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.

The Spool of Souls: Updates & News

Spool of Souls – TOS News for November 2022!

My word, it’s been a busy time here at Thread of Souls land. With injuries healing and colder weather upon us, we are here with our monthly update. It’s a doozy.

Book IV Asunder ARC Readers

The fourth book in our fantasy series, Asunder, is off to our ARC readers! It’s been a wonderful time editing the book and we are excited to get it into the hands of our adventuring party. While they are reading over Asunder, we are moving on to other matters such as marketing, trailers, and social media outreach.

Just because book IV Asunder is handed off to our ARC team doesn’t mean you can’t join! If you want to become a member of the Thread of Souls adventuring party (our ARC team and other fun collaborative projects) hit us up. Comment on this post or send us an email.

Made with Inkarnate.com

Check out that new updated map as well. Coming to an updated book in the not-too-distant future.

New Covers for Books I – III

We are in the process of updating the covers for Thread of Souls. We have seen the updated covers for books I and II, Phantom Five and Ash & Thunder. Holy smokes, our editor rolled a natural 20 for both of them. The cover for Path of the Spiders is coming along as well. We can’t wait to show you the finished covers for all four books.

Thread of Souls Music

We’ve mentioned before about working with a composer on music for TOS. So far we have heard 10 tracks for the first three books. Our composer sends them to us as soon as he’s finished and each one is a fantastic surprise. So, we are going to show off one of those for you.


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.

D&D / TTRPGs, Fantasy Topics, Opinion

Travel to get into the D&D Party Mindset

Playing D&D is similar to an actor preparing for a role. You aren’t you at the table, you’re someone else. Taking time to think, act, and live like your character before a session is a great way to get into their mindset. One way to really get a feel for your character is to travel as they do.

Walk or Hike

Traveling could be just about anything. Think about the types of travel portrayed in D&D games or fantasy books. One of the most prominent is long-distance walking and hiking. You could even keep it simple by going on a short walk. Walking and hiking lets you better connect with nature and the elements around you. It’s a great time to think like your character and be with yourself and thoughts. Plus, you get a feel for what it’s like to be outside like they are the majority of the time. Don’t only go out when it’s sunny. Adventuring is tough work and they don’t quit when it’s raining.

Hit the Road

Another way to get around in fantasy is using wagons or carriages. You don’t have to rent or find a carriage, just hop in a car and drive about. You could do one of two things to get in the mindset. One is to not bother with a destination. Just pick a direction and drive. The other is to know where you’re going but not use any GPS to get there. Travel by using a map or as if you were given vague directions until you reach your goal. Oftentimes, a party will be given a direction and landmark. Rarely is it ever a straight path to your goal.

All the while, be your character. What would they think of the journey? The sights? Sounds? Smells?

Spend the Night Somewhere Different

Characters are always staying at taverns, tents, or magically created homes. Another fun way to travel and get into your character’s mind is to stay somewhere new for the night. Having a different view or sleeping somewhere diverse gives you a more unique view of the world.

We’ve spent the night in a dark creepy forest once. It was definitely an experience and one we’ll never forget.

Travel Together

Traveling with your party or a friend at the table is highly recommended. It gives everyone a chance to bond and become their character while you’re all away. You don’t have to spend every moment as your character, but spending time here and there as them will help give you more insight into how they act in the game.

Senses

When you travel to get into the mindset of your character, focus on your senses. Everywhere you go focus on everything you can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Taverns often have a reputation for being loud, but is that always the case when you stay at a hotel? Roads aren’t always smooth and you can often feel every bump as you travel along. What does the air smell like as you walk through the park?


Traveling is always an adventure. It doesn’t have to be an epic journey from point A to point B. Sometimes taking a walk in your own house or yard is all you need to get into the mind of your character.

Lore, Thread of Souls

World Ocean Day – Bay of Nailo

We are all about the ocean and preserving it to keep animals and beaches safe and clean. With World Ocean Day on June 8, we’re celebrating by visiting the Bay of Nailo in Thread of Souls!

Bay of Nailo

The Bay of Nailo sits between the pristine and luxurious city of Ocealo and the wilderness of the Southern Kingdoms. It’s part of a major trade route that crosses the entirety of Corventos. Merchants who travel the Bay of Nailo make port at Ocealo to collect fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish before delivering them to other cities on their route.

Silvertongue Hollow rests near the banks of the water. It’s a city of thieves and anyone looking to avoid the law. Any merchants willing to travel up the channel only do so to make a deal with the rulers of the lawless and dark town.

The waters of the bay come from the Ice Cap Inlet way in the north of Corventos. They flow down from the elven capital of Eleste’si and split into the Iron River and the Amakiir River. The Amakiir flows through the small village of Vesper and onwards into the Bay of Nailo.

Life in the Bay

The bay is home to much aquatic life including colorful fish, turtles, crabs, jellyfish, and sharks. It’s even home to a guardian that protects Oceala from harm. The great turtle Majora. The behemoth creature guards the port and prevents anyone from entering unless they offer a great amount of tribute.

Jade’s other Home

Jade’s grandparents govern Ocealo and she will often visit them and explore the city. However, she isn’t fond of the ocean or the bay for one specific reason.

A beautiful gem sitting on the coast. Her family visited it often as she was growing up. She recalled days playing with her brother, Heron, in the shallows of the Bay of Nailo. But that was before she’d realized what could live in the water. Before she understood the great depths of the ocean could hold monstrosities larger than castles. Her grandparents had laughed at her fears and assured her the bay had always been safe. But experiences as children tended to stick with people, and Jade had never quite outgrown her fear of the ocean.

The adventuring party known as the Phantom Five travels in the Bay of Nailo in Thread of Souls Book II: Ash & Thunder.


Reviews

Rescuing Lulu from Elturel


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Misc Posts

How to Publish to DMs Guild

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

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

Publishing to DMs Guild

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

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

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

Title, Author, Artist, and Price

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

Description and Cover Image

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

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

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

Categories: Theme, Setting, Edition

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

Automatic Previews

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

Uploading Files

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


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

Character Prompt – Rune Layout

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

The Runic V Layout

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

Misc Posts

Slay a Dragon Day on World Book Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Misc Posts

How to Overcome Distractions While Creating


It can be difficult for creators to overcome distractions when they sit down (or stand up) to work on a project. Between the tasks of the day, outside noises, interruptions, and our own self-doubts, it can definitely come in the way of producing a product you are proud of! Whether you are a writer, an artist, a TTRPG player, a photographer, or any other passionate creator, we compiled a list of four top tips to help you out! These are items we have found indispensable when we sit down to create Thread of Souls content.

Play Music (Without Lyrics)

A great way to overcome distractions is to play music. But not just any music. Ensure there are no lyrics within the piece, and ensure it is a type of music you enjoy. Unfamiliar with the world of instrumentals? Spotify has a lot of great lo-fi playlists these days to work to. You can also explore soundtracks from your favorite movies or video games.

Keeping a pleasant background noise can give you energy and increase your focus. We’ve also found we get conditioned to entering the “work mindset” when we have our established instrumental playlist going. It makes us more productive and less distraction-prone.

Get in a Comfortable Area

This goes beyond just a comfortable chair, although that is very important. If you sit a lot while creating, it is worth it to invest in a gamer-type of chair to support you. You should have a dedicated creating space that is free from other distractions and always has what you need on-hand. A good desk, an organizer for items, a great lighting source, and quick-reference items all make your space more productive.

We have two gamer-style desks and chairs facing one another (for easy collaboration). We have a lamp and quick reference items on a side table. Between our two desks is a holder for pens, pencils, USB’s, and lip balm. We are also surrounded by depictions of Thread of Souls, keeping us inspired! We are also not far from our healthy snack bowl, ensuring we don’t get sidetracked if we get up to eat.

Complete Any Pressing Tasks Beforehand

One super easy way to overcome distractions is to remove those distractions beforehand. We’re talking about the “putting-off-that-call-laundry-pile-don’t-want-to-do-that” type of tasks. If those are turning in the back of your mind, it will just be a problem and make it harder to create your best work. By getting pressing tasks done upfront, you can free up your mental space and ease the tension.

Have an End-Goal in Mind

Something that has been tremendously helpful for us is to sit down with a goal. Whether that is a daily goal or a weekly goal, having something short-term to work towards is a good motivator. It also helps keep you on track, and can push you forward if you are struggling with your creation. This is flexible for whatever works for you. Maybe you want to complete one chapter a week, or your goal is to write 500 words a day. Maybe you want to do one step of your art each day so by the end of the week you have a full piece. Or if you are world-building, maybe you want to outline one bit of the fictional society a day. It also makes you feel great when you are able to check items off your to-do list for your creations!


Hope these are helpful! Remember that anytime you create something, that is beautiful in and of itself and should be celebrated. By using strategies to stay focused, you can accomplish more of what you want to create.