Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Dungeons & Dragons are all famous examples of the power of worldbuilding. Not only do they take you to a world of fiction, but they draw you into a universe that blends the real-world setting with a fantastical environment filled with lore and ancient tradition.
If you’re writing a film, book, or video game, worldbuilding will help you create an imagined world that’ll feel like the real thing while still functioning with its own set of rules.
Successful worldbuilding gives your story structure and a real place to live. This is why you need a powerful worldbuilding tool to help you make your setting interesting and build a compelling world.
World Anvil is one of the popular and perhaps best-known worldbuilding tools available for novelists and game makers. With it, you can create a new world, and do everything from making notes to tracking character motivations.
If you want to switch from World Anvil or just try out different worldbuilding tools, here are the best World Anvil alternatives worth considering.
Best World Anvil Alternatives
Kanka is a community-driven, all-in-one worldbuilding tool that offers similar features as World Anvil including tabletop RPG campaign management and storytelling.
The software is perfect for game masters and worldbuilders as it helps them create and organize their worlds and campaigns, using a wide range of features. Such features include organizations, interactive maps, families, timelines, and numerous characters as you can create.
Some of the features you can use on Kanka include @mentions, an in-depth permissions system, and tags, so it’s easy to track your campaign or your world. You can also track your relations, characters, history, locations, timelines and their eras, quests and their objectives, and calendars with weather effects and events.
The best part about using Kanka is that users can share feedback about the new features they’d like added, which are developed through frequent Community Votes shared on a regular basis.
If you want help to build your campaign, you can invite friends or co-dungeon masters and organize complex worlds. Kanka’s modules are easy to enable or disable at any time making it easy to customize your campaign using locations, or characters, and so on.
With the RPG campaign management feature, you can manage your upcoming TPK (Total Party Kill) and campaign from abilities and quests to journals, in-depth permission system, and embedded video or audio.
Kanka runs on any device and is regularly updated with new improvements and features. Plus, you get everything in one place including your notes, so you can easily find and access them on the go.
Like World Anvil, Kanka also has a free plan dubbed Kobold. With this plan, you get unlimited campaigns and uploads, frequent improvements and updates, access to all core features, but there are no campaign boosters.
If you upgrade to the paid plans – Owlbear or Elementals – you get to enjoy some bonuses. (Refer to Kanka pricing page for more details).
The Owlbear plan for $5 per month offers 3 campaign boosters, custom default images for entities, a private Discord channel, and higher file upload sizes of up to 8MB. You can also participate in the Community Feature Vote.
On the other hand, the Elementals plan costs $25 per month and offers 10 campaign boosters, a private Discord channel, huge file upload sizes of up to 25MB, participation in the Community Feature Vote, and custom default images for entities. You’re also allowed to help curate the community vote items and impact future features.
World Anvil is pretty robust and you can do so much using its impressive free tier. If you’re just getting started though, Kanka is worth a try.
If you’re an author, you probably appreciate and are intuitively aware of the fact that books are not just whimsical, but also fun and have the power to transform.
One Stop is a library loaded with one-of-a-kind reference materials, stories, and character planning resources that help writers improve their craft. The goal is to help writers find everything they need for inspiration and information, thus saving them time and elevating their storytelling to create enthralling fiction that their readers will love.
In order to keep track of the many details writers create in their worlds, One Stop for Writers offers worldbuilding surveys to help writers answer all the questions that’ll flesh out these worlds.
For instance, you can find questions about the real, country, or kingdom, who keeps the peace and who enforces the laws, the condition of the roads, people that hold power, and more.
The tool offers similar features to what you’d find in World Anvil including character builders, story maps, scene maps, timelines, and more. This way, you can collect all the information in one place and refer back while you write your story.
The character builder is a hyper-intelligent feature that helps you create rich, memorable, relatable, believable, and consistent characters in a short time. This way, your readers can empathize and connect with them.
With the scene maps (formal) and story maps, you can formally plot out the elements of each scene and use the Michael Hauge Six Stage Plot Structure as the foundation of your story. This structure also includes character development and story structure ideas.
A set of Thesauruses is available with features and tools that offer site features like emotions, positive and negative traits, weather, physical features, textures, shapes, patterns, and more. If you need ideas to add depth to your story and cast, you can use the idea generator and add richness to your story, create intensity through conflict, and more.
The software also offers timelines you can use in multiple ways to plan as much or little of your novel as you like, and tutorials to learn how to wield descriptions and make your characters feel authentic.
Templates and worksheets are also available to help you quickly create your story and print any time. Also included are checklists and tip sheets that help you understand how to deepen your characterization, make words count, master your pace, and push your story forward.
One Stop for Writers is free to use, but if you want full access to all the tools, idea generators, scene or story maps, thesauruses, tutorials, and more, you can subscribe to the paid packages.
You can try One Stop for Writers for 14 days and get complimentary access to all its features, plus the ability to create something amazing using its worldbuilding, character, and structure tools.
The premium plans start from $9 for a one-month subscription, which offers you access to everything the tool offers. If you want more unrestricted access, you can go for the 6-month or 12-month plan for $50 and $90 respectively.
One Stop for Writers is more affordable than World Anvil, though the latter has a completely free plan with basic feature access. (Refer to One Stop for Writers pricing page for more details). Plus, One Stop for Writers works on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS devices.
Scrivener is a worldbuilding app used by screenwriters, novelists, students, non-fiction writers, lawyers, translators, journalists, and other kinds of writers. The software helps these writers grow their manuscripts their own way and is specially tailor-made for long writing projects.
If you have a great idea and you’re not sure where to fit it, you can use Scrivener to grow your manuscript one idea after another and find its place later when inspiration strikes.
You can hammer out every last detail, carve your drafts, and restructure the story later as Scrivener lets you integrate everything you write into an easy outline with easy drag and drop moves.
Plus, you can use Scrivener’s background materials alongside your work when you want to refer to research, and when you’re ready, you can share your work with the world in PDF, Word, or plain text.
Like World Anvil, Scrivener allows you to piece your manuscript together using features like text editing, presets, an outliner, and you can import other files like PDFs, sound files, and more into your projects.
A corkboard is available to help you plan your project, while the outliner helps you structure your writing as you work with a part, chapter overview, or the whole project altogether.
Other features include templates that you can use to section parts of your project, character sheets to plan your novel, scriptwriting to format your manuscript, and print directly from the app.
You can also view your documents side by side, set word or character targets and watch your progress, or create lists of related documents using the collections feature. This way, you can see the scenes from a particular point of view and see what needs more work.
Scrivener works on Windows, Mac, and iOS devices, meaning you can work on the go. If you want a license, you can acquire one for Windows and Mac at $49, or get the iOS license for $19.99.
While World Anvil offers a free plan with basic features, Scrivener only runs in trial mode for users without a license, but the trial runs for only 30 days. If you use the trial twice a week, you can use it for up to fifteen weeks, but only for Windows or Mac.
The iOS license doesn’t have a free trial owing to the limitations in the iTunes App Store. Refer to the Scrivener pricing page for more information.
The main difference between Scrivener and World Anvil is that Scrivener is designed to help you write and structure your projects better, while World Anvil helps you organize and keep your projects in an abstract and thematic way.
Notebook.ai is a smart notebook for worldbuilding that collaborates with you and grows with your ideas.
The software is ideal for writers, designers, and role players specifically to create and build rich, immersive worlds for their campaigns, novels, plays, stories, and share with their players.
With Notebook.ai, you can create locations, items, floras, creatures, universes, continents, countries, planets, jobs, lores, technologies, buildings, schools, races, landmarks, food, scenes, and more. All these are the lifeblood of worldbuilding.
Notebook.ai also works like World Anvil to help you promote creativity by asking you questions about your ideas and characters, and then saves them on the respective pages.
Your notebooks are backed up and protected so that you don’t lose your ideas again. Plus, you can relax knowing the notebook is private, and you can choose whether to share it or not.
The software lets you track each detail of your characters including their family, thoughts, appearance, and personality, immerse yourself in vibrant worlds with specialized pages for different cities, landmarks, and countries.
It’s easy to find anything, anywhere, including anything you jotted down years back, and you can focus on one item at a time and filter the rest out in order to write freely.
The world-class artificial intelligence gives Notebook.ai an advantage over World Anvil as it measures emotion, readability, style, and other elements to help you write better. You also get to write faster using the native document editor and reference other aspects of your pages.
Notebook.ai also has a free Starter (Class) plan like World Anvil’s free plan. You can start worldbuilding immediately, without using your credit card, and get access to up to 5 universes, unlimited characters, locations, items, and upload up to 50MB of images to the cloud.
The paid plan referred to as Book costs $9 per month, which is more affordable than World Anvil’s basic premium plan.
Notebook.ai’s Book plan lets you create unlimited universes, characters, items, buildings, conditions, creatures, deities, floras, foods, landmarks, and other elements. Plus you can upload up to 10GB of images. Refer to the Notebook.ai website and scroll to the pricing section for more information.
5. Now Novel
There are many challenges associated with writing a book, but with a friendly guide, you’ll find that each stage will flow much more easily.
Now Novel was created to connect aspiring authors with experts and peers who are committed to improving the storytelling craft through practicing and studying. The tool has a story dashboard that lets you outline your story from one step to another in any genre while saving it and making references as you write.
The software is constantly being developed and improved to ensure writing obstacles are eliminated and you can refine your writing.
Now Novel offers features that help you plot and plan, the same way World Anvil’s digital publishing platform does. You can use the Scene builder to create and order scene summaries with step by step prompts in the story dashboard so as to create the skeletal structure of your story.
You can also group scene summaries into episodes or chapters or other larger units if you’re writing a novel or screenplay for example. Now Novel also allows you to order and sequence scenes in a linear manner so that ideas that pop up midway can be incorporated into the story as you go.
Now Novel also has a character builder like World Anvil, which you can use to track the characters that appear in each scene. You can do this easily in the Scene Builder and even specify where your scenes will take place.
Plus, you can brainstorm using the World Builder too, which is available in World Anvil and other tools listed here, and invent whole, complex worlds with different elements like streets, cities, or countries.
Now Novel also offers a free process for the first section of The Process, which usually costs $15 for the monthly subscription. This way, you can use it to create your central idea and first character profile from beginning to end.
The Coaching package is a paid plan that costs $79 per month, which offers a professional critique on your submissions and you can learn through webinars with access to recordings of past sessions. If you want focused accountability and encouragement, this plan offers a step-by-step writing process, the world and scene builder features, and critiques for writing groups.
For more detailed feedback, the Coaching+ plan is $149 per month and is available for up to 2000 words per month with an introduction into the Kickstart your Novel course. This plan also offers coaching for serious authors who need partners to help them finish their books.
Check out Now Novel’s pricing page for more details on what you get with each package.
6. World Scribe
If you’ve ever wanted to create fictional settings, but find it hard to organize everything together, World Scribe will help you create and organize your novel, screenplay, comic, or other creation.
World Scribe is an app that lets you plan and organize all the elements in your story and world easily. The app eases the process of creating your novel, comic, or screenplay by allowing you to track each and every element in your world and how they connect to each other.
Like World Anvil, you’ll find World Scribe to be indispensable as it makes your settings come alive. It does this by offering elements like people, which includes the cast of characters, groups united by race, blood, motivation, places, items, and concepts like religions or superpowers.
Plus, you can map out connections between all these categories, for instance tying a character to a group, place, or concept, and still sort or track relationships and information in your world.
The app is free to use and you can download it to your Android device.
Campfire is designed to help writers imagine, plan, and tell their creative stories by offering them services and software to help them create and tell great stories.
You can design your story from the beginning – concept – down to the final draft all in one platform so as to overcome disorganization.
With the right software from Campfire, you can tell your stories and advance your craft by engaging with Campfire’s video essays, blogs, and podcasts. Campfire goes a step further to promote the community members’ work across its social channels.
While World Anvil offers a feature-packed list of tools for worldbuilding, Campfire provides the ultimate writing software to help you start writing your creative story through an all in one web application.
Campfire also has a free plan like World Anvil, with access to all the Pro plan features but for only 10 days.
If you need more advanced features, you can get Campfire’s Pro plan for $49.99 and organize your stories on desktop using character development, story timelines, maps, and locations. It doesn’t have the advanced worldbuilding feature.
The Campfire Pro plus Worldbuilding Pack for $74.98 offers even more features such as character development, story timelines, maps, locations, and advanced worldbuilding. Find out more about Campfire’s pricing and the features available in each plan.
Worldbuilding software makes the worldbuilding process more fun, effective, and efficient by offering you the tools and systems you need while enhancing your creativity and workflow.
While World Anvil is an awesome, feature-rich platform for worldbuilding, these seven tools offer great alternatives you can use whether you’re a beginner or pro writer, designer, or creative.
Knowing what each of these 7 World Anvil alternatives has to offer is vital for efficient and effective worldbuilding.