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Sirens: Battle of the Bards: An Interview With Satine Phoenix and Jamison Stone (Apotheosis Studios)

Satine Phoenix (The Sirens, Game Master Tips, and more) and Jamsion Stone (CEO of Apotheosis Studios, The Red Opera, and more) are creating a new Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition campaign setting, adventure, and Bard-centric sourcebook, Sirens: Battle of the Bards. The concepts and art are inspiring so, when I had the chance to talk with Satine and Jamison about this Kickstarter, I couldn’t turn it down.

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EGG EMBRY (EGG): I’m excited to talk to you about your latest Kickstarter, what is Sirens: Battle of the Bards?
SATINE PHOENIX (SATINE)
: Sirens: Battle of the Bards is an artistically inspired 5th Edition campaign and setting featuring characters from my LiveStream show, Sirens. Vlahnya, the spymaster of Sirens, enables players to inspire revolution in this epic, Bard-infused journey set in the bohemian city of Salvata where Bards are thrown into the crucible of conquest and battle for the heart of a growing empire!

EGG: What inspired you to create over 300 pages of Bard for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition?
JAMISON STONE (JAMISON)
: Bards are near and dear to our hearts. Our last project was entitled The Red Opera: Last Days of The Warlock, an extensive, player-driven campaign and setting designed for 5th Edition, centered upon the oft-overlooked and much-misunderstood class: Warlocks. We had a blast with The Red Opera, and wanted to focus on Bards next. Partnering with Satine Phoenix was an honor and we are very proud of Sirens: Battle of the Bards.

EGG: If a player doesn’t want to play a Bard, will they still enjoy this campaign?
SATINE
: Oh, absolutely. You don’t need to be a Bard to enjoy Sirens, all are welcome in our new campaign and setting. The City of Salvata features ten districts, including battle colosseums, amphitheaters, comedy clubs, taverns, bazaars, underground magic fighting rings, and much more.

EGG: “A city of artists where Bards inspire revolution”. This is a sourcebook, a campaign setting, and an adventure, correct? Do you consider that line to be the guiding light of the campaign’s narrative?
JAMISON
: Absolutely. Sirens: Battle of the Bards is an epic 5th Edition campaign and setting set in the decadent city. Filled to the brim with over 300 pages, twenty adventures, over 10 new Bard subclasses, and countless magical items, this is a fully immersive adventure. Mystery, intrigue, and deception lurk within every dark alley. Through the course of the adventure, the players have to decide if they will sell out? Allow the city be ground to dust? Join the Emerald Cabal, the Rebellion, or forge their path. The fate of tens of thousands is in the party's hands.

EGG: The City of Salvata is not a mundane location, the art for it is breathtaking. Why did you create a musical skyscraper metropolis?
SATINE
: We wanted to create a radically new setting, and have crafted the bohemian City of Salvata to encroach closer to the heavens every century. For a millennium, this towering metropolis has fostered artists, muses, and sirens so as to perfect their art and lure down a deity during a rare eclipse when the stars align. Under the visionary guidance of the city’s Great Chancellor Calrath, Salvata has prospered in harsh desert conditions—conditions that forge coal into diamonds. And so, the City of Salvata is no different: failure is not shunned here but embraced as a stepping stone to success. Each century, another statue is immortalized, and the city climbs yet another step higher urging all citizens to strive for the vaulted halls at Salvata’s zenith.

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EGG: The art is stunning to say the least! Who are you working with on the art? Will you and the other creators be subjects in the portraits?
JAMISON
: We at Apotheosis Studios love art, and feel that art, music, and epic writing are all necessary elements to immersive storytelling. And yes, both Satine, myself, and several other of our team members will be featured as NPCs within our campaign and setting. Vlahnya, who is played by Satine, and Vajra, who is played by myself on our weekly Couple’s D&D Show are fan favorites and we are excited to dive even deeper into their backstories here in Sirens: Battle of the Bards.

EGG: Most Bard memes and jokes are about seduction. While Bards can be great, well-developed heroic characters, certain players take them the other direction which can lead to, let’s call them, “uncomfortable encounters”. I know those types of encounters are not what you’re trying to create with this book, but they may occur. Will Sirens: Battle of the Bards suggest any gamer safety tools?
SATINE
: There are many ways to play TTRPGs, and aiding GMs in skillfully guiding their players is something I have discussed extensively on my historic Geek and Sundry show, GM Tips, and my currently running show Game Master Tips on my Twitch channel. We hope to create a framework to have our Charisma based Bards break free of some of their stereotypes and lean into their artistic and creative skills and roleplaying potentials, and have created Sirens: Battle of the Bards with this in mind.

EGG: That’s a great decision and I know your tips help gamers everywhere. You’re delivering more than an RPG, you’re delivering an experience with a soundtrack and a musical soundset, which feels perfect for a Bard-based campaign. For these albums, who are you working with? What feel are you expecting the music to generate among the players?
JAMISON
: Indeed! For The Red Opera we included a full orchestral soundtrack included in the book via QR codes. We wanted this to feel like an epic movie score and partnered with DiAmorte’s founder, writer, and composer Drake Mefestta and had it professionally recorded by the Budapest Scoring Orchestra. That music turned out wonderfully, and fit the dark and brooding feeling of Warlocks perfectly. For Sirens, however, we needed the musical direction to be befitting of the Bard class, and our desert style city of Salvata. We are creating another epic soundtrack and are partnering with a lot of wonderful musicians, who will be unveiled during our Kickstarter. One of whom who we can talk about now, however, is American singer-songwriter and Godhead lead vocalist, Jason Charles Miller. Jason is not only a fantastic musician, but also a Siren, too, fully featured as an NPC in the book and it is an honor to work with him.

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EGG: You’re partnering with a number of companies for this campaign, who are they and what are some of the coolest items on offer from them?
SATINE
: We are so proud of all of our professional partners. We have a custom Wyrmwood Master Vault and Dice Tray; full set of custom shaped Level Up Dice featuring a comedy tragedy 2d mask, musical lute d4, stack of books 6d, trumpet d8, inkpot d10, paintbrush d10 percentile, banging drum d12, and "Mic Drop" d20. We have Campaign Coins, and full SyrnScape Sound set. We also have a wide array of VTTs (Virtual Table Top) too, including Roll20, FantasyGrounds, Shard, and Foundry VTT!

EGG: Beyond Sirens: Battle of the Bards, what else are you working on?
JAMISON
: Satine and I have so much in the works, but sadly, we can’t talk about it all yet! One very epic thing we are working on is Satine’s D&D in a Castle trips, which you can actually book right on our Kickstater. These are epic. Right now other than Sirens: Battle of the Bards, we are focused on our Twitch shows on [Satine Phoenix’s channel], our Discord servers at Gilding Light and Apotheosis Studios Discord are the best places to follow all of our epic RPG antics!

EGG: Since this Kickstarter campaign ends on your birthday, I hope you get an amazing gift from the fans! Speaking of, where can fans learn more about your project and follow each of you on social media?
SATINE
: Absolutely, other than our Twitch, and respective Discord servers, we love interacting with awesome folks over on our respective social media platforms, please come and say hello so you all can join in on the fun! Thank you so much and see you soon!

Satine Phoenix [is on] Twitter and Instagram. Jamison Stone [is on] Twitter and Instagram. Sirens: Battle of the Bards from Apotheosis Studios runs on Kickstarter through May 22nd, 2021.

Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG and Amazon.
 

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Egg Embry

Egg Embry


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
... I'm feeling a bit cranky right now, so please take the following with a grain of salt...

But looking at the episodes with guest stars, this feels very... "not real". And by that I mean scripted. D&D has a strong improv element to it. If the story is so predictable that guest stars/characters can be lined up like that... is it a real game of D&D or just a show?
 



jerryrice4949

Adventurer
I am on the fence on this Kickstarter. I backed their last project but I don’t feel like this is a particularly good value. $59 for the book and the addons are really expensive. Not to mention the city looks cool but the book does not include a fold out map of the city.
 
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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I'm torn.

On the one hand, I am in favor of more stuff for D&D.

On the other hand, the best thing that can happen to Bards is that they are all rocket-launched into the sun.

Hmmm, it does say, WHERE BARDS INSPIRE REVOLUTION. I suppose if it's similar to the French Revolution, and we finally get some good 5e rules for guillotines and bards, I could get behind it! :)
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Supporter
... I'm feeling a bit cranky right now, so please take the following with a grain of salt...

But looking at the episodes with guest stars, this feels very... "not real". And by that I mean scripted. D&D has a strong improv element to it. If the story is so predictable that guest stars/characters can be lined up like that... is it a real game of D&D or just a show?
Perhaps if you are feeling overly cranky, you should wait before posting.

Plenty of streamed D&D shows include special guests, including Critical Role. It's a common practice, and one that doesn't require scripting the shows ahead of time.

Imagine your regular home game, and telling your table full of regular players, "Hey guys, just for tonight we have Bob joining the table, and he'll be playing Fighter Bob." Not such a strange or rare occurrence, in home games or streaming games.
 

The alien spy was sent to the primitive planet to explore, and then she discovered the native humans used their voices to sing (her culture also had got music, but only instrumental, their vocal chords were't evolutionated to allow singing), noticing of the potential value of this art, she choose to keep the local civilitation and promote the native art as the true gold mine of this world. Here the bards literally saved their world.

(any song dragonborn or male song half-dragon)?
 


Yeah, I have a general idea what the next 11 levels of my campaign will include. It wouldn't be hard at all for me to ask a friend to sit in as an important NPC I know the player characters will run into when they get to certain milestones.
 



Glad they're doing it themselves and not having WotC do it, sucking up our D&D book slots, like they did with Matt Mercer/Wildemount (seriously need a Psionic Book sometime soon already).
 


Glad they're doing it themselves and not having WotC do it, sucking up our D&D book slots, like they did with Matt Mercer/Wildemount (seriously need a Psionic Book sometime soon already).
No book slot was sucked up by Mercer and can we please stop the trend whereby Matt must be psychologically tortured until he apologizes for denying people Dark Sun/Psionics/Dragonlance/Planescape/Jakandor etc.?
 


NerdyBird

Villager
Glad they're doing it themselves and not having WotC do it, sucking up our D&D book slots, like they did with Matt Mercer/Wildemount (seriously need a Psionic Book sometime soon already).
Yeah, cuz Mercer, known for his MMA skills, kicked down the WotC doors and fought everyone there until they canned the next old-property-revival project and replaced it with one of his. Probably true given his well documented history of caring only for himself.

:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
 

Whatever D&D trend people don't like simply must be Matt Mercer's fault, somehow. While sure, there were products I would've liked to see instead of Wildemount, I can't argue that it wasn't the right choice for Wizards, considering how well it sold.

No book slot was sucked up by Mercer and can we please stop the trend whereby Matt must be psychologically tortured until he apologizes for denying people Dark Sun/Psionics/Dragonlance/Planescape/Jakandor etc.?

Actual footage of Matt Mercer destroying 5e Greyhawk at the WotC headquarters:

martial arts nut punch GIF

Yeah, cuz Mercer, known for his MMA skills, kicked down the WotC doors and fought everyone there until they canned the next old-property-revival project and replaced it with one of his. Probably true given his well documented history of caring only for himself.

:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

I'm probably going to back Battle of the Bards. It's a little pricey, but bards are a longtime favorite of mine, and I dig the concept.
 

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