World-Builder’s Anonymous – That’s a Wrap!

Posted: May 30, 2019 in Uncategorized

If you’re just joining the club now, you might want to start at the beginning of the World-Builder’s Anonymous series here.


So you see by the articles I’ve drafted so far that there are many, many aspects to building worlds. If you’re building for fun, then there’s something to occupy you for years to come as you could spend all that time and more and still not have a “complete” world.

If you’re doing this for storytelling, I iterate again that you can slip into some serious “too-much” territory, and urge you to follow Holly Lisle’s advice if your intent is to use the building for story, as the build can be an excuse not to even start writing. And while you’re at it, check out some of her other resources on Language, Culture, Plot, Character, etc, all of which have been of immense value to me. I’m not even posting an affiliate link at the moment.

So by now you might be asking, “Where do I start?”

Anywhere. One beautiful thing about worldbuilding is that you can start from any of the points and let them guide you to creating the rest. They feed into each other, and you can bounce back and forth between the different categories with ease.

Say you had a super cool animal in mind, a diamond-crested slinker. You decide it’s an alpha predator, lurking through the forest.

  • Is it a carnivore or an omnivore?
  • What exactly does it eat? What does the thing it eats eat?
  • How abundant are they?
  • What kind of climate does it exist in?
  • Are there humans there? How many?
  • Are they permanent or nomadic?
  • Have they integrated the slinker into their language (crazier than a slinker chewing siliweed)?
  • What kind of relationship do the humans have with the creature – food, fear, sacred/symbolic?
  • How long has this relationship been going on? Is there an historical significance?
  • Does it have prize fur (with natural “diamonds”) that can drive an economy for the humans that hunt it?
  • If they fear it, do they pray/sacrifice to a slinker god or do they pray to a god that protects them from slinkers?
  • If they sell the fur, who are they selling it to? Are the sellers rich from the sales, or are they being exploited?
  • Is the slinker being poached, and are the humans who use it forced to protect it and become warriors/defenders?
  • Do they need someone they trade the furs for that they can’t get anywhere else, and now the demanders have disappeared?

See how much worldbuilding you can get from an idea for single creature? You can also stop from the top down. and make a huge globe and then break it up and populate it. (The D&D-published WorldBuilder’s guide embraces both approaches too, from the town/world creation aspect, but they don’t have the animal/plants as part of their publication.)

Well, that’s it for now, for the worldbuilding. It’s been a lot of fun over the last few months to glaze over it.

Did I miss something? Or is there something you would like to see expanded? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for joining me on this journey, and have a lot of fun building your worlds!

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