Whether you're a writer, gamemaster, video game creator, or any other artist creating a new speculative fictional universe, worldbuilding can be the most daunting aspect. But it is also one of the most important aspects. Without proper worldbuilding, you cannot create an immersive world for your reader.

However, it can consume a lot of time and take away precious time from actually writing or creating. While spending time building your world is undoubtedly part of the fun, with the help of AI tools like ChatGPT, you can speed up the worldbuilding process. And who wouldn't like a little help?

What is Worldbuilding?

Worldbuilding for your fictional universe does not refer to only creating a setting for your universe, though that is a part of it. With worldbuilding, you're giving your stories and characters somewhere to exist. It defines the rules and regulations each character will be bound to. Though some form of worldbuilding exists in all works, it is especially important if you are creating a fantasy or science-fiction world where the rules of our world don't apply inherently. For a story to be believable, your characters and story cannot exist in a vacuum.

However, you don't need to flesh out entire worlds and create maps for successful worldbuilding. The amount of worldbuilding you need will depend on the scope of your story. But if you want to dive in completely, things can get complicated to stay ahead of. That's where artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT come in.

It can take some things off your plate by speeding up the process, help you brainstorm and play with different ideas, and even help you maintain consistency throughout your world.

Using ChatGPT for Worldbuilding

Now, there are of course pitfalls associated with using AI for creative tasks and it's not without its cons. But as long as you don't want to rely entirely on ChatGPT and only want to enlist it for assistance, it can be a great resource.

Before you go into worldbuilding with ChatGPT, it's also important to manage your expectations.

Do not expect too original answers from ChatGPT; it is after all not an original thinker per se. It is the sum of all the data it has been trained on. ChatGPT can demonstrate creativity but don't expect it to create something out of this world that will make you the next J. R. R. Tolkien or J. K. Rowling. You need to understand that the answers that ChatGPT comes up with exist already in some form. Also, there's quite a high chance of plagiarism so if you are going to use anything from ChatGPT, do your due diligence.

Now, ChatGPT can help you with worldbuilding from scratch or help you expand on your existing ideas. So, whether you’re stuck and want to bounce some ideas off of the AI bot to build on top of your existing ideas or you have an empty plate and are looking for inspiration, it's your call. Ready to go on this journey? Let's get started.

Getting Started

Go to chatgpt.com and sign in to your account (or create one if you don't have one). While you can use ChatGPT without needing to log in now, for a task such as these, I would recommend using your account so your worldbuilding efforts don't go to waste. However, if you are worried about sending your original ideas to ChatGPT, you can always turn off the option for OpenAI using your chats to train ChatGPT from the settings.

Now, in this case, I'm showcasing worldbuilding for a novel, but you can use it for video games, or table-top roleplaying games.

Now, to get started, prompt ChatGPT with your intentions. Start with the fact that you want its help with worldbuilding with a simple prompt like Hey ChatGPT, I want your help with worldbuilding for my novel.

It will ask for more stuff about your story so it can help with the different aspects of worldbuilding. You can either give it this information if you want to build on top of existing ideas or ask ChatGPT to come up with ideas itself. These are the different aspects of worldbuilding you'll want to enlist ChatGPT's help in.

Genre and Setting

Now, the first thing you need to do when you're worldbuilding is to determine the genre and setting of your work. Chances are that you might already have these elements of your work straightened out. In that case, you can still further use ChatGPT to expand on your ideas and it works best in this scenario, in my opinion.

Environment and geography also play an important role in the setting of your novel. So, the next thing you want to ask the AI bot is to come up with regions and environments for your world. According to the world it created before, it came up with these continents, regions, and environments.

In that case, after you have explained your genre and setting to ChatGPT in some detail, use a prompt like Can you suggest some unique geographical features for my world? to dive deeper.

Asking ChatGPT to create regions for my world.

But even if you don't have anything determined, you can use the AI bot to come up with fresh and intriguing ideas. This can be especially helpful if you're stuck and need to test new ideas quickly. You never really know where you can find that spark of creativity!

You can ask ChatGPT to take the lead and come up with a genre and setting itself. This is more like rolling a dice, and ChatGPT can come up with anything; for example, this:

Genre: Fantasy with elements of steampunk.

Setting: A vast world called Elaria, consisting of multiple continents with diverse environments. The world is rich in magic and advanced steam-powered technology.

Once it comes up with the genre and the setting, you can further ask it to create geographical landscapes and environments for this world. For the genre and setting ChatGPT came up with, these are further geographical regions and environments it conjured.

Continents and regions in the vast world of Elaria ChatGPT created.

You can even get more specific with your requests with prompts like Describe a unique mountain range in my fantasy world or What are some interesting natural landmarks that could exist in a desert region?

For this guide, I've decided to roll with ChatGPT's example as well, to see what it comes up with further down the line while also testing it with my novel's worldbuilding on the side to get more insights.

History and Lore

Now, the next thing you want to do is use ChatGPT to establish the history of your fictional world. Your story cannot exist in a standalone time bubble and there has to be some history. It can also form a reason for conflict.

Prompt ChatGPT with Create a history for my fictional world for a generic history.

With the world that ChatGPT created, this is what it came up with. To ChatGPT's credit, it goes into detail in creating a rich history.

History for the world Elaria ChatGPT created.

But when you already have a world in mind, the history and lore it comes up with can conflict with your views, especially when you're asking it to build everything from scratch. In that case, I've found that asking the AI bot to build things at a smaller level works better.

For example, you can ask ChatGPT Can you create a myth explaining why a [certain] mountain range is considered sacred? and it can focus its energies on the particular region and why is it "sacred" instead of letting its imagination run wild. Another example could be Describe the origins of a long-standing feud between two kingdoms.

I also found that it was better at helping me with history when it already had details about my novel.

Culture and Society

Each society has its culture and it influences the people who live in it and their actions. Your fictional world is no different. ChatGPT can help you with details such as customs, traditions, languages, societal structures, and more.

Again, you can go with a generic prompt, like Choose the type of culture and society for the different regions of my world. Also, select religion, philosophies, art, etc. if you're experimenting with ChatGPT creating everything from scratch.

Society and Culture in Elaria as ChatGPT imagined it.

But again, you can also use ChatGPT to flesh out the particular details to get into more depth where you are in control. For example, you can use a prompt like Describe a unique cultural festival in a medieval-inspired society or What kind of festivals would a society that worships the moon celebrate?

Technology and Magic Use

Next up in worldbuilding comes determining the technology and magical elements that will be a part of your world. However, whether your world relies on magic or advanced technology, building a system that's consistent yet intriguing can be challenging. Again, that's where ChatGPT comes in.

By now, you've gotten the memo, right? For general ideas that are in continuity with your world, a simple prompt like Build the technology and magic systems for my world and how they are used will get ChatGPT's creative juices flowing.

Technology and Magic in Elaria.

However, particular prompts like Help me build a unique magic system for my fantasy world that uses the concept of sound frequencies will get you more controlled answers.

Politics, Power Structures, and Power Dynamics

Now, another important aspect of worldbuilding is the politics and power structures of the world. They don't only have to exist in the backdrop but can even form the basis of a conflict and drive the story forward. More important than the exact politics and power structures are any power imbalances that could drive the story forward.

With most of the story elements like regions and history already determined, ChatGPT will create the political system to support them.

Political structure of Elaria, according to ChatGPT.

But if you also want conflict, you will need to nudge it in that direction explicitly. For example, use a prompt like Create a major conflict in a dystopian city. or What are some possible alliances and rivalries in a feudal kingdom?


Now, I don't think that creating your actual characters, especially the main characters, with ChatGPT is a very good idea because your visions will never align. However, you can use ChatGPT to create some character types or races that will inhabit your world.

You can prompt ChatGPT with what are some character races that could live in my world for ideas for different races.

Some Tips for Effective Worldbuilding

As I said, ChatGPT can be an incredible resource in your arsenal but only if you know how to use it.

  • Be specific: While using ChatGPT for some generic brainstorming is all good, you can really benefit by being more specific in your prompts. The more specific your requests are, the more tailored ChatGPT's responses will be.
  • Engage in a dialog: Instead of just sending back-to-back requests for different aspects of worldbuilding discussed here, spend some time on a particular aspect first before moving on to the other. Engage in a back-and-forth dialog with ChatGPT to further refine and mold its suggestions to your vision.
  • Combine ideas: Keep prompting ChatGPT to get multiple suggestions and don't hesitate to combine them to create something new.
  • Use your notes: If you've ever hastily jotted down any notes and drawings for your novel (you must have!), upload them in ChatGPT and it can not only interpret and transcribe your notes but also develop your ideas further.
  • Stay Organized: Worldbuilding can get messy and out of hand. But you can use ChatGPT to keep track of concepts and ideas you (and ChatGPT) have generated by asking it to present in a structured format, such as a database or a document.

Using ChatGPT for worldbuilding can be a controversial idea, but it can also be something fun to experiment with, especially if you've been feeling stuck or the prospect has been the only factor why you're putting off the actual writing or creating your game. So, what are you waiting for? Go forth and try some worldbuilding with ChatGPT, even if you don't end up using any of its ideas.