Snippets of inspiration from 10 excellent worldbuilders

Get inspired and try out some of these techniques in your next article!

This is an out of universe article for World Anvil's reading challenge of January 2022!
I've read through articles that caught my eye during WorldEmber and have put this post together (in no particular order) from 10 excellent worldbuilders who have inspired me!
 


 
 
1
The Book of the Habits and Beasts
World: Symbols of Power | Author: Naelin
Master of layout, illustration, interconnected lore (and more!), Naelin's articles in Symbols of Power are a huge source of inspiration for my worldbuilding practises.   Here's what you can learn from this article:
  • The subheading gives additional context and intrigue to the title, and the first section quickly tells me what it actually is.
  • The layout of the article is portioned into easy to digest chunks of information that make it beautiful to look at and enjoyable to read.
  • The article tells me everything I need to know about the topic, but also sprinkles in rich and deeply connected lore in a way that doesn't feel overwhelming. Names, places, species, and traditions are all linked and it's easy to delve deeper to learn more.
The Book of the Habits and Beasts
Document | Dec 20, 2021

The all-encompasing growing encyclopaedia of the Haan Archipelago

Worldbuilding Inspiration:
I love how this article is the perfect balance between meta and in-universe lore and explains the team of which characters play a role in documenting the incredible world around them.
 


 
2
Stonmir
World: Iphars | Author: Catoblepon
I love seeing the development of Cato's worlds, and her illustrations improve with every new drawing she posts!   Here's what you can learn from this article:
  • The leading paragraph gives an excellent overview of what it's about, and drops an interesting snippet of lore that leads me to read further.
  • Using lists with bolded terms makes it clear and easy to absorb information about the species.
  • Additional information and species artwork are displayed in the sidebar so that it doesn't distract from the main body of the article, which makes it easy to read.
Stonmir
Species | Dec 10, 2021

A small animal that lives in lava lakes that has a powerful bite

Worldbuilding Inspiration:
I love the description of the Thofass that this species of fish build, how they do it and why. This small detail makes an article about a fish particularly memorable and intersting!
 


 
3
Shattercaps
World: Cathedris | Author: Stormbril
Stormbril's world is always an incredible source of inspiration for a truly immersive worldbuilding experience in the way he makes use of artwork, layout, CSS magic, and clear navigation.   Here's what you can learn from this article:
  • Stormbril has made clever use of illustrations to spread them out across the article, this makes the layout easier to read, beautiful to look at, and visually consistent by using similar or flipped elements from parts of the artwork created!
  • Numerous quotes add balance to the aesthetic and reading pace of the article, as well as tie in further depth to the lore of the world by introducing characters opinions.
  • This species article explains the technicalities of the mushroom, but also delves into its connections with local culture and mythology. Even if this is the first article you read in Cathedris, you can get a huge feel for what the world is about and there are plenty of linked articles that let you explore further.
Shattercaps
Species | Jan 6, 2022

A delicate mushroom growing on the beaches of Russin. It slowly turns to glass as it grows, before shattering to spread the spores.

Worldbuilding Inspiration:
I love how this species of mushroom was inspired by the real world phenomenon of a Prince Rupert's drop - this familiarity made it recognisable and easy to understand, yet utterly mindblowing with the unique twist of making it into a unique method of spreading mushroom spores!
 


 
4
Private Aye
World: APRA: Anomalous Parks & Recreation Areas | Author: Garrett Lewis
Timepool's refreshing and pun-filled narrative is always a delightful mystery to explore, and Private Aye is an excellent example of that.   Here's what you can learn from this article:
  • The introductory quote immediately sets the tone of the article and plunges you into the immersion of this world.
  • The layout of the article is clear and uses different boxes for different information, such as: lore, quotes & narrative, and key information.
  • Having the log styled as a real folder with pages of notes held by a paper clip is a subtle but striking way to add visual immersion to the themes of this world.
Private Aye
Character | Dec 16, 2021

An incredibly gifted pirate-detective.

Worldbuilding Inspiration:
I love the contrast in the narrative tones between the charcter's voice and the people around him, and the quirky names for both Private Aye and his parrot, Nic(otine), makes them a memorable duo that I hope to encounter again soon!
 


 
5
Dragons
World: Hislariya | Author: Simo
Hislariya is a world of intricate details that tickle the senses every time I read a new article. The description and unique twist on a popular concept of dragons is inspiring and shows how you can really make something your own.   Here's what you can learn from this article:
  • A familiar concept can still be made interesting and surprising with new additions that reflect and reinforce the themes of the world.
  • Additional lore with links to articleblocks in the sidebar is an excellent navigation tool that lets me continue reading and explore more information.
  • Skim reading the headings on my initial scroll gives me a clear hint as to what the article is about - they're interesting and make me want to read every word.
Dragons
Species | Jan 1, 2022
Worldbuilding Inspiration:
I love the attention to detail in describing this species, and the way they're written is really immersive. Having a shapeshifting ability explored a deep dive into the complex relationship between dragons and human culture throughout the history of the world. As a childhood fan of all things dragons, this concept was fantastic to read!
 


 
6
Ashy Baby
World: Etrea | Author: Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
The world of Etrea is full of incredible concepts, with a gold standard of both writing and worldbuilding that always inspires me!   Here's what you can learn from this article:
  • Tooltips on newly introduced words or phrases quickly explain concepts in a short and concise manner and make it easy to understand.
  • Clear headings break down the species description into clear chunks, making the layout great and the flow of the article easy to read.
  • Adding in cultural significance ties the species in to the rest of the world and makes its history and usage interesting and memorable.
Ashy Baby
Species | Dec 20, 2021
Worldbuilding Inspiration:
I love the details in the cultural significance section, particularly about the grim history of ash's gamble as a means to either be pardoned from a death sentence (or fulfil it excruciatingly).
 


 
7
Lands of the Wind
World: Arda Almayed | Author: TC
I love how TC balances article layout with rich and fascinating lore - just reading a single article makes me want to open ten new tabs of connected articles!   Here's what you can learn from this article:
  • Using images with similar lighting and colours really ties the aesthetic together and provides consistant visual context to the location.
  • Quotes add different in-world perspectives to the article which adds further depth to the world and makes it feel alive.
  • The use of an aloud makes it crystal clear that the information is an out-of-universe note and is the author speaking directly to the reader.
Lands of the Wind
Geographic Location | Dec 29, 2021

The nothern shores of Arda Almayed, where no Danatelian has gone.

Worldbuilding Inspiration:
I love how the article ends on the exploration section and the quote tells me about a strong divide between people who want to explore there and those who may feel it's a dangerous or wasted journey.
 


 
8
Ki
World: Pangorio | Author: Dazzlinkat
This style of narrative was a refreshing and unique take on worldbuilding that I haven't seen very often! It was really fun and engaging to read :)   Here's what you can learn from this article:
  • Alternating the layout between left and right breaks up walls of text and makes it easy to read.
  • Adding HeroForge characters helps me to visualise their personalities in a whole new way and makes them feel more dynamic.
  • Using a dialogue between two strikingly different characters provides multiple in-world perspectives of the topic.
Ki
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Jan 11, 2022
Worldbuilding Inspiration:
I loved reading this conversation between the two characters, and the images made it almost feel like I was reading a comic (but with more lore)! An elder teaching a child is a fantastic way of explaining a complex topic whilst also making it entertaining to read.
 


 
9
Limb pod
World: VISCERIUM | Author: Bladeswillfall
This is a great example of a compact article that packs a punch of interesting lore in a tidy and concise manner!   Here's what you can learn from this article:
  • Explains how the species functions and survives, and also its role in byproducts used by the inhabitants of the world.
  • The layout is balanced & easy to read by including two columns between large sections, and icons give extra visual context.
  • Smaller factual information is listed in the sidebar and doesn't drag out the article or distract from the key features of the species.
Limb pod
Species | Dec 29, 2021
Worldbuilding Inspiration:
I love the attention to detail in the description of this species, and the way its described gives a great feel for the themes and tones of the world as a whole!
 


 
10
Saint Benedict's Tongue
World: Placeholder | Author: Rey Writes
I love this brilliant example of how language articles can be used for code-words, slang, and glyphs!   Here's what you can learn from this article:
  • Using a table to present translations makes it easy to absorb information quickly.
  • Having a visual reference is awe-inspiring and memorable, adding further depth to the lore.
  • Adding etymology to words gives great history to the world and makes it feel alive.
Saint Benedict's Tongue
Language | Jan 4, 2022

The thieves' jargon, or cant, spoken by criminals of the city.

Worldbuilding Inspiration:
I LOVE GLYPHS! This script is fantastic and I particularly love the example of a glyph that combines several meanings together to convey a lot of information about a building or establishment.
 


 

New Year's Worldbuilding Resolutions

This year I intend to keep up a regular worldbuilding habit, and I will polish all of my existing articles (and WIPs) to a level that I am happy with - NOT PERFECT, just happy with and done :D   When I feel like expanding on certain areas I'm going to check through my free list of 400 worldbuilding prompts for inspiration! I'm going to continue to keep a steady pace rather than boom & busting into burnout-land as in previous years :)   Happy new year folks! I hope the articles in this post inspire you and showed you some new tricks to try in your next article :D (don't forget to give them a like)! What are you eager to try next?

Cover image: Map of Melior, imperial projection by TJ Trewin

Comments

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4 Jan, 2022 10:07

Thank you so much for featuring my article as part of your reading challenge article!

I'd truly appreciate your constructive criticism on any pages of VISCERIUM. A dark, mixed genre world of infernal incursions across multiple eras.
Forgemaster Janet
Janet Forbes
4 Jan, 2022 12:56

What a beautiful entry for the reading challenge! Nice one!

  • Janet Forbes (Founder of World Anvil, author, RPG designer, streamer)
  • Grab your hammer and GO WORLDBUILD!
    4 Jan, 2022 13:31

    Lovely selection of articles, and thank you so much for featuring my work among them!!

    Author of Interarcanum
    5 Jan, 2022 01:02

    Why thank you so very much for the feature, TJ! <3 :D   Also wow, omg, the way you've laid out this entire article is simply... *chefs kiss*. Really really great, I love the way you've broken down the parts of each article that connected with you, with looking for things to learn from each one. So much inspiration on display here! <3


    Cathedris, the world of God-husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
    Sage eccbooks
    E. Christopher Clark
    16 Jan, 2022 17:22

    Beautiful article, and I've now added three more articles to my Reading List. I'll definitely be back here to seek inspiration when crafting my own Reading Challenge article.

    Check out some of my WorldEmber 2021 favorites
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