Update of the Avatar #69 – 04/18/14: Happy Easter, R5 Coming, DND#1 Contest, In-Game Crests, LotM Crown, Mortar & Pestle of Prosperity, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

  • Only 6 Days Until Release 5!
  • Richard Garriott’s DND #1 Contest
  • Limited Edition Art Print?
  • College of Arms & In-Game Custom Crests Pledge Reward
  • Founder Lord of the Manor Crown
  • Mortar & Pestle of Prosperity
  • The Enhanced Town Stone Arena Basement
  • Rustic 2-Story with Loft Town Home
  • Wood & Plaster 2-Story with Balcony Town Home
  • Blade of the Avatar Novel: Chapter 18
  • Alienware $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupons
  • Upcoming Events

Happy Easter!

Today we are hosting the Duke and Lord of the Manor VIP Design Roundtable with Lord British and Portalarium Studio Tour, and tomorrow our visiting dignitaries will be joining us for Portalarium’s Family Easter Celebration in Castleton (Richard’s lakefront property on beautiful Lake Austin).

From all of us at Portalarium, we wish you and your families a Happy Easter!


(If you haven’t already reserved (or gifted) your Easter Bunny and Replenishing Confetti Egg Basket, they are available in the Add-On Store through April 30th at 33% off!)

Only 6 Days Until Release 5!

The dev team is burning the midnight oil getting Release 5 ready for launch in just 6 short days! Next Wednesday you’ll receive the full Release 5 Instructions, but here’s a sneak peak at some of the new things you’ll get to experience:

  • Combat Skills using early version of card dealing
  • New player town forest maps without fences and new for sale sign
  • New Dungeon: Sewers with water level changing puzzles and damaging sewer water
  • New Creatures: Chest Mimic
  • New Lighting Model
  • Compass
  • Overland Map improvements: zoom, pan, party members, animations, dotted line

Please join us in playing Shroud of the Avatar Release 5 in just 6 short days! If you have not backed the game yet, you will need to register and login at www.shroudoftheavatar.com, select the “Pledge or Send Gift!” button in the right side-bar, and purchase a pledge at the $45 Adventurer level or above. For a limited time, you can get the Adventurer pledge for only $25 with the Alienware Pledge Upgrade Coupon (see details below).

Richard Garriott’s DND #1 Contest

 DND1 Graphics

Predicted simulated original output style

In 1977, Richard’s father, Owen Garriott (former astronaut), told Richard that if he could create a whole working role playing game program, that he would split the cost of an Apple ][ computer with him. The result was DND #1!

DND #1 was created on a teletype at Clear Creek High School in Houston Texas, connected via an acoustic modem to a PDP 11 type mini-computer. Richard typed the game on a separate terminal onto paper tape spools, then read the tape strips into the terminal connected to the offsite computer, and ran the resulting program. The resulting program would play a simple Dungeons and Dragons like role-playing game. The player had a character that would explore a dungeon in search of treasure while fighting monsters along the way.

teletypeNo one has seen this game run since the retirement of the teletype in 1979, which is when Richard made the final printout of the game. Richard has been eager to see this simple BASIC program, resurrected in a modern usable form, but remaining true to the original in as many ways as possible.

To achieve this end, Richard is offering a bounty of Shroud of the Avatar pledge rewards for the best reincarnations of ND #1! Starting April 15th 2014, just past one year into the development of Shroud of the Avatar, and running for 1 month through May 15th, Richard via Portalarium will be accepting submissions of DND1 Resurrections in each of two versions. Submissions may be a Unity Version, and or a no-plug-in Browser Version. Winners will be announced shortly after the submission deadline.

Best Unity Version & Best no-plug in Browser Versions will receive a Citizen Level Pledge worth approximately $550. Two runners up in both categories will receive $165 Collector level pledge each.

[Click here for more details about the DND #1 Contest]

Shroud of the Avatar Limited Edition Art Print?

We’ve received specific requests for Shroud of the Avatar limited edition art print and we are interested in what the community as a whole thinks of the idea! We are a community driven project and we all have a voice. Please visit: https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/sota-limited-edition-art-print.9413/ and VOTE for your favorite image today! Voting ends April 30th, 2014.

We are considering; a limited run of a single SotA image printed on archival paper, (will last for generations) numbered, (a limit to the number of prints created from the image increasing their value, 500?) and signed by the artist and or the team if you request it. The actual price is yet to be determined but we are estimating $50.00 to $80.00 plus shipping.


College of Arms & In-Game Custom Crests Pledge Reward

[A forum post by Starr Long]


Greetings Avatars:

Founders receive the following pledge reward at the Virtual Collector Tier:

  • Custom Crest In Game: Get your own Family Crest for display on your shield, tabard and house flag, made from a customized image uploaded by YOU! (Submitted Art subject to Developer Approval).

We are very excited to announce that we have a great tool in development from the College of Arms for all of you to create your Crest. As some of you are aware Lord British recently awarded the College of Arms a Royal Warrant and therefore they are our chosen curator of crests. Please treat them with the respect due their office.

Using this tool is an extremely positive way for us to accomplish this goal. Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Performance: Adding 4,000+ more textures to the game would exacerbate our texture memory size issues because we’re already fighting memory overheads. Those of you playing on 32-bit systems have already experienced memory issues. With the College of Arms solution, we can composite the image on the fly from a single image, no matter how many variations there are.
  • Support: As you all know we are trying to keep our budget focused on game content development so we are keeping cost like marketing and support very tight right now. If we were to support a completely open image submission process, we would have to hire staff to review each and every image to make sure it is appropriate.
  • Thematic & Cohesive: The College of Arms generator is loosely based on historically accurate models of heraldry and, in the end, we feel will create a much more cohesive world than if we left this completely open. From a fiction/lore standpoint the Avatars are from a different world, but in-universe these arms are being built for those outsiders by people who are native to New Britannia, meaning that a ‘New Britannian style’ will be common to them, again resulting in a cohesive look.
  • Community: As with other examples like the Bards of Poet’s Circle, doing works like this with the community makes the work we are creating a work created by all of us, not just the professional developers. In the end we feel this makes a better product.

Please note that the tool is still very much in development but as soon as it is ready for official crest creation we will let you know. In the meantime, the members of the College of Arms will be happy to answer any questions you may have and can assist you with creating your arms here on the College of Arms sub forum. Please also note we will not accept any submissions that potentially infringe on copyrighted material.


[Join the Custom Crest conversation in the public forums]

Founder Lord of the Manor Crown

Included in the Founder rewards of the Lord of the Manor pledge tier is this august crown, uniquely identifying you as a Founder Lord of the Manor:


Mortar & Pestle of Prosperity


This unique, indestructible, mortar & pestle increases the ability to make higher quality alchemical creations (potions, poisons, etc.). While mortars & pestles with similar effects can be crafted and purchased in the game this particular mortar & pestle never needs repair.

For a limited time we’re offering 33% off! Reserve yours now (or send as a gift) at the Add-On Store!

The Enhanced Town Stone Arena Basement

After introducing the Town Arena basement in Update #64, we decided it needed an upgrade. We added a lower floor that contains the actual fighting arena, which can be observed from the upper floor.

The Town Stone Arena Basement is available at an introductory 25% off in the Add-On Store!

(NOTE: You will need a Town Level Property to place the Town Stone Arena Basement in-game)











Rustic 2-Story with Loft Town Home

Continuing our line of rustic homes is this picturesque, 2-story, 3-room, 1-closet, village home, now available in the Add-On Store (you may have seen this house in Braemar):











Get Your Rustic 2-Story with Loft Town Home Now for 50% off!

For a limited time we’re offering 50% off this home!  Reserve yours (or send as a gift) at the Add-On Store!

Wood & Plaster 2-Story with Balcony Town Home

Next up in our line of Wood & Plaster homes is this 2-story, 4-room town home, with a second-story front-facing deck, now available in the Add-On Store. The first floor is comprised of a single great room, subdivided into 3 areas:











Get Your Wood & Plaster 2-Story with Balcony Town Home Now for 50% off!

For a limited time we’re offering 50% off this home!  Reserve yours (or send as a gift) at the Add-On Store!

Blade of the Avatar Novel

BotA_smallThe latest installment of the serialized SotA novel, Blade of the Avatar (BotA), written by Tracy Hickman & Richard Garriott, is now available for download! If you are a Founder, or you purchased BotA in the Add-On Store, then you will find a download link for the current installment of the novel on your personal SotA account page (log into SotA website and click on “Account” in the top-right corner).  If you are a Kickstarter backer you’ll need to have your Kickstarter account linked to the SotA website (click here for instructions to link your Kickstarter account).

Here is a brief excerpt of the latest installment (illustration by Denis Loubet):

Chapter 18: The Walls

The dawn rose blood red in the east. The high clouds were bathed in the crimson light, coloring the world below. Beneath it, the Westreach Army of the Obsidian Empire marched with purpose in a wide line of advance across the expansive prairie toward the walls of Opalis.

Aren watched their approach from atop the Longwall near the Storm Gate tower. He stood next to Commander Trevan as they watched the approaching army from behind the defensive crenellations. All along the top of the Longwall stood ranks of the city’s longbow archers. Their quivers were situated upright at their feet, filled with arrows, but their enemy was still miles away. There was nothing for them to do but watch their approach with the silent apprehension of the dawn.

“Those look like pikemen in the front center of the line,” Trevan observed.

“They think you have knights or possibly some sort of mounted cavalry,” Aren nodded. “There will be ranks of foot soldiers behind them with archers arrayed behind them.”

Trevan glanced over at the captain. “Anything else you care to tell me?”

“They will have disbursed their special units in block formations down the line separately from the human warriors,” Aren said as he turned his back on the horizon and leaned against the upright stones of the crenellation. The towers of the Citadel rose before him, shining like frozen flames in the morning light. “A third of their mounted knights will be positioned at the flanks with the remainder positioned behind the line. Any heavy siege units they might have will be further back still. They will sweep around the defensive walls of the city – most likely burning the outlying buildings to the ground – and then settle in for the siege.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Trevan asked.

Download your copy of the latest installment of BotA to read the rest of this exciting chapter!

Map Reveal

For your map puzzle collection:



Alienware Sponsors $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupon

Alienware’s powerful gaming rigs are a perfect match for Shroud of the Avatar! To show their support, Alienware is sponsoring $20 SotA Pledge Upgrade Coupons to members of their Alienware Arena community!

These coupons can be used to start a SotA pledge account (for new backers), or to add $20 to an existing pledge account. If, for example, you have a $90 Royal Artisan Pledge, you can use the Alienware coupon to bump you up to a $110 Virtual Collector Pledge.

Pretty sweet deal, right? So, hurry over to the Alienware Arena website and get your $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupon now!

[NOTE: Only one Alienware Pledge Upgrade Coupon can be used per account. Coupon does not apply to Add-On Store items]

Upcoming Events

2014.04.18 – Duke & Lord of the Manor VIP Design Roundtable with Lord British and Portalarium Tour
2014.04.24 – Release 5 Access
2014.05.22 – Release 6 Access
2014.06.26 – Release 7 Access
2014.08.09 – SotA at synDCon
2014.08.29 – SotA at Dragoncon


  1. h4ckluserr

    This will be MY first go around. I cannot wait to get some time in the world and see how it’s going to feel. I’m an old school UO fan boy who backed this project to try and feel that same excitement again.

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