Lore

Character Feature: Taliesin

Taliesin is this month’s character feature! A headstrong, passionate dark elf healer that cares deeply about others. His risk-taking and button-pushing approach to life creates plenty of conflict, but Taliesin never backs down in the face of injustice or threats.

Taliesin enjoys learning and reading. He is always up for a good time and a late night party. He hates the art of necromancy and has cultivated his skill in driving away undead and banishing ghosts. Religion surrounds his whole life and he wants to use it to guide and help others.

We first meet Taliesin in Phantom Five. His challenge of status in Berenzia has gotten him in trouble with the ruling priestesses. After recovering from eight months of punishment for his wild tongue, he has run away from home. He crosses paths with dark dwarf Ruuda, a fugitive in her own rights. Together, the two set out to explore a new land and find a new direction in both of their lives.

Taliesin

Lore

Character Feature: The Priestesses

We couldn’t let spooky month pass without a villainess character feature! Here we have the eight priestesses of Berenzia, leaders in its theocratical society. Consider this a sneak peek for characters that will be featured more and more in the coming Thread of Souls books. Happy October!

High Priestess Maiathah

Maiathah leads the entire city of Berenzia and is cunning, merciless, and dangerous.

priestesses

Kekilshon

Standing nearly seven feet tall, Kekilshon is the brute force of the priestesses.

Jezmeri

With a perpetual bored expression, Jezmeri is a master of manipulating the minds of others.

Marionette

Don’t let her big smile fool you. Marionette’s idea of fun often involves knives and pain.

Fraya

The strategic mind behind Berenzian operations, Fraya is always calm and collected.

Gristhelia

This necromancer employs legions of the dead to enforce her will.

priestesses

Roweth

She files her teeth to points because she enjoys biting her victims. That is enough said.

Seantir

Hedonistic and with a large harem of men, Seantir is deadly with her whip in battle.

priestesses

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 D&D character was the druid 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 D&D 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.

Lore

Character Feature: Captain Sen

This month’s character feature is Sen, captain of the Scarlet Maiden! He is a fun-loving dragonborn as quick to a drink as he is to a brawl.

Sen is a dragonborn in his thirties always seeking adventure. He calls himself a pirate, though he mostly just steals from other pirates. He wields a giant two-headed axe and is a tank in battle, not brought down easily by his enemies. He worships the Tide Bringer, goddess of the sea.

We first meet Sen in Phantom Five in the small coastal town of Somberdale. He has won is 100th tavern pit fight in 100 days. Sen is good friends with paladin Brother Zok and the druid Jade that also live in the town. He loves his life and is not afraid of anything.

That all changes, however, through a series of strange occurrences in Somberdale. When Brother Zok’s mentor is murdered, Sen volunteers to sail his companions down the coast to the desert in search of answers.

What happens on that voyage changes Sen’s life forever.


Lore, Thread of Souls

Character Feature: Brother Zok


This month’s character feature is the paladin Brother Zok. A brave and steadfast holy warrior whose quest for achievement often puts him at odds with his oath.

Zok was born in the coastal city of Sunspire. He grew up the son of a fisherman and lived a humble and happy life. It was not until he was older that his father told him the truth of his parentage. During the Fire Raids that plagued the region, his father remained in the capital city of Eleste’si and had an affair with the elven queen, Mirandril Galanodel.

Zok’s birth was kept a secret, as a half-elven offspring would only be seen as a threat to the throne. Zok’s father took his son back to Sunspire and was given a house and money by the queen to raise the boy.

In his early twenties, Zok set off on a quest not only to meet his mother, but also to achieve his dream of becoming a paladin to the Holy Dragon. The Holy Dragon is the god of honor, loyalty, and truth. Zok’s quest took him across the eastern half of Corventos all the way to Eleste’si, where he was able to get an audience with the queen herself. He hoped for a kind welcome to the city, but instead, he was rejected and turned away. The queen’s advisor, Therond, told Zok he never should have come.

While Zok did not get to bond with his mother, she did set up his entry to the Holy Dragon’s temple in Eleste’si. Despite the ideals of goodness and honor, Zok found only racism from the high elves within the temple. He did not stay long, and quickly left the city.

Hurt by his terrible experience in Eleste’si, Zok traveled south to the riverside village of Vesper. He defended a man that was being harassed by thugs and ended up being beaten himself. Wounded and unconscious, he was rescued by a wild elf druid by the name of Jade.

Zok thought that was the last he would see of his druidic rescuer until his journey took him to the western coast of Corventos and the village of Somberdale. He joined the Holy Dragon temple there under the title of Brother Zok and served as a paladin. To his surprise, he found Jade living there, as well. He made a home for himself in this beautiful place and made a friend in the boisterous dragonborn captain, Sen.

We first meet Brother Zok in Phantom Five attending one of Sen’s fighting matches. Zok is happy with his life in Somberdale, and is just starting to leave the pain of his past behind him. All that is shattered, however, when his beloved mentor, High Priest Amon, is murdered. Zok takes his friends on a quest to find the killer. Zok must learn to make peace within himself and accept who he is, or he will never become the paladin he always strived to be.


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.

Lore

Character Feature: Wash


This month’s character feature is centered on Wash, the former soldier with a dry sense of humor, a strong loyalty to his companions, and grudge against the man who betrayed him.

Wash was born and raised in the coastal city of Sunspire, the City of Ensemble. Raised by a single mother, he knew only a bit about his father. And what he knew he kept closely secret. A traveler from another plane that spent one romantic night with his mother before moving on.

Growing up as an only child, in his adolescence Wash made close friends with a High Elf named Aust Mastralath. He and Aust joined Sunspire’s military together as Solchen guards. One day, however, while on a mission to close interplanar rifts, a sudden change went over Aust. He turned on Wash and attempted to kill him without warning. Wash survived the attack, and Aust vanished.

Disturbed by the events, Wash tried to find his friend and demand answers, but was unsuccessful. It wasn’t until years later that their paths crossed again. Wash was ripped from Sunspire by the magic of a summoning spell. He found himself locked in a circle with strange symbols and languages around it. He was joined by a large spider, fey in nature, summoned from a plane known as the Wilds. Standing before him was his former friend Aust. He had strange strange tattoos running up his forearms and he now wore a mask.

Aust was not in the mood to talk, seeming angry that Wash had appeared in the circle. He said Wash was not the one he intended to summon, and dismissed him back to Sunspire. But Was did not return alone. The strange fey spider was attached to him in spirit. A spider he named Shulva.

Life only got more chaotic for Wash after that day. Not only had he been indirectly involved in an interplanar summoning ritual, but an interplanar creature was attached to him. Magic such as that was illegal by laws of the powerful Citadel, the center for arcane study, research, and regulation. The Citadel sent an Inquisitor by the name of Dorian Aster to hunt him down and bring him in for punishment.

Wash had no plans to allow that to happen. He went on the run. Years passed as he journeyed from one run-down town to another, staying out of sight of the ever-hunting mage Dorian.

When we first meet Wash in the Thread of Souls books, it is in book two, Ash & Thunder. Wash’s travels have taken him to Oceala. Due to its highly guarded nature, he hopes to stay out of the Citadel’s reach. And due to it being a pristine port city, he hopes to find answers about Aust Mastralath, and what happened to his former friend.


gnome
D&D / TTRPGs, Indie Feature, Storytelling Tips

“Let it Be Gnome” – Our Interview with a Gnome Expert

We chatted with James about his fun and quirky website “Let it Be Gnome”


James is fascinated by all things gnome-related and also a fan of gaming which makes D&D a particularly fascinating experience. He has a website all about gnomes which includes an in-depth look at gnomes in D&D. We talked with him about the website, as well as any helpful tips he has for role-playing a gnome in D&D!

Your website is a lot of fun! What gave you this idea to have a hub of information centered on Gnomes?

“I have always had an interest in gnomes but when I wanted to find out more about them on the internet there seemed to be a lack of information on them so I thought that I would help people by giving them more info! I love how quirky they are and that there is a wide and diverse history to them that many people seem to be unaware of and I hope to make them more informed.”

What do you like about the way that D&D portrays Gnomes?

“I love how they are not depicted in the stereotypical image of a gnome but that they have made them more humanlike but still used some of their known characteristics such as their eccentric sense of humor (one of my favorites!) and inquisitiveness. Some of the D&D gnome artwork that I have seen online is simply incredible and really breathes a lot of life into the mythology of gnomes beyond that which is in the mainstream such as the beard, hat, big boots and belly.”

What is your favorite D&D Gnome subrace?

“Mine is the Forest Gnome as I love their boldness and ability to take risks. I always find myself drawn to others that like to change things in big ways and feel that Forest Gnomes are subrace of gnomes that are most likely to do this.”

If you were to roleplay a Gnome character in D&D, what would they be like?

“They would be a fearless, swashbuckling hero! I love Forest Gnomes and how they are bold and enjoy taking risks and my gnome would be of this subrace and have experiences that others would talk about for generations. This gnome would have a talent for art and when not engaging in exciting adventures would spend their time creating original works of art that they would work on in their charmingly designed home in the woods. This penchant for art and creativity would also rear its head during battle when they would use their ability to cast creative illusions on their enemies.”

Your list of Gnome names is very impressive! What do you think goes into a good Gnomish-sounding name?

“I like a gnome name which is something that you would not expect but, after getting to know the name and the gnome, it somehow fits. I think that something like “Lutliten Twistwhistle” is a great example of this as it does not really bring up any images for me, but I think it would fit a mysterious, generally fun character such as a gnome.”

Truthfully we don’t see a lot of Gnome protagonists in fantasy settings. Why do you think this is?

“Their popularity seems to change from year to year and so I think that this is part of the reason and I also think that it is because they have generally been changed, at least in the mainstream, into this comedic character that people have as statues in their gardens and yards. I think this means that people just see them as something to make people laugh but, as D&D shows, they can have a lot more depth than this.”

However, I think that in recent years we have seen some movies based around gnomes and I think that people growing up having watched these movies who then go on to make their own fantasy stories will use this experience to make feature them as the protagonist.

What is the most interesting Gnome fact you’ve come across?

“The Noggin Clontith/youve been gnomed.wmv gnome meme video has been viewed over 14.5 million times on YouTube!”


You can check out the fun site “Let it Be Gnome” via this link!


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

Bardic Inspiration: Music for the Feywild and other Nature Themes

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

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.