Let’s talk about the OGL and how it impacts ToS

It’s been a week in the tabletop community and we’re exhausted. This impromptu Spool of Souls update is meant to clear the air on what’s going on in the world of tabletop. As our book series is based on a TTRPG, we wanted to talk about the news from WOTC, Dungeons und Dragons, and what it means for Thread of Souls and us as indie developers.

Starting off. We here at Thread of Souls and Tal & Ru Travels LLC are against everything Wizards is doing with the OGL 1.1. We fully support indie developers and love seeing everything created in the third-party space. TTRPGs are about creating stories, worlds, and characters that you love and hold dear.

The leak of the OGL 1.1 update shows it is the complete opposite of the original OGL written in 2000. That allowed anyone the right to use mechanics, monsters, and items produced by WOTC in their own games. Thus, Pathfinder was created. However, the update is worded in a way that could allow WOTC full control of fan creations for their own use. This all without paying the original creator. On top of that would, owners may be required to pay a portion of all earned revenue to Wizards of the Coast after the first $750,000. And they could changed that at any moment on a whim and leave creators 30 days to comply. An article by journalist Linda Codega broke the news. We highly recommend giving it and their other articles a read.

Reports began January fifth and haven’t really stopped since. After eight days of waiting (January 13) Wizards finally issued a statement through DND Beyond, not even through their official site. The statement was general PR response and further leaks note it was written by “executives and legal”. The official statement reads, “we wanted to ensure that the OGL is for the content creator, the homebrewer, the aspiring designer, our players, and the community—not major corporations to use for their own commercial and promotional purpose.” Which is exactly the opposite of what was stated in the leak. It goes on to mention removing the royalty structure and getting rid of the part where it was suggested the company could take anyone’s work.

All of this talk impacts everyone who uses Dungeons and Dragons. It is incredible damaging to indie developers and if pushed through prevents them from using an IP they have spent hours, months, and years learning to create content. Content that pays their bills, provides for families, and earns them a living. Indie devs create because they love doing so. Their passion has led to the release of more incredible books, creations, and systems than put out by the people who own it all.

It was reported that WOTC is looking at DND Beyond subscriptions to gage success. This has led to people cancelling their subscription to show they are against what is happening. It was only after the mass cancelations began that the official statement was posted.

The Thread of Souls book series is based on our own TTRPG system. We’ve ensured it used only our creations and content made by us. We are stopping all DMs Guild creations and have removed our previously released content.

Tal & Ru Travels LLC and Thread of Souls was created to provide entertainment, laughter, joy, dynamic characters storylines, and fun. Third-party indie devs are the backbone of the TTRPG community and make some truly fantastic stories.

D&D / TTRPGs, Fantasy Topics, News, Opinion

Let’s Talk about the Dungeons & Dragons movie Prequel Books

We still haven’t watched the Dungeons & Dragons movie trailer, but are curious about it. What has us even more interested is the announcement of two prequel books ahead of the movie: The Druid’s Call and The Road to Neverwinter. Let’s talk about what we know and what we’d like to see from them.

The Books

The Road to Neverwinter is written by Jaleigh Johnson. Little is known about it but we can deduce it will take place in the city of Neverwinter, the Jewel of the North. As huge fans of the Neverwinter MMO, we’ve spent, I was going to say countless hours exploring the city, but it’s 361.5 hours, according to Steam. That’s more than 15 days.

Needless to say, we are looking forward to The Road to Neverwinter.

The Druid’s Call, from E.K. Johnston, also has a special place in our hearts for one important reason. Talia’s first tabletop character was the Jade, a main character in our fantasy octology Thread of Souls.

Tabletop Experience

The two books are exciting and they got us thinking. We’re sure they’re written like a typical story — choose a premise, characters, outline it, and write it — but we believe it be great if they were based on their own tabletop experience. Imagine if the characters in both books were played by actual people around a table like a ttrpg game.

The players all choose a character in the story and roleplay them and tell the story together. With A Druid’s Call following the main protagonist Doric, the actions and decisions her player makes shape the world and therefore the overall book.

The same be The Road to Neverwinter. While it’s unclear what the story is, the book must involve some of the characters from Honor Among Thieves. Our thoughts are on rogue Forge Fitzwilliam, as he is tied to the city.

However the books and movie are written, they’re sure to be thrilling. But as authors who turned our ongoing ttrpg campaign into fantasy books, it is definitely a fun way to write a series after playing it around a table with friends.

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.

Lord of the Rings Magic the Gathering
D&D / TTRPGs, Fantasy Topics, News, Opinion

What to Expect from the Magic: The Gathering Lord of the Rings Crossover

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.

Lord of the Rings

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.

Lord of the Rings

Creature: Gollum

Mana Cost: 3 Mountain

Gollum is a +4/+1 creature with first strike and vigilance.

Artifact: The One Ring

Mana Cost: 5 Colorless

Attach Cost: 2 colorless

Ability: The One Ring has shroud.

Once attached to a creature, they too gain shroud.

Lord of the Rings
Fantasy Topics, News

One Card to Rule Them All, Lord of the Rings Coming to Magic: The Gathering

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.

Gandalf artwork

“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.

Baldur's Gate 3
Character Tips, News, Opinion, Storytelling Tips

How the Baldur’s Gate 3 Panel from Hell Stream Inspires Story and Character Creation

The third Panel from Hell revealed an extensive amount of details for what’s to come in Baldur’s Gate 3. We are huge fans of the Early Access module and are excited for the future of the game. This isn’t going to be an article about all of the new things coming to Patch 5 because there’s a lot of it and you can read it all here. Instead, we’re going to be focusing on one specific aspect of the stream, the LARPG mechanic, and how it can be used to inspire story creation.

We give our top tips to creating stories and developing characters in your world to make your Dungeons & Dragons game the best it can be!

Larian Studios did something a little different than their last two Panels from Hell streams. Instead of focusing on Baldur’s Gate 3 gameplay, the studio designed an epic live-action role-playing (LARP) event involving developers acting as a Dungeons & Dragons party. Swen Vincke, founder and creative director of Larian Studios, led the party on a grand adventure taking them through the real-life castle of Gravensteen Castle.

Establishing the Party

The stream consisted of a party of four including Warlock, Fighter, Ranger, Cleric, Druid, Wizard, and Rogue. Your home game doesn’t have to include a specific class of characters nor does it need one class above all to make the party dynamic work. There is a reason skills exist and that’s why anyone is free to roll for any skill whether you’re a wizard who’s trying to pick a lock or a barbarian who’s trying to be stealthy.

Click on the picture to go to Amazon’s product page for Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition

Discuss Who You are

During the stream, Swen would ask party members questions about their character. Even though the dungeon master may be aware of a character’s backstory, other players may not be. It could be used as a moment to discuss more about who your character is. Or it sets up a nice scene to talk about characters and their story.

This can be done during a quest while the party is walking through the area or dungeon or during a long rest. Partch 5 for Baldur’s Gate 3 will change how the resting system works by shifting the standard location to the area where the party is exploring. It’s during this time that characters will typically talk to one another about something on their mind. One scene showed the adventuring party resting around a campfire discussing their adventure. This is a great moment to talk about your character and their background.

Backgrounds are another great way to interact with the players and their characters. If a character has the Folk Hero background the dungeon master can pull from it to encourage role-play. For instance, a Folk Hero is able to blend in in certain scenarios. A DM can have an NPC approach the character and give them a safe place to rest for a time. From there the game master can have the NPC reach out to the Folk Hero for help and then reward them with experience points or items or whatever they so choose.

You can find a place to hide, rest, or recuperate among other commoners, unless you have shown yourself to be a danger to them.

– Player’s Handbook

Questions to inspire role-play:

  • What deity do you serve?
  • Where are you from?
  • What is your background?

Dressing the Part

LARPing is all about dressing as the character you are playing as. This can also be done at the table whether it’s digital or physical. The outfit can be full-on cosplay and include homemade weapons and armor or something like casual cosplay. Casual cosplay is matching everyday clothes you may have to that of your character’s aesthetic.

Another option is to wear accessories that your character may wear. Objects like necklaces, rings, or scarves are simple yet add so much to who your character is.

Make a Mood Room

A mood room is a place that inspires creativity. It is full of all of the stuff that helps you create a story, character, or project. While you may not have access to an entire castle like the Panel from Hell 3, you can build your own where ever you live.

Setting up a Mood Room:

  • Dungeons & Dragons minis
  • Weapons and armor
  • Books
  • Accessories
  • Sit and listen to fantasy music
  • Play a fantasy video game like Baldur’s Gate

Role-play Outside of the Game

The character’s in the stream role-played their characters throughout the panel. They spoke and acted just like their character would in a Dungeons & Dragons game. Yet beforehand they practiced their part and got into character like actors would before a movie role. It’s something you can do at home outside of the game as well. By spending time thinking or acting as your character away from the game, you can help build who they are all the time. Characters are always shifting, changing, and growing and character development can even happen outside of the game. You can also use this time to talk to other players as your character or discuss them away from the table.

Baldur’s Gate 3 Patch 5 release July 13.

D&D / TTRPGs, News

Prepare for Comedy Galore at D&D Live

Jack Black, Reggie Watts, Kevin Smith, and more to Play Dungeons & Dragons at D&D Live

Dungeons & Dragons first big live event of 2021 is set for July and already the guest list is looking pretty great. The two-day streamed event will be full of dice rolling and chaotic stories as well as new reveals and plenty of laughs and memories. Those joining the showcases first table are none other than Jack Black, Reggie Watts, Lauren Lapkus, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes and a mystery guest.

Leading the cast through a tale of antics as the Dungeon Master is D&D wizard herself Kate Welch. She worked at Wizards of the Coast for sometime so she knows a thing or two about dungeons and the dragons that rule them.

For those who caught last year’s stream, she oversaw the chaos that was the Game of Thrones cast and it was drastically different from the series and book. It was far less Red Wedding and a bit more Three Stooges.

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“Holy crap, are you sure you want to put these people around a D&D table with me? I’m pretty sure it’s going to be bedlam, but maybe that’s what D&D Live is all about,” said Kate Welch, perhaps remembering the Cast of Thrones table she presided over last year. “In all honesty, I’m honored to weave a tale for this group of incredibly funny folks. It’ll be a session you won’t forget!”

The storyline is called Lost Odyssey: Last Light and is evidently a serious story about investigating dragons, krakens and sea giant queens. We suspect treachery but will just have to wait and see if that’s the case. The table will be benefiting Extra Life. It will join the ranks of other Lost Odyssey games such as Night of Dread and the Book of Knowledge.

The show will also feature several announcements about upcoming projects and books including Magic: The Gathering, The Wild Beyond the Witchlight, Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos, and other news related to Magic’s Adventures in the Forgotten Realms.

Dungeons & Dragons is partnering with G4TV for the event on July 16 and 17. It will stream on Peacock Network, Twitch, and Youtube.

News, Opinion, Video Games

Nintendo Direct E3 Fantasy Game Reveals

The final day of E3 2021 saw the Nintendo Direct and along with it a lot of upcoming fantasy games. We chose a few of our favorites and ones perfect for any fantasy fan.

Hyrule Warriors Expansion Pass

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a hack-and-slash game where characters from the Legend of Zelda series fight hordes of monsters. The prequel set 100 years before Breath of the Wild is getting two DLC’s called Pulse of the Ancients on 18th June and Guardian of Remembrance in November. There was a new short trailer highlighting what to expect.

Sequel to the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

One of the biggest announcements was a trailer for the Sequel to the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It included the first gameplay footage of the upcoming title and a vague reveal date of 2022. It showed off a bit of the open world which contains familiar landmarks but also features new ones. There are floating islands like Skyward Sword and it appears Link – or someone- may lose their hand at some point during the game.

Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda

Nintendo also announced a Game & Watch: The Legend of Zelda handheld. While not a major announcement it’s still in the realm of fantasy as it includes the original Legend of Zelda,  Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and the Game Boy version of Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.

Astria Ascending

Astria Ascending is a turn-based JRPG from Artisan Studios and Dear Villagers. It’s set to have around 50 hours of gameplay so it will take up a good amount of time. There will be eight characters to play and 20 classes to choose from. Aria Ascending releases September 30 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox Game Pass and PC.

Check out our other E3 fantasy games showcases!

E3 2021 Indie Fantasy Games You Should Check Out

Our Favorite E3 2021 Xbox and Bethesda Fantasy Showcase Games

The Best Fantasy Games at Summer Game Fest 2021

News, Opinion, Video Games

E3 2021 Indie Fantasy Games You Should Check Out

E3 2021 day three is in the books and we’re here to talk about some fantasy games that caught our eye. From a Dark Souls-inspired RPG, medieval mice fighting frogs, and a Fire Emblem-Esque SRPG, here are our favorite fantasy indie games revealed during day three of E3.

Eldest Souls

If the name Eldest Souls strikes a chord in your heart there is a reason. It is a Souls-like Boss Rush fantasy pixel art game releasing this summer. From Flag Studios and publisher United Label, Eldest Souls was revealed during the Future Games Show event. It’s reminiscent of Dead Cells in how it looks and its fast-paced combat. It’s set in a dark fantasy world where the Old Gods destroyed the world and left it in ruins. It will have a lot of similar features to that of the Souls games as well.

The main focus will be on defeating bosses and upgrading the main character’s stats and abilities. Check out the narrative trailer to get a feel for the story yourself.

It will release on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC on Thursday, July 29, 2021.

Tails of Iron

Tails of Iron is an odd yet interesting looking fantasy RPG involving a war between mice and frogs. It’s another Souls-inspired game with a unique narrative. The trailer showcases the story – narrated by Doug Cockle the voice of Geralt of Rivia – though whether he is a character in the game remains to be heard. It’s a cute and spooky looking game that is certainly built for those who like dark fantasy with a bit of fairy tale thrown in. Tails of Iron releases 2021, on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC

Dark Deity

Dark Deity is the spiritual successor to the Fire Emblem series. It’s a turn-based SRPG with 30 playable characters, 54 classes, and hundreds of weapons. It has the look and feel of a classic Fire Emblem GBA game and we’re all about it. The trailer even begins with a slow pan of the world map and we’re a sucker for games, books, or movies that showcase their world through a map.

Dark Deity was successfully funded through Kickstarter. It also features voiced characters, hundreds of dialogue options, and a way to progress and build friendships with your troops. Dark Deity is out now on Steam.


Anuchard seems like the kind of tale you’d find in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. It’s a stylized classic retro 2D fantasy RPG where the main character , called the Bellwielder, wields a bell as a weapon. If that isn’t an improvised D&D weapon, we aren’t sure what qualifies. It also seems to be heavily inspired by The Legend of Zelda and will include a dungeon with its own puzzles to solve. And you can also cook your own food, so that’s cool. Anuchard will release on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S systems in 2022.

Check out our other E3 coverage of The Best Fantasy Games at Summer Game Fest 2021

News, Opinion, Video Games

Our Favorite E3 2021 Xbox and Bethesda Fantasy Showcase Games

The E3 2021 Xbox Bethesda Showcase was packed full of new exclusive Xbox games. From the many fantasy games revealed during the hour and half event, we selected a few we really liked. From sequels, remakes, and updated live games, here are our favorite fantasy games showcased during the E3 event.

Diablo 2: Resurrected

Blizzard Entertainment released Diablo 2 in 2000 and will release the completely remastered version in 2021 as Diablo 2: Resurrected. It’s got your typical Dungeons & Dragons vibe to it. There are devils, undead, demons, and angels and seven classes to choose from including paladin, druid, barbarian, necromancer, assassin, amazon, and sorceress. Resurrected is set to release September 23, 2021.

Sea of Thieves: A Pirates Life

Pirates of the Caribbean will officially meet up with Sea of Thieves in Sea of Thieves: A Pirates Life. The pirate adventure game introduces Captain Jack Sparrow – I almost forgot the captain title – Davy Jones, Tia Dalma, and Joshamee Gibbs to the video game world. It will tell a brand new story featuring the witty pirate and his rival Jones. So. while it may not be a canon – pun intended – story within the Pirates movie verse, it looks fun all the same. The free update launches June 22.

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Redfall is the newest title from Arkane Studios Austin, the team who made the Dishonored series. At first glance, Redfall might seem more science fiction than fantasy but it has vampires, zombies, and all sorts of other creepy nightmarish ghouls and monsters. The gist is vampires blocked out the sun in Redfall, Massachusetts preventing anyone from escaping. It includes a diverse cast of characters who all look absolutely amazing. It’s an open-world co-op first person shooter set to release in summer 2022.

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A Plague Tale: Requiem

A Plague Tale: Innocence was our game of the year in 2019 and we’re excited to see the sequel A Plague Tale: Requiem. The first game is set in France during the plague and follows brother and sister Hugo and Amicia de Rune. While rats may be responsible for carrying the disease they turn out to be a much larger threat deeper into the game. It’s an emotional story set in a dark world with deep and engaging characters from the heroes to the villains. The announcement was our favorite of the showcase for sure. It releases in 2022.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising & Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising & Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes by Rabbit & Bear Studios and 505 Games are more traditional JRPGs. Hundred Heroes specifically holds the title as the third-most successful Kickstarter video game to be crowdfunded. It features the unique art style of Octopath Traveler and the feel of traditional RPGs. There will be a 6-character battle system with 2D sprites and full 3D backgrounds. Whereas Rising appears to be a different game altogether and will include a town-building mechanic, combat, and is set before the events of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes cast of characters.