Volume 3 – Cultures and Beyond

Creating a unique, immersive setting one culture at a time

A guide for authors, gamers, and hobbyists

Vol 3

Written to help fantasy and science fiction storytellers, game designers, gamers, and hobbyists, Cultures and Beyond (The Art of World Building, #3) is a how-to guide for filling an imaginary world with fascinating societies. It includes chapters on creating culture, organizations, armed forces, religions, the supernatural, magic systems, technological and supernatural items, languages, names, and various systems our world will have, from health, educational, legal, and commerce, to information systems. You’ll learn how to leverage real world cultures while making them seem original. Even those who’ve never invented a world will soon be masters as the author’s decades of experience walk readers through using pre-made templates that make world building faster, better, and easier to complete.

Invent interesting laws, crimes, and punishments that involve imaginary creatures or technologies, and learn how to leverage trial by ordeal and other judicial acts from Earth’s past. Determine how much education is available and what form it takes. Create currencies for different places while keeping them easy for your audience to fathom, plus learn how to determine the value to assign labor, materials, products, time, and more. Master the art of creating naming styles for different societies. Fashion new military groups in gritty detail. Dream up sensible rules for magic, its practitioners, the supernatural and what happens when things go wrong. Learn what kind of files you’ll need to create, how to organize them, and get jump started with a dozen free templates you’ll use again and again.

Cultures and Beyond is the third volume in The Art of World Building, the most in-depth, multi-volume series of its kind.

Build better, faster.

Release Date: April 21, 2020

Buy From My Store! Buy Elsewhere 🙁

See the Table of Contents.

Editorial Reviews

Endorsement from Ed Greenwood, inventor of The Forgotten Realms and dozens of imaginary worlds

In Cultures and Beyond, Randy Ellefson continues his masterful overview of worldbuilding, carefully and coherently dealing with every last detail of creating and tending imaginary settings that his previous worldbuilding books, Creating Life and Creating Places, haven’t covered. All three are essential reference works for storytellers working in all fields; more than any other approach to these topics, Cultures and Beyond and its prequels ensure that nothing is overlooked or missed. Ellefson is a master of this craft, and it shows. Highly recommended!

Endorsement from Piers Anthony, NY Times Bestselling Author

I read Cultures and Beyond, The Art of World Building 3, by Randy Ellefson. I reviewed the prior two volumes, Creating Life and Creating Places, when they were published. Each volume is a comprehensive discussion of its subject, useful for new writers and surely for established ones too. I have been writing and selling novels for more than half a century, and I have been learning things here. I recommend all three for background reading for those who are serious about the worlds they create. The present volume is amazingly informative about the several aspects of culture, covering armed forces, religions, supernatural aspects, languages, and everything in between. It even lists all the American military ranks. Take a supposedly minor aspect, creating names. I have a small collection of books of names, which I use for my characters, trying not to duplicate myself too often, but I see I am an amateur in this respect. Naming names can be a science! Every section of this volume is similarly detailed. I am not sure whether reading it would cure the dread Writer’s Block for those who suffer it, but if a writer runs out of inspiration, reading this book well might restore it. Certainly it should be on the shelf, as it were, ready to check when uncertainty threatens.