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.


Reviews

Rescuing Lulu from Elturel


We received a free copy of Rescuing Lulu from Elturel to review. All opinions are our own.

For the last few weeks we’ve had an awesome time diving into a new Dungeon Master Guild adventure titled Rescuing Lulu From Elturel. Authored by Hunter Stardust, this 65-page multiple-session adventure fits nicely into other campaigns. It specifically works well with Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, Tyranny of Dragons, and, of course, Descent into Avernus. Note that this is not necessarily a standalone adventure, and works best with a group that is playing Nine Hells-related questlines.

Rescuing Lulu from Elturel centers around a character-driven plotline. The sweet NPC Lulu (from Descent into Avernus) is kidnapped by one of three villains of the DM’s choosing. The goal of these villains is to sacrifice Lulu. The PC’s must give chase, traversing to the city of Elturel, exploring the city to find clues, and ultimately rescuing her in a climactic showdown at a wedding.

What makes this quite unique and fun is that this is an Elturel before its fall into Avernus. There is a sense of an impending catastrophe among the cultists of Zariel that PC’s can encounter as the cult prepares to enter Avernus. As stated by the author:

. . . familiarize the PCs with the places and citizens of Elturel in order to deepen their experience (and shock!) when they return after the city falls into Avernus. This adventure transforms Elturel into a sandbox with twenty-five historical locations for PCs to explore.”

When it comes to exploration, this adventure can be as short or as long as you really want it to be. Players might want to speed things along in the rescue of Lulu, but other parties might get more invested in the city and its denizens. This opens up a variety of optional sidequests that end in fun chases, intense battles, and even magical weapons!

From an analytical standpoint, this adventure is very well-organized. It comes as a Word doc and has a comprehensive Table of Contents. The pages are easy to read and the entire thing is easy to navigate. There are great tips for running this adventure, even including what miniatures to look for if you so choose. There is also a good focus on roleplaying to create memorable encounters and emotionally-driven choices.

Rescuing Lulu from Elturel is available on Dungeon Master’s Guild for $9.99. This is an engaging and dynamic adventure and we definitely recommend it!


Misc Posts

How to Publish to DMs Guild

Tabletop games such as Dungeons & Dragons offer endless opportunities for creative freedom. You’re free to use official books from Wizards of the Coast to craft a campaign or in the case of our epic fantasy book series Thread of Souls, make your world entirely homebrew. One of the best sources of homebrew material can be found on Dungeon Master’s Guild, where you can buy and sell your homebrew content.

As authors, we have several published DMs Guild supplements ranging from new enemies, adventures, and NPCs. If you’ve got an idea and want to share it with other like-minded individuals, DMs Guild is the way to go. Once you’ve finished creating your document, publishing to the platform is the next step and here’s how to do so.

Publishing to DMs Guild

Once you’ve created your own account, head to the main Account page. Scroll down to find the fifth sub-category titled My Content. Select Enter New Community Created Title to get started publishing.

The next page you’ll see is the Publisher Hub. The first step is to select which platform you’ll publish your supplement on. There are four categories to choose from: DMs Guild, Fantasy Grounds, Dungeoncraft, and Dungeoncraft Fantasy Grounds. Unless you’re already familiar with the other three, we suggest starting with just DMs Guild.

Side Note: Fantasy Grounds is for a virtual tabletop platform and is a little more of a process to set up. As is Dungeoncraft. So stick with DMs Guild for now until you feel comfortable or work with the fine folks at Grim Press to have your projects post on Fantasy Grounds.

Title, Author, Artist, and Price

Type in the title of your DMs Guild. We suggest something attention-grabbing as it will help it stand out. From there, choose the author, artist, and number of pages. The author will be yourself, and you only need to enter an artist if you’ve had anything hand-drawn. After that, you’ll choose the number of pages in the supplement and then select the price. It’s a good idea to look at what others have charged to get a ballpark price and you can add or subtract as you see fit. WotC does take a percentage from each sale you make, just to keep in mind.

Description and Cover Image

The product page text is where you’ll describe what your DMs Guild supplement is about. This could be a few sentences or a paragraph with pictures. Highlighting features of your project is always good to include here. If it has new NPCs or monsters, put it here as well.

The cover image is what everyone will see when they go to view your project. It should be visually pleasing and not too busy. Give it a title and a cool cover and you’re good to go. A good cover inspiration is using an official D&D book cover as a guide.

Side Note: Make sure you have the rights to all pictures you use. There are free images available through DMs Guild if you are looking for some. Or you could Canva, the platform we use for all of our designs.

Categories: Theme, Setting, Edition

The next section is where you’ll choose specific categories for your supplement. You’ll find Storylines, Adventures, Core Rues, Character Options, Gear and Magic Items, and more. These are broken down into their own smaller categories and basically, help you determine what is in your supplement. It has everything from adventure tiers, race, backgrounds, items, adventure theme, and edition.

Automatic Previews

Previews are to showcase specific pages of your supplement. The flipbook is a smaller preview that flips like the pages of a book. While the PDF preview is larger and allows viewers to scroll through pages of your project.

Uploading Files

Once this section is complete, head back to the main Account page. Select the Upload/Update Files and find your DMs Guild title. Make sure it’s saved as a PDF and attach it to the drag and drop area. Select make public and it will be added to the DMs Guild database.


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.


Character Tips, D&D / TTRPGs, Fantasy Topics, Storytelling Tips, Writing Tips

Character Prompt – Rune Layout

Creating a character is a difficult process. No matter if it’s for a book, ttrpg, video game, or LARP. You have to think about their past, present, and future and their goals, ambitions, and overall attitude. Developing a character is a fun and engaging process that requires a bit of brainstorming and critical thinking. We’ve talked about using prompts to create a story with tarot cards in a previous post. This time, we’re using runes to build a character by using the Runic V layout.

The Runic V Layout

  1. What influenced your character in the past?
    • The top left rune is Dagaz. It represents day, awakening, and new hope. The rune symbolizes discovering new insights, something unknown, or a fresh idea.
  2. What is influencing your character in the present?
    • The next rune, Kenaz, is associated with knowledge and the quest for truth. It is represented by learning one’s true and full potential.
  3. What is a future goal for your character?
    • Raidho represents the character’s personal journey. It symbolizes growth and movement towards control and rationality. The character may wish to learn who they are and who they want to become.
  4. How to achieve that goal?
    • Pertho symbolizes something hidden and is often represented by good omens, unexpected surprises, and forces of change. This could be a mysterious or dangerous challenge your character does not wish to take part in but must overcome in order to grow.
  5. What is your character’s attitude?
    • Jera is assocaited with patience, seasons, and waiting. To reach your goal will require time and understanding and you may not be ready to accept that. You’re character may be quick to take action or take their time.
  6. What problem stands in their way?
    • Mannaz is represented by humankind and humanity. Other associations include reflection, planning, analysis, and self potential. The struggle coud be caused by another person or even within yourself. The actions of another or your own could prevent you from reaching your goal.
  7. How to overcome the problem?
    • Algiz is represented by spirit guides, protection, divinity, and a teacher. It symbolizes going beyond yourself to connect with something spiritual or finding your higher self.

Misc Posts

Slay a Dragon Day on World Book Day

Today we are celebrating two events at once. April 23 is both Slay a Dragon Day and World Book Day. Two things that are rather dear to our hearts for several reasons. As fantasy authors, we grew up with stories where heroes battled dragons. Many of which were actual dragons but slaying a dragon can also be a metaphor.

One of our favorite quotes is by fellow fantasy author, Neil Gaiman.

“Fairy tales are more than true: Not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

Slay a Dragon Day came about from a story where Saint Theodore Tiron slew a dragon. Legend has it Theodore came across a village where a dragon demanded sacrifice and treasure. After the village gave up its livestock and wealth, they turned to human sacrifice. When Saint Theodore witnessed this, he took a stand and tamed and killed the dragon. Thus the town was saved.

Digging deeper into this story, we learn it dates as far back as the mid-9th Century. Art at the Yılanlı Kilise shows three saints, Theodore, George, and Demetrius battling two snakes with separate heads.

The story represents the battle between good and evil and is a story as old as time really. Slay a Dragon Day is about overcoming challenges in your life. No matter how big or small.

Although, if you’re into slaying dragons and even befriending them or love books, our epic fantasy book series Thread of Souls is for you.

world art day
Misc Posts

World Art Day

Happy World Art Day! As a husband and wife team of artists, we want to take time to celebrate this day of creativity and imagination!

The arts have impacted our lives in so many ways. As co-authors of a fantasy book series, digital illustrators, crafters, designers, and more, we embrace and love the arts. Our home as our books on display as well as our own art and creations. It is a happy, inspiring place to be!

Talia’s journey as an artist began at her earliest memories. She was writing stories before she could really write, instead doing a series of crayon drawings and narrating the plot. She wrote five books before graduating high school (which shall never see the light of day). In her early twenties she became an award-winning fanfiction author. Now she writes, draws, and creates for a living!

Dorian was always making up stories. He especially loved the journalistic side of storytelling, and while in college researched, wrote, and hosted a radio program. Being a lover of all things creative, he prefers to write about video games, cars, and fantasy settings. He is grateful every day that he gets to continue living his dream career!

World Art Day is not only a time to celebrate well-known artists, but also indie artists. We’ve found some of the best content have come from indie creators, whether that’s on Etsy, indie video games, or small Twitch streams and Deviantart hobbyists. Take the time on World Art Day to discover a new artist and support them!


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?

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.

Bardic Inspiration

Bardic Inspiration: The Sounds of An’Ock

Hello and welcome to the first official Bardic Inspiration for Thread of Souls! Thread of Souls is our ttrpg game turned fantasy book series and these are all the songs we use to help us tell our story. Journey along with us as we cover the best songs to use for your tabletop RPG. Whether the party is enjoying downtime at a tavern or exploring a dungeon.

The Sounds of An’Ock are typical songs you’d hear being played in the capital of the Korventine Empire. They range from musicians on the bustling streets or bards within the many taverns found behind the three walls of the city. To get a better feel for An’Ock, here’s an excerpt from book two of Thread of Souls: Ash & Thunder.

You can even use the songs for your own setting. These work well for major hub cities with plenty to see and do.

The noises and smells were overwhelming. Mixed conversations in a variety of languages assaulted Zok’s small and pointed Half-Elven ears. He heard a fiddle and flute playing boisterous music on a street corner.

The Fox and the Farmer is what was playing in the background when the party visited the Purring Kitten tavern. It’s a jolly tune you can play and loop during conversations or dances.

“The interior was cozy, with a fireplace spreading a warm glow and a large painting of a white kitten adorning one wall.”

Setting the scene is always important for introducing players to where they are. Imagine the camera sweeping over the city of An’Ock as this scene is described along with the track Horizons of Cyrodiil.

Shop owners called from their stalls, attempting to sell wares of hats, bags, toys, traveling gear, and everything in between. Farmers pushed carts full of potatoes and squash, grown from the wide ring of farmlands that sat between the outer walls of the city and the Great Divide river that surrounded An’Ock. There was a strong scent of garlic and ginger as a merchant carried large baskets of the spices. A priestess of Naydrin cried out prayers into the crowds, children begged for money from the alleyways, and nobles attempted to not rub shoulders with anyone as they hurried through the streets and towards the inner circles of the city where the wealthy and upper class lived. There, in the center of it all, Zok could see the castle. It was square in shape, with four large towers at each corner. Flags rippled out from its battlements, white towers on a gray field. The flag of the Greycastles.

Inevitably, there will come a time when the party finds themselves in trouble out in the streets. That’s when I turn to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Blood on The Cobblestone. An’Ock is home to two guilds called the Viper and Shadow Guild and sometimes things can get out of hand and guild members and guards don’t get along. Fights can happen at any time and this song is perfect for duking it out on the sidewalk.

The Witcher‘s Peaceful Moments is really great for traveling through the city. It was the backdrop as the characters explored the various districts such as the Proven Right, Divine Path, and Grand Bazaar.


You can buy all of our books on Amazon: Thread of Souls (3 book series) Paperback Edition (amazon.com)