174 World Building Prompts on Creating Cultures

These world building prompts come from 3000 World Building Prompts, which you can get at Amazon. This section is focused on creating cultures, including social life, dining, clothing, greetings, social classes, and more.

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  1. What name can you refer to this culture by in your notes?
  2. Do you intend to use culture for culture clashes?
  3. Do you intend to use this culture to depict places as differing from each other?
  4. Do you intend to use this culture to define characters as different from each other?
  5. What is the scope (sovereign power, regional, settlement, knights, royalty, etc.) of the culture you are creating?
  6. What are the morals of this culture?
  7. What are the values of this culture?
  8. What are the beliefs of this culture?
  9. What is the vision (refined, barbaric) of this culture?
  10. What rituals have resulted? How often are they done and what do they signify?
  11. What habits have resulted? Who exhibits them?
  12. How has the government type impacted the culture?
  13. What conflicts are typical for people of this culture with others?
  14. If creating a culture for a race or species, what can you vary from population to population to avoid a monoculture?
  15. What is the same across all cultures for that race/species?
  16. What are the visible elements (style) of the culture?
  17. What are the audible elements (tone) of the culture?
  18. What are the behavioral elements (actions) of the culture?

Social Life

  1. Are any subjects forbidden?
  2. What subjects are avoided in conversation and why?
  3. What is considered a faux pas?
  4. Do people get married?
  5. If so, is it religious or civil?
  6. Do arranged marriages happen and is it the norm?
  7. What are the consequences of avoiding an arranged marriage?
  8. Can people elope?
  9. Does common law marriage exist?
  10. Are people allowed to divorce?
  11. Are there people who may not marry?
  12. What rights does marriage convey upon the individuals or their families?
  13. Is having a child out of wedlock considered normal or bad?
  14. How are bastards treated by society?
  15. Do people have a duty to anyone? Why, and what is it?
  16. What titles do people use to refer to the upper classes or aristocracy?
  17. What occupations are respected or disrespected and why?
  18. What are the daily routines of this culture?
  19. What do they do for fun?
  20. What is considered the normal family unit?
  21. How do people view those who do not have one or come from one?
  22. Do they use public transportation if it is available?
  23. What side of the road do people pass on and why?
  24. Is slower traffic supposed to behave in any specific way?
  25. What do people think of those going too fast?
  26. What are the expectations of those using public transportation?
  27. What does this culture consider the most valuable trait, profession, or item?
  28. Do people freely borrow items?
  29. How seriously are oaths taken?
  30. What are the consequences of a broken oath?
  31. What do people consider to be an ideal life?
  32. What gestures are common?
  33. What is the tone of conversation?
  34. What are common swear words or oaths?
  35. What slang do they use and for what?
  36. What jargon do they use and what does it mean?
  37. How often do people bathe?
  38. Do people bathe alone or in communal locations?
  39. Do they bathe in a river or private location?
  40. Is bath water reused by others?
  41. Does someone get to bathe first? Last?
  42. Do people sleep in their own bed or share one?
  43. Do married people share a bed?
  44. What do people wear while asleep?
  45. What beds do they have?
  46. How often do they change sheets?
  47. For the work week, how many hours a day per week is it?
  48. Is there a siesta?
  49. Are people paid for days off like vacation pay?
  50. Are holidays observed and which ones?


  1. Is dining formal or casual?
  2. Is there an established order for people to sit down at a meal? What is it?
  3. Is there an established position for people to be seated and what is it?
  4. Is there expected attire at meals various meals?
  5. How many meals are there in a day?
  6. Which meal is considered the big family meal?
  7. What meal is considered the private, more intimate one?
  8. Which meal is the most casual?
  9. Does an activity like afternoon tea occur?
  10. Is anything forbidden at a meal?
  11. Do people need permission to invite someone to certain meals?
  12. Is it possible to overstay your welcome and how long before that becomes a reality?
  13. How should a guest respond to offers of food, drink, or making themselves comfortable?
  14. Are such offers made or are guests expected to make themselves at home without it?
  15. What is rude behavior of a guest or a host?
  16. Which foods and drinks are high quality to serve?
  17. Which foods and drinks are inferior quality?
  18. Do people eat with their mouth full?
  19. Are there multiple forks, spoons, chopsticks, etc.? What do people use?
  20. Do people double dip?
  21. Do people wipe their mouth on a sleeve, tablecloth, or napkins?
  22. What foods are only for nobility?
  23. What foods are peasant fare?
  24. What foods are a staple and commonly consumed? Why is that?
  25. What is rare and a special treat? Why is that?
  26. Is food typically bland or spicy?
  27. Do people fast in this culture?
  28. If so, is it for religious, health, or social reasons?
  29. How long is the fasting in hours? In days?
  30. What are people allowed to consume during the fasting?
  31. Is there a celebration before or after the fasting?
  32. What name is given to this fasting?
  33. How often is non-locally grown food consumed, given the ability to preserve and transport food?
  34. How is food preserved? Salting? Via magic?


  1. What is the architectural style?
  2. What impression does it create?
  3. Are guests encouraged in homes, such as with areas designed for them?
  4. Do homes have furniture for species/races of different sizes or other physical traits that differ from the host? Which races?
  5. How many levels are typical homes and other buildings?
  6. What is the preferred layout?
  7. What shapes are tables and rooms in?
  8. What are the most common building materials and why?
  9. Is furniture slim and sparse or bold and large?
  10. Are carvings or other decorations on furniture common?
  11. Are rooms cluttered or filled with space?
  12. How much echo is there?
  13. How tidy is the culture?


  1. What clothing and styles do they wear? What do they signify?
  2. Are there any accessories this culture is known for wearing?
  3. How many outfits does a person in each class have?
  4. Is it common to see someone in the same attire all the time, even if they changed into another set of identical clothes?
  5. Is this one way that social classes are distinguished from each other?
  6. Are any weapons or accessories expected?
  7. Is there any attire or item that is rare?
  8. How is hair worn by each gender, child, and profession of importance?
  9. Is hair styled a specific way on certain occasions?
  10. How do people change their bodies with piercings, tattoos, or implants?
  11. How is eye contact handled? Is deference shown? Is a gaze challenging?
  12. What is the body language of this culture?

Greetings and Farewells

  1. When greeting someone or saying farewell, what words are said?
  2. What gestures are made?
  3. What Earth expression can you use as an analogue before modifying it?
  4. Does physical contact occur and what form does it take?
  5. How can a greeting or farewell be done differently to make it offensive?
  6. What questions (“how are you?”) or statements are expected?
  7. Are those questions rhetorical?
  8. If so, what do people do or say if they actually want to know the answer?
  9. How are casual and formal greetings and farewells distinguished from each other?

Folklore and Superstitions

  1. What folklore stories exist?
  2. What myths (i.e., bad things come in threes, Friday the 13th) come from this culture?
  3. What superstitions result from this culture?
  4. What led to the superstition?
  5. How widespread is belief in the superstition?
  6. What lessons do the stories teach?
  7. Are there characters or objects that have resulted from the stories?
  8. If this culture is from a race, what elements of it differ between different geographical locations of the population (so that the entire race does not have a single culture)?

Social Classes

  1. What are the social classes?
  2. What are the defining traits of each social class?
  3. What is the hierarchy?
  4. What permissions and restrictions exist for each?
  5. What prejudices does each class have about the others?
  6. What is taboo? Why?
  7. Do some classes have fewer rights than others?
  8. If so, what is the reason for that?
  9. Are people able to change their social class and how?
  10. If so, how do those of that new and previous class view such a person?
  11. What or who is considered a standard of beauty?
  12. Are people able to meet that standard? Naturally?

Special Events

  1. Are birthdays recognized and honored?
  2. Is there a party? Who is invited? What happens at one?
  3. Are there traditional foods and drinks served?
  4. What are the expected ceremonial elements?
  5. Are individual birthdays celebrated or is everyone lumped together?
  6. At what age do birthday recognitions stop?
  7. Are children sequestered for any length of time after birth? What is the origin of that?
  8. How are other anniversaries treated?
  9. What do festivals celebrate and when do they occur?
  10. What events or games take place at one?
  11. What refreshments are served?
  12. What is considered a personal milestone or rite of passage?
  13. How do they differ between genders or social classes?
  14. At what age is it expected?
  15. How do people view failure to reach it by then or at all?
  16. What are the customs around birth and death?
  17. Is there a period of celebration/mourning and what behaviors are expected of whom?
  18. Are there beliefs about what happens to someone when they die, and this results in ceremonies or actions taken? What are they?
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