Writing a Mage’s Tower

Writing a mage's tower by SorcererOfTea.com

I love magic, which you may or may not have picked up on by now. Magic systems are fascinating, and I’ve talked about how to make them awesome.

But your mages need somewhere to live too! The classic aesthetic when you think of mages is towers. From Hogwarts to Saruman, they just go hand in hand. The World Anvil Tower of Power challenge was my opportunity to write about a mage’s tower in my world of Macalgra.

Step 1. Imagery

a lighthouse

My first stop was an image. I went to the British Library for this. They have a Flickr account full of Public Domain images that have been scanned from old books, and a lot of the time I use them to illustrate my world. I’ll link the resource at the bottom of this post. I wanted some colour, so I colourized this old image in GIMP with some layer magic. That is really a whole tutorial of its own, which I might cover sometime.

Step 2. The Introduction

Introducing your article can be tricky. You need to grab the reader immediately. This is why I love to open with a quote from a character. World Anvil lets me use the quote BBcode (pictured) to give these some style and flair.

a quote from Prince Aldnieks of the Chiebans
picture of World Anvil interface

Then I moved onto some opening information. To me, some of the most important stuff to establish in the opening is What? Where? Why?

  • What is it? The Midnight Tower
  • Where is it? The western coast of Victellus
  • Why do I (the reader) care? It is golden and ancient (pwetty)

You can (and should) compliment this with flavour text. An article without context in its opening will leave the reader scratching their head.

Imagine going to the Wikipedia entry for America, and it opens with the history section – “It has been generally accepted that the first inhabitants of North America migrated from Siberia.” Your reader now thinks this is an article on the history of either the continent, Native Americans, immigration or human migration. Not the United States.

Step 3. Architecture

Architecture quote from article

What does it look like? The architecture of a building is important. If you haven’t got an image, its doubly important. Tell us what it looks like. Add some cultural context (the columns are a foreign style). I suggest finding a Wikipedia article for a famous building, and seeing how they explain the architecture. Use that type of tone as your guide.

Step 4. History

History sections can get very dry. I try to break them up with images and quotes. Here I give a bit more flavour with a quote about how Urjvu meets the goddess I’m about to explain next paragraph. I set reader expectations that learn about something magical happening.

A picture of my mage's tower article

Use subheadings

They stop your eyes glazing over! A subheading gives your readers something to latch onto, and it will also give you something to grab when you come back later. Break up a history by notable events. Someone died? Draw a line in the text, add a subheading.

A picture of my mage's tower article

Step 5. Sidebar

In a World Anvil article, sidebars are important! They should serve in two capacities. A quick reference for short, snappy information. Your tower’s owner should definitely be listed here.

I use a “mentioned here” section as a quick reference guide. Writing in a fantasy world it is super easy to overwhelm your user. If you didn’t know the names Gandalf, Beren, Luthien, Middle-Earth, Saruman and Sauron would mean nothing to you. Your eyes will start glazing over.

Call it a glossary, or name it however. This quick segment of your sidebar will help your readers understand your mage’s tower.

Use article blocks

You can grab an article’s block link in the edit page. Put that code into your article, and create a fancy button that’ll link to it.


The Worldbuilding Wizard has a great guide for the Tower of Power challenge. It breaks down how to organise yourself for a World Anvil challenge and helps you understand the criteria for judging.

Want to read my finished article? Check out The Midnight Tower.

May the best article win!

Header image: Approach to Petra, an Ancient Watch Tower Commanding the Valley of El Chor, by David Roberts c.1839. Public domain. Tower image, the Lighthouse of Pharros, from the British Library. Public Domain.

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