Death, healing, and natural order. The dogma of Lady Raven, Goddess of Death in Thread of Souls. She is featured heavily in the Spider Octology, our eight-book fantasy series, and is one of the many included Protector gods in our world.
Often depicted as a dark hooded and winged figure. She guards those that pass on and is actively opposed to necromancy, murder, and the perversion of death. Her Deathwalkers are an order of warriors that fight against the necromantic arts.
This Bardic Inspiration focuses on her. We chose music tracks that invoke a sense of mystery, darkness, the unknown, and themes of life and death.
The Sea of Ghosts
As the Goddess of Death, she ferries souls after they pass. Souls that do not cling to any god are welcome to stay with her in her realm of the Sable Mausoleum. Sea of Ghosts is a reverential track that brings to mind lingering souls, whether trapped or free to explore.
Reverie of the Netchimen
A lighter more free-feeling track perfect for a cleric or worshipper of Lady Raven. The cycle of life and death is one everyone experiences and this is a great fit for exploring the traversal between one and the other.
Mists of Morthal
Mists of Morthal plays when visiting sacred or hallowed ground related to Lady Raven. Whether it’s a temple devoted to her or a cemetery honoring the dead. It ebbs and flows between dark and moody to harmonious and soothing.
A Cold Wind Blows from Atmora
Soothing strings and a choir bring to mind peaceful moments. Life and death can bring peace and while having the title of Goddess of Death sounds sinister, it’s one of respect and hope. She doesn’t seek to reap souls, but rather help them find solace in the afterlife.
You’d think we have a massive crush on Elder Scrolls Online, and you’d be right. Its soundtrack is vast and these are just a few examples of songs fit for Lady Raven, Goddess of Death.
Here is our Lady Raven playlist you can use for your game.
This September we are celebrating “Read a New Book Month”! You can also totally celebrate in December, since that is also designated as a new book month. For us, September is the doorstep of our favorite season of the year, and it has us looking to settle down, find some new books, and enjoy a slower pace of life.
Choose Your Weapon
When looking for a new book, there are many avenues available! A big chain like Barnes & Noble has plenty to choose from, or you might want to go to a local bookshop and find some hidden gems. Going online to stores like Amazon enables you to support indie authors who might not be able to get their books into larger stores. Or if you find yourself pressed for time to sit down and read, audiobooks are another option! Don’t overlook your local library if you don’t want to spend money.
We are lovers of high fantasy, and that tends to be 80% of what we read. But we also enjoy some spooky stories, some urban fantasy, and some nonfiction books. Stick with what you like, or it might be fun to branch out and try something new! If you are uncertain about spending money on a book you are not sure you’ll like, you can find ebooks for relatively cheap, especially from indie authors. Some sites like Amazon also let authors do a temporary free promotion of their book, so you can try one without any cost! Keep in mind the authors do not make any money from this, so you can tell they truly want to share their work if they do free promotions.
We’ve definitely written plenty of posts talking about some of our favorite books. If you are looking for some inspiration, feel free to check these out!
Video games are as great an escape as reading a book. They let you become another character and play out an adventure. Games allow you to discover new lands, save the world, or go on a side quest. Very much like a fantasy book, you join along in the adventure to see what happens in the end.
And like a book series, games can have several in the series. That’s why we split our list of the best video games to design your character into two posts. Sequels are popular. Everyone wants more of what they enjoyed. It worked for Avengers, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and it’s how we’re building Thread of Souls.
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfirequickly became one of our favorite games. Inspired by Baldur’s Gate, you build a party of characters in an attempt to stop a god from wreaking on the world. You can make a party of five custom characters, each with their own voice and skill line. It’s another great example of a D&D party in video games. You can outfit characters with armor, weapons, and choose a color unique to them to make them stand out.
WWE is a big part of our lives and W2K22 is one of the best games when it comes to designing a character. From their looks, clothing, and attitude, the game offer plenty of options when it comes to design. You can choose any skin color, select from hundreds of outfits or clothes, and give your character a specific fighting style. It’s one of the most fu games we’ve found when it comes to building a character. Characters are restricted to how tall they can be. So if you play a shorter or taller race, you are limited to height.
8. Neverwinter – Free
Neverwinter’s character creator is the best choice for free games to choose from. It pulls directly from the lore and official D&D books, so those familiar with the mechanics should find it simple to build a character. If you have a drow paladin at the table, you can build them in Neverwinter and get them pretty close to how you imagine them.
9. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is robust. There are 25 classes and 12 races to choose from when you build a character. Classes have their own unique look — rangers wear a hood, paladins wear heavy armor — but you can change certain elements by giving them armor during the journey.
10. Dragon Age: Inquisition
Elves, humans, dwarves, and Qunari make up the characters you’ll be able to choose from in Dragon Age. While it isn’t a lot when compared to other games, it fits the lore of the world. One of our favorite things about the character customization options for Dragon Age is the clothing. There are so many outfits to find and equip in the game and you can customize the color and style of them as well. You can tailor outfits to fit the personality and skill of your specific character.
Seeing your character come to life in a video game can give them more life in your writing. Watching them move around the map or interact with objects and characters can give you new ideas in roleplaying them at the table. Give it a thought the next time you sit down to play.
September is here and it’s a time to celebrate self-published fantasy books! The month is for authors who self-publish their own fantasy works. From tabletop creators, fantasy authors, and bloggers, if you write fantasy, let’s celebrate together!
We are the authors of the heroic fantasy series Thread of Souls. The story is based entirely on our homebrew tabletop campaign. We started playing together in 2015. No one knew a thing about ttrpgs but we all grew up on fantasy. We knew Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and Game of Thrones and all especially loved LotR.
After playing for a few years, Talia came up with the brilliant idea of turning our campaign into a fantasy book series. As an author her entire life, she grew up reading and penning fan fiction and creating comics of her and friends. Turning our storyline into a book was the next natural step.
We discovered self-published fantasy month last year and are excited for this year. Each day of September features a prompt or challenge. It includes prompts such as world-building, ecology, magic Mondays, scenic Saturdays, and self-promo Sundays.
The first exercise is thematic Thursday, tradition versus change. We thought of magic in Thread of Souls. Fantasy stories feature magic in some form or another and we wanted to keep to that tradition. One way we change magic is how it works. Magic was granted to mortals by the gods and works in numerous ways. Clerics and paladins rely on their devotion to their deity in order to cast divine magic. Whereas, wizards and mages learn by studying and use crystals to cast their spells.
Day two is a quote.
For you cannot find yourself, if you do not first lose your way.
Rob J. Hayes – Never Die
This reminds us of our characters from Thread of Souls. They each experience something that causes them to change who they are. For example, Taliesin was born into a cult and knows nothing outside of it. During his adventure, he learns more bout himself and the life he left behind, leading him to discover who he really is.
We would love to see your projects! Whether it’s a book, blog, or tabletop related, let us know what you’re working on in the comments!
Hello there, Talia and Dorian with our monthly update! Talia is recovering from her achilles tendon injury. It is a slow process but healing takes time. She is able to get up and around without issue, so good news! We are super thrilled about the future for Thread of Souls and our ttrpg projects, so let’s get to it!
Jade’s Alphabet of Animals
“Jade’s Alphabet of Animals” is coming along nicely. It is, however, being pushed back due to the injury and recovery process. We haven’t narrowed down an official date, but it will release before the end of the year. It’s a comical take on children’s books featuring animals and creatures within the world of Thread of Souls. Here’s one such animal, the behleep, you’ll find hanging around the slopes of De Behl Marr.
The mountains are home to the cuddly behleep. A cousin to the standard sheep. They wear a coat of stone and rocks and roam around in herds and flocks. They hop along from here to there, leaping over boulders up into the air. If you see one, don’t be scared. They’ll roll right to you, so be prepared.
Asunder update! Our fourth book in the Thread of Souls Spider Octology series is on schedule for release this December! We are about 80% through writing so far and even added in a brand new POV character. One we’re rather excited about. Here’s a sneak peek at Asunder!
While we may be nearing the end of writing book four, we are in the endgame of our story around the table. We’re playing out the events of book eight and it’s been an incredible time. Can’t believe we started in 2015.
We have a TikTok! It’s a fun platform we really enjoy using to meet and chat with others in the community. Give us a follow!
We are working on our biggest D&D guide ever! A book dedicated to the Underdark. We enjoy the creepy, dark, and mysteriousness of the Underdark. Underground adventures are one of our favorites to write. It includes cult cities, non-cult cities, drow, duergar, deep gnomes, cuisine, priestesses, consorts, taverns, roll tables, and plenty more to build your own Underdark world.
Our Thread of Souls character feature for August was Artemis the ranger. We love getting to talk about our characters, world, and lore. Gives us a like and follow along for more lore, writing tips, and cats.
Captain Sen – The Barbarian
Our next lore drop is all about the boisterous and lovable Captain Sen! He’s loyal, kind, and always up for a good fight. Who plays a barbarian?
Visualizing a character in a book series or tabletop game is all up to the imagination. Authors, readers, and players have an idea of how a character looks but they both may be entirely different from one another. No two will see a character the same, and that’s a good thing. As long as the author describes how they look, the reader forms a complete image in their head.
Yet, as authors ourselves, we like to see our characters come to life. To get a better picture of them, we turn to art and video games. Along with Talia’s original art of each character, making them in video games is a great way to take them from our imagination.
Whether you’re an author or a reader, here are some of our favorite video game character creators.
1. Elder Scrolls Online
Elder Scrolls Online is a game where you’ll spend plenty of time with your character. The world is massive and you’ll spend hours adventuring across Tamriel so having a character you enjoy playing is key. Even more so, having one that is nice to look at is a bonus. The game is beautiful and provides so many customization options for your character.
From their height, build, muscles, and race, there is plenty to choose from. There are even accessories to go through and several hairstyles and colors to choose from. Though we’ll count off a few points for not having dwarf as a race but that’s more related to lore than a problem of the creator. For those who want to play a dwarf, as we do for our character Ruuda, we suggest making a dark elf and roleplaying them as a dwarf, or dwemer in Elder Scrolls lore.
Once you’re through with customizing your character, the next best thing is selecting their clothing. Which can be done an unlimited amount of times throughout the game.
2. Baldur’s Gate 3
Baldur’s Gate 3 is one of those games that just keeps giving. While the first two came with character creation, they were halted by the era in which they were released. Characters were little more than pixels on a screen, and while you could tell what class and race they were, it was difficult to make out finer details.
The technology of today allows for a wider range of character customization options. You’ll be able to build just about any book character you can imagine in the game — even more when it’s fully released. However, for those who want to make their character taller or smaller, you’re out of luck, at least for now. One day it would be nice to see drow women taller than drow men. Getting the lackluster part out of the way, one of our favorite additions is the ability to have two-toned hair. A great option for characters with wild hair such as Ruuda.
3. Solasta: Crown of the Magister
Solasta is what Dungeons & Dragons looks like when taken from a tabletop game to a video game. It’s a near exact adaptation and it works rather well. Its character creation is simple when compared to others but it’s no less worthy of being on our list. When you make a character, you choose their race and class, the class is the important part we’re focusing on here.
Classes come with their own clothing and weapons. So, if you are wanting to build an archer character from a book series you like, go for the ranger. Or perhaps you want to see what a thief may look like, select the rogue class to get a character with dual daggers and light armor. You can even give them a tattoo or face paint to hide their identity.
4. Elden Ring
You’ll spend a lot of time dying in Elden Ring, but its character builder is a worthy rival for stealing your time. It is one of the most dynamic creation systems we’ve come across. You can make characters any color you wish, which is great for making dark elves, dwarves, gnomes, and dragonborn-type characters. Everything is so in-depth, from your character’s hair to their eyes, nose, and mouth.
Choosing your starting class also gives you fun clothing and weapons. So, a mage will start with a staff and robes while a fighter will have armor and a weapon like a sword. Once you’re in the game properly, you can find several weapons and clothing to choose from to better equip and detail the specific character you are building. The one major downside is there isn’t a slider for height.
5. Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-reckoning
Kingdoms of Amalur is one of Dorian’s favorite games. Well before Thread of Soulswas conceptualized, he made characters just for fun, never having one that was his own. That is until characters such as Ruuda, Taliesin, or Jasita came along. Now, in every game he’ll build a character from Thread of Souls. Kingdoms of Amalur was one of the first that comes to mind.
You can choose from race, skin tone, eye color, makeup, hairstyles, facial hair, and tattoos. From there, you’ll play a bit of the game to unlock class options. Classes are based on abilities and your choice of weapon rather than a specific class. You can also multiclass and choose to be a fighter and wizard if you wish. So, you can make a character who specializes in melee and magic.
We’ve got plenty of other video games to choose from as well! This is merely part one of the best video games to build your characters in. Stay tuned for part two!
The character feature for August is Artemis Wolfsbane! A fiercely independent and stubbornly private ranger that adventures the wilderness with her wolf.
Artemis Wolfsbane is a half-elf in her early twenties that was born and raised in the Southern Kingdoms. She doesn’t talk about her past, merely saying that she is a fugitive of the wars that have plagued the South for centuries. An extremely adept fighter, her primary weapon is a bow and arrow.
We first meet Artemis in Phantom Five. She is thrust into a mission given by the strange spellcaster referred to as Jenkins. Afterward she joins up with Brother Zok, Jade, and others to aid them on their quests.
Artemis becomes an integral part of the group. As an archer, a ranger, and a survival expert she quickly has the others relying on her expertise. Known to cause shenanigans with her illusion hat, and for her appetite for desserts, Artemis seems easy-going on the outside.
But the others have noticed that she rises to anger when asked about the Southern Kingdoms. And they wonder what secrets she might be hiding.
Writer’s block. We’ve all been there. Staring at a screen, your cursor flashing on and off, and not knowing what to write next. Perhaps you know what to say, but not how to say it. Perhaps you’re stuck on a scene transition, or a bit of dialogue, or simply don’t know where to take the plot next. This blog entry is for you!
I am a big outliner when it comes to writing books. I need to know from start to finish where I am going. Even then, I still get writer’s block. Sitting at the desk across from me, I see my husband staring blankly at the screen. He has it, too. So what do we do when we are stuck in our writing? I want to share the top three strategies that have always worked for me! I hope some work for you, as well.
My #1 go-to strategy is to walk around. I especially like fidgeting as I pace. It could be bouncing a ball, or turning over a stuffed animal in my hands. Going outside is fine if you’d like, but I prefer just to pace my house. Sometimes I talk things over with my husband or out loud to myself, but most often I just think about what I’m writing.
I try not to think about the writer’s block. Instead, I visualize the story as if it was a movie, and let my imagination just drive it. Eventually, a solution will present itself just through letting my mind and feet wander.
Listen to Music
Whether it’s lyrical or instrumental, music always helps. I can’t listen to lyrical songs while I write, I find that too distracting. Having some instrumental music going keeps my pace while writing. If I find myself particularly stuck, I may stop, lie on the couch, and listen to some songs. Again, I try not to find a “solution”. I just let my mind wander and see where it goes.
Take a Break
This is really the best thing you can do for yourself during writer’s block. Just take a break. Get your eyes away from the screen and let your tension relax. Coming back to your writing with a fresh mind is very helpful.
I read this tip online once and I really liked it, so now I impart it to you. When you stop writing, try to end with an unfinished sentence. For example:
She frowned and said –
They left the house and –
When you come back to write, re-read the last page or so leading up to that unfinished sentence. Most of the time, when you get to it, you will simply be able to start typing and carry on with the story!
We hope you enjoyed this entry for storytelling tips! If you have any other strategies you use to defeat writer’s block, share them below!
Creating new characters is a puzzling yet exciting challenge. What do they look like? How do they present themselves? What do they carry with them? You may have a rough outline of them but need to give them something that makes them stand out. Welcome to our How to Write character features. Each one is designed to guide you on how to create and write characters for your story.
Thinking of characters as classes from a tabletop roleplaying game makes the process much more simple. Our fantasy series Thread of Soulsis full of examples of this as each main character you meet is based on a class in such a game. Today’s How to Write focuses on wizards!
Fantasy has seen many great wizards in its timeline. Gandalf, Yennefer, Harry Potter, the list continues. But not one of those characters is similar to the other. The one thing they do have in common is they are able to cast spells.
So, what makes a wizard? How do you effectively write a wizard in a book series? We want to share the top three methods we use to create great relatable wizard characters in your story so you can add them into stories of your own!
Choose their Speciality
When creating a wizard in a game like Dungeons & Dragons for instance, you get to choose the specific magic you specialize in. It’s a bit like choosing a major in college or a professional trade such as blacksmithing. No two professionals in their field are the same, so neither are wizards.
Take Thread of Souls for example. Gnome wizard Tymus specializes in Distortis magic, the study of illusion. He relies on misdirection and summoned images and sounds to overcome challenges. Whereas human wizard Vera uses Aegitis, protective magic, to safeguard allies and places.
Having a wizard do all sorts of magic can be difficult to follow. Stick to having your wizard characters focus on one specialty and your readers won’t get lost in what it is they are good at. If they need to use another sort of magic such as fire when they normally use ice, have them use a wand or magical item that uses the power instead.
Choose their Personal Effects
We tend to recognize characters by their attire, personality, or items. Gandalf is typically seen with a pointy hat and walking staff. So, giving your wizard character a particular article of clothing or item is a great way to have them stand out.
Tymus wears mismatched clothes of vibrant colors that show off his character. While Vera dresses in fine robes of pink, blue, and purple, carries a staff, and wears an oversized pair of glasses. One is more wild and chaotic, while the other is more refined and dignified.
Likewise, give a villain wizard character darker clothing and crude, yet refined-looking weapons or magic. Their staff may be ancient and withered with spikes at the top.
Tie their Personality to their Specialty
Along with their personal effects, give them a unique personality. Wizards are generally intelligent, as casting magic is all about mental fortitude. Yet, intelligence isn’t being the smartest person in the room. It’s the ability to gain and use knowledge. Therefore, you could have a bumbling wizard character who is rather skilled in their specialty.
Tymus is constantly moving and talking. It’s part of his ADHD. It makes him seem all over the place and unfocused when in actuality he focuses deeply on one aspect at a time. He’s always focusing his attention on his magic. How it can be used to distract or help bring joy to others. His clothing is also tied to his choice of magic and personality. He also has bright pink hair and a matching mustache. Both can be distracting but also cause others to smile as they are fun and outgoing like him.
While Vera is seen as the polar opposite of Tymus. She’s reserved and thoughtful, always taking her time to ponder a thought and say the right words. As the Magister of Aegitis, she is as unmoving as a wall of stone and holds true to the rigid ways of the Citadel.
Keep in mind your villain wizards too. Their magic is a distorted version of what they chose as their specialty. Mental magic could cause blood to drip from their and their enemy’s nose. While fire takes on a more sinister nature. Instead of a simple blast of flames, it appears as a snake striking its opponent.
We hope this helps you create more rounded wizard characters in your stories. Wizards are a thrilling addition to any fantasy tale and each one is different and fun to create.
Professor Moriarty is a great choice for a wizard character. He is cunning, vile, cruel, and highly intelligent.
Gandalf has his trusty walking stick. Yennefer is incredibly sarcastic yet stern, smart, and one of the most powerful wizards of her time.
Music is inspirational. As authors, we are always writing and creating while listening to music. We are inspired by several soundtracks when we write Thread of Souls and have many posts on how can enhance your writing and ttrpg games.
Today’s musical interlude focuses on the high-elven city of Eleste’si. A stunning location full of beautiful architecture, cherry blossom trees, and rich history. It’s one of the earliest settlements to exist in the world of Theretos and its music reflects that. Here are a few choices from our Eleste’si playlist great for exploring high elf culture.
Dawn at Castle Navire
We pull inspiration from song titles and tracks themselves. Dawn at Castle Navire is great for an introduction to the royalty of Eleste’si. The city is ruled by Queen Mirandril and has been for many generations.
Fit for wandering the city streets throughout the day. Eleste’si is busy with trade and merchants set up their stalls early each morning to sell their wares. It’s a peaceful track for sitting on the many benches throughout the city and watching the cherry blossoms blow in the wind.
Festival of Roses
Eleste’si is known for its beautiful cherry blossom trees. They line walkways and parks and make for a picturesque backdrop. There is a festival devoted to the cherry blossom as well.
A short piece meant for a grand ballroom dance. Of which Eleste’si holds several throughout the year.
The Council of Elrond
The Council of Elrond just all around feels so peaceful. It’s a powerful track fit for showing off high elf culture, royalty, and even ancient ruins. This type of music is constantly playing throughout the palace gardens and grounds where you’ll find the great libraries and castle.