Guide to Secrets

Secrets are Guild Feature!
If you want to use it, please consider supporting World Anvil!
There's a great many things you do not yet know, traveler, secrets which will make your skin crawl and your teeth chatter. You'll come to learn them in time, and you will come to damn the fact.
— The Innkeeper

Creating Secrets

Anyone can create secrets, but only those with a Guild Membership can share them with others or embed them into the text of an article, otherwise they're there for your own internal tracking only.   If you wish to share your secrets, your first step is to get Guild Membership.   The second step is to add some Subscribers to some User Groups. Do this by creating a new Group with a descriptive name, such as Campaign Players. The visibility of secrets is granted on a per-Group, basis, so if you haven't created any groups then you won't be able to make Secrets visible to anyone.   The third step is to scroll to the bottom of your Article's editor and find the secret editor. Choose a fitting name for your secret, and place the text for the Secret within the Editor. Select which User Group you want to see your secret (if anyone, yet), and click Create New Secret   Important: Don't create your secret when the article has pending changes, and don't edit your article while you have an unsaved Secret. Clicking Save Changes with an unsaved Secret saves the article and so you'll lose the secret, and clicking Create New Secret with changes pending in the Article will save the Secret but lose the rest.   The fourth step is to scroll again to the bottom of the editor and find your secret. Copy the ID of the secret into your text where you want your secret hidden. This part is optional—you don't need to embed a secret into your text to be able to see it, you can also view your secrets from the bottom of the view-side of your page under the secrets tab. In this article, for example, if you scroll down you can see that there's 1 secret.  
  Once you've done that your secret will be in the article, visible only to you and those you wish to see it. Since I can't add every reader of this article to its subscriber groups, here's what I see to compare to what you see:  

Hiding Secrets

If you don't want a secret to be shown as a counter at the bottom of the article, you can create the secret on another, private article, and then link it in normally from there. That secret will count towards the article you create it on rather than the article you link it in, and you can link secrets from any article into any other article.  

Hiding a Secret's Name

If you don't want your secret to have a title there are two ways to do this.   If you are below Grandmaster in the guild you can put an empty bbcode tag as the title. This will satisfy the need for a title, but within the text the secret's name will just evaluate to an empty object and so take up no space. It won't be the prettiest solution but it works in a pinch.
—Credit to Oneriwien for discovering this one.
  If you are a Grandmaster and above you can hide the title by wrapping the injected secret in [section:secret-hidden-title][/section] and adding the following to your CSS  
.user-css .secret-hidden-title .user-css-secret h5 {
  display: none;
  Any secrets wrapped in that section will no longer have visible headers.  

Using Secrets for RPG Writing

When you're writing your campaigns you can pre-plan intrigues, plot twists, and general unknown information about a character by adding it to that character as a secret to be revealed to a Group at a later time. Remember: Secrets don't have to be major revelations, they just need to be things that aren't yet common knowledge!  

Using Secrets for Story Writing

Whether you're using World Anvil as a supplemental to your writing or as your primary platform, you can use secrets to reward core readers with extra content that nobody else can see, or (if you share the secret with nobody) for personal note taking regarding the characters secrets, plot twists, and other such private info).

Using Secrets with Patreon

This feature is still Work in Progress but you will be able to assign groups to Patreon members automatically, and so use secrets to monetize the publicity of information within your World.

Edit Secrets

You can add a link to the secret which leads you to the edit page:   [url:<secret-id>/edit|tab]Edit This Secret[/url].   This way you do not have to search the secret in the interface if you want to make a change after viewing it.  


A subcontainer is a BBCode which can be used to hide content inside of an article for everyone except that group. The BBCode can be copied in the list of subscriber groups with the bottom bellow:  
screenshot (2).png
Click to enlarge
  The BBCode will be copied to your clipboard. Paste it anywhere and replace the Add_your_content_here part with the content you want to make exclusive. The result should look something like this:  
Lorem Ipsum this is the hidden content
(but visible to the selected subscriber group).
The "ID" part would be a string of letters
and numbers and you should not edit it.

Related Articles

Guide to Visibility Toggles
Generic article | Nov 28, 2020

This article has no secrets.


Please Login in order to comment!
13 Jul, 2019 01:19

Thank you for explaining this, though I'm still a bit confused on one aspect. I'll copy my question from the Discord:   QUESTION: I am reading the Codex, about Secrets and I read this:   Important: Don't create your secret when the article has pending changes, and don't edit your article while you have an unsaved Secret.   ...and I don't understand the definition of 'pending changes'?   Does that mean if I'm going to ADD to my article I shouldn't create a secret??   Because my articles won't ever truly be "done", since it's based on my book series...   Does this mean I should have my articles saved, THEN create a secret (and save it also), THEN I can make other changes to my article?   Hope that makes sense...

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Ademal Jacklyn
13 Jul, 2019 04:37

Secrets and articles have different saving processes. If you save a secret, any edits to the article since its last save will be lost. If you save an article, same in reverse. Save your article changes, then make your secret.


Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

3 Oct, 2019 23:36

Is there an easy way to make an entire article (or even an article and all of its children) secret? At the moment, I just have my world set to public and the relevant articles set to private, but if I ever add my players as subscribers, they will be able to see private articles, yes? And there are some topics that the party simply does not know about that shouldn't be visible to them at all, or at least not to all of them.

Eternal Deity Ademal
Ademal Jacklyn
4 Oct, 2019 03:49

Being a subscriber doesn't reveal all private articles, no. Under the access tab of each article is the ability to determine which of your subscriber groups can see that article, so you can make things visible as they find them.


Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

31 May, 2020 02:15

I'm having a glitch with secrets right now, does anyone know how to help? I just bought a Journeyman membership so I could make secrets. However, when I try to hit the "Add Secrets" button on my article editing page, the popup comes up, but the page is dark like it's still loading and I can't click anything. It freezes like that, and the only way to back out is to reload the page. Help!

-Don't be upsetti in your spaghetti, stresses make messes. *+*Just breathe!*+* ^w^ -
Eternal Deity Ademal
Ademal Jacklyn
2 Jun, 2020 02:44

Try in incognito first. If it works, then one of your browser extensions are causing the error.


Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

10 Jun, 2020 10:49

That happens to me when I'm using Microsoft edge. Try using a different browser. Chrome works perfectly fine.   It's because there is an invisible popup waiting for you to close it. The popup will appear properly in chrome.

27 Jun, 2020 03:42

THANK YOU!! To be completely honest, I'm not entirely sure why I didn't think of that before seeing as I've had so many issues with Edge doing things like this before. Thanks a million!!

-Don't be upsetti in your spaghetti, stresses make messes. *+*Just breathe!*+* ^w^ -
8 Sep, 2020 00:20

I'm having a bit of problem hiding my secret title. I am grandmaster and I need a bit of help. So a few questions. 1) Do I keep my title as is on the secret? 2) I put the secret in the article like this right? [secret id here]

Eternal Deity Ademal
Ademal Jacklyn
11 Sep, 2020 23:33

You just paste the bbcode tag for the secret, yeah. To hide your secret you could use CSS to target the secret headers in your world or article (.secret-container h5) and set them to display: none;.   If you need some CSS help with that, hop in the discord!


Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

Eternal Deity Ademal
Ademal Jacklyn
11 Sep, 2020 23:37

Alternatively. If the secret is going to only be used in that article, you can use subcontainers. You can use subcontainers by typing [ followed by the name of the secret group, and autofill will recommend and autofill for you. Whatever you write inside of the tag is visible only to them.


Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

2 Oct, 2020 04:52

Just a tip that if you add to your CSS:   .user-css-secret h5:first-of-type { display:none; }   it will remove only the title of the secret and not any other H4 headers you might have in the text of your secret.