Hello StackExchange Friends!

I have a question that's been nagging me for the past month. It's perhaps more of a writing/storytelling question than a worldbuilding but the frame you view a world with is necessarily part of that world. So...

Given we have already generated a world with its respective lore, how do you introduce enough of the world to expose its setting yet without shoving it down the user's throat so that in the end they want to learn more about the setting?

How do we choose a protagonist/window/perspective? How much do we lay on the user at once? How can we create specific

E.G. I think of the video-game morrowind as taking 1st place in worldbuilding here. The game manages to connect many different layers of lore to any action, but it's something that's only briefly mentioned in the actual linear dialogue sections. However, the player has the option to further investigate with other venues.

I am mostly interested form a gameplay design perspective, but I would imagine it's the same for any type of storytelling.

The biggest issue here is that I have no idea where to start. I have searched for articles but only find specific ideas related to some medium rather than a general idea/framework for this type of thing.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is a really interesting and important question...however you're edging into too broad, opinion based, and not worldbuilding. You might want to think about tightening up the scope, giving concrete targets, and making it clear how it applies to worldbuilding. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Dec 16, 2014 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ In fact you may get more luck on writers.SE if you are talking about the written stories. Double check its on-topic page first though. $\endgroup$ Dec 16, 2014 at 11:50
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed. I like your thoughts but it's a bit broad to answer in the current form. $\endgroup$
    – ArtOfCode
    Dec 16, 2014 at 11:54
  • $\begingroup$ The question itself is worded so it is about world building and is quite appropriate, if maybe vague and too broad, but the longer version tries to explain the issue in terms of presentation. Not sure moving this elsewhere would improve anything though, since the question itself would probably be off-topic anywhere else. $\endgroup$ Dec 16, 2014 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ How to do it? Try with subtle skills and lots of talent. Sorry this is not the answer but introducing world naturally is the whole point. People want to read the stories, not descriptions. $\endgroup$ Dec 16, 2014 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


Try some story, quest, which forces your hero to travel far to places where he is foreigner and needs to learn customs. Trader, military mercenary. Volunteer for some dangerous mission, get some artifact. get hero out of his zone of comfort, where he does not know what is going on, has to learn - and your reader will learn along.

Show, don't tell

Or try "Star Wars", or as originally filmed, Hidden Fortress by Kurosawa: after military defeat, two farmers try to get rich by helping General to escort Princess and her gold to different country.

Another of my answers which has as many upvotes as downvotes. With no explanation for downvotes.


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