This week isn’t going to be a post that’s actually about the world of Erylia. Instead, this post will be more for other world builders that don’t already know about this tool. As the Dungeon Master for Adventures in Erylia, I have come to absolutely love online tools to help make my work easier, more organized, and most importantly, digital. We have adopted Dungeon Fog for making battle maps, D&D Beyond for character management, and now I am testing out one for world building.
World Anvil Introduction
World Anvil is a newer resource that is making its way around the world building communities. It is currently in an open beta, and is funded as a subscription through their Patreon, but it is possible to use it for free as well. Right now, what is seen as the main downside of a free account is that your can’t have your world set as private. From what I have seen, you can still use the tool privately by leaving things as drafts, but you can’t share anything that way. Choosing to become one of their backers on Patreon allows you to set your world building efforts as private, but I am not sure what that does at this moment. There are some other features exclusive to their Patrons, such as higher individual upload limits and storage space, co-author slots, and subscriber slots. From what I could gather, subscriber slots are meant to be given out to people as premium access to your world building efforts, allowing you to do things like allow your own patrons to view content early.
Right now, I am using World Anvil as a free user, for a few reasons. I have only just started using World Anvil last weekend, so I want to get more familiar with the resource before I get myself hyped over premium features in case I stop using it. I am also in the very early stages of adding content to Erylia’s page and I want to have things better integrated before I decide to upgrade my account. I can say that so far, as a free user, I am happy with the resource.
I have set all of the work I have done so far to public, so feel free to take a look, but there is only a skeleton right now. Before filling in content, my plan is to continue getting this skeleton set up so that I have an idea of how I want to organize things and sort them. Already, I have noticed one section I want to improve. I have Syvahl set as both a category and a location, which is making it show up twice. I haven’t decided how I want to fix this yet, but I want things like this to stand out to me before I fill in the content and decide I want to cut out one of the pages.
Why World Anvil?
Though I have only been using World Anvil for a short time, I feel it is an improvement over how I do things right now. Currently, I have things set up in two OneNote notebooks. One of them is my DM version which I use for writing things down I don’t want to open up to the players yet, for example, the events in Cassien’s backstory. The other one is shared with all of the players for information that they have free access to, and for them to write things about their characters for me. My organization with OneNote is a mess. I have section groups of the continents, filled with sections for each region, filled with pages for various pieces of important info. Short of having massively long pages that can get difficult to move from topic to topic in, there is no way for me to organize beyond that, so I have pages that are specifically designed as headers to group other pages. One of the problems with this, is it means that someone like as important as Cassien, a key NPC, shows up the same as someone like Merielle, a shop keep that made an appearance exactly once.
World Anvil fixes this issue for me by giving me sections, nested in sections, nested in sections. The way things are set up. many of these sections are optional too, so I don’t need to use all of them, I can use as many, or as few, as I like. Information is also able to be linked and referenced across the various parts of my world. I quickly set up a very short article for The Den to demonstrate some of this. There is a code on Cassien’s page, which I am able to put into the article for The Den, in order to make a clickable link. Also, the information on the building page allows me to set an owner out of the characters I have created, allowing me to link Cassien from the sidebar as well as it’s owner. Honestly, there are so many features and options that I have barely scratched the surface and as I delve deeper into World Anvil, expect me to write about it again. For now, I just wanted to bring more people’s attention to this so far awesome tool.