Update of the Avatar #217 – 2017.03.03: The Obsidian Cabalists, Free Trial Test, Spring Telethon Next Week, King Korabar, Underground Vaults, Patterns Weekend Flash Sale, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

The Obsidian Cabalists (SPOILERS)

The Obsidian Cabalists are ancient sorcerers of the Obsidian Order who have prolonged their lives through twisted use of magic. These horrible entities worship the eight anti-virtues and seek to fulfill the Dire Prophecies by laying siege to the towns of Novia. Starting with Release 40 they will be found in Town Sieges wielding unique vile artifacts that players who are able to defeat them may be able to loot. Those artifacts include unique hoods and weapons for each cabalist as well as the robes. Below is the list of the Cabalists and their (current) powers. Please note that these powers may change during implementation.

  • Dolus: The Cabalist of Deceit who causes confusion in the ranks, whose symbol is the Two Faces of Deceit.
  • Temna: The Cabalist of Despite who turns allies against each other, whose symbol is the Torn Heart.
  • Nefario: The Cabalist of Dastard (Cowardice) who strikes terror into those who dare oppose him, whose symbol is the Raised Arms of Capitulation.
  • Nefas: The Cabalist of Injustice who causes enemies to beg for mercy, whose symbol is Imbalance.
  • Avara: The Cabalist of Punishment who inflicts huge amounts of damage that lingers for long amounts of time, whose symbol is the Flail.
  • Indigno: The Cabalist of Dishonor who generates large clouds of poisonous gas, whose symbol is the Poisoned Chalice.
  • Corpus: The Cabalist of Carnality who forces opponents to “disrobe”, therefore losing all their defensive protection, whose symbol is Intercourse.
  • Fastus: The Cabalist of Vanity who mesmerizes opponents, whose symbol is the Vortex of Self Absorption.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Kevin “UglyFist” Wells]

Hey all. I just finished working on our Obsidian Cabalists. They were so fun to make. There are eight of these dark enemies: Dolus, Temna, Nefario, Nefas, Avara, Indigno, Corpus, and Fastus. You can tell them apart by their masks which reflect their anti-virtues. They are also intimidating – I was tasked with making them stand as tall as our liches float, so they’re very big and looming.

I also broke up the Cabalist’s mask and hooded robe into wearable parts for players. When integrated, you’ll be able to take the hood and mask for a head wearable – as well as the dark ragged robe for a full-body wearable. I hope you guys like them.

This a turn-around of the art – the mask here is of Dolus:

Here are all eight:

Player-wearable hood with the mask of Nefas:

Here’s the Sketchfab of the Player Wearable

Free Trial Test: March 3 – 9

We are excited to announce a test of our Free Trial system starting today, March 3, and running through the Spring Telethon next week on March 9. If you know anyone who would like to try the game for free, then send them to the download page.

Free Trial access allows you to play the entire game in any of the Online modes with a few key differences in game play.

  • Free Trial Current Time Period: March 3 – March 9, 2017
  • The term (Visitor) is appended to their character name
  • Cannot give items to other players via Trade
  • Cannot purchase nor sell items via Player Vendors nor Public Vendors
  • No ownership of property nor use of lot signs
  • Cannot interact with public chests.
  • Cannot move/interact with items on a plot even if they are given permissions.
  • Cannot flag as Open PVP
  • Cannot gain nor do they create any ransom items when they kill or are killed in PVP (in Open PVP zones)
  • Character data may be deleted after Free Trial period is over if character is not upgraded to a paid account
  • Items purchased in the Add On Store cannot be accessed after the Free Trial Period is over unless you purchase Game Access
  • Cannot play in Offline Mode

Storing and/or Moving a Decorated Lot or Basement via the Property Manager (aka Magic Movers)

As mentioned in the Release 39 Instructions we added a really powerful new feature to Player Housing where:

“Players can now save a fully decorated lot or basement and reload it later onto that same lot or onto a different lot in that same scene (as long as that lot is the same size). Players will start with 5 slots and, in future releases, will be able to purchase more for Gold Crowns. In a future release, we will expand this feature to allow movement of a fully decorated lot/basement between separate scenes for an, as yet, undetermined cost.”

We added detailed instructions for how to use this new feature in the Player Instructions document as well and those are reprinted in full here in this post.

Storing and/or Moving a Decorated Lot or Basement

You can use the Property Manager window to store a fully-decorated lot or basement and unpack it to either that same lot or another empty lot of the same size that you have claimed in that same scene.

You can access the Property Manager window from the Stained Glass menu icon, the Lot Deeds options menu, or from any lot sign in any scene. The left side of the window shows your available slots and their current storage status. Each player has 5 storage slots. The right side of the Property Manager window shows all of your claimed lots. Each lot includes the name of the deed used to claim the lot, the location of the lot, and the size of the lot. Each lot also has two slots: one for the primary contents of your lot (including the house), and one for the basement and its contents.

Hovering over a slot will display a tooltip that includes an item count. If the number of items placed on a lot changes, click the “Refresh” option in the top-right of the Property Manager window to ensure the item count is up-to-date.

Packing the Contents of a Lot or Basement into Storage: To store the contents of a lot or basement, drag a the contents from one of the slots into any “(Empty Storage)” slot in the left side of the Property Manager window.

The storage is immediate and includes all decorations within that slot.

If you drag a storage icon to an occupied slot, you will simultaneously move your new lot into storage and unpack everything from the slot to your lot. You can also swap live and stored basements in the same way.

Unpacking a Stored Lot or Basement: To unpack a stored lot or basement, drag the stored item from a storage slot in the left side of the Property Manager window into an empty slot in the right side of the window.

A stored lot can only be unpacked on a lot that is in the same town in which the lot was originally stored. Also, the stored lot must be of the same size as the lot that it is being unpacked onto.

A stored basement can only be unpacked on a lot that is in the same town in which the basement was originally stored. Also, the stored basement cannot be larger than the lot that it is being unpacked onto.

Once unpacked, the contents of the unpacked lot or basement will become immediately available. Also, any decorations that were packed up with that lot or basement when it was stored will reappear in their original locations at the time that they were stored.

Note that you can only unpack one lot or basement every five minutes. An unpacking cooldown timer will appear at the top of your Property Manager window when you unpack a stored lot or basement.

Renaming a Lot or Basement within the Property Manager: Each lot and basement listed in your Property Manager window will have a default name, but you can rename them at any time. To rename a lot or basement, right-click on it’s icon in the Property Manager window, fill in the new name, and click “Submit.” You can also use the “Set to Default” option to rename the lot or basement to its default name.  You can also rename stored lots and basements.

Sending Stored Lots and Basements to Your Bank: You have the option to send all of the contents of a storage slot to your bank. To do so, right-click on a storage slot and select the “Send to Bank” option.

Unclaiming a Lot: Unclaiming a lot does not move a lot or basement into a Property Manager storage slot. Rather, unclaiming a lot moves all associated items into your bank.

Storage Slots are Tied to Your Account: It’s important to note that Property Manager storage slots are connected to your game account and not to a specific character. This means that, for example, if you store a lot, delete your character, and create a new character, that new character will have immediate access to the lot that was placed into storage.

King Korabar

In Release 39, we began work on what we are calling our City Kobolds. These are the Kobolds that live in Skrekk and other places like K’rul. They are much more advanced than anyone else in Novia and the source of almost all of the technology that you see in the game, including clockwork creatures and aether vibration amplifiers. City Kobolds use advanced armor and weaponry including chainswords, electric axes, gas guns, electric blunderbusses, grenades, etc.

In some cases, City Kobolds are friendly to players (depending on story elements) and there are rumors of City Kobold Merchants who sell rare Kobold technology to players. The other Kobolds players have interacted with until now have been what we call Village Kobolds, and will remain what players encounter in outdoor zones and small Kobold habitations. In Release 39, we added our first round of City Kobolds to K’rul and K’rawl. In Release 40 we will be updating Skrekk with City Kobolds, including a new unique visual for their ruler, King Korabar, which you can see below for the first time.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Fletcher “SkullMuncher34” Kinnear]

We now have King Korabar!


The Making of Underground Vaults (SPOILERS)

There are six ruined cities found in Novia that date back to the period in Novian history in which the Obsidian Order rose to power. (These were first 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. These ruins include Opalis, Libris, Rhun, Midris, Kas, and Dysborg. Deep beneath these ruins lie Underground Vaults that rumors hint are somehow linked to the Dire Prophecies. Rumor also has it that the vaults are not only connected to the ruins above but also the vast underground network of dungeons and sewers that crisscrosses Novia below. Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar is building these rooms now and some of them may go live in Release 40.

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

Hey guys! SorcerousSteve here to give you an update on some of my latest work! Early this release I got tasked with building 6 underground rooms that are set to be located under each of the ancient ruins.
What secrets will these underground rooms hold? What will the avatar come to learn? Find out in a future release!

Midras Vault: Sunlight can be seen seeping in to the lush and overgrown Midras Vault.

Kas Vault: Inspiration for this vault crypt came from the Terracotta Army in China.

Dysborg Vault: Some vaults are flooded, like this one located in Dysborg along the Naryad Channel.

Opalis Vault: As Opalis was once ruled by the Titans, this Vault exudes a great level of wealth.

Rhun Vault

Libris Vault: This vault is a lot more cavernous filled with stalactites and stalagmites!

In addition to being six underground rooms to be located under the six ruined cities all these areas will have connections to the Underground system.

Below is one of my favorite shots from working on these vaults, thought i’d include it as a bonus pic. :)

See you next time!

Esteben Zaldivar
Level Designer

The Making of Serpent’s Spine Mines

The Serpent’s Spine Mines are located in the northern end of the Serpent’s Spine mountain range in the North Paladis region of Novia. Kobolds have ranged farther west than normal to exploit the rich ore veins and crystal deposits in this vast mine. This will be one of our most vertically oriented mines to date with a large central chamber featuring deep vertical shafts, elevators, and mine carts.

This scene started as a clone of Graff Gem Mines but is being completely rebuilt for a live date hopefully in Release 41.

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

I have a few updated screenshots of Serpent’s Spine Mines this week! Enjoy!

For the cavern, I made the scene darker overall to fix some shadow distance issues, I increase the number of crystals while also making them a little smaller, and I added more vines.

The chasm is a central hub of many underground scenes.

The Kobold barracks is home to the miners and soldiers who work here.

Chris Wolf
Level Designer

The Making of The Fall

No one is quite sure who built this mysterious dungeon beneath Blood Bay, but it is filled with an incredible array of dangers, and rewards. The Fall gets its name from the giant vertical open space that defines the middle of dungeon with crisscrossing bridges and elevators. This dungeon is an Open PVP area, so enter at your own risk! We hope to have this live in Release 40 or 41.

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

Fighting (PvP) is allowed, but not encouraged at the Rock Bottom Lounge, located within The Fall.

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

An update:

Thanks for following the updates!

Spring Telethon Next Week!

Reminder that our Spring Telethon is next week! We will be streaming for 12 hours with deep dives into game systems and answering your questions. We will be giving out tons of prizes, there will be lots of flash sales, and items will be expiring! Additionally anyone spending at least $5 during the telethon will receive the Spring themed stretch goals:

  • $10,000: /flowerleap emote (leap into the air and throw flowers)
  • $25,000: Butterfly Mask
  • $35,000: Stained Glass Hand Lantern
  • $50,000: Floral Pattern Stained Glass Oil Table Lamp (3 Pack)
  • $65,000: White Flowered Topiary Creature Statues (3 Pack of Dragon, Bear, Satyr)
  • $80,000: Leaf Shield and Leaf Spear
  • $100,000: Large Spring Themed Fountain with Floating Candles
  • $130,000: Shield of Thorns and Thorn Sword
  • and more to be revealed if we hit these goals…

Schedule: This week we updated the post with the schedule for the Telethon.

  • 12:00 PM: Welcome to the Spring Telethon of the Avatar 2017!
  • 12:30 PM: R39 Postmortem (Chris, Richard, Starr)
  • 2:00 PM: Player Housing & Player Owned Towns Deep Dive (Starr, Hutch, Bob Cooksey)
  • 3:00 PM: World Building Tours (Esteben, C-Wolf, Keith, Dan)
  • 4:30 PM: Story Deep Dive (Lum, Richard)
  • 5:30 PM: ONBE Awards
  • 6:00 PM: Community Hour
  • 7:00 PM: Crafting & Economy Deep Dive (Chris, Starr, B, Richard)
  • 8:00 PM: Boss Fight (Chris, Richard, Starr)
  • 8:30 PM: Combat & PVP Deep Dive (Chris, Starr, B, Richard)
  • 10:00 PM: Symbols: The Making of the Devotionals and Anti-Virtue Symbols (Scottie, Richard)
  • 11:00 PM: Q&A / Wrap-up (Chris, Starr, Richard)

Expirations: We decided to extend the expiration deadlines of the 2017 Valentines content and the Fireworks Mystery Box to coincide with the Telethon.

Patterns Weekend Flash Sale

In celebration of the new Patterns and Reshaping system coming online in Release 39, we are having a 20% off weekend flash sale on all Pattern Packs and all items that currently have Eternal Patterns, representing over 35 items!

Here is a complete list of all the Pattern Packs and Gear with Eternal Patterns you will find on sale this weekend:

    • Ornate Flamberge
    • Ornate Flamberge Pattern Pack
    • Ardoris Guard Armor
    • Ardoris Guard Armor Pattern Pack
    • Ardoris Shogun Armor
    • Ardoris Shogun Armor Pattern Pack
    • Ardoris Priestess Robe
    • Ardoris Priestess Robe Pattern Pack
    • Viking Wearable Bundle
    • Viking Helm Pattern Pack
    • Elven Elder Fighter Armor
    • Elven Elder Fighter Armor Pattern Pack
    • Elven Elder Mage Robe
    • Elven Elder Mage Robe Pattern Pack
    • Elven Elder Archer Armor
    • Elven Elder Archer Armor Pattern Pack
    • Wealthy Medieval Merchant Outfit
    • Wealthy Medieval Merchant Outfit Pattern Pack
    • Steel Clockwork Armor
    • Steel Clockwork Armor Pattern Pack
    • Black Clockwork Armor
    • Black Clockwork Armor Pattern Pack
    • Silver Clockwork Armor
    • Silver Clockwork Armor Pattern Pack
    • Darkstarr Shield
    • Darkstarr Shield Pattern Pack
    • Lord British Shield
    • Lord British Shield Pattern Pack
    • Ornate Dagger
    • Ornate Dagger Pattern Pack
    • Ornate Basket Hilt Broadsword
    • Ornate Basket Hilt Broadsword Pattern Pack
    • Ornate Satyr Bardiche
    • Ornate Satyr Bardiche Pattern Pack
    • Ornate Elven Mage Staff
    • Ornate Elven Mage Staff Pattern Pack

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.

R39 Offline Data Format Change – Character Preservation Notice

Greetings Avatars,

Just like in Release 38 during Release 39, 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:

  • Patch your game client to Release 39.
  • 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 39, your saved games (from releases prior to R39) may not load in releases after Release 39. In other words we cannot guarantee the ability to load pre-R39 saves after R39.

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 39 starts on February 23 and runs through March 29.

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


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

Spring 2017 Crafter’s Competition

Fire up those kilns and ready your hammers! The Spring 2017 Crafter’s Competition has begun! This first event will be a Gear Design Contest with other events, possibly quarterly, kicking off throughout the year.

In the last contest segment we had you capture a fight with a boss monster in the game. To survive such an intensive fight, a great deal of armor and powerful weaponry must be wielded! In this follow-up contest, we want you to design the most powerful weapons and armor you can muster.

As we receive submissions, they will be announced on Twitter and Facebook with eventually a gallery of all submissions on Facebook. If we get enough of them, we may make this a regular quarterly crafting event!

[Read More…]

Upcoming Events

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.

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

Underworld: Ascendant

Far more than a dungeon crawl, Underworld Ascendant is a next-generation sequel to the legendary fantasy RPG’s Ultima Underworld & Ultima Underworld 2. It not only modernizes the series’ visuals and user interface to take full advantage of the today’s powerful PC’s, it innovates in bold new ways.

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!


  1. 2112Starman2112Starman

    Look at all that good stuff! Its an exciting day (dev cycle) where real content (and tons of it) is being added to the game!

  2. !(Blood0men)!!(Blood0men)!

    I just LUV the Cabalist robes, Got a question about them tho
    The robes, are they going to be crafted, Dropped items or added to the Add-on store?

    Thx for the update BTW

    1. DarkStarrDarkStarr Post author

      Thank you for the kind words! As stated above: “Starting with Release 40 they will be found in Town Sieges wielding unique vile artifacts that players who are able to defeat them may be able to loot. Those artifacts include unique hoods and weapons for each cabalist as well as the robes.”

  3. GrimaceGrimace

    Kevin “UglyFist” Wells and @Darkstarr, the Cabalist wearables look great!

    Will they be dye-able?

    I would love a bright white version and a 50% black (read: grey) version as well.

  4. Paulie WalnutsPaulie Walnuts

    Levels look fantastic and so glad to see the sieges are now more than just an annoyance. Brilliant idea. Now I’m looking forward to getting stuck in them on the way to town!

  5. Lord BlackthorneLord Blackthorne

    I’m so excited to see all these awesome custom figures, locations, and characters.
    When I see this, my hope in the game is reignited!! :D

Comments are closed.