February 13 2016

Thank you to Rick/Elgarion of RPOTA.COM from The Caverns!

It’s exciting for me to be able to do a post expressing my thanks to one of The Sponsors of The Caverns!

Elgarion of RPOTA.com recently signed up on Patreon to help support The Caverns! Without support of this nature I honestly would be in a lot of trouble both with my credit card company and my wife. Every dollar adds up and I appreciate what anyone can do!

I definitely want to talk a bit more about Elgarion and RPOTA beyond that though as the generosity certainly does not end there. If you haven’t been to or at least heard of the RPOTA.COM website, I would be very surpised. They have been featured multiple times in the weekly official Portalarium update for Shroud of the Avatar and they have a gorgeous website!


RPOTA stands for Role-Players of the Avatar. Or to translate that for those that may not understand it would mean for the person playing who is role playing a character. A place for stories, artwork, and more that the players can share in a community of people with similar interests.

They also cover in game role-play events, quests, videos, you name it! If you are a Role-Player you want to be involved in this group. Even if you aren’t they have a vast amount of information that any player will find useful so be sure to bookmark them. Here is a bit about them in their own words.

RPOTA, ROLE-PLAYERS of the AVATAR, is a social environment featuring a robust RP database which allows SOTA role-players a vehicle to connect with other like-minded individuals. Here, you will find a creative outlet for story writing and adventure creation. We are a community which feeds your desire to be someone else… a crazed barbarian, a cunning scoundrel, maybe a quirky wizard or perhaps a mysterious assassin. There are no limits here as to what character you can explore since we allow for any role-player or role-playing guild to join us from Shroud of the Avatar. Below are some spotlighted features at RPOTA.COM!

Thier support in the community is continual. Whether it’s events, quests, or collaborating with other groups they truly are always involved and trying to offer something.

Now one of my favorite things that they do and that I have been a fan of for a while now, is their monthly contest(s) in which they give away a 170.00 in Shroud of the Avatar store credit in addition to a grand prize of custom art from Tortoise and Hare Creations! So they are not only giving cool prizes to the community, supporting and promoting the game, but are also helping the game and others in the community.

Being a Patreon supporter of Tortoise and Hare myself, I love to see them doing this every month! Be sure to partake in their contests and get an opportunity at some of these great prizes yourself.

RPOTA Contest

Elgarion had also seen that Asclepius, Lord Baldrith, and myself were poking around a bit more and asking authors to please submit work to Echoes of The Caverns to be turned into podcasts. It’s very hard for just a couple of us to monitor thousands of posts and users for individual pieces of fan fiction and then also reach out for permissions and we were (and still are!) asking for the writers to please, please just send it to us and make life easy!

Collaborating with Echoes From the Caverns he coded and even put it into place on the Echoes site for us, cross-connection to the writers on RPOTA in terms of making it easy for them to submit stories for podcasting. If that’s not going above and beyond to lend a hand in the community I am not sure what is!

I always love the opportunity cross-collaborate with other people and groups and this has been a great experience so far. I hope we have more opportunities in the future and if you stop by their site, tell them The Caverns sent you!

Ankh Quill

January 25 2016

Ultima Auction Spotlight – Caverns of Callisto / & A Stereo review for a Hippie

Ok, don’t hate me if you saw the title and you thought this was for the full game. It’s just an advertisement page shared with an Ultima III.

1983 Caverns of Callisto & Exodus Ultima III Origin Systems computer game vi

Just! Hah! I mean, the first Ultima Stile Teckel played (3) and a game that start out with the name Caverns? I am VERY tempted to break my no spending rule for this one! On the other hand it is not the first time I have seen it and I am sure it will come around again when my financial situation is better.

So instead of me adding this to my wall I am passing it onto you! Buy it now of 6.47 with reasonable shipping. Has the option to make an offer. Send them an offer for 5.00 and I’m guessing you will be framing it soon. Start with 4.50 though and let them counter you with 5.00. If they counter you with 5.50 counter them back with 5.00. Can’t just jump into these things, needs to be foreplay.

1983 Caverns of Callisto & Exodus Ultima III Origin Systems computer game vi

So this hippie I know and I where talking a while back about his stereo system. Specifically he was indicating at some point thinking about getting a nice system. Theater system for the tv, audio, the works.

This piece is for him! Perhaps you may find it of use as well.

Hippie and Bus from Barkbox 01-2016
(The hippie and bus compliments of my 01/2016 Barxbox!)

Several years back I had some extra cash one time and put some serious research time into home theater systems. I am sure many people out there that know much about pre-boxed “systems” are rolling their eyes right now as, yeah.. usually it does not take long before you are unhappy with many of them. Something usually ends up not being what you had hoped for.

That had happened to me one too many times. One system just didn’t have enough volume. Years later a newer one didn’t have a blue-ray play and no HDMI inputs.

Whatever the drawback, I wanted a GOOD system. I was ready and willing to piece it out the right way. Buy a reciever, speakers, everything separate. I didn’t really have QUITE that kind of budget so I went to work!!!

What I ended up zeroing in on was a bit more then I wanted to go at my budget. Onkyo had an all in one package that was 7.1 with a receiver for around 1200.00 retail. THX certified, the works. Reviews I read, while some negative, an overwhelming majority were positive. Many professionals were indicating that the receiver in the package was close to worth the price on its own. Overall they rated it to piecing out your own system in quality for around 1800-2200.00.

Between that, specifications, and when I found one on sale with an online stero company for 900.00 (with free set of stands, good wire, and delivery included). Well, I am still using it today many years later and LOVE it.

Here is the more current version of the same system by Onkyo. Looks like they have improved it, added more inputs, increased volume, better speakers and some other nice updates but have kept the retail about the same. I’m jealous of anyone getting one of these! Mines still too good to even considering upgrading for a LONG time yet!

Don’t forget the extras!

I do NOT recommend speaker stands. These speakers ARE SOLID. They weight a lot and cheap stands will not work. Ive ruined a set of the tall floor standing ones, and the wall ones couldn’t handle the weight. I ended up being happiest with all of them on the wall using the wall mount bracket built into the speakers.

I put my front center on a shelf I put on the wall for that purpose, with a layer of foam and cheese cloth under it so it does not rattle or move.

You do want to put them all at about head height though, whatever method you decide on! I recommend reading the guides it comes with on proper placement.. Then just do the best you can to get as close as possible, but adapt for your layout situations.

July 19 2015

Caverns Guild Gets a new home!

Hey just a personal piece of news but one I wanted to share (and I’m always willing to share piece like this for any guild (although I may require them to draft it all!). Really excited about this announcement as for a while it felt like this project was stalled and going nowhere!

So a month or three ago I decided I wanted to do something to show my appreciation to The Caverns Guild members. As a group we have come a LONG way since back when Itsaguild members merged with me and kickstarted a guild. The framework I had in place with a couple of members, sure! I did not however plan on doing much with it until close to E1. Suddenly it all was in full use! In turn others joined not only around the same time but a few since.

As a person heavily into projects, testing going persistent early due to steam launch, and an unplanned guild on my hands I had more than I could handle. I’ve been catching up ever since (as I was already behind prior to that). I have made great strides and am nearing wrapping up a lot of projects. See, I thought I had a lot of time yet so had a lot of things I was working on already with substantial time invested into them! It is important to me to wrap those up rather than discard them.

Man, did I win the lottery though. I truly have as a guild member (forget leader, Im a member to) what is one of the greater guilds i’ve ever belonged to and some of the best people ive ever been grouped with. As we have gotten to know each other better during a time of upheaval for many, we have formed close friendships and bonds. Yet we still have a lot to do, enjoy together, and learn about each other.

What has blown me away though is the patience these fine folks have shown me. Not only being understanding with things taking much longer than I had thought, but real life becoming very hectic for a long period of time combined with the rest. Rather than worry about a guild falling apart while i’m trying to keep everything else together, instead I am amazed daily with the great things they plan, work on, and accomplish without me or with just my input and aid where and when needed. Instead of falling apart like many guilds would with an overly busy and distracted GM, they do the opposite and thrive. Many of them being more than capable guild leaders on their own and i’m sure turning down continual offers from other guilds and communities.

As of this weekend my life stuff starts to ease up a bit and over the next 4 months should continue to just keep getting better. I’m wrapping up more and more of my projects and getting through more and more low priority to do’s that I stuck somewhere. Each thing completed freeing up more time for me to get more done.

I’m approaching a point where hopefully before much longer I’ll be in game a lot more then I have been. Although i’m not a huge tester so I wont be as active as some until E1 🙂

So I definitely felt I had the time to work in one more big project. Additionally I knew there was a need but as I got into it I realized it was worse than I thought! The project? That of a new website for the guild. A way to say, hey guys. Thanks so much for your trust, belief, and patience. Join your shortly but let me knock something out for you first!

So ive been working on that off and on for a couple months now and am proud to announce that other than feedback and tweaks, the new site has launched!

Please drop by our newly decorated cave and say hello the the group if you have a moment!

We also still would like to grow a bit more (although we do not wish to become too large), so if you are looking for a home take a look at things and see if our play style and ideas of fun match what you’re into. If your like minded, drop one of us a note or look us up in game! We also have a player town with land available. While first priority goes to guild members we’d consider others, but be warned.. we are very careful about who we will give lots to and careful consideration (and taking time to get to know each other) will be given before making such a decision.

We are still making decisions about the shape and path of the guild so its a good time to jump in with us. A chance to still participate in creating our guild story, history, images, and structure.

The second phase of this project for me to wrap it up, is doing some work on our forums including some updates. Bleh….

our address is http://www.thecaverns.net/guild

This is slightly different then the old one of http://www.thecaverns.net/Guild ; but it will forward to the new site so either is good to use!

Keep an eye open for great things to come from The Caverns Guild!

March 25 2014

Back up and running! My status AND Website review of the week! AND the radio – give me input!!

Hello everyone! I am back from my little trip and for those that where aware my home server crashed I am also back up and running. Going to be EXTREMELY buried over the next two weeks but will continue to try to get SOME SotA related stuff done!

First off – a Portalarium update HAS been released. Those take me a bit to do because I add all the photos and so forth to my photo gallery. Which gave me the idea to tie this as my weekly site of the week review, and tie it to “The Utlima/Shroud of the Avatar Museum”. More on that in a moment.

Ok – First off The New Britannia Radio website is up. I will GIVE you the link, but when I say its up – its bare bones at the moment!! My hope is that I will have enough time to have it finished by Sunday before bed but I am NOT promising! At the moment, it looks kind of Crappy but that will change!

So here is the link.. STOP!! Wait! The background is needing to be changed!!!! Want to help??? We need something theme appropriate, I would like a Tesla Tower in it. It must be artwork that we can legally use (you made it, or you have obtained permission for us (and I want a copy)). An in game screen shot – Won’t be used due to the UI on said screen shots. Contribute to this project and help us out! I can take multiple submissions and put them up on a randomator. Please note I need large image files (1700 pixel area is nice), and decent quality. no Junk!

I may still switch themes, but i think this one is something what im aiming for.. problem is it doesn’t have page support *sighs*… its so hard to find good themes that arent cookie cutters. I do NOT want to code another theme.. but i MAY see how easily I can copy in some code to add pages *sighs*.. or maybe not.

Please keep in mind that the Radio site, at this time, would be like Shroud of the Avatar demo’d at Kickstarter! its pre-alpha people!


Do you have a theme suggestion? let us know! Im not buying one!

Site of the week review – The Shroud of the Avatar Museum. Needing to do some uploads to my photo gallery made me think of this one for this weeks spot.

Shroud of the Avatar – Shroud of the Avatar Museum.

Ok, well.. I really hope I dont piss anyone off with this one, but I want to also be honest in my site reviews.

I don’t use this site. The reason is is the first thing I see when I go to it is adds. Everywhere adds. So I immediately close my browser window.. Just being honest.

So,to review it ive had to go back to it!

This is going to be me and not everyone, but the layout/look does not appeal to me. I find it to be a bit gaudish with bright colored boxes for categories on white. But again, that’s my tastes and wouldn’t apply to every body.

Now I don’t think they have anything unique going on, but they do offer something. What I mean by that is every photo, every thing they have on their site – I have on mine, as do some other places. I actually have photos and graphics they do not. Howeveer what they DO do well is they have a much deeper system of explaining what those things are, where they are from, and what they mean.

So to summarize:
A Lot of content. I don’t know of any other “one site” that has that much content besides myself, Ultima codex, and Stratics. They store and offer up a lot of material.

Photo Gallery is not unique in it’s scope but I think it is more detailed and is unique in that Sense:

Add based site. I tend to personally refuse to use sites with add’s on them unless I REALLY have to use the site, or unless the advertisement is from an official sponsor and is placed in a professional and stylish way.

I really find the site unpleasing visually. That can be something that can vary a lot between people on, so while a con for me it may be a pro for others.

(Note – I have not tested its mobile compatibility but that may be a pro or con concern)

Ankh Quill

March 16 2014

Site/link of the week

Each week I am going to do a a review of another site, web page, link, etc. Ill provide the link and some information about it. This special feature will take place sometime between Fridays and Sundays.

This will be a review! Ill indicate what I like about it but also what I do not like about it. This is NOT to flame! It’s mean to be constructive. Why am i starting this? One of the things I struggle with since day number 1, is I get very little feedback. On rare occasions I have gotten constructive criticism and I love it! It lets me as an web administrator improve things! So if you own a site and don’t like something I have to say about it, don’t beat me up! Just consider it to be meant as a positive thing, not a negative!

When I get feedback saying (which is rare unfortunately): I do not like xxx. I do one of a few things.
a – Do I agree or disagree, trying to look at it objectively?

b – If I disagree I ignore it. No one is trying to be mean or if they are then they don’t deserve consideration. If they aren’t then they understand that opinions differ.

c – If I agree – can I change it? If I can is the change worth the work involved? Then do so!

So the goal of this series is two part. The first is to make the community aware of sites, tools, guilds, etc that are of benefit to them. The second part is to help the people running them maybe get a little feed back which hopefully they take in a positive way!

This week I am going to review RSFIE – Righteous Society For Industrial Enlightenment

RSFIE is a Guild but also meant to be a community hub for Crafters/merchandising activities in Shroud of the Avatar. Their goal is to have a Guild at its core but to also offer services and projects for other guilds which can have membership.

I am no stranger to this project! It was created by Jatvardur Elden whom has been involved in other community projects and before he got it going he contacted me to use me as a sounding board. A lot of people do this and I always welcome it! Why do I make a good sounding board? Ive dune it many times, I’ve been involved in many projects. I am polite but I WILL be honest in my thoughts. Most importantly I have demonstrated that I keep information to myself that should not be shared.

Web site:
Web site is night. It has a very minimalist setup going for it making it easy to use and navigate. It has the tools people need and nothing more or less. As far as theme/looks go it is nothing fancy but that isn’t a bad thing. It has a very nice white and black style going for it that makes things easy to read and understand without being distracted.

Jatvardur publishes articles with concepts and ideas that relate to the project. There is not daily activity but on the other hand their is activity on a regular enough basis to make the site worth following. In fact you can keep an eye on things, know that you will have something new to look at, at some point yet not having a constant flood of ramblings to review. I am sure one the game approaches or comes out that this site will have a lot more activity, it is something that is game dependent!

My personal thoughts:
Not many here. The site is nice and its easy to use/navigate. I find that Jatvardur is extremely knowledgeable and able to think outside the box on the topics he posts on. I don’t always agree with him on some of the project he has in mind but other ones I look and nod to myself thinking that, yeah, this is good.

I would recommend adding a favicon to the site. As someone that often has 15+ sites loaded on my browser in tabs favicons are a big + to me, as it helps me find the tab i want 🙂

So whether you agree with all his ideas you should stop by. Some of them I think you’ll like, some you may not. Either way he has shown drive and persistence so I fully believe something will happen with this! How big it gets and which directions it goes we wont know until we are in game! He is a very good writer though and does a fantastic job in conveying complex topics in a way that a layman will understand.

Since I do plan on running a guild myself that will have a heavy focus on crafting, guide services, merchant services, and so forth I see us being involved with this group. To what level? How heavily? in what ways? That yet remains to be seen, but I foresee wanting to have some association with them. Maybe it will be to the max, maybe not – but I don’t think they should be ignored!

Options – Not possible in the SOTA economy? | RSFIE.

RSFIE Heraldry Symbol

RSFIE Heraldry Symbol