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Lord British returns to his fantasy RPG roots with Shroud of the Avatar, hearkening back to his innovative early work.
Lord British returns to his fantasy RPG roots with Shroud of the Avatar, hearkening back to his innovative early work.
22,322 backers pledged $1,919,275 to help bring this project to life.

Tracy Hickman, New York Times Best-selling author of Dragonlance and Deathgate series, joins the Shroud of the Avatar team as Lead Story Designer!

Posted by Portalarium, Inc. (Creator)

Two Legends of Gaming join forces! International and New York Times Best-selling fantasy author Tracy Hickman is pleased to announce that he is joining Richard Garriott’s team as Lead Story Designer for ‘Shroud of the Avatar.’

“There is a tremendous opportunity to create something meaningful, challenging and wondrous in Shroud of the Avatar,” Tracy said. “I’m thrilled to play a part in it.”

"Tracy is not only a good friend, but also a master storycrafter whose writing I've greatly admired for over twenty years," says Richard Garriott. "Tracy’s talent will add a unique richness and depth to Shroud of the Avatar."

Tracy is known world-wide for creating the incredible worlds and stories of Dragonlance, the Deathgate Cycle, the Annals of Drakis and ‘Wayne of Gotham’. He, with his wife Laura, pioneered the use and integration of story into role playing games. He currently has over fifty books in print and is also a pioneer in the New Media publishing world of e-books and online serial publishing.

“Join us,” entices Tracy. “We’re taking adventure to a whole new realm.”


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    1. Christopher James on

      I wholeheartedly disagree with you about fantasy being pitiful since the 80s, David. Terry and his partner Margaret are an inspiration in the world of fantasy writing and I am sure his numerous talents and extensive knowledge will be of great benefit to SoTA. It is rude to try and judge a man with such limited knowledge of his work.

      That being said, welcome to the team Terry. I look forward to once again experiencing the rich character development, wealth of careful detail and intriguing fantasy worlds I have grown up with reading your and MW's novels.

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      David Howarth on

      Being as respectful as I can (really) while still expressing my reaction: I am sure I am not alone in not seeing the addition of Hickman to the team as an unalloyed good. In the "old school" tabletop RPG community, Hickman has a bad (IMO, deserved) reputation as a "railroad" scenario designer (Dragonlance modules, anyone?), the exact opposite of the "sandbox" approach stated to be the guiding principle with SotA. Granted, old D&D fogies like me who haven't purchased a CRPG since the 90s (when flash displaced substance as the reigning CRPG design philosophy), but have continued to play D&D and AD&D into the 21st century are probably not thrilled by this news. I've posted the kickstarter to a couple of OS PnP RPG forums in an effort to further the cause, with either negative or zero reaction. These are people who almost all played the early Ultimas, at least, and remember them fondly. They also remember playing "Dungeon Module DL1 - X", and the outrage they felt when their DM said, "Sorry, you can't do that, the module says the PCs have to end up at location X in order for the plot not to break." Not sandbox by any definition.

      Personally I have no worries about Hickman's actual influence on the game. I'm sure if LB sees things going in the wrong direction, there will be adjustments and admonishments. And I have a lot of faith that LB knows which direction is right. Just a little concerned that the decision was made to include TH in the first place--a little puzzling, since to me he represents the opposite of the design philosophy I associate with the Ultimas.

      In the interest of full disclosure, I have not read any of Hickman's solo work, and only the first three DL novels, which were a step above the usual RPG tie-in novels, but hardly great literature (even by fantasy standards, which have been pitiably low since the early 80s).

    3. LessZoa on

      oh-em-squeee! Get Weis too and I'll just die and stay in this MMO forever! Is Clyde Caldwell gonna help with artwork?!?! the Dragonlance series is perhaps THE one series that so much affects all of my personal gaming....

      gonna up my pledge for this project based on Tracy's participation alone! yepyep!

    4. T. Rob Brown Photography & Writing on

      That is awesome news! :) Tracy is a LEGEND!

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      MBybee on

      Just gets better and better

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      Jessica Christian on

      So you've got Hickman... Any chance at adding Weis as well? :)

    7. Chris Rusnak

      Sweet. I ate up every Dragonlance book when I was younger and really liked the Deathgate Cycle setting. I always prefer top-notch story writing in my adventure/rpg games. This is definitely in good hands.

    8. Lord_Darkmoon on

      Any chance of now adding a Shroud of the Avatar novella to some tiers? A digital novella for the digital tiers and a printed one for the Collectors Edition tiers and above.

    9. EndBossGames on

      Dragonlance was the best

    10. Jakob P. Christiansen on

      So happy that I backed this game already :D

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      Manalishi on

      Great news - now I'm really interested what the game will be like...

    12. Peter Jacob on

      Legends pulling in legends. Let the good times roll...

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      Temet on

      I hope his abilities can turn to writing video games. His Deathgate work was absolutely wonderful, and Darksword also possessed a smooth, alien feel to it. Very good at provoking ambiance.

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      mtninejr87 on

      I love everything he wrote...especially with Margaret Weis. This makes a crappy day better.

    15. Avarchillion on

      Tracy Hickman is on your team now?
      Now this game has jumped at the top of my most craved games ever.
      I have really thoroughly enjoyed everything that I read of Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. He knows how to make a good story believable and fun to read.

      So beware I now expect great things from this game.

    16. Christopher J. Mallery on

      Officially packing a half pack of rolaids in my pocket over this game now!

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      Nextgener on

      @Blain Roman

      I doubt think he'd make a decision like this without giving it Serious thought. A story is one created by a person, and having others help out is all but too important.

    18. Missing avatar

      Nythor on

      I think this game just doubled in the amount of Awesome it is generating!!

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      Blain Roman on

      I do like the books by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis for the depth of story. But I'm not sure having a story designer other than Richard Garriot is the way to go. As now we have Tracy's interpretation of the game and not Richards.

    20. ShatteredByLoss

      Sweet!! My dogs name is Tasselhoff. LOL

    21. Ben Welch-Bolen on

      Awesome!!!!!!!!!!! Loved those books!

    22. Trond Solberg on

      This is awesome! The Dragonlance books have always had a special place in my heart, and are probably still my favorite books.
      Tracy Hickman, thank you!

    23. Wisdom on

      Stretch goals: Weis and Elmore..

    24. Jeremy Roe on

      I donated and am willing to donate time. I am an IT helpdesk team lead and have been playing Ultima since exodus when I was about 10 years old then > UO > IT career. I would love to alpha test and write up bug reports and feedback. I been looking for a game where everything has a purpose, is useful and where there are truly thousands of options (unlike d3).

    25. Damian Nix on

      the Dragonlance books were one of my favorite books growing up, the story was so compelling! I think along with the Chronicles of Amber, they are one of the best crafted, character driven fantasy stories out there. I'm happy to hear that Tracy will be on board as lead story designer, I think this bodes very well for the game, a very important part of the game that was here-to-for not covered, is now, I feel, in expert hands! I can't wait to see what else is in store for Shroud :D

    26. Miriam Breslauer on

      The only thing better is if both Hickman and Weis are on the project. Hickman is good, but Weis makes him a much better story teller by adding more gritty realism. Hickman makes the stories fun.

    27. Missing avatar

      Michael Connell

      Half of the authorship of the Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy (still holds up as one of my nostalgic favs to this day) will be writing for this? You have no idea how excited I am to hear that!! *cheers*

      One thing though, please let this be more Dragonlance, Death gate, and Ravenloft and (significantly) less Dragonships

    28. Missing avatar

      PurpleXVI on

      Oh wow, this is a terrible damn decision. Weis and Hickman may have their good points as authors, but those points are, in my experience, pretty much never either ending a story satisfactorily or writing something that isn't: "And then the good guys realized that very-poorly-disguised Jesus was the answer."

      Plus I guess this will be our 50th or something scramble of the name "Zifnab" popping in to rescue us and make the story work!

      And I really wanted this project to work out well, too.

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      Lee Buckle on

      this is number #1 author ever, read pretty much all his books and the ones with Weis.. EPIC

    30. Lord_Toast on

      The man behind, Dragonlance, Death Gate Cycle, and Ravenloft. Yay!!! No if they can only get Margaret Weis.


      Wow Tracy Hickman DEATH GATE CYCLE FTW... this is getting a bit better

    32. Andrew Darovich on

      Well this just keeps getting better and better.

      Very glad I pledged. It's like my birthday and christmas all at the same time.

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      Taziar on

      Dragonlance was good, Darksword was better. Either way, good addition.

    34. Broose on

      This is AWESOME!!!! Tracy and Margaret's (Weis) writing with Chronicles is what got me into this whole fantasy thing at a very young age. I'm very glad I backed this project now and it has certainly moved up a notch or two on the list of backed projects that I have.

      I was lucky enough to get to meet Tracy and his wife (and Margaret) at Dragon Con in 2004. Great people doesn't even begin to cover it. Oh, and if we get the chance, get Tracy to sing for us (any song will do) as a video update!

    35. Stefan on

      Is he going to sign the cloth maps as well? ;)

    36. Raul Cesar Teixeira on

      Wow... One of my favorite authors from when I was a kid (HUGE fan of DragonLance, Rose of Prophet, Death Gate, etc) teamed up with my favorite game designer/programmer of all time!!! This is awesome

    37. Warren Bennett on

      My name is Warren and I approve this message.

    38. TrentJaspar on

      That's quite a team they're putting together, but...did RG just call himself a legend of gaming? He certainly is, but...a little humility maybe?

    39. Manuel Becker on

      Wow! That's awesome!

    40. Robert Ling on

      This is fantastic news. This is a project I would absolutely LOVE to work on.

    41. T.J. Brumfield on

      Absolutely great news!

    42. Missing avatar

      Kyrinthic on

      words cannot express the level of awesome.

    43. Missing avatar

      Baer on

      And it keeps getting better!!......

    44. Lord_Darkmoon on

      Incredible! I grew up with the Dragonlance-novels and Ultima!

    45. Vyrinor on

      Great news just keeps getting better... gameplay and story awesomeness assured!

    46. jlaalja on

      Wow! Great addition to the team!! I was excited before and now that has more than doubled! I remember many a night in my college dorm room reading Dragonlance novels and playing DL games on my C64!

    47. Missing avatar

      CJ Taylor on

      Creators from two of my favorite things just teamed up.

    48. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    49. Glenn H. on

      The Dragonlance books were I big part of me getting into fantasy books as a kid, so I'm really excited by this news :)