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Art of World Building Podcast Logo

In The Art of World Building Podcasts, host Randy Ellefson discusses how authors, screenwriters, game designers, gamers, and hobbyists can do world building better, faster, and have more fun doing it. Popular topics include creating gods, species, animals, plants, races, monsters, undead, continents, settlements, kingdoms, star systems, time, history, cultures, magic systems, religions, the supernatural, naming everything, and travel estimates for land, sea, and space.

The Art of World Building Podcast is based on the three volume series of the same name. Not all of the book content will be discussed, but the same subjects (and more) will be covered with less or more detail.

The show schedule is every two weeks on Tuesdays.

Each episode has a transcript at the bottom for those who prefer to read it. Since Randy is also a pro-level guitarist, his music is used for the intro and ending credits and various info breaks presented. Every show will also conclude with a full song to round out the episode.

Where to Listen

iTunes, Podbean or Podbean RSS, Stitcher, Google Play Music

Podcasts

Episode 20: Learn How to Create Places of Interest

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how to create places of interest, including catacombs, interstellar sites, ruins, monuments, and more. Learn how easy these are to create and how they can improve interest in your setting and story.

Episode 19: Learn How to Create Time & History

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how to create time and history, including why we should usually keep timekeeping like minutes, hours, weeks, and more similar to Earth, and how to create historical events.

Episode 18 Learn About Travel in Space

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about travel in space. This includes the different types of engines, what to include inside a ship, and why we have a lot of freedom to decide how long it really takes to get anywhere.

 

Episode 17: Learn About Travel Over Water

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how travel over water is impacted by wind, ship types, and more. Learn how to determine travel times over water when using oars or the wind. This includes ship types like the frigate, galley, ship-of-the-line, and more.

Episode 16: Learn About Travel Over Land

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how to determine travel times for horses, wagons, people and more through various kinds of terrains and what can slow us down, and how.

Episode 15.2: Learn How to Create Settlements

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how  to create a settlement. This includes the differences between an outpost, village, town, city, and even settlements in space.

Episode 15.1: Learn How to Create Settlements

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how to create a settlement, including how location, terrain, water supply, Old Town, neighbor settlements, zoning, and secrets can make for a more interesting setting for your story.

Episode 14.3: Learn How to Create Sovereign Powers

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how population, location, climate, symbols, and tensions between a sovereign power and others can all enrich your kingdom, republic, dictatorship, and more.

Episode 14.2: Learn How to Create Sovereign Powers

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how to create sovereign powers by understanding government types like federations, unitary states, kingdoms, dictatorships, authoritarian states, oligarchies, republics, and more, including how they rise and fall.

Episode 14.1: Learn How to Create Sovereign Powers

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how to create sovereign powers like kingdoms, dictatorships, republics, and more. This includes what sovereignty is, how it is gained and lost, the divine right of kings, some roles like head of state and what each means, and branches of government.

Episode 13.2: Learn How to Create Land Features

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how to create land features, including grasslands, deserts, and various kinds of wetlands like bogs, fens, marshes, and swamps.

Episode 13.1: Learn How to Create Land Features

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how to create land features, including mountains, volcanoes, rivers, lakes, and various kinds of forests, from woodlands to savannahs, jungles, and run-of-the-mill forests.

Episode 12: Learn How to Create a Continent

Listen as host Randy Ellefson concludes our talk about how to create a continent, including hemisphere considerations, understanding plate tectonics, and when to use what term for bodies of water, like oceans, seas, bays, and more.

Episode 11 (Part 2): Learn How to Create Planets

Listen as host Randy Ellefson concludes our talk about how to create a planet and focuses on climates. This includes understanding the role of the equator and oceans, climate zones, prevailing winds, rain shadows, and of course the climates themselves.

Learn how to create planets podcast

Episode 11 (Part 1): Learn How to Create Planets

Listen as host Randy Ellefson continues exploring how to create a planet. Learn about its rotation, other planets in the solar system, asteroids, comets, constellations, and the impact of the Sun and Moon on tides, hours in the days, and seasons.

Episode 10 (Part 2): Learn How to Create Undead

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how and when to create undead. Learn about their goals, traits, how to kill them, and what uses we can put them to.

Episode 10 (Part 1): Learn How to Create Undead

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how and when to create undead. Decide whether you should create undead at all, what their minds are like and how this will affect them, their origins and how that influences their behavior, and learn to classify them.

Episode 9: Learn How to Create Animals

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how and when to create animals. Consider the purpose your animals will serve for you as a creator or for your characters in their lives, including products, food, decoration, symbols, and medicinal uses. Learn how animals are classified to better organize your inventions, determine what to create, and have a balanced portfolio. Finally, learn how to get started.

Episode 8: Learn How to Create Plants

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how and when to create plants. Consider the purpose your plants will serve for you as a creator or for your characters in their lives, including products, food, decoration, symbols, and medicinal uses. Learn how plants are classified to better organize your inventions, determine what to create, and have a balanced portfolio. Finally, learn how to get started.

Episode 7: Learn How to Create Monsters

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how and when to create monsters. Learn the differences between monsters and animals, and monsters and species. Use habitat to make them more compelling. Figure out how their origins can make them memorable, whether they were created by accident, on purpose, or by evolution. Finally, determine their motivation because even monsters want something, and knowing this will determine everything they do.

Episode 6: Learn How to Create World Figures

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about how to create world heroes, villains, martyrs, and more. This includes determining why they’re famous, what kinds of weapons, armors, ships, steeds, or other items they have, considerations for when they’re dead OR alive, what made them famous, their relationships with family, and how all of this can make them more memorable if done right.

Episode 5, Part 3: Learn How to Create Species and Races

Listen as host Randy Ellefson explores how to create species and races, including how gods can influence them, how characteristics like morale, charisma, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, agility, and more can create more depth, and their relationship with other species and world view. Conclude with where to start!

Episode 5, Part 2: Learn How to Create Species and Races

Listen as host Randy Ellefson explores how to create species and races, including overall attitude and disposition, what some call “alignment.” Is good vs. evil a viable approach or too restrictive? How else can get this across? With their appearance, do we want them able to masquerade as each other or not? What do their physical features say about them? Learn the pros and cons of multiple races of a species and how this can improve depth and our options.

Episode 5, Part 1: Learn How to Create Species and Races

Listen as host Randy Ellefson explores how to create species and races, when to use which term, and how to structure your species and races intelligently. We also look at whether world builders need to invent them at all; the answer may be different for science fiction vs. fantasy. Finally, we look at the minimum and maximum that can be done when inventing one and how to balance the work.

Episode 4, Part 2: Learn How to Create Gods and Pantheons

Listen as host Randy Ellefson explores how to create gods, including whether they are good, evil, or neutral, and different ways to identify them, from symbols to nicknames and patronage. Do your gods interact with the world and under what restrictions? What have they created and has anything unexpected happened with? Finally, we discuss how to get started inventing deities.

Podcast Episode 4

Episode 4, Part 1: Learn How to Create Gods and Pantheons

Listen as host Randy Ellefson explores how to create gods, whether we need to create them and the considerations we need in fantasy and science fiction. Decide whether your gods are real and their impact on the species/races. Learn the advantages of pantheons vs. a single god. Decide where the gods live and how difficult it is to reach them.

Podcast Episode 3

Episode 3: Learn All About How Many Worlds to Build and Why!

Listen as host Randy Ellefson explores how many worlds you should create over the course of your career. Is it better to build a world for each project or one world for all stories? You could end up building 20 worlds, which is a lot of work. When is it better to just create one world and keep reusing it? What are the pros and cons of each approach?

Podcast Episode 2

Episode 2: How to use Earth Analogues without Getting Caught!

Listen as host Randy Ellefson talks about whether you need to build a world or not, and how and when to use Earth analogues as a springboard for your imagination. The Rule of Three will help you avoid getting caught, too! Analogues are a fundamental concept that no listener should skip.

Podcast Episode 1

Episode 1: Introduction to The Art of World Building Podcast

Listen as host Randy Ellefson explains the vision for The Art of World Building Podcast and what you can expect from the series and each episode. He’ll also be introducing himself and briefly talking about his thirty years of world building experience. Some caveats and definitions are also covered. This is a good primer that no listener should skip.

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