William, it sounds like you are doing this outside, for a patio, walkway or similar. While you have to follow the "lay of the land", generally, I personally prefer to have a set of steps in a relatively short run (outside, about 18") and a long, basically flat, section. I don't know of any code that would cover something like this, but you might want to consider your climatic conditions. What is going to be better for heavy rain, or ice, of deep snow--whatever your local conditions may be. Even things like windblown sand might be involved, or erosion control.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider. Tell us more and we'll be happy to offer more.