Family Trees for writing, worldbuilding, and tabletop games were the NUMBER ONE requested feature for World Anvil in 2019! So imagine how happy we are to announce this. THEY’RE HERE! AND THEY’RE AWESOME! Let me tell you more…
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Family Trees for Writing and Gaming
Family trees for writing or for gaming are an excellent tool! You can use them to create great noble houses, like the Family Trees in Game of Thrones. And they can help you figure out who should be King. Or else, who’ll inherit the goods in a rich family. But even more, you can use family trees for writing about genetic conditions and traits. Is magic inherited in your world? Are there diseases that pass down the family tree? Or maybe you’re playing a Vampire the Masquerade game or writing an Urban Fantasy novel? Family trees can be used to track bloodlines of powerful vampires, werewolves or other supernatural species. In fact, Family Trees are a worldbuilding gold mine, and we’re thrilled to have them ready for you!
The information on this blog post might be outdated! Check the documentation for the most up-to-date information about this feature.
How do World Anvil’s Family Trees work?
As always, we’ve tried to make things as simple as possible for you! So the Family Trees will AUTOGENERATE based on the information you set about your characters!
In World Anvil, go to a character article. Right under the Relationships tab, you’ll find you can set the biological parents of the character! Just start writing the name of the parent and the character will pop up in the dropdown menu. And if you haven’t already created that character in your World Anvil world, just click the blue plus button, where it says “Create a new character and link it”. Voila – a small form with First Name, Surname, Birth and Death dates pops up. This will automatically create a character article (in a draft state) for the new parent!
Now, on the right beneath the publishing controls (in red), you can see a new panel. This is the family tree panel! The character’s parents are shown as article links. Click on the name of the parent to go to their article, then add their parents
…. on and on until you have a gloriously vast family tree! And which you click “Copy Family Tree Embed”, the code for the family tree will be copied to your clipboard. You can see what that code looks like in the view mode – it’s squared in blue! Just paste the Family Tree embed code into any text field in an article… and check it out in the view mode!
So what information is shown in a World Anvil Family Tree?
Each character will appear on the tree with reference to a spotlighted character – that’s the focus of the layout. The spotlighted character has a gold ring around their profile. In the example below, you can see that Zhikuvar Alduin is the spotlighted character. Assuming you’ve added the information, each character will have a nickname and their full name (which will be a link to the character article). Birth and death dates also show if they’ve been added. When you mouse over a character on the family tree, you’ll see a little pop up showing their relationship to the spotlighted character!
And the blood drop with the cross through it? That shows that a character is NOT a blood relation of the spotlighted character. In the above example you can see that Moroya Alduin-Thorne is NOT a blood relative of Zhikuvar Alduin, but an adopted child.
The Interactive component of the Family Trees
Of course, you can drag the family tree around within the window to see all the members! The Family tree shows up to 5 generations from the spotlighted character, with children on the left, and parents on the right. So track left from the spotlighted character to children and grandchildren. And follow right from the spotlighted character to parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Siblings of the spotlighted character also appear above them, whilst partners who have children with the spotlighted character appear beneath. You can cycle through multiple spouses or partners of the spotlighted character by clicking the left and right buttons – the tree will reload with the children of your chosen couple.
And if you want to spotlight a different character? Just click a character’s profile picture, and the Family Tree will reload with THEM as the spotlighted character instead!
If you want to have a play with this interactive family tree, check it out here!
Family Trees and Bloodlines will both be available to all guild ranks Master and above ( Get your subscription or Upgrade )
What’s coming next?
But in true World Anvil style, WE WANT TO MAKE MOAR! We’re got additions coming to the Family Trees release – which we’ve nicknamed Project Hera – to make them even more awesome!
Bloodlines will be a special kind of family tree. Instead of tracking a whole extended family, they’ll focus exclusively on blood relations. You’ll be able to track the bloodline of either an individual or a couple. And this will help you track blood relationships through the ages! This is going to be awesome for Vampire the Masquerade games, tracking hereditary conditions, magic, and more!
I’m so excited about this feature. So, you know how Guild Members get those fancy article trees of related articles? Organograms is going to take this one step further. You’ll be able to create YOUR OWN article trees, and also mix article template types with them! This will be great for creating visuals of, for example:
- Schools of magic and their associated spells
- Countries, districts and their rulers
- Organizations and their members
You’ll be able to organize everything just as you want it! Perfect!
Where can I learn more about what’s next for Family Trees?
To learn more, keep your eyes on our blog and social media, especially Twitter and Facebook! And we also go live on Tuesdays and Saturdays (7pm London, 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern, 8pm Central European) with updates and to answer your questions, so tune in on Twitch and Youtube for more, and follow and subscribe so you don’t miss the show!
What are you going to use Family Trees for? Let me know in a comment and throw in a URL if you’ve already made one! It might get featured in future releases!
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My largest question about family tree embed is how can I scale the family tree to show more than 3-4 people? I’m currently creating a family tree for a character that has a LARGE family (19 siblings all from the same biological parents) and I’d like to be able to see the majority of these NPCs in the embed.
Without turning great-granny big mama into a vampire, I could see using this to generate interest in children about their actual family heritage. It looks fascinating
Oooo I’ve been waiting for features like this! I’m excited! 😀
Ooh! I definitely am using this for keeping track of my family tree. It’s theoretically huge and I can use it to help develop things, as well. Part of me wishes we could go in and do it manually and then link things, but this way also really works out if you’re already in the swing of linking things together. Thank you so much! I cannot WAIT for Bloodlines!
I love this!!! The only thing I wish is that you could see cousin relationships, uncles and aunts, nephews, etc. Famiily relationships of that nature. Like If person A has 3 kids, B, C and D, and B and D both have 2 kids…I can only see the kids of b when I’m looking at A or B. And I can only see D’s kids if I’m looking at A or D.
I know this is a huuuge nitpick because I still love what we have! But that being included would be awesome. Granted, hard because I know we don’t have clear male and female gender links. But maybe allowing custom additions could help with that. Regardless this has me thinking about so much and I’m excited!!
I really love the family tree, but there is one small downer for me. He only knows the generic names. Spouse, Child, Perent.
What I would really enjoy is if it learns to copy the names from relationships, for example, so that it can be told: This person is the daughter, this person is the husband, this person is the grandfather and this person is the lover.
That would be really brilliant.
In the world I’m working on right now there are multiple illegitimate and secret children. I’d like to have them on the family trees, but the parents are always listed as spouses. I hope that that’ll be changed later. Maybe so it shows what I wrote as there relationship is?
cool feature! it looks super useful and is laid out in a nice looking way. 🙂 I would love to see options to use this for political and cooperate hierarchies as well
Family trees cannot be used and will not be able to be used for anything other than character articles BUT Content Trees (under Charts) can do that very easily and they already do 🙂
Really nice guide. Looking forward to new articles from you!
I wish there was a sibling option.