August 26 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 08-25-17

Greetings Fellow Avatars! On my own again this week as Lord Baldrith is celebrating!
Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

  • Game Development
  • Making of Crooked Shank (cont.) 16:20
  • New Norgard Garments (cont.) 18:38
  • Magic Tricks!
  • News Announcements 20:45
  • R45 Postmortem Mini-Telethon – Sep. 6 22:55
  • Portalarium is Hiring: Web Developer 27:50
  • Free Trial Test #5 Ends on Aug. 30! 30:00
  • QA Server Access Now Open to All Players 30:37
  • Shroud at PAX Dev 36:08
  • Shroud at Dragon Con 36:41
  • Weekend Flash Sale: Elves 37:58
  • Community Updates
  • Upcoming Events Calendar 38:47
  • Community Trailer Contest Winners Announced! 40:10
  • Livestream: Exploring Longfall Woods 43:50
  • Spotlight: Arx Draconis Player Town 45:00
  • Event: August’s RPOTA Monthly Writing Contest 52:24
  • Resources: Players Helping Players 54:04
  • Recommended Project to Support: Denis Loubet Patreon 55:00

August 24 2017

A Humbling and Hasty Departure – by Elgarion – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with another wonderful story from Elgarion, entitled
A Humbling and Hasty Departure
This story continues the adventures of Elbyon, ranger of Kahli, and follows the story ‘Trapped Between Bone and a Hard Place’
Background music by Smartsound.


I awoke from nightmares, immediately fading from memory, my soul still quaking from their mind-spinning ways. However, not being a child, I did not dwell upon them, nor did I bore my hosts with their details, if even I could recount them. As intent as I was before this night’s rest, I resumed my ambitions to escape the predicament I currently faced; this trap I found myself entangled within, I would be free of it.

As such, I initiated my morning routine. To an onlooker, it might appear as if I, a seasoned ranger, had performed these tasks as a daily ritual for many years. Within a matter of minutes, my bedroll was stowed, my body nourished and relieved, my teeth cleaned, my sundries packed, and boots donned. I ignored the merchants rudely that morning, sadly. Something of which I was ashamed. Without glancing to them for as much as a smile, inwardly sneering at their cowardice, I gathered my bow and sword, and strode eastward. But with only ten paces between us, I stopped in my tracks. A small pang of guilt influenced better manners, thankfully, but would only partly diminish my later regret. Turning, I shed my hood to reveal my hardened features and a subtle smile. Bowing to the merchants, I stated, ‘My evening companions, you were most kind to share your fire. I thank you for your generosity. I pray the gods grant you the courage and the fortitude to leave this canyon. However, it may be best to meet a fate with sword in hand, rather than to cower in the shadows. But alas, I am only one man, whose opinion matters little. Fare thee well, traveling merchants.’ Oddly, they gave no reply. Two merely stared westward longingly, dreaming of re-entering the Hidden Vale, no doubt. The other, organized his measly wares as if expecting customers at any moment.

Then, a shiver overtook me like never before. My knees went weak and my balance was lost for a moment. Regaining my composure, I focused upon the cause. A stunning sight that I’d never laid eyes upon before left me completely in awe. An ebony black shard of Daedalus hovered above the campsite. Evidently, the dark monstrosity had floated above me all through the darkness of the night. Wicked chains of enchanted black Obsidian steel restrained the shard from setting adrift. As I gazed into its dull gloss, I could not see yet could sense my darker half glaring back, eyes bent with hate, a visage twisted with absolute anger. This stone meant me harm. Perhaps if I had stared upon it for too long, I would harm myself? Others undeservedly? I am uncertain.

One thing for certain, if I had not lost my balance and fallen to my bottom, dropping my bow, and scraping my wrist against an outcropping of rock, my true awareness of my surroundings might never have returned. Quickly standing again, quivering with uncontrollable fright, my bow now again in hand, I turned away with reckless abandon, the merchants and the wicked stone now thankfully behind me. I was completely unnerved, rattled to the bone. As my distance from that site lengthened, I again took notice of the forgotten and repulsive hum which had been present throughout the eve. A mind numbing buzzing, deep and eternally humbling. With each step away from the campsite, the shard, the sound lessened and my composure increasingly returned. Only then did my night terrors completely drift from memory.

Foul magics were at work, here. I shun them. I despise those who’d weave such spells. Those of the dark robes I suspect, and I pray they are not amidst the dangers ahead. That is not a rallying cry for my intent to destroy them. It is but a wish, a cowardly hope for my own safety. And to think, I just scorned these merchants, hiding in the shadows, as I timidly stumbled away. Shame. Shame upon me, and I wonder to their fate, these Traveling Merchants as I shall always call them. I pray they find escape, for it will not be I that returns to save them. I will never face that vile stone again.

Uneasy, I continued. I made my best attempts to shrug off the affects of the shard, to dismiss my cowardice as humility, for certainly everyone meets their better. To assume one’s superiority over all others is arrogance. I accept that I was afraid for my life. I fled. I met my better, the creation of a foul wizard. It was something I cannot explain or even fully understand. I cannot be to blame for responding in such a way, or at least, that is what I told myself. For the guilt remains to this day, and even now it pains me that I will not return to offer assistance to these canyon dwellers.

With the sun already prominent in the sky, a ranger never dallies if expecting to cover significant ground during the light of day. In fact, the days are short in New Britannia, or so I’ve overheard; oft I endure the whines of Avatars, complaining of such unavoidable absolutes. Perhaps on their world, they are raised to complain about the unavoidable. Or perhaps they are accustomed to having more control of their surroundings, I do not know. But in New Britannia, if one’s adventures take them to the out of doors in the eve, additional dangers may abound. So surely, Kahli is no different, and if these myths are not exaggerated, travel might be doubly perilous at night’s fall.

Therefore, I thought it best that each day, my explorations would be brief and concise. For half the day, I would explore. The other half? I would seek shelter for that night’s safe respite, annotate my findings, and plan my next day’s journey. If I stick to this plan, certainly, it would be only a matter of days, perhaps a week, before I discover a safe exit from these vile lands. And albeit, there is comfort in routine, especially when one seeks to maximize a day’s use, one must also be wary if complacency were to intrude. For if my cautious nature were to wane as my confidence in my surroundings embolden, that is when I would lose my footing, feel a snakes venom within my veins, take a blade to my backside, or fall into a pit of spikes. At times like these, I wish I were not so devoted to my solitary livelihood. Perhaps, sometime in my future, I must seek a traveling companion. Two sets of watchful eyes are better than one. Most assuredly. Usually. Well, perhaps not. But my inclinations for a life in the wilds, alone, is a story for another time.

As the twists and turns of the canyon made for labored progress, I was eventually struck by an apparent oddness. The path ahead was direfully overgrown. Brambles and thorns, aplenty. Being a veteran to the outdoors, my machete was instinctfully and quickly in hand to clear away the brush. But my readiness with the blade did not shed light upon the quandary which rattled my nerve. Adding to the moment’s oddness, I began to speak softly to myself, ‘Why is this path so overgrown? Surely with daily jaunts into Kahli to gather water, the merchants would have worn a way. Surely.’ I shrugged, and attempted to dismiss distracting thoughts of the unordinary, the merchants, the stone, the overgrown path, but to no avail. Perhaps they spoke of another route. The canyon was complex, after all, and I might have missed a possible turn to another source of water. Certainly that must be it. Determined, I continued, hacking at dried brush, just as much to reveal the path as to relieve my frustrations. ‘A ranger, trapped in the wilds. Indeed!’ I spoke again to myself, this time with volume enough to cause echo along the canyon walls. ‘Ahhh, and this be thrice now I’ve spoken with myself today. Is the Madness of Kahli already creeping in? Does the foul stone still pluck at my mind, or does this merely suggest, yet again, that I am in need of company.” In foul mood, I worked my blade dull, but with each swing and strike, my mind relaxed.

Hours of hacking, slashing, and chopping yielded little way forward through the vegetation, but upon a turn and another slice through decaying foliage, a purplish light cast upon me. The light was magical, and likely somewhat illuminating during the night hours, but the luminance was sickly at best during the day. When I cast the last branch aside, a curtain opened before me, revealing a stage set for a horrific scene. If it were not midday, I might have lurched backward, for the direness would certainly have multiplied in the deceitful shadows of the night. But with much light to overpower the violet hues of the Obsidian lamp, still powered by waning, centuries old magic, the scene’s dramatic effect was greatly lessened. I was thankful for this. I stood quietly, captivated for minutes, allowing the dire imagery to consume my soul.

A ruin, ancient indeed, likely remains of Kahli from before the Great Cataclysm. A maze of stone walls, arches, and stairs stood meekly before me, only hinting at the grand shapes they once formed. At one time, I might have been greeted by a fanfare of street performers and barking merchants, but now the rubble was only a sad reminder of man’s mortality. The stones of the walls were crumbling to the ground, rightfully returning to the earth from which they were claimed. And amongst the ruins, were the dead. Not of the walking variety, or so I had hoped. Skeletons lay about, frozen into peculiar positions, as if posed. Five, to be exact. And one, the foremost, was reaching towards me. Or perhaps it was grasping at what it most desired, the canyon to my back, Kahli’s only known exit. I must discover another exit. I simply must.

Taking precaution not to utter these words aloud, as I did not wish to give merit to the rumors of Kahli’s disease-like madness, and certainly a fourth episode of self-conversation might prove just that, I considered, ‘Posed. Posed to ward off trespassers, no doubt. Certainly there can be nothing more to this, such an obvious attempt to frighten travelers. Primitive tribes put the heads of their enemies upon spikes to ward off the unwanted. This is nothing more than that. Nothing more.’ Assuring myself, feeling more confident, I readied my bow and stepped surefooted, ascending the short staircase into the Ruins of Kahli. It was there, that I met Elgarion. And it was there, that my life would take on a new purpose. But alas, the night grows late, and I must rest my hand to write another day.

August 19 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 08-18-17

Hi Everyone! Here is the news of the week!

  • Making of Crooked Shank (3:35)
  • New Norgard Garments (cont.) (13:50)
  • Middle Downs Sneak Peek Video (18:30)
  • R44 Postmortem Missed Questions Answered (20:00)
  • Portalarium is Hiring: Web Developer (27:44)
  • Free Trial Test #5 (Aug 9-30) is Now Live! (31:41)
  • gamescom devcom Panels Announced (33:44)
  • Shroud at PAX Dev (37:08)
  • Shroud at Dragon Con! (37:50)
  • Weekend Flash Sale: Rent (39:16)
  • Upcoming Events Calendar (42:17)
  • Community Trailer Contest Ends Aug. 22! (43:05)
  • Spotlight: Lake Cusabo Player Town (44:29)
  • Events: BMC Crafting Fair and Kaz Phoenixfyre Welcome Home Roast (52:26)
  • Resources: Players Helping Players (55:25)
  • Recommended Project to Support: Underworld Ascendant (56:17)

August 11 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 08-11-17

Hi Everyone! Here is the news of the week!

  • Making of Longfall Woods (14:10)
  • Making of South Paladis Scenes: Middle Downs and South Broken Road (cont) (17:50)
  • Post Episode 1 Content Plan – Initial Draft (24:50)
  • R44 Postmortem Mini-Telethon Results (43:12)
  • SeedInvest Campaign Success! (44:12)
  • Status and Priority of Pledge Rewards & Kickstarter Stretch Goals (44:50)
  • Update on Pre-Placed Keep & Castle Lot Walls (49:30)
  • Portalarium is Hiring: Sound Designer (53:50)
  • Free Trial Test #5 (Aug 9-30) is Now Live! (56:50)
  • DragonCon Schedule: Yet Even More Panels Announced! (57:35)
  • PAX Dev Schedule is Live! (1:00:00)
  • Shroud In the News: Massively Overpowered Needs Advice (1:00:45)
  • Weekend Flash Sale: SyndCon, Dragons, and Hot Tubs Oh My! (1:01:55)
  • Upcoming Events Calendar (1:04:50)
  • Community Trailer Ends Soon! Deadline Extended (1:06:50)
  • Livestream: Etceter Revisited with Scottie (1:08:10)
  • Event: Trials of the Avatar PVP Tournament (1:09:25)
  • Resources: Players Helping Players (1:10:30)
  • Recommended Project to Support: Crowfall (1:11:00)

August 10 2017

Trapped Between Bone and a Dark Place – by Elgarion – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with a great story from Elgarion, entitled
Trapped Between Bone and a Dark Place
A Memoir shared by Elbyon, The Ranger of Kahli
Background music by Smartsound

With the skeletons of Ravensmoor closing in upon me, I had no choice. Kahli. Certainly the rumors of peril arising from this land could not be so true, and most assuredly, could not compare to my impending doom by skeletal hand. Holding my panicked breath as if plunging into frigid waters, I ducked into the darkened canyon, descending through twists and turns akin to a maze. Even the undead dared not to follow. What have I done?

But ahead, a glimmer of light brought me hope. Approaching, there be three disheveled merchants, forlorn, all but emaciated, and with only a paltry amount of supplies for trade. An odd hum permeated the night air, deep, nearly imperceptible. I could feel the emanation within my lungs, inflicting somewhat labored breath. The source of this mind numbing vibration, I was uncertain nor did I afford much attention to its point of origin. For before me, stood three greater oddities. Survivors of the perils of Kahli.

“Traveler! Come, quickly, to the light of our fire! The night here… it becomes too dark. Do not become lost in that madness ahead.” A short pause of thoughtfulness provoked a question, “Are, are they gone? The walking bones? Can we finally leave?” implored the raggedy banker, long since away from her comforts and riches.

The second merchant mumbled despairingly, “No. Our traveler friend here has refreshed the guard. Bringing more undead to the canyon’s entrance. We are still trapped. Trapped between most certain death and most certain madness. This gateway between two wicked worlds is our home. But, I apologize… come by the fire and warm yourself. Do not venture further until the light of day, if you even dare to do so at the sun’s rise.”

As I was contemplating acceptance and after an uncomfortably long pause, “I cannot bear this much longer,” the third merchant whimpered, adorned more in filth than clothing. I gazed sadly upon the meager amount of wares strewn about his feet, magical in nature, components so dry a mere breeze would bring them to dust. “Aye… it has been too long. Months. A year? The vermin here are all that sustain us. At the brightest light of noon, one of us only then will dare to fetch water ahead, but the drawer of the shortest straw returns quickly. The ruins of Old Kahli are ghostly. Ghastly. The dragon’s bones emanate strongly with Artenius’ Sorrow.”

The three merchants then resumed sitting positions by the fire, returning to their nightly routine of hushed whispers and roasted rabbit. “At least our visitor brings fresh stories if not fresh rations? What is your tale, oh traveler? Might you sing words of enheartening legend for our beleaguered souls?”

Smiling softly, I attempted to dismiss worry and accepted their kind invitation of refuge, albeit foreboding. As my tale began, the legend of Kahli grew. For my words became a part of Kahli’s story, echoing softly in the canyon and into the distant peaks. With a centuries long hunger for new song and rhyme, Kahli devoured my tale as it might, one day, my being.

In time, could Kahli be as it was so many centuries ago? Alive and splendid with art and beauty? Could my tale be the first of many new tales to grace this land? Or is this canyon my new home? These merchants, my new brethren? Am I now trapped between worlds, never to see the light again except on my day to fetch the water? I think not. Tomorrow, I will journey forth, and make claim to my courage and perhaps even to these lands. I will face the dangers ahead, surefooted, strong of mind, arrow nocked! I shall not linger and wither away as these fools! Tomorrow, the mysteries of Kahli shall be revealed to me! A ranger, trapped within a mere canyon, indeed!

August 5 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 08-04-17

Hello Avatars! Lord Baldrith was attacked by a power outage this week, so I’m here alone again! Here is the news of the week – I hope you are enjoying R44.
If you want to find specific items in the podcast, the times are listed next to the headings.

  • The Latest Game Progress
  • Etceter Polish (cont.) 7:30
  • New Norgard Garments (cont.) 20:00
  • Making of South Paladis Scenes: Middle Downs and South Broken Road 22:25
  • News Announcements
  • Travian Games Partnership 27:50
  • Portalarium is Hiring: Sound Designer 39:00
  • R44 Postmortem Mini-Telethon Aug 7! 41:30
  • Free Trial Test #5: Aug 9 – 30th 46:25
  • DragonCon Schedule: More Panels Announced! 47:25
  • PAX Dev Schedule Update: Starr’s Crowdfunding Panel 50:10
  • Shroud In the News: Ideate TV, VentureBeat 51:15
  • Weekend Flash Sale: Elven, Clockwork, and More! 57:25
  • SeedInvest: Minimum Exceeded! Last Chance to Invest! 54:30
  • Community Updates
  • Upcoming Events Calendar 58:25
  • ‘Welcome to New Britannia’ Community Trailer Contest 1:00:00
  • Livestream: Celebrating Release 44 1:02:05
  • Events: RPOTA’s August Writing Contest and Mad Hatter’s LAN Party 1:03:05
  • Resources: Players Helping Players 1:06:10
  • Recommended Project to Support: Out of the Woods 1:06:45