Magic supplies including a leather bound book, a box full of herbs, and flowers
Bardic Inspiration, Thread of Souls

Bardic Inspiration: Sounds of a Magical Academy

You sit at a desk in a dimly lit classroom. The windows are covered by large tapestries depicting the various studies of the arcane: divination, protection, defense, potions, and the like. The smell of old tomes, incense, and ink fills the space.”

Suddenly, the tapestries snap open bringing harsh sunlight in the room. Other students shield their eyes at the change of scenery. A burst of magic erupts from the doorway and in strides the teacher. They wear a robe of pink with blue sigils and a matching pointed hat that hangs slightly askew. “Welcome to Magical Studies I, I am your professor. Turn to page 157 and we shall begin with how to summon a simple light spell.”

Magical academies, such as the Citadel in Thread of Souls, are all the rage in fantasy, right? As authors, we love sensory details but what does it sound like within an academy? Music is a great way to get ideas and inspiration. Imagine the above scene with the following tracks playing in the background.

Magical and mysterious is Eothas. It’s soft and soothing and is great for lore drops and providing details about locations, people, and items. At the Citadel, it’s a wonderful backdrop for sweeping shots detailing the school and its three spires of law, study, and research.

The Crystal’s Shimmer and the Wind’s Revelations is a mesmerizing track for showcasing wonderful magic. It’s light and full of wonder. A great backdrop for the crystalmancers of the Citadel as they learn and teach about the eight disciplines of magic.

How May I Serve You? is an eerie discordant track for untrusting moments. Magical academies are full of many interesting people and not all of them are to be trusted. Each and every person has their own agenda. The Citadel is home to powerful mages, without giving any spoilers, not all of them are as they seem.

Bonus Dragon Prince song. I See You pairs nicely with How May I Serve You?

Mages are scholarly and Cyrus, the Scholar fits nicely for a library.

Alabastra is for those moments when the students explore the restricted section. It’s way more fun to venture into an unauthorized zone. Forbidden is just an invitation for curious mages.

Learn all about the Citadel in Thread of Souls.

Bardic Inspiration, Lore, Thread of Souls

Bardic Inspiration: Sounds of Lady Raven

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.

Bardic Inspiration, Thread of Souls

Bardic Inspiration: Sounds of Eleste’si

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.

Golden Height

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.

Val Royeaux

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.

You can explore the high-elven city of Eleste’si with Taliesin and Ruuda in Thread of Souls: Phantom Five.

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.


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.

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 (

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.

Bardic Inspiration, D&D / TTRPGs, News, Opinion, Storytelling Tips

Bardic Inspiration: Music for Fey and other Nature Themes

We list some of the best songs to use while you and your players explore Fey worlds

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

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.

Feywild Music

“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.

Bardic Inspiration, Opinion, Writing Tips

Our Top Picks of Spotify Music to Write To

Discover our go-to instrumentals that we use when sitting down to do some writing.

If you are like me, then music can be really distracting when you write. I tend not to listen to anything at all because I am either dancing, imagining, or rocking out to the beat. So when I do find something that is both inspiring and non-distracting, I gravitate towards it.

Here I want to share with you my favorite instrumentals from Spotify that are easy-listens when writing for the Thread of Souls books.

  1. The French Library by Franz Gordon

I like this track because it is so simple and peaceful. Oftentimes I don’t even realize it specifically is playing. There is an elegance to the melody that inspires one to write.

2. Bright Light of the Day by Whalebone

This one really relaxes me. It is such a beautiful, gentle melody that I just feel inspired anytime I hear it.

3. Spirit of the Gael by Alasdair Fraser

My Celtic ancestry has me loving all Celtic sounds. There is something ancient and wild but also soothing about it.

4. Concerning Hobbits by Chill Astronaut

Lord of the Rings always inspires me, but their soundtracks tend to be very grandiose and distracting while I write. So this “chill” version of Concerning Hobbits is very dear to me.

5. Cookin’ in Hateno Village by Wizard of Loneliness

The Legend of Zelda is another inspirational story for me. This soundtrack takes one of the best melodies but makes it more relaxing, making it an easy-listen while writing.

6. Dragonborn by Qumu

This is from the Elder Scrolls video games. While their version of Dragonborn is very intense and heroic, this one is easy going, giving notes of adventure while not pulling your concentration from writing.

7. The Dream of Taliesin by Jeff Johnson

I may be personally partial to this one as Taliesin is the name of a primary character from Thread of Souls. But it is relaxing and always gets a lot of emotions going in me. Great for writing to.

8. Thoughtful by Peder B. Helland

One of things I like best about this track is that is is 11+ minutes long. It’s nice to have on for awhile for writing.

Bardic Inspiration, D&D / TTRPGs

Bardic Inspiration: Somber

Music for Mourning and Remembrance

This Bardic Inspiration is brought to you by our last TTRPG game and is fit for sad and emotional times. The moments when battles are lost and allies are slain or when a character has a focused moment on them that doesn’t end in their favor. It’s the song that plays during movies when the heroes find themselves defeated and are losing hope. Songs like these can be sad but they help drive and stir emotion and can even increase role-play.

One of the most melancholy and mournful songs we liked to use is from Thor: The Dark World. Into Eternity composed by Brian Tyler is one of the most listened to songs on its Spotify soundtrack. It’s played during the funeral of Thor’s mother Frigga. While it can be used as a funeral based song for your tabletop game, it also works best for when a character loses to a familiar or recurring foe.

One of our favorite Bardic Inspiration tracks to use during forlorn moments is Farewell, Old Friend from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt by Marcin Przybyłowicz. It too is played during a funeral scene but for your game can be used elsewhere including during an emotional speech, a wake, or a gathering of close friends to discuss a difficult subject.

All Gods from Pillars of Eternity II by Justin E. Bell holds a special place in our hearts. It’s moving and melodic and can be used during a number of scenes. We think it makes a good song for character resurrections, touching moments between characters and players, and interacting with gods. It’s both soothing and eerie in the way it’s composed.

Whereas Pillars of Eternity’s Burial Isle is pretty set on what it wants to be. While it can be used for burial scenes it won’t be out of place while used when characters are walking through a desolate battlefield or in the aftermath of a siege.

We hope you enjoyed this round of Bardic Inspiration!

We’ll leave you with the Elder Scrolls series. It’s full of incredible lore and Moons of Evening Star is a reference to the final month in the calendar year. Composed by Brad Derrick, the song feels like an ending and a beginning like the calendar itself. The year may be ending but a new one is starting fresh. This is a great song for character rebirth or a shift in character growth.

Themes around death or sadness can be difficult to play out yet they can be beautiful and lead to amazing and remarkable role-playing and story moments. They are moments to be remembered and a defeat or loss can reveal greater things about a character or result in new life and light.

you can’t appreciate how high the highs are if you don’t experience how low the lows can get. Victory is made sweeter if you once tasted defeat.

Bardic Inspiration, D&D / TTRPGs

Bardic Inspiration: Caves

This Bardic Inspiration focuses on caves. They’re dark, ominous, and oftentimes full of monsters and treasure. They’ve been a staple of fantasy and tabletop role-playing games for decades. For one of the best inspirations of them all, look to The Hobbit. Afterall, it is where Bilbo found the One Ring to Rule them All and the company of Thorin Oakenshield discovered swords.

“These swords were not made by any troll. Nor were they made by any smith among men.”

When it comes to caves and caverns there are several types to explore. The most standard as defined by the Dictionary is: a hollow in the earth, especially one opening more or less horizontally into a hill, mountain, etc. While a cavern is defined as a hollow in the earth, especially one opening more or less horizontally into a hill, mountain, etc.

Beginning with the typical cave seems like a great starting point. If the party is low level, a cave is just the place to start any adventure. They may encounter a bear and its cubs and may have to sneak around them without a fight. Skyrim utilizes this concept within the first few minutes of starting the game.

bardic inspiration

For this type of cave, consider “What the Goddess of Death has Touched” from Pillars of Eternity II. Don’t worry about the name of the track as it isn’t as sinister as it sounds. Composer Justin E. Bell presents an ominous dark tone perfect for spelunking. Sentences like ‘droplets of water drip from the ceiling onto the ground around you. Stepping across the uneven stone floor your foot slips into a shallow puddle causing pebbles to shift and loosen beneath your boot’ can really enhance the atmosphere as well.

Caverns typically feature rocky, uneven walls made up of jagged shale or stone. They’re also rather mysterious and can hold many secrets and unknown creatures with the most secretive ones leading to cult lead rituals and demon summoning.

“The Enduring Pride” from The Order 1886 by Jason Graves is a gloomy set dressing for any cavern adventure. It’s a bit more haunting in nature and builds slowly with time until climaxing with dramatic chanting. Chilling moans and voices drive the piece along and spine tingling strings really make it feel all Temple of Doom like.

The MMO World of Warcraft certainly has plenty of caves to delve into but “Crystalsong” stands out from the norm here. It’s magical and mystical in nature; featuring chimes and bells that are meant to remind us of crystals or diamonds. This track is best built as a backdrop for when the party comes across a cavern full of gold, gems, or wealth. Perhaps they’ve just slayed a dragon and its hoard of treasure is in the next room.

The Elder Scrolls is another great source of inspiration when it comes to music. Skyrim is a game we’ve put many hours into and the soundtrack is a constant companion in and out of the game. “Silent Footsteps” by Jeremy Soule has a bit of everything from our other choices. It’s an all around great pick no matter if the party is going to rest, sneak, or hide in a cave.

Many of these tracks can actually be used in place of exploration or travel as well. These are just some of the best we’ve used when diving into caves, monster lairs, and the Underdark. Cavern music basically comes down to great big sound, ominous tones, some chanting for darker areas, and strings. Plenty of strings.

For more tracks built for caving, consider Pillars of Eternity’s “The Endless Paths”, “Eothas”, and “All Gods.”