Update of the Avatar #85 – 2014.08.08: MMORPG.com R9 Sweepstakes, R8 Player Events, Duke’s Cloak, Lord Marshal Hearth, Call for Lore, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • MMORPG.com Release 9 Weekend Access Sweepstakes!
  • Player Run Town Welcome Quests
  • New Britannia’s First Player Run Theatrical Production
  • Duke’s Cloak
  • Lord Marshal’s Great Hearth
  • Hangout of the Avatar: R8 Postmortem & R9 Preview
  • Call for Lore: Player Written Books
  • Through the Lunar Rift!
  • Alienware Sponsors $20 Pledge Upgrade Coupon
  • World Builder/Level Designer Job Opening
  • Upcoming Events


MMORPG.com Pre-Alpha Release 9 Weekend Access Sweepstakes!

We’re excited to announce that MMORPG.com is sponsoring an exclusive sweepstakes where they are giving away 1000 Release 9 Weekend Access keys to MMORPG.com members. The cut-off date for eligibility is August 16th, so hurry over to MMORPG.com and get signed up for the sweepstakes!



Player Run Town Welcome Quests

Back in June, just before the launch of Release 7, community member Duke Gréagóir (of the Celtic Order of Druids and Bards Guild) posted an idea in the forums about Player Run Town Welcome Quests. The idea caught on and the towns of Celtic Holdfast, PaxLair, and Beran’s Reach participated.

Since Player Owned Towns aren’t available in-game yet, these groups emulated their towns in Northshire, Valemark, and The Brave Coast island.

New Britannia’s first ever Welcome Quest, completely designed and executed in-game by players, started at 12 pm CST June 29, 2014 in PaxLair during Release 7 (see the SotaWiki for more details).


Lord British was in attendance, and later described his experience in an interview with Yahoo Games:

“…two new towns were forming…the Celtic [Holdfast]…and PaxLair, got together to run some quests. And what they did is they actually put player character quest-givers in each of these towns that demanded that you bring them things that you could find or make in the real world before you would get the clue to go on to someone else in this chain of real players they put together, and then they would require you to make or gather other things as they went around. And so you have this very long, very sophisticated quest, where, as we looked at it, we said wow, that was actually a lot of fun — how hard would it be for us to give guilds the ability to craft objects that were truly unique to that guild? And so literally the only way to get that special quest item was to either be a member of that guild, or have visited, via a quest, that guild.”  – Richard “Lord British” Garriott

Everyone had so much fun with the Welcome Quest in Release 7, they decided to run another one in Release 8. Duke Gréagóir of Celtic Holdfast described the event thus:

During Release 8, on Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm CST, three towns were involved in our second Welcome Quest event, Celtic HoldfastPaxLair, and the Town of Vengeance. Fun and excitement was had by all of the 30+ questers who showed us that community events like this is something that belongs. These brave recipients accepted whatever danger and excitement was to come.

Prior to the event, broken torches were handed out in Owl’s Head, Kingsport, PaxLair, and the Town of Vengeance.

First up was PaxLair…

Winfield, the Governor of PaxLair kicked things off with excitement right out of the gate. Those who were given a broken torch before the quest started was able to turn that in for a Blue Welcome Torch. From there Winfield had the group split into two and perform an ad-hoc skit on stage. The plays were hilarious! This was not a competition and all had great fun.

Team A’s skit was about a wounded soldier in the field and the team had to decide if he should live or die. So the plot had something to do with a poison arrow wound in the soldier’s back side. You can imagine the rest…

Team B’s skit was about an incompetent and whining Commander leading his troops and the troops were upset. In fact, some of the Team B people in the audience would have thrown things at their “captain” on stage if they could have. Very funny.


Any late arriving questors without any torch were given a Broken Torch…a gesture much appreciated by the questers. Everyone also received a Broken Bench to take to the next stop on the quest. Winfield (Paxlair), Duke Violation (Vengeance), and Duke Greagoir (Celtic Holdfast) were handing out items as fast as they could.

The next stop was Celtic Holdfast…

There the questers travelled to the Farmers Market Pavilion which featured outdoor public crafting stations and yummy treats inside laid out on tables. Here the questers traded their Broken Bench for a Broken Sword and 7 wood boards. The 4 Carpentry stations were there for anyone wanting to craft a new bench to replace the broken one. Any broken torches the questers had were also traded for a Welcome Torch.

Lord British showed up to partake in the Welcome Quest and was soon found crafting on the public crafting tables!


The final stop was the Town of Vengeance. PvP action was all around us with the possibility of being attacked.

The guards of Vengeance were there to protect us and they did when a group of bandits tried to crash the party. Quickly everyone moved from the Lord Houseboat to Lord Darkstarr’s Galleon close by.

In the back of the Galleon you could trade your Broken Sword for a Welcome Sword from Duke Violation. If you still had a broken torch you could trade it in for a Welcome Torch.

At this point every quester completed the Welcome Quest with joy and jubilation! All climbed on the fore of the Galleon and showed their excitement!


“Exciting quests are all around us. It is up to us to find them and conquer.”   – Duke Gréagóir

New Britannia’s First Player Run Theatrical Production

Our amazing community members continued to demonstrate their exceptional creativity by producing New Britannia’s first ever theatrical play during Release 8. The play was hosted in the growing Player Town of PaxLair (testing their town ideas in Valemark since Player Owned Towns aren’t available in-game yet). They built a great stage, invited Lord British, and on July 27, 2014 it was Curtains Up!


The PaxLair Theater Company
Produces the Premiere of
“Where there is a Will…”
by Winfield, Governor and Old Man of PaxLair

The Whimsical Tragedy
Follows the Action of Guard Recruit Will
and Captain NANOC on the Battlefield

Directed by Quetzalcoatl

Governor Winfield of PaxLair had this to say about the play:

Back in Release 7, Matthew Garbett made the first stage in PaxLair in front of his Row House. It amazed Lord British to the point that he jumped onto the stage and quickly recited a short tale. People walked by and heard his powerful voice. They stopped and listened, then applauded!

Now in Release 8, we built a larger stage at Sunset Rock behind the Town Drunk Tavern in PaxLair. We started writing the script of a play knowing it would be the first play in New Britannia. So we set the bar high to make it entertaining, funny and tragic, related to combat in Release 8, and by all means short (15 minutes). Our playwrights got to work developing the characters, the scene, the dialogue, and the narration. Then on to the hard part — rehearsal!

The characters were:

– NANOC, Captain of the PaxLair Guard (played by NANOC PaxLair)
– Will, Guard Recruit (played by Winfield PaxLair)
– Narrator (played by Quetzalcoatl)

We rehearsed for about 4 hours Saturday night to be ready for two 15-minute performances on Sunday. We went through the script, made changes, picked out our wardrobe, practiced our lines individually and then together, and set the stage up with some props. We did our first dress rehearsal… Disaster! We were facing the wrong way, using emotes wrong, not saying the right lines at the right time. We were nervous. But the show must go on!

Then we came up with the idea for Q (Quetzalcoatl) to keep us on track not just as the narrator, but a voice in our ear (voice chat) to keep us actors doing things at the right time. Dress rehearsal #2 – Much better!

Sunday … 1:45 PM … 15 minutes before the guests and Lord British arrive. Curtain goes up right at 2:30 PM. We wait near the stage … ale in hand to calm our nerves. Some people arrive early — we chat. Then right at 2:00 PM, Lord British walks in! Bows and curtseys all around. “Welcome my Lord!” He talks to us casually. Then we walk on a short tour of our Guard Tent and Barracks Encampment. We also visit the Guard Cemetery walking through slowly with great respect to the fallen. I tell him what he saw was part of the theme for the play. He nods his head in thoughtful understanding.


Nearly 2:30 PM … the audience is assembled … the actors are off Stage Right … the music starts to play (maybe in a future Release *smiles*!) … the actors step on stage … great applause … the curtain (don’t quite have a curtain yet) goes up!

NARRATOR: We are now on the edge of the battlefield! Captain NANOC, a Guard Recruit named Will and other PaxLair guardsmen are valiantly battling an enemy that just won’t quit. We see Captain NANOC looking for the new Recruit.
NANOC: Recruit Will, where are you? Will, will you get over here?! /come here
WILL: /sit Oh, oh, that’s me Captain! *stumbles* /playdead Recruit Will reporting as ordered Sir! /salute

Those are just the opening lines with the emote commands. You will need to see our second running of the play “Where there is a Will…” and find out what happens to Will in Release 9! The show will go on! See everyone in R9!

– Winfield, Governor of PaxLair

Community member Net recorded the second showing of the play. Enjoy!

Duke’s Cloak

Included in the Duke pledge rewards is this unique cloak sporting the Duke’s symbol, sewn with silver and gold thread, suitable for carrying an enchantment. It is permanently enchanted to function as a light source.


Lord Marshal’s Great Hearth

Large enough to warm a grand hall is this Great Hearth, included in the Lord Marshal pledge rewards:


Hangout of the Avatar: Release 8 Postmortem & Release 9 Preview

This week’s Hangout of the Avatar included Richard Garriott, Starr Long, and Chris Spears chatting about Release 8, recounting their favorite moments, and reflecting on the R8 PvP and combat experience, while also looking ahead to Release 9:

Call for Lore: Player Written Books

[From a forum post by FireLotus]

FireLotusCoAWe are looking for our first pieces of “fan fiction” to begin creating books and shelving the Libraries of Novia. In this first round, I am specifically looking for tales about your adventures in The Vale. Works that meet the following guidelines will be reviewed by myself and a soon to be formed Council of Scribes, sent to Lord British for approval, and if accepted, will be published in game over the course of several upcoming releases.

Very cool, huh?

So now on to the Guidelines:

  • Stories should be no more than 300-500 words. As an example, all Through the Lunar Rift stories are around 500 words. There is no minimum word count, for all you Haiku fans out there.
  • Fan fiction can take multiple forms including poetry, song lyrics, sonnets, journal entries, folk-tales, or short stories; as long as the word count limit is maintained.
  • Collections, like poetry or fables, would also be awesome, as long as the collected works do not exceed 500 words.
  • Tales should be set in the Vale and may include references to any NPC or location within the Vale.
  • Vale NPC’s and locations must be consistent with actual gameplay. (For example, describing Braemar as being populated by pirates or saying that you are the new Ruler of Owl’s Head, or even Owl’s Nest, would not be acceptable.)
  • Stories including other player characters or Dev characters without their consent will most likely not be approved/accepted.
  • Submitted pieces may be edited for grammar and spelling. Content revisions, however, will not occur without the author’s consent.

The ability for a player to publish a book in game (tech-wise) is not ready yet, so this is our way of pre-populating some of the player books AND testing out the tech we have to do so. There is really no deadline or limit to the amount of submissions we are accepting at this point, except of course, we’ll have to review and then enter everything in time for content lock. BUT, these first books will have Lord British’s and the Council of Scribes seal of approval! Think of them as limited editions!

I will be calling for player lore on other areas and events in the future. Like I said, this is a first run to help us test out the process, both for submission, and for approval/publishing. If you would like some examples of the types of stories I’m looking for, just read through the Through the Lunar Rift stories. They will hopefully lend some inspiration.

Please only post your final draft in the submission thread. You may post works in process in the Scribes of Novia sub-forum if you wish to collaborate or collect feedback from others.

The Council of Scribes

[From a forum post by FireLotus]

Carolingian carved-ivory relief depicting St Gregory and the scribes

The Council of Scribes will be a player run group similar to the College of Arms that will be working with the Development team, under my guidance, to help us find the player lore that will fill the official libraries of New Britannia and provide feedback and guidance to aspiring authors who wish to hone their craft. The council will be lead by a Triumvirate of Masters, defined as:

Master of the Council
To gather, keep, and progress the Libraries of Novia

Master of Lore
To gather, keep, and protect all things Lore related in Novia

Master of the Scribes
To teach, train, and assist the Scribes of Novia

About a half dozen community members will also be performing the following roles:

Lore Keepers
For those who seek to gather, keep, and protect all things Lore related in Novia or her regions.

For those who seek to document and assist as an editor and author of Novia.

SotA_ThroughLunar Rift

Through the Lunar Rift!

These tales, told as a series of journal entries written by Gina “FireLotus” Dionne, will feature the people and places of New Britannia and give you a bit of insight, and hopefully some inspiration, when creating your own stories while exploring the lands of Shroud of the Avatar.

Of Bones and Thrones

One of the perks of running a bar, no matter where (or when) you are, is that drunk people tend to talk. Loudly, and about things they wouldn’t talk about in any other setting. It’s meant that I’ve been privy to a lot of useless gossip, but it’s also revealed some real jewels of information.

The other night, some of Lord Enmar’s men settled in for a pint and about a half dozen later, their whispered tones begin to grow and it wasn’t long before tales of undead began to fill the front corner of the Tavern. Luckily for me, there is a spot in the loft that has excellent acoustics, and fate so happened to require that I fetch a fresh bottle of rye just as the conversation started getting interesting.

It would seem that a while back, Lord Enmar sent a group of his men to the ruins of Ravensmoor, a mostly unexplored area at the southern edge of the Vale. From what I could gather, the purpose of this scouting party was to determine if the ruins were somehow “ground zero” for the current undead threat. It seems Enmar also hoped they could scale the size of that threat to Owl’s Head. Not unexpected really, as everyone has been a bit ill at ease since rumors of what happened in Braemar started spreading like wildfire through the town.

And from what else was overheard, I believe his suspicions that the onslaught somehow originated there were well-founded. Only one survivor returned from the expedition; the leader of the party, a guard named Winslow. And according to the men, he was gravely injured in the process. As they raised a toast in his honor, it was clear they were doubtful that he would survive much longer…

Read the rest of the story in the forums


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]


World Builder/Level Designer Job Opening

We currently have an opening for a mid-level to senior-level World Builder/Level Designer for Shroud of the Avatar. Qualifications for the “ideal candidate” are:

  • Minimum 3 years industry experience (preferably on a shipped game)
  • Unity experience
  • Scripting ability
  • Experience building, texturing, and decorating natural, terrain based exterior environments
  • An eye for detail, with strong scene compositional skills

If you’d like to join the Portalarium Tribe working on the ground-breaking Shroud of the Avatar, please submit your resume to jobs@portalarium.com. Provide links to your work (if possible), either as actual game play or in document form including images, maps, and event descriptions.

Upcoming Events

2014.08.09 – SotA at synDCon
2014.08.21 – Release 9 Access
2014.08.27 – Monthly Video Hangout: R9 & R10 Discussion
2014.08.29 – SotA at PAX Prime Seattle
2014.08.29 – SotA at Dragoncon
2014.09.25 – Release 10 Access
2014.10.01 – Monthly Video Hangout: R10 & R11 Discussion
2014.10.23 – Release 11 Access
2014.10.24 – SotA at Captivate
2014.10.29 – Monthly Video Hangout: R11 & R12 Discussion
2014.11.14 – Duke & Lord of the Manor VIP Design Roundtable with Lord British and Portalarium Studio Tour
2014.11.15 – HoBLotH II: Legends of the Hearth
2014.11.20 – Release 12 Access
2014.11.26 – Monthly Video Hangout: R12 & R13 Discussion
2014.12.18 – Release 13 Access


  1. Blood0menBlood0men

    Duke Cloak and Great Hearth are a nice update, “?” Bout the cloak tho, the symbol on the Back.

    Are they all the same for All Duke’s or each will be different?

    1. Duke ViolationDuke Violation

      I’m fairly sure, as it’s labeled the Duke Symbol, it’s the same for all Dukes. I don’t think this has anything to do with charges for our devices if that’s what you mean?

      1. Blood0menBlood0men

        Well, ya sorta; i’d love to see Our coat of arms on the cloak on it since its the highest tiered cloak

        But still, thx

        1. NetNet

          I am quite sure that everyone with Coat of Arms will have option to wear cloak with it, eventually. I t should not be restricted only to Dukes.

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