This page servers as an ever-expanding list of resources that could be helpful to you as a worldbuilder, writer, artist, or developer. As this blog is shifting focus towards the worldbuilding and writing side, the majority of resources are dedicated to these areas. Each resource comes with a short description. You can suggest resources that should be included on the list via this form. The resources in each category are in alphabetical order.
These resources include guides and tools specifically about worldbuilding, but also resources that could be useful to world designers trying to improve their craft through other means. As a world designer, it is important to build up knowledge about many areas that might come up when worldbuilding.
One of the main sources for historical information in my How to Write Guilds in Fantasy Worldbuilding article was this amazing book by Sheilagh Ogilvie. The book is very comprehensive, and goes into the impacts guilds had on medieval society and economy. It also provides plenty of context that you can use for inspiration while designing your own guilds. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in medieval and early modern economies in Europe or fictional Europe-inspired settings.
ISBN 9780691137544 (The European Guilds: An Economic Analysis by Sheilagh Ogilvie)
Fantasy Name Generators is a website that contains over 1 400 custom name generators for practically everything you could ever need in your worldbuilding or writing career. If you’re like me and struggle with naming places, characters, or species, this website is for you. It includes fantasy name generators (e.g. Dwarf names, Ogre names, Griffin names), real name generators (e.g. Czech names, Nepalese names, Old High German names), and place names (e.g. Lake names, Star names, Town names). It’s a great resource for every world designer and writer looking for inspiration. The website’s creator, Emily, also created the aforementioned Roll for Fantasy website, which includes many tools and guides for worldbuilding and writing.
The IPA is a notation alphabet created by the International Phonetic Association to represent speech sounds. If you’re creating a language for your worldbuilding project, knowing how to work with IPA is a must. There are plenty of guides on how to read and write in IPA online; if you’d like to learn it by heart, I would recommend practicing transcribing words and sentences every day, as if you were learning a new language.
Modern Flag Design — An expansion of Good Flag, Bad Flag: How to Design a Great Flag is a short booklet on designing flags. This 45 page work goes into the basic principles of designing good flags, and lists examples of good and bad flags for each one. I believe that both of these are very useful for inspiration – sometimes when worldbuilding, it’s appropriate to include an intentionally bad flag to increase immersion.
Obsidian is an open-source note-taking app. In a similar way to World Anvil (mentioned above), it can be used to create your personal wiki for your world. You can also use its robust set of features to keep notes on the process of worldbuilding itself. By using user-created plugins, you can add functionality for practically anything you need. Obsidian is free for non-commercial use, with a fairly cheap paid version for commercial projects. It is a more generalized tool than World Anvil, but I believe it still has a lot of use-cases, and I would recommend checking it out.
While writing one of my articles, How to Write Guilds in Fantasy Worldbuilding, I created a list of over 300 guilds you can include in your world. These include guilds from real-life history, as well as fantasy guilds. I hope that the list can serve as inspiration for you while working on medieval and early modern inspired economies. The list is available for download in the Exclusive Resources library, available after signing up for the Eledris Newsletter (I go into this more at the bottom of this page). More information about the list, and guilds and their impact on society, can be found in the article itself.
Roll for Fantasy is one of my favorite websites. It contains over 100 tools and guides that world designers (and GMs) will find useful. Some examples includes the Timeline Creator, Town Creator, or the amazing comprehensive guide on Body Language. Emily, who is the website’s creator, also created the Fantasy Name Generators website, which is mentioned later on in this list.
The Science of Scientific Writing is a short academic article on writing readable and understandable scientific articles. This is primarily a writing resource, but it can also be very helpful if you’re intending to write fiction in a scientific style for your world design projects. Read about it in the Writing section.
Wonderdraft is a fantasy map-making tool. It allows you to draw maps with premade tools to create realistic landmasses, rivers, roads, forests, mountain ranges, and more. If you’re not an illustrator yourself, Wonderdraft will prove to be a great tool to create maps for your world design projects. It’s a paid tool, with the pricing set at around $30 as a one-time purchase.
World Anvil is a set of tools designed specifically for world design. The platform allows you to write wiki-like articles, create timelines, design maps, and more. It’s generally recommended as one of the best organization platforms for worldbuilders. Personally, I don’t use it, as I’ve managed to create my own small system for organizational purposes, but World Anvil is a great alternative if you don’t know how to code or don’t want to dedicate hours to creating your own system. It has a free tier, with several subscription tiers depending on what you need.
The r/Worldbuilding subreddit is a community of over 1 000 000 worldbuilders. In it, you can find many individual resources that will help you with your world, including guides, prompts, and meta posts. It’s also a great place for you to share parts of your world or help others worldbuild. Personally, many of the prompts on the subreddit have helped push me to think about various aspects of my world that I previous haven’t considered – if your world is just starting out, I would recommend answering as many of these prompts as you can.
I’ve written a short article with an expanding list of my original writing prompts. While this article is mostly meant as inspiration for a creative writing exercise, it can be very helpful for world design inspiration as well. Read about it in the Writing section.
Naturally, the Eledris Blog contains many articles on worldbuilding. A lot of research goes into every one, with the longer projects (generally articles written 2022 and on) easily taking 200 hours of work each. My personal favorite is the On Worldbuilding and Plagues article. One of the most popular articles on the blog is Creating Intelligent Species. You can explore the Worldbuilding tag to find more articles, and you can email me at email@example.com to suggest what I should write next.
The resources in this section will help you with writing. They contain books and guides to help you improve your writing quality, tools to help your productivity, resources for inclusive writing, and much more. Whether you’re writing books, short stories, or even non-fiction, I believe many of these resources will be of use.
The Creative Writing Prompts Tumblr blog is another great resource for writing prompts – they’ve posted over 1 000 original prompts. The prompts are mostly short, and often dialogue-based; therefore, you can get extremely creative with them. Besides prompts, this blog posts great writing guides and tips.
Fantasy Name Generators is an extremely helpful website filled with over 1 000 generators for names. I find this resource primarily useful when designing fantasy worlds, but the sheer range of types of names this tool can generate makes it useful for any kind of writing. Read about it in the Worldbuilding section.
At this point, most writers know about Grammarly – it’s a general writing tool that checks your grammar, punctuation, writing style, plagiarism and readability checking, and synonym finding. Grammarly has a free versions as well as a premium one starting at around $13 a month. While it can be an amazing tool, it’s important to keep in mind that not all of Grammarly’s corrections are perfect; use them as suggestions, not rules.
The Hemingway Editor is a writing and editing tool. In its writing mode, it provides a very simplistic, distraction-free environment to write drafts in. In the editing mode, the app highlights sentences that are too long and dense to be easily readable. It also calculates a “readability level”, and offers alternatives in places where you use complicated words, as well as unnecessarily adverbs. Furthermore, you can export the text directly into Medium or WordPress, as HTML or Markdown, or as Word or PDF documents. The Hemingway Editor is free in the web version, and the desktop version costs around $20 as a one-time purchase.
Language, Please is a resource aiming to help writers with social and identity-related issues. Their website include large dictionaries on terms related to queer experiences, mental health, disabilities, race and ethnicity, substance abuse, and more. Each term is explained along with its history, and further reading on its usage and meanings is shared. Furthermore, the Language, Please website hosts a directory of independent for-hire inclusivity readers. If you’re writing anything around any of the topics they cover, and you aren’t sure if you can cover them in a realistic, conscious way, I would recommend checking Language, Please, as well as the inclusivity reader directory out.
Obsidian is a very robust note-taking app. Because of its potential to create wiki-like structures and represent a large variety of types of data, I talk about this great tool in the world design part of this page; however, it can naturally be also used for writing in general. Read about it in the Worldbuilding section.
The Science of Scientific Writing is an article published in the American Scientist journal in 1990. While it specifically addresses writing academic and scientific papers, its advice is honestly useful for all types of writing. It mainly addresses structure on the various levels of writing, as well as properly conveying the intentions of the writer to the reader.
When writing, it is helpful to be aware of tropes that pop up in various media forms – either to avoid them, to subvert them, or to steer into them; all approaches can yield interesting and creative results when handled well. TV Tropes is a wiki that lists tens of thousands of major and minor tropes for you to peruse. If you familiarize yourself with some of them, you can use them as helpful tools while seeking inspiration for your writing.
I’ve written a short article compiling a list of my own original writing prompts. Most of them are fantasy-themed, but many of them can be used for other genres as well. If you end up writing a short story based on one of the prompts, please share them with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to read them and offer my feedback!
Writing Tools is a great short book by Roy Peter Clark, documenting 50+ tools and strategies that you can use to improve your writing. These range from basic tips about grammar and sentence structure to more complicated advice about pace, focus, project management, and the writing process in general. It’s a book that you’d leave on your table to riffle through once in a while when writing.
ISBN 9780316014991 (Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark)
The Writing WIth Color Tumblr blog is a great resource for writers about racial, ethnic, and religious diversity. The moderators of the blog answer questions and share resources on respectfully and realistically writing BIPOC characters, as well as characters of various religious backgrounds.
The Writing Prompts subreddit is a community that can help you flex your creative muscles. It has a massive archive of writing prompts for all sorts of genres, including prompts for established universes. If you are struggling to find inspiration for what to write, try writing something short as a response to one of these prompts.
There’s also many articles on writing that I’ve written for the Eledris Blog. As I’ve significantly evolved as a writer since 2019 (when the blog was started), I’m slowly working on rewriting many of the older articles overtime. Some of my favorite articles on writing include Foreshadowing in Writing and How to Write a Prophecy the Right Way. You can explore the Writing tag to find more articles, and you can email me at email@example.com to suggest what I should write next.
The resources in this category will help all types of artists – whether you work on illustrations, comic books, game art, or animation, make sure to check these out.
Susie Hodge’s The Short Story of Art is one of my personal favorite books. In around 200 pages, the book goes through the history of art as told via movements (e.g. Mannerism, Neo-Impressionism), works (e.g. Apollo and Daphne by Bernini, Upper Falls of the Reichenbach: Rainbow by Turner), themes (e.g. Mythology, Seascapes), and techniques (e.g. Foreshortening, Readymades). Each page contains an image, a description, a short account of the historical context, and a short list of further resources about its topic. The book serves more as an introduction than an in-depth look, but if you’re interested in having a small companion to (mostly Western) art history, this is a great book to have in your collection.
ISBN 1780679688 (The Short Story of Art by Susie Hodge)
Simone Mändl’s YouTube channel is a great resource for 2D game artists — they do videos on game development and game art, including many devlogs. Read about it in the GameDev section.
Wacom Intuos is a screen-less drawing tablet that is relatively affordable. Because of this, I’d say it’s one of the best choices for beginners. It comes with a plethora of useful features, such as a battery-less pen with around 4 000 sensitivity levels, Bluetooth connectivity, and programmable buttons. You also get some free software licenses with the purchase. The cheapest model (small size, without Bluetooth) costs around $70.
Wonderdraft is a 2D worldbuilding tool that allows you to create complex maps from scratch. While I would consider its primary category to be world design, there is obviously a major art element to map-making. Read about it in the Worldbuilding section.
The indie game development community has enjoyed something of an explosion in the past decade or two. Over that time, the amount and quality of resources for game designers, programmers, artists, composers, and developers in general, has skyrocketed. These resources are some of my favorite.
The Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell was one of the first books on game design I ever read, and I believe it still remains one of the best. It details many different ways, or “lenses”, of looking at games; these lenses can add a crucial perspective when you’re iterating through game design choices.
ISBN 1138632058 (The Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell)
Before ending production in September 2020, Brackeys was one of the best game development channels active on the YouTube scene. Despite them not making any new videos, their channel is still a stellar archive of gamedev resources. Most of their videos concern the Unity game engine. Some examples of topics they’ve covered include 2D movement, scene transitions, game jam devlogs, or tilemaps. There’s over 450 videos on the Brackeys channel.
The GMTK is another amazing game development channel, this time focusing more on the game design side of the process. Most of their videos are created in the form of a case study on a specific game in which the host, Mark Brown, analyses a mechanic in a given game and expands their findings into a larger lesson. Some of my favorite videos from this channel include What Makes a Good Puzzle?, The Last Guardian and the Language of Games, and the entire Video Game Accessibility series. The Game Maker’s Toolkit always provides a fresh, interesting, and educational perspective on game design issues.
Simone Mändl is a game developer and 2D artist. Their YouTube channel is fairly small, sitting at around 6 500 subscribers as of September 2023, but the content on it is incredibly wholesome and educational. Their videos consist mostly of devlogs and game jam videos, in which Simone provides both the game developer and the artist perspective. I find all of them very inspirational and nice to put on in the background while I’m working on something.
Apart from compiling this list of third party resources that I consider very helpful, I’m also in the process of putting together my own list of exclusive resources, each connecting to one of my articles on the Eledris Blog. These resources include checklists, worksheets, downloads, and much more. I consider them an invaluable addition to the articles I write. You can access the entire library of exclusive resources when you sign up for my e-mail newsletter. You can do that via the form below, or, if you want to know what you’re getting into, you can find out more information about it on its own page.