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How to Create a Species/Race

Master a step-by-step process to create fantasy and science fiction races without overwhelm and indecision!

  Enroll in Course

This is the most comprehensive, step-by-step process on how to create an amazing, original species/race in 2 months or less, without being overwhelmed or unsure how to get it done.

Are You Ready To...

Become an expert in creating species and races?

Create ones that makes your audience LOVE your stories/games?

Eliminate indecision & get the work done with confidence, excitement, & purpose?

Be better at this than all of your competitors so your work stands out?

Become a Master Species/Race Creator

Get inspired, get motivated, get it done

In 2 months or less

Improve Storytelling

Your fantasy and science fiction stories can be improved with great, original species and races, Surprise audiences, take them out of their comfort zones, and keep them eager to learn more about your story world. Grip them from the start, and never let go, all with the power of invention.

Learning how to invent species we humans can relate to can elevate our work to literary stories that make people think, feel, and remember us and our vision long after they finish the last page.

Improve Gaming

Every gamer in the world has used elves, dwarves, dragons, and other staples. Why not create something they've never seen before, ones with capabilities nothing else has? Your world will be known for it - and your invention can't be used anywhere else, causing love and loyalty. Carve out a place in an increasingly crowded market with something brilliant, fun, and addictive to play.

Course Outline

Module: About the Course
Module: Reasons to Invent
Module: Names and Nicknames
Module: When to call it a Species or Race
Module: Determining Disposition
Module: Their Source of Fame
Module: Whether They’re Humanoid
Module: Determining Their Habitat
Module: Creating Humanoid Bodies
Module: Creating Non-Humanoid Bodies
Module: Determining Their Clothing
Module: Determining Their Senses
Module: Determining Physical Traits
Module: The Sixth Sense(s)
Module: Determining Mental Traits
Module: Determining Their Gods
Module: Language Considerations
Module: Relations with Family
Module: Creating Family Names
Module: Determining Customs
Module: Creating Civilizations
Module: Relations with Other Species
Module: Relations with Supernatural
Module: Relationships with Technology
Module: Determining Combat Skills
Module: Creating History


Course Background

This course is based on material in the best-selling books series, The Art of World Building, by course instructor Randy Ellefson. It's the longest and most thorough series on the subject and has sold thousands of copies to aspiring world builders around the world. Best-selling author Piers Anthony, and The Forgotten Realms inventor Ed Greenwood, have both praised the series.

He also runs a related podcast, with nearly 20,000 downloads, from which additional material for the course is drawn. The numerous Facebook groups and forums he frequents have also made clear the need for the step-by-step process he employs here.

Over six months were spent developing How to Create a Species/Race, based on the author's experience and feedback from thousands of readers and podcast listeners, as well as those who've taken his surveys, which are designed to reveal the pain points world builders hope to overcome.


A Letter From Randy

Founder of World Building University

When I first started inventing my own species or races, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But I knew it was a big deal because I mostly write fantasy, where "the usual suspects," as I call them, of elves, dwarves, and dragons were going to be there right beside mine. That's some pretty serious competition. They've been around for decades for a good reason - they're all great ideas, refined by countless people. And audiences expect them.

What if mine weren't any good? The presence of standard races would make this especially apparent. Audiences can be pretty harsh today and the last thing storytellers or gamers need is someone finding fault with another aspect of our work. There's already so much we have to worry about.

I love to joke that I find it hard to believe that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, because it takes me forever. Wouldn't it be great to speed up the process? Since I've been inventing species and races for over 30 years, you can save considerable time by learning from an expert. You'll even get a blueprint for filling out a file of info on your species or race, but it's not a blank template - it has sample text all over it, so there's no staring at the dreaded "blank page."

Even if you disagree with some of my approach, you'll have learned from my experience to make that decision and strike out on your own. "Know the rules before you break them" goes the expression, but there are no rules. Just things to do, and things to avoid.

Mostly, there are many things to know. And that knowledge is now yours for the taking.

Class Curriculum


  Introduction
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  Reasons to Invent a Species/Race
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  Names and Nicknames
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  When to Call it a Species or Race
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  Determining Disposition
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  Their Source of Fame
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  Are They Humanoid or Not?
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  Determining Their Habitat
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  Creating Humanoid Bodies
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  Creating Non-Humanoids Bodies
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  Determine Their Clothing
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  Determine Their Senses
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  Determine Physical Traits
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  The Sixth Sense(s)
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  Determine Mental Traits
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  Determining Their Gods
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  Language Considerations
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  Creating Relationships with Family
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  Family Names
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  Creating Customs
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  Creating Civilization
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  Relationships with Other Species
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  Relations with the Supernatural
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  Relationships with Technology
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  Determining Combat Skills
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  Creating History
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  Conclusion
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Get started now!



Your Instructor


Randy Ellefson
Randy Ellefson

Author Randy Ellefson has been building worlds since the late 1980s and bring his extensive experience and passion to World Building University (WBU). His popular non-fiction series, The Art of World Building, is the inspiration for WBU and includes a podcast with scores of episodes.

While Ellefson has created multiple worlds, he's also spent 3 decades on a single planet, his main setting. In doing so, he's created seven unique species (in addition to humans), with multiple races of each. Few have his extensive experience or passion for world building, or take so much time out to teach others the art.

Ellefson has authored a half dozen non-fiction books, another six fantasy books, and over a dozen stories, three of which received Honorable Mentions in the prestigious Writers of the Future contest.


Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts as soon as you enroll and ends after two months. Lessons are released every few days to give you time to complete assignments, review them, and be ready for the next lesson.
How long do I have access to the course?
After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
I would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact me in the first 14 days and I will give you a full refund.
How much experience with creating species/races do I need?
None! Whether you've done it many times before or never, this course will ensure you consider everything you need to know, improving your skills with repeatable techniques.
How can I access the entire course at once?
By default, lessons are released every few days, depending on how much work your assignment includes. This gives you time to focus and not get overwhelmed. I recognize that some students want to do the lessons faster or in a different order. To get the course released at once, send me an email. Note: I will only do this after the refund period has passed.
Why are the links in the video working when I click on them?
That's my fault. They aren't clickable after all, as I said in the video. Sorry for the confusion!

Get started now!



Detailed Course Outline

Module: About the Course

  • The course goals
  • How the course is laid out
  • The count of video lessons, quizzes, and assignments included, and course length
  • Who the ideal students are and what sets them apart
  • About the instructor
  • How the course templates and assignments are set up
  • About the course bonuses and how to access them

Module: Reasons to Invent a Species/Race

  • Reasons to invent our own species or race (this may include reasons you haven't thought of)
  • Why our species will be compared to others
  • What is mandatory to invent and what is optional

Module: Names and Nicknames

  • What makes some names better than others
  • Ways in which names can be worse than we think and how to avoid pitfalls
  • How we can use names to associate a species with its races
  • The impressions and traits of names
  • Tricks for how to invent nicknames

Module: When to call it a Species or Race

  • What a species is
  • What a race is
  • Why the amount of difference between two humanoids helps determine which word to use
  • Why it matters if two lifeforms are from the same planet or not, regarding which term to use
  • How dwarfism on Earth (among humans) is different from fantasy dwarfism
  • Whether the ability to interbreed matters for our choice
  • How using a hierarchy of both terms can promote understanding of our life form(s) and setting
  • My recommendations on when to use each term (or both!)

Module: Determining Disposition

  • Why "good" and "evil" is an oversimplification but why it's done on purpose
  • What "good" and "evil" can mean
  • The merits of one-dimensional dispositions
  • Why having species that are uniformly good or evil is not the best option
  • Why they might be uniformly good or evil
  • Why more complexity in disposition is good
  • Why a "good" species is more useful and how to make an "evil" species more comparable
  • How to use races of a species to create more variety

Module: Their Source of Fame

  • We'll look at some reasons our species or race might be famous
  • The types of items they can and cannot use
  • Travel considerations for non-humanoids
  • The benefits of humanoids
  • Pros and cons of non-humanoids
  • How to combine them

Module: Whether They’re Humanoid or Not

Module: Determining Their Habitat

  • What impact a habitat might have on a species, including underground, under water, flying species, and forests
  • The impact of climate on development
  • Whether they only live in settlements of their own or also in those of other species, and the impact this has
  • How to fill out the habitat section of the template

Module: Creating Humanoid Bodies

  • Whether races and species should bear some resemblance to each other, how to achieve this, and how to utilize this
  • Facial features to choose from
  • Terms we shouldn't use
  • What aspects of the body we need to develop

Module: Creating Non-Humanoid Bodies

  • We'll look at considerations for how to create the body of a non-humanoid
  • How climate can affect clothing choices
  • How attitudes about nudity can impact clothing
  • Style considerations
  • What sorts of items and accessories to think about them using
  • Body modifications to consider adding

Module: Determining Their Clothing

Module: Determining Their Senses

  • Sight
  • Hearing
  • Feel
  • Taste
  • Smell
  • Sixth sense(s)
  • And how to determine if there’s anything different about these based on what we’ve created so far, such as habitat and their bodies

Module: Determining Their Physical Traits

  • Agility
  • Dexterity
  • Constitution
  • Strength
  • And how to determine these based on habitat and their body

Module: The Sixth Sense(s)

  • Telepathy
  • Clairvoyance
  • Psychometry
  • Precognition
  • Mediumship
  • And why a species may have one of these abilities, based on habitat, body, and lifestyle

Module: Determining Their Mental Traits

  • Charisma
  • Intelligence
  • Morale
  • Wisdom

Module: Determining Their Gods

  • How traits can be used to chose or invent gods, including detailed examples
  • The impact of already having gods (or not) on choosing ones for this species
  • How to associate the species with religions

Module: Language Considerations

  • Whether there's a common language and who it originated from
  • Language proficiency levels and how we can leverage this
  • Writing systems we can employ (alphabetic, logographic, pictograms, ideagrams)
  • What direction a language is written in and why
  • How to use species characteristics to determine what language characteristics

Module: Creating Relationships with Family

  • How long a species lives and the impact on outlook
  • Family size and its potential impact
  • Child rearing and who participates
  • Expectations of teenagers
  • Whether military service or taking over a family business is expected
  • Major milestones we can leverage
  • Species attitudes about various family subjects like marriage, monogamy, and more

Module: Creating Family Names

  • The difference between a given name and surname
  • When, how, and why each is chosen
  • How compound surnames work
  • The flexibility we have in choosing name order
  • Mistakes and clichés to avoid
  • Techniques for creating names

Module: Determining Customs

  • What customs are and aren't
  • The effect of following or not following customs
  • The types of customs we should invent as world builders
  • Real world greetings and dining customs to leverage
  • How to use your species characteristics, developed in an earlier lesson, to influence customs you invent

Module: Creating Civilizations

  • The goals of governance so we can decide if our species desires this, and if they're capable of it
  • Whether they create settlements and what they're like
  • Whether they live in settlements created by others and how to decide
  • Whether they form settlements with other species and how to decide
  • Four major types of sovereign powers our species might form and the traits that would lead them to choose one

Module: Creating Relationships with Other Species

  • How humans view your species
  • How your species view humans
  • How to do human commentary with your species/race
  • When there are two races of a species, how to determine their interactions
  • Techniques to creating relationships between species/races

Module: Relationships with the Supernatural

  • How mental and physical traits impact a species' relationship with the supernatural
  • What to consider when deciding how they deal with magic, phenomena, and gods

Module: Relationships with Technology

  • Different technologies to consider in both fantasy and science fiction settings
  • Which personal traits (mental and physical) impact the ability to both create and use technologies
  • How species can acquire tech they can't create and the impact on relations between species

Module: Determining Combat Skills

  • A look at what kinds of weapons are impacted by your body and which ones aren't
  • How physical and mental traits can be used to decide combat styles
  • What weapons act as equalizers, making the weak strong
  • When weapons designed for another species can be used by this one
  • Attitudes often shown about combat
  • Natural weapons and defenses some species may have and how to decide on this

Module: Creating History

  • Their origins and where else they've relocated to to understand which civilization of them is oldest and newest
  • Government changes, why these happen, and the impact they have
  • Wars between species, race, and sovereign powers
  • Inventions and discoveries they've made
  • Significant events and characters

Get started now!