Settlements are collections of buildings that spawn together. They are more or less organized. Mostly, the amount, the placement, and/or the furnishing of the single buildings vary somehow to allow for different settlement of the same type. Some buildings are randomly included into a settlement and can't be found in each settlement of a certain type.
Note: Very small structures, built out of tents, are called "camp", are not included, and can be found here.
Some settlements are protected by walls, others not. Some have got a name and a founding date, found on a signpost in the middle of the settlement or at the entrance gate. Landscape features like caves, rivers, boulders, trees, etc. may break the structure of the settlement and cause certain buildings or parts of the wall to be missing.
Settlements can be very good places to loot for players with suitable alignment, because they usually contain a lot of containers, and it's usually possible to find some good armour, weapons, food, and more by rifling through a settlement.
There are two catagories of settlements, organized and unorganized. The organized settlements will spawn with order, and maintain constant shape and size. Examples include the Tauredain villages. Unorganized settlements are simply clusters of buildings, with no particular order or pattern. Examples include Rhudaur and Moredain villages.
Also, some of the settlements can be found in different sizes. The smaller ones are mostly rural villages, whereas the bigger ones are urban towns with much more and much elaborate buildings.
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