/r/worldbuilding

Photograph via snooOG

For artists, writers, gamemasters, musicians, programmers, philosophers and scientists alike! The creation of new worlds and new universes has long been a key element of speculative fiction, from the fantasy works of Tolkien and Le Guin, to the science-fiction universes of Delany and Asimov, to the tabletop realm of Gygax and Barker, and beyond.

This subreddit is about sharing your worlds, discovering the creations of others, and discussing the many aspects of creating new universes.

Info

For artists, writers, gamemasters, musicians, programmers, philosophers and scientists alike! The creation of new worlds and new universes has long been a key element of speculative fiction, from the fantasy works of Tolkien, Le Guin and Howard, to the science-fiction universes of Burroughs, Delany and Asimov, and to the tabletop realm of Gygax, Barker and Greenwood, and beyond.

This subreddit is about sharing your worlds, discovering the creations of others, and discussing the many aspects of creating new universes.

Rules

Please read our full rules. We have high standards for on-topicness, respect of other people and respect for creative effort.

Full Subreddit Rules

Modmail

Resources

Every post needs context! Consider using our context template to get started. Unsure why context is important? Consider reading our Why Context? essay.

Remember to flair your posts.

Remember to check out the wiki for lots of resources and tips on starting out!

There is also a curated list of resources compiled via Discord.

Chat

Looking for more active discussion? We have live chat communities that are active just about 24/7! Make sure to read the chat rules first

Discord Server

Snoonet IRC Channel

(#worldbuilding on irc.snoonet.org:6667, or 6697 for SSL)

We also encourage users to register an account.

Related Subreddits

General

Characters

Tabletop

Visual

Genre Discussions

External Resources

Filters

/r/worldbuilding

1,482,411 Subscribers

1

How do you guys visualize/create clothing for your worlds/concepts?

Hello! Aspiring author here. Learning the ins and outs of world building. One thing I am struggling with is imagining how different civilizations would dress in different in a futuristic world. Does anyone have any tips or tricks for getting their imagination juices flowing?

0 Comments
2024/06/23
19:57 UTC

2

A new world I am exploring for an animated short sci-fi series. Dr. Stickman, the inventor of the dimensional cube, decides to explore the multiverse to escape from his own (literally) black and white reality. Thoughts how I can develop this furthur? This is Episode 1. Cheers!

1 Comment
2024/06/23
20:45 UTC

1

What are some very silly phrases/terms that might work incredibly well as Fae/Elf names in a fantasy setting?

Thought about this during a flight today. This is what I currently have on my list:

Mountain dew, morning wood, star dew valley, moon shine, nature valley, timber land, old spice, olive garden

Do you have any more examples you can think of?

2 Comments
2024/06/23
20:34 UTC

1

Grimoires as a means of regulating magical consequences.

Rules of magic

  1. Magical energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only changed.

Magical effects must be reversed to regain magical energy. Otherwise, you will not have any magical energy and will not regain anymore. If you die the objects will retain your magical energy and your soul will only rest after the magical energy is returned to you.

  1. Magic inflicts a counter-action.

When you cast magic you are enchanted as a counter-action. If you cast harm on a person, you will suffer uncontrollable laughter. If you cast warts on someone, your skin will harden to leather.

Schools and their counter schools

Corruption - warping magic that causes simple nuisances like warts or imperfections in the skin to major horrors like necrosis or malignant growths.

Purity - corruption's counter magic. Simple effects include unblemished skin and resistance to diseases, but more powerful effects can include leathering or the skin that makes it difficult or even impossible to move.

Delusion - an illusory magic that causes minor effects such as dazed states or memory adjustments to severe effects such as behavioral changes or sensory deprivation.

Clarity - Delusion's counter magic. It is known to inflict memory loss and paranoia to more severe effects such as hyper-fixation and stimulation overload.

Manipulation - a kinetic magic that allows for temporary telekinetic control or a crushing force.

Weakness - manipulation's counter magic. This can involve muscle weakness and loss of dexterity to more intense consequences like brain or heart failure.

Grimoires

Once, magic was so dangerous to use that it rarely had any practitioners and few could pass on their findings. In our reality it would eventually go extinct.

However, due to an intervention of a higher being, a divergence in reality was created. The first grimoire was created by a student of the occult with the assistance of a deity to mitigate the damage inflicted upon the caster by forcing it through a sort of filter.

Grimoires are for all intents and purposes a ward against one's own magic. Upon the use of magic one will write a record of said magic into the grimoire, causing the magical effects to instead mostly only assail the pages within the tome. But some consequences will bleed through.

Future grimoires would be crafted using the language of the first grimoire. Though typically new theory on how to better the potency of grimoires come up from time to time.

Magic never becomes commonplace, more just a tool for the nobility to oppress the masses. Noble houses fight it out with curses and assassinations.

Eventually, farms of magical energy are created to allow mechanical syphons to give mages the ability to create extremely wide reaching spells. Making wide reaching decaying curses to destroy entire cities and their populations.

0 Comments
2024/06/23
20:23 UTC

1

Tell me about any side character(s) you have that played an important role in your story

Just a side character or more that as the title says played an important role in your world maybe for the antagonists side or the protags side or any side in fact, I just want to hear about them!

3 Comments
2024/06/23
20:23 UTC

0

Reminder, show other people

0 Comments
2024/06/23
19:32 UTC

1

What should I consider for my giant snow globe city?

Long story short a constant location in my little story is a place called "Liberty the Snow Globe City", in the year 2039.

It was initially built on the center of the destroyed New York State in 2020, the construction was (for story reasons) extremely fast and was finished by the end of 2021, it was initially built as a safe haven for a few of the remaining rich, famous and powerful people who made an alliance named "Heaven's Chandelier" to live in safety after a cataclysmic event caused by an entity that I won't be getting into here since it's not relevant but that left a good portion of the world in ruins and 68% of the world's population and left nearly everywhere in chaos.

The city was initially around 90,000 km² but as the years went on it expanded into a 1,7.000.000 km² city, and what was once a safe haven for the rich and powerful is now a near dystopic but fully functional place where the difference between the working class and poor people and the ones on top of it all is more at its play than ever, well there are worse places out in the world but it is what it is.

The city is inside of a gigantic impenetrable dome that repels anything although was specially built to deal with Kaijus (oh yeah...they exist here too I forgot to mention) and that giant dome is what gives it the "Snow Globe City" nickname, the dome expanded automatically as the city expanded for reasons not important for the current story.

The city is layered like a cake (I suck at explaining this stuff please be patient with me), with 5 layers, rising from the working class to the top ones, there are trains, sky lifts and flying vehicles dedicated to moving across these layers.

Additionally there are trains dedicated to leaving and entering the city connecting to the 3rd layer, and in the center of the 1rst layer there is the Central Tower, a station dedicated to personal air travelling for the top ones, specially for outside of the city to connect to other parts of the world.

Admittedly I am still a newbie in this kind of stuff and I don't really have a map as of now, I want to draw it and the layering of the city eventually but rn I am still not skilled enough to draw it, and I know that this city probably falls apart in the moment you think about it for some reason I didn't consider and I'll probably change stuff later so I need some helping in what to consider when writing the insides of it, from how it works to its infrastructure, things like that, I am definitely not good at this yet so I need some helping so I can actually try and make this work.

0 Comments
2024/06/23
19:26 UTC

1

Help with lining up new moons?

Hey yall, my partner is looking for some help with setting up their moon cycles in their world and they want to make sure this is at least some what possible.. this is what they sent me:

"So, my world has a standard gregorian calendar, and 7 moons (One big and six smaller ones). Timeline starts in the year 5144. On April 12th, 5145, I need all seven moons to be new moons, and for this to be a rare occurrence (every 30 years or so). But, then I need it to happen again sometime in the summer of year 5146 (Doesn't need to be a specific day)"

I figured that one moon could maybe be in its new moon phase for 1-2 years, and not again for another 30 years, and but as far as figuring out the rest of the moons calenders, I don't know. Can anyone help with this moon chart?

1 Comment
2024/06/23
19:03 UTC

14

How long have you been working on your world and what got you started?

I’m curious to see how everyone else got into worldbuilding.

34 Comments
2024/06/23
18:56 UTC

4

I Need A Name For A World War Three Alliance:

So I’m making in my notes a world war, we have two sides (of course), in this war, there is one side with Germany, Italy, Finland, India, China, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania, and Austria, (and for a little bit of the war, Turkey too). Can anyone help with naming this please?

7 Comments
2024/06/23
17:59 UTC

41

A map ive been working on for a few years

12 Comments
2024/06/23
17:47 UTC

12

Know any good "real life" magic systems which could serve as possible interesting inspirations for fictional ones?

One example of a "real life" magic system (real life in quotes because it doesn't really work) is alchemy which has created some quite interesting magic systems such as the one from the quite popular anime Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood where it alchemy was used as a basis to flesh out a magic system named similarly with many aspects of it being based upon it, such as the Dwarf in the Flask to the Philosopher's stone, but from my understanding Alchemy in the series is more fleshed out than the real world one and more of its own thing.

I find that premise interesting as I think it could be quite fun to base a system for how magic works in a world off of a form that exists in reality but taking it and running with it creating a world where it actually works. For example, I imagine it could be potentially be interesting to make a world where the runic magic with each of the 24 runes producing it's own distinct effect when carved into or written onto a surface though the scale is usually quite minor for an individual one, but start to combine runes together and that's where the potential lies and complexity and potency can be formed as the erilaz turns these individual letters into words and those words into sentences and beyond.

13 Comments
2024/06/23
17:46 UTC

5

True size of a galactic civilization?

I’ve recently been working on my own science fiction setting and one of the themes I’ve been going for is accurately depicting the size of an interstellar civilization. Unfortunately I’ve had a hard time finding reliable figures on star density.

My specific question is this, given a civilization expanding out from earth in a roughly circular pattern to cover 3% of the galactic disk. Assuming it extends through the full 1000 ly thickness of the disk. How many star systems would you expect in this area?

Sorry about formatting I don’t post much. Any feedback is much appreciated.

3 Comments
2024/06/23
17:38 UTC

81

Does your world have prostitution?

What the caption says

115 Comments
2024/06/23
17:14 UTC

25

Would you be a supervillain if you were told to be one?

I'm having a hard time writing the philosophy of my supervillains as well as their motives for being evil so can you give me your opinion on this scenario:

Say your an overworked employee of a large conglomerate and your boss finds out that you're a superhuman with a very strong superpower.

Your boss than gives you the offer of teaching a small-time vigilante who's causing big problems for the company, in exchange you will receive a handsome amount of money (roughly 50 million dollars) as well as a promotion.

Now, the question is would you do it?

Your financial status has been mostly balanced but relatively boring with you being unable to afford some luxuries.

And you don't even need to kill the person, you could just scare him or beat him up lightly and then let him go.

But the question is would you do it?

32 Comments
2024/06/23
16:57 UTC

2

"Vanished" - Log 001: Race concept "Neodes"

Neodes are the first of three alien races I am making for the Vanished project.

They are humanoid in bodily structure, and resemble newts/salamanders in appearance. They are covered entirely in a layer of gel that helps them process different atmospheric gasses into something breathable for them, also doubling to keep their skin from drying out. They will be the most commonly seen race in this, as they were the first of the three to discover earth, and are leading expeditions trying to figure out what happened to the humans.

Their name was meant to be a combination of neo or new, and the word toad, which is the amphibian these aliens were originally going to look like, however the name stuck when i changed the body plan.

(Art pending while I come up with a concrete design)

0 Comments
2024/06/23
16:16 UTC

7

Marriage, sexuality and polygamy.

I am working on a medieval fantasy world, but I don't want to stick to the same European fantasy tropes. I am focusing on the culture of marriage on the continent, sexuality, and more specifically, polygamy in some parts of the continent. How do you think I should start working on this? Are there any books or media that could help me come up with ideas?

6 Comments
2024/06/23
15:38 UTC

4

Which secret society is the and what are its counterparts in your world?

Look. This particular post is designed to share with you some secret societies in my various settings. Also, This is to encourage worldbuilders to share their equivalents to these societies. Here are some of these societies:

A. The Punisher Inc Ltd: Punisher Inc Ltd was an corporation in the fourth millennium that acts as a non-profit organization. It adopts the policy: "The jails will not be full, because criminals are always around." Led by Demetrius Emmett, the corporation "buys" prisoners. Prisoners who have been sentenced to various forms of punishment are sentenced and "sold" to the corporation.

The corporation then punishes the prisoners as recommended by the judges... on paper. In reality, Punisher Inc applies extremely harsh punishment, including brutal torture and execution, and prisoners do not escape. In fact, their behind-the-scenes motto is "No Prisoner left alive."

The Empire tolerates their existence because the cash they get from the transactions help them fund the public welfare budget. Punisher Inc makes enormous profits by selling auxiliary equipment for military and logistical purposes to private contractors, including Xenos companies (in fact, those at war with humanity).

The backroom deals are what motivated the government of the Empire to act. The multi-sextillionaire Emmett was assassinated and the corporation taken down. It was found to be the scene of an intergalactic Holocaust, with 4.8 quadrillion prisoners dead and almost thrice as many in horrible conditions, from disabled to near-death.

B. The Ghost Operators: The Ghost Operators were a spy-assassin society in the twentieth century to take out low-superpowered terrorist attack. They were led by the Supreme Ghost, and fought multiple terrorist organizations including the Heads and Steven Taylor's Entropy.

The combined attacks from Entropy and the war against two of Entropy's child organizations, Ghulon Rah's Qubat at-Allah and Mohammed bin Zahar's First Liberation Organization (FLO) led to terrible attacks on their HQ and their bases. Multiple agents were shot in cover, killing off most of the organization.

In the Twenty First century, the few remaining agents gave their lives to take out FLO and Qubat at-Allah, weakening Entropy. Ghost Ultimatum, the last leader, turned out to be a spy for Entropy, and the Ghost Operators were finished. Ghost Cowboy, their last member, remained to take down both the Entropy and Igor Zakhev's Red Lords.

C. The Church of Abstracts: These are led by a cult of personality around their Pope, Silver Agamemnon. The Pope knows that Abstract Entities exist and the Church hopes to stop the Void consuming everything literally. They hope to do this by birthing more Gods, by making the powerful Superheroes "ascend" into Godhood.

To put their plan into action, they release details about the Gods into the public, and spread the idea that the Superheroes should be worshipped as Gods. They, along with advanced technology and the cult of collective belief, converted at least one superhero. The Superheroes were not amused, and a Task Force was sent to genocide as many of the Church as possible, breaking it and obliterating the Cult. A lot of public manipulation was used to make sure nobody followed the Cult again.

D. The Second Galactic Empire: After humanity's fall in the Great War, a team of scientists, military leaders, farmers, industrial workers, doctors, engineers and teachers went undercover. With the help of FTL and life-prolonging drugs, they began to educate, research, replicate, manufacture and create technology of the Golden Age. This was called the Second Galactic Empire.

They are of the opinion that the First Galactic Empire has not fallen, but left to fight Eldritch horrors on the other side of the universe. They hope to restore the Golden Age of the Galactic Empire, bring unity and peace in the Grimdark Era, and join the Emperor when he returns triumphant, as a victorious God-Emperor. Meanwhile, they will continue to defend the Andromeda galaxy (the Milky Way is gone).

They have not fallen, in fact they are in a strong position. They have our protagonist, Timothy Thomson, on their side, and have discovered how to reverse-engineer technology that will speed up their development by decades if not centuries, and have recovered countless Imperial private storehouses with valuable goods inside.

Now, I want you to answer two questions:

A. Do you have anything similar to these societies? Or any morally grey secret societies? What are they? How do they work?

B.Which one do you like the most? Vote here:

View Poll

0 Comments
2024/06/23
15:27 UTC

11

Advice on infantry tactics for fictional mage infantry

So I've never served, but I've always been interested in infantry combat that I see in stuff like Band of Brothers, the Pacific, Generation Kill, etc. I only pick up stuff I've noticed just from looking at how I see these soldiers think and act. So please correct me if I get things wrong.

My main takeaway is that modern infantry tactics all basically boil down to 'fire and maneuver' – a maneuver element pushes towards the objective while the other element provides cover fire, then rinse and repeat. This seems to apply from the squad level all the way to company and battalion level.

Now the mage infantry in my world are able to use magic spells to maneuver very quickly in rough terrain and dense foliage, communicate discreetly in real time without radio signals, and provide firepower that rival anti-tank weapons.

Their disadvantage is that magic is incredibly hard to sustain. They take an immediate toll on the physical and mental health of soldiers, although they can recover quickly depending on the degree of use.

What scenarios can I make where using this kind of mage troops is the clear choice over sending in regular infantry? What tactics can they employ to make up for their weaknesses and take advantage of their powers? I have some idea and scenarios planned out, but it would be amazing to have the insight of those who actually know a thing or two about it first.

6 Comments
2024/06/23
15:25 UTC

1

Help with building a religion/culture based on the belief of Reincarnation

Pretty straightforward. Does anyone have any advice or sources to help with designing a religion based on Reincarnation after death?

5 Comments
2024/06/23
13:43 UTC

16

Whats the newest thing you’ve added?

I wrote this today! I’m starting on my Creation Myth and this is my first idea!

Each God was made to Awaken an animal and make a Sapient Race. As the Gods added to the new world, as all were entitled to do. Fizzyx, the God of Dimwittedness, made these 2:

The animal They chose to Awaken (give sapience to) was th- huh? Its not an animal?

What Fizzyx chose to “Awaken” were from Another Time, something Old, something…. Unnatural…. Toy Robot Dogs! Those remote control toy robot dogs from the early 2000s? Yep! They’re intelligent now! They can talk and understand you and do everything everyone else can, with some physiological limits of course.

Fizzyx’ Sapient Race, which must be at least partially made up with the Soul of Man and combined with either a fantastical or extinct animal (by Old World standards). They decided to combine their portion of their Soul of Man with… oh hey They got it right this time!: The Anurognathus. Auk, the God of Progress, gave Fizzyx the soul of Anurognathus, out of his large share of other Dinosaur souls(and similar, as Anurognathus isn’t a dinosaur).

21 Comments
2024/06/23
13:23 UTC

57

How would the corpses of defeated kaiju be disposed of?

In most settings with kaiju, the beasts explode upon death. But I've been wondering what would happen if that was not the case.

33 Comments
2024/06/23
13:23 UTC

49

Why Tho.02: Why Are There Dinosaurs On Venus? [OVRHVN]

15 Comments
2024/06/23
13:03 UTC

80

Part 5 of my weaponised monstrosities that use for great wizard war effort. what creatively mess up creature do you have in your world?

20 Comments
2024/06/23
12:37 UTC

5

Would a large landmass sinking into the ocean cause overall waterlevels to rise or fall?

I'm trying to map out a setting's map from a time before a country sank into the ocean and I'm trying to figure out how that would affect the coastlines of the rest of the world.

At first I assumed that a country sinking into the waves would raise water levels and I'd have to make a lot of coastlines in the before times bigger.

But then I thought "Wait, but the landmass was always displacing water by just being there. If it sank, would the resulting flooding of the area make the sea level over all fall?" So maybe I'll have to actually shrink a lot of the other landmasses instead of enlarging them.

But maybe the answer is just "it depends" or "landmasses would both grow and shrink" or something. I'm just not that good at subjects like this one.

2 Comments
2024/06/23
12:34 UTC

11

What form of historical periodization do you use in your worldbuilding?

So I've noticed that I employ different ways of breaking my worlds' histories into chunks to remember them easily. In many of my worlds, there are essentially two periods. In the first period, there was a great ancient empire that was the height of civilization/magic (like Rome in the Western imagination) and since its fall, humanity hasn't risen to that level again (that would be the second period. Kinda like Valyria in ASOIAF. In other worlds, I use the Chinese dynastic model, in which there are numerous periods of unity and fragmentation. Sometimes I even use a model in which the lands were fragmented in some blurry, distant past but since then have been unified into one nation/empire. Kinda like Westeros. What forms of periodization do you use?

4 Comments
2024/06/23
11:38 UTC

7

Bloates, Bondensfingre and Dead King's Fingers

In my historic speculative fictional world, there are two 'main' currencies. "Bloates" are the most accepted of these, and are used by nearly all. They are hand-minted, circular trimmed metal pieces. The other currency is "bondensfingre," a relic from the days where farmers were more respected. Partly based on an honor system, these 'coins' often come made of clay, with chaff pressed and imprinted onto it, giving it texture.

Also, there's a game played in public houses known as "dead king's fingers", in which two players will each be given a wooden hand. This hand has detachable fingers. The players must down their drink and yank out one of the other player's hand's fingers, before drinking again and doing the same. Each wooden hand has not five, but six fingers, for it was recorded that the king was born with six fingers on at least one hand. It's uncertain if he had six fingers on both hands, as over time, tales have smeared and blurred the memory. The sixth finger on the wooden hand is referred to as "the favor", so when players yank it out, they're doing the king "a favor" by removing his deformity.

4 Comments
2024/06/23
11:10 UTC

Back To Top