Hey there, Anvilites! Today we come bearing a pretty incredible gift- so go grab your Tea and settle in.
So what’s this great gift? Well, some of you may remember that last year the staff of World Anvil released a questionnaire to the community. The point of it was pretty simple: To find out who you, our community members, thought the best worlds were on our platform. Over the last months of 2018, your votes were cast, and we paid close attention.
The results were finally announced during the World Ember 2018 Awards Ceremony in January this year- a fitting way to close out another of our flagship competitions and ring in the new year… And boy, did everyone deliver! Below we are proud to present you with the results, as announced during the massive 4+ hour stream.
5. Pronathea by Theiket
Unbeknownst to all but the most observant of folk, the world is changing, and a series of events are starting to unfold, events that have been waiting for millennia to come to fruition…. Who will answer the call to adventure that Pronathea is emanating from its very core?
As far as some of the worlds on our showcase list will go this week, our tie for 5th place comes across looking rather plain by comparison; even with extensive use of CSS behind the scenes, the simplicity of its design (combined with shorter articles and lower word counts) means it may look like an overly simple and potentially boring world to most.
But don’t be fooled by its stunning simplicity… Whether you’re reading The Veil of Stars or the Tales of the Ancients, wandering across The Whispering Island, or exploring The Golden Depths, it’s hard not to admit that Theiket has created a rich wold, here; on a site where more is usually the go-to, Pronathea’s shown that less can actually be more in the right hands.
5. Tairos by thechosenone
The bounty that Tairos had to offer wasn’t lost to disaster or destiny. It was squandered. Bought and sold, mined… depleted. Only when it was too late to reverse course did the people of Tairos fight back. All they succeeded in doing was to leave their homeland at the brink of death. Now, what remains is a continent that dreads whatever final cataclysm will push them over the edge. Only a brave few souls dare to embrace hope and fight to give Tairos a future.
Combining a stunning use of the Guild’s access to CSS with and a robust series of articles, it’s easy to see why Tairos made the community’s Best Worlds of 2018 list.
With an introduction that draws you in immediately, Tairos shows how a TTRPG campaign (in this case, Dungeons & Dragons) can be run using World Anvil… But more importantly, it’s a phenomenal example of how a TTRPG’s core elements (such as Races , Classes, and even Gods, Demons, and Dragons) can be adapted to a homebrewed setting- giving them a life that’s distinct from their foundation settings, while still retaining all the feel and flavor of the originals.
4: Skeigham by Vertixico
The world of Skeigham in some ways resembles our own in the early times of the soon-to-begin industrial revolution; new inventions and breakthroughs, both in magic and in science, make inventors richer, shake up the foundations of old structures, enlighten the people in new ways of magic and technology, but emphasize the differences between the various races on this world… The times may have never been so turbulent.
Like Pronathea, Skeigham is another world that may come across as overly simplistic given all the tools that World Anvil guild members have at their fingertips… But an excellent use of books and timelines- as well as consistent art design and formatting- really make Skeigham stand out as another great world among the Anvils.
This remains true whether you’re contracting Blue Steel Taint in Bun Daresh, visiting the Annual Darturian World Exposition of Science and Magic (what a marvelous mouthful that is!), or reading about The Traces of the Gods.
3: Istralar by Hanhula
Where else would a party of adventurers wander but a world full of elves, dragons and mystery? Istralar is a world built in the same universe as Paizo’s Golarion, using the same deities and general planes of existence and all, but maintaining an entirely different presence. Away from the happy lights of halfling villages and the beautiful harps played by peaceful elves lie dystopian empires that indoctrinate their citizens from birth, malevolent artefacts stolen from deities to destroy the very essence of life, and forms of magic that the gods themselves despise.
Istralar started as a city- but you’d never know it; the poster child of “I accidentally made a world”, Istralar has long since grown into something far more expansive and rich than Hanhula could have expected.
One of its most interesting features, though, is how it blends various genres into a single, near seamless setting- and its ability to make you laugh one moment, and sob the next; it’s easy to jump from the heartbreaking self sacrifice of Verti Ci’corie, to the technical Geography of Istralar, and the intriguing Heartforge of Iskaldhal, before laughing about the fact that Gnome Punting exists, and sobbing over a few heartbreaking Letters to Ashlyn… And yet at no point are you anything but enraptured by the land Hanhula has built here.
2: Araea by Qurilion
Araea is a weird-fantasy setting in a world where humanity has been forced to survive deep underground since time immemorial. In the dark, mankind have built cities and civilizations. They farm fungi and mushroom, raise insects as livestock and fight wars all far from the sun. Against all odds, mankind survives… Be wary where you tread- and welcome to Araea.
Exploding onto the scene during our flagship Summer Camp event of 2018, Qurilion was a regular frequenter of our Leaderboard Roundups here on the World Anvil blog… And he hasn’t slowed down yet; Qurilion is an absolute worldbuilding machine- and it shows in how every one of his worlds expands at breakneck speed, standing as monuments to fast-thinking and fast-organization.
With how often Qurilion pushed out articles, however, you’d probably be inclined to think his writing’s subpar… But From the Heavens, to the Far Deep (or more accurately: From Thaumaturgy, to Chnagahn Bug Pots), he proves that you can still create a rich and complex world even at breakneck speeds; Area’s second place win is certainly well deserved!
1: Ethnis coauthored by Ademal and Barron
Life and Death. Ecstasy and Agony. Love and Void. These are the elements of the Great Drama, this is the motion of The Wheel. Empires are forged, rise, burn, and are devoured in the blink of an eye. The divide between mortal and god is minute and the two constantly wrestle with the fact. Those who place their chips play a high stakes game, all who don’t have their chips torn from them and played anyways. Somewhere in this all is you. Who are you? What are you? Why are you? It’s a Cycle. There’s a Wheel and it’s spinning.
The world to grab out first place community vote is arguably the most well known, expansive, and interesting worlds to ever grace the pages of World Anvil- and, perhaps, the most ambitious; part novel series, part flash fiction, and, part TTRPG, there’s very little that Ethnis doesn’t do. But despite its expansive nature, after cruising through a stunning introduction article, joining the Circle of Ozahn, and setting down on Perduo, you’ll never want to leave.
Ademal and Barron themselves are a duo that would make any Anvilite green with envy- and all for very good reason; with amazing writing, and a creative use of guild features that occasionally pushes the boundaries of what World Anvil is even capable of, Ethnis feels just as expansive (and limitless) as the world it’s meant to host. Their articles are concise and provide enough information to pique your interest, while flavor text adds glimpses into the narrative universe… And plentiful links keep you gleefully exploring more of what the world has to offer.
This isn’t the end, of course… While you were voting on your picks, Staff has been busy behind the scenes combing through World Anvil and putting together a list of their own… Over the coming months we’ll be releasing the results here on the blog- so stay tuned for more exciting worlds to explore!
In the meantime, though, how about showing the above creators a little love? Head on over to their worlds and leave a like and a comment if you enjoy their content- or stop by and have a chat with them on our Discord Server!