What follows is a list of essential resources – most of them free – that might help anyone willing to try their hand at the business of the gods…
Add your own: these are my resources, and we’d all be happy to learn about other tools and sources of information; so, if there’s some website, book or software you think might make this list better, please use the comments to let us know.
. 25 Things You Should Know about Worldbuilding, by Chuck Wendig
. Discovering Robert E. Howard: Jeff Shanks on The Worldbuilding of REH, from the Black Gate Blog
. Gaming, World Building, and Narrative: Using Role-playing Games to Teach Fiction Writing, by Trent Hergenrader
. The Spiral Method of World Building, from Roleplaying Tips
. Create Fictional Cultures, by J.S. Morin
. Worldbuilding Leviathan, from Kitty’s Writing Tools
Tools & Utilities
. Worldbuilding Leviathan explained and expanded by Belinda Crawford, includes Scrivener templates
. Autorealm, fantasy mapping software
. The Kobold’s Guide to Worldbuilding
Essential collection of monographic articles by the industry’s leading authors.
. Holly Lisle’s Create a World Clinic
Aimed at fiction writers, but sound advice for game designers, too.
. Building Imaginary Worlds: The Theory and History of Subcreation, by Mark J.P. Wolf
Expensive and terribly thorough, but well worth the time (and, sigh, money)
. Norman Davies – Vanished Kingdoms
Because history is always a great source of inspiration.
. What If?: The World’s Foremost Historians Imagine What Might Have Been, edited by Robert Cowley
Because history can be rewritten, as long as we are playing
Full disclosure: yes, these are commercial links to Amazon, and I might make a buck out of your purchase – but the books won’t cost you a dime extra if you click the link.
Online worlds worth exploring
And again – if there’s something I’m missing (and surely there is!), please tell me and the readers in the comments.