Resistance, has their base in the deserted outskirts of the large utopian city-state, Neo Arcadia, where our villains belong. Played with in the fourth game where our heroes and a bunch of human refugees find lush, untamed wildlife in a place called "Area Zero" and settle there while Neo Arcadia has become a hellhole under Dr. Weil's tyrannical rule.
  • Mini Robot Wars: The heroic Minirobots live in the lush and thriving Green Fields, while the evil Machines' base is the dark and stormy Iron Fortress.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Dr. Eggman invariably turns the lands he rules into cold, urbanized, hopelessly polluted wastelands made up of factories and overrun by Mecha-Mooks. Any given game's final world, generally taking place in the heart of Robotnik's domain, will be a robot factory owned and operated by the doctor himself. In a few cases, such as Oil Ocean Zone, these factories also affect the environments around them.
  • Terraria: Ordinary grasslands and forests are the safest places to explore, with wilder biomes like jungle and desert a little worse. What isn't safe? The bare discolored stone wrapped with thorns that makes up The Corruption. Played with, though, in that the hard-mode Hallow biome is a literal fairyland... with Everything Trying to Kill You.
  • Super Mario Bros. games typically have the Mushroom Kingdom consist of pleasant grasslands and verdant woods with clear blue skies, while Bowser's domain is a barren wasteland of dangerous lava and hazardous mountains.
  • Toonstruck: The cartoon world features the land of Cutopia, a green and lush land inhabited by cute and cuddly characters, and the Malevolands, a land consisting of dark, cracked barren soil inhabited by villains and other unpleasant folks. The Big Bad, Count Nefarious, uses a ray called the Malevolator to convert parts of Cutopia into more Malevolands.
  • StarCraft: The Protoss, who while not always heroic, tend to be depicted on the side of good, originate from Aiur, a jungle-based world with rich vegetation. By contrast, the Zerg, who were the primary antagonist for most of the franchise, have their primary hive on the hostile, volcanic world of Char. It's theorized in-universe that Zerg actually prefer planets like this to build their hive because the hostile environment push their ability to evolve to its full potential while making the planet easier to defend against hostile invasions. Interestingly, StarCraft II reveals the Zerg's native world, Zerus, is an inversion of how this trope usually works — it used to be a volcanic planet similar to Char, but millennia of evolution from the Primal Zerg native has resulted in it becoming full of life forms and vegetation, albeit of the Everything Is Trying to Kill You kind.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Jedi Council is located on the lush planet of Tython, while the Sith Dark Council is on Korriban, a rocky desert filled with ruins.
  • Warcraft: The undead originate from the artic continent of Northrend and spread Blight, a gray-black corruption of the ground from their buildings. It doesn't harm the living (trees turn the same color, but are mechanically no different), but instead lets them regenerate faster to compensate for their limited healing in the early game. By comparison, the Alliance live in a temperate European climate, the Night Elves in lush forest, and the Horde in desert oases.

    Web Originals 

    Web Video 
  • Critical Role: Played straight with Whitestone under the Briarwoods' rule. Keyleth and Scanlan scout ahead and see miserable citizens, mostly toiling in the fields, the gnarled, twisted Sun Tree, and undead giants roaming around the city. After the Briarwoods are killed, prosperity slowly returns, and 25 years later the city is a center for trade and power again.
  • Dingo Doodles: Subverted with the Kingdom of Kylandria in the Fool's Gold series, which under the reign of Bouclaire became a pink glittery nightmare.
    Erina: It didn't used to be like this! I don't know what happened.
    Sips: Nine-year-old girl's glitter book exploded. That's what happened.
    Gothi: Along with a 17th-Century French enthusiast.

    Western Animation 
  • The Care Bears live in the soft and serene land of Care-a-Lot in the clouds, while villains such as Professor Coldheart or No Heart live in creepy old castles in areas just as dark and gloomy as their evil inhabitants.
  • The Charmkins has the quiet charming and scenic Charmworld, home to the innocent and childlike Charmkins. Of course, they’re menaced by the dastardly Dragonweed and his cronies who live in the nearby Thistledown, a murky and muddy swamp teeming with filth and weeds.
  • Flowers and Trees: The protagonists live in an idyllic open woodland full of living trees and flowers and friendly woodland critters. The evil tree, by contrast, lives in a barren patch of the forest full of broken stumps and with sickly gray soil.
  • Freaktown is an inversion; Ben Bones and his friends live in the eponymous Freaktown, a messy hodge-podge of a city full of monsters and grossness, and the tyrannical Princess Boo-Boo and her minions hail from the cutesy Sugar Bowl of Sweetlandia.
  • My Little Pony 'n Friends: The ponies make their home in Dream Valley, an idealized pastoral landscape of green meadows and picturesque woods bordered by scenic mountains. The villains make their homes in decidedly less wholesome-looking places — the witches live on the stark, barren peak of the Volcano of Gloom, Queen Bumble and King Charlatan in two different frozen wastes, the sorceress Porcina among the jagged and ominous Black Mountains, Grogar in the dark and looming spires of the city of Tambelon, and Lavan in a system of caves running with rivers of lava. This is especially enforced by Crunch the Rockdog, who despises anything "soft" and goes out of his way to turn his lands into wastelands of jagged stone and nothing else.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Equestria is an Arcadian country of idealized farmland, green woods, pastoral towns and bustling cities. In contrast, the villains tend to make their bases in a variety of unwholesome places.
    • The dragons, who depending on the individual in question tend to be either villains or simply violent jerks, live in the Dragon Lands, an area of volcanic badlands and jagged rocks bereft of vegetation, crossed by rivers of lava and filled with sulphuric smoke. The actual boundary between Equestria and the Dragon Lands, shown in "Campfire Tales" and "Sweet and Smoky", is very clearly visible: on one side of an invisible line, the land is green and softly hilly and the sky blue and dotted with white clouds; on the other, the land is barren and dominated by jagged rocks and the sky is covered by menacing gray clouds.
      Smolder: The stink of sulfur. Sharp rocks under my claws. sigh It's good to be home.
    • In "To Where and Back Again", the changelings, a species of love-eating, shapeshifting insectoid ponies, are revealed to be based in a barren dustbowl under a yellow sky, housing nothing but rocks and the occasional dead tree. In the center is the hulk of the changelings' hive, a dull grey, hole-ridden cone of thin, gnarled spires and jagged edges that dominates the horizon. This state is explicitly stated to be due to the changelings themselves — once they turn good and stop sucking the love out of everything around them, plant life returns to their land and covers both their lands and the hive itself with lush green growth.
    • In "The Beginning of the End", one of the first things to happen once Sombra destroys the Tree of Harmony and starts to take over Equestria is that, as soon as he leaves the Tree's cave, the sky inexplicably turns a lurid yellow. When he's defeated at the end, the sky is instantly turned back to its normal cheery blue by the World-Healing Wave that did Sombra in.
    • Grogar's lair is in a giant skull-shaped monolith rising from a putrid swamp covered in slime and moss, in the middle of a stretch of flat gray rock.
  • The Legend of Vox Machina: In "Fate's Journey", Percy recalls Whitestone under his parents' rule as a lush, green place, protected by the holy Sun Tree. When they see what Whitestone is now like after five years under the villainous Briarwoods, the tree and the town are both dark and decaying, to Percy's horror.
    Percy: (whispers) What have they done?
    Scanlan: Uh, no offense, Percy, but your town's kind of creepy as shit.
  • Lady Lovely Locks is the Princess of her kindly kingdom, ruling it benevolently with her many friends. But they’re opposed by the villains of Tangleland, ruled by the wicked Duchess Ravenwaves who plots to cut Lady Lovely Locks hair and take over the kingdom for herself.
  • The Moon Dreamers live in the celestial realm of Starry Up, giving good dreams to all the sleeping children of the world. But the evil Queen Scowlene and her minions live in the Monstrous Middle, where they plot to keep everyone awake and make them just as miserable as the insomniac Scowlene herself.
  • The Land of Peppermint Rose is home to beautiful flowers of lovely scents and colors. But it is soon invaded by a clan of gluttonous beetles from the land of Bugoonya, which has become a barren wasteland likely due to the beetles own voracious hunger.
  • Rainbow Brite and the Color Kids live in Rainbowland, a bright and cheery world where they spread color and joy to everyone they meet. Except for The Pits, a dreary and dull spot of the world where the malevolent Murky Dismal and his henchmen Lurky reside, hatching villainous schemes to bring doom and gloom to Rainbowland.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: The Horde makes its headquarters in a hivelike mass of smog-shrouded industrial sprawl that would give Greenpeace members fits, situated inside a massive crater in the center of a desert wasteland, the whole of it under a perpetually yellow sky and collectively referred to as the Fright Zone. A far cry from the idyllic, peaceful fairytale woodlands, villages, and castles where the heroic factions live. When Adora (a Horde soldier) is able to talk with the enemy for the first time, they point out that maybe the fact that she lives in a place called the Fright Zone should have been a red flag.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM): The Freedom Fighters, refugees from Dr. Robotnik's conquest and other sympathetic factions, reside in beautiful pastoral or forested lands such as the Great Forest, a lush, green environment whose foliage is too thick for Dr. Robotnik's machines to navigate. The show's own incarnation of Robotnik isn't that different from his video game counterpart in terms of his preferred kind of domain.
  • Strawberry Shortcake and friends live in the idyllic Strawberryland, a place of sugary sweetness and happiness where they have fun and adventure. But they’re often threatened by that no-good, mean, miserable and silly old sneak, The Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak. The aforementioned Porcupine Peak is a barren mountain with the Pieman’s lair known as the pie tin palace at very the top, fit only for the Pieman and his flock of Berry Birds to live in.
  • The Superhero Squad Show takes place in the bustling pristine metropolis of Superhero City. Separated by a wall is their close neighbor Villainville. The air pollution stays in Villainville and the grass doesn't grow.