RE: Luci's List of Worldbuilding Tools & Writing Prompts

Over on the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) website, they have several pages linked together which contain a list of "Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions" originally written many years ago by novelist Patricia C. Wrede. The version I first saw, years ago, was in one big file (on some other website). The SFWA version is organized so that you click on a general heading, such as "Magic and Magicians," which then takes you to a separate page which offers all sorts of questions meant to help you sort out your own ideas about what sort of magical system you want to use. 

For instance, under that heading, Wrede asks you (so that you can answer as you see fit, in your own notes) about such things as what can magic, in your new fantasy world, absolutely not do. 

For instance: What's the price of becoming a master magician in the first place? Must you have a certain number of years of study before you can make those spells work properly? Must you swear binding vows to set aside other things, such as sex, as the price you must pay if you want to pursue a career in wizardry? Does casting the really high-powered spells do bad things to your physical health, to your sanity, to your long-term life expectancy, etc.? (And so forth.) 

Patricia C. Wrede is not trying to tell us what the "best possible answers" should always be; she's just trying to prompt us to think things through, and figure out what the answers are for the particular world which we are building, depending upon what sort of story we want to tell. That way, we should have a good idea, from the beginning, of whether our  magically-empowered heroine -- let's call her "Mary Sue the Magnificent" -- is one of about a dozen magic-users in the known world, or one of many thousands of hard-working professionals who keep the society functioning, or what. (Is she expected to join a Guild with lots of fancy rules which you are punished for breaking, or can she just wander around doing her own thing as long as she isn't killing people right and left with her special talents, or is there something else going on that she needs to worry about if she wants to live to a ripe old age?)

Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions by Patricia C. Wrede

Re: Luci's List of Worldbuilding Tools & Writing Prompts

Thanks for the info. But man, just reading the “List of trigger/Content warnings” made my head explode. So basically, everything one writes is a trigger for someone (I mean even food is included…) unless it is about pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows.

And might I suggest ORBIS ( as an useful addition for world building. It is an interactive map of the ancient roman road system. For authors wanting to write believable story about traveling in a medieval setting, it is a great help (I have been using it for the design of my world). It shows differences in travel times for different seasons, vehicles, and military/non-military applications on both land, river and sea routes.