December 25 2017

Keeping up with Shroud of the Avatar, It’s Community, and It’s Developers in the News

It’s about that time again when I toss out some little blurbs and links to things that may be of interest to the Shroud of the Avatar community!

A fun article over here in Which Richard Garriott practices the virtue of Forgiveness.

Lord British pardons long-ago piracy of Ultima 6 – Polygon

You will also find Richard Garriott over here.
Game development leaders optimistic about state of things in Austin

As well as over here, and if you follow the space stuff at all this is one I highly recommend reading. Great article!
Space Tech Oddity: An Astronaut, VC And Space Writer Discuss Space Exploration


Unfortunately, that’s all I have saved in the article box at this time! All three are great pieces of the man behind the game!


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December 24 2017

Ultima Auction Spotlight – Runestones and Maps


Something you won’t see up for sale by themselves very often is the Runestones from Ultima Underworld. I know this particularly well as I am missing just a single rune from my set and have been watching for just some misc runes for years!

This is a nice auction in that it has the stones, the bag, a couple of maps, and even comes with a cool box to hold it all! At the current minimum bid, the math works out to make this a reasonably fair purchase in my opinion. Sadly for me, I need one little rune out of all of that, so for me, it’s not a great buy unless I had the money to invest in some duplicates. For someone that needs the rest? Go for it!!

The Ankh box is cool too, even if not an official Ultima item!.

Ultima Map Runes Stone Box (5, 7, Underworld) | eBay


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December 22 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 12-22-17 – Echoes from the Caverns

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

Game Development

  • Making of Yew
  • Map System Updates
  • Wild Boars
  • R48 Telethon Items (cont)
  • New Movember Items (cont)

News Announcements

  • R49 Postmortem Telethon
  • New Free Trial Began This Week!
  • Job Opening: Office Admin / Executive Assistant
  • Party: Portalarium Studio Grand Holiday Party – Jan. 12
  • Weekend Flash Sale: Winter Holidays
  • Upcoming Events Calendar

Community Updates

  • AERIE Fund Dev Crafting Competition & Charity Auction Results
  • Contest: The New Britannia Carolers Creative Writing Contest
  • Contest: The Avatar’s Guide to Knowledge and Virtue: Weekly Winners!
  • Recommended Project to Support: Denis Loubet Patreon
  • Resources: Players Helping Players

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December 21 2017

The Pilgrimage of Virtue 3 – by Olthadir – narrated by Asclepius – Echoes from the Caverns

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with the next chapter in this wonderful story by Olthadur, entitled
The Pilgrimage of Virtue
Background music by Smartsound

Chapter 3, “Brittany to Nightshade Pass”
Docking was a long process. Longer than I care to remember. We had to wait our turn amid at least twenty boats in Spindrift Bay outside Brittany. We had to wait for some boats to leave and for our ship to be given permission to dock. When we finally disembarked we were thankful to be able to stand on solid, unmoving ground.

Brittany is huge. Larger than I expected. I could tell that many of us felt the same upon seeing it. I fear we would have gotten lost if we didn’t have the Tailor to guide us. We went to an inn, a crowded building whose name I couldn’t see. It had old, hard beds in it. It was not a comfortable sleep, but it was better than sleeping in the hold of the ship.

The next morning, we gathered in the common area of the inn. We were all very happy, bright and excited. This was the first real day of our pilgrimage.

We all sat at a long table and ordered breakfast. Some, like the Tailor looked comfortable in this busy place, while the Farmer and Scholar looked very out of place – even slightly frightened.

As time went on, the mood changed. Everyone started to warm up to our surroundings on a full stomach.

“What is our plan?” the Elder asked, sipping his third cup of tea,

Everyone looked shocked, surprised and even embarrassed. Here we were, in Brittany without a next step forward.

“Don’t you have a plan?” the Cook asked?

“Did I? When did I say I had a plan? I suggested we go on a pilgrimage, yes, but a plan…” he trailed off with a rough chuckle.

“Where are we going to go next? We are here in Novia proper. What Virtue should we seek first?” the Scholar said.

“Courage or Love,” the Sailor said, “Their cities are closest. Truth is too far, we would have to travel through one of the first two to get to the Truth’s city.”

“The city of Courage is Resolute, west of here, in South Paladis. The city of Love, Ardoris is south. Far south,” the Tailor said.

There was some discussion – philosophical and practical. Some argued a preferential order, others spiritual. Eventually, practicality won over all else.

“It would be easiest to go to Resolute, then Aerie, then Ardoris. Most roads, easiest travel,” the Tailor said.

We had a map at this point, stained now with tea, beer and grease from our meals. Yes, meals. We spoke through lunch, too. There were stubborn members of our group who needed an extraordinary amount of convincing.

After more discussion, we finally agreed on the Tailor’s path. Tomorrow we would head west to Nightshade Pass and into Resolute to see the City of Courage.

There were arguments that went on through the remainder of the day. Some were saying that we could go further, others saying that we could only go halfway to the pass. Expertise in travel versus experience. I stayed out of it and others did too. We were pilgrims, but we never were in agreement. I hope we would be soon.

It still felt like a vacation, though. All that had happened was a trip on a boat and a stay in an inn. We talked, argued, drank, laughed and ate more. It was a vacation and not really a pilgrimage yet.

I wondered what exactly would happen. Would we all be together when we left Ardoris at the end of our pilgrimage? Would some of us get frustrated, angry, or even perish along the way? The Elder already slowed us down; he was old. He never told us just how old, but I would say he is probably eighty years old, if not a good-looking ninety.

I feel like we are off to a rough start. It took us a day to agree on a path for the pilgrimage. And we were already a few days into our pilgrimage. Would we last all the way through Ardoris? Maybe it was foolish.

What is keeping us on this fool’s trek?

I can only speak for myself. I plan on remaining through to the end, if only to record the events. I may end up being the only one to remain, writing how and when we all parted ways.

I hope not. I hope we succeed even in just the journey and not the pilgrimage.

We left Brittany early in the morning. The sun was still young in the sky. It seemed that we all were anxious and excited to travel.

The road was very pleasant. It was well-maintained and well-travelled. It felt safe as it was populated by travellers and traders. We travelled quickly down the road, even the Elder seemingly picking up his pace. Maybe he wasn’t as old as I thought.

“We were in Brittany, why didn’t we try to speak to Lord British?” the Smith asked.

“He wouldn’t see us,” the Cook said.

“Why not? I don’t hear of many going on a pilgrimage of virtue,” the Scholar said.

“There are the Avatars,” the Elder added.

“Lord British is more than a leader of a new philosophy. He is like a king, trying to bring order to the land,” the Farmer said. “Maybe he would be too busy.”

“He might have heard what we were doing and given us a carriage, or something to assist us in our journey,” the Sailor suggested.

“Like an escort,” the Tailor added. The Soldier snorted at that.

“We don’t need anything,” the Farmer replied, “we have each other, the road and the virtues to guide us. This is how we will learn about the virtues.”

She was right. We were silent as we walked after that. Either pondering her last point or silenced by it. I must admit, though, that I agreed with the Smith; it would have been nice to see, speak and be acknowledged by Lord British.

The land we travelled through was green, fertile and calm as we travelled south. We passed many towns and communities that surrounded Brittany. As we kept south, black cragged mountains came into view. The sun climbed higher in the sky and the mountains continued to grow, and began to look more menacing. The Tailor called them the Blackblade Mountains.

We traded stories about the mountains, mostly hearsay. The Tailor remained quiet, shaking his head at some of the more outrageous tales.

We turned west and began to see the pass, our destination.

“That doesn’t look like much of a pass,” the Scholar said, surprised.

“What did you expect?” the Elder said. They usually walked together.

“A space between mountains. That is what they are defined as.”

The Elder smiled softly and shook his head. “No, no. Well, yes it is, but it is not an easy space. There is a path, mostly uphill. There is a lake up there too, a rather beautiful one. And water does do wonders to the rocks. It is beautiful.”

The Scholar pondered this.

“A pass is a pass, but not all passes are the same,” the Elder said.

A few hours later we stopped at the foot of the mountains and started to make camp. It was eerily dark, so we had a large fire made to bring us light and warmth before our climb tomorrow.

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December 15 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 12-15-17 – Echoes from the Caverns

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

  • Play Release 49 Now!
  • R48 Telethon Items
  • New Movember Items
    News Announcements
  • Q1 2018 Schedule and Candidate Launch Date
  • R48 Postmortem Missed Questions
  • Pledge Reward Replacements
  • R48 Lot Deed Raffle Winners
  • Job Opening: Office Admin / Executive Assistant
  • Party: Portalarium Studio Grand Holiday Party – Jan. 12
  • Upcoming Events Calendar
    Community Updates
  • R49 Dance Party: Special Guest DJ Darkstarr
  • Spotlight: Festival – Player Owned Town
  • AERIE Fund Dev Crafting Competition & Charity Auction
  • Contest: The New Britannia Carolers Creative Writing Contest
  • Contest: The Avatar’s Guide to Knowledge and Virtue: Weekly Winners!
  • Recommended Project to Support: Town of Salem’s The Savior of Salem
  • Resources: Players Helping Players

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December 9 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 12-08-17 – Echoes from the Caverns

Hi Everyone! Hope everyone is enjoying the game! Here is the update for this week:

Game Development

  • The Making of East Longfall Wetland
  • The Making of Elysium Mines (cont.)
  • Soltown Inn Remodel

News Announcements

  • Make a Difference: 2017 Charitable Giving Report
  • Free Trial (aka Visitor System) Updates
  • R49 on QA Server
  • BrightLocker’s Crowd Equity Campaign Shroud of the Avatar Perks
  • Community Wellness with the Meretz Fitness App
  • Weekend Flash Sale: Cozy Up by the Fire
  • Upcoming Events Calendar

Community Updates

  • R49 Dance Party: Special Guest DJ Darkstarr
  • Spotlight: Whyte Roc – Player Owned Town
  • AERIE Fund Dev Crafting Competition & Charity Auction
  • Contest: The Avatar’s Guide to Knowledge and Virtue: 1st Weekly Winners!
  • Party: Portalarium Studio Grand Holiday Party – Jan. 12
  • Resources: Players Helping Players
  • Recommended Project to Support: The Saga of Lucimia MMORPG

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December 8 2017

New Sword Dice In Stock At Caveloot.com and We Launched a Patreon for Dice

Our customized Sword die has turned out to be a top seller for us, and we recently began to run low on stock. We can’t let that happen! So we promptly ordered some restock. Now one of the things that can happen, and did in this case, is the original … Continue reading

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December 7 2017

Some Changes You May Not Have Noticed and Some More Just Made to the CDB Site

This is one of those bookkeeping posts, to update you about some going on’s here at The Caverns, Dungeons, and Beyond you may not be in the loop on.

THERES SOME FUN STUFF THOUGH! So You may want to at least skim down all the way, instead of just closing your tab 🙂

A little while back I shut down the Caverns, Dungeons, and Beyond Patreon site. This was based on the decision that the original output and creations I was doing had declined. I no longer felt Patron worthy of that project!

I then put everything on a basic hold while I regrouped and put new things into place.

-Nothing is changing with this Blog. I will continue to produce the content you have seen me producing!!!
-The funding meter for this site has been removed. The majority of the funding came through the Patreon.
-Donations are certainly still appreciated to help costs, but funding is no longer tracked.
-I removed the Sponsors page since there is no longer an ongoing sponsor/patron program in place.
-The Donation page has been cleaned up to reflect the changes.
-I do have a new Patreon and while funds raised through that, indirectly help pay the bills here, it has it’s own focus, goals, and rewards unrelated to this site. So you can continue to support the Caverns, Dungeons, and Beyond either by being a Patron on our other project or by one time donations. Of course, purchasing through Caveloot.com also helps!

That’s the breakdown!


So what is your new Patreon doing? DICE!

in which a percentage of sales will fund further projects, creating a continual return on investment

The New Patreon is designed around creating customized dice, in which patrons will have opportunities to participate in different dice customization projects, at varying levels of input depending on the project. They also are rewarded with free dice, discounts, options to buy into stock orders, and even funding group projects in which a percentage of sales will fund further projects, creating a continual return on investment, in terms of free to a low-cost product, for long-term Patrons!

If you want to learn more about it, head on over. Take a look at the about page, the goals, and of course the rewards! Would love to get you signed up, and right now is the best time. I am doing sort of a soft launch to get things situated, give time for previous Patron’s to drop off, and make posts like this one.

Caveloot.com is creating Customized Dice | Patreon

Then with the start of the new year here in a few weeks, things will be getting into full swing! I even plan on launching the Patron, with a random gift drawing sometime after the first of 2018. This is NOT a reward, prize, or anything of that nature. It’s simply something I want to do, above and beyond any rewards to say thank you, celebrate the new Patron, and frankly because it’s just fun to do. There will be no charges associated with it, and even shipping will be covered.

Not interested in signing up as a Patron but like the idea of buying some customized dice, maybe as a Christmas gift?

Take one of our flyers! Patrons get opportunities to purchase customized dice at discounts at various levels, however Caveloot.com does also take orders with anyone to help them realize their customized dice project for their unique occasion, on a retail basis!


You still here? Wow!

Have a Movie!


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December 7 2017

Tabletop & PC Gamers both, Take Notice at Amazon Today!

Most of the time the Amazon deal’s of the day bore me. Every once in a while they do one that makes me take notice.

Today they decided to take money from gamers, and didn’t want to discriminate between the Tabletop and the Videogamer, from what I can see!

First off a large selection of Tabletop games at %40 off.
http://amzn.to/2zXZRns

Id like to spotlight a couple of recommendations, including one for my Shroud of the Avatar Readers!

including one for my Shroud of the Avatar Readers

Not everyone from the Shroud of the Avatar community was around this long, and I doubt many will remember the videos from the first Kickstarter days! During one of the videos of the early Kickstarter days the Dev team played this game, although perhaps not this version of it! I also carry “Are you a Werewolf” with me at convention booths when I vend for Caveloot.com, it’s a great game!

Takes a lot of people, but is fun, easy to do, and great for social gatherings. Try it at your next party! Now there’s an interesting tidbit about this. When the Dev’s where playing this, at one point Richard made a statement. Something about that statement, and dozens of other things that I knew about him, history, his game making, game interests, etc, all clicked, and it gave me a HUGE insight into the “super secret story” twists planned for Shroud!

I later had a chance to ask Richard about it, and I was fairly dead on. However as time has moved on, a lot of those plans have changed I know based on community feedback and game development. Unfortunately, since I still don’t know what peripherals of that story idea they plan on keeping are, I’ll continue to keep my promises about keeping my mouth shut about my guesses. It won’t be long until I can say what my original guesses where, and what some of the thoughts and Ideas had originally been talked about.

I have not personally played the board game version of this, but being the gamer I am my life is surrounded by both gamers and game developers, and I have heard nothing but good things from all of them!

It certainly looks awesome, and I know I have played the mobile game on IOS of the same theme, extensively. Grr.. in fact I see that happening again real soon now!

If you’re not familiar with the theme/title, you should be. It’s certainly been done in a lot of mediums!
http://amzn.to/2kqNw8q

Yay Cheap Ass Games! For those not familiar with Cheap Ass Games, that’s exactly what they did. They made Cheap Ass games, that you get the bare minimums really cheap to play a basic game.

Now personally, I prefer to pay more for my games, get cool things with it, and more importantly help support those developers in their industry!

I’m not the only person that feels that way and that’s why Cheap Ass Games took some of their more popular games and made nicer editions of them. This being one!

I haven’t played this in a while, but I do have their original version in my game room. A good friend of mine once gave me a present of a bunch of their games, in a nice binder, with cool accessories he put together shopping himself. A lot of good times have been had from that gift! Great Present!

WOW! This game has come a long way! I remnemebr when it first came out, and in fact I still have my first edition in the tiny little box it came in. I think I got the first expansion after that, which came with another 100 zombies or some such.

While I stopped investing into the game (which I am sure would not have been the case if I still gamed as much as I was once able to do), I have friends that have continued to pick up a lot of the expansions and things of that nature.

Bottom line, You will not go wrong with this game!!

If you want to make that gamer’s in your life Christmas this year, GET THIS! Open Gifts early, gather the family around and have an amazing day. Take a break for lunch and keep going, as no one is going to want to leave!


For you PC Gamers, they have some high end Gaming hardware up for sale today also!

http://amzn.to/2ADw2Kj

I have no strong reccomendations in this section, as I can’t reccomend equipment I have not used, and nothing in here is my exact equipment. For the most part my hardware is better (It’s amazing that a build I did 3 years ago has held its value as long as it has!), or the upgrade vs. cost just is not worth it!

If I had money just laying around though, this caught my attention and would be a nice upgrade. Id want to upgrade from my DDR3 ram to DDR4 with it though.

I’m REALLY surprised by the lack of any Video Cards in that selection today! On the other hand, a good thing, as that’s where I really need to do an upgrade! At the moment I can only window shop!


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December 7 2017

The Pilgrimage of Virtue 2 – by Olthadir – narrated by Asclepius – Echoes from the Caverns

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with the next chapter in this wonderful story by Olthadur, entitled
The Pilgrimage of Virtue
Background music by Smartsound

Chapter 2 – The Soldier’s Tale

It was cold on the ship. I spent the majority of the journey below decks and I was still cold. I wouldn’t have been able to write anything if it was just the temperature, but there was the rocking too. There was a fire, which helped keep us warm, but I thought it was folly. I was assured it wasn’t.
The journey was long – a lot longer than many of us thought. There was small talk, some excitement about reaching Novia proper. Nothing really happened until the Tailor spoke.
“This is going to be a long pilgrimage if we cannot find something to do with times like these,” he said.
There was agreement through the room.
“We need to do something to pass the time. As we are a diverse group, we need to come up with something that we can all partake in equally and fairly.”
There was then a long debate about what we would do – games, knitting, cooking – utterly ridiculous things too that I doubt the one who suggested them could do.
Finally, the Tailor said: “What about stories? We can all tell stories when we have a long leg of our pilgrimage. I think we will be on this ship for quite some time so why not start now?”
“What kind of story?” the Scholar asked.
“Well, we are on a pilgrimage of Virtue, why not stories of Virtue? We have all heard them, and probably have even experienced something that falls in line with the Virtues.”
“Like a fable or something?” the Farmer asked.
“Yes. Anything really. To pass the time and remain true to our pilgrimage.” the Tailor responded.
We were all agreed.
There was another long pause. We all began thinking of stories that would pass the time and fit with the theme of our pilgrimage. The Soldier came down to check on us. He sat and listened to our discussion as we searched for someone and something to talk about.
“You want to hear about Courage?” he said, his voice rougher than it usually was. The hold went silent.
“Everyone knows about war. They hear about it, read about it – some even dream about it. People travel to see great battlefields of past wars imagining the strategies and skill the generals had. Others imagine the individuals that stood on the ground, weapon in hand. They hope to imagine the thrill of battle, the desire to know you are defending something bigger than just you – a village or a way of life. Everyone always goes to battlefields after the battles are done. They should go before.
“I heard a story about a scout. He had been chosen to head out to locate the rumoured forces of his nation’s enemies. There was rumour of an attack, but no evidence. His nations armies would not be allowed to march unless there was evidence of a threat. This scout’s general was prudent and sent the scout out to find evidence instead of waiting to see if evidence showed up.
“You have to understand me, we are talking about rumour. Everyone was on edge. If they waited, they might be overrun. If they acted without threat, they may create a threat in neighbouring nations, or end the career of the general.
“When the scout asked where to go the general didn’t have a location. The enemies were in the east, so that was where the general suggested to go first. But the north had mountain passes they may try to go through. Or, if they had allies and money, they may come from the south via fleet.
” ‘I am only one scout, how can I go in three directions? If there is a threat to the north and I go south, I will fail,’ the scout said. He wanted allies.
” ‘If I send more scouts, our government will call me a warmonger looking for battle. They’d say I’m looking for trouble and stirring the pot. Our allies are trustworthy, I am told. But I cannot let the rumours breaking this trust go unheeded. I must act. You are the best scout in the nation. I am trusting you to make the right choice.’
“This was a great responsibility for the scout. He had the entire nation depending on him.
“He chose to head west. It was the most obvious entrance to his nation. He felt that if an attack came, it would come from there. He walked to the border, spoke to farmers, traders and travellers. There was no news of a muster or movements of a large force.
“The scout grew anxious. Either there was an attack coming from the north or south, or there was no need to worry. But he had to know for certain.
“He chose to go north next. He went to the mountain passes and watched, listened and waited. He grew more anxious. He feared he had chosen incorrectly and that the opposing force was already in his lands.
“He had a choice now, head back and suggest the attack could come from the south. It was the fastest, safest and easiest decision. The general would mobilize the army, head south and either be considered a hero, or declared a warmonger.
“It was an easy way, and he would defend his people, but he had a duty. He started to head south, to see with his own eyes if there was an invasion. If there was no invasion, his people were anxious for no reason. But he would have done his duty in either case.
“As he drew near to the coast he heard news of sightings of a large fleet. They had appeared this morning and were drawing near. They would arrive this evening. he had failed. The invaders were here and he had no idea of their numbers, composition or any weaknesses. He was still a day’s travel from the coast.
“The Scout came to the last town before the coast and showed his Royal Writ in the town square. He asked for the fastest horse and the strongest traveller. He promised them a wealthy payment from his own cache, then wrote it, signed it and sealed it with his personal seal, then sent them on their way.
” ‘Early warning at the least,’ he thought. But he needed to count the soldiers who landed, assess their numbers, equipment and supplies. He took another volunteer and went to the coast.
“The army he saw was large. He couldn’t see clearly as he was trying to hide himself and his companion behind a small hill. It was not an insurmountable problem, especially now that his first message would arrive.
“He needed to see clearly their number and composition, but he also knew he would be seen clearly if he tried. He turned to his companion, a middle aged woman. He told her his plan, to see the invading army and to have her report back at the capital.
“The scout stood tall atop the treeless hill, wearing the tabard of his order. He saw the numbers of his foes, he saw their composition and he saw their provisions. As he watched he told his companion everything even after he was spotted and shot by the sharpshooters. He fell saying what his companion must remember and write. She did, and fled as fast as she could.
“The invaders must have been placated in their kill as they did not go further. Or they did not see his companion.
“His companion made it to the general as the army was being mustered. She told the general what she heard the scout say and it changed the general’s battle plans. Needless to say, the land was protected by the valorous actions of this scout.”
The Soldier fell silent. The hold creaked and shifted. No one spoke. The Cook looked more puzzled than anyone, but didn’t say anything.
“You should all get rest,” the Soldier said, standing up and walking towards the stairs that led to the deck. “We will be docking in the morning, and who knows when we will stop next.”

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