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We are occasionally asked for advice about the worldbuilding process. By its creative and imaginative nature, the process of worldbuilding doesn't have a single obvious starting point or a step-by-step process that is universally applicable to all worldbuilding efforts.

The answer below lists many worldbuilding resources that can help you with your, "where do I go next?" questions. We recommend that you review these resources before asking us, so that if you do need to ask, you know exactly what problem you need to solve.

Please note that there are many specific questions assigned the and tags. Most of them are too specific to be generally useful for the purpose of this post. We recommend reviewing them both for their content and to get an idea of the kinds of specific resource and process questions we answer here.

The answer has been created as a community wiki, which means everyone is invited to add resources. I and the moderators reserve the right to remove entries that we deem trivial or inappropriate. Everyone is welcome to help with formatting to keep the list neat and organized.

  1. If you have questions, please post them as a comment to this question. When addressed, please delete the comment.

  2. Please DO NOT post additional answers to this question. Answers other than the community wiki will be arbitrarily deleted.

  3. If your entry can reasonably be listed under an existing header, please do so. Create new headers only when absolutely necessary.

  4. Your entry must link to the resource (no non-link entries).

Clarification: Due to James' query about whether or not it makes sense for this question to exist here on Main, I opened a Meta discussion asking why it shouldn't exist on Main. The post on Meta is NOT identical to this post. My personal belief is that this question belongs on Main.

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    $\begingroup$ I have asked the moderators if it's possible to convert the question itself into a community wiki. $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 9 at 19:46
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    $\begingroup$ I don't oppose this effort but it doesn't really fit here. You could certainly include a list of resources/processes in the tag wikis. That being said I am willing to discuss whether this makes sense to keep on the site and open, but its probably worth a meta discussion. The resources/processes tags require specific needs and the answer a specific tool. $\endgroup$ – James Apr 9 at 20:10
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    $\begingroup$ @James, I'm cool with that. I'll post in Meta. $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 9 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks, I don't mean to shoot the idea down...well I mean I do, but I also like the idea. Figure we can sort out whether an exception to the rule makes sense in this case. $\endgroup$ – James Apr 9 at 20:39
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    $\begingroup$ @James, no offense taken. This idea's been broached a few times over the last year and I'm basically forcing the issue. Meta question is here. $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 9 at 20:44
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General Guides

The First Step

The Last Step

Celestial Mechanics

Religion & Philosophy

Mapping

Climate & Weather

Geography

Flora & Fauna

History

Magic

Creature Design

Military, Weapons and Apparel

Cities and Societies

Economics

Science and Technology

  • RFF - Fictional Technology Creation
  • A Slower Speed of Light. This game, developed by MIT, helps world builders understand the effects of special relativity and how things are "seen" as one approaches the speed of light (or, in the case of the game, by "slowing light down to walking speed.")

Language

Books about Worldbuilding

Youtube Channels and Podcasts about Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding Discussion Forums

World-Building Software

Software in this category is designed to help manage the process of worldbuilding rather than specific aspects of worldbuilding (e.g., climate simulation, mapping), which may be dealt with in greater detail with dedicated tools.

  • World Anvil: Free tool (you can pay to remove ads). Allows you to consolidate your world building contents online. Covers timelines, geography, religion, allows for uploading and pinning maps, and a whole bunch of other stuff.
  • Scabard: Free with a private mode available for $40 yearly subscription. This is geared (heavily) towards RPG & TableTop campaigns but has many tools for general Worldbuilding. Offers: Map creation, Timelines, Event handling, Character/Group/Item/Location creation options, and graph options for mapping connections.

Books

There are a very large number of books about or contributing to worldbuilding. This is not the place to list them all. It is the place to list those that have been mentioned in questions and answers posted on this site. Please list the book (with link to Amazon or the author's website), the author's name, and links to the WB.SE posts that cite the book.

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