I once carefully worldbuilt a computer system, how it would have a distributed filesystem with redundant backups, a public key system for identity, etc. etc.

Then when I was building the next world, I realised I could just copypaste the computer system from the last one. So there's a cyberpunk world and a futuristic democracy, but they have identical tech, in quite a bit of detail.

Another example is a coilgun I figured out, that would fire cheap steel flechettes, with a certain amount of kinetic energy, a certain amount of recoil, etc. The exact same weapon exists in several of my worlds now.

What things do you reuse like this?

  • $\begingroup$ I think this is more suited for WB-meta rather than for main $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch Mod
    Jan 23 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ Looks like you're looking for a wide array of opinions and individual instances rather than a more general, objective process. This imbues opinion-based closure, and alas I don't know right now how to turn it around in a more suited question for this site :/. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Jan 23 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ (This has been written while it was on main...) Still, here's the best I can hint you : when asking for the process of crafting worlds (rather than the world itself), we should ask about one process rather than our personal choices. Perhaps -and that's only an idea you're not forced to follow- the question would be more suitable on this site if you asked what you could gain or lose from an heavy copy-paste approach. In other words, move the choice of the process to talk about to you, and let's talk about the most objective facts about them :). $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Jan 23 at 14:04
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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch I don't really agree : Meta SE is to talk about the site itself, not about worldbuilding process which has its own dedicated tag. Note however I don't mean that the question was suitable the way it was written on main ^^. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Jan 23 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena, see for example worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/q/10017/30492 or worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/q/9861/30492 . Maybe the line is a bit blurred... $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch Mod
    Jan 23 at 14:23
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    $\begingroup$ 1. I do not think this is a topic for Meta. It's not about the WB main site. It's more of a question about worldbuilding itself. 2. With that said, I agree with Tortliena that there is no real objective answer. Or the list is infinite. You can re-use the configuration of the stars in the sky or the power structure of locals in a city. And that can be fit across pretty much any setting - from a steampunk world which features a floating island above a desert, to a futuristic setting where everybody fled underground as the surface became uninhabitable. There is barely any limit to reusability. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Jan 23 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ @Tortliena For the last four or so years, we've been slowly disassociating ourselves from the worldbuilding-process tag, basically because it fails too many of Stack Exchange's rules (all answers of equal value, opinion-based, open-ended...). I'm not a fan of that, by definition a site dedicated to worldbuilding should be willing to answer questions about the process of worldbuilding, but it's been proven very difficult to overcome the inertia of Help Center canon. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jan 23 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH There's nothing much to see in the past year, actually. Excluding hasty people making hasty tag choices, the tag is seldom used. But this talk is not directly related to the present question, so in short my point of view is about the same as the second part of my answer to your worldbuilding-resources topic. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Jan 23 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because JBH pretty much offered the definitive answer to what is otherwise an "infinite list question". $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Jan 26 at 3:02
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    $\begingroup$ I think this question could be reworked into a decent Process of Worldbuilding query and transferred back to Main. I think if you were to focus on e.g. technology you could ask a question about how to recycle between worlds without making them mirror images. Such a reworking would focus more on a universal process and less on our lists of things we've recycled. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Jan 26 at 3:06
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    $\begingroup$ IMHO, this page only belongs in Meta if the question is "is this kind of question ok?" It doesn't belong on Stack Exchange because it's an open-ended brainstorming type of question, where there are no good or bad answers. It's a good focal point for a discussion, but we don't do that here. $\endgroup$ Feb 2 at 18:01

1 Answer 1



The only practical answer to your question is "everything." Nothing stops you from reusing any and all constructs in any and all worlds. The only drawback to doing this is that the more you reuse constructs, the more people will recognize each world as being in "the same universe." Whether or not that's bad depends entirely on the goals of your efforts.

But, maybe you were asking for examples from other people?

If, on the other hand, you were looking for a list of constructs that had been reused by other users, I'm afraid that question is off-topic. The Help Center specifically states that to avoid question closure, you shouldn't ask questions that:

  • Are open-ended,
  • Where you give your own answers and expect more,
  • Where every answer has equal value.

The basic problem is that Stack Exchange's basic model is one-specific-question/one-best-answer and it's impossible to choose a best answer to such a question. Such a question is a perfect example of a question that should be closed as Opinion-Based.


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