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 inPhantom 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Clothing is an important factor in a story. You may not consciously think about the characters’ outfits while reading or watching, but they tell the story just the same. Shows and movies are easy-to-track outfits, while books or actual plays are more challenging. Keeping track of your character’s clothing is fun and should be part of the tale itself.
Clothing isn’t Optional
Talking about character outfits is just as important as talking about them. You don’t have to describe much or go into much detail. Something as simple as stating the character wears dark leather armor and carries a belt with multiple daggers on it, gets several points — pun intended — across.
This character relies on stealth and strikes quickly. This brings to mind they may be some sort of rogue. The dark armor suggests they prefer to stick to the shadows or be out at night.
You can use clothing to quickly describe a character without outright saying what their specialty is. Mages wear flowing robes, rangers wear leather or fur armor dyed the color of nature, and clerics or healers wear colored robes depicting their deity.
Plot, plot, plot. Location, location, location
Keep in mind the environments your characters visit. Once again, clothing description isn’t meant to take up a lot of words. You’re not in school anymore, you don’t need to hit a word count. What you need to worry about is the type of clothing. If your story takes place in a cold and snowy biome, make sure the characters wear thick outfits to keep them warm.
Vice versa, if they are at the beach for a relaxing day. Put them in clothing that says beach attire. Also, don’t forget about their weapons.
For the love of all things holy. Nothing drives us madder than when characters have their weapons with them all the time! Take them away from time to time. Give them moments to use random objects to fight with. A frying pan hits just as hard as a hammer. Another thing. Please, if they get locked in prison, have the guards take their armor and weapons. Throw in the trope of having a stealthy or rogue character thoroughly searched if you have to. It’s funny.
Major plot points require outfit changes, too. These can be anything from going from one environment to another and character growth. If a character is just starting out on their quest, their outfit should be tailored to their lifestyle. Perhaps they are a professor and only wear professional-looking attire. Then, once they get thrown into the fire as it were, they come out changed. No longer are they that clean professional instructor, but an adventurer who has seen some shit. Their new clothes should reflect this. Now, they wear business attire but it’s ripped or bedazzled with color.
Keep clothing in mind when you write. Outfits make great characters and really help describe your characters even more.
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.
Video games are as great an escape as reading a book. They let you become another character and play out an adventure. Games allow you to discover new lands, save the world, or go on a side quest. Very much like a fantasy book, you join along in the adventure to see what happens in the end.
And like a book series, games can have several in the series. That’s why we split our list of the best video games to design your character into two posts. Sequels are popular. Everyone wants more of what they enjoyed. It worked for Avengers, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and it’s how we’re building Thread of Souls.
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfirequickly became one of our favorite games. Inspired by Baldur’s Gate, you build a party of characters in an attempt to stop a god from wreaking on the world. You can make a party of five custom characters, each with their own voice and skill line. It’s another great example of a D&D party in video games. You can outfit characters with armor, weapons, and choose a color unique to them to make them stand out.
WWE is a big part of our lives and W2K22 is one of the best games when it comes to designing a character. From their looks, clothing, and attitude, the game offer plenty of options when it comes to design. You can choose any skin color, select from hundreds of outfits or clothes, and give your character a specific fighting style. It’s one of the most fu games we’ve found when it comes to building a character. Characters are restricted to how tall they can be. So if you play a shorter or taller race, you are limited to height.
8. Neverwinter – Free
Neverwinter’s character creator is the best choice for free games to choose from. It pulls directly from the lore and official D&D books, so those familiar with the mechanics should find it simple to build a character. If you have a drow paladin at the table, you can build them in Neverwinter and get them pretty close to how you imagine them.
9. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is robust. There are 25 classes and 12 races to choose from when you build a character. Classes have their own unique look — rangers wear a hood, paladins wear heavy armor — but you can change certain elements by giving them armor during the journey.
10. Dragon Age: Inquisition
Elves, humans, dwarves, and Qunari make up the characters you’ll be able to choose from in Dragon Age. While it isn’t a lot when compared to other games, it fits the lore of the world. One of our favorite things about the character customization options for Dragon Age is the clothing. There are so many outfits to find and equip in the game and you can customize the color and style of them as well. You can tailor outfits to fit the personality and skill of your specific character.
Seeing your character come to life in a video game can give them more life in your writing. Watching them move around the map or interact with objects and characters can give you new ideas in roleplaying them at the table. Give it a thought the next time you sit down to play.
Hello there, Talia and Dorian with our monthly update! Talia is recovering from her achilles tendon injury. It is a slow process but healing takes time. She is able to get up and around without issue, so good news! We are super thrilled about the future for Thread of Souls and our ttrpg projects, so let’s get to it!
Jade’s Alphabet of Animals
“Jade’s Alphabet of Animals” is coming along nicely. It is, however, being pushed back due to the injury and recovery process. We haven’t narrowed down an official date, but it will release before the end of the year. It’s a comical take on children’s books featuring animals and creatures within the world of Thread of Souls. Here’s one such animal, the behleep, you’ll find hanging around the slopes of De Behl Marr.
The mountains are home to the cuddly behleep. A cousin to the standard sheep. They wear a coat of stone and rocks and roam around in herds and flocks. They hop along from here to there, leaping over boulders up into the air. If you see one, don’t be scared. They’ll roll right to you, so be prepared.
Asunder update! Our fourth book in the Thread of Souls Spider Octology series is on schedule for release this December! We are about 80% through writing so far and even added in a brand new POV character. One we’re rather excited about. Here’s a sneak peek at Asunder!
While we may be nearing the end of writing book four, we are in the endgame of our story around the table. We’re playing out the events of book eight and it’s been an incredible time. Can’t believe we started in 2015.
We have a TikTok! It’s a fun platform we really enjoy using to meet and chat with others in the community. Give us a follow!
We are working on our biggest D&D guide ever! A book dedicated to the Underdark. We enjoy the creepy, dark, and mysteriousness of the Underdark. Underground adventures are one of our favorites to write. It includes cult cities, non-cult cities, drow, duergar, deep gnomes, cuisine, priestesses, consorts, taverns, roll tables, and plenty more to build your own Underdark world.
Our Thread of Souls character feature for August was Artemis the ranger. We love getting to talk about our characters, world, and lore. Gives us a like and follow along for more lore, writing tips, and cats.
Captain Sen – The Barbarian
Our next lore drop is all about the boisterous and lovable Captain Sen! He’s loyal, kind, and always up for a good fight. Who plays a barbarian?
Creating new characters is a puzzling yet exciting challenge. What do they look like? How do they present themselves? What do they carry with them? You may have a rough outline of them but need to give them something that makes them stand out. Welcome to our How to Write character features. Each one is designed to guide you on how to create and write characters for your story.
Thinking of characters as classes from a tabletop roleplaying game makes the process much more simple. Our fantasy series Thread of Soulsis full of examples of this as each main character you meet is based on a class in such a game. Today’s How to Write focuses on wizards!
Fantasy has seen many great wizards in its timeline. Gandalf, Yennefer, Harry Potter, the list continues. But not one of those characters is similar to the other. The one thing they do have in common is they are able to cast spells.
So, what makes a wizard? How do you effectively write a wizard in a book series? We want to share the top three methods we use to create great relatable wizard characters in your story so you can add them into stories of your own!
Choose their Speciality
When creating a wizard in a game like Dungeons & Dragons for instance, you get to choose the specific magic you specialize in. It’s a bit like choosing a major in college or a professional trade such as blacksmithing. No two professionals in their field are the same, so neither are wizards.
Take Thread of Souls for example. Gnome wizard Tymus specializes in Distortis magic, the study of illusion. He relies on misdirection and summoned images and sounds to overcome challenges. Whereas human wizard Vera uses Aegitis, protective magic, to safeguard allies and places.
Having a wizard do all sorts of magic can be difficult to follow. Stick to having your wizard characters focus on one specialty and your readers won’t get lost in what it is they are good at. If they need to use another sort of magic such as fire when they normally use ice, have them use a wand or magical item that uses the power instead.
Choose their Personal Effects
We tend to recognize characters by their attire, personality, or items. Gandalf is typically seen with a pointy hat and walking staff. So, giving your wizard character a particular article of clothing or item is a great way to have them stand out.
Tymus wears mismatched clothes of vibrant colors that show off his character. While Vera dresses in fine robes of pink, blue, and purple, carries a staff, and wears an oversized pair of glasses. One is more wild and chaotic, while the other is more refined and dignified.
Likewise, give a villain wizard character darker clothing and crude, yet refined-looking weapons or magic. Their staff may be ancient and withered with spikes at the top.
Tie their Personality to their Specialty
Along with their personal effects, give them a unique personality. Wizards are generally intelligent, as casting magic is all about mental fortitude. Yet, intelligence isn’t being the smartest person in the room. It’s the ability to gain and use knowledge. Therefore, you could have a bumbling wizard character who is rather skilled in their specialty.
Tymus is constantly moving and talking. It’s part of his ADHD. It makes him seem all over the place and unfocused when in actuality he focuses deeply on one aspect at a time. He’s always focusing his attention on his magic. How it can be used to distract or help bring joy to others. His clothing is also tied to his choice of magic and personality. He also has bright pink hair and a matching mustache. Both can be distracting but also cause others to smile as they are fun and outgoing like him.
While Vera is seen as the polar opposite of Tymus. She’s reserved and thoughtful, always taking her time to ponder a thought and say the right words. As the Magister of Aegitis, she is as unmoving as a wall of stone and holds true to the rigid ways of the Citadel.
Keep in mind your villain wizards too. Their magic is a distorted version of what they chose as their specialty. Mental magic could cause blood to drip from their and their enemy’s nose. While fire takes on a more sinister nature. Instead of a simple blast of flames, it appears as a snake striking its opponent.
We hope this helps you create more rounded wizard characters in your stories. Wizards are a thrilling addition to any fantasy tale and each one is different and fun to create.
Professor Moriarty is a great choice for a wizard character. He is cunning, vile, cruel, and highly intelligent.
Gandalf has his trusty walking stick. Yennefer is incredibly sarcastic yet stern, smart, and one of the most powerful wizards of her time.
The Hobbit is among one of our favorite books so when we heard Free League Publishing was making a Lord of the Rings tabletop game, we got excited. It’s like having the extended extended editions of all the movies in one, except you’re the Loremaster. The One Ring is as alive and vast as the world you see on screen and read on the page.
Right away the pages make it very clear that everyone around the table is part of telling the story. It isn’t just led by the Loremaster. Every player is there to be a part of the tale and make sure it’s a thrilling and memorable one.
It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were.
The Lord of the Rings
The One Ring comes with a core rule book, and a starter set. The rule book is worthy of J. R. R. Tolkien. It’s a massive 248-page tome stuffed with everything you need to start adventuring in Middle-Earth. It’s also a rather pretty book with a stunning cover and beautifully drawn art inside. Every page feels like diving into The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings paperbacks. It’s a grand adventure.
Once you’re through creating a character and learning how to play, you can dive right into a quest. The final few pages contain a thrilling adventure called The Star of the Mist. It’s a journey that fits right into the lore of the Lord of the Rings and is a great starting point for a fellowship. It’s got bandits, dwarves, a dwarven city—a mine— a ghost, and a mystery to solve.
Going on an Adventure
Each game is split into two phases: the adventure and the fellowship. The first involves scenes related to building the overall plot. These can be a tense social encounter or a fight. Whereas the second phase is what happens between each adventure. Characters have time to take for themselves to rest and relax.
Free League enjoys using a d6 system and it’s featured in The One Ring as well. Though this time around, they’ve added a d12 to the mix. Characters have 18 skills they can use to overcome challenges and will use both d6—Success Die—and d12—Feat Die—to determine an outcome. The combined total of all the dice is compared to a target number (TN). If the rolled total is equal to or greater than the TN, the roll is a success; otherwise, it has failed.
Each Feat Die features a Gandalf rune (12) and the Eye of Sauron (11) rune. Gandalf’s rune is the greatest result you can get on a Feat Die and means you automatically succeed regardless of reaching or succeeding the TN. Whereas the Eye of Sauron icon is the worst result possible outcome, resulting in a zero on the Feat Die.
Being favored in a skill means you’re proficient in it. When using a skill, players roll one Feat die and a number of Success Dice equal to the Player-hero’s skill rank. Only one Feat die is rolled if a Player-hero is unskilled.
Instead of occupations or classes, The One Ring includes Callings. Callings are your character class and allow you to be as dextrous as Legolas, strong as Gimli, or wise and powerful as Galadriel. Callings range from Captain, Champion, Messenger, Scholar, Treasure Hunter, and Warden. Coupled with a Heroic Culture, this decides who you are in Middle-earth.
There are three Attributes in The One Ring: Strength, Heart, and Wits. Each score describes an adventurer’s physical, emotional, and mental capabilities. These are broken down to hit points, resisting spells, and the effects of dread.
Along the way, the fellowship gains access to a patron. This sponsor is the one who provides them with quests, items, and information to push the plot forward. They also allow you to re-roll dice, summon them to your aid, or other circumstances that aid the fellowship. It’s a fun system that brings back familiar characters such as Balin, Bilbo, and Gandalf the Grey.
Like Tolkien, The One Ring is a beast of a tabletop book. The fantasy author made everything feel spectacular and worthwhile. From the novels to the compendiums and the movies, the world of Lord of the Rings is massive and exciting to see. The One Ring makes it that much more excited to jump into and explore.
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.