168 World Building Prompts for Creating Items

These world building prompts come from 3000 World Building Prompts, which you can get at Amazon. This section is focused on creating items, including Artificial Intelligence.

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  1. Does the type of item have a name?
  2. Does the item itself have a name?
  3. Is the item ordinary or distinctive in appearance?
  4. What does it look like?
  5. Is the item supernatural/magical?
  6. Is this obvious, like with a wizard’s staff?
  7. If it’s magical, what activates the magic? What deactivates it?
  8. What spell(s) is in it?
  9. Is the item technological?
  10. If magical or technological, can the object be used a set number of times?
  11. Can it be “recharged?”
  12. What are the limits on its powers?
  13. Is the item worn?
  14. Is the item portable?
  15. If so, is its function solely supernatural or does it serve a purpose, like a sword, that is augmented?
  16. If so, in what way(s) is it augmented?
  17. Are there items that prevent magic from working within their radius?
  18. Is the item sentient?
  19. If so, how much awareness does it have through touch, feel, sight, and sound?
  20. Can the item speak?
  21. If so, does it do so aloud or through telepathy? Both?
  22. Do you intend for the item to be lost and then found?
  23. If the item is not magical or technological, what is its significance?
  24. Who created this item? What species were they?
  25. Who was the item created for?
  26. How old it is?
  27. Where was it created?
  28. Were any special materials used in its creation?
  29. Are its properties obvious even to one who has never seen such an item before?
  30. Is training or knowledge required to get the most out of it?
  31. Are there any hidden features and what are they?
  32. Is a talent or innate ability needed to manipulate it?
  33. Who has the item now or is it unknown?
  34. Who is believed to have the item now?
  35. Has the item fallen into the wrong hands?
  36. Can the item be destroyed?
  37. Does anything unusual happen when the item is destroyed?
  38. Can it be recreated?
  39. How common is the item? Is there only one?
  40. How valuable is the item? Is that the value monetary or something else?
  41. Is it possible to buy one of these?
  42. As its inventor, how can you use this item?
  43. How can your characters use this item?
  44. Who, if anyone, is searching for this item or covets it, and how close are they to succeeding?
  45. Does it have any effect on the possessor?
  46. Is that effect only when worn/equipped?
  47. Does it influence those within a radius and, if so, how far from it?
  48. Can the item be activated/deactivated and how?
  49. Can those with a sixth sense detect its presence or true nature?
  50. Are there any restrictions based on race, class, gender, etc.?
  51. How is it used?
  52. If the item is technological, how reliable is it?
  53. How durable is it?
  54. What typically goes wrong with it?
  55. How easily repaired is it?
  56. Are the parts hard to find or expensive?
  57. How hard is it to replace?
  58. Is the interface great or awful?
  59. Are there third-party after-market add-ons available and what are they?
  60. If so, what do they compensate for or improve? Or do they restrict it?
  61. How is the battery life?
  62. Can the item connect digitally to others and what is the benefit or drawback of doing so?
  63. Which technologies can/can’t it interface with?
  64. What company manufactured it?
  65. What is the reputation of that company and their products?

Artificial Intelligence

The following prompts can be used to create an A.I.

  1. Does the AI have a gender?
  2. Can the AI change gender?
  3. Is the AI audio only?
  4. Does it appear on video screens only?
  5. Can the AI appear as a hologram?
  6. Can the AI change its appearance?
  7. If so, are there limits on that?
  8. Is the appearance full-bodied or just a head?
  9. How pleasant is the AI? Or is it abrasive?
  10. Is that intentional or is it not programmed to understand reactions to it?
  11. How lifelike is the AI? Do people mistake it for real?
  12. Does it look real but its mannerisms or lack of personal warmth reveal its true nature?
  13. Is it capable of completely fooling even intimate lovers into believing it is not a machine?
  14. If so, are such AI common, rare, or never seen before?
  15. Are people aware of that such AI exist? How do they feel about it?
  16. What type of systems can the AI interface with?
  17. How secure is the AI from data breaches and hacks?
  18. What safety measures are in place if either happens?


  1. How old is this AI?
  2. What advantages does this model have over previous or new ones?
  3. What disadvantages does it have?
  4. Is it considered outdated or new?
  5. Can it still be upgraded or have technology changes made that impossible?
  6. Is the AI aware that it is becoming obsolete?
  7. Does it accept that it has a technological lifespan?
  8. Or does it want to live forever?
  9. If so, what is it prepared to do to achieve that?
  10. Has it let anyone (or another AI) know of its desire or intentions?
  11. Is anyone helping it achieve such a goal?
  12. Is that illegal?
  13. What is the penalty?
  14. Has anyone tried to do that before and succeeded?
  15. Or are they now a cautionary tale?
  16. Is this AI known for glitches?
  17. Or slow boot up times?
  18. How does it act when something is wrong with it?
  19. Are there fail safes in place to shut down its access to certain systems?


  1. Where is the AI normally housed?
  2. Can the AI inhibit a machine like a robot?
  3. Can it be transferred to another device?
  4. If so, how long does that take?
  5. How much of a technological match must there be for the transfer to work?
  6. Do these transfers partially work?
  7. If so, what elements are not present afterward?
  8. What limits are there when it is not in its ideal or original device?
  9. Is there a limit on how far it can move from where it is normally housed?
  10. If so, is the amount of information taken with it less?
  11. Can the AI be transferred back to its original housing?
  12. If not, why not?
  13. If so, is it fully restored as before?
  14. Or is it impaired?
  15. What aspects of it might not function the same anymore?
  16. How much risk of impairment is there?


  1. What is the primary role or purpose of the AI?
  2. What are its secondary roles?
  3. What can the AI control?
  4. What can’t it control?
  5. Can the AI shut off life support?
  6. Is this AI the only one of its kind?
  7. Is it a prototype?
  8. To how much information does the AI have access?
  9. Does the AI respect the privacy of personal data it can access, not revealing it to others?
  10. Under what circumstances will it reveal it?
  11. Can it fire weapons?
  12. Can the AI anticipate actions or intent? To what degree?
  13. Does the AI have directives it follows? What are they?
  14. Does the AI have a directive about preserving life?
  15. If so, does that extend to all life? Sentient life? Only some species?
  16. Which species or race invented the AI?
  17. Has the AI been restricted by its inventors in any way?
  18. Can the AI be changed by those with the right access?
  19. If so, in what ways can it be changed?
  20. Who has the ability and permission to change the AI?
  21. Who, if anyone, is in command of the AI?
  22. Does the AI obey or only appear to do so?
  23. Can the AI be turned off? How?
  24. If so, how long does it take to power up the AI once again?
  25. Are there self-aware AI who want to eliminate biological life?
  26. Or reduce it to slavery or second-class citizens?
  27. If so, how many of them? Is there an entire society of them?
  28. Have then, in fact, taken over anywhere?
  29. Are they on the way to another part of your setting?
  30. How do they go about conquest?
  31. Do they resort to war?
  32. If so, why? Are they impatient? Destructive? Have superior technology?
  33. Do they spread disease and wait for life to die?
  34. If so, why? Are they patient? Vulnerable? Inferior technology?
  35. Do the infiltrate and manipulate in secret?
  36. If so, why? Are they patient? Vulnerable? Inferior technology?
  37. Do they enjoy that?
  38. How can they be detected?
  39. What countermeasures have they developed to evade detection?
  40. Is there a new way they cannot counter yet?
  41. If so, who invented it and where?
  42. How widespread is that new countermeasure?
  43. What do their vessels look like?
  44. Has this model AI, or this exact one, ever started a confrontation?
  45. If so, what caused it?
  46. What happened?
  47. What was the outcome?
  48. Is there a known vulnerability to this model?
  49. Is there a known defect?
  50. Does only the manufacturer know and there’s been a cover up?
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