Roads & paths (synonyms: roadways, trails; example toponyms: The Golden Road, the Ironpeak Path) are routes that people or vehicles may take between locations. They may contain perilous bridges, cliffside pathways, tunnels, crossroads, and other elements. They may connect cities, towns, ferry crossings, or other locations. Roads & paths may be washed out, blocked, passable at only certain times of the day or year (due to tides or weather), or sites of roadside ambushes. They may include border crossings or toll roads. They are home to travelers, pilgrims, traders, and highwaymen.
A collapsed nation or one rife with corruption may have roads that are not well maintained while a rich country or one that relies on trade via its’ road network may have better infrastructure.
Designing Fictional Roads & Paths
When designing roads & paths, it is best to first design the locations they connect and the region and terrain that lays between those locations. Routes will often use the path of least resistance, meandering around natural landforms. Over time roads & paths may shift as easier routes are discovered or created. This may lead to abandoned and overgrown trails that are no longer in use.