Guide to Blocks

A block (also known as statblock or sheet) is a piece of structured content that is created once and can be used multiple times in different places. Its main usage is to represent the statistics of an NPC, an item or a PC (in which case they are called character sheets). They can also be used for other non-RPG purposes, such as tables and embedded web sites.  

Creating RPG blocks

In order to make your first blocks, you'll need to select the RPG system for your world. Once this is done, go to the Statblocks section of your world, accessible from the sidebar menu or from the green button:  
  On the right side of this page you will see a panel with a drop-down from which you can select the kind of sheet you want to create. For example, if you want to create a character sheet of Dungeons and Dragons 5e, you will have to choose Character Sheet (Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (DnD5e)). When you click the create button, a page with a form will appear. Fill in the fields you want to fill and click Save changes. You're done!  

Creating non-RPG blocks

Whether you select and RPG system or not, the blocks & sheets section will have some blocks tagged as Generic. These are utility blocks that are not meant to be used as statblocks. Their name is Generic, [block type]  

Table

In a table block you can add the table title, a description and then the table itself, in the Table Data field. This field uses the standard CSV syntax with the character | as a separator. What this means is that you can just write the content of each row in its own line, separating the cells with |. Take, for example, the following code:
Level|XP|Abilities
1|0|Super Cuccumber
2|1200|Tomato Slicing Expertise
The result will look like this:

Chefling


LevelXPAbilities
10Super Cuccumber
21200Tomato Slicing Expertise
  As you can see, the first row is automatically formatted as a header. You can also create tables directly with BBCode; more information on that in the Guide to BBCode Commands.

Text

Text blocks are just plain-text content. The Content fiields accepts regular BBCode formatting. This can be used to create template text that you can easily re-use in multiple articles.

Image

The Image block lets you add an image (that has been uploaded to your world, see Guide to Images) with a title, description and a table attached to it.
 

Webpage (iframe)

If you want to embed a full web page on a world anvil article, use this block. Just paste the URL of the page you want to embed and that's it! Keep in mind that some web sites don't allow embedding, so this system will not work with all web sites.

Random table

Random tables use the same formatting as regular tables. The difference is that when you view the table, you will be able to click a button to "roll on the table". Make sure that the first cell of every row contains a number or a number range like 18-20 (the rest of cells can have whatever content you want).
 

Using blocks

No matter the kind of block you created, they can be used in the same way. All blocks have an ID number that you can use to embed in any article, journal, Heroes post or generally any text fields that supports BBCode. The block contents will not actually be in the article, so editing the block itself will change how it is displayed in all places where it is embedded.   To get the ID, view the block you want to embed and go to the bottom, where you will see a footer similar to the following screenshot:  
  If you copy the code highlighted in red, the block will be embedded. In this case, [block:123] will produce the following result:  

DnD 5e SRD SRD

Dart

Ranged Weapon Finesse, Thrown Common

Type Damage Damage Range Properties
Simple 1d4 Piercing 20/60 ft Finesse, Thrown

Cost: 5 cp Weight: 1/4 lb


 
  If you copy the code highlighted in green, an in-line link to the block will be created. For example, [blocklink:123] will produce this link: Dart.
Which systems have sheets?
Check out the RPG system sheets catalog to see the list of supported systems and the list of planned sheets!
 
Why aren't there sheets for X system?
Sheet creation is a community effort, so it all comes down to volunteers wanting to created them. In order for a system to have sheets or blocks, block templates need to be created. This is a Grandmaster (and above) feature; more information here: Guide to block templates.
 
Can I hide Sheets behind subscriber groups?
The privacy feature of Sheets allows you to choose whether you want to share the block with the community or not. If you don't, no one will be able to view the block page directly. However, it will still be visible if you embed it in a public article. More information on subscribers in the Guide to Subscribers.
 
Can I print sheets?
Since April 2020, you can print the sheet page from the browser itself. The result will be the sheet alone, without the rest of the World Anvil interface. To export it as a PDF, do the same and choose the PDF exporter as the "printer".
 
Can I embed blocks inside character sheets?
Yes. This is useful for RPG system that need to keep track of spells, equipment, and other resources (like DnD 5e). Simply copy the embed code for the block you want to insert and paste it in the appropriate field.
 

Using community blocks

When someone creates a block and checks the Allow users to view the blocks' page directly and share it with the community box (right before the save button) the block is published in the community-constributed list. Links to the community blocks for your selected RPG systems will appear in the right sidebar of the statblocks page. You can use these blocks in your own world or, alternatively, copy it to your world block list.   You can also access the community statblock list from the Community section on the sidebar.


Cover image: by Greyerbaby

Comments

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Dheran
Horatio Hornblower
12 Aug, 2019 20:37

Isn't this article mixed up with the Guide to block templates article? This one is titled Sheets, but concerns block templates and that one is called block templates, but concerns sheets.

13 Aug, 2019 16:33

It's a confusing terminology. Basically, a sheet, or a block, is what you use on article. A block template is what you use to make blocks.   I'l try to clear it up now, thanks!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Dheran
Horatio Hornblower
12 Aug, 2019 21:53

Is it possible to display the table without the title?

13 Aug, 2019 16:34

You can always use a bbcode table (see the guide to bbcode commands), which give you more freedom. Alternatively, Guild members can also use some CSS trickery to remove the title from all table blocks. Hope this helps!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Dheran
Horatio Hornblower
14 Aug, 2019 21:18

Not a member yet, so can't do CSS. Bbcode tables have fixed width, haven't they? I was looking for something with behaviour of the generic table block more, as it auto adjusts to content (or so it seems). Anyway thanks for the help, I managed to get a result I wanted with the generic table block after some experimentation.

15 Aug, 2019 11:13

Glad you found a solution! :)

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
20 Aug, 2019 23:31

There's a few spelling errors, but other then that, great doc!

sunrunner4kr
Simon Edge
3 Dec, 2019 13:59

Is there colspan functionality for the sheets? So that a cell can span multiple cols?

3 Dec, 2019 17:47

The table block uses CSV (comma-separated values) syntax, which is not flexible enough to allow colspans, unfortunately!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
12 Jan, 2020 03:14

Let's say I make a character sheet as a statblock for player A. How do I make it visible to only play A and not player B, C, D. Same for the other characters.

12 Jan, 2020 22:54

Unfortunately, character sheets (blocks in general) do not have advanced privacy features, so you can only choose whether you want to share it with the community (i.e. public) or not (i.e. private), but this applies to the sheet page only. Regardless of this setting, the block will be visible in a public article and invisible in a private one.

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
13 Jan, 2020 01:55

That seems like a strange feature not to have in a virtual table top/ world management system. Any idea if this is something that is being worked on as a feature in the future?

13 Jan, 2020 15:11

Keep in mind that World Anvil is *not* a virtual table top! That's why it doesn't have like "virtual minis", fog of war, and stuff like that. Not sure if it's being worked on, but you can definitely request it using the "suggest a feature" link you'll find in the help page (linked in the site footer). You'll need to create a separate account to suggest a feature, as we use a third-party platform (Jira) as a bug tracker.

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Master Tatortotzke
Johnathan Totzke
28 Feb, 2020 16:52

The last statblock I created has "2020" in parenthesis after it, and it is formated differently than my other statblocks. How do I change this so that I can create a normal statblock?

26 Mar, 2020 13:38

I have been building items using the generic table function. The results are great with one exception. In many cases there are odd breaks in words when they wrap in a cell to a new line. Is there a way to force column width or to prevent breaking words to increase readability?

27 Mar, 2020 19:52

Hi! There is a way to do that using CSS, but my knowledge on this field is very limited. I recommend you join our Discord server (link on the page header) and ask in the #guild-css-help channel!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
13 Apr, 2020 16:52

If I have a block listed under "Your Blocks", made using one of the available block templates, how do I get that block to join with the rest of the "Blocks on your Active World"?   Thank you kindly!

14 Apr, 2020 11:17

It should show up there whenever you active the world you created the block in! To activate the world, use the "Switch to..." drop-down on top of the sidebar. Let me know if that doesn't work!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
29 May, 2020 23:41

I never did get it to work as it was supposed to, but my efforts to figure out the problem on my end kept getting distracted by away from keyboard stuff. Thank you! And thanks to the recent update in the latter half of May, all problems are now solved with a handy drop down menu at the bottom of the edit page.

Grandmaster Haidner
Johanus Haidner
18 Apr, 2020 22:41

You almost have to be a computer programmer to understand this.

19 Apr, 2020 18:14

It's a very complex feature, indeed. I wrote this guide but I can barely remember half of it! If you need help, I recommend you join our Discord server and use the #custom-articles-and-statblocks-help channel to ask any questions you have!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
Grandmaster Haidner
Johanus Haidner
20 Apr, 2020 05:35

Yeah, I think I'll have to do that. I've been trying to create a character sheet stat block, and it is not working at all. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. It'd be nice to get at least the basic attributes done, then add in some skill slots and so-forth, but figuring this out is hard. And since it's not a major game system, there isn't anything I can pull already. Thanks!

30 May, 2020 10:13

Are you in the Discord server? There is a specific channel dedicated to help with this topic, since it's a very complex one! The channel is called #custom-articles-and-statblocks-help, under the "Anvilworks" category. I'm sure people will be able to help you further in there! ^^

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
9 Jun, 2020 15:05

Your problem is you are trying to build this platform around D&D. This platform should be completely system agnostic. Valuable resources are being wasted on D&D. There should be no coding necessary. I have only started to use this system. Going through the user manual and almost all answers to queries, use CSS.

9 Jun, 2020 20:52

Hi! World Anvil itself is system-agnostic, and then there is added support for a variety of RPG systems, such as D&D 5e. You can see the list of the 31 supported systems (with that I mean systems with at least a character sheet) in the sheet catalog. I hope this answers your question!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
24 Jun, 2020 19:17

New to WA, I have a writer who typed up my weapons/ items. They copied them into my statblock page but I can't view them. Not sure what we're doing wrong. Any help appreciated!

24 Jun, 2020 20:04

Hi! Statblocks are visible to its author only, unless the author checks the "share with the community" box next to the save button. I'm not sure if I have understood your questions correctly, but if I have this should do the trick! Let me know if it works :)

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
24 Jun, 2020 21:21

Sage, you are indeed. Thanks that was exactly what needed doing. Cheers!

9 Sep, 2020 16:15

I want to add a new sub type to a weapon, armor, or gear. how do I go about adding it?

9 Sep, 2020 17:50

Assuming you are using dungeons and dragons 5e, you should be able to create an Item block!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
4 Oct, 2020 01:44

Is it possible to nest stat blocks? For instance, I want to give an NPC a Feat, so I would like to include the feat's stat block into the NPC's stat block rather than retype everything. Can't seem to get it to work right now, so I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong...

5 Oct, 2020 08:04

It looks like the [block:123][/noprase] tag doesn't work, but [noparse][blocklink:123] does! It will display the block title with a link that will take you to the block page.

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
20 Nov, 2020 11:27

Is there a way to do comments on blocks, like you can with articles? I was thinking adding spells an NPC uses as block links to their sheet for simplicity's sake, but I thought it would also be cool (and more readable) to make a comment next to the black link so if I need to edit something, I can see from the comments which block link is which much faster than counting "it's spell... emm, number four?" The same technique for comments that works on articles seems to do... headers? o.O;


Can I have a cookie? | Come and snoop around Melyria
21 Nov, 2020 13:03

That's weird, but if you already tried the usual comments, I assume it's not possible. As a workaround, you could write the spell name next to the block in parenthesis and between [small] [/small] tags? Not the prettiest thing, but maybe it will work for your purposes.

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
27 Nov, 2020 14:17

Thank you for your reply! I did some testing though and actually learned that for whatever reason, you can actually make comments - but with curly brackets and hashtags, aka Twig-comments. O.o; Just in case someone else ends up pondering the same thing. I suppose it's the Twig under the hood that allows that!


Can I have a cookie? | Come and snoop around Melyria
27 Nov, 2020 16:14

That makes sense! Thanks for the tip!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
15 Jan, 2021 05:11

Is there a way to add a background image, or just the parchment look to a generic block? The generic block looks a little too generic for my liking

15 Jan, 2021 18:43

Hi! Unfortunately, changing the styles of interface elements is a Guild feature (using CSS stylesheets).

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
16 Jan, 2021 01:28

Ah, okay, thank you for the info!

23 Jun, 2021 18:23

You center cell contents by using the

tags. Like this:
Level
|
XP
|
Abilities
1
|
0
|
Super Cucumber

24 Jun, 2021 10:29

Hi! Can you clarify if this is a question? If you want to mention a BBCode tag without it being applied, you can use the [noparse] [/noparse] tag. For example: [b] [/b].

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
4 Aug, 2021 20:21

Is there a way to make this development simpler? Especially based on a system-basis.

6 Aug, 2021 10:05

Hi! I'm not sure I understand the question. Can you provide more details on what you're trying to do? Thanks!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
16 Sep, 2021 06:34

Hello. I read the article but I still dont understand what is going on with my statblock. Whenever I finish writing anything, a huge annoying wall of text shows up that I cant interact with or delete otherwise it comes back. It said stuff like "TRANSLATE with x English Arabic Hebrew Polish Bulgarian Hindi Portuguese Catalan Hmong Daw Romanian Chinese Simplified Hungarian Russian   var LanguageMenu; var LanguageMenu_keys=["ar","bg","ca","zh-CHS","zh-CHT","cs","da","nl","en","et","fi","fr","de","el","ht","he","hi","mww","hu","id","it","ja","tlh","ko","lv","lt","ms","mt","no","fa","pl","pt","ro","ru","sk","sl","es","sv","th","tr","uk","ur","vi","cy"]; var LanguageMenu_values=["Arabic","Bulgarian","Catalan","Chinese Simplified","Chinese Traditional","Czech","Danish","Dutch","English","Estonian","Finnish","French","German","Greek","Haitian Creole","Hebrew","Hindi","Hmong Daw","Hungarian","Indonesian","Italian","Japanese","Klingon","Korean","Latvian","Lithuanian","Malay","Maltese","Norwegian","Persian","Polish","Portuguese","Romanian","Russian","Slovak","Slovenian","Spanish","Swedish","Thai","Turkish","Ukrainian","Urdu","Vietnamese","Welsh"]; var LanguageMenu_callback=function( }; var LanguageMenu_popupid='__LanguageMenu_popup';     TRANSLATE with COPY THE URL BELOW   Back   EMBED THE SNIPPET BELOW IN YOUR SITE" I have tried embedding it, used page source, used the json at the bottom of the screen/ I've even copied the whole thing and then the two separate blocks as well. Im just seriously stumped.

16 Sep, 2021 20:59

Hi! This looks like a bug, but I'm not sure what could be causing it. Could you report it in our bug tracker on GitHub? Make sure to describe what you were doing when this happened. Let me know if you need help with reporting it!

[they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
4 Dec, 2021 14:30

Is there a straightforward way to format the layout of generic table/random tables when embedded in an article? For reasons I'm not sure I follow, when I embed a random table in an article, the first column is only 1 character wide. Fine if you've under 9 items in your table, awkward to read if you have 100....

6 Dec, 2021 12:43

Hi! I'm assuming you mean what's happening in this table, where some two-digit numbers are split into different lines. I'm afraid there's no default way of changing this, but there's a couple of workarounds:  

  • If you add manual line breaks (using the "br" tag) in the wider cells, the text column will be narrower, so there will be more space for the numbers. This is, of course, very time-consuming.
  • As a journeyman, you can also tweak this with CSS. I'm not CSS expert, so I suggest you join the Discord server and use the #css-help channel (make sure to provide a link to the article). I'm sure they'll be able to help you! Note that you'll need to sync your Discord and World Anvil accounts before you can see that channel, since it's Guild-only.
  • Hope this helps!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    12 Dec, 2021 17:27

    Hi, I tried to link to a statblock using the , but it just shows up as plain text in the view screen. I specifically tried to put a blocklink in the secrets section of an historical event on a timeline. Am I missing something or is it just not possible to link to something in the secrets section? Thanks in advance!

    13 Dec, 2021 10:19

    Hi! The syntax [blocklink:ID] (where "ID" is the number of the block) should correctly generate a link inside a secret too. If it doesn't, can you give me the URL to the block so I can try to link it myself?

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    15 Dec, 2021 19:07

    Thanks for the response, Ondo! I tried doing that, but it gives me this (under metadata, bottom of the page). The statblock I'm trying to link to is this one: Faerie dragon (Young). Hope you can help!

    15 Dec, 2021 19:11

    I just realised that you couldn't see something I'd put in the secrets section :') stupid of me. But it just shows up as if I'd put the noparse code thingy around it, is what I meant to say.

    16 Dec, 2021 10:51

    I see! I tested in my own world and it looks like the secrets field is not BBCode-enabled (bold and other styling doesn't work either). I'll report this as a bug, but as a workaround, you should be able to create a secret with the block link and embed the secret in the historical event's main body of text. Hope this helps!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    16 Dec, 2021 11:30

    Ah thanks, I'll try that for now :)

    31 Jan, 2022 15:57

    It'd be really helpful to be able to link to statblocks by name as you can do with articles. When I embed the ID in an article, if I'm editing it later I don't know what that's linking to unless I open the article in view mode. I can write the name and then embed it afterward but that will mean I'll have a repeated word. I use statblocks for feats for a RPG game.

    1 Feb, 2022 11:39

    Hi! Unfortunately this would probably require a bit rewrite of how World Anvil handles statblocks and linking, so it probably won't happen. However, there's a workaround! You can write the name, as you were saying, but comment it out so it only shows in the editor.   For example, if you type , this won't appear when you view the article. I hope this helps!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    1 Feb, 2022 11:42

    And of course, that didn't appear in the comment either. This image shows what I meant:

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    3 Feb, 2022 19:24

    Hey that does help thanks!

    28 May, 2022 19:44

    Hi.   I was wondering about the Unicode support of the Statblock. There are some characters, like ⚔, that are printed. Others however are rejected when one tries to save the sheet and WorldAnvil returns a 404 error without saving. Having an idea on the admissible range of Unicode characters would be useful.

    30 May, 2022 13:47

    Hi! I asked Dimitris (CTO) and he let me know that UTF-8 is supported, while UTF-16 is not. Let me know if that answers your question!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    2 Jun, 2022 23:47

    I made a few tests: you were right, that was the problem. Thank you and Dimitris.

    4 Jun, 2022 18:26

    Hi, is it possible to change the dice roller to have multiple dice? 3d6 instead of d18, for example.

    6 Jun, 2022 08:09

    Of course! The tag [roll:3d6] will roll 3d6!

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    6 Jun, 2022 15:21

    Does that work for the random table dice roller? I don't see a way to edit it

    7 Jun, 2022 10:02

    ah, I see! No, I'm afraid random tables don't accept custom formulas. However, if you use interactive tables (which can be rollable too), you can manually specify the "weight" of each row to simulate the probability curve of 3d6. This guide explains how the work.

    [they/them] Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
    9 Jun, 2022 14:41

    I found a work-around that I prefer, to put the tag in the description of a generic block. Thank you for your help though!