Review: Kobold Press – The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding


The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding
The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding is a collaborative fantasy reference product published by Kobold Press.
By Venus De Coy

Learn more about The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding here
Purchase The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding here
Find other Kobold Press products here

Roleplaying games and fantasy fiction are filled with rich and fascinating worlds: the Forgotten Realms, Glorantha, Narnia, R’lyeh, Middle-Earth, Barsoom, and so many more. It took startling leaps of imagination as well as careful thought and planning to create places like these: places that readers and players want to come back to again and again.

CONTENT

I normally don’t like to give mega spoilers away, but there have been many who have been asking if this is a book that covers everything. This book talks about everything from creating pantheons, guilds, cities, nations, environment, culture and all of the insane things that come with building a world for both play and for fiction.

With essays from the best world and adventure writers in the RPG business which include: Wolfgang Baur, Keith Baker, Monte Cook, David “Zeb” Cook, Jeff Grubb, Scott Hungerford, Chris Pramas, Jonathan Roberts, Michael A. Stackpole, and Steve Winter, this is a guide that writers, whether RPG or fantasy fiction, should take advantage of.

The Kobold Guide To Worldbuilding is available at Paizo.com, DriveThru RPG, and for the Amazon Kindle for the price of 12.99. Print version is available for 19.99 as well.  (But for Amazon Kindle readers, it’s $10!)

OVERALL

I don’t wish to give Wolfgang Baur an epic ego, but this book is AMAZING. Every time I read an essay in this book, I had to personally stop and write down thoughts and ideas that came from the essay themselves. If you have been wondering whether or not to write your own personal world, this is the book that will get you writing in minutes!

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: The layout is done in an essay style. It reminded me of academic journals from my college days, but I endured. I would have liked a little more layout or a pop of color or some art. But the sell of this is the essays, not the shiny layouts that I am normally used to seeing.

Ease of Mobility: I have both the flat PDF version, that I received as a Christmas gift from a fellow friend, and purchased the the Amazon Kindle version, thanks to some textbook credits I got as the result of my last semester as a student for a while. The PDF version is very nice, light and simple. The Kindle edition is a little more cumbersome, but that’s not the publisher’s fault. Amazon has a interesting way of formatting publications so I won’t ding them for that.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10
Mechanically, I would have liked more. It would have been nice to learn more about how the pros do it, but I understand that again, this book is designed to get world writers to do it themselves. But I would like some more tips about organizing a world, and what’s important to have and what can wait for later expansions. But this is more a minor detail than a deal breaker. (Perhaps this is a good sign for a Volume 2?)

Value Add: 10 out of 10
So I got this using Christmas money from a fellow friend, and along with one other item I purchased, were some of the best Christmas presents I received this past Christmas. World Building is a daunting task to many, and Kobold Press gives you so many ideas to write that world, that there is no reason for you to NOT be writing your world into the mainstream. This is one of those books, you will be referencing for months if not years to come.

Overall: 10 out of 10
In the RPG world, there are a lot of books that talk about creating a place to call your own. This book, however, hits it out of the park by challenging the reader to build the worlds that haven’t yet been created. Who knows? This book may inspire you to be the next Narnia or Middle Earth. Only you can determine that, and this book is the gateway to it.

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3 Comments

  1. ryanheck says:

    Thanks for the helpful review. I kinda knew I wanted to pick this up, but this just clarifies. Mind going into a little more detail about why the Kindle version was cumbersome?

  2. LadyOphelia says:

    Hi there!

    When Kindle does formatting for their books, it kind of just takes the text and slaps it on there. If you own a Kindle Fire or Paperwhite, it will be really hard to move through the essay and it puts the titles wherever it wants. Now this isn’t the Publisher’s Fault, as Amazon does it’s own thing. But it just makes searching harder. Those who have just straight reader Kindles, will find it just fine, because it goes into plain text, and so it auto keeps the chapter and format breaks better. Again, not Kobold Quarterly’s fault, which is why I don’t ding them too hard about it.

  3. ryanheck says:

    Right, I wasn’t assuming fault to Kobold. Was curious because the Kindle version was the one I was considering picking up. This’ll help make my decision. Thanks!