November 24 2017

Echoes from the Caverns 11-24-17

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

Game Development

  • Armor of Truth Full Set
  • The Making of East Longfall Wetland
  • Norgard Barbarians
  • New Maps Added: Blood River Outskirts & Solace Bridge Outskirts

News Announcements

  • 2017 Spooky Items & Crown Bonus Extended to Dec. 1
  • R47 Postmortem Missed Questions
  • Reminder: Release 48 Postmortem Telethon – Dec.1
  • Survey: Your Shroud of the Avatar General Experience
  • BrightLocker’s Crowd Equity Campaign Shroud of the Avatar Perks
  • Community Wellness with the Meretz Fitness App
  • Harvest Weekend Sale
  • New Free Trial Begins! Runs thru Dec. 13
  • Livestream: Artifacts & Virtue Gear
  • Upcoming Events Calendar

Community Updates

  • Spotlight: New Fawn – Player Owned Town
  • AERIE Fund Dev Crafting Competition & Charity Auction
  • Contest: The Avatar’s Guide to Knowledge and Virtue
  • Party: Portalarium Studio Grand Holiday Party – Jan. 12
  • Resources: Players Helping Players
  • Recommended Project to Support: Town of Salem’s The Savior of Salem

November 23 2017

The Pilgrimage of Virtue 1 – by Olthadir – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with a wonderful new story from Olthadir, entitled
The Pilgrimage of Virtue
Background music by Smartsound

Chapter 1, “Prologue and Introductions”
When we left Owl’s Head the sun was already high enough overhead to start descending. I doubt we would make it very far today. The plan was to go to Brittany. We only got to Kingsport.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. There are nine of us and a good majority of us are not used to travelling. We ended up leaving Owl’s Head much later than I expected. I was at the Fire Lotus Tavern at sun up.
Hours of slow walking later and we arrive in Kingsport just after nightfall. And I am foolishly staying up, writing down the first days journey by candlelight in the inn.
Truly, I should begin with what the journey is about other than the ravings of a tired and impatient traveller.
This entire endeavour – called a ‘pilgrimage’ by some – really began about a week ago in Fire Lotus Tavern. The talk going around was about the large quantity of Outlanders entering our lands. We discussed who they were, where they came from and why they were here. Some of us were pleased, thankful even. Businesses were booming, we had more coin coming in than usual. Work was good. For some, business was too good, they couldn’t keep up with the new demand. Others were driven out of business by powerful Outworlders who seemingly could work through the night.
As we spoke and drank more the conversation became more and more heated. These Outlanders were called Outlanders because they don’t really belong here. They don’t understand Novia like a Novian. If they are here to help, why are they causing so much trouble for a lot of us?
Don’t get me wrong, we do need help. The world is in trouble. Whatever madness caused the moon to shatter and end the Obsidian Empire hasn’t just disappeared and left. We all know that. Lord British knows that – Outlander that he is. He supposedly saved other worlds before coming here. If you believe that, that is your own problem.
The reality is he is here and he has a very large following and there are hundreds if not thousands of Outlanders in Novia. So, what are we going to do?
A few drinks later, we considered our situation.
First, Lord British’s plan to help isn’t all that bad. We all agreed that the virtues he was describing were all well and good. We could not find immediate fault in them.
The major issue, however, is the huge amount of Outlanders rushing into Novia ‘helping’ us.
Lord British’s virtues are easy enough to understand. They would take long to really enact and follow. But the fact that Outlanders have been brought, or called, whatever you believe, is downright insulting. Why can’t we figure them out ourselves and save our own land?
That was the beginning of this pilgrimage. Nine Novians decided to travel our home land, learning all we can about Lord British’s virtues. We intend to show that we Novians can care for ourselves and do not need Outlanders to save us.
We intend to become Avatars.

For posterity sake, I suppose I should describe out ragtag group.
We were organized by the individuals who solidified our intent and brought us together: the Smith, the Cook and the Elder.
The Elder is the reason we took nearly more than a day to get from Owl’s Head to Kingsport. He will be the reason for a good deal of delays, I’m sure. As much as I cursed him today I would wager that we wouldn’t be a group of pilgrims actually going on this pilgrimage if it wasn’t for him. He was the main voice in going out into Novia and exploring the Virtues.
I’d guess the Elder is nearing a hundred. He is nearly toothless and has hair only on the back of his head. He walks with a cane and has a very pronounced limp.
The Smith is a tall muscular woman with blonde hair. She is quite a powerful looking person and has an equally powerful voice. She is determined to learn what she can about the virtues – especially to learn if the Virtues are an Outlander plan to subjugate Novians. She is so determined to learn the truth that she left her business to do so.
The Cook is a short, thin man who used to work at the Fire Lotus Tavern. He has short brown hair and a plain, forgettable face. He would often leave the kitchen and listen to the conversation we were having. He quit his job shortly after talk of this pilgrimage began to materialize. I’m sure the tavern doesn’t miss him, he spent more time with us than at his post.
He is a wonderful listener who intently listened to all of us speak. That said, he was the first of us to agree to come along. Maybe he just really wanted out of Owl’s Head.
The rest of us agreed over the next few days – some more reluctantly than others. When the Cook quit we all figured he did so only to sit and listen to us, but when the Smith sold her forge we knew this was serious. The Elder then started calling our trip a pilgrimage.
The Tailor agreed the next day. It wasn’t all that surprising that he agreed. He was a rich man who owned a large business. He wasn’t originally from Owl’s Head, or the Hidden Vale like most of us. He never said where he was from. He only told us that his clothes would sell for quite the amount of coin. We all just nodded. He didn’t look rich, he could be making it all up. He wore the same clothes as everyone else. He didn’t even act rich. But considering he was at the Tavern every time I came in he must have had a lot of coin to spend – or be seriously in debt.
The Soldier was the next to agree. He is a medium sized man of little words. He has a black moustache he carefully grooms and a mop of black hair. I feel like he joined for no other reason than just to protect us. After the Tailor agreed to come along all the Soldier did was say he was coming, drank some more ale, crossed his arms and that was that. He hasn’t said much since. Honestly, I am very surprised he came along.
The next day, I figured we would see the same people in the tavern, maybe less the Tailor or the Elder and never speak again of this pilgrimage. But as soon as the Farmer came in, she said she was coming along. She sold all her land and livestock that morning. I since asked her why she should do such a thing. Her reply was simply that the pilgrimage sounded interesting. I asked her what she thought would happen to her lands and she shrugged and smiled. She is a young woman, red haired and red cheeked. She is plain, homely, as if she was born of the earth itself.
As we discussed the weather over some soup the Scholar – who always sat near to us with an open book and pen – said she was coming along as well. I was especially shocked at this slight, nondescript woman wanting to join. I suppose it was her chance to fill out a book or something. A way to find fame or something. Not that I am one to talk.
The last one to join was the Sailor. He joined a full day later, before we even realized we would need such a companion. We were all discussing our routes, sitting around a map of Novia when the Sailor placed his mug on the table and said he would come along, free of charge – as if money had anything to do with our fools errand. He was a round man, devoid of any hair, save his eyebrows and a long braid coming from his chin.
I asked him why he wanted to come along and he simply said that he had been all over Novia – seen many ports, talked to various kinds of people, but never had heard of such a good reason to go anywhere as he did these past few days.
Sitting here and writing this now I do realize how silly we all were, the nine of us at the Fire Lotus Tavern. Our grand plan to go to Novia proper and learn of the Virtues. But, this is us, the Pilgrims of Virtue who left Owl’s Head, and are about to leave the Hidden Vale, to explore an Outlander’s plan to save us Novians from ourselves and our past.

November 18 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 11-17-17

Hi Everyone! Here is the news of the week! Hope you are enjoying Release 48!

  • Play Release 48 Now!
  • Winter 2017 and R47 Telethon Items
  • Release 48 Postmortem Telethon – Dec.1
  • Release 48 Major Artifact Changes Clarifications
  • Survey: Your Shroud of the Avatar Gameplay Experience
  • BrightLocker’s Crowd Equity Campaign Shroud of the Avatar Perks
  • Community Wellness with the Meretz Fitness App
  • Cyber Monday Crown Bonus Continues
  • Russian Version Launch Sale Week 3: Home and Outdoor Decorations
  • Livestream: Scottie’s Yuletide Gifts
  • R47 Lot Deed Raffle Winners
  • Upcoming Events Calendar
  • Contest: The Avatar’s Guide to Knowledge and Virtue
  • Party: Portalarium Studio Grand Holiday Party – Jan. 12
  • Event: R48 Welcome Quest in Veritas Sanctuary
  • Resources: Players Helping Players
  • Recommended Project to Support: Underworld Ascendant

November 11 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 11-10-17

Hi Everyone! Here is the news of the week!

  • Armors of Courage and Love (Full Sets)
  • Scottie’s Yuletide Objects of 2017 (cont)
  • Winter 2017 and R46 Telethon Items (cont)
  • Movember Bundle Additions
  • Community Wellness with the Meretz Fitness App
  • Release 48 Major Artifact Changes Reminder
  • UO 20th Postmortem at GDC 2018 + Care & Feeding of Wild Fansites Video
  • Portalarium at SXSW 2018
  • Free Trial Test – Nov. 1-15
  • Cyber Monday Crown Bonus Continues
  • Russian Version Launch Sale Week 2: Homes & Basements
  • Upcoming Events Calendar
  • Event: Bare Knuckle Brawl
  • Extra Life – Virtue vs Chaos – Results!
  • WANTED! The Hispaniola Treasure Map Hunt
  • Resources: Players Helping Players
  • Recommended Project to Support: Shadow’s Kiss Vampire MMO

November 9 2017

Virtue’s Forge – ch 11 – by Ulf Berht – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with another chapter in this great story by Ulf Berht, entitled
Virtue’s Forge
Background music by Smartsound

Chapter 11, “The Climb”

Cook pointed toward distant sand-colored hills. “This is as close to the Sequanna Colossus as we dare venture. The place is infested with well-armed bandits ready to split any one they can catch.”

“Why there?” asked Merlin.

“There have been whispers of ruins lost to the shifting sands, buried treasure, and Obsidian secrets. Lurking behind every boulder are unnaturally huge corpions whose ancestors, some say, carried Obsidian warriors into battle. A very dangerous place, to be sure.”

Kaia packed away her navigation equipment and showed her map to Merlin, Abrams, and Cook. “This is our current position, far off any marked trail. We must go here,” she said, pointing to another spot on the map. “We must be into the Northern Barrens before sunset tomorrow. Get some water into your bellies, gents, then we must get underway. Remember, voices low and no fires tonight.”

The long walk, much of it in silence, provided Merlin with ample time to reflect upon his situation.

People see what they expect to see and believe what they have been told to believe, he thought. They see miracles in the mundane and fail to see the miraculous. Are we truly seeking to rescue Ulf, to save him from a gruesome fate at the hands of an old enemy, or are we just playing along until an opportunity arises to enact secret agendas? Sunstones, as described by Kaia, must be incredibly powerful. The mere presence of one in this world has put in motion plans and events beyond my understanding. Ulf is here because of one. I am here because of one. Ancient enemies vie for one, and enigmatic adventurers seek to meddle in the outcome. Without a doubt, my return to Avalon rests with my acquisition of this stone. I loved Nianne but she betrayed me, and now she is free to manipulate King Arthur for her own ends. Once it is in her hands, will Kaia part with it? I must have that stone at all costs and return to Avalon before the witch corrupts the young king.

“Three Palms Oasis,” Cook announced, pointing to a miserable cluster of palms and struggling green shrubs. “Our rendezvous. There is plenty of water, but we must dig for it.”

“Excellent,” said Kaia. “There is plenty of time to get to the top before sunset. We can rest for an hour before Cook and I begin the climb. Merlin, you may join or wait with Abrams, as you wish.”

“Climb? Climb what,” asked a bewildered Merlin.

“Why, that tiny pile of stone over there,” she said with a grin.

Merlin took a glance at the nearby towering mesa. “We scurried through this inhospitable place for two days, hurrying to recover my friend, and now you will take time for a climb? What madness is this?”

“It will be time well spent. Atop yon rock we have a friend who will give us an accurate accounting of the comings and goings from Desolis. We will come to know whether Ulf is indeed held inside or is still in transit. Besides, if what Cook tells me is true, there is a panoramic view second to none in all Novia. You may wait here with Abrams. We will be back tomorrow before noon and continue our quest. The choice is yours, but I must have this intelligence.”

“I will join you, if only to keep abreast the truth. I fear there is much more afoot than the comfort of one man.”

“You are not a simple man, Merlin but while you are at risk for capture, there is much I cannot reveal. The simple truth is that Outlanders operating outside of the Oracle’s ken and in the hands of the Obsidian Cabal present an intolerable risk.”

“Aspirations of acquiring the Sunstone do not influence your actions then?” challenged Merlin.

“The Sunstone is Ulf’s. I have no plan to own it,” said Kaia looking straight into Merlin’s eyes.

“Enough chatter. We must be at the summit before nightfall. Pack only food and water for the climb—and warm clothes. We will find adequate accommodations at the top. Cook, outline the route for us.”

“There is but one route to the top and it is not easy. On the west face of the mesa, we must first find and scramble up a rock scree. The crumbled broken rock is loose and easily set into motion, so it may take several attempts before we reach the actual cliff face. Once we are all on the ledge, we are faced with a difficult northeasterly traverse until we reach the gap between the two peaks. In my youth, it took me many tries before I successfully made it up both peaks, including the taller easterly one.”

“There we have it. Cook leads, Merlin in the middle, and I bring up the rear. Let’s get underway.”

As predicted by Cook, getting up the broken rock proved very difficult, but persistence paid off. After several attempts, the trio achieved the ledge. The traverse was not difficult in spite of the steep drop to the desert floor. They carefully made their way along the ledge to the large flat area between the mesa peaks.

“My agent will not leave his post until darkness obscures the desert below, so we have several hours to wait. Until then, feel free to accompany Cook. He has a particular interest in planetary movements and their influence upon this wretched globe, “ said Kaia.

“Indeed,” said Cook. “Cabalists are known to time their raids and sieges according to celestial events. I have observations to make that will aid those defending settlements. Are you with me Merlin?”

Again Cook proved to be an exemplary guide. The duo was atop the peak within an hour, and the entire western half of Novia was laid out before them. Due west, Cook pointed out the fiery glow of the Hilt in the Blackblade Mountains, the placid blue of Lake Equitas, and the sweeping light of Elad’s Lighthouse. In the north, Spindrift Bay and the glow from the newly risen volcano of Blood Bay could be seen. Above them, the whole of the night sky was unblocked by anything, no buildings or trees or mountains, just sky.

“There is much I could teach you, Merlin, and even more to learn. But duty calls. We must descend.” Cook said, packing away his astrolabe. “The Captain will grow impatient if we dally any longer. These torches will light our path.”

No one waited at their departures spot, and Merlin feared some misadventure or abandonment had occurred. Then he made out an entrance to a cavern. “This was not here earlier,” he said. Cook merely grunted and indicated that they should enter.

Captain Kaia could be seen crouched near a small fire, seemingly talking to no one. The pair approached the fire. Suddenly, what Merlin had taken for boulders resolved themselves into a gigantic being, daintily munching on what must be the carcass of an entire sheep.

“Ahh, Merlin. I’d like you to meet Bently. He is an ogre, my spy I told you about. Have no fear. He only harms outlanders who deserve it.”

November 4 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 11-03-17

Hi Everyone! Here is the news of the week!

  • New Low-level Mines
  • Truth, Love, and Courage Armor
  • Scottie’s Yuletide Objects of 2017
  • Winter 2017 and R46 Telethon Items
  • R47 Postmortem Telethon Results
  • Movember: Moustache of the Avatar
  • UO 20th Postmortem at GDC 2018
  • Portalarium at SXSW 2018
  • Free Trial Test – Nov. 1-15
  • Cyber Monday Crown Bonus Continues
  • Russian Version Launch Sale Week 1: Wearables and Property Deeds
  • Upcoming Events Calendar
  • Halloween Contest Winners!
  • Extra Life Charity Livestreams This Saturday, Nov. 4!
  • WANTED! The Hispaniola Treasure Map Hunt
  • Resources: Players Helping Players
  • Recommended Project to Support: Wasteland 3