Chronicles is a new feature on World Anvil that lets you map your world’s history by creating a record of events and locations! It’s not just a regular timeline tool, though—with Chronicles, you interactively interconnect events and places on a map. This lets you and your audience (readers or players) visually identify where each event took place!
The information on this blog post might be outdated! Check the documentation for the most up-to-date information about this feature.
What is Chronicles?
Chronicles is designed to make explaining your world lore extremely easy! Instead of having your players read pages of history to understand your D&D campaign’s backstory, you can just give them your chronicle. Its timeline is not only very easy to understand, it’s also visually connected to a map! This means that, instead of having to imagine where everything took place, you can just see it! And, come on, who doesn’t love a good interactive map, right?
Of course, you can also link all events to articles in your world for those who really want to dig into your lore! These are just some ways you can use Chronicles for your novel or RPG campaign:
Map your entire world’s history
History is a very important part of any world building project! Just creating a basic history with two or three eras and some important historical events sprinkled in will make your audience (players or readers) believe that the world is so much deeper. It’s the illusion of depth! Now, you could, of course, use the old-school method and just write a text wall with your world’s history… or you could use Chronicles for a much more visual and appealing approach!
History is not a straight line: events overlap, which is why a Chronicle’s timeline has four parallel lanes where you can place events (and it can have multiple timelines too!). This means that you can show easily what’s going on at the same time in different parts of the world. Plus, since it’s so visual, understanding how events relate to each other and their consequences is a piece of cake!
Specific events or places in detail
Trying to explain with traditional prose everything that happened in a single place (or all the different phases of a single event) can be very difficult. Most people will have a hard time understanding paragraphs upon paragraphs of exposition—but with Chronicles, it’s super easy! You can scale the timeline down to hours and even minutes, so you can details things like a battlefield or a heist!
Or, if you want to clearly see everything that happened in a single place, just click the map marker and Chronicles will show you a timeline of that place!
Document your campaign’s events
If you’re anything like me, you love looking back at past games and remembering the epic events (and silly shenanigans) your party got involved with. Well, what if you could see these memories? Of course, you might already have session reports or notes, but why not put everything on a map that your players can interact with? It will be a great way to integrate the party’s adventures into the world’s lore and to reminisce about your adventures together too!
Cataclysms and world-changing events
Does your world have an event that changed the shape of the world? You can show that in Chronicles! Since you can link events to different maps, your players or readers will be able to see how the world changed after that asteroid came (or whatever it was)! Of course, you can use changing maps for other things too. For example, you could have four maps, one for each season! Or you could explain the geological history of the planet, using different maps to show how the continents changed shape.
How to map your world’s history with Chronicles
You can access your world’s Chronicles from the “Timelines” option in the sidebar. You’ll see the list of Chronicles under the “Chronicles” header!
When you create a Chronicle, a creation wizard will help you through the set-up process, which includes setting up the calendar and uploading the map. If your Chronicle is for a D&D or Pathfinder setting, there are pre-defined calendars for Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, and Golarion Absalom. But you can also create your own if you prefer!
After setting up the chronicle, follow these quick steps to create your first event:
- Right-click anywhere on the map to create a pin. Place it on the map, in the location where an event took place. Its name should be the location and it can be linked to an article the explains more about the place.
- Then, right-click anywhere on the timeline to create a new event. Fill in the details and link it to the marker you created.
And that’s it! Of course, there are many more options to create a chronicle in exactly the way you need to—but these three steps will be enough to get you started. If you’re looking for a more detailed guide on the feature, check out the Codex documentation or the YouTube video:
Chronicles are available for Masters of the Guild and above tiers, so create an account on World Anvil and map your world’s history today!
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