Avatar’s Update #279: New Creatures! Skeleton Plunderers and Unicorns

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

Game Development

News Announcements

Community Updates

New Creatures: Skeleton Plunderers and Unicorns

New creatures will soon be appearing in Novia, some more rare than others!

Skeleton Plunderers are Undead Plunderers who are cursed to wander the land forever seeking treasure. Kevin “UglyFist” Wells built these latest additions to our Undead army by meshing our Plunderers (who Fletcher “Scathana” Kinnear built in R53) with our Skeleton Mages, Warriors, and Archers. Skeleton Plunderers should appear in R54 in areas like Blood Bay and Penmawr Island.

Plunderer Skeleton Warriors: 

Plunderer Skeleton Mages: 

Plunderer Skeleton Archers: 

Unicorns are very rare and elusive creatures. They will not fight unless provoked but once enraged they are one of the most powerful beings in Novia. It is rumored that items fashioned from Unicorn parts are also ridiculously powerful but those same rumors warn of a price to be paid in your virtue should you dare slay one of these noble creatures. Kevin “UglyFist” Wells fashioned these beautiful beings from our horses and while he was doing so also polished our existing horses. Unicorns should begin to appear (albeit rarely) in Release 55.

White Unicorns:

Black Unicorns:

The Making of Shaminian Hills

This hilly Tier 3 scene in the Midmaer region is filled with giant outcroppings of blue crystals. It is also the site of an ancient open air cathedral and a monastery, both long abandoned but still possessed of ancient power. Ebon Dawn Cultists are rumored to be here trying to unlock the mysteries of this place and where the Ebon Dawn are the undead are often nearby as well.

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

Hey folks, I have a few screenshots to share of my unclone of the Shaminian Hills adventure area. Following a theme of spirituality, the scene features the ruins of an open air cathedral, and a monastery. After murdering the monks who cared for the ruins, Obsidian cultists are now searching for three ancient tomes, to prevent their wisdom from passing on to future generations.

The Cathedral

The Cathedral Southern Catwalk

The Monastery

The Monastery ChapelChris “Sea Wolf” Wolf
World Builder

The Making of Upper Tears

This Tier 4 canyon scene in the Verdantis region is near the Kas Ruins along the river Tears. The river was, until recently, controlled by a dam in this part of the world. Unfortunately the dam burst and the resulting flood wiped out the town. Barbarians and bandits have since moved in to try and scour the ruins for treasure.

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

Here’s some early shots of our progress on Upper Tears. Upper Tears is a Tier 4 zone in the north of Novia. The Tears is a prominent river in that region. Recently, massive floodwaters rushed down a tributary canyon and broke the damn holding the river water back above a Norgard village, and submerged most of the settlement. Waters have since receded but the destruction is almost total.

More soon! Thanks for following our progress!

Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski
World Builder

The Making of Westend (cont.)

The town of Westend is located in the Verdantis region on the western coast of Novia. The combination of Norgard architecture and wetlands creates a unique visual element to the town not seen anywhere else in Novia. Westend is the port that serves adventurers traveling to Verdantis Shardfall and while the town remains small it has grown prosperous from trade because of the resources brought back by those lucky enough to survive the Shardfall. Of course many say those resources came off the bodies of dead adventures…

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

Hey guys, SorcerousSteve here to give you the latest on Westend!

The main NPC Center at dusk. Now in its finalized state you can see the radical transformation and push towards Viking style architecture.

The Westend Docks facing North, with the Verdantis Shardfall seen off in the distance across the Norgard Channel.

An obstacle course in the Westend guard barracks fitted with climbable ropes and mud pits for training the new recruits.

A few elves make their home to the east in these slums that border the swamp.

Player residential areas featuring the Viking row homes. Serpent lamp posts line the streets and standing stones mark some of the open green areas of town.

One of the many new NPC interiors that have now received a makeover, this particular building here is now a hospital.

Be sure to explore Westend this R54!

Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar
Level Designer

R52 Livestream Obsidian Order Items

Production on the R52 Livestream Obsidian Order Items continues. This week we added the Obsidian Order Pavers.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr”]

Obsidian Order Pavers: Reid Rollo created these pavers with the Obsidian Order symbol on them. Like the Darkstarr pavers we chose to make the contrast between the symbol and the paver subtle so that when lots of pavers are placed they would not get too visually “noisy”.

Heraldry Items (cont.)

We continue to expand the number of items that you can use to show off your heraldry. This week we added a Heraldry Standing Banner.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

Heraldry Standing Banners: Inspired by our battle banners, several players suggested making free-standing banners for heraldry. Michael “Hutch” Hutchison made these amazing double sided Heraldry Standing Banners (Long & Short) that can be placed without taking valuable wall space. They will be available in the Add On Store as Eternal Patterns that can be applied on craftable in-game Standing Banners.

Meanwhile players continue to post pics of their heraldry in the thread they started a few weeks ago and the results are still wonderful!

We also started a new thread to help players with heraldry creation.

Here are some of the latest player pictures:

R53 Livestream Results, YouTube & Missed Questions

Our Monthly Livestream for Release 53 was a huge success and we achieved a bunch of our Stretch Goal Rewards! We had deep dives, world building tours, answered questions, danced, sang, and handed out tons of prizes! A heartfelt thank you from the entire Dev Team to all of you, our players, that continue to play and contribute to Shroud of the Avatar. Friday’s livestream was yet another example of your amazing support and contributions!

This livestream we decided to change the format by having the sales and stretch goals happen for the entire twelve hours. This worked really well and allowed our players easier access to the sales and gave us the developers much more time to spend on answering questions and doing our deep dives!

The total as of midnight CDT, May 4th was an amazing:

** $90,000 **

As promised, Telethon Funding Stretch Goal Rewards will be rewarded to any players that spent a minimum of $5 from 12:00 PM CDT to Midnight May 4th (Spending Store Credit to make $5 minimum purchase does not apply). These rewards should show up on your account page within the next couple of weeks and will begin showing up in the game over the next few releases starting as soon as Release 56.

  • ACHIEVED! $10K: /floatmeditate (sit crosslegged and float)
  • ACHIEVED! $25K: Blue Electric Sword
  • ACHIEVED! $35K: Cylindrical Automaton Pet
  • ACHIEVED! $50K: Electric Halberd, Electric Staff
  • ACHIEVED! $65K: Adobe Dome Deco Set (w/bonus Burned Skeletons & Blue Cylinders decos)
  • ACHIEVED! $80K: White Aeronaut Clockwork Full Face Helm, Black Aeronaut Clockwork Full Face Helm, & All Metal Crossbow
  • ACHIEVED! $90K: Double XP for 1st 2 Weeks of R54 (incl. Crafting) & Red Electric Sword
  • $100K: White Clockwork Aeronaut Armor
  • $110K: Black Clockwork Aeronaut Armor with Cloak

YouTube: We got the video of the livestream posted to youtube for those of you who missed it.


Missed Questions: We had only 8 pages of questions left unanswered after the R53 Livestream thanks to our new format! With assistance from the team we were able to get to those questions and we posted them to the forums Thursday.

[From a Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

Here are the questions that we did not have time to get to during the R53 Livestream (which is also now on youtube). I tried my best to answer these (with help from the rest of the team) but some we just don’t have details yet to provide. I probably won’t have time to do any follow ups to these. The community did a great job assisting us this telethon to make sure we didn’t miss a single question.

Please note I deleted some duplicate questions and also deleted any questions that we answered with the Q2 post or with the release of R53 or that we answered in previous livestreams. Also note that we are generally going to stop answering questions about “when?” as those are answered by our quarterly schedule posts and any other answers are going to be either “No ETA” or “soon” or “will update with the next quarterly post”.

A final thought: we see a LOT of repeat questions and requests. Please consider reading one of the other missed question posts, watching one of the previous livestreams, reading one of the transcripts, and/or reading our Post Episode 1 plan post before posting a question. Your question might have already been answered.

TeddyMIT: When are we going to reinforce the INT stats effects on magics? e.g. the higher the INT stats, the lower the preparation time for casting a magic spells.
CHRIS: Intelligence is already very powerful for spells. The base for damage is based on Int + spell skill level. In my opinion that feels plenty strong to boost all spells base on int! On the other hand, I could see Dex making spell casting slightly faster!

Majoria70: I want to make an upscale theater and concert hall. Can we get some other versions and sizes to make beautiful places to hold our concerts and plays?
CHRIS: Absolutely would love to have these. Would also be a fun place to hold a dance party with players dancing on a stage! Just need to build in a fixed DJ station!

Despothes: When will there be more tier 3 components, and are there plans to improve drop rates and/or salvage rates on existing components?
STARR: Q3 for more components. We are discussing drop and salvage rates.

Koldar: What physical goods will be physically signed?
STARR: All physical goods that were promised to be signed will be signed. Some of them will be done via a sticker that was signed and then placed on the object (example Tinker Certificate). Other items like the cloth map will be signed directly.

Mia sway: any chance of sun magic getting another attack spell?
CHRIS: Yes, long overdue! I have 2 new spells planned but not implemented for Sun and 2 new spells for Moon and 1 spell in each of those skills will be attack based.

Infineon: Can we please make something about the people that buy the game through Steam to make it a bundle so we can upgrade it?
STARR: You can upgrade your Steam purchase to any of the bundles

Drew: Why can’t we cut down ANY tree in a given instance? There needs to be more cuttable trees.
STARR: Mainly because of performance because that would mean all of those trees would have to be dynamic objects which are more expensive than static objects. However there is also economic reasons because that would exponentially increase the amount of resources in the game.

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NPC Submission Requests: Central Brittany

Earlier this week Scott “Lum” Jennings posted our latest request for NPC submissions for Central Brittany. This is for Developer+ level backers who are eligible for the “Design an NPC” reward “Help create and name a character in the game”.

For reference here is our current status on which towns we have done this work on and which towns remain to be done:


  • Aerie
  • Ardoris
  • Braemar (no backer NPCs)
  • Brittany Wharfs
  • Desolis
  • Estgard
  • Etceter
  • Graff Island
  • Jaanaford
  • Kiln
  • Kingsport (no backer NPCs)
  • Northwood
  • Owl’s Head (no backer NPCs)
  • Resolute
  • Solania (no backer NPCs)
  • Soltown (no backer NPCs)
  • Spite
  • Xenos
  • Yew

In progress:

  • Central Brittany

To be done:

  • Bramble
  • Brittany Fields
  • Broochash
  • Brookside
  • Celestis
  • Eastmarch
  • Elad’s Lighthouse
  • Fortus End
  • Goti
  • Mud
  • Noreach
  • Point West
  • Port Graff
  • Storm’s Reach
  • Westend

Humility[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Scott “Lum” Jennings]

Thank you for your continuing support of Shroud of the Avatar! This month, we’re seeking entries for what many of you have been waiting for – the very center of Novia, and home to Lady Arabella and the Oracle, the central district of the jewel of New Britannia, Brittany!

Because of Brittany’s size, this will be the only area we are adding backer NPCs to for this release. If you do NOT want your backer NPC to be in central Brittany for whatever reason, or if you absolutely have a character who should be in a given city not named Brittany, you should wait until we advertise for that city. We do plan on eventually populating every city in the game with unique NPCs!

First, some brief notes:

  • Brittany has many NPCs which are not currently unique. Thus, the NPCs are already in the game, but we can change appearance (to a degree, as seen below), gender, etc. to suit your request. If you want to pick a specific NPC (for example, one near your own house) we will do our best to accommodate you but may not be able to.
  • NPC visual customization, as you may have noticed, is still at a very early stage in development. Right now for the backers who want to be added to Brittany, we cannot offer any visual customization options beyond our standard gallery of NPC models. (Do note, however, that we frequently add to that gallery – the pool has doubled over the past 6 months, for example.) If you would like to have input over the visual customization of your NPC, you can wait for further releases when we can offer this. We will also allow a one-time visual re-customization once customization has been added if you would like to add your NPC now.
  • There are MANY NPCs within Brittany’s walls. Although we will be accepting submissions on a first come first serve basis, if you are a Developer+-tier backer (as in, you can see this post), you are welcome to submit an NPC of your own design, but people who have not yet submitted an NPC will take priority over those who have. If your NPC doesn’t appear in central Brittany, feel free to respond again in future posts. We still have quite a few towns and cities to populate!
  • When responding, please list a first and second choice for profession.
  • Due to the great number of NPCs to populate this release, the amount of custom dialog we can add will by necessity be limited. If you would like specific custom dialog added for your NPC, it would help us GREATLY if you could submit in the form of [keyword that triggers a response] [the response desired] so that we have a better idea of how you would like that NPC implemented. We reserve the right to edit or change any dialog submitted, or not use it if we feel it inappropriate for the NPC or the game in general.
  • Things that will cause Lum to send you a regretful message saying we can’t use your NPC’s background: if your NPC has a backstory that contradicts the lore of the game (“my grandfather helped Aren Bennis win the Obsidian Wars”), thinly-disguised advertisements for your player-owned town or guild, references to races or major events that do not appear in-game (“my mother was an orc”), or a name that is an obvious reference to a real person, popular fictional character, or historical figure.
  • This is currently for the central district of Brittany ONLY. We will be opening all of Brittany for NPC placement in stages. (There are MANY NPCs in Greater Brittany!)
  • As central Brittany is so large, if you would like to note which district the NPC is in, that would be a fantastic help to us! (Note that obviously if all the NPCs in that district/street are taken, we’ll let you know. Also, not all NPCs listed appear in all districts. Please ensure a given NPC is in a district chosen if you choose one to avoid your selection being turned down.) The districts of Brittany are: South (near the Alleys, near the Fields), the Docks, Northeast (near the Wharfs, near the Estates) , the Castle, and North (near the Graveyard).
  • NPCs for Brittany should be human only, please.

Still with us? Great! Here’s what we need for central Brittany:

  • 49 46 guards
  • 4 3 nobles
  • 31 30 citizens/travellers
  • 1 guild registrar
  • 2 bankers
  • 2 town criers
  • 2 public vendors
  • 2 combat trainers
  • 1 crafting trainer
  • 2 1 bakers
  • 1 butcher
  • 3 2 fishermen
  • 1 alchemist
  • 1 magic supplies salesperson
  • 1 cooking supplies salesperson
  • 6 4 farming supplies salespersons
  • 1 textiles salesperson
  • 2 weapons salespersons
  • 1 crafting supplies salesperson
  • 2 1 housing decorations salespersons
  • 2 1 housing deeds salespersons
  • 1 tavernkeeper

If you’d like to have your namesake be a resident of central Brittany, please respond via private message on this forum to me (Lum) using the following format:

  • NPC name:
  • NPC gender:
  • NPC profession (first choice):
  • NPC profession (second choice):
  • District NPC appears (optional):
  • NPC background (optional): A paragraph on whom your NPC is, how they would respond to nosy outlanders poking about their business, what brings them to Central Brittany (or keeps them there), or anything else you’d like to add. We may or may not use this background, and reserve the right to edit and/or reject any background that does not fit the lore and setting of the game.

Please specify in your submission that this NPC is for Central Brittany.

We will respond if: your NPC is used; if it is rejected for whatever reason (such as an inappropriate name); if a supplied background is inappropriate, or if your NPC missed the cutoff for this release.

Thanks for your support, and the Lady Arabella welcomes you to Brittany!

New Trailers: The Path of Virtue and The Path of Anti-Virtue

And thanks to Puppetworks for producing this amazing animation trailer!

Subscribe to youtube.com/portalarium for more trailers, gameplay videos, and livestream recordings!

Portalarium is Hiring: Web Developer

We currently have an opening for a Web Developer for Shroud of the Avatar. Qualifications for the ideal candidate are:

  • Minimum 5 years industry experience
  • *nix experience (OpenBSD or Linux)
  • CSS
  • Web development experience (PHP, web services, JavaScript)
  • Relational database architecture experience (MySql preferred)
  • Server deployment and cluster orchestration (virtual and/or dedicated machines)
  • Server load balancing, traffic prioritization, etc.
  • Extensive experience with server security
  • Strong debugging skills
  • Ability to work in unstructured, non-hierarchical environment
  • BONUS SKILLS (any one or more of these):
    • NoSQL experience
    • Strong C#/C++ skills
    • Windows programming experience
    • ASP.NET
    • Mac development
    • MMO game development experience
    • Minimum of at least 1 shipped game

If you’d like to join the Portalarium Tribe working on the ground-breaking Shroud of the Avatar game, please submit your resume to jobs@portalarium.com. Provide links to your work (if possible), including gameplay, video footage, and document forms (images, maps, and event descriptions).

Weekend Flash Sale: Fireworks

In Release 53 we added four new types of fireworks in four different color variations. To celebrate all fireworks are on sale this weekend!

Visit the Main Store to view more items! Also, you’ll want to explore the game in detail for many more craftable items available!

Upcoming Events Calendar

May 31, 2018 – Release 54
June 4, 2018 – R54 Livestream
June 28, 2018 – Release 55
July 6, 2018 – R55 Livestream: Lord British’s Birthday!
July 26, 2018 – Release 56
Aug 10 – 11, 2018 – Syndcon
Aug 21 – 25, 2018 – Gamescom
Aug 30, 2018 – Release 57
Aug 30 – Sept 3 – Dragon Con
Sept 27, 2018 – Release 58
Oct 11-13, 2018 – SOTACON Austin 2018
Oct 25, 2018 – Release 59
Nov 15, 2018 – Release 60
Dec 13, 2018 – Release 61

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.

Event (Dev Led): Charge of the Dragons

Event: Charge of the Dragons


Our fears have been confirmed!

The meteor that recently struck Quel has destroyed an undiscovered dragon lair and awakened dozens of savage creatures that have been sleeping for centuries.

Arisen from their deep sleep, enraged by the devastation of their lair, they have taken to the sky and are setting off for human cities. The Charge of the Dragons is about to begin.


The dragons will unleash their wrath upon humans during the next days. They will attack some of the cities in Novia. The Avatars must gather and defend their homeland!

After the battle, we will reward the Avatars who come up with the most fascinating Dragon-themed Screenshots and Videos.


The dragon attacks will take place on the following days:

  • Kick-Off: After the monthly Community Livestream (R53 Livestream) – Friday, May 4th 7:30 PM Central Time (00:30 GMT) (Desolis)
  • Monday, May 7th 2:00 PM Central Time (19:00 GMT) (Snell’s Bend)
  • Wednesday, May 9th 7:00PM Central Time (00:00 GMT) (Dead Horse)
  • Final attack: Saturday, May 12th 2:00PM Central Time (19:00 GMT) (Baubbleshire)


For the best Screenshots posted until Thursday, May 17th in the of the event, we will give away:

  • 5 x 19 COTOs

[Read More…]

Win a $50 Gift Card to RelicsbyRild.com!

Enter today (AND EVERY DAY!) for a chance to win a $50 gift card to @relicsbyrild to snag some sweet, sweet Shroud of the Avatar merchandise!

Relicsbyrild.com is an entirely community run website and service. See what else they offer players!

Project to Support: SOTACON Austin 2018 – VIP Experience Package on sale now!

By and for the community, tour the Portalarium Studio, learn about Richard Garriott’s games from the 1975 DND #1 through the Ultima Series to the 2018 Shroud of the Avatar, meet the Developers, witness how SotA is created, hang out with key Community Leaders, enjoy an exclusive reception in your honor, enjoy dinner as members of the King’s Court at the King’s Dinner, attend a Shakespearean play by the Baron’s Men in the Garriott Box, and ultimately have an experience that you may consider as “once-in-a-lifetime”!

Only 20 VIP tickets are available and they’re half gone already. Don’t delay and get yours today. Visit https://sotaconaustin.org/ to support the event!

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.