Guide to Family Trees

Guild Exclusive

This is a Master+ feature. To get access, Join the Worldbuilder's Guild!

  Family trees let you visually represent relationships between relatives from the Relationships tab of the character template page. Follow this guide to get started with your family trees!

Step-by-step instructions

To get started, choose a character from your world, edit it, and click on the Relationships tab. You will see this page:  

family trees 1.png

  Use the Blood/kinship relations box to set the parents of your character. To do so, type in the text boxes the name of the parent and select from the drop-down list. If the parent does not have a character article, use the Create a new character and link it button to create a character article on the fly and link it automatically to the family tree:  

family trees 2.png

  Changes to the family tree relations are auto-saved, so you won't need to press the save button of the article. Now, click on the Copy Family Tree Embed button, which will copy to your clipboard a BBCode tag that you can paste anywhere. For the example shown in the screenshot above, this is the result of pasting the tag:  

family trees 3.png

  You will notice that the family tree has more content than just Amy's parents (Julien and Linda). In order to make the tree more complex, you just need to edit the relations of each character involved. In this example, Cindy has the same biological parents as Amy, so they are displayed as siblings. On the other hand, Felix is one of the biological parents of a character (off-screen), together with Amy, so they are displayed as united.   From the family tree, you can use the button controls to zoom in and out, and the search bar to focus on a specific person of the tree (useful if it's a big one!). Clicking on the picture of a character (a silver circle by default) will display that person's family tree, while clicking on their name will take you to the character article.
Rather watch a video? Check out the Quick Guide here!

Tips and tricks

In order to further customize your tree, keep these points in mind:
  • Use the Character portrait field of the character template to display a custom image in the family tree.
  • You can change the direction of the tree (top, bottom, right, left) by adding a parameter to the tree tag. For example, the following tag will make the tree have a leftwards direction: [familytree:ID|left]
  • You can set the initial zoom level of the tree from 50% to 150% by adding a parameter with the number (without the % symbol): [familytree:ID|50]


Family trees employ a set of symbols to signify different kinds of relationship. This screenshot has all these symbols in action:  
family tree icons explanation.png
  • Bright gold ring: selected character
  • Copper ring: half-blood sibling
  • Silver ring: default ring
  • Crossed blood drop icon: the character is not biologically related to the selected character
  • Contrasting half-circle icon: half-blood sibling (same as copper ring)


If you only want to display the parents and the descendents of a character instead of the full family tree, copy the bloodline embed instead. You can do so in the sidebar of the article editing page:  

Bloodline Embed Copy

  The code of the bloodline will container an ID number, which you can use to create the bloodline of a couple. Take the regular [bloodline] tag from one of the couple members and add the ID of the other member of the couple, separated by a & symbol. The result will look like this, using ID as a placeholder for the actual ID:  
Guide to Content Trees
Generic article | Oct 20, 2020


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27 Apr, 2020 18:45

The note is not correctly formated. The HTML-Code is not processed.   Also this article is missing information on the borders of portraits (which are sometimes golden when having another person selected) and the red marker that is not the droplet that shows that there is no blood relation.

27 Apr, 2020 20:34

Hi! We've talked on the help channel on Discord :) I'll fix the note now, thanks for reporting. I have added the red market and the gold circles in my to-do list, I'll do some investigation and add it to the guide. I'll try to remember to ping you when it's done.

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
27 Apr, 2020 20:55

Thank you. :)

6 May, 2020 20:08

Hi! Sorry it took long, I've been busy with other parts of World Anvil. I've checked with the developer, these are the answers:

  • Half circle icon: half siblings
  • Crossed blood drop: no blood relationship with the selected character
  • Copper circle borders: same as the half circle icon
  I'll add this information to the guide tomorrow, but wanted to ping you ASAP. Hope this is useful and feel free to ping me if you need anything else!

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
9 May, 2020 15:57

Is there any easy way to get Protagonist Characters and World Characters on the same family tree? I feel like i'm doing something wrong.   Should I just have players edit a "World Character" article instead of their Protagonist Character to make editing trees easier?

9 May, 2020 16:00

To be clear I'm running a Pendragon (5.2) campaign, which has a huge focus on player Dynasties. Its the reason I chose World Anvil, for the family trees. Increasing the possible number of Co-Authors and making Protagonist Characters easier to "Fit" in the world would be lovely.

11 May, 2020 13:56

Family Tree members must have a character article. However, if the PCs are synced with your world, they will also have a character article (and its contents will be the PC's extended profile), so it is possible to link PCs in a family tree through their article counterparts. Hope this answers the question!

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
11 May, 2020 16:33

I'm having issues with the family trees. I started with my character Keith and added his parents. Then, I added his biological sister and his half-sister (same father, different mothers), in which I created stuff for them. But low and behold, the family tree is putting the half-sister in Keith's biological family, basically claiming that Keith's birth-mother is the half-sister's mother, too, even though her tree shows her true mother. Basically, it looks like this:     Keith & Keith's half sis mother--------------------father | | | ------------------------------------------- | | | | | | | | | sister half-sis Keith   AND   Keith & half sis half sis mother--------------------father | | | ------------------------------------------- | | | | | | | | | sister Keith half sis   Is there any way to fix this, because I don't want to confuse my readers if they don't know the character's birth parents. I know what the copper circle and contrasting half-circle mean, but that still doesn't make up for the fact that you can't tell who the half-sibling's biological parent is on the tree. Is it the father or the mother? That's what I'm upset about and need to know if it can be fixed.

"We're all capable of the most incredible change. We can evolve while still staying true to who we are. We can honor who we've been and choose who we want to be next. We can evolve."
11 May, 2020 20:44

Hi! It can probably be fixed, but I need a link to the family tree, since your "text diagram" didn't work in the comment box.

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
12 May, 2020 04:58

Here's the link:

"We're all capable of the most incredible change. We can evolve while still staying true to who we are. We can honor who we've been and choose who we want to be next. We can evolve."
15 May, 2020 17:31

Hi! Sorry for the late answer. I don't think this is currently possible. Not sure if there are plans, though.

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
16 May, 2020 15:39

Okay. Thanks for the reply.

"We're all capable of the most incredible change. We can evolve while still staying true to who we are. We can honor who we've been and choose who we want to be next. We can evolve."
15 May, 2020 07:41

Hello, Are family trees able to handle multiples relationships? I have a king who married twice and had children with both his wives, but the tree only shows one wedding (and only kids from that union). Also, how many generations can the tree show at once? (I'm missing great-grandchildren for that same character)

26 May, 2020 20:50

I think it only shows two generations before and after the selected character. If you were to select the characters' children, you'd see their grandchildren.

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive
29 Jun, 2020 09:51

I cant seem to find Family Trees in any of the menus? Am I missing something?

29 Jun, 2020 19:33

Hi! Make sure to read this guide, to set up family trees you have to use the relationships tab when you're editing an article!

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
11 Jul, 2020 03:44

I am having issues with this. When I click the relationships tab it acts like it's loading but the only difference that appears is the highlighted tab is now the relationships tab. None of the pieces required to create a family tree actually shows up.

11 Jul, 2020 15:15

Hi! What do you mean that the only thing that appears is the relationships tab?

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
14 Jul, 2020 03:45   Link is to a screenshot of my issue. I have tried with one other web browser with the same result

14 Jul, 2020 07:07

Ok, that's a bug. Can you report it using the "report bug" button you'll find in the help page? You'll need to create a new account for the bug tracker, as it is a third-party platform. Don't forget to attach the screenshots you sent me too.   Thanks!

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
3 Mar, 2021 04:27

Any updates on this having been a bug? I was attracted to WorldAnvil specifically for the Fantasy Family Tree feature on 3/2/2021 and seem to be having a similar issue. I can see the Relationships tab. I can see the header thereunder noting "Blood/Kinship Relations - Define the parental relations of your characters in order to map their family trees and bloodlines." Thereafter, no additional fields load and it does not look like anything is trying to load. In essence, this view does not match the first steps in the video tutorial. Perhaps it is something I have done? Must I be a paying member to use the feature? Must I be using a specific browser?

“Exit, pursued by a bear.” ~ William Shakespeare
3 Mar, 2021 10:20

Hi! As you can see at the top of this page, family trees are a Master+ feature. I'm afraid you'll need to upgrade to this tier if you want to use them!

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
3 Mar, 2021 19:57

My apologies. Received The WorldAnvil Twitter response. Only available for Guild Master level and up. Thank you.

“Exit, pursued by a bear.” ~ William Shakespeare
18 Dec, 2020 05:38

How do I get the character pictures to show up on the family trees? I assigned the characters pictures and they show up for character profiles, but the family tree pics are all still World Anvil logos.

18 Dec, 2020 11:54

Hi! Just to check, did you assign the character picture using the "character portrait" field in the right sidebar when you're editing a character article?

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
5 Jan, 2021 08:11

Thank you!

22 Feb, 2021 19:08

Is there a way to have the family tree to sort generations by year of birth rather than alphabetical by first name?

27 Feb, 2021 11:52

Hi! Could you clarify what you mean by this? I'm not sure I follow!

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
27 Mar, 2021 04:22

This is exactly what i am looking for (i think). As in, instead of the order of children being Alex (3rd born), Jess (1st born), Zack (2nd born), have it auto-order them to be Jess, Zack, Alex. All of the people have dates of birth, but its in alphabetical order instead of birth order.

14 Mar, 2021 01:39

Feature Request: I would love the ability to expand a family tree further than it goes now, for dynastic tracking purposes. Under the current system, it is very difficult to find lateral relationships (cousins, for instance) unless you already know they are there. Even a toggle to expand the entire family tree at once (think Crusader Kings III)!   Thanks!

14 Mar, 2021 12:12

Hi! Unfortunately the devs don't watch the comment sections (time constraints). To request a feature, please use the form in the help section. Thank you!

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
14 Mar, 2021 17:42

Thanks for the tip!

28 Jun, 2021 11:22

Hi, can I make certain sections/entries on a family tree private for spoiler purposes? Or will all entries show up even if they're private articles?

If at first you don't succeed, have a cup of tea and try again.   Creator of Relativity, a science-fantasy time-travel universe.
29 Jun, 2021 10:10

Hi! Just tested it in a secondary world, it looks like an article's visibility state won't change its visibility in the family tree. However, clicking its name will take the reader to an access denied page (unless they have permission to see the article through subscriber groups, of course). Hope this helps!

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.