Top products from r/worldbuilding

We found 51 product mentions on r/worldbuilding. We ranked the 344 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top comments that mention products on r/worldbuilding:

u/HatMaster12 · 5 pointsr/worldbuilding

This is an interesting idea, especially for those worldbuilders like myself who have worlds heavily grounded in realism.

I think it’s safe to say that the more “realistic” you make an aspect of your world (“realistic” here meaning closely reflecting how the concept existed in the real world), the more believable it will appear to your readers. However, the more in-depth you create it, the more it will come to resemble your influences, to the point where the two concepts are virtual copies of the other. It’s simpler to copy intricate details than recreate them. This is good in a world based in realism. Details will be ordered and logical, allowing you to accurately model real world conditions. If you accurately want your Roman-inspired army to remain supplied in the field, it’s best to copy Roman military logistics.

Of course, if you want to have every detail of your setting exactly as it appears(ed) in reality (which is technically impossible), you wouldn’t be setting it in a constructed setting. It is then equally important to determine why you are creating a fictional setting in the first place. What makes you want to create a fictional locale? Do you like not being bound by history, and the freedom to create events as you wish? Do you like creating new sciences, technologies, or ideas? Use why you wish to create a fictional world to make your setting unique, not, in your words, a “rip-off.” In other words, copy intricate details from reality (such as the process and reasons for inflation in a bullion-based currency system), but allow yourself to be influenced by multiple influences or periods when creating macro-level concepts (like religions). It is important though to construct these ideas in a manner that the society at large could logically exist. The whole must be greater than the sum of its parts.

This is only one perspective. It is perfectly fine to realistically model all major elements of a society off it’s historical or contemporary counterpart. Guy Gavriel Kay has written a number of successful novels set in historically inspired fantasy settings, like Byzantium in [The Sarantine Mosaic] ( or Muslim Spain in [The Lions of al-Rassan] ( The settings of both very closely mirror their historical counterpart, yet enough aesthetic aspects are changed to create a feeling of difference, of uniqueness. If a certain period or society truly inspires you, there is nothing inherently wrong with your setting being strongly influenced by it. After all, what constitutes a “unique rendition” of a topic from a “rip-off” is ultimately a matter of personal taste.

u/J_Webb · 7 pointsr/worldbuilding

Someone would be able to tell a story of a species and its development in a world-building setting. In fact, I have a book here at my desk side that does that. Medea: Harlan's World by Harlan Ellison. It is a book that I would recommend to world-builders interested in science fiction or speculative evolution. It is an anthology collection set on a fictional world's moon, and it follows the development of fictional species and alien cultures. Humans exist within the setting, so don't expect an entirely alien setting, but it is still interesting. As an anthology, it contains a set of stories, although world-building was a core aspect in the creation of Medea.

Although Medea was born out of world-building, only the first 100 pages focus upon the world-building content itself. The other 300+ pages contain short stories by various science fiction authors. But within those first 100 pages, Medea is able to describe the with great detail the world, its species, and its characteristics. It also contains a written concept seminar in which the authors collaborate their ideas and concepts. It is a great behind the scenes look at the world-building that was performed.

I am not discouraging anyone from world-building and writing simultaneously. I am also not discouraging new writers or authors from thinking outside the box. I hope it does not come off sounding as such since world-building is something I promote to those interested in creative writing. I am just suggesting that the world-building and the writing balances out, with one holding priority over the other where appropriate.

One could even split up the world-building and the writing. The Dungeons & Dragons franchise is able to do so. It has the campaign guides, which focus on the world-building of the franchise. There are also novel series written by authors such as R.A. Salvatore, which focus on the stories of the franchise.

The recent The World of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, Elio Garcia, and Linda Antonsson is another good example of world-building holding the priority. Where George R.R. Martin holds the story in priority in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, world-building holds the priority in The World of Ice and Fire.

Edit: I should also state that my advice should be taken with a grain of salt. As I mention in the initial post, I world-build as a hobby. I have never tackled writing a proper story or novel.

u/CitizenCaecus · 43 pointsr/worldbuilding

I always link to the Wikipedia page on world religions in discussions of building religions, because copious example are key to learning.

A quick outline of what I look to answer when I ask the question "What does this religion look like?" goes like this:


  • What is the culture that this religion primarily operates in? If you take Western Christian beliefs, change the name, and dropped it intro sub-Saharan Africa the resulting traditions look very different.
  • What are the 1^st level values that are communicated in this religion? These are things like: kindness, respect, honor, obedience, piety, offerings, recognition.
  • What are the 2^nd level of values? These are practical considerations that affect how people treat each other and cover things like: castes, sexism, sexuality, and business values. These are extremely important in building a community as it will link the tenets of a faith with people's day-to-day lives.
  • How does this religion view other groups? Does it promote any forms of xenophobia?


  • Are the god's real beings or are they symbols only?
  • Where did the god(s) come from? The book Small Gods by Terry Pratchett is a great stroy about where gods come from and where they go.
  • What do the gods value? How is this different from what the people value?
  • On what scale do the gods operate? Local, Regional, Global, Star System, Galaxy, Galaxy Group, Cluster, Super Cluster, Universe...
  • What is the god's interaction with their believers? Tools, witnesses, sources of power, symbols of their power?
  • What time-scale do the gods work on? Do they care if they avenge your family 100 years after you asked for vengeance?
  • What are the long term goals of the gods?


  • What are the primary religious symbols?
  • What do the symbols represent?
  • How sacred are the symbols in day-to-day life?
u/tinyporcelainehorses · 3 pointsr/worldbuilding

They were both done in photoshop. Photoshop CS2 is effectively free if you don't have it - i don't have the link to hand, but a quick google should help you out.

Draft one was done using this guide, and the linked brushes etc. I obviously feel like I can do a fair bit better now, but it was a great starting point.

For draft two, I bought a wacom drawing tablet/stylus for my computer, and pretty much drew on that as I would by hand. I also had this book to help, and it's invaluable as a general mapping resource - it's clearly for someone working at a much closer scale than me, though.

The main thing I'd stress when doing maps digitally is saving EVERYTHNG on separate layers. It makes it very easy to move around and edit each individual thing in a way you really can't with pen and paper.

u/Korrin · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

I don't, sorry, but I'm talking about like actual anthropological or historical textbooks. I'd start by asking her about the world she wants to write about, whether it's your standard medieval European fantasy or something else, and what kind of story she wants to tell.

Like if she wants to tell a story about a rise to the throne it might help her to have the biography of a famous king or queen or ascended to the throne despite the odds being stacked against them.

But something that talks about the daily lives and customs of the people who lived during that time is usually a safe bet/interesting read too.

Of course, you could always fall back on actual writing books too.

Orson Scott Card's book on how to write science fiction and fanasy is the only actual book about writing/world building I've ever read. It was pretty good from what I remember, but I read it years ago.

u/Dennisbaily · 4 pointsr/worldbuilding

I got this a while ago. I talks about worldbuilding, but also a load of other things.

The chapters are:

  • Inspiration and the creative life

  • The ecosystem of story

  • Beginnings and endings

  • Narrative design

  • Characterization

  • Worldbuilding

  • Revision

  • Workshop appendix

  • Additional writing excercises

    It's 360 pages and features loads of different perspectives and guest writers who give their opinion on topics and their way of handling them. There is also a lot of artwork. Almost every page has art on it to support the subject at hand. I think it's really good.
u/Fireclave · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

This might be overkill to suggest, but you might be interested in the book "Guns, Germs, and Steel", by Jared Diamond. It's an archaeological exploration of causes behind why power, wealth, and technology became so unevenly distributed around the world. It explores factors such as environment, resources, agriculture, and culture. It's certainly good food for thought for these kind of questions.

u/Chilangosta · 2 pointsr/worldbuilding

Two of my favorites, from two of the all-time best science fiction writers:

How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card

World-Building by Stephen L. Gillett and Ben Bova

Both look at it from more of a writing standpoint, but they're great resources for RPGers or hobbyists too.

u/Jafiki91 · 3 pointsr/worldbuilding

Well the most important thing is to just have fun with it. After all, it's your world.

You don't need to fully understand every aspect of a world in order to create one. Just have a general idea. Also you can ask any questions you may have and the community here will be sure to help you out. And if something is really stressing you, just take a break from it for a while. Work on something else and an idea may come to you.

That said I found this book to be incredibly helpful when I started out with world building, and it still is.

u/Dsnake1 · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

> Secretly, the two people in the towers are very old and are rivals :D They are currently fighting over what tree will be where xD

That's so awesome! I love that idea. Hell, it's so versatile. It can be comedic relief or dial that drama straight up to 11 and put out a hit on the other dude.

>I didn't know rivers didn't split at the time xD When I make more of the world I'll redo this part and fix that :p Thanks for all the advice!

Not a problem. I did the same thing. Since then, I bought myself a cheap geology textbook (or any version of that is what I got) and it made a world of difference. heh.

Anyway, I really loved how my maps looked after I read through the textbook. My players did too.

>Iram was built around the dragons cave that they worshiped :o Nimrathon was selected by it's founders to be the capital for it's central location Garanidalr started off as a elf city. In my head they would have chosen the most secluded spot at the time :o

Yeah, those all make a ton of sense, especially with rivers available. Capital cities typically weren't grown from scratch, so big cities developed along trade routes and ports and capital cities were often selected from those. Of course, port cities are open to naval attacks, so there are pros and cons to where you pick, but your explanations make a ton of sense, especially with Nimrathon being surrounded by hills for some sort of natural protection.

>Thank you again for your interest and criticism!

Not a problem. If you ever have a question, let me know.

Also, what's the scale on your map?

u/jdrake3r · 2 pointsr/worldbuilding

If I've understood you, you are looking for a survey style text on the creative process of world building, and not books that facilitate or inform world building itself.

It looks like the following may fit your specification: Fundamentals of World Building. Or, though more role playing focused, the Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding.

Also, though I'd bet you've already seen it, Wikipedia has the following overview Worldbuilding.

u/FaerFoxx · 5 pointsr/worldbuilding

The Planet Construction Kit is a great resource for worldbuilding, covering almost all aspects of society and general setting from cosmology to biology, history, culture, religion, technology, map making...

Its companion book, the Language Construction Kit, is an invaluable resource for creating conlangs if that was of any interest to you as well.

u/Smokey9000 · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

Not sure on what the link policy is on this sub but this book is what im using to help draw maps and its got a few different ideas that i found helpful for someone with no artistic ability whatsoever like myself

u/hexalby · 2 pointsr/worldbuilding

As someone that has much of this problem as well all I can say is reading books or following courses on writing fantasy.

Personally I really appreaciated the two books from Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game if anyone does not know him) which are: How to write science fiction and fantasy and Characters and viewpoint.

There are also uploaded on Youtube the lectures held by Brandon Sanderson (MIstborn) which are free to watch and great to get abearing on writing. Here's the most recent one.

u/[deleted] · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

Medea: Harlan's World, great extrapolation of this, with a lot of good short stories by excellent sci-fi authors, edited by Harlan Ellison. Perhaps a bit dated now, but overall very well done.

u/giftedearth · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

Try this book: "What If the Earth Had Two Moons?". It's one of those what-if type books that revolves around how Earthlike planets in non-Earthlike situations would be possible and what life would be like. I actually generally recommend it for scifi stuff - it's very interesting and indepth. You want an Earthlike planet with a thicker crust? Well according to this book, the crust would periodically melt, and life would have evolved to know when the crust is thinning and thus when to run like fuck away from that area of the continent.

u/alexanderwales · 3 pointsr/worldbuilding

If you want some space opera antics, you might want to try Singularity Sky by Charles Stross. A humanoid species known as The Festival descends on a backwater repressive pseudo-medieval world and complicates everyone's lives by giving away high technology to anyone that entertains them.

u/feor1300 · 42 pointsr/worldbuilding

> Islamic Spain.

I know of one book that used this, The Lions of Al Rassan by Guy Kay. An excellent read if you're interested.

u/HippyxViking · 8 pointsr/worldbuilding

Honestly I don't think you need to come up with complex religious justifications - just read 1491. There's a lot of knowledge that's been lost or purposefully destroyed, but all across the Americas there were stunningly complex civilizations that largely didn't use metals at all.

It is probable that Indigenous American civilizations had several of the most advanced agricultural systems in the world, politics, philosophy, writing, mathematics, science and astronomy, etc. Architecture and engineering were somewhat different, but still complex and advanced, and their city planning was completely different than Europe's - Tenochtitlan was literally unbelievable to the Europeans who showed up, it was so clean, organized, and beautiful.

Post contact, or if there was no contact, it's very difficult to say what trajectory they would have gone, or if you can have a 'modern' or industrial society that skips metallurgy altogether - I can't really see how that would happen. Then again what do I know.

u/hard_twenty · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

The City in History, by Lewis Mumford

According to this guy, one important turning point in a settlement during the Middle Ages was when it was given the right to build its own walls. You had to have permission from the monarch to do that.

Lots of generally useful information about cities in this book.

u/justgoawayplease · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

You can pull a lot of info from 1491 especially the sections about South America, where the cultures were isolated for millenia before contact with Europeans. I keep going back to this book, would definitely recommend.

u/herdiegerdie · 3 pointsr/worldbuilding

I found Orson Scott Card's book on writing science fiction and fantasy to be illuminating.

He has a chapter on world building and devotes a chapters to key aspects of writing within an established world. It's a quick read.

u/The_OP3RaT0R · 2 pointsr/worldbuilding

The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding is very good. Pen and paper RPG oriented, but applicable to all media.

u/1nsider · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

I agree with your assessment. I've been flipping through The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding and at least Wolfgang Baur and Monte Cook seems to fall into the less is more category unless the situation explicitly calls for it. Keith Bakers essay is in the history camp however. Its probably wrong to call any one element the MOST important - characters have to damn come close though. Be it a novel a game or campaign.

u/adarias · 2 pointsr/worldbuilding

holy shit, I know it's aimed at 12-year-olds, but how did you miss this one? well-researched, lightly-written and exquisitely drawn, it's basically required reading for anyone interested in both city planning and ancient history.

u/NotModusPonens · 2 pointsr/worldbuilding

You may want to read the Planet Construction Kit by Mark Rosenfelder.

u/PhatsCadwalader · 3 pointsr/worldbuilding

It’s more of a writing book than specifically worldbuilding, but Maps of the Imagination by Peter Turchi might appeal to the cartography fans of this sub.

u/AWanderingFlame · 3 pointsr/worldbuilding

I'm building conlangs for my world, but I lean heavily on Mark Rosenfelder' The Language Construction Kit and the program Vulgar which is currently on sale.

u/bastiedrenne · 5 pointsr/worldbuilding

They are aliens simply known as vessels, carrying out the greater collective will of the Hivemind. They interface with Humans by completing dangerous space mining contracts, because their bodies are essentially worthless. I’m happy to answer any questions about the world I’ve built.

>“Physically, the vessels were tall, muscular, and exquisitely pale. Their skin possessed no discernible flaws, and, for all intents and purposes, it appeared that they lacked hair altogether. The one currently before him appeared exactly as every other vessel did, as it did not make sense to have individual and unique bodies if they would simply be carrying out the will of a greater collective mind. In fact, if a creator were to design the most efficient, durable—yet altogether uninteresting—bipedal being, he might have constructed a vessel. The one notable feature that each alien possessed, however, was in their eyes, where gold rings concentrically radiated out from their pupils and terminated at the edge of their irides. The only known human analog of this anatomical quirk was found in patients suffering from a rare condition called Wilson’s disease, where copper precipitates in the eyes and organs of those affected due to their inability to excrete said element properly. Human physicians could not confirm their suspicions as, at least on record, no vessel had ever been examined medically.”

Description of the book, in case you made it this far and are still interested:

My novel is called No Gods Above the Stars, and can be found on the kindle store for $0.99 via the link below.

Link to download:


In order to be reunited with his wife, Lars Ventor will stop at nothing, even if that means confronting the gods themselves—and that may be exactly what he has to do.

In the distant future, Lars Ventor leads a simple life as a deep space mining contract negotiator, where he represents the Interstellar Alliance Government’s interests in their dealings with a cryptic alien race hailing from Alpha Centauri. Known to humanity simply as the Hivemind, these interlopers communicate with humans through bodies called “vessels” by swapping their conscious projections in and out of such bodies at will.

However, Lars’ ordinary life is suddenly shattered when his beloved wife Katerine, a renowned theoretical physicist, is killed in a freak accident—quite literally vaporized on her way to work. Shortly thereafter, while in the midst of tense negotiations with a Hivemind vessel, a grieving Lars receives a most distressing surprise: Katerine is alive, and somehow talking to him through the vessel. In order to uncover the truth behind his wife’s mysterious death, Lars must embark on a mind-bending, metaphysical journey that will make him a central player in a perilous feud between forces as old and unforgiving as time itself.

Meanwhile, in the deep void of interstellar space, Oren Yadrette and Joanna Saro, two senior science officers aboard the human exploration ship Warrant Conviction, make a startling discovery about the true nature of the Hivemind. Technologically outflanked and under grave threat, Oren and Joanna must race against time to ensure the survival of their fellow crew, and perhaps even the entirety of the human race.