Rummaging the Library - 2023 New Year's Resolution in The Alchemist's Sanctum | World Anvil

Rummaging the Library - 2023 New Year's Resolution

And finding gold between the pages

New year, new opportunities! I have been desperately busy at the end of the last year, but that's over! I clenched my teeth and went on for the last exams of my life (unless I failed them, which would be quite unfortunate). Now I have many projects this year that involve worldbuilding, of course, but also fiction writing, woodcarving, music making, programming and much more! But enough about me, and let's get started with 10 articles that really stood out to me during the past month.


Qetzel - Cathedris

A pink titan revolves above the sky of Ezcor, the husk of the one who was the god of Sight, Mind, and possibly malice. Qetzel hovers ominously in the sky, his creepy laugh echoing in the countryside. A joker tormenting mortals and gods alike, Qetzel was the least liked of them all, and he reveled in that fact, leading a cult of deranged followers to believe all was part of a greater scheme. Slain while offering welcoming arms to Avartarian in the first day of The Seven Day War, his body stays frozen in his last twisted joke. Yet, his followers persisted through the ages, despite their tendency to self-annihilate.

Now, Qetzel has been my favorite God-Husk ever since I discovered them. I don't know if it is his enigmatic figure or his physical similarity with my favorite pokemon Sableye, but I'm drawn to him. So I was expecting this article the most from Cathedris! And he delivered! Stormbril's amazing CSS is always a treat, like sweets for the eyes. Every time I see it I feel like I gain more insight into this obscure arcana. The scarce information about his acts and the constant interrogation about Qetzel's real motives (despite what a cultist might tell you) fit really well with the concept of the god of conspiracies. I might subscribe to Stormbril's Patreon if only to get the bits of lore hidden behind these taunting buttons.


The World


What I learnt

  • Something does not need to be alive to be really scary
  • Scraps of lore from different places make the world even more believable (the Scraps from the Comprilith section is very smart in that regard!)
  • Including bonus lore for patrons in the article is a good way to engage reward supporters. Not that I am in the position to start a Patreon or something, but I might someday.
  • The Author


    Slaying - Shedim

    When it is not enough to kill someone - or something -, a Slaying is appropriate. It is the utter extermination of the slain being from the world. Their powers, memories, and features, everything of their identity is removed from reality and given to the slayer. This ritualistic butchery is tedious and revolting, and being known as a Slayer is not exactly an honor. Yet, it is an excellent shortcut to power, for those willing to forsake their humanity. And sometimes, there is no other way to get rid of a monster for good.

    I absolutely love Shedim, and Qurilion's writing always hits right. Going beyond death, to make disappear what is already dead is a really interesting take. I like that he has a vile act becoming necessary when facing a beast too dangerous for the world. Also because it means the mages facing this creature must first kill it to perform the ritual. All in all, a splendid article with a really good layout, Shedim is a must-read for all those who like horror and modern fantasy worlds.


    The World


    What I learnt

  • Small quotes spread over the articles are good to ease the flow of reading.
  • A sidebar with summaries of related articles and link to them helps in making the world feels complex and whole.
  • The Author


    Fiona's Fortunes and Palm Reading - Olaga Avanoa

    In the main street of the town, near a bakery and a cafe, lies a peculiar shop. Although most are not magical on their own, it sells wares most useful in the occult craft. The storefront reads "Fiona's Fortunes and Palm Reading". Inside, you would be greeted by a scarred elf who clearly knows her stuff. While browsing the shelves stacked with candles, costly potions, skulls, and staves, you might want to stop and ask about your future to the shopkeeper. Whether she really has this incredible ability or is a fraud, that is for the future you to find out.

    I am currently drafting the layout and content of the Alchemist's Sanctum (the shop that gave its name to this world), and this gave me much food for thought. It really is practical worldbuilding with concise and clear descriptions of things. While it is not a style I enjoy writing, I certainly do like reading it! The images are a nice touch, but what really sold me this article is the extensive inventory of everything sold there, with the prices and quantity! That is a real dedication and grounds the shop in its world better than any lengthy sentence.


    What I learnt

  • Although quotes and story bits help anchor an article in the world, other ways work just as well.
  • I have much to work on for my own shop
  • The Author


    Freeman CuriousCapers

    Sarah Thoonen
    Cory Cowley's Fawn by Sarah Thoonen


    Entering the Shattered - Shattered


    2000 years ago, people woke up in a Shattered world, where islands of various sizes and giant beings floated in space around the Creator, a sphere giving light, darkness, and rain. They had no memory of a time before they awoke, thus founded their civilization in this place that takes physical laws more as guidelines, than actual rules. None should go beyond the host of corpses littered around the irregular archipelago, for there be only death and Stars

    Cato never fails to deliver, this time in an eerie setting free of the bindings of realism. Right from the start, you can tell an astonishing amount of work has been put into the layout and CSS of this world. Colored words, article blocs, and images, it is so well done it feels natural to have all of this matching. The minimalistic style of the drawings is a perfect mix of visual and abstract illustration. I love that we can see the giants hugging the Creator on hover! It is this kind of thing that makes it incredible. If you are looking for a world with a very strong visual identity, look no further.


    What I learnt

  • Minimalism works incredibly well to integrate images into the article
  • Changing the image on hover is a neat trick
  • Coloring and changing the style of some words work great.
  • The Author


    Sage Catoblepon

    Visit Daeliha, Iphars, Khulgran & Shattered
    Love to code, but this one is driving me crazy!
    My world Shattered won as the "Most ground-breaking premise new world"!


    How Not To Get Eaten by Various Phoenixes - Hesli

    Taming a wild Phoenix is no small feat, and many perils await the aspiring Phoenix Master. But it is always an epic tale with the greatest title bestowed on the victorious adventurer as a reward. However, everyone has to start somewhere. Like a possibly useless handbook, as per the words of its mysterious author. Written with humor and deep knowledge of the subject, it is a gold mine of information for anyone trying this challenge. 10/10, would read again.

    A great and funny article, I love how the quotes are making it look like this is no big deal whereas the text indicates the opposite. It is short but encompasses all information one can look for in a book article: content, material, physical characteristics, and a visual. The snippet does great work in conveying the overall tone of the handbook, and the reviews are hilarious. A good example of how to write this template!


    Sothime - Istralar

    Despite existing for longer than it is possible to remember, the divine Sothime has few ties with the mortal world. The Golden Recluse, as they are now called, reigns over minds, emotions, and experiences in their own realm, the Qualic Scriptorium. It is a chaotic god, recording everything that has something to do with their tenets. Surrounded by their four loyal servants and a swarm of small orb-like constructs, Sothime has never been involved in the great affairs of the gods, yet it seems they have an agenda of their own. Yet, who could tell what the god of madness and chaos really thinks?

    I like how Sothime has many characteristics of a god of knowledge: the gigantic library, the seclusion, and even the cryptic agenda. Yet, they are not the masters of pure knowledge, but mind and memory, the emotional knowledge, and I think that's brilliant. This article is littered with incredible images as Hanhula shows once again she is a master of MidJourney. I am not a great fan of the images expanding on hover, but it does make the page more lively. Finally, giving the RPG information and stats on the sidebar creates a clear separation and if people don't want to learn about the gameplay of Sothime's followers, they can do so without stopping and skipping sections of the main content, I like that.


    What I learnt

  • Putting extra work on the cover image does wonders.
  • Clear separation between RPG and worldbuilding content ease the flow of reading for those who don't want to read one or the others, I will keep that in mind.
  • Subverting lightly the archetypes is sometimes as good as completely twisting them.
  • The Author


    Eternal Grandmaster Hanhula


    welcome to my signature! check out istralar!


    Inquisition - Koria

    The Inquisition is a tentacular organization with ties all over Koria. Although they are not hell-bent on purging the world from all magic but rather the gathering of various artifacts. Their activities are threefolds: the Blue Inquisitors are the ones tasked with relic retrieval, the Grey Ruby consists of spies spread in every layer of society, and the Inquisition does the dirty work: uncovering secrets, by tearing them away from even kings and queens if need be. They also have a band, because even the terrible inquisitors need to relieve their stress from time to time.

    Nobody expects the... yeah ok, it's been done before, in the article's excerpt even. But what I really like in this one is that it is an inquisition that truly is unexpected in most places. They are more of a secret organization than the armed hand of a church. The abundance of detail and the questioning welcoming us into the article are both very good, and I love that Inquisitors are depicted as humans who, despite treading with otherworldly and demonic powers on a daily basis, need to blow off some steam from time to time. The band is a clever and hilarious idea.


    The World


    What I learnt

  • The carousel displaying the diverse looks of inquisitors is an awesome idea! I'll steal that.
  • The alternance of humorous quotes and serious text helps humanize people.
  • The Author


    Grandmaster CrazyEddie

    You wanna see what we did for the last events? Go, click here: Eddies Major Events


    Rock Snapper

    The far reaches of the North are no place for the incautious wanderer, for in these mountains lie giant tortoises, and they are hungry. The shell of rock snappers bears many similarities with the surrounding rocks, and they use this incredible adaptation to blend in the hazardous landscape. Buried in the snow, they probe their environment with their sharp horns. And once the unfortunate prey comes too close, curious about the water streaming from the shell, they snap and devour them. Nobody know them like the Aina elves, who learned the patterns of this apex predator and proceeded to hunt them down, using their shell as impenetrable armor or frozen storage.

    Tortoise as apex predators! This is a very well-built article, from the biology perfectly adapted to their environment to the clever choice of making them ambush predators. And I guess it can awaken some chionophobia, given how such giants can disappear under the snow blanket. The layout of the article is simple but effective, with lots of room to breathe and great MidJourney images.


    The World


    What I learnt

  • Another great example of a technically irreproachable article to fall back to.
  • "Snappy tortoise" can take a whole different meaning.
  • The Author


    Eternal Sage Kefkejaco

    Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!


    A Primer for the Uninitiated - Tai'Sans Hearth

    The world of Focis, or Tai'Sans Hearth as orcs call it, has the impossible shape of a toroid, created and maintained by the demiurge Tai'Sans. The first creatures to populate the world were the Orcs, and as such, they assume the role of memory keepers. Their ancient knowledge is unparalleled, if only by the second species, the Godspawns. They too are creatures of Tai'Sans, immortals beings the orcs see as their fellows, physically if not mentally. Then went the Others, the Starfallen made of rock and gems, and the Off-balanced who broke into Focis with their overwhelming magic before they got almost wiped out by Tai'Sans. All four species now live in a brittle balance, eyeing each other with defiance and perhaps contempt.

    There is almost all we can expect from a primer: it tells of the beginning of the world; introduces peculiar mechanisms like the Echoes of the future, snippets of the time after the current era; and description of the main sentient species of the world, as well as their relationship. If something is missing, it is some insights about the geography of Tai'Sans Hearth, especially the mystical inside world which is introduced but not really explained. However, using an unreliable narrator to develop the history of the world is a good choice that puts the reader directly as an interlocutor of Forg, the wise-orc of the Thornbringers tribe.


    What I learnt

  • There still exist new ways to use the four most typical races of fantasy.
  • It is possible to keep everything in the orc's archetypes but the mindless brute aspect and make them feel like a completely different race.
  • The Author


    Grandmaster Ninodonlord

    Yours truly, Nino.
    Its Worldember!I am building out a spooky world, which you can read about here! (psst, its a link)
    To learn about my main world click on this link! (if you want to ;) )


    Deep Space Leviathan - Solaris

    Placid giants that can reach the size of a small moon, Leviathans are space filter feeders, drifting in the void between planets. Creatures of deep space, crossing paths with one is an exceptional occurrence. They are an entire world in themselves, as they harbor on their back, underbelly, and even their jaws a variety of lifeforms and ecosystems. The only reliable way to get close to them is the once-in-a-century event of the Great Migration when an endless procession of Leviathans gather around Sol to feed on its orbital disc. It is the opportunity of a lifetime for whalers all over the system, who swarms to take the bounty of the corpse of the harmless titans.

    Leviathans in space! Of course, I would love it, I knew it before even reading. But they are even more than that, as these space whales are worlds of their own, venturing into the deep space outside the grasp of Sol people. I liked all the hypotheses around them, showing how little is understood. Yet, it is a sad but realistic take that whalers would swarm on every occasion of taking advantage of the pacifism displayed by the giants. I really like the new and unique look of Solaris, and Nnie's art is always a treat!


    What I learnt

  • Some layout and CSS inspiration, as always with Nnie.
  • The bigger the beast, the more lesser lifeforms will cling onto it.
  • It is not because something is poorly understood that it cannot be integrated into culture and traditions.
  • The Author


    Sage nnie

    Annie Stein
    Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!


    Wait, there's more!


    Here are some more articles I really loved from WorldEmber. I would have loved to write in length about them, but time is running out and the deadline closing in, so here they are.


    Bonus shoutout


    The end of WE came with the arrival of a new anvil and hammer in the forge. And he brought with him stunning CSS! Once again, the limits of the possible are pushed back. I have no doubt he will bring much to this community, and I can only encourage you to take a look at his two first articles.

    Sage RubenVDB

    Ruben Van Den Broucke

    When rummaging in a basement, make sure to stay in the light by Rumengol via MidJourney

    How I see the year to come


    Write more


    My mind is buzzing with ideas and projects, but I am writing so slowly and procrastinating so much that I cannot write down half of them. What I want to achieve this year is to write as regularly as possible, and much more. I have so much to expand on. Also, I want to continue some stories I began as part of the Tale of the Ever-Changing, and make them available to a broader public. Which means translating all 89 tales I published until now. 2 done, 87 more to go!



    Creating is more than a hobby, almost like a necessity. But it is a hobby that munch on time even when there is not much to chew. That is why I will try to monetize what I make if only to prove to my parents that I am not merely staring at that computer screen and doing nothing. But I don't have enough readers to start a Patreon or something like that, and I don't ever want to make someone pay for accessing what I make. So I will have to figure it out.



    I am now quite proficient with writing worldbuilding articles, short stories, and I proved to myself I can write a novel in a month, or at least a first draft of dubious quality. Now I want to explore other media, various means of telling stories, and more ambitious projects. I would like to improve my music-making skills, perhaps 3D modeling too. I already am planning an interactive fiction game, and the most challenging article I've ever written CSS-wise.


    Engage and read more


    What I regret the most in the past year is not reading as much of Anvilites work as I wanted to. There are so many things to learn and discover in others' work! I want to finish my reading of The Void Between, learn more about Solaris, get lost in Araea, wander around Saleh'Alire, settle somewhere in the Yonderverse, defy quietly the gods of Divine Tyranny, and discover the countless gems this site has to offer.


    To make this resolution come true, I am thinking about doing a monthly feature of an article I really liked reading, maybe making it a regular post to go along with the monthly RLWB article. I know I already talked about that some time ago and failed to do it in the end, but I still want to try. Maybe I will give up this time too, then I will try again at the next opportunity.

    Cover image: Rummaging through the library by Rumengol via MidJourney


    Author's Notes

    This Reading Challenge template is really growing on me. I made a few tweaks since the last one, and I am pretty happy with it. Do you have any suggestion on how I might improve it?

    Please Login in order to comment!
    Jan 24, 2023 20:03 by TJ Trewin

    Excellent goals, good luck! Have a wonderful and inspiring year of worldbuilding :D

    Journals of Yesteryear
    You're invited to explore my new world!
    Jan 25, 2023 18:16

    Thank you! Best of luck in your creative endeavors :D

    Hoo~ Hoo
    Jan 24, 2023 22:49

    Thank you so much for mentioning my article The One in you reading challenge. I am honored! May you reach all your goals and may your quill never run dry.

    Graylion - Nexus   Roleplaying
    not Ruleplaying
    not Rollplaying
    Jan 25, 2023 18:10

    Thank you for your words of encouragement, I wish you the best too! I didn't develop on your article, but I really enjoyed the read!

    Hoo~ Hoo
    Jan 25, 2023 08:35 by Ruben Van Den Broucke

    I'm honored to get a shoutout! This gives me a boost of motivation, thank you so much! Love this template you made, makes it super structured and easy to read. Good luck in 2023, I'll be following your creations closely! ^^

    Jan 25, 2023 18:12

    If that motives you to make more of these beautiful articles, then I am happy too :D

    Hoo~ Hoo
    Jan 25, 2023 10:42

    Thanks so much for your praise! I too look forward to reading more of your work. Best of luck with your goals!

    Yours truly, Nino.
    Its Worldember!I am building out a spooky world, which you can read about here! (psst, its a link)
    To learn about my main world click on this link! (if you want to ;) )
    Jan 25, 2023 18:19

    Thank you, let's inspire each other then \o/

    Hoo~ Hoo
    Jan 26, 2023 14:41

    Thank you for including Slaying :') I'm glad you enjoyed the read   And good luck with your 2023 resolutions!

    Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
    Jan 26, 2023 17:22 by Stormbril

    I always really love the way you go through these articles and the way you lay out your reading challenge articles -- it's really great! And I'm absolutely honored to have an article selected in here :D Thank you so much for the kind words about it <3   So exciting to see your mind buzzing with ideas and goals to explore and build new shinies -- I wish you the best of luck with all of that and am excited to see what you make!

    Jan 27, 2023 09:17

    Thanks for including my rock snapper here! ^^ Love your takes on all of your chosen articles and also presented really well! I hope you get to your goals this year, I know the procrastinating feeling. I have a big writing month during summercamp and worldember but then the rest of the year I put things off :p

    Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!