Lore, Thread of Souls

World Ocean Day – Bay of Nailo

We are all about the ocean and preserving it to keep animals and beaches safe and clean. With World Ocean Day on June 8, we’re celebrating by visiting the Bay of Nailo in Thread of Souls!

Bay of Nailo

The Bay of Nailo sits between the pristine and luxurious city of Ocealo and the wilderness of the Southern Kingdoms. It’s part of a major trade route that crosses the entirety of Corventos. Merchants who travel the Bay of Nailo make port at Ocealo to collect fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish before delivering them to other cities on their route.

Silvertongue Hollow rests near the banks of the water. It’s a city of thieves and anyone looking to avoid the law. Any merchants willing to travel up the channel only do so to make a deal with the rulers of the lawless and dark town.

The waters of the bay come from the Ice Cap Inlet way in the north of Corventos. They flow down from the elven capital of Eleste’si and split into the Iron River and the Amakiir River. The Amakiir flows through the small village of Vesper and onwards into the Bay of Nailo.

Life in the Bay

The bay is home to much aquatic life including colorful fish, turtles, crabs, jellyfish, and sharks. It’s even home to a guardian that protects Oceala from harm. The great turtle Majora. The behemoth creature guards the port and prevents anyone from entering unless they offer a great amount of tribute.

Jade’s other Home

Jade’s grandparents govern Ocealo and she will often visit them and explore the city. However, she isn’t fond of the ocean or the bay for one specific reason.

A beautiful gem sitting on the coast. Her family visited it often as she was growing up. She recalled days playing with her brother, Heron, in the shallows of the Bay of Nailo. But that was before she’d realized what could live in the water. Before she understood the great depths of the ocean could hold monstrosities larger than castles. Her grandparents had laughed at her fears and assured her the bay had always been safe. But experiences as children tended to stick with people, and Jade had never quite outgrown her fear of the ocean.

The adventuring party known as the Phantom Five travels in the Bay of Nailo in Thread of Souls Book II: Ash & Thunder.


news
Thread of Souls

The Spool of Souls – ToS News for June 2022!

Happy June or Loreix in Theretos, the world of our fantasy book series Thread of Souls! Things are heating up and we’ve got several hot announcements for Thread of Souls as well!

Thread of Souls Summer book release

We are putting the final touches on a standalone Thread of Souls book releasing later this summer. It’s a compendium featuring fantasy monsters and creatures found within Thread of Souls. Many of which have yet to make an appearance in the series. While others may be familiar to fans. It contains original art from Talia and a short description of each creature. Look forward to its release near the end of summer.

Thread of Souls Book IV: Asunder

We are editing Part II of Asunder putting us about two-thirds of the way through the entire book. Once we’re finished editing, we’ll move on to Part III at the end of the month.

Animation

We can call ourselves animators now as we are working on animations! Here’s an early draft of Ruuda Drybarrel swinging her sword and hammer. Many more animations are on the way!

ARC Team

We are still adding to our growing ARC team! If you love fantasy and/or TTRPG’s, reach out to become a member of our team. You’ll get free copies of the books to enjoy as well as merch as a thank you for supporting our book launches.

That’s what we’ve got going on for June! So much is going on here at Thread of Souls land and we’re excited to share more in the future!


Lore, Thread of Souls

Character Feature: Ruuda


This month’s character feature is Ruuda Drybarrel, the unblessed dual-wielding dark dwarf that is as pragmatic as she is passionate.

Ruuda was born as the last of twelve children to Clan Drybarrel. Growing up in the industrious city of Balum Guar, Ruuda was surrounded by a culture where worth is determined by productivity in a caste system. Young dark dwarves are taken to the temple of the Forge King to receive a blessing from their god. A priest or priestess will read the runes to determine what that blessing is. It may be woodworking, singing, serving as a soldier, or, as in the case of Clan Drybarrel, brewing beer.

Ruuda, however, found no such blessing. Despite being told she was blessed to do a certain task, she could never do it properly. As a century passed, Ruuda’s parents took her again and again to a priest to find out what her true blessing was. But with each one, she failed.

To escape the shame, Ruuda often took to wandering the outskirts of the city. There she found the gloom stalkers, mercenaries and rangers of the Deep Hollows, in their daily practice. Ruuda observed them and learned their skills, until the day she was spotted by lead gloom stalker Neir Shadowsnare. Impressed by what she had learned from merely observing, Neir took to training Ruuda on his own. But he had to do so in secret, for she was not blessed to be a gloom stalker.

While teaching her how to survive in the Deep Hollows, Ruuda and Neir came across two quag pups, wild animals of the underground. They were sick and had been lost from their pack, so the two decided to keep them. Neir’s quag grew up strong, but Ruuda’s did not survive. The loss of her companion broke her heart.

As Ruuda’s blessings continued to fail, her family accrued debt from her projects left unfinished or with poor quality. Debtors came to collect often, and there was worry that Ruuda would get taken away to be made compliant like other dark dwarves that failed at their blessing. So while on a trade trip to the dark elf city of Berenzia, Ruuda’s family gave her a barrel full of supplies and told her to leave and not return until she figured out what her true blessing was.

Left alone in the Deep Hollows, Ruuda wandered in depression and hopelessness. We meet her in Phantom Five trying to make friends with a pack of quags. Things do not go her way, and she is heavily wounded before being aided by a healer named Taliesin Ostoroth. Both runaways from their homes, the two find common ground to venture out onto the Surface to try and restore what was lost in their lives.

For Ruuda, however, there is one other task she wants to complete. She vows to find the god known as the Forge King, and take vengeance for her unblessing.


Lore, Thread of Souls

The Blight Dragon – Insurgent God Lore Feature

The Blight Dragon, also known as Iosis, is one of the most chaotic gods in Thread of Souls. As the goddess of chaos, elements, and destruction, she demands fealty from her acolytes, having them devote themselves to her fully. She was once multiple dragons but a grievous wound from the Holy Dragon destroyed her dragon forms and split her essence. Her cultist found the remaining body parts and stitched them together to form the Stitched Wyrm.

Domains

The Blight Dragon is represented by three domains: chaos, elements, and destruction. Each represents an aspect of her and one that she commands from her cult.

Chaos

Chaos is represented by her animosity. The other gods are never quite sure what Iosis will do next. While her cult and followers work together to further her will, they often can be found arguing amongst one another. This tends to lead to infighting and splintering of cult leaders. She also spreads her chaos by tormenting those who stand against her. Promising them power or pleasure, she uses chaos to tear the person apart and drive those close to them away. Iosis takes much pleasure in both.

Elements

planes

She is associated with the elements as she was known to create them. When it came time for the gods to create the Material plane, the Blight Dragon branched off on her own to construct the elemental planes and the dragons that rule them. She is the reason the fire, water, air, and earth planes exist and why dragons first ruled the world of Thread of Souls.

Destruction

Her domain of destruction is enveloped by both of the others. The might and destructive force of the elements blended with chaos grants her and her cult immense power. They use the magical energy of the elements to form ice barriers, hurl fireballs, create hurricanes, and decimate the land to spread her dominion.


Check out more of Thread of Souls’ Insurgent and Protector god pantheon by reading our blog!

Help support us by buying our Thread of Souls book series here!

Thread of Souls, Writing Tips

How to Turn a Tabletop Roleplaying Campaign into a Book

Ever since we started playing our ttrpg campaign in 2015, we felt it could be so much more. We knew it would make an amazing fantasy novel. We always have an incredible amount of fun around the table and it’s been exciting to transpose our sessions to a book format. We wanted to share our process for doing so and how you can do so yourself. There’s a lot more to it than copying and pasting what happened word for word in game.

A lot can happen in a tabletop campaign and it can be a lot to keep track of when it’s time to translate it to a book. We’ve come up with a few tips we use when writing Thread of Souls. It helps us streamline the process and make everything more detailed, efficient, and easier to comprehend for the reader.

1. Don’t worry about side quests

Side quests or quests that don’t focus on the main story should be left out of the book. They may be great for a ttrpg session but can take up space and time when copied to the book.

They may help fill out the world and its lore, introduce the characters to NPCs, and reward them with fun new gear, but they slow down the overall pace. There are two ways we suggest inserting a side quest if you absolutely must. The first is to introduce a new main character. Say, for instance, a new player joined the game. The party may need to break away from the main plot for a brief moment to find this person, but to make it more interesting, you should always find a way to loop their story with the main narrative.

The second way to include side quests is if they are linked to the main narrative. As long as the reader learns — either through the quest or later on — it is connected to the main narrative, it can be included.

2. Keep combat short and quick

Ah, combat. What takes several hours at the table is only a few minutes in terms of game time. Typically, one round of combat for everyone involved is just a few seconds. While it can be engaging at the table, long-winded fight scenes can drag on and on and can become rather dull, especially in a book.

Fights are fast. The more time that passes, the more exhausted the characters will get. So while your fights can be hours long around the table, they should be short in the book.

Here’s an excerpt from book one of Thread of Souls, Phantom Five. Taliesin and Ruuda are fighting undead in an abandoned necromancer’s lair.

Taliesin rolled onto his back as the creatures swarmed him. The cave lit with silvery light as
magic burst forth from his hands, incinerating the undead it touched. But they kept coming and coming, a wave of bones and screams. He shouted in pain as blows rained down on him and sharp fingers tore at his skin and clothes, scraping across scale armor.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your fights to around two to three pages long.

3. Add more in-depth descriptions.

Sometimes all it takes to describe a location in a ttrpg game is short sentences to get your players caught up. But in a book, you need to add more sensory information to really bring the reader into the scene. By focusing on the five senses, you’ll be able to paint a better picture. Take for instance Thread of Souls. Ruuda and Taliesin are investigating necromantic magic coming from a hole in the ground.

He climbed down, vanishing from sight. She hesitated before following, using the roots and
rocks to support her weight. A strong smell of mud and earth hit her, and it almost reminded her of the Deep Hollows. It was still too fresh of a scent, though. The darkness was a welcome relief to her eyes as she found herself in an open cavern nearly thirty feet in length. Taliesin stood in the center of it, surveying a floor that was covered in bones.

At the table, the scene was described as Taliesin could feel an odd magical sensation coming from near a boulder. As both characters walk around it they saw a hole in the ground. They could just make out the rocky ground, spiking out in various directions. The players can fill in the rest as they see fit in their imagination and describe what they want to do. But the reader needs a bit more information.

4. Focus on the characters

The story should be driven by the characters. As readers, we connect with people. By knowing how certain characters think, move, and act, we can get a much better understanding of them. At the table, you may know what your character looks like and thinks in their head but the audience won’t, not unless you describe it to them. Readers should get more insight into the characters they are following. Hearing their inner dialogue will help better connect them.

This also comes into play with minor characters the party may meet in the game. Unless they are important to the plot, unnecessary characters should probably be removed from the book. Phil the bartender doesn’t really need to come up multiple times in the pages of your book. You can always add them into a compendium later on.

5. Focus on storytelling

When we say focus on storytelling, we mean to stick with the main plot and the elements that drive the narrative. If you deviate from the overall arc you’ll pull readers away. They need to be invested in the story and its characters.

Thread of Souls, we follow several characters as they investigate mysterious happenings with planer travel and missing spiders. If we were to suddenly shift the focus to political intrigue and assassinations of rulers, it wouldn’t really match the theme we’ve built and would end up being confusing.

Also, don’t take up a lot of time by having characters go on side missions or shop. If it doesn’t have anything to do with the plot, it should be altered or left out of the book. If you absolutely love a character or NPC in the game and want them in the book, give them a good reason to interact with the characters.


Once you get a rough idea down, you can really start to write. To learn more about turning your tabletop game into a book series, we’ve put together a video of our writing and editing process.

Let us know your thoughts and if you’ve ever wanted to write your own fantasy book?

Bardic Inspiration, Thread of Souls

Bardic Inspiration: The Sounds of Oceala

Ah, Oceala. The Gem of the Bay is featured in book two of Thread of Souls Ash & Thunder. So named because it sits near the Bay of Nailo and is nestled along the hills of a crescent shore. There are plenty of golden sandy beaches and everywhere you look, the buildings are round and pastel-colored. It’s a diverse coastal city where adventurers go to unwind and relax. Once they can get past the beast that guards the bay and the Fey creatures who protect the water crossing.

It is also a place full of music. Songs that make you want to dance or spend a calming night overlooking the ocean. The Phantom Five spent a bit of time shopping, exploring, and fighting in the city and had a backlog of music to guide them through it. During our time at the table, we put together a curated list of songs fit for Oceala. Here is what you can expect to hear while you walk the streets, dance in a tavern, or visit the many spas in Oceala.

Here’s an excerpt from Thread of Souls: Ash & Thunder.

As the late morning rolled by, land was finally seen again on the horizon. A strip of green that grew into rolling hills. A city shimmered to existence along the shore, all pastel colors and rounded buildings.

Oceala.

Island of the Starry Dream is a perfect place to start. The name alone is all it takes to understand Oceala. It’s peaceful and serene. It’s a great track for the background while the Phantom Five wanders the sand dunes and beaches of Oceala or shops at Altawayne’s Artifacts and Apparatus. The song also has an air of mystery to it and fits in well with the mysterious temple that lies beneath the hills of the city.

Tarir, the Forgotten City is meant to describe how difficult it is to reach Oceala. While it isn’t off-limits to outsiders, the city is protected by a great dragon turtle named Majora as well as Fey creatures. Both require a toll to be paid to gain entrance to the stunning town.

The Queen’s High Seas Tavern Version can be heard playing throughout the many taverns and inns found in Oceala. Its upbeat and pirate adventure style is bright and happy, making it a wonderful backdrop to dinner scenes and arriving and leaving the port.

Devilfish on the Line is another great track for hopping from tavern to tavern or exploring the open fish market. It can also be used if the party finds themself in a bit of trouble with the local guards or the city’s underbelly.

Shantytown Shuffle plays when there are scuffles at the docks or throughout the city streets. While the Phantom Five never got into any fights with the city guard or ruffians while they visited, they did find themselves in trouble nonetheless. It may be a peaceful place to call home or visit, but there are times when things can just get out of hand.

Eye of the Storm is full of spoilers from book two Ash & Thunder.

The climactic scene from the second book in the Thread of Souls series sees the oceanside city attacked by a great red dragon and wyverns. The Phantom Five find themselves split as they face doppelgangers and the fiery beast.


Those are the sounds of Oceala. The music is as vibrant and colorful as the city and its people. You can even use these songs in your own adventures. Each works well with a city with a major port and ocean theme.

Lore, Thread of Souls

Celebrating Lady Raven on National Bird Day

National Bird Day is every year on January fifth. Naturally, we wanted to take a bit of time to talk about Thread of Souls and how birds play a large part in the narrative. More specifically, Lady Raven, the Goddess of Death, healing, and natural order. She is so named because of her connection with ravens and their symbology with death.

Lady Raven in the Books

Lady Raven is mentioned on and off throughout the first two books. We talk about a temple in An’Ock and characters know of the deity but aren’t too familiar with what they represent. In Path of the Spiders, we learn much more about the goddess and meet a village full of worshippers. These acolytes are known as Ravenites and keep watch over her temple in the Gloomdwell. However, there are far more temples and shrines to the goddess of death throughout Tos.

Ravenites & Deathwalkers

Lady Raven’s symbol is a scythe surrounded by two raven wings. She is 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. She chooses an acolyte she deems worthy to become her champion known as a Deathwalker. This hero is part of an order of warriors that fight against the necromantic arts.

A common saying you will hear spoken by champions and followers is “Travel far. Threads connect us.” Her temples are often visited by groups of ravens. Her followers dress in robes of black and red.

History

Little is truly known about how Lady Raven became the goddess of death. From what texts and documents have been gathered, she joined the pantheon much later after the previous god of death corrupted his duties. She is not strongly connected to the other gods and is seen as an outsider. She took part in a key battle during the Divine Wars and is still suffering from the loss.

That’s a short history of Lady Raven to celebrate National Bird Day 2022.

Misc Posts, Thread of Souls

Thread of Souls Holiday Cards


Merry Winter’s Eve to all! To celebrate the holiday season, we are sharing some Thread of Souls holiday cards drawn by co-author Ashley Roepel. Enjoy these cards and feel free to share around to your favorite fantasy fans for the holidays!

The first is a scene of the Arcane Fangs. This jagged mountain range divides the Citadel’s territory from the rest of Corventos.

The second is Ruuda Drybarrel! Our favorite Dark Dwarf is carrying her signature barrel on her shoulder.

The third is Taliesin Ostoroth, the rebellious Dark Elf. The Deep Hollows don’t get snow, so this is a new experience for him!

The fourth is a scene from inside the Citadel, a new location promised in book four of the Thread of Souls series that releases next year! Here we see mage Jasita from Phantom Five and Ash & Thunder.

And finally in the spirit of friendship and caring we have Taliesin and Ruuda exchanging gifts for one another!

We hope you enjoyed these holiday cards! Merry Winter’s Eve!


Bardic Inspiration, D&D / TTRPGs, Thread of Souls

Bardic Inspiration: Haunting Songs for your D&D Session

Spooky music tracks to set the mood for chilling and ominous D&D sessions.

It’s the spooky season and we’ve got another Bardic Inspiration focused on creepy music for your TTRPG or D&D games. Our playlist is full of the best songs to play for eerie, haunting, or frightening situations. We’ve gone through some of our favorite tracks we use for our Thread of Souls game, to bring you the top spooky songs for your next session.


“Devils… Monsters…” is great to introduce a zombie horde or unsettling creature. Whether it be undead, demonic, or devilish, its fast-paced rhythm can be used just before the party stumbles across an eldritch nightmare. Then it starts chasing them through corridors, attempting to eat their brains.

“A thick fog rolls out from the dense gloomy woods. It crawls its way across the twisted bramble and tree roots, like severed hands reaching for their next victim.”

That’s the picture “What Once Was Lost” paints when we listen to it. It’s a dark song with an ominous undertone. A perfect track for moving through jungles or an overgrown cemetery.

“Dark Sanctuary” from Elder Scrolls Online is a great track for setting up a cult or ritual scene. Its chilling and echoing chants set the mood for a blood sacrifice or demonic summoning. It’s also quite long so you can build a scene around it quite nicely as well.

Skyrim’s “Into Darkness” is soft but sinister. Its dismal and ghastly chanting fit perfectly for traveling through a graveyard full of ghosts and ghouls.

“Opening” – Super Metroid

“Brinstar Red Soil”

Final Fantasy’s “Trail of Blood” is rather unsettling. We enjoy using it for setting the mood for psychological horror scenes. The ones where characters may be in a dream world or under the effects of a charm spell.

“Those Chosen by the Planet” sends shivers down our spines. Any mention of Sephiroth is enough to get creepy vibes. But this track from Final Fantasy VII is great for a villain monologue where they explain they were behind the murders and will now murder the entire party. Muhahaha!

The Witcher series is full of things that go bump in the night. The first time we met the three hags we were hooked but incredibly grossed out. “Ladies of the Woods” is mysterious as it is enchanting. It’s between the line of creepy and mystical and works well for scenes that may involve D&D hags, witches, or warlocks that may not be exactly what they claim to be.


Thread of Souls
The Spool of Souls: Updates & News, Thread of Souls

Thread of Souls: What You Need to Know About the Upcoming Third Installment


The third book in the series, Path of the Spiders, is coming soon. Here is everything you need to know about the next installment in this epic fantasy series!


Thread of Souls: Path of the Spiders is coming August 27th! The third book in this 5-star rated fantasy series picks up where Ash & Thunder left off: the character groups were split up, each now facing their own dangers. Let’s take a look at this new book!

The Summary:

The words seemed to come unbidden from her, born out of nature themselves, as she said softly, “The world is in danger. We have to stand strong. The mind eaters are growing in power. And the spiders . . .”

Zok frowned, leaning closer as her voice dropped to nearly a whisper. “What about the spiders, Jade?”

The words rolled from her mouth again, almost outside of her control, barely audible. “The spiders are all gone. And nature feels it. And nature is afraid.”

“The adventuring group known as the Phantom Five is torn apart. While one group ventures through Artemis’ war-torn homeland, Unolé is flung across the planes with healer Taliesin, warrior Ruuda, and soldier Wash. All the four of them want is to go home. But this new world has its own dangers, and its own mysteries. They are forced to make dubious alliances to survive, and every escape attempt is blocked with a new threat. The shadow of the eerie ziggurat looms over the land, as do rumors of its growing army inside.

But within ancient temples, slave auctions, and blood rituals lie answers. Answers about Unolé’s stolen sister, Wash’s fugitive past, and the question that Taliesin ran away from home for. Where have all the spiders gone? Now they must ask themselves one final question. How much are they willing to risk for these answers?”


An intriguing mystery that has been talked about the last two books come into focus this third book. The missing spiders. Taliesin has discussed his interest in this event plenty, and other characters such as Jade have noted that it has been awhile since they’ve seen a spider.

The summary also tells us that we are at last entering the Southern Kingdoms, Artemis’ home that she has always avoided talking about. Rumors have spread to other characters of violence brewing in the Southern Kingdoms. Perhaps within lies answers to why Artemis has refused to return in all these years.


The Cover

To discuss the cover, first let us take a look at the last two book covers. Each were designed to show hints at the story within.

In Phantom Five, we see lots of references to the story within. We see the desert known as the Expanse pictured, along with the ruins of Soleia that the group explored. In each corner we also see a depiction of the Sunsword Brother Zok obtains near the end of the book. In the center we see a feather, a reference to the feathers Unole gets at the start, but colored red like her mask. We also can see a subtle spiderweb in the bottom left corner. Foreshadowing?

In Ash & Thunder, we see a depiction of the castle of An’Ock that the group travels to. We can see a bow and arrow in each corner, a reference to the enchanted bow that Artemis obtains from her duplicate. We also see blue fire in the center. It is a mix up of the fiery red dragon fought at the end of the book, as well as the blue lightning-breathing dragon fought in the middle. The dark gray background alludes to the storm that surrounded the blue dragon. The spiderweb in the corner is much more prominent.

Finally we get a reveal of the third book’s cover! There is a ziggurat depicted in purple on the front, likely the one from the book’s summary. We see ravens in each of the four corners. The center image is two spiders inside a vial. And now in addition to the spiderweb in the bottom left, we also see one on the top left. It goes along well with the book’s promising title.


The Creation of the Book

This will avoid any spoilers as the book isn’t out just yet. The book has been in progress for the past year. As it is based off a D&D campaign, a critical point in the campaign was really a guiding light for the events of this book. One of the players had a schedule change, which prompted the party to split and two separate games to be played that followed the two different groups.

Unole’s feathers leads her and talkative healer Taliesin, pragmatic warrior Ruuda, sardonic soldier Wash, as well as the coatl Teshuva, into another plane altogether. Meanwhile Artemis is dragged off to her homeland and is pursued by the insightful Druid Jade, the enigmatic Wizard Skar, and the complicated Paladin Brother Zok. Let’s not forget about easy-going pirate Sen, who is still in the capital city An’Ock.

It was Unole and Wash’s players that needed to split off from the rest of the group. To compensate for the smaller party, Taliesin and Ruuda were created. Although in the books we have followed Taliesin and Ruuda’s story from the start.


How to Check Out This Book Early

This Saturday we will post a four-chapter excerpt of the book! You can also read reviews of the previous two books on Amazon and Goodreads to see if it something you would personally enjoy. Feel free to further explore the world of Corventos on this site!

The book will be available in paperback or ebook format, and an audiobook is planned for the future.

The book will be able to be purchased via this link on August 27th: Amazon

You can also look at the series on Goodreads.