FREE WORLD BUILDING TOOLS, TIPS, AND THE WEBSITES TO FIND THEM.

Random Name, Term, Map Generators, Organization and Writing Tips, and More!

  • Delsin7
  • 04/30/2017 04:08 AM
  • 560 views
Free World Building Tools, Tips, and the Websites to Find Them.
by Delsin

Notice: This isn't a draft, but if anyone finds it confusing please let me know so I can rewrite the appropriate section.

Why would you need tools for world building? After all, you are an awesome writer and game maker so you shouldn’t need such things. But where did you put your notes on Chapter 4? Why does the south eastern island nation have a question mark for a name? And what happens when you are suddenly hit with a case of writer’s block that would make Tolkien so depressed he would watch Jersey Shore? This is where handy tools come into play!

There are many types of tools online for free and I couldn’t hope to list even one-thousandth of them. From name generators and map generators to organizational materials and template designs the list goes on. Don’t forget too that there is language dictionaries and other real world research material at your fingertips. Even far fantasy worlds have things that will resemble or function in a manner familiar to the player or reader. For research search engines (aka Google) are your friend, use them and always check their sources. Youtube is also a great place to learn about various topics, just beware the clickbait, and many passionate individuals have made videos on subjects you would never hear about in your daily life.


First off, I’ll talk a bit about a writing guide tool for world building. ‘Writing?’, I hear you yell, ‘But we’re already writing, we need tools for other things!’ And I would usually feel inclined to agree. It can feel a bit monotonous to go through a list of questions to outline your world or characters. But after jotting down your notes about a really cool civilization or secret society where do you go? This is where a good page written by Kitty Chandler comes into play.

Her tool, titled ‘World-Building Leviathan’ http://kittyspace.org/leviathan0.html , is a step-by-step process of creating a story, world, or pen and paper campaign divided into bite-sized worksheets. Most topics are covered, from the scope of what you are making, the characters, cultures, technology, and much more. Even if you do not intend to go very in-depth with your world, this tool can be helpful in learning about the process. If there is interest I might make a demonstrative article using the whole process, but won’t include it in this one due to space and time. Perhaps an interactive article with the forums.


Next up we have http://donjon.bin.sh/. A completely helpful name I’m sure, but that site has many useful tools such as random name generators, random magic item generators, geographical world generators, quest generators, and much more. If you need ideas for brainstorming, help on generating basic dungeon layouts, or throwaway tertiary quests this site is definitely worth taking a look at. Also included is random dice number generator, just input one or more dice numbers in the standard pen and paper style (a single eight sided die plus one would be written as 1d8+1, which means 1 8-sided dice, and any plus of minus modifiers are + or - after the side number) and it will give you an appropriate random number in that range. There is calculators for various common pen and paper style games, but these are not as important to world building as it is for game design.

The Fantasy Name Generator is a good example of the name generator process. First select the Type drop down menu. Listed are several fantasy name selections and quasi-historical selections. After choosing the one that fits what you want select the second drop down menu. Now pick the more specific name type you want. Each of the main types has a different selection of sub-types. Example, we choose ‘Fantasy Setting’ for the main type and for the sub-type we choose ‘Adventuring Parties’. Then we click the ‘Select’ button just to the right and a list of randomly generated names should pop up in the box just down of the button. From this list we get (in this example) ‘The Emerald Rangers’, who we shall then put into our world as a Tier D group of adventurers who are trying to hit the big time, but always seem to fail at the last minute. Even something as simple as a random name could help you come up with something interesting and fun for a reader or player to discover in your world.

The Fantasy World Generator is helpful tool for when you want a general idea of what your world ‘could’ look like or as a starting point in creating a more complex map. If your story or setting involves many worlds, such as if it involved star sailing space pirates who travel on magic ships made of brass and glass, then it may be even more useful in creating places for them to have ‘something’, ‘anything’ for them to do between voyages. To use this tool input a name or placeholder name, change the random seed if you have one, select the map style as desired, and the font type. Next decide approximately the percentage of water your world will have and what percentage of ice there will be. A planet may have no oceans or seas, but may have huge continents of ice so these two settings are seperate. Then there are options for if you want geography icons such mountains or hills, an option for rivers and how many, and an option for cities and castles and how many. The last two options are how you want your map stylized. Hex grid is good for keeping track of distances or use in certain types of games, but may not be the most aesthetically pleasing for other games. The map name option puts the name you input earlier on the map image. Then once you are ready click the construct button and wait while it enumerates your choices. Simply save the map image for use later! The ‘Random’ button will randomize the water and ice choices as well as the seed number, so be careful you don’t accidently click it.

Another helpful tool on donjon.bin.sh is their Random Adventure Generator. This can be helpful not only for creating quest ideas for games, but also for sideplots in stories and legends in worlds. Using this is pretty straight-forward, click on the bolded word on the left of the description and it will generate a randomized term and description for that word. Go through the list and once you have sufficiently randomized or created a list of your liking, write/copy the sections you like and incorporate that into the framework of an adventure or story.


The third tool site we will be looking at is http://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/. Not only does this site have...many name generators of more than just the fantasy variety, it also has description generators, item template guides, and many guides to writing or world building. Another very helpful free resource depository!

The name generators here function in a simple method. Hover your mouse over the name generator of your choice in the nav bar and there will be a large menu that shows up underneath it. Click on the desired name types and the next page will give you a list of names and a button to generate more. Also included in each page is a description for how those names were derived and an explanation detailing the name type.

The description generators function similarly to the name generator. Once you have chosen the description generator of your choice click the ‘get a description’ button to generate a new description. This can be helpful in coming up with fluff items, spells, or whatnots that make the world feel more alive. It can also help with those pesky equipment lists in game design.

The numerous guides are very helpful in creating specific parts of your world. They range from creating the basics of clothing creation, weapons and armor creation, history creation, and even writing tips. If you have time check them all out. If not, check out the ones you feel you could improve upon.


The fourth and last tool site on our little journey is http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. It too has a wide variety of generators for all your brainstorming needs or to help flesh out your world. The names and items generated by its algorithms tend to be on the more random/humorous/strange side so if you are making a more serious world, take the offerings with a pinch of salt.

For an example from this site we will use the Spell Generator. First select ‘Skills, Abilities, and Traits’ under Generator Types and then click on ‘Spells’ on the next page. Now you can select the options for the complexity of the spells name and how many spells it will generate in a list. Click 'generate more spells’ and watch the magic happen. Since this list is highly random some choices maybe be a bit odd, such as ‘The Sixty Abjurations of Dwarf Seduction’. (Kids, don’t cast this spell at home.)


Organization. The bane of us who can be a bit sloppy, easily distracted, or have memory issues. Good organization can help mitigate these and since it wasn’t really covered that much in the above pages I looked around and found https://writeitsideways.com/6-organization-tips-for-disorganized-writers/. It has not only tips for organization, but also many other articles on writing. They too sound interesting and I will continue reading them. Perhaps they will be useful in a future game or article if not just for more ideas on the writing process. These organization tips are nothing too difficult, but are things to remember if you do professional or enthusiast writing. The tips about writing down time spent and money owed could be very helpful if you join a small game make team.


If you want map ideas or ways to make your maps fab then it may be worthwhile to look at the extremely detailed fantasy maps at www.cartographersguild.com. You will need to register at their forums to post or view full image maps however. This is less a tool and more of a way to help visualize what your world could look like. Looking at real life maps, especially antique sea-faring maps, can be very helpful. It is also worthwhile to take a glance at the maps in Tolkiens work.


If you want something of a more physical nature to look over, there are plenty of books, manuals, and templates for pen and paper games or role playing systems in general. These can have useful references or examples for creating your own world or setting, but if you do wish to purchase one, be mindful of the cost to usefulness ratio. It wouldn’t make much sense to purchase a new hardcover D&D Dungeon Master manual to only use it for a couple chapters of reference.

Standard disclaimer; I have no affiliation and was not paid compensation of any matter for using these sites or names. I haven’t met any of the author’s of these tools, sites, or articles, but it would be quite nice I think. They are quite creative individuals.

Finally, remember we are all here to learn. (You are back in school.) If you have any thoughts, links to tools or writing websites, or any helpful feedback, please feel free to leave a post below.

-Special thanks to:
Libby for the suggestion of making world building into an article topic.
Hikitsune Red for finding out about fantasynamegenerators.com.
And several other people I can’t remember who did what.

Posts

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Really helpful article! (^◡^)

I recommend Springhole.net (http://springhole.net/ ). It's got TONS of articles about how to write stuff (worldbuilding included) and it also has random generators of many kinds. It's my writing advice site of choice! (^ヮ^✿)ノ
author=Chivi-chivik
Really helpful article! (^◡^)

I recommend Springhole.net (http://springhole.net/ ). It's got TONS of articles about how to write stuff (worldbuilding included) and it also has random generators of many kinds. It's my writing advice site of choice! (^ヮ^✿)ノ


Neat! Gave it a look and it looks like there is a lot of useful things there.
Really helpful and informative, thanks! Personally, MSWord is the best tool for me, lolz.
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