Creating new worlds, characters, and universes is the basis of fiction, fantasy, and role-playing games (RPG).
As a fiction writer, RPG writer, or game master, it is one thing to have action and adventure ideas, and it is another to make them a reality.
While writing your campaign, you need worldbuilding and writing software to help keep things organized. Using regular software like Google Docs or MS Word will only make things complicated.
However, World Anvil remains one of the more notable worldbuilding software in the market.
Therefore, follow me as I show you the World Anvil review.
What Is World Anvil?
World Anvil is a worldbuilding software suite with all the tools you need to create and organize your story world scenes.
The software is ideal for:
- Game masters
- Role players
Some of its incorporated tools include the World Anvil map maker, historical timelines, wiki-like articles, RPG Campaign manager, etc. You can also use World Anvil as a novel writing software for regular story writing.
As you create your worlds, you can keep them public or private. Anyone who finds your page can view your public worlds while only you, the owner, or a co-author can access the private worlds.
How To Get Started
You can subscribe to any World Anvil membership plans or start using the software for free, albeit with limited features. Creating an account is easy as you only have to supply personal information and an email address.
After that, you can follow the signup prompts to complete the setup process.
World Anvil Features
We will now discuss World Anvil features and offerings.
World Anvil enables you to write articles and follow them up in your worlds. There are more than 25 templates available that you can use. This includes templates for buildings, characters, conditions, locations, religions, vehicles, etc.
The writing environment is like regular writing platforms with options to bold, underline, italicize, and align text. However, you can switch from writing content to sections and designs.
You can edit sidebars, headers, and footers from sections, while from the design section, you can edit the cover image, excerpt, SEO, and extra CSS.
As you write, you can embed music, sounds, images, secrets, etc. to make reading more interesting for your audience.
Characters on World Anvil are called “Heroes,” and you can easily create them with the character creator tool.
You just have to provide the character name and write a description. Then, make your choice of character type from the listed options. Some of the options include Conan, Battletech RPG, Brightsword, TouchBearer, etc. There are over 100 character types available.
If you have a sample character image, you can upload it; the supported image file formats are JPG, JPEG, GIF, and PNG. You can upload more images later from the Gallery.
Additional details can be added, such as the characters’ nickname, location, title, etc.
You can create interactive maps with the World Anvil map maker. This implies that you can build maps, link them directly to your worlds, and link created maps. That way, you can quickly identify locations in your worlds, while your audience will find your worlds interactive.
In the same vein, you can create maps from your worlds by clicking on the map icon. Alternatively, you can navigate to Worlds and then Maps. Next, you upload the image of your map and provide some necessary information. The map title is an essential element. Likewise, the map image size depends on your plan.
World Anvil features a rigorous linking system that enables you to keep track of your world, characters, etc. That way, you can link and cross-reference your creations on World Anvil.
As you write, you can link other articles by mentioning. By typing an “@,” you get a list of all articles in your world; simply select the article you intend to link. You can type “@” along with a few letters of the article for easier sorting.
For articles that bear the same name, you can differentiate them when linking by their templates. You can connect a non existing article using “@” and a name and then create the article using the name afterward.
Search & Find
The World Anvil Search & Find feature puts information at your fingertips. You can explore, search, and find any information you need on the go as you write your articles.
Additionally, you can switch to explorer mode from the dashboard in your world. There are four options featured, which include Atlas, Codex, Chronicles, and Compendium.
With Atlas, you can locate all the maps in your world and quickly add new markers. Codex allows you to search and find all other articles in your world, while Chronicles enables you to search and find all timelines in your world. With Compendium, you can search and find article templates.
World Anvil allows you to organize your world as you build. This is possible with the use of nested categories, nested articles, and a table of contents.
The Articles & Category manager is featured in the right aligned menu. You can create new categories by clicking “Create Categories” and then enter the category name, excerpt, and description.
With your newly created category, you can nest new categories as subcategories and articles. You can design the category with a book-style cover or page cover.
The table of contents is automatically generated as you create categories. Even if you don’t create categories, World Anvil will automatically arrange your articles, timelines, etc.
This is one of the latest World Anvil features. Bloodline Tracking allows you to easily follow up all blood relations of a particular character, precisely one in the spotlight.
These blood relations include siblings, parents, partners, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. You can get the entire family tree, which is ideal if your story involves a dynasty.
It is easy to set bloodline tracking. All you have to do is create your character with the character creator and add relationships. Then, click on the “Copy Bloodline Tree Embed” instead of “Copy Family Tree Embedded.”
You’ll get a BBCode tag that you can paste anywhere in your article to view the bloodline.
World Anvil Diplomacy Webs is similar to Bloodline Tracking. However, instead of linking characters to blood relations, you can link nations, kingdoms, feuds, agendas, etc.
This is a handy and advanced feature, and you can only access it with a World Anvil Master Plan or higher.
To start creating a web, navigate to the diplomacy tab of a particular organization, and click on “Add a Diplomatic Relation.” Fill in all required details, most notably the “Party 2” since that is the other organization you link on the web.
Furthermore, you should define the relationship score on a scale of -100 to 100. The higher the score, the more perfect the relationship, and vice versa.
Roll Tables on World Anvil feature different blocks. There are text blocks, web page blocks, and image blocks.
You can use them to fill in details for various encounters. It makes it easy for you to fetch these details when you need them as the tables are easy to search and sort. The tables are created using CSV syntax, and although it isn’t difficult, you would need a while to familiarize yourself with it.
When you create your tables, copy the sheet number, and paste it into your articles or text fields that support BBCode.
Most game masters and writers do not work alone, which is why World Anvil supports collaboration.
You can bring on a team of creatives, writers, game masters, and role players to work on your project and give them different levels of access. They can be assigned from the Access Rights section from your dashboard.
There are three main access levels, which include Writer, Editor, and Co-Owner. Besides, you can collaborate with your audience.
Overall, the benefit is that you can finish your projects on time and implement many ideas as there are multiple hands on deck.
World Anvil Security
World Anvil is a secure platform. You won’t have to worry about losing your work because they are backed up on eight different servers.
The platform carries out automatic backups on all of these servers several times a day. If you want, you can export your world to save locally on your PC.
World Anvil Customer Support & Resources
There are several ways to get support when you use World Anvil. You can send your message via email or send a DM to their official handle on Twitter (@worldanvil). Furthermore, you can specifically report a bug if you notice one or suggest a new feature.
World Anvil has a well-detailed documentation page. This page acts as a guide with articles on different categories, including the basics, guild features, workflow, and community tips.
There’s a World Anvil community on Discord for connecting with over 30,000 other World Anvil users. Furthermore, you can watch World Anvil tutorials and help videos on YouTube from their official channel.
To stay updated on new features and tips, you can follow World Anvil on the already mentioned social media platforms and more, including Facebook, Reddit, and Twitch. You can listen to the World Anvil podcast on Spotify and Podbean.
World Anvil Pricing
Here are the World Anvil pricing plans:
- Freeman Plan – Free
Journeyman Plan –
- $4.50 per month
- $13 every three months
- $24.50 every six months
- $40 per year
Master Plan –
- $6.50 per month
- $19 every three months
- $34 every six months
- $58 per year
Grandmaster Plan –
- $12 per month
- $34 every three months
- $62 every six months
- $105 per year
On the other hand, World Anvil features specific plans for access to Sage, which include:
- 6-month plan – $175
- Yearly plan – $300
World Anvil Promo Code
With World Anvil promo codes, you get subscription discounts. Check out the available ones below:
- 10 percent Purchase Discount: XPTOLEVEL3 or GINNY
- 20 percent Off One Regular Price Item: OVERLYSARCASTIC
- 40 percent Off Your Orders: GOLDENNIE
- 20 percent Discount on six months or 1 Year Plans: CRITICALROLE
Ease of Use
World Anvil has all the essential tools for worldbuilding. Although the software is not difficult to use, its user interface is not the friendliest.
For example, the use of a right-aligned menu makes it impossible to have a full-screen view when building your worlds, and there’s the use of CSV syntax in building tables, amongst others. Hence, I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.
As a worldbuilding and RPG writing software, World Anvil has all of the necessary features and more. There are numerous features for everyone; Gamemasters, Writers, Creatives, and Players.
World Anvil stands as one of the best worldbuilding software for writing in the world. Therefore, I rate it 5 out of 5 stars in this regard.
World Anvil users can get help from various channels, including social media, documentation, FAQs, and email messaging. As a result, their customer service is a staunch one.
However, some users might prefer getting support over the phone via helplines that aren’t available. Therefore, World Anvil gets 4 stars out of 5.
Value for Money
You can use World Anvil for free with access to the basic features. That alone is ideal for saving money.
Furthermore, World Anvil features three premium plans with relatively affordable monthly pricing, and you can subscribe for 3 months, 6 months, or a year to get reduced rates. Again, I rate World Anvil 5 stars out of 5.
World Anvil Pros
- Worthwhile features
- Free plan
- Affordable pricing
- Reliable customer support and resources
- Reliable security
- Supports collaboration
World Anvil Cons
- No phone support
- Might require a bit of time to get used to the interface
Best World Anvil Alternatives
Campfire is a platform created to help writers in imagining, planning, and telling their stories. You can use this software on a Windows or Mac PC, and there are two versions available – Campfire Pro and Campfire Blaze.
So far, the software has been downloaded more than 50,000 times, and about 4 million words are written monthly by users. Some of the world-building features available on Campfire include command structures, species, magic, religions, languages, etc.
If you use Campfire, be assured that your works are safe. They can be stored locally on your PC to prevent unapproved access. With the Steam version, you can further save your files securely on the Steam Cloud.
You can get help via LiveChat or contact form. Resources available include tutorials, FAQ pages, and templates.
You can try Campfire for free for 10 days. Afterward, you can opt for any of the pricing plans below:
- Pro + WorldBuilding Pack – $74.98 one time purchase
- Pro Plan – $49.99 one time purchase
Verdict: While you might have more features on World Anvil, Campfire is good enough, and with the one-time purchase payment method, you can save more money.
2. World Scribe
Averi Studios launched World Scribe in 2017. It is a free worldbuilding mobile application for Android mobile devices. Like World Anvil, it supports wiki-like writing and an advantage is that you can use it without an internet connection.
From Google Playstore statistics, the application has recorded over 50,000 installs and is rated 4 stars out of 5 from over 600 reviews.
World Scribe features world elements called Articles with five categories, which include items, people, places, concepts, and groups. With these Articles, you can easily create your fictional setting.
It is easy to connect these Articles and with Snippets, you can assign unique custom texts to any of them.
The app developers are still looking to add more features, and there could be a renewed version of the app soon. Not to mention, it is an open-source project on Github so any developer can contribute to its development.
If you encounter issues when using the software, you can only get help via email.
Verdict: The difference between World Scribe and World Anvil is noticeable. World Scribe is a mobile app and an ideal alternative if you want to build worlds using your Android device. Furthermore, you don’t need to pay for World Scribe.
This is a World Anvil alternative for “Master Storytellers.” With One Stop For Writers, you not only have access to tools that make worldbuilding and writing easy; you also get inspiration on what to write and how to plan your structures.
Some of One Stop For Writers’ features include the Character Builder, Timelines, Idea Generator, Worksheets, Thesauruses, Story Maps, etc.
It is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux PCs, Android, and iOS mobile phones.
In terms of support resources, One Stop For Writers provides documentation, a FAQ page, and a blog. You can also reach them on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.
Additionally, you can get direct support by sending an email.
You can use One Stop For Writers for free on a 2-week trial basis. Listed below are its premium subscription plans:
- 1 Month Subscription Plan – $9
- 6 Month Subscription Plan – $50
- 12 Month Subscription Plan – $90
Verdict: I would name One Stop For Writers as the best World Anvil alternative for both worldbuilding and writing. The platform has as many tools as World Anvil, while its thesaurus collection features give it an edge. What’s more? One Stop for Writers is more affordable.
Is World Anvil Legit?
To answer straightly, yes – World Anvil is a legit platform. The website is there for you to visit, and with a free account, you can start using it with no risk involved.
Already, World Anvil boasts thousands of users and visitors on their website. Using data from SEMrush, we know that:
- World Anvil ranks among the first 40,000 websites in the world.
- World Anvil ranks among the first 15,000 websites in the United States.
- Also, World Anvil ranks among the first 20 websites in the role-playing games category.
- World Anvil gets visitors from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Czech Republic, and over 200 other countries.
As mentioned earlier, there’s a World Anvil community on Discord with more than 30,000 users. If it weren’t a legit platform, it wouldn’t be commanding such numbers.
So far, in this World Anvil review, we’ve looked at what the platform is all about, its features, ratings, pros and cons, etc.
You will agree that World Anvil is an ideal platform for worldbuilding, fiction, and RPG writing. With features like the World Anvil map maker, character creator, diplomacy webs, roll tables, etc., you can build any type of fictional world with this software.
Additionally, World Anvil is affordable. Plus, you can access its basic plan for free.