July 22 2017

SotA Supplier Spotlight Contest for 1 Million Gold – Updates!

Hello everyone, just some quick updates on this contest which were initially posted on this Journal here:
SotA Crafting Contract Bid – Earn a 1 Million Gold Work Bid Bounty + An Article on This Blog! – Caverns, Dungeons, and Beyond

Please be sure to keep an eye on the forum posts here:
WTB Heavy Armor Gaiaism Set + other items – 1 million gold bounty + Blog article | Shroud of the Avatar Forum

I have added some additional information and clarification to this contest on the above forum link. Here is a copy of that information:


I realize that with the crafting system this means there is also a part luck factor. That’s a factor, and I think a good one as luck even applies in real life sometimes. It can be bypassed by making several pieces. this would mean you’re making more than i would be buying, but a good crafter is making and selling anyway and should be able to sell those on their vendors and to regular customers if they don’t want to rely on just luck, although I wouldn’t expect people to be trying multiple makes. I also figure someone crafting a lot would have things in stock to possibly choose from for this contest.

The idea here is to put a spotlight on resourcefulness, creativity, ability to come up with something for a difficult but large order, etc

We see all these contests taking place all the time. We know who the Best PvP’s are. We know the best fisherman, dancers, and radio shows. PvE’s, sellers, and all these other things. What about.. in a game supplier? Who can offer the best prices, the best equipment, the best recommendations, etc? It doesn’t even have to be a crafter. As a merchant myself, id be willing to bid for an order like this if I had things in inventory I could use to put together such an order, and I’d be willing to spend some time in game shopping around seeing what I could maybe put together at good prices for a profit. Or I might hit people on my contact list ive established business relations with and work with them.

So the idea is to pretend I’m the customer, and I sent you an order request. You can ask questions (just ask them publicly, so all people entering get the info). I’m offering you a million gold, and here’s what I want. I’m also coming across as easy to work with.. meaning.. if you do things little different here or there, I’m ok with it.. im relying on your expertise, to overcome my mistakes in saying what I want. In this particular instance though, you have competitors doing the same thing (I’m shopping around) – so who will make the best minor alterations, recommendations? Or have a little bit of luck streak that they come up with something a tad better? Or pounded out extras, or shopped for that one piece they weren’t getting how they wanted themselves, etc..

I would indicate, that this character will never be used for pvp, and only casual pve. He’s a merchant, crafter, hauler, and shopper, and that’s why I want his Strength to go as high as it can, and i want his movement boosted. I’ve had to carry as much as 14,000 weight with him before, although 500-1000 is more common. He’s also my crafter.. but i do want to take him out for casual PvE and want to start training his skills. I also want him to be able to do some of his own resource harvesting.

The goal is not to create equipment to go stand against the best fighters. its to create equipment that adds the best bonuses for lifting and speed… but, to use those same assets to their best extent possible, in combat as a secondary use. Additional stats on equipment can be used to help in combat and to boost his skills.


That is the operating in a budget part of this. I could have offered 2 million or even 5 (although i would have needed time to raise it, which is one reason i choose the 1 million amount.. I have it on me).

The main part to this though, are customers are going to have budgets. So the idea here is.. operate within that budget. I’m not asking anyone here to spend 3 million in resources to get a 1 million set of gear. I’m saying “whats the best you can do, towards what I want, for 1 million.. and that’s what you do”. Part of that will be based on your time, which can vary from person to person. How resourceful are they? How creative? efficient? lucky? there are all these factors that make one person stand out above others in their craft.

whos the best at that currently in this community? I’m trying to spotlight the style of player that i don’t think has had as much of a chance to stand out yet.

Also, I felt that blog article adds some value. I WILL spotlight every submission in the article, as well as the winner. I should have said that in the initial piece.

so I’ll do a more in depth piece of the winner as the focus.

the article will then have a summary area showing each entry, the scoring system I used, and the final score of each entry.

I feel the idea here is that this will help give the community a guide of who some of the best people are to contact this kind of work, and they’ll have a sort of portfolio of work to choose from.

What sort of value does this have for you in terms of marketing? You would have to decide that. At one time any blog post on SotA I did had an easy reach of 20K+ people, sometimes 100K. These days? I know it’s down, but I haven’t looked at my analytics in a long time. They aren’t important to me as I do what I do for enjoyment, and I did it when I had 5 views.:) I know it’s still a few thousand a week, most likely at least 10K.

An article like that will easily be 4-8 hours of work, maybe more. I felt it offered some marketing value and helps get this seen which is the idea.

I hope this helps a bit? I know I don’t always communicate the best, so I’ll continue to help to try to clarify anywhere I can.

I have had a few people let me know they are going to enter the contest and seem excited about it. I’ve had a couple pass along a thing or two they are doing that is very simple and creative, that made me smile. Overall I don’t have a feel for how much interest there is in this or how well it’s being received. It was an idea and can only see how it goes.:) Nothing but good intent meant though.

I hope it’s something all who participate in have fun with. More importantly, I hope to help spotlight some of the best suppliers in the community, to the community.

Also – Maybe the community may want to buy some of the sets that didn’t win? They would have the contact info to do so!

Category: Contests, Stile Teckel | Comments Off on SotA Supplier Spotlight Contest for 1 Million Gold – Updates!
January 25 2017

Geeks Can Craft In the Real World, Not Just In Video Games!

As an entrepreneur, you have to wear a lot of hats. As one with no emoployees, starting out, and an extremely tight budget you have to wear a lot of hats, you would rather just throw money at. Crafting is one of those I prefer to pay someone else to do but can step up when necessary.

Unfortunately, I had a necessary with my sword stands. From the first convention, I did the particle wood started stripping on the screws, splitting the wood, and causing the displays to come apart.

Do not get me wrong. I stand behind these sword stands and in fact will be selling them in my store at some point in time. They function as they are made to. Right up until you try to haul them around, in and out of places, knocking them around, and so forth.

I have been getting by with them selling at conventions simply by putting them together and letting their structural framework support themselves. This was NOT going to work for much longer. With my financial limits and deadlines, I needed a fast solution.

I decided to rebuild these so that they could come apart and go back together, making transport easier. Additionally, so that they were less prone to the issues, I was having. Pinning them with Dowel rods being my immediate answer.

I would note, I was able to accomplish this entire project for under $12.00. This was because I had most of the materials I needed laying around in either my garage workshop or in my hobby workshop.

The first stage of the project was together supplies but more importantly, remove the TORTURE devices!

Next time I run a D&D campaign? Screw monsters. I am just going to give my party six boards with two razor sharp screws sticking out at a 90-degree angle at each end and tell them they have to carry them around with them. They think it a laugh until they have to start doing 1d4 damage… every 6 seconds.

As I type this post, the screws from that were removed five days ago. I am looking at both my hands and arms and seeing the final scabs still from scratches and puncture marks.


Next, I worked on repairing the existing pieces as well as wood putty’ing up some of the nicks. Keep in mind I am more worried about functionality and less pain at this point then cosmetic. I put a little time into cosmetic simply because I was working on the project but overall it was my lower concern.

The wood putty looks bad in these photos but due to my time limits, to avoid multiple layers (doing it right), I tried to sculpt a fairly basic single layer with the intent of then sand’ing it down the next day. This worked for the most part, except that the putty was just taking to long to fully dry and so to speed stuff up I had to sacrifice loosing it in a few places and moving on with the sanding.

Once sanded I re-drilled the exisiting holes with my new hole size. That being appropriate to the dowel rod diameter I made my pegs out of.

Once that was all done I gave everything a few shots of black spray paint I found lurking in the form of a few partial spray cans in the basement. Sanded down the dowel rods a tiny bit using a Dremel sander to slide into each other properly.

I Decided I wanted the stands to stand out a bit more as well as help advertise. So the only place I spent some money was on some lettering which you will see in the final photos in a moment.

The result is I am now able to assemble and dissemble VERY carefully for travel. I mention no more damage being taken from the evil screws?

Here’s the downside, and it’s a big one! Those wooden pegs are going to be incredibly easy to break. The moment of potential is when assembling and dissembling. I will be careful and get as much use out of them as I can. Unfortunately, I know I will be earning some more crafting EXP on those again in the future. The GM is just waiting for me to roll a fumble and SNAP!

The solution? Once this has happened in a couple of places, I’ll get a bag of the appropriate size metal dowel pins. This will obviously also get the project done at an extremely low cost.

Finally, I wanted to come up with a travel solution.

Protecting the pegs was not hard, just a piece of tape and some bubble wrap. I’ll get some long strips of velcro one wrap when I have a little but in the funds for it, and will switch to that instead of the pieces of tape in the future. That is assuming I just do not switch to metal pegs instead and skip the velcro.

Rather than having all these pieces loose and being a lot to move around, I dug through the house a bit and found the perfect travel solution. While a bit heavy, this Army Travel bag my grandfather used in WWII will be perfect. How great is that? Not the first time and I am sure not the last time I repurpose this bag.

This concludes crafting training.

Category: Stile Teckel, The Caverns Store | Comments Off on Geeks Can Craft In the Real World, Not Just In Video Games!
January 4 2017

General Updates From the Game Master

Hello everyone, yes I am still here! I was thinking about the fact I have not gotten many words out in the last couple of weeks and decided it was time for one of my rare updates!

First for those of you who follow the Ultima Auction spotlight’s, and other auction types I do on occasion. No worries! I just honestly haven’t seen much of anything that’s felt worthwhile.

I guess the Holidays have slowed down auction postings by people, much like my vendor sales in Shroud of the Avatar have died. Which (shameless plug) by the way, all have full sets of

crafting stations just for starters!

Back to updates…

If you missed it I lost my regular employment on 12/23/2016 (company lay off), and I have been preparing Caveloot.com, one of my businesses selling LARP, Cosplay, and Gaming (board, card, RPG) to begin traveling and selling at conventions.

I will spare you with the details as to why it’s taking me weeks of working 120+ hours to get prepared! I begin going on the road in two days (*winces wondering how he’ll wrap up that quickly*)! Currently, I am working on getting my transportation ready for travel this weekend. My next two days will be consumed with almost nothing else, before going on the road Friday. While a lot looks done, I have barely gotten started!

So when will I be paying more attention to the blog? SOON!

I actually received a subscription box today that I will be trying to do a review on in the next few days.

I definitely need to write-up another Neon Milk Lyric review (or rather finish the one I have started).

Beyond that, I have several articles saved I hope to be getting back to soon!

So that’s the short version of the current news as it stands, and as always I am still here and hope to get back to regularly scheduled blabbering soon!

Category: Stile Teckel | Comments Off on General Updates From the Game Master
November 5 2016

Should MMORPG Developers Draw Inspiration from LITRPG?

LITRPG stands for Literature or Literary (varies from person to person), Role Play Game. The most prolific example of this type of work would be Ready Player One by Earnest Cline.

In fact, while this article is not about Shroud of the Avatar, the developers of that game did, in fact, work with Ernest Cline somewhat and using some inspiration from him and Ready Player One put some elements in the game. This is how Row Housing came about.

If you go further back in time with the same company, Portalarium, they also worked with Ernest Cline during the beta stages of one of their games “Ultimate Garage Sale Collector.” While that particular game did not work out, I do remember taking place in the game elements that revolved around a Ready Play One Contest.

Reading Ready Player One myself lead me to my interest in the LITRPG genre. When I say I have read a lot of it, believe me, I have read a LOT. From horrible to amazing I have read just about anything I could get my hands on while the market catches up with me from time to time.

I recently started “Ascend Online” which I am enjoying enough I am willing to say “yeah, go read this.” I can tell it’s going to be fantastic even though I am only midway through the first book.

It is important to understand that the LITRPG genre has a broad range of styles in the genre. The primary theme, of course, is that the feel of the book, in some way, is as if the characters are playing an MMORPG game.

This can vary from only a character perspective, story and plot tone, and scene is presented so as to create the feel that the characters are in some video game. Here is a prime example of that style.

Alternatively and more commonly, the characters themselves are playing a video game, and know they are doing so. This can be from a low level of VR technology all the way up to brain transference and any other number of things in between.

So as I have read and continue to read this genre I have found myself concluding that the books I often enjoy the most, often present game mechanics and gameplay that make me feel like I would enjoy the hell out of the game!

This leads me to wonder how much inspiration developers may get from the LITRPG genre and if they even try to utilize that opportunity. Keep in mind, the LITRPG had only recently broken ground and gained a lot of popularity. Books are coming out now at extremely fast rates by authors being able to self-publish them. It would be very understandable for this to be an untapped resource.

It would be impossible to pursue them all, but putting the biggest sellers on your reading list and pulling inspiration from what people “like” seems like a solid development resource.

So I say yes, most definitely. I think it is reasonable that developers should keep eyes on some of the novels from this genre as a resource for improving their games. I also feel caution has to be taken though as programming and computers are not capable of all that the imagination can provide, and so realistic inspiration is necessary!

Ankh Quill

October 23 2016

Keeping up with Shroud of the Avatar… and Stile Teckel

Hello everyone,

Wow have I been busy! I know many of you by this point are wondering if I fell off the face of the earth and do not care to talk to you anymore.

Where are the Subscription box reviews? Ultima Auction Spotlights?! The movie and book recommendations? The Shroud articles, geek articles, and occasional ramblings? Are you abbonding us??

If you are asking any of these questions I say unto thee, please, allow me some time, and all will come back!

To use the term that is being employed by my employer, I am being “Displaced” at my 9-5 job. The result of this is that I will no longer have my steady employment after Christmas. I do get some severance benefits and getting some unemployment benefits will not be an issue. After working for a company for eleven years I feel no shame in taking a few months of benefits that are meant to be used in exactly this sort of situation so as not to destroy my life.


Don’t forget we take donations!

I find it unlikely I will be hired for any full-time employment with anyone as I have plans, I am not ready to share yet taking place in 2018. It is, therefore, my intent that if necessary, by the time unemployment runs out I am ready to become self-employed. My business is on the verge of being able to do that for me, should I take it full time. There are things I need to do to get it there, and that is why you have not been seeing a lot of me.


Until my regular 9-5 “displacement” takes place, I will still try to get some articles out here and there, but they will be very limited. Once that ends and I have more time to be able to work that into my days, the majority of everything I do will pick up again.


Ultima Auction spotlights will be rarer than they used to be, but only in that I am going to focus on things that are fascinating, unique, rare, etc.. and avoid the more typical stuff.

I would love to work on a new project or two on this site. I don’t want to promise to much as I am still going to need to do a lot for my business to try to pay the bills but I hope to stop working until 10pm+ every day and have a bit more time for some other things.

Been a while since I have done anything new here but I do not have any specific ideas at the moment, so if you have something, share!!

For now, though, while I do have quite a few Shroud of the Avatar articles I want to get out for that part of my reader base until I can get to that; why don’t you pop up a huge bucket of popcorn and let Markee Dragon show you some things are done?

Also if you haven’t caught it catch the Shroud of the Avatar Panel from Dragon Con 2016!

What’s that? An Encore? More Video? You have Popcorn left?

Here’s a Post Mortum for Release 34!

Ankh Quill

May 22 2016

Let’s Recap That

So, if you missed it, it was my Birthday this weekend, and hence, the giveaway I did and all that.

What you may not have seen unless you follow me on Twitter, is that this happened. Thank you, Recap Band!

Direct link on Instagram:

(Love you guys, but don’t think this means you can misbehave. I am still watching!!)

March 25 2016

General Status Update

If you follow me at all you know that for almost a week to go by without many pieces is a bit unusual yet also not a reason to worry, it happens.

Wow, has it been a rough week! Had a day at work that I didn’t get out until 11 PM! At this point, I haven’t had a night with 8 hours of sleep in a couple of days. I would love to grab more than that tonight but am grateful I will be able to catch 8. Have some plans tomorrow.

The plan is to catch up, at least, some things this weekend and I have a few articles I need or want to do. So unless something beyond my knowledge comes up, you should see some things coming out of The Caves!!

In the meantime, I will leave you with this!

Someone knew I liked Shooter Jenning’s Countach Limited Edition Shirt and was kind enough to get me one. Not only a fan of the art and the shirt, but I love the way the Wayfarer’s came out on the thing as I happen to be a fan of them. Own a pair I ended up getting for about 25.00 a while back (new, long story involving a lot of credits and a cyber sale).

So decided to model for you!

February 17 2016

Sorry for the quiet!

Sorry for the quiet everyone. Working some massive hours at my 9-5 this week. Have several drafts I started I was unable to get out and I have an amazingly huge number of pieces in my “to work on” folders.

Hopefully lot’s of great stuff this weekend, if I am not able to get anything out prior to that.

Thank you for your understanding! 3rd week of the month is always rough for Stile Teckel 🙁

Ankh Quill

February 10 2016

Interview with Sir Stile Teckel

I recently did a piece pointing to a newer article that The Vortex Lama had done.

What I (obviously) knew about and have been giving it a little time to circulate, before I point it also.. Is that The Vortex Lama also put me in the Hall of Fame! Wow! That’s a serious honor to be given and my thanks go out to The Vortex Lama.

It’s been a long time since I updated this site with a new interview, but I wish to add today to my particular “Hall of Fame” to Sir Stile Teckel, noble warrant of the Order of New Britain Empire (ONBE), dugeon master of thecaverns.net, where Lord Baldrith, first member of my Hall of Fame, share his voice in the podcasts. Well, a nice guy.

So, welcome to the new season of the llama mini inverviews!

It has to be discouraging rebooting a site and trying to bring everyone back and get the word out. So pass it along, go over and read a few things, and tell everyone The Caverns sent you!

You can catch the interview over here.


February 6 2016

Help! I am being invaded!

I normally like to post pieces with recommendations, geek news, and other personal blurbs of things I am interested in or want to promote at the bottom of posts that are being put out for SotA news.

In short, I try to put the stuff you may not be interested in at the bottom of my posts where you can ignore it if you want to. I pretend that no one one does and that you all find it utterly awesome stuff and please don’t mess with my fantasy and tell me otherwise!

I am going to break that rule this time and I hope my regular SotA only readers forgive me. The reason is, I do not have any news pieces at the moment and this personal blurb has a timer attached to it.

One because the prices are all over on ebay and I expect the items to not be seen much at some point since they ARE limited edition.

Secondly because I want to un-save my saved searches on it. Which would make doing the article more of a pain later, so… deal with it (I don’t mean that! Don’t leave me!).

Right, getting to the point… SPACE INVADERS!!

As you can see they came out of someone’s Atari 2600 and are coming to get me through my computer!!!


This item was an exclusive in the January Loot Crate. The first game I ever played on a monitor (or TV) was Space Invaders which I had gotten on an Atari 2600 when it was new. Yes, I could play the shit outta that game and flip the score many times! No, I wouldn’t want to try today so I hope these guys are more friendly then I remember them to be. Otherwise I may regret having them come back into my life on one of my current monitors!

The nostalgia combined with the coolness factor of these items; oh and toss in a dash of they fit on my monitor that had nothing else on it, perfectly, made me want more of them! I jumped on Ebay RIGHT away and got them very cheap compared to what they are doing now (so an investment also, right? I kept the boxes!).

Here’s a couple of auction links if you want one!

Loot Crate Exclusive Space Invaders Vinyl Figure Orange Yellow Variant

NEW SPACE INVADERS mini vinyl figure Atari RARE EXCLUSIVE HOT Loot Crate

One of these days I am going to 3D print the UFO from the game, paint it, and hang it from the ceiling above those guys.

If anyone has the ability to do that for me (I can paint it), and its not to costly, let me know!