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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We list some of the best songs to use while you and your players explore the Feywild in Dungeons & Dragons.
Dungeons & Dragons released its latest book, Wild Beyond the Witchlight. It’s all about the mysterious and wonderful plane known as the Feywild. While it may sound like a fantastical place to visit, it’s not all fairies and unicorns and not all of them are kind. There are also sinister creatures that fight over control of the Feywild and those who live there.
The Feywild is ruled by creatures called archfey; incredibly powerful spellcasters or tricksters who may be good or evil. It’s a land of enchantment, nature, and mystical creatures. You’ll find hags, giants, walking and talking trees and plants, pixies, rabbitfolk, and many other animals now able to speak.
So, what music would work best for a setting such as the Feywild? We’ve got a few of our favorites all on Spotify.
“Deku Palace” is for those wild and crazy nights in the Feywild. It also works well as an introduction for characters getting there. Maybe they’re at a party that gets a bit out of hand and something pulls them there. Perhaps an archfey casts dancing magic upon the party and they are forced to dance to the beat, or it serves as the backdrop of a magnificent tree castle.
“Gruntilda’s Lair” from Banjo-Kazooie is all about the main antagonist, a witch/hag. As hags can be found in the Feywild it’s fitting for meeting a hag who may or may not be evil.
“Dalentarth” from Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is practically made for the Feywild. The game is set in a world that is similar to the chaotic plane. It’s full of archfey, unique creatures, and magical artifacts that fit in nicely with any campaign set in the Feywild.
The entire soundtrack pairs nicely with the overall Feywild theme.
With that being the case, we also suggest “Alabastra”. It goes well with meeting mysterious people or entering a dark and spooky area such as a corrupted forest or hag’s lair.
“Faren’s Flier” from Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is great for describing areas of the Feywild the party is about to visit. It can also make for a great backdrop to traveling.
Sticking with Guild Wars, “Auric Wilds” is one we use quite often for traversing dense jungles or overgrown ruins.
In related Dungeons & Dragons news, the “Future of D&D” panel at this year’s D&D Celebration revealed a look at what’s next for D&D. Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, is a collection of an assortment of art, stats, and upgraded information regarding monsters, creatures, and more. Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse releases in January 2022.
D&D is also working on a brand new set releasing in 2024.
We create a homebrew version of Hades in Dungeons & Dragons
Hades is a roguelike action dungeon crawler video game. You play Zagreus; son of Hades, who seeks to run away from Hell. It’s a game where you will die several times but each death allows you to learn grow and get better and faster. Along the way, Zag will gain the favor of his cousins on Mount Olympus to help him escape.
It honestly could be its own Dungeons & Dragons campaign guide. Theros is the closest official content available to craft your own Hades-style world. We’re going to take a look at that concept and build our own homebrew version of Hades you can play with friends or solo just like the game.
We need to start at the beginning; how does the game begin? What sets you on your quest? You could play it one of a million different ways but we’re going to present the main storyline to set the focus.
Instead of playing as Zag, you can play as a prisoner trapped in the Nine Hells. But how did you get there?
You were killed on a quest and devils dragged your soul down to the Hells.
You were sent here to retrieve an artifact or soul but ended up getting trapped yourself.
You are a devil yourself; either a tiefling or some other fiend who seeks to explore the Material Plane.
You’re a celestial who ended up there on a mission from your god but things didn’t end well.
You are a traveler who slipped through a portal to the Nine Hells and are presented with a trial to get home.
You heard about the escape room in the Nine Hells and just had to try it out.
No matter what it may be, you’re here now and the only way to escape is to make it through the gauntlet. The god of the Nine Hells, Asmodeus or Erebos sets up the challenge to prevent anyone from escaping so easily.
If you want to play as Zagreus we recommend choosing a Gladiator from the official D&D ruleset.
As you escape from the Hells, you must pass through small dungeons or rooms. Each room contains several enemies, items, or NPCs to help you on your path. Exiting to the next room rewards the character with a blessing they can use to help them combat future encounters.
There are several enemies in the game that you can pull right from D&D. Creatures such as the Erinyes are the first boss you come across. You can pull their stat block right from the Monster Manual and call it good.
Of course, some creatures may be too powerful for lower-level characters but there are some things you can do to balance out encounters. Taking the Erinyes for example, you can reduce the number of attacks they make if you’re character is low level.
It’s all about balance and knowing what creatures to throw at your characters. Though Hades is challenging there are difficulty settings you can mess with to make it less frustrating.
Other bosses include the Minotaur and Champion. As for the final boss, we recommend using the stats for a pit fiend. As for standard enemies we recommend using the following: Lemure, Manes, Dretch, imps, nightmare, shadow demons, succubus, and barbed devils. Basically, any creature that is considered a fiend.
Upgrades / Blessings
Blessings are a major mechanic of the video game and can be added into the D&D version in a couple of ways. Characters can gain access to blessings by completing one dungeon and moving on to the next.
Items. By glancing through the guidebook or online you can find a number of items to benefit your playstyle. They can be put into a random roll table and you’re good to go.
Spells/Abilities. Spells and abilities are another simple blessing system you can add to the game. Each room offers a chance to learn a different spell or skill that you can use to combat enemies.
That’s the groundwork for building a Hades-like encounter in D&D. We’re working on building a more detailed one for our homebrew game and will talk about it in greater detail when it’s complete.
We share our tips for running Dungeons & Dragons scenarios without focusing on Initiative.
Initiative is a concept in games such as Dungeons & Dragons that decides who acts when in combat. Players and enemies roll a d20 and add their Dexterity then a fight begins. It works well but it isn’t something we’ve come to rely on and niether should you.
Frankly, Initiative can bog down a game. Fights can take hours whereas traveling from point A to point B can take a manner of minutes. Not only does opting not to use Initiatve speed things up it allows everyone at the table to pay more attention. By not knowing when they are up, they may not dissappear into their phone. It’s a great way to ensure everyone, including the dungeon master, pays attention and is engaged.
Fights tend to take a bit of time. Player turns can be lengthy and other players may tune out while it isn’t their turn. The next time you have an encounter try forgoing Initiatve altogether. Instead, narrate what is happening and ask the players what they want their characters to do. It’s best to still stick with standard action economy – action, bonus action, move, reaction – but instead of acting in turn, they act after the enemy does their action.
For instance, if the group is up against a villain who is trying to get away with an artifact. Rather then go into Initiative, have them grab it as an action then run away. Then ask the players what they want to do. By not being in Initiative, they may think differently and not necessarily jump to fight mode.
Asking players what they want to do gives them more freedom. They don’t necessarily have to worry about waiting for another player to act before they do. No one is tied down by an order. As long as they act after the enemy or opposing force.
It’s a great time for players to try new things as well. Not being restrained by Initiative can open up some new opporunities in working together and thinking of unique ways to handle situations. It’s an idea that can really change the flow of any session and make encounters more freeing and cinematic.
Initiative Shouldn’t Mean Combat
The definition of Initiative according to the Player’s Handbook states,
“Initiative determines the order of turns during combat. When combat starts, every participant makes a Dexterity check to determine their place in the initiative order.”
Saying ‘roll for Initiative’ may cause players to automatically think they should engage instant kill mode. That shouldn’t always be the case.
When you break away from thinking of Initiative as strictly combat you start to see everything in a more cinematic view. Action movies all have intense scenes but think about all of the stuff that happens. They are generally more than just fast punches, swift kicks, car chases, and bullets. Villains monologue and characters react. Everything is so alive. By using these alternate rules, you can make more engaging encounters that don’t end in a blood bath. Why you Shouldn’t Rely on Initiative
We create a few cards we think would make perfect additions to the Lord of the Rings Magic: The Gathering card set.
We are rather fond of Lord of the Rings and watch it a few times throughout the year. We also recently got back into Magic: The Gathering with the release of the Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms set. As storytellers and game designers, we’ve also created our own board games and thought we’d try our hand at making a few Magic cards for the future Lord of the Rings set.
Magic includes Lands, Artifacts, Creatures, Sorcery, Planeswalkers, Instants, and Enchantments. We’re going to talk about four of these that have been on our minds ever since the announcement at Magic Showcase 2021.
Planeswalker: Gandalf the Grey
Gandalf the Grey
Mana Cost: 2 Plains, 2 colorless
First Ability +1: Place a +1/+1 counter on Gandalf.
Second Ability – X: Counters act as hobbits or dwarves. Subtract counters to reduce damage to life points or Gandalf.
Third Ability – 7: Create an artifact creature token that is either a dwarf or hobbit. It has “This creature’s power and toughness are each equal to the number of counters on Gandalf .” This creature has first strike and lifelink.
Enchantment: The Fellowship
Mana Cost: 1 Plains, 1 Mountain, 1 Forest, 1 Island, 1 Swamp, 1 colorless
Ability: Enchant creature gets +X /+X per named creature you control. Enchanted creature has vigilance as long as you control all members of the Fellowship.
Mana Cost: 3 Mountain
Gollum is a +4/+1 creature with first strike and vigilance.
We discuss some big fantasy news of the week as Magic: The Gathering announced it is making a Lord of the Rings card set.
When Magic: The Gathering announced a Dungeons & Dragons set we ordered 500 cards as soon as possible. One of the game makers’ next crossovers is Lord of the Rings and we couldn’t be more excited. Announced during Magic Showcase 2021, the set will release in 2023.
That’s a long way off from now but it gives us time to speculate on what kind of cards will be included. Characters like Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond have great potential to be planeswalkers as do Saruman and Sauron. Whereas heroes such as Frodo, Samwise, Gimli, and the rest of the Fellowship would make great legendary creatures.
“It is such a big world. So many stories, so many characters…and the only way we could pull it off was to do a full set.” Said Mark Heggen product architect for Magic the Gathering. “We have these characters with so much backstory and their own personality and their own history and now we get to put them on a Magic card and we want to both be true to their spirit and put a little Magic twist on them.”
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth will also be releasing on MTG Arena and Magic Online.