The Ultima Codex The Ultima Fan Network Sat, 02 Jul 2016 00:44:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Ultima Codex 32 32 Shroud of the Avatar – Cult of Spears Lore – Chapter 3: The Lord of Golems Sat, 02 Jul 2016 00:44:43 +0000 Good Evening Friends! Tonight we have chapter three of the Cult of Spears lore. Arrun takes a break from Dippy and informs us of one of the events going on before the arrival of Dippy arriving outside the village of Evergrove.  We meet yet another important individual as well as begin learning details about the land of Nimbus as well as the first name of one of the Divius.  I hope you enjoy this next chapter as we discover more about this new world that Novia is but one land of, as well as some of the events that lead up to the return of the Avatars whom we play in Shroud of the Avatar.

Chapter 3: The Lord of Golems

The first time I heard about the land of Nimbus, was when I listened to my friend, Andres, describe how he came to know The Mistress.  His knowledge of magic and history helped not only myself, but Dippy continue to grow into the man who would strive to change the world for better.  Learning from those who came before us as well as understanding of the context of history and the decisions made not just years ago but centuries ago can help you make better decisions in your present and future.  When Dippy and I made our way to Nimbus, the foreknowledge we had gained was invaluable.  In fact, it saved our lives.


*crash*, a long haired, unkempt man smashed his fists through a table in frustration. “Sigh, why won’t it work?”     This dark stone basement was quite large, and while dimly lit, could be easily seen to contain tables of vials, crystals, and reagents. A small oil lantern in the corner flickers and the man looks up. “Another storm coming eh.”  He wanders up the long winding staircase into a gorgeously decorated manor.  The marble statues, the silver, and stained glass showed a wealth that truly out shown everyone else in the small village just down the mountain.  As he closed the shutters on each window, he sighed and looked down at the village.  Over a decade ago, a plague hit the region. No name was ever given to it, for no cure could be found. It was known for slowly killed its victims in quite the horrific ways.  Once infected, a person’s skin starts to get hard and turn black.  As it spreads, the pain increases as more of the body literally dies and turns to dust while the host is still alive. In time, those infected are not only are screaming for death, but their own internal organs fail because they also are turning to dust.


The next morning as he walked through the village, a young man walked up to him with a big smile.  “Well Good Morning, Master Andres. Wonderful to see you today.” “Doran, I said you no longer need to call me Master.  You are a master in your own right now. You travel so much and do so much good, you have made me very proud to have trained you.  At least give me this.”  The two men chuckled and embraced.  “Come, have breakfast with me,” exclaimed Doran, “We have much to discuss.”  Andres felt a ping of joy seeing his former pupil.  It had been years since he had any sort of joyful interaction with another person.  The gloom had broken the spirits of everyone. After the death of his wife, Dimiea, he had put all his efforts into his research to find a way to help the village, but to no avail. This brief respite from reality warmed his heart for the first time in far too long.


As the two talked, Andres learned about all the places Doran had traveled to in the past year.  He was fascinated to hear about all the political changes in the region that never affected or even reached as  news in the village.  Not only were they now part of a whole new kingdom, but the plague had wiped out most of the royal family that used to rule the area.  “As I traveled, I was given this,” Doran pulled out some old parchments, “I have no clue what exactly they mean, but they mention one of the Divius specifically, Raros.  It also shows these crystals, similar to the ones you showed me from Nimbus, that you received when you were young.”  Andres peered at each quickly and instantly recognized most of the symbols.  These were plans that could save each of the villagers who were plague infected. Andres promised to take some time and study them and get back to Doran.  The instant he got home, Andres proceeded to his underground study.  He reached for his waterproof strongbox he had hidden in the small underground spring of water he used.  As he opened it up, fond memories of his years on Nimbus came back to him.  He had me this wife there, and gotten married in one of the gardens of the capital city. He spent days in the libraries reading and learning all he could.  As he regained his focus he grabbed the few items he was able to smuggle back home, a large supply of pink crystals as well as a book, candles, a small pouch, and some parchments.


The days passed as he fought with his own conscience as to what to do, and a week later, he awoke and went straight to his study. He knew what must be done, and nothing would stop him from saving the people he loved, the ones who were there for him after he lost the one thing that was important to him. For days he worked diligently… On the floor of his workshop, shapes were formed with a mixture of ground pink crystal, chalk, and a silver metallic dust mixed into it.  Along with one pink crystal, other reagents and candles were on smaller pedestals in very specific locations within or on the main shape. In the center was formed a human shaped figure out of clay and stone.  That night, under the cover of darkness, he drugged and brought one of the infected villagers to his study. He chained her to the wall and added some black dust from a pouch to the pedestal with the pink crystal.  Adding a metal shield to this one pedestal, he adjusted it until he was certain it was perfect.  Andres sat down on his stool and sighed.  “I never thought I would have to use these crystals again. Forgive me, Dimiea…”  As Andres mumbled as his hands covered the crystal and black dust from a pouch, a flame broke out… as his hands parted a blinding light was focused on the old woman he had chained up.

The pink silver mixture burst into flames and as the reagents burned in the fire, the dirt/stone form glowed.  Andres grinned, “so far so good…” He held onto two sheets of the parchment from Doran and one from his own safe box. He sat cross-legged on the floor, his bones creaking as he attempted to bend his knees into a position he had not done in so long.  As he read the words, the flames danced, the light moved from the old woman onto the form. Eyes and a mouth formed. Then fingers and toes too.  Andres’ heart leaped for a second and he quickly refocused his energies on the task at hand.   As the fire and light diminished , he noticed the crystal was still intact. Seeing that, he grinned as he turned to face the now much more refined human form of clay and stone.  The chest was moving but no air moving, a reflex?  He turned to check the body of the old woman only to discover what he already knew to be true… nothing remained but bones.  A clear feminine voice came from behind him… “Andres?” He turned. “What am I doing here?”  “I was trying to help.”  As the old woman came to realize what had happened, her anger grew more and more and she attempted to take it out on Andres.  As her fist closed in, his hand raised with the pink crystal. She froze, as if she no longer had control over her own actions.  Andres teared up and look at this ugly beautiful new body he had given to one of his friends.  All he could say was, “I’m sorry… I didn’t know what else to do. Everyone has been dying.”  “I know.” was all she could say.

In only two more days, Andres had perfected the ability to manipulate souls, not only into other bodies, but the memories and will of the souls as well.  The effort of saving all these lives, was taking its toll on him.  His aging body had a difficult time with even one ritual, let alone multiple each day.  To make things worse, even Andres had finally contracted the plague he was working so hard to eradicate.  Each golem was formed uniquely, not only out of clay and stone, but sometimes using iron or the cloudy white crystals from the underground cave his study lay in, underneath the manor.  Soon everyone he cared for, every soul in this small village at the foothills of the mountains had become a golem.  Some while grateful, resented his actions. They were soon given, as Andres put it, “an adjustment…” telling them that he needed to make sure the plague was fully removed from them and that they were safe. The new community of just over two dozen souls, in the dimly lit cave system in the mountains, was grateful to Andres… whether by their own will or his…

After a long night of sleep, Andres woke up to find himself chained up to the wall in his own study. A shadow moved in the corner of his eye.  He looked quickly, only to be slapped in the face.  “I see you are awake, my friend.”  In front of him was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.  Eyes as black as onyx…  Skin blueish grey…  Wearing a necklace of the most beautiful shape made out of pink crystals.  “Do I have your attention?”  He could only nod.  “I want to thank you, I had heard of the power of the crystals of Nimbus, as well as how to grow them. But I had never seen such mastery of them.” She ran her hands over the necklace. “You are truly a man of unique skill. I knew my faith in you was well place.”

Andres now knew that Dorin was manipulated.  “What do you want? The way to Nimbus?”  Andres was slapped again, only this time by a young woman, very much Novian as he could tell from her features.  “Show some respect to Mistress!” she exclaimed…  “Behave please sister; he is after all, only a man. He is just scared.  Go get your sisters from the balloon.” She turned to Andres, “I already know of the fire needed with a balloon to go to Nimbus. In fact, I am here to offer you and your “family” a new place to live. After all, will you all be truly safe here once the royal family discovers what has happened?”  Andres looked frightened. There had already been too much loss, and the new Queen was not known for her compassion.  Knowing what he was thinking, Mistress simply grinned as two maidens clothed in crème robes placed down a statue made of gold… “Meet your new body, I hope you like it…”

“What will you have me do?”

“Simple, my talented friend,” she ran her soft fingers over his cheek, “I just want you to help me save the world, by turning his power against him, just as you have started here…”

She placed a pink crystal in his hands; he looked at the pedestals and saw them prepared.

“As you wish, Mistress…”

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Shroud of the Avatar – Release 31 Instructions Thu, 30 Jun 2016 12:03:16 +0000 Good Morning Friends and Avatars! Today we have Release 31 of Shroud of the Avatar becoming available to backers. Below is the post from Starr Long about it.

[A SotA Public Forum post by Starr Long]



Please read this entire message, as well as the linked instructions and known issues.

Thank you for being a loyal backer and follower of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 31 access for all backers at First Responder level and above begins this Thursday, June 30, at 10:30 AM US Central Daylight Time (15:30 UTC).

We are only one release away from Final Wipe and Lot Selection and we are focusing on the final tactical changes in order to prepare for that momentous event. Those tactical changes in Release 31 include an intense focus on the New User Experience, character customization inside the game, additional neighborhoods for Greater Brittany, and continued expansions to the crafting system.


The Novian Aeronautics Manufactory in Brittany Alleys

New User Experience:

For Release 31, we have begun focusing our efforts on improving the new user experience starting with Solace Bridge (which has been completely reworked) and Soltown (which we’ve begun reworking). This reworking includes a new onscreen hint system, new NPC behaviors, and a better flow through the scenes.

We selected Solace Bridge and Soltown as part of the polish pass on the the Love path of the story. This means that, for now, we will be putting any further work on the Courage and Truth paths on hold until we feel that the Love path truly represents our goals for Shroud of the Avatar’s story.


Crafting continues to expand with Masterworking gaining more specialized modifiers per type of gear. This means that higher level Smiths, Tailors, and Carpenters can get really specific on each piece of equipment by adding very specific exact benefits. Alchemists also unlock specific enchantments when they socket gems into weapons and chest armor. These changes are getting us closer to our goal of what we envisage as “Bespoke Crafters” who create very custom gear for the most demanding customers. We also worked on the other side of the life cycle of gear and improved Salvage so that, at high levels, it now has the chance to return components.


With Release 31, housing number requirements are basically achieved for Episode 1 (minus Brittany Estates). The additions of Brittany Alleys, Brittany Wharfs, and 19 new PRTs represent thousands of new lots. Additionally, we finally have Keep and Castle island lots working for the Dukes and Lords of the Manors bringing us in line with the numbers for those pledges (see below for locations). We also greatly improved the granularity of the Housing Permissions system.


We have been working non-stop with Unity for six weeks now on the Unity engine stability issues. We have made some progress on the crashes that happen in scenes (aka the “zombie crashes”). Unfortunately, we are still seeing the crashes that happen during scene transitions and the fix for the in “zombie” crash represents a reduction in visual quality of our water system.

Yet again, I want to express a huge amount of gratitude to our Dev+ backers who tested all of the items below on the QA server and uncovered lots of bugs. They also provided editorial feedback on this post. So, they are a big reason that this post actually matches what is in the game, and that it is easy to read.

While we are getting closer to launch, we are still in a constant state of change, and we do not yet have in-game systems to inform players of these changes, or to share ways to help them to explore new content and systems. This means we rely entirely on this message, and the linked instructions and known issues to convey the current game state. We regularly have to answer questions or filter bug reports because some players elect not to read this valuable information.

By taking a few moments to read through this information, a great deal of our time and efforts can be redirected to focus on new “unanswered” questions, and addressing critical issues impacting each release. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to review this post, and for all the truly valuable feedback you continue to provide.

Also, remember that while we are providing new content with each release, our community is working overtime to make new events for you to enjoy. So, be sure to check out a couple of the Community Events Calendars run by our community members (via in-game book or the player run websites Avatars Circle Community Events and Events of the Avatars calendar). You can also get the latest official events on the Main Website.

Without further ado, here is a list of what you can expect to see in Release 31.


  • Plain Text: The original plan for the Release deliverables. We intentionally preserve the original text so that our backers can compare plan versus actuals.
  • Italics: Extra notes and new deliverables.
  • Strikethrough: These are items that did not make the release.

RELEASE 31, June 30, 2016

  • Story: The dungeon of Artifice on the island of Elysium will welcome pilgrims for the first time, and the Courage storyline will be playable from beginning to end for the first time.
    • Artifice & Courage Path Delayed: We decided to focus our efforts entirely on the New User Experience and polishing the Love Path versus trying to add another storyline.
    • Brittany Wharfs: This sprawling neighborhood of Brittany is the center of commerce for Greater Brittany and is composed of mostly town-sized lots.BrittanyWharf6
    • Brittany Alleys: This suburb of Brittany houses the bulk of the population of Greater Brittany and is composed of mostly row-sized lots. It is also the center of industry for Greater Brittany and where Novian Aeronautics has their factory.brittanyalleys11
    • Kiln Cistern: This new underground area beneath the town of Kiln is filled with puzzles, danger, and plenty of water. It also bridges a significant gap in the Underground Network, connecting to Blackblade Pass to Etceter Crag Mines via Quel Passage, and Spectral Mines via the new Midmaer Passage.
    • Midmaer Passage: Midmaer Passage allows underground travel between Kiln Cistern and Spectral Mines. Defeat the Raging Water Elemental in Kiln Cistern or the Ghastly Deadeye in Spectral Mines to get their key and unlock this passage.
    • Brittany Sewers (Phase 1): Begin exploring the treacherous underside of Brittany in this new underground area. Currently accessible from central Brittany and Brittany Alleys, additional entry points will be added to this scene in a future release.
    • Iolo Stories: Players can now find 10 chapters of The Sorcerer’s Daughter by David Watson (our very own Iolo the crossbow maker) at various locations in the game. Note this replaced the last few books we had in the game that had “Lorem Ipsum” text in them.
    • Polish:
      • Novia Cleanup Phase 2: We did more cleanup, polish, and bug fixing on the Novia overworld, including tightening up collision and reintroducing some of the propping that we had to eliminate during the rework.
      • Underground Network: The way in which the Perennial Coast’s underground scenes connect with each other has been updated — Spectral Mines, Soltown Catacombs, and Ardoris Sewers now connect directly with Solania Catacombs, but not with each other.
      • Soltown Catacombs: This beloved underground area received a major overhaul of its Soltown entrance, a simplification of its many tunnels, and general cleanup and polish throughout.
      • Soltown: Soltown is being reworked over the next couple of releases to make it more useful to new players, more immersive, and to feel more alive. By R32, we plan to have most towns along the path of Love feel much more polished and feel like what players expect from a Lord British game. For R31, several (4) new quests have been added to test your virtue. So, be sure to chat with the people you meet, even if you’ve already chatted with them before. You might be surprised by what they have to say. Also, all inhabitants of Soltown are now on schedules, new inhabitants have been added, and some old inhabitants may behave differently or have a different tale to tell.
      • Under Construction Signs: Scenes that we plan to go back to later for major updates (primarily scenes that were cloned from other scenes which need to be made unique) now have notifications to let players know of that temporary state. This notification includes a message on screen that says “Attention: This area is in early development and is temporarily based on another scene.” Also, actual barricades are at the entrances of these scene which players have to walk around before entering.
  • New User Experience Polish: Final polish passes will be done on the Tutorials, hints, and starting scenes.
    • Solace Bridge: We have completely redone the Solace Bridge sequence of the Path of Love tutorial as described by Scott “Lum” Jennings in this forum post.Charlotte
      • We have removed the pop up windows with tutorial text in this scene. They can still be found in other scenes but we are evaluating completely replacing them everywhere with the new context-sensitive hints that appear now in Solace Bridge. These hints contain one or two lines of text and are onscreen for a few moments versus the windows which were walls of text (note that these new hints cannot be dismissed).
      • Other changes include the removal of the target dummy, meaning you’ll have to practice your combat skills on, you know, things that try to kill you.
      • Edvard will now fight alongside you (well, ahead of you – he tanks so you can practice your ranged skills). He also gives you 250 arrows to start out with, so no more scavenging around for enough arrows to just finish the scene.
      • There is now a weapon rack in the scene so you can select whatever starting weapon you ‘d like (sword, polearm, mace, and shield). However, you will not start with any skills for them and will need to seek out a trainer in Soltown.
      • To make the scene in general more interesting, we’ve introduced a brief quest starting with Charlotte Gray, a young child left behind in the battle whom the Avatar can rescue from certain death. However, saving her will be tough, and if you fail to do so, there will be consequences.
    • Isle of Storms: Butterflies and Watchers were added along with the Magic Mirror (see “New You” section below) and an Oracle Confirmatory. In R32, the Oracle will be asking the Virtue questions instead of Arabella. We also changed the Virtue questions to remove words that sounded too much like classic character classes since those do not apply to our game. (For example, “fighter” replaced with “student of the sword.”)
    • All players begin in Solace Bridge: For R31, we are starting all players in Solace Bridge regardless of what choices they make in Isle of Storms. We will open up the other tutorial scenes to new characters as they are re-done. They can still be entered in their current form, but new characters will not be directed to them.
  • New Female Avatar: A complete overhaul of the female avatar, including a completely new sculpt and skin texture.
    • New Female in R30: This was actually delivered in Release 30.
  • Service Hardening: We will begin a series of passes through the client, authentication, and server to harden the service for security and customer service. Special attention will be paid to the Patcher.
    • Service Hardening: Various changes were made behind the scenes.
  • Single-Player Offline Combat Balance: A pass will be made through the game to adjust combat balance for play in offline mode with companions.
    • Single-Player Offline Combat Balance Delayed: We have delayed this work in order to work on expanding Crafting functionality (see below)
  • Player Towns: Player-Owned Towns (POTs) that have locked submission forms will appear in the game, and more Player-Run Town (PRTs) scenes with small NPC cores with basic functions (banks, shops, trainers) will appear across Novia. New variations on the town templates may also appear.
    • New Grassland PRTs in Novia:
      • Magna Planitia (inland grassland in Quel, northwest of Brightbone Pass)
      • Anseldale (inland grassland in Midmaer, southeast of Kiln)
      • Etan Glen (inland grassland in Midmaer, east of Nightshade Pass)
      • Blumdel (inland grassland in Grunvald, west of Desolis)
      • Grimmdalur (inland grassland in Verdantis, east of Dysborg Ruins)
      • Horngap (inland grassland in Longfall, southeast of Blood River)
    • New Swamp PRTs in Novia: This PRT template is based on the Swamp 01 POT template.
      • Grumridge (coastal swamp in southeast Longfall)
      • Smaragar (coastal swamp in northeast Nordgard)
    • New Island PRTs in Novia: This PRT template is based on the Island 01 POT template.
      • Nesoskia (island off the northern coast of Elysium in the Bay of Storms)
      • Pericaliya (island off the southwestern Coast of Longfall, near Aerie)
      • Parrot’s Roost (island north of Quel in the Bay of Storms)
      • Platinum Keys (island off the western coast of Verdantis)
      • Exile Island (island west of Drachvald in Spindrift Bay)
    • New PRTs in Hidden Vale:
      • Port Titan (coastal forest, southwest of Westhollow)
      • Forewind (coastal forest, southeast of Kingsport)
      • Littlecreek (inland forest, southwest of Kingsport)
      • Shady Copse (inland forest, SE of Ravenswood)
      • Umber Heath (inland grasslands, west the Ruined Keep)
      • Greenfall (inland grasslands, southwest of Kingsport)
    • New Dynamic POTs & Dynamic POT Changes: We processed all Locked submission forms for Dynamic POTs. We also removed POTs that had incomplete payment plans.
      • Ahnen Hain: Ownership changed. Renamed (formerly Blackbear Cove (Sea Cave)). Converted to Swamp. Changed location. Interconnections (removed Blackbear Cove (Surface), added Brekken Bay).
      • Antilles Cove: Interconnection (with Prime Mori).
      • Artemis Outland: Converted to Forest.
      • Avallon: New addition (nested in Xenos).
      • Bearskin Grotto: Interconnection (with Jade Valley).
      • Blackrock Cove: Interconnections (with Mara Mesta, Blue Rose Isle, and Taenby Landing).
      • Bladewyke: Ownership changed. Changed location.
      • Blue Rose Isle: Converted to Tropical Island.
      • Bravehaven: Rotated to Left. Changed location (minor). Interconnection (with Fortus End).
      • Caelestis Canton: New addition (nested in central Brittany).
      • Caladruin: Converted to Swamp 1a.
      • Christophs Perch: Converted to Mountains.
      • Clevedon: Nested interconnection changed to within Brittany.
      • Cooper Shoals: Removed POT.
      • Dara Brae: Changed location. Upgraded to Hamlet. Removed Interconnection (with Storm’s Reach).
      • Dawn’s Keep: Rotated to Left.
      • Eodon: Removed POT.
      • Gensicke: Renamed (formerly Gensfield). Upgraded to Hamlet.
      • Glacebourg: Removed POT.
      • Great Reed Alpha: New addition (nested in Mud).
      • Grimmstone Fields: Renamed (formerly Soggy Bottom). Converted to Grasslands. Changed location.
      • Grym: Ownership changed. Renamed (formerly Blackbear Cove (Surface)). Converted to Forest 2. Changed location. Removed interconnection (with Blackbear Cove (Sea Cave)).
      • Heorth: Rotated to Right.
      • Hy-Brasil: Converted to Tropical Island.
      • Islands of Wonders: Converted to Tropical Island.
      • Jade Valley: Interconnections (with Bearskin Grotto and Siren Song Bayou).
      • Lacedaemon: Removed POT.
      • Lions of Amore: New addition (nested in Serenite).
      • Lyonesse: Converted to Tropical Island.
      • Magincia: Removed POT.
      • Mara Mesta: Converted to Mountain. Changed location. Interconnections (with Blackrock Cove, Obsidian Ridge, and Taenby Landing).
      • Mediolanum: Converted to Forest 1a.
      • Memphomai: Converted to Mountains.
      • Minock: Removed interconnection (with Obsidian Ridge). Ownership changed. Changed location.
      • Neverland: New addition (nested in Spite).
      • New Vesper: Converted to Forest 1a.
      • Obsidian Ridge: Removed interconnection (with Minock). Added interconnections (with Mara Mesta and Taenby Landing).
      • Pirate’s Hideout: Renamed (formerly Pirate’s Den). Converted to Mountains. Changed location.
      • Prime Mori: Interconnection (with Antilles Cove).
      • Radio City: Converted to Mountains.
      • Rats Nest: Changed location (minor).
      • Raven’s Head: Upgraded to Metropolis.
      • Saint Haley’s Refuge: Converted to Tropical Island. Upgraded to Hamlet.
      • Sanguine Stand: Rotated to Right.
      • SilverHold: Converted to Alpine 1a. Upgraded to Town.
      • Siren Song Bayou: Upgraded to Hamlet. Interconnection (with Jade Valley).
      • Stonegate: Converted to Forest 1a.
      • Storm’s End: Removed POT.
      • Straits of Delirium : New addition (nested in Owl’s Wash).
      • Tara’s Rest: Removed POT.
      • Wind: Removed POT.
      • Winterbourne: Removed POT.
      • Wyrmgard: New addition (nested in Resolute).


  • Performance: Major efforts will be done to optimize performance.  This will include frame rate improvements, load time improvements, and memory footprint improvements.
    • LODs/Simplified Collision:
      • Wrecked Galleon
      • Medieval Boats
      • Spider Eggs
      • Oracle Head Statue
      • Outhouse
      • Lord Thrones
      • Dragon Bones
      • Garden Shed
      • Ardoris Lanterns
      • Baron beds
      • Hedge walls
      • Practice Dummies
      • Footbridges
      • Saddle Stands
      • Longboats & Gondolas
      • Baron Mirror
      • Dragon Statue
      • City walls
      • Creature Statues
      • Water Wheels
      • Rustic Village Buildings
      • Wood and Plaster NPC buildings
      • Wind Turbines
      • Kobold Tower
      • Obsidian Architecture
      • Blacksmith Pack items
    • SpeedTrees: With efforts ongoing, we have created new SpeedTrees to replace some older tree assets which were causing issues negative to performance.
  • Crafting
    • Gems: Adding a gem to a weapon now unlocks specific enchantments related to the gem’s school of magic in addition to increasing attunement to the magic school. For example, adding a Necromancy Gem allows you to add Life Drain to your sword. Note that Gem Socketing is now permanent and can no longer be changed at will.
    • Salvage Returns Components: At high levels of Salvage skill you now have the chance to get components back from salvaged gear, not just scrap or raw materials.
    • Masterworks Skills: These skills now add very specific modifiers to gear based on the type of skill and gear. So, if you are a Smith and you specialize in Blades,  you can add modifiers like +5 to Blade speed to a sword.
    • Durability Protection for Purchased Items: Pledge Rewards and Add On Store purchases no longer suffer maximum durability reduction, only current durability. This means they have to be repaired but they will not break.
    • Enchanted/Masterworked Gear VFX: All Enchanted / Masterworked Gear now has a visual effect on it to indicate that it has been enhanced.
    • Tool Engraving: Applying engraving to Tools reduces maximum durability the same way that Masterworking and Enchanting affect maximum durability on weapons and armor.
    • Tool Prices: Prices for in game tools have increased
    • 49 Plain Wooden Signs Recipes: Recipes have been added that generate 49 different symbols on 3 different styles of signs (Wall, Ground, Hanging). See the “Signs” bullet point in Housing below for more details.
  • Combat:
    • Damage distribution based on durability of items: Durability reduction on items is now distributed based on their max durability so they all reduce at approximately the same rate.
    • Experience Bars Removed: These have been removed from the main screen to give more usable space on the main screen. You can still view your accumulated experience pools in the skill windows.
    • Next Level now +20: The “Next Level” display in the Skills window now displays the effect your skill will have when you increase by 20 points versus just 1 point (was legacy when we just had 5 levels).
    • Testudo Durability: This skill no longer constantly drains durability while used.
    • Reveal Hidden: Now leveling properly.
    • Confusion: Targets affected by this spell’s debuff now have sparkles!
    • Shield Bash: Now does a true stun instead of mesmerize but duration has been decreased slightly.
    • Stealth Skills & Spells: Now all share a single channel so they cannot be stacked. This fixes several exploits including being able to harvest while stealthed.
    • Near Death Bonus: The near death bonus for death magic has been doubled.  Max bonus is now 100% for players very near death!
    • Body Slam: Now scales damage properly with skill and stacking.
    • Skewer: Root on skewer should now work as expected.
    • All Magic Damage Spells: All magic spells that deal damage have had their focus cost increased.
    • Discharge: The damage for discharge has been lowered and the stun duration decreased dramatically.
    • Chain Lightning & Lightning Bolt: Stun duration decreased dramatically.
    • Death Ray & Death Touch: Damage and heal effect increased significantly.
    • Ice Arrow & Ice Fist: Damage increased modestly.
    • Obsidian Arrow & Stone Fist: Damage increased modestly and the effect of strength on the damage increased.
    • Ring of Fire:  Damage over time effect now has increased damage per time but for shorter times.
    • Soothing Rain: Small increase to the healing effect.
  • Character:
    • “New You”: Players can now change their physical appearance in the game. Initially this can be done on the Isle of Storms during your encounter with Arabella using a Magic Mirror. After that, you can seek out Crown Merchants for this service. For R31, these merchants can be found in the Ardoris “New You” shop (located in the docks area), and in Brittany near the Obsidian Crown potion merchant on South Portside Avenue.
    • Polished Hair: We have begun a major polish pass on all the hair styles. Currently only a few have been updated to new models (Short for the Female, and Bob for both genders). By next release, we plan to have all the hair styles remodeled and updated to a new and better shader.
    • Children: Small humans can now be seen wandering Novia and suffering for it.
    • Cloth Tunic: This new craftable cloth armor can be dyed.clothdoublet
    • Elven Elder Armor : After we polished the original Elven armors from the Stretch Goal Store (see below), players requested the ability to purchase them again because they looked so much better than they had originally. However, since we had already expired these items we could not resell them, so we have created visual variants that are now for sale in the Add On Store. These represent base level armor.
      • Elven Elder Fighter Armor
      • Elven Elder Archer Armor
      • Elven Elder Mage Robes
    • Polish:
      • Gambeson: Formerly known as Cloth Doublet. This is now a piece of craftable Cloth Armor.
      • Chainmail: Fixed belly on male character.
      • Founder Leather Armor
      • Founder Tunic
      • Benefactor Tunic
      • Red Dress
      • Elven Fighter Armor
      • Elven Archer Armor
      • Elven Mage RobesElf_Armor
    • /juggle: Players can learn this emote from Vivian Deventer, the “New You” merchant in the Alchemy shop on South Portside Avenue in Brittany.
    • /macarena: Players can learn this dance from Bruno Martelli, the “New You” Salon owner in Ardoris.
    • /puke & /drunk: Eventually overindulging in drink will cause your Avatar to throw up and have a different, more wobbly, idle animation. Invoking the /puke emote will force your Avatar to throw up in an even more spectacular fashion than normal whenever you wish, you sadistic bastard. This emote is available in the Add-On Store and comes with the /drunk idle as well.
    • New Basic emotes: We added the following emotes to all characters:
      • /smile
      • /frown
      • /scowl
      • /giggle
      • /goodbye
      • /welcome
      • /yes
      • /no
  • NPCs and Creatures
    • Fire Elementals: Now emit light.
    • Oracle Watchers: Watchers now scan players and NPCs with a visual effect and use head tracking.
    • Head Tracking and Noticing: Townspeople now notice each other and players and they turn their heads to track accordingly.
    • Corpse Eating: Undead have a new, and disturbing, idle behavior…
    • Scheduling Granularity: NPC schedules can now be done at much higher granularity than before.
  • Player Housing
    • Housing Permissions: We have modified the permissions of our housing system to give owners greater control over how they share use of their property. This includes more levels of permissions and permission control per item. WARNING: All permissions have been wiped and need to be redone as part of this change.
      • Guest
        • Can open locked doors.
        • Can not place or remove decorations.
      • Kindred/Guild member
        • Identical to Guest with the additional ability for the owner to grant item access permissions (chests, vendors, etc.)
        • Can place, modify, or remove decorations dependent on item access privilege.
      • Trustee
        • Can add/remove permissions for lower ranks.
        • Can place, modify, or remove decorations dependent on item access privilege.
      • Co-Owner
        • Can add/remove permissions for lower ranks.
        • Can place, modify, or remove any item on the plot.
      • Owner
        • Actual home owner.
        • Can add/remove any permissions.
        • Can place, modify, or remove any item on the plot.
    • 6 Shingle Roof Homes: Community member SeleneNoctua suggested that the little Shingle Roof home that comes as a default with some of the lot deeds has a really nice exterior and interior style and requested other larger homes in that same style. Other players agreed, so we took all the Wood & Plaster style homes and made versions of them with this style. Furthermore, we have chosen to make these available in game via merchant and 4 additional ones will be craftable in R32.
      • 2 Story Shingle Roof Row House
      • 3 Story Shingle Roof Row House
      • Shingle-Roof 3 Story Open Plan Village Home
      • Shingle-Roof 2 Story with Great Hall Village Home
      • Shingle-Roof 2 Story with Overhang Village Home
      • Shingle-Roof with Balcony Village Home
    • Signs: Players can now place signs on their lots or on their homes. These signs have customizable Tooltips that players can use to name their shops, homes, guildhalls, taverns, streets, squares, etc. The signs come in 4 Materials (Plain Wooden, Fancy Wooden, Brass, and Silver), 3 Types (Wall, Hanging, and Ground), and over 45 Symbols (including a blank sign). The plain wooden versions are all craftable in game, while the other materials are purchasable in the Add-On Store. Symbols include:
      • <blank>
      • Hospitaller
      • Combat
      • Blade
      • Bludgeon
      • Light Armor
      • Heavy Armor
      • Shield
      • Polearm
      • Ranged
      • Agriculture
      • Alchemy
      • Blacksmith
      • Butcher
      • Carpenter
      • Cook
      • Field Dressing
      • Gathering
      • Forestry
      • Milling
      • Mining
      • Smelting
      • Tailor
      • Tanning
      • Textiles
      • Magic
      • Air
      • Chaos
      • Death
      • Earth
      • Fire
      • Life
      • Moon
      • Sun
      • Water
      • Armor
      • Armor and Weapon
      • Bank
      • Book Seller
      • Clothing
      • General Crafting
      • Fishing
      • General Store
      • Guild
      • Inn
      • Real Estate
      • Tavern
      • Trainer
      • Weapon
    • Keep and Castle Island Water Lots: Holders of a Founder Keep Deed or Founder Castle Deed can use that deed to claim a new type of water lot that has the option to have an island underneath it. These island lots can be found in all coastal PRTs, most coastal towns that are cloned (Spite, Estgard, Port Graff, etc.), all Island PRTs, and many of the larger waterfront NPC towns (including Aerie, Brittany, Ardoris, Brittany Alleys, and Brittany Wharfs). We plan to make these work in Dynamic Coastal, Underground and Island POTs later this year as well, but will likely be preplaced versus fully dynamic due to their size and the fact that they include terrain.
    • Slow Decoration Rotation Speed now Slower: We have slowed the slower decoration rotation speed (called via a key modifier) to be even slower (0.1 degrees per second) to allow for much finer adjustments.
    • House Pets and Servants: We have eliminated the need to have two objects (call & deco version) for Pets and Servants. Note this now means if your Pet or Servant is at your home, it can no longer also be out adventuring with you…
    • Radiant Energy Coil & Capacitor: These sparking energy devices based on Kobold technology are sure to be a conversation starters.
    • Bell Tower: This decoration item has eight bells that can be rung by players, each with a different note.
    • Telescope: This placeable item allows players to view objects far away, similar to the handheld version from the now expired Ships stretch goal.
    • Viking 2-Story Village Home with Dual Balconies: New in our line of Viking homes, this beautiful 2-story, village home, with 2 rooms on the first floor, a single large room on the second floor, and both a front and rear balcony on the 2nd floor.SotA_Viking_2Story_Village_Home_2Balconies_small
    • Keep Stone & Timber 5 Story Basement: The newest addition to our line of basements is a Keep sized 5-story basement using the split level Stone & Timber style.
    • Built in Lighting: Added more built in lighting to the following homes:
      • Crafting Pavilion
      • Lord Marshal
      • Stucco Row Houses
    • Ardoris Docks: Waterlot dock areas in Ardoris can now be decorated by owners
  • Audio: We did another pass through the game upgrading and adding various sound effects including the following:
    • Isle of Storms
    • Oracle Watchers
    • Sheep
    • Cow
    • Chicken
    • Fireworks
    • Ocean
    • Overall music volume turned down (to balance mix)
    • Sheath and Unsheath Weapons
      • Swords
      • Bows
      • Polearms
      • Daggers
      • Hammer
      • Axe
      • Mace
      • Wand
    • Emotes (these include new male and female vocals):
      • Angry
      • Backflip
      • Belly Laugh
      • Boo
      • Cheer
      • Chicken
      • Clap
      • Come Here
      • Cry
      • Drink
      • Face Palm
      • Face Slap
      • Flex
      • Flower
      • Giggle
      • Hand Stand
      • Jumping Jacks
      • Kiss
      • Laugh
      • Meditate
      • No
      • Panic
      • PlayDead
      • Ponder
      • Rock, Paper, Scissors
      • Royal Gesture
      • Royal Wave
      • Salute
      • Scowl
      • Shadow Box
      • Shakes Fist
      • Shake Head
      • Shooter
      • Table Flip
      • Talk
      • Talk Angry
      • Taunt
      • Throat Cut
      • Thumbs Up
      • Toast
      • Yawn
      • Yes
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Crowns for Items: Crown merchants will now offer crowns for certain items. For now, this is limited only to house deeds from Pledges and Add On Store purchases but may expand to support other purchased items as well. This is to help support players wishing to still be able to “melt down” after final wipe, but who may have already claimed their items.
    • Camera Effects: We have introduced new camera effects in this release as part of our ongoing efforts to improve our visuals and improve performance.
      • Ambient Occlusion: We have upgraded our AO filter with new filter that gives better results for a fraction of the cost.
      • Depth of Field: Distant elements now have a softer appearance during the day that fades during the night.
      • Color Grading: A much simpler color grading system has been added.  The result should be a more natural color tone and more natural saturation tuning.
      • Sharpness filter: To go with depth of field filter, we now use a sharpness filter on near objects. The result is near objects are more crisp than past releases and distant objects are slightly blurred.
      • Bloom: We have switched to a new bloom filter that gives a much better and less exaggerated effect.
    • Lord British’s Birthday Items: To celebrate Lord British’s birthday on July 4th, we are putting Fireworks and new version of the birthday cake in the Add-On Store
      • Red, White & Blue Rocket Fireworks
      • Red, White & Blue Missile Fireworks
      • 2016 Lord British Birthday Cake: This is a new color variation for this year that yields a different array of fireworks.

So, now that it is clear what you can expect, we should also be as clear about what you should NOT expect:

  • Stability (especially Linux): The latest version of Unity that we updated to for Release 29 introduced quite a higher level of instability and memory leaks than we have ever previously encountered. This is especially bad for the Linux version of the game. We are working directly with Unity engineering to resolve this as quickly as possible.
  • Performance: We have begun performance optimizations (LODs) as well as a first round of performance fallback routines via a Performance Manager. However we still have some work to do, particularly for older machines. Additionally, with the latest version of Unity we are using has some serious stability issues and memory leaks that we are working closely with them to resolve. Please be patient with us as we work through these issues. With each release, we will be doing further optimizations and adding more fallbacks to improve performance.
  • Game Loop: Release 31 is a further iteration on our game loop, but is still missing some key components. Expect this to expand with each subsequent release.
  • Visual Quality: Efforts to improve visual quality are ongoing. We will continue to iterate on these until we have highly competitive visuals.
  • Pledge Rewards: Pledge Rewards that have been built and have tech to support them are in the game; all other rewards are awaiting either content creation or tech support.  You can find an updated list of these items in known issues.
  • Persistence: As part of development, we will need to periodically wipe data including characters, property, etc. There will be only one more wipe in July before everything goes persistent with Release 32. So consider everything gained during early access temporary.

Here are links to instructions and known issues. Thank you again for your continued support. This is truly the most amazing community we have ever worked with, and we are proud to be on this journey with you.

Starr Long
aka Darkstarr
Executive Producer

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Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #182 Mon, 27 Jun 2016 12:17:15 +0000 Greetings Fellow Avatars! Sorry this is a bit late, life has been crazy lately for me with medical stuff. Some great updates this time around, especially the Solace Bridge and Elven Armor  updates.  Also, the new Cult of Spears lore is also up to be posted later this week as well (spoiler: SOUL MAGIC!).  

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

Announcing the 15% Summer Bonus!

If you were thinking of purchasing (or upgrading) a pledge or Player Owned Town before they expire, between now and the Summer 2016 Expiration Event: Part 2 (see below), the dev team are offering a 15% Bonus on all purchases! Here are the details:

For all new purchases (including pledges, pledge upgrades, add-on items, player owned towns, player owned town upgrades, Make a Difference items, and service vouchers) between 12:00 am CDT June 24, 2016 and Midnight CDT (5:00 UTC) August 22, 2016, they will add an additional 15% bonus to your Store Credit! You can use your Store Credit toward additional purchases (which includes pledges, pledge upgrades, add-on items, player owned towns, and player owned town upgrades).

[NOTE: The 15% bonus is calculated every day at 1:00 pm CDT for any purchases within the previous 24 hours and added to your Store Credit account; Store Credit cannot be applied toward the purchase of Service Vouchers or Make a Difference items]

You can use the 15% Bonus to save on your next purchase! For example, if you have the $45 Adventurer pledge and really want to upgrade to the $90 Royal Artisan pledge, you would normally pay the extra $45 for the upgrade. But using the 15% bonus you can immediately save $5. To do so, you would first purchase $40 worth of Store Credit Gift Coupons (via PayPal, Amazon, Bitcoin, or credit card; excluding existing Store Credit) then use the “Convert to Credits” option on your account page to transform the Store Credit Gift Coupons into Store Credit. Within 24 hours an additional $6 bonus ($40 x 15%) would be applied to your Store Credit account, bringing it up to $46. You would then use $45 of your Store Credit to upgrade to the $90 Royal Artisan pledge.

Welcome Back to Solace Bridge!

[From a Dev Post from Scott “Lum” Jennings]

As part of next release, we’re completely redoing the Solace Bridge sequence of the Path of Love tutorial. Since this may be relevant to the interests of this forum, here’s what we have implemented (@Attenwood and crew just started killing my hopes and dreams with it today):

– No more help windows with text

Players tend to ignore them and turn them off, and with the new reticle system they’re difficult to interact with. We are keeping them post-tutorial for R31 but will continue to evaluate them.

– Help is IN YOUR FACE

Here’s an example of what you see instead:Charlotte

Instead, it makes more sense to practice combat on, you know, things that try to kill you. So we’ve ramped up the number of undead on Solace Bridge (from 4 to 12ish), and have them be more active. You get context-sensitive hints for moving and firing your new bow as you move down the bridge.

– Wait, 12 undead, as a new player? What?

Well, you have help. Edvard no longer just magically clones himself – instead he will fight alongside you (well, ahead of you – he tanks and could probably take on the bridge by himself since having him die during the tutorial would be rude) and accompanies you to the other side where you meet him previously. (He also gives you 250 arrows to start out with, so no more scavenging around for enough arrows to just finish the scene with)

– But Lum, I don’t WANT to use a bow!

That’s fine. As mentioned earlier, we’ve placed a weapon rack in the scene so you can select whatever starting weapon you ‘d like (sword, polearm, mace, and shield). You don’t start with any skills for them but if you know you wanted them anyway it’s probably not a concern. You are still prompted to use a bow and have basic skills for them.

– What about that kid, anyway?

As part of making the scene in general more interesting/have more to do, we’ve introduced a brief quest where Charlotte Gray (the child in Solace Bridge) now must be saved from the battle by you. You can decline to do so, or get her killed, and all of these choices will have appopriate consequences.

We look forward to see your reaction to this moving forward, since much of it is directly based on your feedback!

The Making of Brittany Estates

NOTE: Brittany Estates is primarily comprised of City sized lots and is scheduled to go live in Release 32.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Richard “RrMatey” Matey]

Just wanted to give you guys some more screenshots for the last week of work. Just over 50% done, but I feel it has an established style and look, that is unique to this zone.








The Making of Brittany Wharfs

NOTE: Brittany Wharfs is the center of commerce for Greater Brittany and is mostly comprised of Town sized lots. It is scheduled to go live in Release 31.

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


Hey guys, SorcerousSteve here once again to give you the latest scoop on the Brittany Wharfs. Now this weeks update on the Wharfs is pretty jammed pack with screenshots as the map approaches completion for this upcoming release; including a top down view of player properties and the overall map layout.


Overlooking the Harbor, a protective fort looks out to Sea protecting the vital trade market of the Brittany Wharfs.


Water communities in the northside of the Brittany Wharfs. With 30 Water Lots, the Brittany Wharfs is a must go to place for Water Property lovers.


The Warehouse District pictured right below the gate to Brittany. Rumors abound of a black market in the area filled with notorious activity and contraband smuggling; the dark side of the merchants and trade that keep the Brittany Wharfs alive.


Waterfront property right next to the Harbor.


Merchants who make their lives on bargain and trade live in the Wharfs propering from the rich trade in the area.


Rusty Satyr Inn.
A place for merchants and sailors to sit down and have a drink after a long day at the Harbor.




Open areas for players are plentiful in the Wharfs, from outdoor water patios to small stages all focused on providing the best commodity for players.
On the upper left you can catch a glimpse of a Duke Island Lot.



Esteben Zaldivar
Level Designer

Polished Elven Armor

As part of the rework of the Avatars the dev team are steadily progressing through many of the clothing and armor items to improve their visual quality. They periodically update the progress of this effort.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Fletcher “Skullmuncher34” Kinnear]

Hey guys!
Just got done with a revamp of the Elven Fighter Armor.
More on the way in the near future!


Elven Armor by Shroud of the Avatar

Elven Mage Robes by Shroud of the Avatar


SotA Con 2016


[From a forum post by Violation Clauth]

We’re happy to announce the first annual Shroud of the Avatar Convention in 2016 to take place on November 4-6 2016 in Baltimore, MD. This convention will be one of our making as a community. The schedule, pending announcement based on funding, has a lot of exciting opportunities and our ambitions are grand. What we know for sure at this point: players will be there.

The goal for this Con is to create a Shroud of the Avatar themed gathering, on the east coast so that players and developers can come together, grow together, and share ideas. What we don’t want is people to attend, thinking that there will be big sponsors and expensive swag bags. The goal is to simply come together, make friends, have a great time, and talk about Shroud of the Avatar

We are asking for funding for the event and for everyone to let us know if they are able to attend. The hotel we have offers group rates for rooms and we would love to make sure everyone gets the best deal possible. We need people to stay at the hotel to get the best price for the convention rooms.
Some of the things we have in the works:

  • At least someone from PaxLair, Port Phoenix, Avatars Radio, NBNN, and many other communities have committed to attendance.
  • At least 3 developers have committed to attendance
  • Potentially, we will recreate a board game using the map of Novia as the board!
  • Group gaming opportunities
  • Potentially, group meals with garb encouraged!
  • Vendors from the SotA community
  • Potentially, a kid friendly area!

A 1st year exclusive attendance reward will be given out at the event!

We need volunteers. Both local to the area, to help with logistics and planning, and others to help facilitate a smooth and enjoyable time for everyone. We also need financial backing as well as attendees. I would like to thank the three people who have already committed to helping this project and a special thanks to @Winfield for being a sounding board for the last five or so months that we’ve been planning this. We are excited for this event and can’t wait to see everyone and have a great time. I would also like to thank @DarkStarr for his initial support @Berek for his current and future support in making sure we can have Portalarium in attendance.

Please visit for more information. If you would like to attend or volunteer, please get a hold of me. More details will come in the near future.


Recommended Projects to Back: Crowfall’s First Ever Telethon!

Get Ready for Crowfall’s First Ever Telethon!

Our friends over at Crowfall are having their first ever telethon. We wish them the best with their fundraising goals! Be sure and tune in during their 12-hour telecast and lend your support. And be sure to suggest that Gordon and Todd sing, dance, or take a shot as the backers pledge their support! Here’s an excerpt from the CROWFALL LIVE post:

The ArtCraft office is swirling with activity as we prepare for the first-ever “Crowfall Live!” on Monday [June 27, 2016 at 8:00 am Central].

We don’t want to spoil any surprises, so we can’t show any of the works in progress – but here is a teaser shot from our newly-installed ACE studio (i.e. the big closet that we were using a week ago for storage).

Props to our video producer John Gibson and our new production intern Max Lancaster for pulling this together!

Here are some of the things we have in store for you during the livestream:

  • A partnership announcement,
  • Surprise guests,
  • Design reveals (new information about both systems and content!),
  • Live demonstrations from our amazing artists,
  • Beat-the-Dev playtests,
  • Murder of Crows live (more info on this soon!)
  • Future plans for ACE
  • Hourly prizes and sales
  • And even more…

This 12-hour “Crowfall Live!” event will begin at 8 am Central, so drop in as often and for as long as you can throughout the day on Monday, June 27th

Come join us for what promises to be a great time!

Todd & Gordon
Co-Founders, ACE

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Announcing SotACon 2016 Thu, 23 Jun 2016 18:40:28 +0000 sota-con-2016Violation Clauth — one of the founders of SotAwiki — has just announced SotA Con 2016, a Shroud of the Avatar fan convention:

We’re happy to announce the first annual Shroud of the Avatar Convention in 2016 to take place on November 4-6 2016 in Baltimore, MD. This convention will be one of our making as a community. The schedule, pending announcement based on funding, has a lot of exciting opportunities and our ambitions are grand. What we know for sure at this point: players will be there.

The goal for this Con is to create a Shroud of the Avatar themed gathering, on the east coast so that players and developers can come together, grow together, and share ideas. What we don’t want is people to attend, thinking that there will be big sponsors and expensive swag bags. The goal is to simply come together, make friends, have a great time, and talk about Shroud of the Avatar

We are asking for asking for funding for the event and for everyone to let us know if they are able to attend. The hotel we have offers group rates for rooms and we would love to make sure everyone gets the best deal possible. We need people to stay at the hotel to get the best price for the convention rooms.
Some of the things we have in the works:

  • At least someone from PaxLair, Port Phoenix, Avatars Radio, NBNN, and many other communities have committed to attendance.
  • At least 3 developers have committed to attendance.
  • Potentially, we will recreate a board game using the map of Novia as the board!
  • Group gaming opportunities
  • Potentially, group meals with garb encouraged!
  • Vendors from the SotA community
  • Potentially, a kid friendly area!

A 1st year exclusive attendance reward will be given out at the event!

We need volunteers. Both local to the area, to help with logistics and planning, and others to help facilitate a smooth and enjoyable time for everyone. We also need financial backing as well as attendees. I would like to thank the three people who have already committed to helping this project and a special thanks to @Winfield for being a sounding board for the last five or so months that we’ve been planning this. We are excited for this event and can’t wait to see everyone and have a great time. I would also like to thank @DarkStarr for his initial support @Berek for his current and future support in making sure we can have Portalarium in attendance.

You can find out a bit more — not much; the site is sparsely populated — at, the convention’s official website. That’s also where you can find the crowdfunding page; just scroll through the site’s pages for a bit. A short FAQ about the convention and its particulars can be found here.

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For The King: Announced for Xbox One; Showcased at E3 Thu, 23 Jun 2016 18:31:24 +0000

IronOak Games had a fairly exciting time at E3, it would seem:

…we were down at E3 this past week showing off FTK to the press. We got some great feedback seeing new people play for the first time and made some great contacts. We were also recently announced for Xbox One during their E3 presentation. We’re honored to have been included in their Indie Showreel and it was super cool to see For The King on the big screen!

Note the announcement there: For The King was already coming to PC and PlayStation 4, but has now also been confirmed for Xbox One.

…our release date for console will happen sometime after our launch on PC. How much longer afterwards is hard to gauge, most likely we’ll aim for 6 months. For anyone interested in playing the console versions, we’ll be sending you an additional key for either XboxOne or PS4 (pending release) on top of your original PC key. This way you don’t have to choose between PC and Console. Before we ship we’ll send out a survey to gather your preference.

And how has production on the game been going?

We’re working hard towards getting the beta out shortly, hopefully in under a month’s time. We realize this is a tad later than we had planned, but a lot of the polish we’ve had to do for the various builds we’re sending out will be reflected in the beta, allowing for a smoother overall experience. In short, it’ll be worth the wait!

We’re focusing on Act II of the game which includes Boats, Krakens, and Cultists. The main objective is for each Act to feel unique and present different challenges and rewards to the player. We can’t wait to get your feedback during the beta.

This game is really turning into the little title that could, isn’t it?

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The Commodore 64 Port of Akalabeth Is (Evidently) Complete Wed, 22 Jun 2016 18:13:23 +0000

Andrea Schincaglia left a comment on the news post reporting the existence of an effort to port Akalabeth to the Commodore 64, noting that the port is now complete.

At the moment, a download isn’t available…but there is this video showcasing the completed port in action:

I guess I’d better get off my butt and build the Akalabeth subdomain, so that there’s somewhere to host the download for this project when it is finally released.

]]> 0
Shards Online: Version 0.3.4 Patch Notes Wed, 22 Jun 2016 18:00:11 +0000
Shards Online

Version 0.3.4 of Shards Online should be live now, and Citadel Studios have released a lengthy set of patch notes for this update to their Ultima Online-inspired MMORPG. And because there are too many notes to easily excerpt, here instead are the top-level categories that list which areas of the game saw improvement:

  • Player Run Merchants
  • Unity 5 Upgrade
  • Catacombs Lower Level
  • Outlands Content
  • Necromancy Skill – A combination of direct damage and summoned minions makes any master of this skill a force to be reckoned with. The higher your skill, the more minions you can control at one time (up to 3).
  • New Manifestation Spells
  • New Potions (Alchemy Recipes)
  • Cooking Skill Improvements
  • Mob Collision (Prototype)
  • New Player Guild
  • New Player Status
  • Map Markers for Corpse and House
  • Rare Crafting Resources – Ingredients for new equipment qualities
  • New Equipment Qualities
  • Outlands and Catacombs Maps
  • Fixed issue where WASD movement would cause framerate lag in the catacombs
  • All action commands (dancing etc) should now work again
  • Characters now smoothly rotate when they turn
  • Crafting skills now play an animation while crafting
  • Torches and other light sources automatically turn off during the day
  • Trees now have falling animation
  • Animals with custom combat abilities will now use them in combat
  • Slowed down loading wormhole animation
  • You can now extinguish campfires
  • Add delay to closing/opening doors
  • Iron and Cobalt nodes will eventually decay if they can not be reached
  • Blightwood can no longer be obtained from just any black forest tree. Blightwood trees are visually distinguishable.

Click on through for more details. And if you want to check out Shards for yourself, you can still pledge to support development of the game; a $40 USD pledge is sufficient to get instant access to the game.

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The Dark Unknown: Back In the Saddle; Map Editor Demo Wed, 22 Jun 2016 14:37:38 +0000

It has been too long since we last checked in with Goldenflame Dragon’s work on The Dark Unknown. But, as it happens, Goldenflame himself took a bit of a break from the project, from about mid-May to mid-June. Much of the reason for this had to do with the fact that Goldenflame was participating in the recent HoBLotH event, and was actually running a quest thereat (which necessitated a significant amount of preparation and planning).

But, as of about a week or so ago, work on The Dark Unknown has resumed in earnest:

You can hit a key now to skip the animations during the loading screens.

Started a new game to make sure everything works on the path to launching a demo.

And: Recorded a video of me making a new map in my map editor. This was a long process of finding and redownloading the video capture program I had used during the kickstarter, then redownloading Windows Movie Maker, then finding a program to convert from one to the other… plus actually doing the recording, which took two takes. So, editing will happen tomorrow- all the rest of that took too long. Hopefully I’ll get useful results in the end.

In addition to technical progress, Goldenflame has also been adding to the game’s story:

Added some dialogue, and now I can gate responses based on whether the player has enough money. This lets me have people say “I can do that, for 500g” without you needing to go into the merchant menus.

Did some work on the map editor demo video- did minimal editing, now trying to see if I can save it such that the text on my screen is readable on youtube. We’ll see. More on that tomorrow.

The above was posted on June 16th. As promised, Goldenflame did give us a look at the map editor on the 17th:

Also, and for what it’s worth, the Tapestry of Ages Games forums have been taken offline:

Not that anyone was using it, but I have now disabled the forum on the website. I was getting 100+ spam account signups per day and since there’s no real person activity yet I am going to take the opportunity to try to find a better solution. I am open to suggestions!

Unfortunately I’m hosting the site on wordpress (to better make sure it keeps up with security updates), so I can’t use a forum plugin the way the Codex does unless I move it.

I may be working with Goldenflame on a revamped website and forum setup later in the summer; stay tuned!

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More Ultima 1 Playthrough Videos from Slegnor Tue, 21 Jun 2016 18:07:59 +0000

Slegnor has uploaded a couple more videos from his Ultima 1 playthrough — which originally streamed on his Twitch channel — to his YouTube profile. Here’s the first:

And here’s the second:

It should be noted that these videos have been edited, somewhat, compared to what you might have seen on Twitch. They’ve been shortened and trimmed up to improve the overall flow of things.

Slegnor, for his part, has already finished Ultima 1 and has begun playing through Ultima 2. Those videos will eventually hit YouTube as well, but of course you can also follow Slegnor on Twitch to see them as they happen.

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Richard Garriott’s Collection of Ultima Completion Certificates Needs Some Additions Tue, 21 Jun 2016 16:18:31 +0000

Richard Garriott tweeted out the above image recently, explaining what we are seeing in it thusly:



Would anyone be willing to furnish Lord British with a scan of a completion certificate for any of the games missing from the above collection?

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Shroud of the Avatar – Cult of Spears Lore – Chapter 2: A Man So Fair Fri, 17 Jun 2016 23:55:02 +0000 Good Evening Friends! Tonight we have chapter two of the Cult of Spears lore. Arrun leads us on a journey to meet two important individuals who will continue to play a huge role in the future chapters of his writing:  “The Mistress”, as she is called, and Dippy.  While this chapter lays the foundation for much that is yet to come. I hope you enjoy the images that Arrun tries to convey as he works to bring all of us on this journey.


Chapter 2 – A Man So Fair:

In all my journeys, I have met two outlanders.  One a strong otherworldly woman, of whom I have met no equal when it came to magic. The other was a fascinating gentleman who enjoyed music and the world around him.  His thirst for knowledge surpassed even my own.  These two became two of the most important people in my life. The start of their influence in each others lives, however started far before I had met either…..

“Ugh, what is it, Toki? Why did you wake me?”  The blueish grey skinned maiden swung her legs over the side of the bed. “I am sorry, Mistress, but it has happened.”  “Are you certain?” “Yes, Mistress, a new one has appeared.”  As she wrapped herself with a blanket, Toki blushed when she realized why Mistress wrapped a blanket around herself.  “Gather our sisters; it is time you fill them in.” “Yes, Mistress”. She bowed and turned. “Oh, and no need to wake Sari, I will take care of filling her in myself.”  Toki bowed, turned, then turned back and laid a blanket over Sari.  After Toki left, Mistress walked out onto the balcony that looked over the mountains. She looked to the sky and her black eyes turned bronze. “Finally, it has been far too long.”

Gathered in the dining room, sat dozens of young women, each dressed in flowing robes of a soft crème colored fabric.  Toki looked at her sisters and smiled.  “Thank you all for your time, I know we would all rather be asleep right now, but I have news from our Mistress.”  Those who were slumped over in their seats instantly became upright.  “An outlander has arrived, and Mistress needs us to not only find him, but gather intelligence on him.”  The women smiled as they had heard of outlanders coming to various lands. They were curious to meet another such mythical being, for the only one they had ever met was their mistress. She was a being of great love and power, and it was with her that for the first time, many of them had felt truly safe and if they had hope.

“Sisters! Remember, there is much honor in those of the Darkness, well is this known. Hear now the words of our Mistress. There is great need for the strength of unity. Let not the paths separate the people from that need. Go to them, say unto them, Behold! We stand as one. We will not let the agents of those who wish to destroy the world break us apart.”


A group of townfolk stare a young man in his teens at the edge of a forest.   Muttering and shaking their heads is the most popular reaction, as an older woman checks him for injuries. Her hands trembling in both hope and fear…

“Who is he?”

“I don’t know, but look at him, he definitely is not from around here.”

“He’s young.”

“He’s gorgeous!”

A communal sigh was heard.  “Let’s just bring him to town until we can sort things out.”  The young man woke up to see a small room.  As he looked around he was surprised to see he was in a fully furnished bedroom. “Well, I see you are awake.”  An older woman walked into the room carrying a tray with a kettle and two cups.  “I was afraid you weren’t going to wake up.” “Where am I?”  “Evergrove, a small village on the Novian side of the continent. My name is Gladys.” “Novian?” “Yes the 2nd largest continent, to the West. I assume you are not from around here.”  “I don’t remember.” As the two spoke, it became clear the young man either amnesia. Gladys offered to let the young man stay there until he could gather his thoughts and hopefully memories.

As the months passed, the young man became friends with many of the townspeople. Gladys always smiled to see him rush out the door to help townspeople with various tasks each day.  She thought a lot about her husband and how they wished they could have had kids.  Since his passing, the small cottage was never the same. With this new soul around, she felt refreshed and if she had new purpose to her life.  She took to teaching the young man along with the help of others.

The townsfolk took to calling him “Dippy” because of his sense of humor, his constant amazement with magic, and some of the words he would say while trying to understand this new world he had found himself in.  Words that the townsfolk had never heard before and that Dippy had no clue how he knew them.  He just had this feeling that they meant something.  The terraced homes for small personal gardens, the windmill, and so many other features of the town felt familiar as if he had seen them before.  He strove to learn all he could.  The hours spent in the village hall’s library with Gladys were especially special to him.  Travis, the town blacksmith, was especially surprised with the ingenuity he showed when it came to tasks he would give him… The use of a waterwheel to power a new bellows for the forge, the use of dyed parchment to soften and color the light of candles during the winter carnival, and most of all the creation of a windmill not for grain, but for cutting lumber.  Every task set before Dippy would find its completion, even if it did take multiple attempts.

Many of the nights he would spend time with a few of the other young men and women his age.  Nights on the beach, in the tavern, and in the fields with his new friends began to take the pain away for Dippy, as he realized he had a wonderful life here, in this new place.  People who cared for him, safety and shelter, and those willing to teach him as he hungered to learn all he could, to help his new family.  The pain he saw in the eyes when he heard of the great tragedies that befell the world and its lands fueled his thirst for knowledge all the more.  The years passed and Dippy would soon learn that his arrival was not an accident, but rather a part of the tragedies that were mere stories to those he spoke with.

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Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 45 – In Which I Eat Crow (I’ll Soon Be Plump!) Fri, 17 Jun 2016 18:22:13 +0000

Kim Kardashian thinks in-game purchases need to be handled differently: “Kim Kardashian thinks that when it comes to in-game purchases, there are appropriate and inappropriate ways of handling prompt screens.

In an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher, Kardashian said that she was a fan of the e-commerce method and used it within her own best-selling mobile game, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, but has recently become disappointed with the way other games handled the system. Although she didn’t specifically mention which games she had issues with, she used her daughter’s experience with a game as an example.

‘We were on a long car ride, and we were so annoyed that everything kept popping up and popping up that our daughter would cry every time the game wouldn’t finish playing,’ Kardashian said. ‘She just wanted to seamlessly play.’

Kardashian added that they, referring to her and husband, Kanye West, were ‘totally fine’ with in-app and in-game purchases, if the prompt screen came up at the appropriate time and not every two seconds.”

Listen to the Episode

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Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #181 Fri, 17 Jun 2016 18:07:23 +0000 Greetings Fellow Avatars!  A short update this week as there is not much news.  So here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

The Making of Brittany Estates

NOTE: Brittany Estates is primarily comprised of City sized lots and is scheduled to go live in Release 32.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Richard “RrMatey” Matey]

Hey guys back again to keep you posted on the progress of another Brittany neighborhood. Brittany Estates is a gated community with lovely scenery and magnificent gardens. A great place to settle down and find that house or castle of your dreams.






One of the new things I experimented with in this scene is creating running water streams / rivers. So far it’s been very successful and here are some shots of a small stream that runs through Brittany Estates.



Pledge Stats Update

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Dallas Snell]

Greetings Avatars,

It’s been a year since we last posted pledge stats (see May 2015 report) and we’ve received several requests from the community for an update…so, here ya go!

This first chart shows the change in pledge counts from May 2015 to June 2016. The data does not include Steam Early Access, Guilt Pledges, or unassigned pledges.

The largest percentage increase was the Knight Marshal (increased 84% from 109 to 201). The largest increase in sheer quantity was the Ancestor tier, which increased by 441 pledges (followed closely by Immortal Adventurer at 416 pledge increase). The Ancestor tier became quite popular once it was improved to include a tax-free row lot and 2-story row house!


This next chart shows the change in pledge revenue per tier from May 2015 to June 2016. The Duke pledge tier posted the largest gains, by far (just as it did last May):


This next chart shows the current pledge data with the pledge counts as vertical bars and the dollar value of each pledge tier as a gold line. The Knight tier was dethroned for the first time in terms of pledge revenue, being handily trounced by the increasingly popular Duke tier.

Since the Citizen pledge has been expired, we show it and the Edelmann tiers separately for this report (unlike previous reports where we combined them). Those pledges had been selling at almost equal rates until the Citizen expired, and now the Edelmann is beginning to pull ahead.

Quite honestly, we’re surprised that every Citizen pledge owner hasn’t upgraded to Edelmann, since it is only $25 to upgrade and for that you move 9 groups earlier in Lot Selection Priority, receive a unique beer brewing recipe, a German automaton (inspired by the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in Munich), a Deutsche Dogge pet, a unique bird bath deco, an additional “Edelmann” title (and even more rewards if you are a Founder-era or Royal Founder-era backer)!


Pledges with property (Ancestor and above) represent 12% of all backers (up 2% from May 2015 report) and 70% of all pledge revenue (up 7% from May 2015 report). Pledges without property represent 88% of all backers and 30% of pledge revenue.

And this final table shows the current number of Player Owned Towns that have been purchased thru Jun 16, 2016. A total of 310 towns have been sold, up from 202 reported in May 2015. Of these 310 towns, only 230 have direct Overland Map access, and the remaining 80 towns are linked to other POTs or to NPC towns.

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Rustic Dragon Teases HoBLARP: The Hearth of Britannia Live Action Role Play System Thu, 16 Jun 2016 18:45:05 +0000

Rustic Dragon has been teasing this — across his various social media accounts.

There’s not much there at the moment, apart from the Hearth of Britannia logo and the following bit of text:

The Hearth of Britannia Live Action Role Play System
-= Coming Soon =-

Rustic has made elaborate LARP play part of all three Hearth of Britannia HoBLotH events, so it would seem that he has devised a framework for conducting LARP — with, presumably, a bit of an Ultima flavour –that he’ll soon be sharing with us.

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Ultima Online: Publish 93 Updates; June Newsletter Thu, 16 Jun 2016 16:47:10 +0000

A week or so ago, Broadsword Online Games made some updates to Publish 93, the latest batch of new content for Ultima Online:

The issue stopping players from subbing their accounts  as they would normally is now resolved!

Update to the account center:

We still do not have the issue resolved but for the time being you are able to us paypal or buy game time codes from Origin to apply to the account center .   The EA cards are also another source for payment until we can get this issue resolved.

Additionally, the in-game store — probably the most significant new feature introduced in Publish 93 — saw some changes:

Due to a few critical issues with the in-game store we have changed the rules to the following:

  • You can only access the in-game store at a safe log out location such as an Inn or your house ( using the skill Camping is not considered a safe log out location).
  • Players will no longer be able to access the in-game store if the have recently been in combat

As well, the latest Ultima Online newsletter was released today. It’s a bit shorter than usual, but it does contain a bit of information about Publish 94:

With Publish 93 out the door we are working hard on Publish 94, which focuses on Halloween and Ultima Online’s 19th Anniversary! We’re continuing the tradition for anniversary gifts (Hint: 19 years is the bronze year). We’re also including an option for a new potted plant which comes in 15 different colors!

We will be making some improvements to the Ultima Store and making a few additions. Items will be rotated in and out of the store so please keep an eye on the featured section of the Ultima Store for the latest additions!

We are also fixing several bugs with the store, crashes, and in game problems that are causing several issues for our players and Customer Service.

All items from the last contest has been mailed so stay tuned for the next contest we will be doing.

Everyone have a safe and fun summer and don’t forget to come see us at the next Developer Meet & Greet on June 27, 2016 at 4pm ET on Europa!

Publish 94 will, of course, also add various bits of Halloween-themed content to the game:

We are excited to focus on several popular Halloween themed content additions in Publish 94. We’ve got some new pumpkins that can be collected if you are courageous enough to take on the vicious pumpkin patch Grimms. The Butchers will once again spawn in the cemeteries across Britannia so you can collect carving kits to carve one of two new designs, as well as all the existing carved pumpkin designs. We’ve added several new treats to the Trick or Treating system (make sure you train up those beggars!) and we are pleased to announce the return of the Treasures of Doom event that will take place in a new dungeon, The Kotl City – the final unexplored corner of Eodon.

And you can see at the end there that the next Publish will also add a new area — a dungeon — to Eodon, as it has been realized in Ultima Online.

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Check Out Slegnor’s Ultima 1 Playthrough (In Progress) Thu, 16 Jun 2016 16:05:04 +0000

Slegnor, as you may recall, has been playing through Ultima 1 on his Twitch stream. However, he has also uploaded video of his first three Ultima 1 sessions to his YouTube profile.

Here’s the first:

Here’s the second:

And here’s the third:

Presumably, there will be more videos forthcoming.

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Check Out Andrew Cole’s Ultima Online Soundtrack Remixes Thu, 16 Jun 2016 14:37:07 +0000

Andrew Cole has created a number of remixes — ten in total — of music from the Ultima Online soundtrack. You can check them out in the player above, or hit up his SoundCloud profile.

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Voxel Quest: Another Update; Project to be Open Sourced Thu, 16 Jun 2016 03:47:58 +0000

Gavan Woolery has posted another update to the Voxel Quest website. It’s a mix of good news and bad news where the future of the project is concerned. Bad news first:

I have talked to some people (in the forums, email, and elsewhere) about the current status but otherwise apologize for the silence. Basically for the past month I have been busy hunting for jobs and doing associated prep work or tasks. I also tried to get VQ funded via other means (licensing) but that did not work out. I am moving on to a fulltime job, so I am deciding to cancel the Patreon (and I will refund everyone’s money here and elsewhere, of course). I don’t feel right taking money when I probably won’t have much time or energy to devote to the project.

…I will probably cancel my Patreon before the next pledge cycle so you don’t need to necessarily manage your pledge, it should be automatically canceled soon. The Patreon peaked at $450/month, which I am really surprised at, although I expressed concern with starting it in the first place and turns out those concerns were valid. I will also soon organize a method for refunds (both for Patreon and everything else). Any questions or concerns, as usual, do not hesitate to contact me. Again, my goal is to keep everyone happy so let me know what I can do in that respect.

In other words, it looks like work on Voxel Quest will be coming, more or less, to a halt. Out of that, however, there is some good news:

The good news is that I am making all of Voxel Quest fully open source (MIT or similar, every iteration of the engine will be available), and I am doing a little bit of work to make things ready for this (I am even attempting to buy rights to the sprite sheet that Voxel Quest uses, which is a 3rd party asset). Stay tuned for more on this. I can’t express how thankful I am that you chose to support me, and I hope that the years of work I put into VQ and all its source will be a small token of my gratitude.

I am not fully abandoning VQ – I will attempt to provide as much support as I reasonably can to help people understand the source, and I will also probably chip in on the github repository every so often. But overall I will not be making great strides in the short term. I am hoping that someone can eventually make a commercial product with it, and that might kick up interest a bit.

Okay, maybe not quite to a complete halt; it will be good to see the project up on GitHub. Still, for as promising and ambitious a project as Voxel Quest was, it’s kind of sad to see it end up in these circumstances.

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LRUMP: Map of Buccaneer’s Den Wed, 15 Jun 2016 19:38:55 +0000

Slashing Dragon found some time, recently, to have another go at his long-dormant Low Resolution Ultima Maps Project (LRUMP), inspired by his time at the recent HoBLotH event:

LRUMP is back! I created another map, based on the events of the latest Hearth of Britannia event.

For this one I based myself on U4 Bucaneer’s Den, increased the scale by 3X, and then used the map of Castleton as Buccaneer’s Den, made by Rustic Dragon for the event. You can find the source files at the LRUMP repo.

This detailed map of the isle depicts the combat between the forces of Lord British and Lord Blackthorn in the Northern Fortress, as well as the town of Buccaneer’s Den (also known by the locals as “Castleton”), the ruined shrine, the dungeon, and many other features including Lord’s British mansion on the isle.

You can find a full-resolution image of the map here.

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Slashing Dragon Releases EXODUS, a Virtual Dungeon Simulator Wed, 15 Jun 2016 15:31:07 +0000

Slashing Dragon set himself a rather interesting challenge in the month or so prior to his attending the recent HoBLotH event:

…I wanted to create a program that would emulate an environment for people to explore in real life.

My initial design was for a round space with 5 interconnected rooms, the program would generate a room layout telling the party what rooms they could move to, and it would be seamless (no levels). I also thought a lot on the best way to represent it, even wondering if I should use some sort of devices on each room for player input, and some kind of lights to represent the room exits.

The idea continued evolving, in the end I went for something much more practical: a bigger open space where the party could move in the four cardinal directions from room to room, and there would be a mobile app handled by a Game Master, which would guide the group through the dungeon.

And after testing his ideas with some friends, Slash brought this new dungeon simulator — which he opted to name EXODUS — with him to Austin, Texas:

I continued working on it, flew to Austin for the event and ran 4 games there. Happily, the players liked it quite a bit and even on-site I continued doing some tweaks. In between flights and some time after coming back home, I polished the user experience so anyone could use it.

During the event, I was able to test both full party sessions and also one on one (2 players), even did a test without Game Master (i.e. the Game Master acting as Dungeon Dweller). It worked pretty nice.

EXODUS is available for Android; an iOS version is evidently in the works as well. There’s also a manual for it, in case you’re curious how to make it work for your LARP group. There’s also a landing page for EXODUS at the Slashware Interactive website.

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