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1. A fantasy in which no animal is the same as on Earth, nor are they simply replacements with different names and designs.
2. A theology-focused fantasy in which the characters do logical debate about God and gods. By logical, I mean make all sides logical, not just the one you think is right.
3. A healing system where healing is possible, but the injury or sickness healed would be imposed on the healer forever. Bonus points: don’t make this one dark and depressing.
4. A fantasy world without humans. Bonus points if they’re not all furries.
5. A fantasy in which there are tens of contradicting and intertwining prophecies and no one knows which ones to believe.
6. A world where every aspect of the environment is different. For example, two blue suns rather than one yellow one, sentient plants, currency-growing trees, trees that grow downward. (A helpful friend informed me that blue suns are scientifically impossible. Have fun.)
7. A technologically-advanced society living literally on top of a medieval one, and a valid justification for why the medieval one doesn’t shape up and get techy.
8. The protagonist being a researcher or engineer whose conflict comes from which side of a war or political spectrum to give his creations first.
9. The protagonist being the world’s god. Making him or her interesting goes without saying.
10. A guard protagonist. Bonus points if this guard doesn’t end up joining some sort of rebellion and traveling the world in search of a McGuffin to destroy the Evil Overlord.
11. The Evil Overlord as a protagonist. Bonus points if his actions are justified enough to make him just as “good” as the rebels.
12. A story in which the protagonist’s parents, siblings, and love interest are all alive and not evil traitors in the end.
13. A protagonist who is not interested in romance to begin with and is still uninterested in the end.
14. A magic system subtle and discreet enough that 99% of the world doesn’t believe it exists. Bonus points if it’s not stupidly obvious.
15. A world made of water, water-faring races, and nothing else.
16. A musical protagonist whose music is not magical and whose music doesn’t stun everyone into silence or make everyone cry, but is still regarded as talented.
17. A world with gravity, breathable air, floating debris, races to inhabit it, and nothing else.
18. A fantasy in the gunpowder age.
19. The protagonist is a goblin. Bonus points if s/he’s not either the exact stereotype or the exact inversion of the stereotype.
20. A world in which a disease rendered 90% of the population mentally ill in some way or another.
21. The protagonist is the only mentally healthy person in the world.
22. A third-person limited fantasy that never strays from the protagonist’s viewpoint.
23. The protagonist develops the world’s first bladed weapons. Bonus points if you can figure out a justification for this not to be in the stone age.
24. A fantasy in which mind-control magic is so prevalent that at any given second, any given person is probably being controlled by someone else.
25. No magic at all.
26. A world in which magic was so powerful that it created an apocalypse, and now your protagonist is living in a non sci-fi post apocalypse.
27. A seafaring fantasy where your protagonist is not a pirate. Bonus points if s/he’s not in the navy, either.
28. An underwater fantasy where the primary race is an underwater race and not humans in air bubbles. Bonus points if they’re not mermaids or renamed mermaids.
29. A fantasy where research has advanced differently and computers exist, but not guns or much of anything else.
30. An astrology-based fantasy where astrology does not just mean star-based magic. Maybe your people have just discovered that their world is round.
31. Develop an entire new language and writing system, then base at least one society or way of life on the language itself.
32. A fantasy world that has developed electricity.
33. A gray versus gray war. No evil overlord. No chosen hero.
34. Write a story where a chosen hero is supposed to defeat an evil overlord. Then make the hero fail.
35. Write a scene where the hero holds a formal debate with the evil overlord. Bonus points if the overlord wins without cheating and without relying on the audience being corrupt.
36. Write a short fantasy that takes place within a single building.
37. A sky-faring fantasy where there is no such thing as ground.
38. A magic system where anything written in red ink becomes true. Bonus points if this magic is commonplace and the world isn’t destroyed.
39. Due to some kind of magic, the hero and evil overlord switch bodies and take each other’s place. Bonus points if you successfully use gray v. gray rather than good v. evil.
40. In a gray v. gray setup, the protagonist is darker gray than the antagonist.
41. Write a fantasy comedy that doesn’t rely on English wordplays and puns. Bonus points if it’s actually funny.
42. Write a scene or scenes where the hero defeats the evil overlord, but the people don’t accept him as the rightful king because he was an absolute jerk during his hero’s journey.
43. The evil overlord does the intelligent thing and kills the hero as a baby. Now what?
44. The evil overlord takes the baby hero and his family and brainwashes them all. What happens?
45. The protagonist is a troll. Bonus points if he’s not the stereotype or the inversion of the stereotype.
46. A group of races that have certain advantages and disadvantages over each other. Bonus points if the majority of them are not combat-related.
47. The hero overthrows the evil overlord without talking him into submission or beating him into submission.
48. Create a world where grass grows over a hundred feet tall within an hour of being planted. Plan societies and races around it.
49. A magic system that acts like computer programming. Mages write reusable programs and people buy them. Hint: learn at least one programming language in real life for research.
50. A magic system that works by hooking everyone in the world together like the Internet. Speeds vary by location.
51. A religion that worships technology.
52. Write at least ten physically distinct sentient races.
53. Your protagonist invents ice cream.
54. A world where gravity flips every night. Bonus points if you can explain it. Extra bonus points if you can explain it without infodumping.
55. A world in which there are two sentient races, one evolved from a single cell (where that cell came from is up to you), one created by God or gods.
56. A world where the sentient race(s) petition their god(s) to create certain things. And the gods listen. Catch: the god(s) will only create things. Not destroy them. Not change them.
57. A world consisting of islands floating in the sky. Bonus points if the people there don’t have wings, but have other methods with which to travel from island to island.
58. A world in which the magnetic poles shift frequently. Bonus points if the world’s magic system is based off magnetism.
59. A magic system that only works half the time and starts and stops in unpredictable patterns.
60. Technically a sci-fi, but future sentient races have created a world where fantasy conditions exist. Dragons, magic, evil overlords, and everything. Pick and choose, though.
61. A protagonist without arms or legs. Bonus points if magic doesn’t allow him or her to get nifty replacements.
62. A fantasy where artists can create something by drawing it from both sides, top and bottom, and front and back.
63. A fantasy where wars are settled by Olympic-style competitions rather than battle.
64. A world where people respawn after they die from anything but old age or a disease of your choice. Imagine how much more reckless people would be.
65. A fantasy world advanced enough to parallel Earth in 2012.
66. A magic system that could actually work in real life if one thing was changed. You’ll really have to study this one.
67. A magic system that only allows mages to change their appearance and nothing else.
69. A sentient race without mouths. Bonus points if said race is not telepathic.
70. A religion or race that considers speaking profane and thinks mouths are only there for eating. Hint: study sign language.
71. A math-based magic system.
72. A chemistry-based magic system. That makes it just chemistry, doesn’t it? I know. Run with it.
73. Your protagonist doesn’t get stronger with every battle, but weaker as his or her injuries pile up.
74. A magic system based on emotions, where an angry mob could set fire to a stick by looking at it or something like that. Catch: no one person could change much of anything.
75. A world shattered by earthquakes and a sentient race adapted to it. People would be really good at jumping, I think.
76. A fantasy where the world actually is flat, or at least a cube instead of a sphere. Bonus points if you can come up with a feasible reason for it.
77. A world where the primary race is mini-sized and insects are an actual difficult battle. Cats, dogs, horses, and elephants would be monstrous.
78. A world without magic suddenly gets magic.
79. A world with magic suddenly loses its magic.
80. The protagonist is an engineer. Yes, I’m still giving fantasy prompts. And yes, engineers should still exist in fantasy. They’re just people who use science to solve problems.
81. Death makes people into zombies of sorts who age backward, and once they’re infants again, they become human again and start aging normally.
82. Every fifty years, the magic system changes.
83. Every fifty years, a new sentient race is created.
84. A fantasy in which there’s a fantasy equivalent of K-12 education. And college, of course.
85. A fantasy where falcons or birds can’t be used for long-distance communications.
86. A fantasy where an underground (literally) communication network exists. If you don’t know where to start, try Minecraft.
87. Invent a new non-sentient race. Make it do something completely off the wall as its primary function (e.g. Minecraft’s creepers exploding), and then justify it.
88. A world where structures are built out of a material not found on Earth.
89. Structures on land are built using water.
90. A world of all men or all women, with no apparent means of reproduction. Bonus points if they can save themselves without blending into sci-fi or using deus ex machina.
91. A society where people don’t have names. Bonus points if you don’t take the obvious route of making it a pseudo-communist individualism-hating thing.
92. A world where raw ideas are actually worth something–where the people generally act on their ideas, and where ideas can literally be stolen from people’s heads.
93. A world where the god or gods made a mistake in their creation. What that mistake is and what it does, I’ll leave up to you.
94. Write about the very beginning of your fantasy world. Bonus points if you don’t infodump. Extra bonus points if you don’t just re-write Genesis.
95. Fish can swim through land. Sharks can, too.
96. Trees don’t fall down. They uproot and disappear into the sky.
97. Your protagonist has some sort of mental disorder that fantasy people have no idea how to cope with.
98. People are walking bombs, and when their hearts stop, they explode.
99. Everyone in the world operates with a different magic system.
100. Go ahead and write 100 of your own ideas/prompts. This will help you get your creative gears going, as you’ll inevitably think in some depth about each item.
101. Your protagonist is a sentient tree.
102. Your protagonist is the wise old mentor.
103. Your protagonist has already lost his confrontation with the antagonist.
104. Your protagonist is morally obligated to protect children, but doesn’t care about grown men or women.
105. Your protagonist makes up his adventure as he goes along.
106. Your protagonist draws his/her companions on paper and they come to life/he hallucinates them coming to life.
107. Your protagonist narrates his/her adventure out loud.
108. Your protagonist is the exact opposite of you in every imaginable way.
109. Your protagonist is driven mad because his/her mind automatically counts the number of steps s/he takes.
110. Your protagonist is one of the Evil Overlord’s henchmen.
111. Your protagonist discovers s/he can choose to be suddenly amazing at one thing at the cost of two other things.
112. Your protagonist takes over the world.
113. Your protagonist goes to space (in a fantasy setting, not sci-fi).
114. Your protagonist can revive like a phoenix, but only after being killed by fire.
115. Your protagonist is a sentient creature dissimilar to elves, dwarves, or humans, of your own design.
116. Your protagonist is cursed and must kill at least one person per day to stay alive.
117. Your protagonist can look into the future, but every time s/he does, s/he loses a memory.
118. Your protagonist is eighty-five; s/he looks, acts, and talks his/her age–s/he is not a long-lived elf who looks twenty at eighty.
119. Your protagonist is immortal, but his/her body continues to age at a normal rate. S/he cannot die of old age.
120. Your protagonist never wears clothes.
121. Your protagonist gets a cool power, knows about it, and never uses it. Ever.
122. Your protagonist is the leader of a band of mercenaries. Twist: the mercs are all rabbits.
123. Your protagonist commits a crime you personally deem unforgivable–in the beginning of the story. Make him/her likable.
124. Your protagonist is the first sentient being on his/her planet.
125. Your protagonist is hunted for bounty and turns his/her pursuers away without either magic or combat.
126. Your protagonist discovers ruins of a modern city and tells no one.
127. Your protagonist has a falling-out with his/her love interest and doesn’t get back with him/her in the end. The love interest cannot turn evil or die.
128.Your protagonist can see ten minutes into the future, then passes out for an hour.
129. Your protagonist predicts a disaster in the future and takes measures to prevent it. Make these measures perfectly reasonable, but let them lead up to your protagonist being an “evil” overlord in the end. Bonus points if he’s never actually evil, but neither are his enemies.
130. Your protagonist develops the medieval/industrial/stone age equivalent of a tank.
131. Your protagonist wears a disguise throughout the entire story and reveals him/herself at the end.
132. Your protagonist is a blacksmith, but never actually fights with any weapon he makes.
133. Your protagonist is a prophet. Bonus points if he’s a false prophet, knows it, and is still a good guy.
134. A magic system only lets people throw shoes or other small objects at high speeds.
135. The world has seen four apocalypses already. Some old people have lived through every one.
136. There are no bodies of water; water is extracted from trees and underground pools.
137. Music can affect the weather based on pitch, rhythm, melody, timber, dynamics, and texture.
138. The primary race breathes fire and eats ash like we breathe air and drink water.
139. Trees grow minerals instead of leaves.
140. Instead of mineral veins in mountains, there is wood.
141. The edges of the world turn up instead of down; the world exists on the inside of a sphere.
142. A culture where eating is done in solitude and pooping is done in groups.
143. A religion where you’re not righteous until you’ve saved someone’s life.
144. A culture/religion where adults are sacred and children must protect them.
145. A religion that considers albinos holy symbols and/or prophets and/or angels.
146. A world that has no concept of good or evil.
147. A race that lives inside the sun.
148. Sound impregnates women; babies are born when the father composes a song, and that song determines the baby’s appearance, personality, lifespan, etc.
149. A culture that holds music as a rite of passage. In order to become a man or a woman, a boy or girl must charm a powerful figure with singing or playing.
150. The sixth/seventh/eighth/whatever sense allows people to feel others’ emotions–so yes, finally an excuse for a scary stare to make someone stagger or back off.
151. People are evaluated each year after they become adults. If they haven’t accomplished something worthwhile, they are killed.
152. A religion where deformities and/or disabilities are regarded as holy.
153. People have to put bags on their heads with eye holes unless a) they’re completely alone, b) they’re married to the person who sees their face, or c) they’re the king/queen/high priest/whatever.
154. A religion that believes its followers were created by a god and that heretics are a step above apes in evolution.
155. There is a worldwide language, but each family has its own.
156. Primary education teaches acting, music, art, poetry, and game design (not video games). Secondary education goes on to teach the core subjects.
157. Only the upper class and/or religious elite may listen to or compose music.
158. Armies have a musical battle before proceeding to kill each other.
159. In an urban setting, poets and writers are valued like sports players are now.
160. In a seafaring setting, sea creatures are used rather than horses and boats replace cars.
161. “Monkey spheres” are limited to five people.
162. Chairs are never invented.
163. At random intervals, the entire world hears a song from everywhere, like everything is contained inside a massive omnipresent orchestra.
164. Think of a random animal. That animal is the only non-human animal in the world, or at least in the area where the story takes place.
165. Rabbits are sentient.
166. Humans, as they appear today, are not sentient.
167. In a setting where monkey spheres are limited to five people, your protagonist only cares about either four or six people.
168. A human accidentally switches places with the world’s god.
169. Tell the typical hero’s journey in reverse.
170. Your protagonist befriends a sentient cow.
171. A sentient cow is the primary antagonist.
172. The antagonist is a 5-year-old.
173. The antagonist and protagonist spend the entire story in the same room.
174. The last man and woman on the world live on opposite sides of the planet.
175. The first two humans, a man and a woman, hate each other.
176. The protagonist, forced to build weapons for the antagonist, designs every fifth weapon to malfunction.
177. Your protagonist is executed. S/he survives.
178. Your hero is the first to explore the depths of the ocean.
179. Retell “Lord of the Rings” (or any magical fantasy) without magic of any kind.
180. Retell the American Revolution (or any real war), but add magic.
181. Politicians discover magic and keep it to themselves, but use it.
182. Tell a horror story from the perspective of the “creepy little girl.”
183. Take a slasher/gore porn film and rewrite it with only one violent scene.
184. Your protagonist becomes a high-ranking religious figure and talks to the world’s god just as the world undergoes its industrial revolution and secularism begins to spread.
185. Your protagonist turns to secularism just as the person from the previous prompt becomes a high-ranking religious figure.
186. Your protagonist literally can’t count to five, but is put in a position where s/he must lead a group of people to survival.
187. Your protagonist’s emotions affect the thousand people closest in proximity to him or her. The girl/guy s/he likes rejects him.
188. The protagonist is the stereotypical evil overlord’s adviser and is not secretly helping the heroes–s/he is, in fact, supporting the overlord’s plans with all his or her power.
189. The protagonist is among the thousands of faceless minions in the overlord’s army, and wants to prove him/herself by killing the hero/ine.
190. In a culture where only two children are allowed to live at a time in a single village, there is an underground network of kids. Bonus points if this doesn’t end in an uprising or an uprising being quelled.
191. Write a fantasy so stereotypical it makes your eyes bleed. Then make it a musical and make the protagonist tone-deaf. When you’re done, read it out loud. (This exercise is meant to boost your confidence.)
192. Write a fantasy so stereotypical it makes your eyes bleed. Write it 100% seriously. (This exercise is also meant to boost your confidence.)
193. Let your most disgusting, uncensored, depraved, most insane fantasy dribble from your brain onto the page. Don’t stop. Don’t edit. Don’t self-censor. Don’t show anyone. Write like you’ll never have to show it to anyone else ever–not even your internal editor.
194. Your world approaches its new millennium, and several prophecies say the world will end. Several things are set to happen on the night of the new millennium, but despite all these things happening together, every prophecy only predicts one and predicts only it will cause the end of the world.
195. Your protagonist is a blacksmith for the evil overlord. His rival blacksmith on the good guys’ side suddenly invents and mass-manufactures guns.
196. Your protagonist has super-powered hindsight. Instead of seeing only what happened in hindsight, he sees every single possibility in full detail, and can see the future of each possible path.
197. Your protagonist is a video game hero/ine. The story follows video game mechanics: the hero/ine is suddenly controlled by someone else for long periods of time, respawning happens, the hero/ine is ridiculously overpowered compared to anyone else and communicates via saying absolutely nothing, but the people he’s talking to know what he said anyway, etc.
198. Your protagonist is an economist and knows the importance of keeping the value of cash steady. Then he finds out he can spawn money at will.
199. In a world where there are four distinctive sexes, your protagonist’s society debates their equivalent of gay rights.
200. In a world where extreme emotions cause death, battles are fought by warriors playing songs, telling stories, debating politics, etc.