Hey there, Anvilites! Today we come bearing a pretty incredible gift- so go grab your Tea and settle in.
Tea and comfort obtained?
Great! Let’s get started, then!
Remember back in February when we released the community picks for World Anvil’s best worlds? Remember when I said to stick around, because we still had more in store for you? Well I’m very happy to finally announce the first list of Staff Picks for best Worlds- and boy, are there some amazing ones here!
Before we get into it, though, I’ve gotta say… Our community hasn’t made this very easy on us. There’s so many amazing worlds, we’ve been absolutely blown away by the sheer creative power of the World Anvil community; choosing the contenders has undeniably been one of the hardest tasks we’ve ever come up against.
For that very reason, it’s important to note this series will never be an extensive collection of every standout world that exists. So if you don’t see your world on these lists, don’t despair! With over 230 thousand users, it’s impossible to cover all of them… But we Staff are incredibly proud of- and amazed by- all of your creations, regardless!
So without further ado, let’s get into this month’s Staff Picks!
⇝ Ironrise by TheChosenOne
Eighty years ago The First Generation woke up in Ironrise, a city they didn’t build and in a world they didn’t know. All they had were their names; given to them by simple identification tags that hung about their necks… Born out of the terror and chaos of those early days was the drive to conquer this unknown land, tame it and make it their own. Seven decades later all of known Spirel consists of five vast cities, dozens of wilderness settlements and limitless mysteries waiting to be discovered.
Born out of a homebrew rpg ran by one of it its lead creators, Ironrise quickly turned into an action packed horror and steampunk themed board game… And with all original artwork created by the team itself, beautiful CSS, and a compelling world filled with intrigue, it’s certainly hard not to be captivated- either by the boardgame, or the interesting world they’ve built around it.
Speaking of the board game: Currently in the final stages of production (you can pre-order it here) after a successful Kickstarter that netted the crew over twenty thousand dollars… Ironrise pits teams of heroes (including Katherine and Duncan) against teams of villains (such as Selena and Prime Minister Blackwell), and challenges them to tip the balance in the world of Spirel. Needless to say it’s on our play list and we’re eagerly awaiting its release!
⇝ Istaria by BK BASS
The Eldaran and the Drakhari have been at war for eons. Caught between these two armies of immortals is Liam, a simple city guardsman just hoping to make it through his mandatory years of service peacefully. When an Eldaran named Sira comes to him for help, he discovers how little he actually knew about not only his own world, but also himself.
Which came first- the Chicken, or the Egg? We may never know for certain, but we do know that Istaria’s the brain child of our beloved B.K. Bass- created for his much anticipated Eternity War trilogy, and its many planned spin-offs… And with stunning CSS, beautiful organization, and an intriguing setting, B.K’s Istaria is a prime example of how World Anvil can be used to help Authors flesh out (and host) the worlds created for their books.
Both well designed and well written, the setting feels vibrant and alive. And with plenty of information about the setting- ranging from settlements to Kingdoms, ethnicities, and entire lineages– you’ll rarely run out of links to jump through… But don’t worry. If you do manage to run out? Heir to Eternity (the first novel in the Eternity War trilogy) will be released eventually, giving you more opportunities to experience the world of Istaria.
⇝ Haven by Oneriwien
Lady Death has fallen from the heavens, her ever-smoldering corpse left as a grim reminder of the Nine’s greatest triumph and the plague now faced by the living. For you see, without the guidance of the Lady of Finality the dead now roam the world in growing hordes. Ghouls feast upon the flesh of the living while geists drive their minds to madness.
Haven exists as a merger of horror and fantasy, brought to you by one of the CSS Maestros of World Anvil: Oneriwien- the user behind several of the themes available to World Anvil guild members (and more)… And Haven shows only a portion of what Oni’s capable of; it looks like the grim Fantasy world that it is, while still looking crisp.
A campaign setting for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons, Haven’s a great world with a creepy pitch; beautiful maps, interesting creatures, unique organizations, well fleshed out locations, and fascinating cities, combine to create a moody and resplendent world- one with plenty of information available to help any outsider understand what’s going on.
⇝ Macalgra by XanthussMarduk
Strange gods meet in ancient halls above a blue world of vast oceans, heedless of the mortals who build grand cities and fight great wars below them. But this is the age of man, not the age of gods. Where does invention stop? Who even knows what mankind will do next. But that is for tomorrow… Today, the sun is high so come one, come all. Witness this strange fusion of science and magic that humanity has built. They call it Macalgra.
Brainchild of our own Sorcerer of Tea, Macalgra is a love letter to ancient civilizations- one which began as a simple short story. Despite that, it’s grown into what can only be described as an inspiration for authors that don’t want to follow the norm; using worldbuilding as much as philosophy to explore complex concepts, it takes readers on an adventure to answer one simple question that underpins its narrative: What would the Romans be like if they had magic?
The result is Macalgra, of course: A world where magic is critical to every function of society, and the social norms that you and I are familiar with in the here and now… Simply don’t exist; a world rife with Gods, powerful families, virulent diseases, and beautiful creation mythos, wrapped in stunning CSS and beautiful organization.
⇝ Saleh’Alire by YesLittleHummingbird
Five head escort needed for trek through Nisaba Pass to Dhamm… No crybabies or prissy sorts! Must be used to long travel, accustomed to survival living, and capable of handling both Tarrasques and Athelephine; speak to Guild Master Trovek. — Posting on a contract board in Ervig, Talaina’Vao; Tolara
Saleh’Alire started as a small campaign setting meant as a gift for my Husband. Over the last year, though, it’s turned into so much more than I could have ever imagined. But as the author of this series at the moment, I have to admit it’s a bit weird seeing my own name on the list- let alone writing about it here… So I’ll leave that to the experts who decided I was worthy in the first place. And in that regard, here’s what the great and glorious staff have been kind enough to say:
Saleh’Alire is a fantastic example of a player-oriented setting that even outsiders can enjoy… It’s well-organized- not just in terms of the world’s navigation, but also in its visual and narrative layout as well; each aspect of the world- from her concept of the Divine, to her Calendar, and even the thought put into her luxury items, and historical figures– lends to itself, and the homepage truly feels as if you stand on the threshold of a new adventure.
⇝ Brass by tjtrewin
The Shepherd lovingly watches over his flock as they blissfully munch away at the last daisies in The Blooming Pasture. The bitter chill of winter has arrived too soon, leaving an empty barn and starving animals. The Shepherd must leave his herd and bring back enough food for them to survive. Meanwhile, in the bustling city of Capstone, a grubby young lad by the name of Rusty must find a way to pay off the debt collectors before the month’s end. His plans of a peaceful midnight prowl on the shit-stained rooftops of the city are interrupted when he witnesses a kidnapping on the streets below.
Largely a product of our flagship SummerCamp and WorldEmber events, Brass has a certain elegant simplicity to it… Don’t be fooled by the simplicity, however. Like all of the simple worlds we’ve featured in this series so far, Brass is packed full of amazing content- from the land of Ves Palu, to the nightmare inducing Mosattan Scorpion (content advisory), and the fun filled tests of the Swordmaster’s Fair… Not to mention a gorgeous calendar, and a unique currency known as Pines.
It’s safe to say that Brass (the creative child of our very own Worldbuilding Wizard) is a world rich with detail and infinite potential, and its simplicity really only serves to highlight those facts; it’s the kind of world that showcases the artist as much as it does the world itself- blending the two together with key elements of formatting, art, and design that strongly reinforces the aesthetic of the world… And the tone of its storytelling.
This isn’t the end, of course… Staff has been busy combing through World Anvil, and the list isn’t complete yet. Over the coming months we’ll be releasing even more of the results from their digging, right here on the blog- so stay tuned for more exciting worlds to explore!
In the meantime, though, how about showing these six featured creators a little bit of that famous World Anvil 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!
I hope we get a new one this year