The first helping hand you can offer your poor, underrated and under-appreciated combat hazards is to give them a great name. A name with gusto, panache, or spirit gives hazards a surge of vitality and interest. A great name inspires.
Instead of calling the mud in the middle “difficult terrain”, call it Grom’s Brown Demise. Rename ye olde pool of lava The Bubbling Heart of Hate. Switch razorgrass to The Slicing Green Tide.
If you find a hazard inspiring, you’re more likely to remember to use it during battles when you already have a dozen other things going on. Nay, not just use it, but employ it, like a finely honed game master weapon. Instead of just plopping difficult terrain down on the battlemat, the name of it inspires a GMing fever that demands you wield the hazard with subtle malice and perfect implementation before the fever breaks.
A compelling name also adds new interest in the hazard from your players. Some players will riff off the name to roleplay better during combat. Some players will see beyond the squiggly lines drawn on the map and be inpsired to play with more energy just because you’ve put such care and interesting detail into the game.
A spirited name begs world and campaign design. The group will wonder who this Grom person was, or why the locals call lava a bubbling heart of hate. If you get into the habit of naming your hazards with style, you’ll find a new source of development hooks that pays off in the long run.
If you have certain hazards – and their names – recur during the campaign, you are sure to inspire not only yourself but your group to investigate the history, mention the name to NPCs, and get more curious about the world in general.
It sounds too simple, I know, but crafting fun names is another great way to add a sense of wonder and mystery to your world.