Update of the Avatar #180 – 2016.06.10: Pre-Order Sword of Midras Novel, HoBLotH III Recap, Phoenix Republic’s Royal Warrant, Confluence Chamber, Xounts SotA Special, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

Pre-Order Now: The Sword of Midras SotA Novel for Hardcover, Kindle, Nook and Audiobook


The Sword of Midras, by Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott, is a revised and expanded version of the Blade of the Avatar novel (originally included in pledge rewards through May 31, 2015). The expanded The Sword of Midras includes four additional chapters not seen in the pledge reward version of Blade of the Avatar, extending and elaborating on key elements of the story.

The release date is June 21, 2016 by Tor Books. The Hardcover, Kindle, and Nook, versions are available for pre-order now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Release date for the unabridged audiobook version is July 12, 2016 with pre-orders available now at Audible.com.

[NOTE: The Sword of Midras is not the version of the novel included in the SotA pledge rewards. The original Blade of the Avatar novel has already been delivered as an electronic PDF to all pledges prior to May 31, 2015 (when it expired). For those who qualify for this reward, you can find the link to the PDF on your SotA website account page Special Rewards tab for download. The physical and signed version of the novel that was a reward at the Citizen (and above) level up through May 31, 2015 will be a paperback print version of the original Blade of the Avatar novel that has been delivered as an electronic PDF. This physical reward will be delivered to backers at the same time that all physical rewards are delivered, which we currently expect will be toward the end of this year].

HoBLotH III Community Event

Last week was amazing in Austin for both Portalarium and the SotA community! Many on our team had the pleasure of attending HoBLotH III, which stands for Hearth of Britannia: Lifeblood of the Hearth. The event generated a huge amount of activity for over five days at Castleton Village near the office.

Dancing, storytelling, and LARPing quests and contests occurred throughout each day with many events extending well into the evenings. Tuesday was the official kick-off day with the real fun beginning on Wednesday with a bunch of quests that included testing one’s knowledge of Britannia, a scavenger hunt, fishing, and fighting for valor in LARP combat!

Read more

Royal Warrant Awarded to The Phoenix Republic

Kazyn and Jenny Phoenixfyre were in Austin for HoBLotH III and took the opportunity to visit with us at the Portalarium Studio. On behalf of The Phoenix Republic, Kazyn and Jenny accepted the Royal Warrant award, presented by Richard “Lord British” Garriott (attending via robot from New York).Republic Crest 4_small

We first wrote about the merits and the lore of The Phoenix Republic, including their capital city, Port Phoenix, in Update #132 in July 2015. Port Phoenix was the third Player Owned Town in Shroud of the Avatar, and the first to be built with the swamp biome.

Port Phoenix is situated on the island of Elysium at the edge of the Bay of Storms (see map). Port Phoenix, once known as Sparrow Bay, is a town of hearty (some might say stubborn) people who have survived many natural disasters and wars throughout the town’s history.


The Phoenix Republic is governed by a sovereign leader ruling along with the help of a council of the Republic’s leadership. Their goal is to ensure every citizen has a voice and that each group within the republic is able to live out to their true potential. Together, the Phoenix Republic makes up a unique group of guilds, towns and individuals which work together collectively in the name of friendship and family.

Xounts Kickstarter: Shroud of the Avatar Special!

We’re excited to announce that Xounts is offering a free Shroud of the Avatar style when you support their unique speaker system Kickstarter campaign.

The ‪Xounts‬ system is fantastic at delivering great sound, looks really cool wherever it’s placed, and supports custom themes… including a really SWEET Shroud of the Avatar theme. We even have a SotA styled Xounts in our office!

Xounts at Portalarium

Get your Xounts here!

The Mysterious Chamber at the Confluence

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Scottie Jones]

In the land of North Paladis, at the strange confluence of the wine-red Fortus River and the bluish river Sanctus, lay the dangerously lush crater of the Paladis Shardfall. Here these two rivers intertwine and then separate in a way that can only be explained by some deep magic brought into play, no doubt, by the fall of the obsidian moon-shards long ago. The waters of both rivers mingle together here to create a flow of delicate purple hues before separating once again, as if by enchantment, to continue their paths miraculously restored to their original, distinct colors!

And here, as if signifying the place from which such magic must have been harnessed, is a small iron door tucked behind the waterfall leading into the crater itself. Those who have dared the twisted and sometimes lethal foliage growing here may find this door easily. Nothing bars one’s way, save the inherent peril of its surroundings, and the doorway opens with little effort…

Confluence Chamber 06

Beyond it rests a chamber of obvious Obsidian Order creation, though much of it has long since been overgrown by the strange, glowing fungi and other alien flora that thrives here. A roaring sound fills the chamber, echoing from its inward sloping walls and down from the curved ceiling above, pierced by black shards. Looking straight ahead, a carved stone path leads to a platform surrounded by ancient obelisks, set into the glowing waters of a pool shimmering with violet hues.

Confluence Chamber 07

Confluence Chamber 08

The sound, of course, comes from the crashing waters of an underground offshoot of the two rivers above. Here, at the far end of this strange and mysterious chamber, the two different waterfalls of blue and red cascade down to blend into the lambent, glowing violet pool that surrounds the observer as they walk across the ancient path. At the center of the chamber, at the far end of a dais inscribed with the Obsidian Septagram of Dominion, rests a lone and empty marble podium facing the falling water.

Confluence Chamber 09

What Obsidian Lords once stood in this dark place? And what dire words did they whisper to the roaring waters before them? Perhaps, instead, it is a place yet to fulfill its unknown purpose…and the podium awaits in this strange, twilight cave for some terrible fragment of long-forgotten lore.

Confluence Chamber 10

Regardless, no answers are forthcoming from the silent and otherworldly sentinel vegetation, nor do the grim obelisks share their secrets. For the time being, the Chamber of the Confluence must remain a mystery.

Confluence Chamber 11

I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a glimpse into this secret place… Perhaps its purpose won’t remain forgotten for much longer…

Scottie ^_^

The Making of Brittany Wharfs

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar]

Hey Folks, here is an update on this week’s progress on the Brittany Wharfs.

Located just North of Brittany, the Brittany Wharfs is a coastal neighborhood rampant with merchants and trade. Town Lots will predominate in this neighborhood. Below we catch a glimpse of the Harbor at dawn. Big and small boats fill the harbor, industry and shipbuilding are present, and a fort overlooks the harbor providing defensive support to the heart of Brittany located just down the coast.


A water community with plenty of water lots is located on the north side of the Wharfs. For all you water lot lovers, there will be village, town, city and even a keep island lot, but you gotta catch them while they’re hot!


I’ve started the process of detailing areas of the map, below is a cluster of shops focusing on armor, combat, and weapons all conveniently located a short walk away from player housing.


Stay tuned for the next update on the Brittany Wharfs!

Esteben Zaldivar
Level Designer


47 Day Countdown to Summer 2016 Expiration Event, Part 1

As we march toward the Final Wipe and Lot Selection milestone, we are having a Summer 2016 Expiration Event split into Two Parts!

Summer 2016 Expiration Event, Part 1

  • At Midnight CDT (5:00 UTC) on July 27, 2016, we are expiring the homes and basements from the Ancestor, Edelmann, Knight Marshal, Lord Marshal, Duke, and Lord of the Manor 2 pledges. We are also expiring new Player Owned Towns (upgrades of existing POTs will continue to be available). All other rewards (including tax free property deeds) that are currently available in the remaining pledges will continue to be available. The final wipe of all game data will also occur at Midnight CDT (5:00 UTC) on July 27th. To commemorate this momentous milestone, we are holding a 12-hour Summer Telethon Part 1, starting at 12:00 pm CDT (17:00 UTC) and running right up to the Final Wipe at Midnight CDT (5:00 UTC).

Summer 2016 Expiration Event, Part 2

  • At Midnight CDT (5:00 UTC) on August 22, 2016, we are expiring ALL remaining pledges, including: Adventurer, Founder, Royal Artisan, Explorer, Ancestor, Edelmann, Knight Marshal, Lord Marshal, Duke, and Lord of the Manor 2. To commemorate the final expiration of all remaining pledges, we are holding a 12-hour Summer Telethon Part 2, starting at 12:00 pm CDT (17:00 UTC) and running right up to the Final Pledge Expirations at Midnight CDT (5:00 UTC).

Upcoming Events

2016.06.30 – Release 31
2016.07.27 – Summer Telethon Part 1 + Pledge Homes / POT Expirations (Final Wipe at Midnight)
2016.07.28 – Release 32: Lot Selections
2016.08.22 – Summer Telethon Part 2 + Final Pledge Expirations Episode 1 (Pledge Expirations at Midnight)
2016.08.25 – Release 33
2016.08.26 – Syndcon 2016
2016.09.02 – DragonCon 2016
2016.09.21 – Austin Games Conference
2016.09.29 – Release 34

Community Activities

Visit the official Community Calendar to see the great lineup of activities our amazing community has planned for this weekend! And be sure to check out the Release 30 Events thread in the SotA forums for additional events.

Event of the Week – EVL Fashion Show – Summer Edition


[From a Release 30 Events Forum Post]

Put on your finest attire and strut your stuff down the catwalk to try and be crowned the best in show. At the event will be several mystery judges who will score the contestants and award prizes for the best dressed male and female avatars so don’t delay come along and dress to impress!


#1: Contact Lacey or Brickbat if you have any questions.

#2: Message Brickbat at least 24 Hours before the event, by Saturday June 11th by 4:00 PM NBT (Central-Server-Time), here on the Shroud forum that you are participating and with details on your costume. If you don’t provide details on your costume, then I as the event’s Master of Ceremonies am not libel for any snarky comments, exaggerations of reality, or colorful descriptive comments regarding your attire. Also, if your wearing purple and I am not warned I will definitely liken you a certain purple singing dinosaur!

#3: Please arrive at least 30 minutes early, for sequencing and last minute questions.


#1: Show up, take a seat in the viewing area, and enjoy the show, we will begin a close to 4 PM as possible.

#2: You are prohibited from catching a sneak peak in the dressing room, so wish your friends and loved ones good luck in advance and definitely cheer for your favorites and the sharpest dressed Avatar!

We look forward to meeting everyone and hope you will all join us in Cottage Grove for a fun evening.

Teleportation avatars are EVL or Lacey.

Community Resources – Players Helping Players

Our new community manager, Mathew “Berek” Anderson, has been busy improving the structure of the SotA Forums, making it easier to find what you’re looking for. One of his recent changes has been to make Town Hall the topmost forum group and to add the New Player Welcome Forum to the Town Hall, making it easy for new players to find!


In addition to the New Player Welcome Forum, the Player Created Resources Forum has the best player created resources for Shroud of the Avatar, whether it’s a Player Written Guide, a Video Walk-through, or a Wiki-type Website.

Resource of the Week

  • avatars-circle-logo-concept-7[1]Avatars’ Circle
    • Avatars’ Circle is one of the first Shroud of the Avatar resource sites created by by the SotA community, not only providing links to other popular SotA resource sites, but also home to the first SotA community events calendar!

Visit the official Community Resources page for a complete listing.

Backer Shipping Addresses

SotA_ShippingAddressIn preparation for shipping backers’ physical pledge rewards later this year, we have added Shipping Address fields to your Account Profile page. To enter your shipping address, log in to the SotA website, select “Account” in top right corner, then select “Edit Profile” located in top left corner, beneath your Avatar image:

For country and regional tax assessment purposes, our tax accountants have requested that we start collecting a buyer’s physical/shipping address for all purchases, whether digital or physical. We’ve tried to streamline that process as much as possible, such that once you’ve entered a physical address we will pre-populate the address fields with your default address.

Recommended Projects to Back

Descent: Underground

Eric “Wingman” Peterson and team are bringing back six-degrees-of-freedom combat by blasting 90’s action game favorite, Descent, into the 21st Century with current-generation gaming technology. Descent: Underground is more than a graphics upgrade. Get ready for multiple types of customizable ships! Prepare for upgradable weapons and sensors with richly-detailed tech trees. Brace yourself for destructible voxel maps with new power-ups and mod tools to make your own maps and more!


  1. Amber RaineAmber Raine

    Great Update! Thank you! And Congrats to the Phoenix Republic for finally receiving your Royal Warrant! Well deserved the lot of you do so much for the community you deserve it!

  2. RodriguezRodriguez

    Can we upgrade to a signed hardcover of “Blade of the Avatar” to a signed hardcover of “The Sword of Midras”?

  3. enderandrewenderandrew

    Character names have changed from Blade of the Avatar to the new Sword of Midras. There are also several typos in the Blade of the Avatar PDF. I do hope it gets another pass before printing it. It is a bit odd to have conflicting lore in print with the character name change.

    While I’m disappointed we’re not getting a printed version of Sword of Midras for the pledge reward, I’m glad it was at least clarified. I guess I’m off to pre-order the book.

  4. Craig234

    I really don’t like having one version of the book for the not cheap kickstarter reward, and then adding four new chapters and not providing the new version for free to those who get the original.

    It really should be provided to those backers for free.

    And I’m not even affected (I think).

  5. mbombermbomber

    Thank You for Shopping at Audible

    Purchase Details
    The Sword of Midras (UNABRIDGED)
    Author: Tracy Hickman,Richard Garriott

  6. AlexanderAlexander

    Looks like for the sake of story consistency and fluidity, I will be purchasing ‘The Sword of Midras’. The ‘Blade of the Avatar’ obviously won’t be in sync with the following two books expected at some undetermined future date :-(

  7. Odyssey2001Odyssey2001

    I think the “New player welcome” is a good idea…

    I would have loved to see that when I joined :)

  8. ShadowShadow

    Been wanting an audiobook forever. Will totally be pre-ordering that. Hoping the pledge hardcopy is up to par quality wise.

    1. Bodhbh DeargBodhbh Dearg

      So far (since there is no word from Port, RG or TH on the subject of updating “our” pledge version) it looks like it will NOT be… :(

      I certainly hope they prove me wrong!

      1. dallasdallas

        We regret that some of our backers feel slighted about not automatically receiving the revised and expanded version of Blade of the Avatar as part of their original pledge rewards. It is important for you to understand that all of the publishers we approached refused to publish Blade of the Avatar in its original form since we had already distributed electronic versions of that novel to over 50,000 backers, thus greatly diminishing the potential sales of a mass market print and ebook version. The only way that any publishers would even enter into discussions about publishing a mass market version of Blade of the Avatar is if stopped distributing Blade of the Avatar to new backers and if we created a revised and expanded version of the book that had to be different from the original pledge reward version, with the expanded version not to be distributed to our backers.

        So, we had two choices:
        1) Refuse major book publisher’s requirements to create two different versions of the novel, one distributed as backer pledge reward and another one published for the general public. This choice would effectively eliminate any possibility of a mass market print & ebook version by any of the major book publishers.
        2) Accept the fact that in order to sign a mass market book publisher for Blade of the Avatar, we must stop potentially cannibalizing mass market sales by continuing to distribute Blade of the Avatar as a pledge reward (thus we expired the BotA pledge reward in May 2015), and create a revised and expanded version of Blade of the Avatar that would differentiate it from the 50,000+ copies we already distributed to our backers, thus making it more appealing to major book publishers.

        We went with the second choice, as we felt it was important to increase the worldwide exposure of Shroud of the Avatar. If Sword of Midras is successful it will help introduce many readers to our game, and potentially bring them in as new players.

        Once again, we regret that some of our backers feel that we have slighted them by not distributing the 4 new chapters in Sword of Midras. We hope you can understand the restraints put on us in order to get any major book publisher interested in publishing a mass market version of BotA, and the long-term benefit that will hopefully bring to all of us in the Shroud of the Avatar community.

        And to reiterate what we wrote above in Update #180, regarding the electronic and print/signed version of BotA included in the pledge rewards:

        “[NOTE: The Sword of Midras is not the version of the novel included in the SotA pledge rewards. The original Blade of the Avatar novel has already been delivered as an electronic PDF to all pledges prior to May 31, 2015 (when it expired). For those who qualify for this reward, you can find the link to the PDF on your SotA website account page Special Rewards tab for download. The physical and signed version of the novel that was a reward at the Citizen (and above) level up through May 31, 2015 will be a paperback print version of the original Blade of the Avatar novel that has been delivered as an electronic PDF. This physical reward will be delivered to backers at the same time that all physical rewards are delivered, which we currently expect will be toward the end of this year].”

        1. KoldarKoldar

          Thanks @Dallas for the reply. I, for one, think you guys made a good decision and agree with your logic behind that decision.

        2. enderandrewenderandrew

          @Dallas, I can understand why you made the decisions you did.

          What I don’t quite understand is the silence on the issue over the past year since BotA was discontinued and an expanded version announced.

          Over the past year people have asked repeatedly for a clarification on whether or not the physical pledge tier version would be the old one or the new one. If this decision was made a year ago, that clarification should have been made to backers at that time.

          Also, I believe some people bought a $45 item in the add on store for a physical version that is now an outdated paperback. $45 seems fairly expensive for a paperback. I did not purchase one at $45 since my pledge tier included a physical copy. But I feel bad for the people who did. I hope Portalarium does something for those backers.

          1. Browncoat JaysonBrowncoat Jayson

            I guess I don’t understand why this wasn’t handled like any other Add-On Store change, where the $45 item was refunded as credit. The $15 ebook delivery would have been fine, but I think they even stated in a hangout that folks should not buy the physical book and wait for the new release.

        3. Rufus D`AsperdiRufus D`Asperdi

          Thank you, Dallas;

          I had suspected there was some version of this. From my point of view, it increases the value of the Backer Edition of the book as being unique and limited.

          Hopefully this will silence some of the naysayers, but I hold limited hope of this.

  9. Sea Bear

    Enjoyed reading the Blade of the Avatar. Looking forward to reading Blade of Midras, in Audio-book form.

    I am curious as to who will be or is doing the reading. I was very disappointed with an audio-book I received awhile back due to the lack of enthusiasm and the tone in in which the orator read the book. I am hoping this one has an awesome storytelling voice or better yet group of voices both male and female.

    1. LeostormLeostorm

      I hope they get Michael Kramer
      he did wheel of time and can do like 15 different acsents :P

  10. Raven SwiftbowRaven Swiftbow

    @Dallas – makes perfect sense to me. Particularly since TOR is the publisher. Should get good distribution and, even more importantly, a good promotional push by TOR.

    @enderandrew and others… I think you are missing one particular point (that’s not uber obvious, so it’s not surprising it’s easy to miss).

    This will make the Blade of the Avatar physical books even more valuable as time goes on. Anyone will be able to buy the TOR version – but only those of us who were here on the ground floor of the game will have the book which Sword of Midras is based on! Kind of like having the original Dungeons & Dragons handbooks – collectors will want Blade of the Avatar….

Comments are closed.