The 2020 Worldbuilder’s Checklist

With a new year upon us, we thought it was about time to update the Worldbuilder’s Checklist, originally published in our first issue of 2019, Death & Taxes. Our 2020 iteration contains a total of 192 prompts that will help you build and map your world, design cultures and histories, and ask even the mundane (or very detailed) questions like “What are your streets made of?”

When reading the list, consider how others have responded to these same questions as well as how our own history answers them! For example, in Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage novels we see characters make use of hackney cabs—carriages meant for public transport like taxis are used today. This addresses the issue of transport around the series’ main city of Adopest while also helping us place the setting on a timeline. Additionally, in our own world’s history, we see examples of people exerting their influence on art and culture. The Medicis were major patrons of the arts and would often insert themselves into religious works, such as how the Medici family crest appears in Fra Filippo Lippi’s painting of The Annunciation.

Of course, it is important to also consider how you’ll use your dragons, what you’ll name the places in your world, and these other more commonly asked questions—but we ask that you don’t discount the details either.

For more prompts, consider joining our Discord server, too. We post a new worldbuilding prompt there every Wednesday for you to work on or answer.

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