Update of the Avatar #213 – 2017.02.03: The Making of Upper Fortus, Rhun Ruins, & K’rul, R38 Postmortem, IronMaiden’s Chemo Relief Telethon, Water Decorations, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

The Making of Upper Fortus

The Fortus River runs south-to-north through a large canyon in the North Paladis region near the Sanctus Spine Control Point. Kobolds have established a mining facility here using steam to soften the terrain. Bandits have a camp nearby and have been raiding the shipments of ore and therefore, the Kobolds have been ramping up their defenses of the mining facility. Expect strong resistance when trying to raid the Kobold mining camp; and the bandits are not going to be too friendly either!

This scene started as a clone of North Varisalla Foothills but is being completely rebuilt for a live date hopefully in Release 40.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Chris “Sea Wolf” Wolf]

I have a few screenshots of progress being made on Upper Fortus.

The Southern Canyon/ Upper Fortus Falls

The Bandit Camp

The Kobold Mining Facility

The Northern Canyon

The map is almost complete in terms of propping in general, though both towns are still in their earlier stages. You can expect more pipes, more steam, and more vines to add to the atmosphere. Ill post another update in the future as the map comes closer to being finished. As always, feel free to leave feedback!

Chris Wolf
Level Designer

The Making of Rhun Ruins

The Rhun Ruins are one of the six ruined cities found in Novia that date back to the period in Novian history in which the Obsidian Order rose to power. (As described in the Sword of Midras prequel novel by Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott). The exact history of some of these cities has been lost to time, but it is rumored that some of them may have been abandoned even before the rise of the Obsidians. Rhun was a city devoted to Compassion but has since been overrun with the undead. It is located in the Drachvald region in the northeast of Novia.

Rhun started as a clone of the Dysborg Ruins, but is getting completely rebuilt this release to have a unique layout and visuals. We are expressly focusing on being sure the map has interesting setups for PVP conflict, with plenty of space for hiding, escaping, ambushing, and skirmishing.

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

Hey guys! SorcerousSteve here with a sneak peek of the Rhun Ruins! Currently a work in progress, the Rhun Ruins are located on the eastern coast of Drachvald. Once a City of Compassion, its fascination with Obsidian became so high that it brought about its own demise.

Utilizing our new moving platform tech, we have designed a floating island that circulates the map. The obsidian shards (which are of great concentration in this area of the world) have torn up pieces of earth, as they refuse to be chained down.

Right before meeting the ocean the terrain drops off and forms the jagged coast line, it is on these ocean side cliffs that the Rhun Ruins are located.

As a PVP area, Rhun will have 5 zones dedicated to different play styles. One of those is this maze; its circular design culminating in a central arena. All along the way we will be implementing some of the new traps that have become available to us including spikes, fire traps, and pressure plates.

You can see some of our new traps in action below. So be careful when making a wrong turn or you might walk straight into a spout of fire!

Stay tuned for the next update on the Rhun Ruins.

Esteben Zaldivar
Level Designer

The Making of K’rul

Underneath Blood Bay, far from the prying eyes of the Oracle, top Kobold researchers work in the Kobold Research Underground Laboratories; aka K’rul. In this vast underground facility, Kobolds work to harness Obisidian shards, build ever larger and more dangerous automatons, and craft mysterious weapons. K’rul will be filled with top tier Kobolds and automatons to battle, as well as dangerous technological traps and puzzles.

UPDATE: K’rul was originally planned to be an Open PVP zone, but with the upcoming dungeon called The Fall, Blood Bay, the Shardfalls (plus all the Ruins maps), we felt we had a good enough PVP scene balance for now. This means that K’rul is now going to be a PVE scene even though it is located in Blood Bay. Rumor has it there is a secret tunnel connecting it to Skrekk…

Our goal is to have a first iteration of this dungeon live in the game for Release 39.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski]

City Area


Underbelly of platform room

In the News: Richard Garriott: the man, the myth, the mischief

Colin Campbell over at Polygon interviewed Richard about his book Explore Create and also touched briefly on Shroud of the Avatar in a new article entitled: Richard Garriott: the man, the myth, the mischief

Early in his autobiography, Richard Garriott characterizes himself as a storyteller, a lover of yarns. After reading his new book, stuffed with tales of derring-do, I interview him via Skype. True to form, he answers almost all my questions with anecdotes, occasionally waving props into the mini-cam. He’s as practiced as a Toastmaster Grand Wizard.

I’m familiar with some of the stories he tells because I’ve just read them in his book. Others have only a glancing relationship with the actual question asked. But no matter, he’s an entertaining old cove. Among video gaming’s elite auteurs — the multi-millionaire club of game design innovators — he’s probably the one you’d most readily invite to a dinner party.

You’re probably thinking of Garriott as that fella who wrote the Ultima games and then bought a ticket to space. But his stock of reminiscences go far beyond merely helping to shape video games and visiting the International Space Station for a fun fortnight. He’s explored the Titanic. Hiked the Antarctic. Built amazing ghost houses. 

[Read More]

Hangout of the Avatar – Postmortem 38 This Coming Tuesday!

Join us Tuesday, February 7th at 3:00 PM Central (21:00 UTC) on Twitch for our monthly Hangout of the Avatar! The team will be chatting about Release 38 and answering your questions from over the holiday break.

As always, we will be giving out rare Lord British artifacts of immense power and glory. For a chance to win an artifact, or to speak your voice on the latest game changes, be in Discord chat during the livestream. There will be multiple chances to win throughout the broadcast!

Once you get a chance to check out the release, post your questions in the comments section of the Postmortem post (click here). Only one post submission allowed, and keep questions to 3 or less. This will allow us to get to as many individual players’ questions as possible.

Follow @ShroudofAvatar to keep updated on the latest SotA livestreams and game news!

Boss Battle of the Avatar Screenshot Contest

Be ready with your sword and shield, or destructive magical powers, Avatars! Whatever deathly mechanics suit your fancy, you will need them today. We are kicking off Boss Battle of the Avatar, a screenshot contest that pits the nasty of the nasty creatures throughout New Britannia against the finest combat and screenshot taking skills players can muster.

All you have to do is fight (to the death if necessary) any recognized boss or mini-boss, capturing screenshots of the deathly scene unfolding. Examples are below. You can be alone or with as many others that are needed to take down the creature. As we receive submissions, they will be announced on Twitter and Facebook with eventually a gallery of all submissions on Facebook.


  • Clockwork Dragon
  • Dragon
  • Daemon
  • Ghost Corpion
  • Phoenix
  • Troll
  • Lich bosses from the Town Sieges
  • or one of the new named mini-bosses that now appear in the final wave of Control Points!

[Read More…]

Origin PC Steam Key Bundle

As we announced in Update #210, we have started a new partnership with Origin PC. We, of course, love the name of their company. We also found out that their community manager and one of their founders are huge Ultima Online fans! Our very own Richard Garriott uses Origin PCs for his desktop and laptop computers, so this partnership is a mutual admiration party. In Richard’s own words:

“I have been a hard core PC developer and gamer since the beginning, including when I was making some of my earliest games for Origin Systems. Origin games, like Ultima and Wing Commander, always pushed the envelope on what gaming machines were capable of. And to develop them, I knew I needed the best gaming hardware available. The same holds true for my current game, Shroud of the Avatar; a spiritual successor to Ultima which is in now in development at Portalarium.

 So, about a year ago, I went looking for the best game system available to me, and I bought my first Origin PC. I was incredibly impressed! Everything from the ordering process through the delivery was top notch, and performance is that of a clearly superior machine. I was indeed so impressed, I now use Origin computers for both my home and office desktops and, of course, have an Origin laptop for when I travel. I could not be happier with these machines, and the great service at Origin PC!”

Our latest promotion with Origin PC is their “Share the Love” February bundle where, when you purchase select desktops or any 10-Series laptop, you get an Early Access Steam Key for Shroud of the Avatar (and other goodies). If you have friends who have been wanting to try Shroud and are looking for a great new computer, send them to the promotion here.

Alienware Steam Key Giveaway
If Alienware’s powerful gaming rigs are your preferred hardware, we have teamed up with Alienware Arena to give away Shroud of the Avatar Early Access Steam keys to Alienware Arena members.

Right now the promotion is limited to Level 6+ Members only, but if they do not claim all the keys, it will open up to lower level members later this month. You can learn more by clicking here.

R38 Offline Data Format Change – Character Preservation Notice

For Release 38, the Offline Mode save game format is changing to support new and upcoming gameplay features.

Here’s what you need to do in order to preserve your Offline Mode save games and characters:

  1. Patch your game client to Release 38.
  2. Load each saved game and then re-save. This will convert your save file into the latest format.

If you do not convert your saved games during Release 38, your saved games (from releases prior to R38) may not load in releases after Release 38. In other words, we cannot guarantee the ability to load pre-R38 saves after R38.

Our sincere apologies if this change causes any disruption in your gameplay. We always make every attempt to avoid having to make these kinds of requirements of our players when we make changes like this. After very careful consideration, we’ve deemed this change, and the accompanying requirement, as necessary. Please note that this change will not affect the online game or characters in any way.

As a reminder, Release 38 starts on January 26 and runs through February 22.

Please let us know if you have any questions on this update!

Community of the Avatar Livestream – A Crafting Hub for Developers

Follow the game on Twitter at www.twitter.com/shroudofavatar for news of the next livestream!

Doug’s (Iron Maiden) Chemo Relief Fund [Update: Telethon and Dev Crafted Gear Auction]

Thexedor Markhamm has an update on the campaign and some exciting announcements!

Hail Avatars,

As many of you know, we have been running a GofundMe campaign for our fellow Avatar, Doug (Iron Maiden), who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Our campaign has run for 21 days and we’ve raised an amazing $17,000 toward our goal of helping Iron Maiden pay for the various chemotherapy treatments he needs. Thanks to all of YOU, we are nearing our goal and reaching the end of the GoFundMe donation drive. I wanted to let everybody know of a couple exciting events we have planned as we near the grand finale of our fundraising efforts on February 10th, 2017 @ 10PM CST/NBT.

The Iron Maiden Chemo Relief Fund In-Game Telethon

When: February 10th, 2017 (8-10pm) NBT/CST

Where: Dawn’s Keep (just S. of Central Brittany)

Guest of Honor: Iron Maiden

We’ll be hosting a massive in-game telethon/party event as we countdown the end of our GoFundMe effort. We invite all supporters to join us in game. This event will include a gustball tourney, a meet and greet with Iron Maiden, and an amazing fireworks finale. Also, several ‘carnival’ type events for you to participate in to help us raise funds and awareness for colon cancer. And of course, there will be prizes. Oh yes, many many prizes (like 3 Lord British-crafted war hammers :p ).

For a full schedule of events and sponsors, please visit this thread.

To learn more about the BIG COTO GIVEAWAY, please visit this thread.

Hope to see everybody there (wearing blue and purple and, of course, your IMCRF cloaks!).

The Darkstarr & Lord British Collection Charity Auction
When: Now – February 10th (auctions ending during the telethon)

Where: Shroud Markeptlace

The Lord of Chaos and the Sovereign of Virtue have been so kind to spend some time at the crafting tables to donate amazing weapons and armor for this charity auction. You can bid to win extremely rare and powerful relics crafted by both Darkstarr  and Lord British. All proceeds (minus PayPal fees) of these auctions will be donated to the Iron Maiden Chemo Relief Fund on behalf of Starr Long and Richard Garriott. Please don’t miss your opportunity to wield and and wear supreme equipment crafted by the most famous (and infamous) Avatars in New Britannia.

GoFundMe Donation & Reward Deadline

When: February 10th, 2017 (10pm) NBT/CST

If you have not yet donated to the Iron Maiden Chemo Relief Fund, there’s still time! We will be accepting donations until the end of our in-game telethon. All donations of $25 or more made during this window will qualify for rewards (like the IMCFR Cloak – which is AWESOME) and the COTO giveaway. Please note, I will be distributing your cloaks in-game after I have verified your donation. Simply friend Thexedor Markhamm (in-game) and I will meet you to present your beautiful cloak.

In closing, I’d like to personally say THANK YOU for everybody who has donated and supported this effort. I had faith the community would come together when I began this initiative, and BOY WAS I RIGHT. We’ve proven that good works through gaming is possible and – together – we’ve made real magic happen.

Best Regards,

Thexedor Markhamm

Original announcement from community member Thexedor Markhamm. For more information or to make a donation, visit the GoFundMe campaign or the community forum conversation.

Avatars who pledge $25 or more to the GoFundMe campaign will receive an exclusive, rare, cloak in-game. The cloak is  one of our community even Clasped Gauntlet cloaks custom-colored in blue, purple and silver, and carries the unique name: Iron Maiden’s Chemo Relief Fund

New Stuff: Water Decorations

As mentioned in the Release 38 instructions, we now have the ability to place decorations on the water on water player lots and water in Player Owned Towns. We have added the first set of water decorations to the game as of the last couple of patches to R38, which consists of four boats. The first can be crafted in the game and is the Plain Longboat:

The other three (Longboat, Small Longboat, and Gondola) can be found in the Add-On Store along with the newest water home, the Pristine Gothic Mansion Town Water Home:

Better Hurry! The following Add-On Store items are expiring during the Spring Telethon

Upcoming Events

Feb 7, 2017 –  Release 38 Postmortem
Feb 23, 2017 – Release 39
Feb 25, 2017 –
 Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversary Event
Feb 28, 2017 – GDC Community Management Summit: Care and Feeding of Wild Fansites
Mar 9, 2017 –  
Spring Telethon of the Avatar 2017
Mar 17, 2017 –
 SXSW Gaming: Is Video Game Early Access Too Early?
Mar 30, 2017 – Release 40
Apr 27, 2017 – Release 41
May 25, 2017 – Release 42
June 29, 2017 – Release 43

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 this month’s Release Events thread in the SotA forums for additional events.

Events of the Week

Grand Opening of Vyrin & Womby’s New Ardoris Bookstore – Feb 4th 1-3PM CT

Womby & Vyrin are pleased to announce the opening of our fourth bookstore! Please join us for an open house marking the occasion: Saturday, February 4, 1-3 PM NBT in Ardoris. This event is a casual meet-and-greet for authors, bibliophiles, and friends. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about writing and publishing. Our vendor in Ardoris will be selling new books from six different authors, our biggest release of new content to date! A full description is available here.

Festival – Grand Opening Party – Sat Feb 4th 5PM CT

The Town of Festival invites YOU to attend its Grand Opening this Saturday, February 4th, at 5pm CST! There will be: Free Hats, Fireworks, Fun in the Central Park (lots of jumping fun), Hedge Maze, Warm Cookies, Lots of Interesting People (doing very interesting things…), and More! We hope to see you there! Feel free to dress for a party, dress for fun! :). Details in the main forums. – Engineer and Tila Tenderfoot

Community Resources – Players Helping Players


The official SotA New Player Welcome Forum and the Player Created Resources Forum have 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.

Visit the official Community Resources page for a complete listing of all things community.

Recommended Projects to Back

The Bard’s Tale IV

From the creators of Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera comes The Bard’s Tale IV. Thirty years ago, The Bard’s Tale put Brian Fargo and Interplay on the map and launched a storied career crafting some of the most beloved cRPGs in gaming history.

Today, we return to Skara Brae for the long-awaited dungeon-crawling sequel to the Bard’s Tale trilogy — the games that helped define the genre. The Bards Talke IV it is a single-player, party-based cRPG with dynamic phase-based combat, challenging puzzles and riddles, and a game set to beautiful Gaelic music, where the Bard’s songs and melodies affect gameplay.

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.

A reminder to be sure that support@portalarium.com is unblocked from your e-mail account!


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