Getting started guide
At its core, World Anvil is a tool to help you organize your creative process. As such, this is not a definitive guide on how you should use World Anvil, but rather what you can do.
First stepsAfter creating your account, you will be given the choice of either creating a new world or a new character. If you have created an account specifically to play in a campaign, you should choose the character option. Otherwise, choose Create my world (choose this option if you are game master too). This will take you to the world creation and the character creation pages, respectively. For more information on how to create a character, please see the following guide: Otherwise, create the world and keep reading for an overview of the World Anvil's layout.
The DashboardWhenever you click the World Anvil logo at the top left corner you will access the Dashboard: The top bar has a search box to look up your world's content. The Browse button will let you check public content from other World Anvil users. The sidebar contains links to various parts and tools of World Anvil (keep reading for more information on them). Clicking your world name (Black Light in the screenshot) will open a drop-down you can use to switch between the worlds, characters, and campaign you have created. Under the world name there is a Continue working... box; click it to go to the last article you were editing. The central section of the page has a featured article from the community, as well as tabs to browse your own content (worlds, campaigns, and more). Underneath are the latest blog entries —the left column lists the latest development updates while the right column is a stream of the rest of the blog entries. You can visit our blog at blog.worldanvil.com! The right sidebar shows progress for special events (like World Ember), a random worldbuilding prompt, upcoming streams and events, and links to our podcast. There's also a Continue Working panel with the last five articles you've edited:
World dashboardWhen you click the Dashboard option in the left sidebar, you will get to the dashboard specific for your active world. Note that if you're a Freeman (free account) or a Journeyman (lowest subscription tier) the world dashboard will look slightly different than the screenshot above. The central part of the page has three sections, or two if you're a Freeman or Journeyman. The left side has the Explorer search (Master and above tiers), in the middle there's the list of article templates, and the right has other tools for the world.
The Explorer is a Master feature that lets you search, view, and make quick edits to your world's content, all from within the dashboard. Simply type in the search bar, and any results from articles, maps, notebooks, and more will appear (it searches the article contents too, not just the title). Alternatively, you can use the category tree and press the article you want to view. For more information on the Explorer, check the guide about this feature:
Creation menuIn the middle, you have the list of available article templates. In World Anvil, all articles are created using a template (for example, religion is an organisation template, a person is a character template, etc.). If you click any of the buttons, you will access the article editor. If you created custom templates (as a Grandmaster or above) those will be listed at the top.
Statblock creationIf you click the Statblock section, you'll see buttons to create RPG statblocks: Note that you will only see this section if you have selected Dungeons & Dragons 5e as your world's RPG system. You can still create blocks with other systems, see the Guide to Blocks for more information.
Creation of other contentYou'll see additional content types to create in the Other tab: Check the guides to maps, timelines, and secrets for more information.
Right panelsThe right side of the world dashboard has these panels, from top to bottom:
- "View your world" button: click it to view the world from the presentation view.
- Prompt: this displays a random worldbuilding prompt that you can answer. See the Guide to Prompts for more information.
- Challenge box: if there is an active community challenge, it will also appear in the sidebar.
- Continue working: The last articles you edited will appear there so that you can get right back to work!
- World meta progress: this displays the completion progress of your world meta, as well as buttons to edit and view it.
- To-do list: it will be generated automatically every time you create a link to an article that doesn't exist. It contains all links to unexisting articles as well as articles created using the purple inkwell button. More information in the Guide to the to-do list.
The sidebar changes its contents depending on what you have active. When you have an active world, it looks like the example on the left. These are its options:
- Dashboard: go to the world dashboard
- View World: view the world from presentation mode
- Articles & Categories: see the Guide to the Articles & Categories Manager
- Maps: see the Guide to Maps
- Timelines & calendars: see the Guide to Timelines and the Guide to Calendars
- Secrets: see the Guide to Secrets
- Images & Files: see the Guide to Images
- Tools: this drop-down contains other tools: Statblocks, charts, tables, and the to-do list.
- World Settings: use it to configure your world's access rights (both subscribers and authors), access the world meta, manage player characters, and tweak the world configuration
- Manuscripts: see the Guide to Manuscripts.
- Studio: access your custom article templates and map pins, create custom block templates, and edit your Notebook.
RPG CampaignsIf you want to use World Anvil as a campaign manager, create your first campaign. To do it, find the Your Campaigns tab in the global dashboard (click the World Anvil logo on the top left corner) and then click the Create a new Campaign button you'll find on the right. See the Introduction to Campaigns for more details.
Character ProfilesIf you have been using Heroes (or want to start using it) to create and manage characters that live in your world, you can use the drop-down on top of the left sidebar to get a list of them and switch between them. Take a look at the Guide to character creation and Guide to character interaction for more information!
HomepageA big part of World Anvil is its community, which mainly lives on Discord but is also important in the site itself. This page is pretty straightforward, and displays the following elements:
- Featured article: it appears at the top. It's an article selected every day by the Enchanter team.
- Most liked articles in the last 3 days.
- Most viewed articles in the last 3 days.
- Newest articles created in any (public) world.