Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 7, 2013.

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Lord British returns to his fantasy RPG roots with Shroud of the Avatar, hearkening back to his innovative early work.

You can still pledge your support, or manage an existing pledge, on the Shroud of the Avatar Website.

A Heartfelt Thanks from the entire SotA Team!

A sincere thank you goes out to all our backers for pledging your support to “Shroud of the Avatar” and helping us raise almost double our Kickstarter goal! This game would not be possible without your dedication and feedback – what a fantastic experience it’s been to interact with all of you, learning what is most important and desired in our new world.

And we very much look forward to continuing that interaction, so please follow us to our official site at ShroudOfTheAvatar.com and join us in our continuing discussions and efforts. We’ll have regular updates and information for friends old and new. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter, or tweet us with #LBSOTA to keep the conversation alive!

What IS Shroud of the Avatar?

Shroud of the Avatar is the “spiritual successor” to Richard’s previous work in the FRP genre. Our primary objectives are to tell a story even more compelling than Ultimas IV-VII, create a virtual world more interactive than Ultima VII, develop deep rich multi-player capabilities beyond combat akin to Ultima Online, and offer a bold new approach to integrate them with “Selective Multi-Player”.

  • Shroud of the Avatar is infused with rich storylines, deeply integrated into game play, developed by Best Selling Author Tracy Hickman and RPG legend Richard Garriott.
  • Players will adventure in an interactive world where their choices have consequences, ethical paradoxes give them pause, and they play a vital part in weaving their own story into the immersive world and lore surrounding them.
  • Shroud of the Avatar is a Selective Multiplayer game, allowing players to choose how they want to play! Whether in Single-Player Offline mode or any of three online modes, the main quest line will provide greater than 40 hours of focused, story driven content.
  • Shroud of the Avatar can be played as an offline DRM free solo experience or online, where our servers will enable player to player transactions, group finding, patching, streaming of dynamic content, and exploit prevention.
  • Built using the Unity Game Engine, Shroud of the Avatar will support Win/Mac/Linux for official launch.
  • Players can specialize in a wide range of combat and non-combat skills, provided by a robust, classless skill system, and full-featured crafting and housing mechanics. Play the way you want to play, molding your character into the hero, anti-hero, or artisan you want to be!
  • Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtue is the first of a 5 game series of full-length, stand-alone games (each using the same game system), referred to as Episodes 1 through 5. Estimated availability of Episode 1, Forsaken Virtues, is October 2014, with Episodes 2 through 5 estimated for subsequent yearly releases.
  • Shroud of the Avatar is a “buy-to-play” game that, once purchased, does not require a subscription to play! 

Updates

Tracy Hickman Joins Team as Lead Story Designer!

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


Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter Revealed! 

Richard Garriott, the award winning designer and creator of the Ultima franchise, makes his triumphant return to the genre that earned him a place in the Hall of Fame and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Shroud of the Avatar is the first installment of Richard’s new vision and represents the reinvention of the classic, fantasy role-playing which he pioneered. A fantasy role-playing game that will focus more on player choices and discovery than on level grinding.Richard Garriott, the award winning designer and creator of the Ultima franchise, makes his triumphant return to the genre that earned him a place in the Hall of Fame and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Shroud of the Avatar is the first installment of Richard’s new vision and represents the reinvention of the classic, fantasy role-playing which he pioneered. A fantasy role-playing game that will focus more on player choices and discovery than on level grinding.

The Pledge Reward information in the right sidebar is already out of date! We are constantly adding new bonus rewards to our existing pledges, so please review this section regularly for any changes!

Special thanks to Vamp at http://forsakenvirtues.com/ for putting this awesome chart together for us!

PLEASE NOTE: Pledge rewards contain ALL of the rewards of lower level pledges (with the exception of houses, which are 1 per pledge)!

Richard Garriott guided the Ultima Series from its inception in 1980, through the "trilogy-of-trilogies" of solo player games and later, the highly successful Ultima Online. Under his leadership, RPG's evolved from simple dungeon crawls to immersive worlds where you could easily suspend your disbelief. You cared about the world and its people, and you cared about the actions and deeds you accomplished within that world.

Since then, most every other RPG has focused more on level grinding than on “role playing”, which has been reduced to a few initial character choices. While advancements in graphics and sound have been phenomenal, in many ways the virtual worlds we play in have become less real. Less open. Less immersive.

With Shroud of the Avatar, Richard and his team will again reinvent the classic fantasy role-playing experience. Using state-of-the-art tools and technology, the game will focus on what made his seminal Ultima Series great. Once players are introduced to the game, they will discover their own story woven into the immersive world and lore surrounding them. Players may choose to follow the life of the adventurer or, if they prefer, focus on exploration and discovery. Players may even choose the life of a homesteader; either nestled within the safety of the settled lands, or on the dangerous but potentially lucrative frontier. The world is full of opportunities and challenges!

The familiar psychological profiling used to create your character, organically derived game-play responses to player behavior and fundamental virtues and consequence of actions will all play a huge role in Shroud of the Avatar. Players will be free to choose their path, but must then live with the consequences of their actions.

Shroud of the Avatar general features:

From Lord British's Treatise on "What is an Ultimate RPG?":

  • Fully interactive virtual world - If it looks usable, it should do something
  • Deep original fiction - Ethical parables, cultural histories, fully developed alternate language text
  • Physical game components will be available: Cloth map, fictional manuals, trinkets
  • Multiplayer Online Game - which can also be played solo player / offline
Classless character system:

Unlike most RPGs, players will not be limited to the class they select at the beginning of the game.  We will be discussing this feature in more detail during an upcoming Developer Blog.

Player housing:

Player housing will live in the persistent shared world, so real estate will have location value. 

The least expensive housing can be found in Villages, which offer the highest density of low-cost housing.  The core of a village will include basic services that will encourage players to both visit and settle in the area.  Villages are a great place for an ambitious adventurer to hang their hat. (Only a few thousand Village homes will be available to players in-game.)  

Towns on the other hand, offer more protection and amenities than Villages. The larger amount of available services will further increase traffic flow to your home or business. Plots of land will be larger as well, allowing players to build bigger houses. Towns are an excellent place to start a business while affording moderate levels of safety. (Only a few hundred Town homes will be available to players in-game.)  

A City provides substantial protection for players, with large, vital services to draw players to visit and spend their coin. Cities can be protected by large defensive structures like Tesla towers, and offer luxuries not found in Towns or Villages. Cities also have the largest and most valuable homesteads. Be aware though, that the most valuable properties are available to very limited number of players and will likely be in high demand! (Only a few dozen City homes will be available to players in-game.)  

Once a house is purchased, players will need to pay regular taxes on it of course. But as a special thank you to select Kickstarter supporters, all housing obtained by making a Kickstarter pledge of Citizen, Lord, Baron, Duke or Lord of the Manor will be tax free for life!  

Crafting system that avoids busy work:

Craft as a hobby or as a career! The results of all crafting elements have value as consumables and components in the combat system, as well as maintenance and upgrade elements for housing and cities. The crafting system will be a topic of discussion in one of our upcoming Developer Blogs.

Meaningful PVP that also minimizes griefing:

An incentive-driven system will draw players into the challenge and intrigue of the PVP experience, whether they become the hunter or the hunted!

Scene based encounters:

In a nod to Garriott's early RPG works, Shroud of the Avatar is split up into a high-level overland map and adventure scenes. Scenes are generally re-playable and can be experienced solo or with others.

Versions:

Shroud of the Avatar is currently planned for downloadable PC, Mac, and Linux.

To help Richard build his new masterpiece, a team of proven industry veterans has been assembled. The average team member has more than 10 years experience and a half-dozen shipped games to their credit. More than 50 titles have been shipped between the team, including almost a dozen games that reached number one on the sales charts.

We're not the only ones who are excited about Shroud of the Avatar!  

"As an Ultima fanatic, I'm kind of jittery excited about what's happening here." ~ Felicia Day, actress, writer, and producer of the web series The Guild

"Richard was an inspiration for our guild and has been a friend and supporter of ours for years, and us of him. We will definitely have a SotA presence." ~ Sean, aka Dragon, Guild Leader for The Syndicate

"So I'm hoping you will join with me in taking Richard up on this offer. That we should back him in SotA in creating and pioneering a new way of experiencing story in game. Because after all, Richard knows adventure." ~ Tracy Hickman, best-selling novelist and co-creator of the Dragonlance Novels and Adventure Modules.

"I am really excited to see what new innovations are in Shroud of the Avatar. I can not WAIT to play it!" ~ Ernest Cline, author of New York Times Bestseller, Ready Player One

“Richard and I have known each other 26 years when I first joined up with a small little company called Origin Systems. We had a lot fun being the small rebel upstart company and made some games that are still remembered for defining or creating genres even today.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Richard this energized about the world and game he is creating. Shroud of The Avatar, feels like the kind of game we would have made in the old days of Origin when we didn’t answer to anyone and just made the best game we could with no interference. That’s what’s great about Crowd funding. I’m backing and looking forward to being part of Lord British’s next great adventure”  ~ Chris Roberts, creator of the best-selling Wing Commander game series

"When I read that Lord British was going back to his roots to make "The Shroud of the Avatar" and kickstart it with the community, I was really excited and you should be too! SotA looks like it's going to be an incredible game!  ~ Min-Liang Tan, Chief Gamer and CEO of Razer/Edge

"I know how much Richard Garriott respects story, and that will set this game apart from the others. I know Shroud of the Avatar is going to tell a great story! "I guarantee I will play. Try and stop me!" ~ Warren Spector, renowned game developer and force behind the critically acclaimed and award winning games Ultima Underworld, System Shock, Thief, and Deus Ex.  

And from our Friends at Ultima Codex!

Be sure to pledge your support today and join our Champions in making Shroud of the Avatar a success!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Entertainment software development is always difficult. A successful game must work well feature-by-feature and be compelling and fun at all times to sustain player interest. "Fun" is very hard to define on paper, and is further complicated when tasked with integrating complex features that the players will find fulfilling. This iterative experimental process creates inherent risks in game development.

We are managing this risk with a number of careful processes. First our team is built around a core of industry experts, who individually have up to 30 years of game development experience. Additionally, we are using powerful, proven tools to mitigate development risks. Finally, we are staging development so that the most important and most risky features are developed first, while carefully containing the scope of the initial release so that feature bloat does not bury the project.

While game development remains inherently risky, this team is qualified and dedicated to drive this project to successful conclusion with skill and passion. We hope to work closely with you, the player, as our partner in completing this challenge.

FAQ

  • Some people think that PC is an outdated platform, but to that I say not true! I have always been a PC developer, and there is something magical about sitting close to a large screen, seeing your world come to life. And the flexibility of using a keyboard and mouse is unmatched; though if you prefer to play with a gamepad on a PC, you can do that too!

    For game development, the PC allows developers tremendous innovation and gives players the most choices as far as how they play. Although a great RPG can exist in many forms (even paper tape!), I firmly believe that the PC is the best platform for Shroud of the Avatar.

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  • Richard has already invested several million dollars in the game and will almost certainly invest more before we ship. We would have to have a record setting campaign to match what Richard already invested in the company. But there is no reason to suggest that we can't also raise money from the community we are making the game for to get them involved too. 100% of the money raised in the Kickstarter will go to make a better game and the community involvement is a huge bonus for US.

    By supporting this project, you will be also be able to collaborate with the developers, lending your voice to what features you would like to see added. You can be a part of the creation of the classic fantasy role playing experience you have been waiting for!

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  • Kickstarter has really changed the landscape for game developers. It allows us to connect directly with you, the players, and it keeps us from being so dependent on the traditional publishing model. It gives us a direct feedback loop with people who like our game and have decided to back it. We can hear what you like and don’t like and can make additions and changes based on that feedback, before the game is launched. Kickstarter has opened up a new era of game development that really benefits gamers.

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  • Yes, you will be able to play with your friends! Multiplayer games encourage social bonds that go far beyond what can be accomplished in a solo player game. I remember the depth of these bonds in players who met in-game only to get married in real life, how people who died in the real world were deeply mourned and celebrated by their online friends whom they may never have met face to face. Though Shroud of the Avatar won’t be a massively multiplayer online role playing game, it will be a multiplayer game. We will be describing this in more detail in our upcoming community blogs.

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  • You can become a registered user on our https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/…, where you will have a chance to add your voice to one of the many Community led discussions about Shroud of the Avatar. LORD BRITISH wants to hear your ideas and suggestions, so be sure to sign up and start posting!

    And if you contribute to our Kickstarter at the Developer level or above, we will bring you into the inner design circle. In addition to getting general design ideas from you, you will have the chance to lend a voice on even the more contentious issues involved in game design. Some examples would be: PVP – Where, when and under what conditions? Persistent Housing – How can we make a housing market that creates opportunity and engaging gameplay? These are just a few of the design ideas we will be discussing in our Developer Roundtable discussions.

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  • The offline single player version of the game for those who purchase it through KickStarter will not use any form of DRM. We had been holding off on committing to that because we don’t know what our final distribution system (Steam, GOG, etc) is going to be and some of them use DRM. We may have DRM of some sort on post-KS sales but we’ll commit to keeping KS versions DRM and “phone home” free for the single player version once launched.

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  • The game can be played offline, no connection required. The character used for the offline version of the game will not be useable in the online version of the game for obvious exploit/hacking reasons. We are going to investigate ways to export your online character to the single player version of the game but the offline character will not be importable into the online version.

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    GUILT PLEDGE ============================= Thank Lord British and prove your virtue with a $10 donation. If you ever pirated an Ultima game or used an exploit to grief other players in Ultima Online, here’s your chance to repent! For your $10 donation you will receive a clear conscience and Lord British's undying gratitude.

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    FIRST RESPONDER ============================= Be one of the first 5000 pledges to get First Responder rewards, which includes digital download of the game and exclusive Early Bird Alpha + Beta Access (estimated Alpha delivery in December 2013)!

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    SECOND RESPONDER ============================= The First Responder level has been so popular we're adding a Second Responder level! Includes digital download of the game and exclusive Early Bird Alpha + Beta Access (estimated Alpha delivery in December 2013)!

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    PIONEER ============================= REWARD BONUS: ALL TIERS NOW RECEIVE IN-GAME "PIONEER" TITLE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Only available during Kickstarter, at all reward levels, your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Pioneer" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player). Also includes digital download of the game and exclusive Early Bird Alpha + Beta Access (estimated Alpha delivery in December 2013)!

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    ADVENTURER ============================= Adventurer level includes digital download of the game and exclusive Early Bird Alpha + Beta Access (estimated Alpha access in December 2013)!

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    IMMORTAL ADVENTURER ============================= Available only to backers, you will receive one Immortality Fruit seed. With the Farming Craft you can plant the Immortality Fruit seed, which will bear a single fruit. When eaten, this fruit will fully heal you, and leave you with a single seed which can be planted and harvested, over and over, for all eternity. The Immortality Fruit seed can be transferred between players. Also, get your last name early! Ordinary adventurers must reach higher levels to display a last name for their character, but not you! Immortal Adventurers will have the right to select and display both a first and last name right from the get-go! Additionally, your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Immortal Adventurer" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Adventurer Level Rewards

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    FOUNDER ============================= Only available during Kickstarter, at Founder level or above, your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Founder" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player). In addition, you will be privy to the game development progress before it is live! As concepts are created, screenshots are taken, and news is delivered for the game, they will be posted to a private Developer’s Blog page to which you will have access (estimated blog access in April 2013). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Adventurer Level Rewards

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    ROYAL ARTISAN ============================= NOTE: Please use this tier instead of the previous Royal Artisan tier which mistakenly required $15 non-US shipping. ============================= In addition to Episode 1, you will receive the full content of the future episodes 2 & 3 (including Beta access to Episodes 2 & 3)! You will also receive 1 starter-level, indestructible, artisan's tool for the skill of your choice! Also includes 2 starter-level ranged weapons, uniquely identifiable as Founder weapons. One of the range weapons will be a crossbow based on a unique design by David "Iolo" Watson! Unique ability to tame an elusive monster that an ordinary player could never tame! (dependent upon reaching $1.4 M Taming! stretch goal). Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Royal Artisan" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Founder Level Rewards

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    ROYAL ARTISAN ============================= In addition to Episode 1, you will receive the full content of the future episodes 2 & 3 (including Beta access to Episodes 2 & 3)! You will also receive 1 starter-level, indestructible, artisan's tool for the skill of your choice! Also includes 2 starter-level ranged weapons, uniquely identifiable as Founder weapons. One of the range weapons will be a crossbow based on a unique design by David "Iolo" Watson! Unique ability to tame an elusive monster that an ordinary player could never tame! (dependent upon reaching $1.4 M Taming! stretch goal). Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Royal Artisan" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Founder Level Rewards

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    VIRTUAL COLLECTOR ============================= Get the full virtual experience with the Shroud of the Avatar Digital Collector’s Edition! Includes digital download copies of the Runic Language Translation Print, PDF Art Book, and Digital Game Soundtrack. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Founder Level Rewards

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    EXPLORER - ALL DIGITAL ============================= In addition to Episodes 1, 2, and 3, you will receive DRM-free, digital download versions of the final TWO, full-length, standalone games, Shroud of the Avatar Episode 4 and Episode 5 (including Beta access to Episodes 4 & 5)! You will also receive the new world map as a digital, uniquely framed, in-game decoration for your house. Plus, your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Explorer" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Virtual Collector Level Rewards

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    EXPLORER ============================= Digital is awesome but you can't hang your digital on the wall! Get a full size cloth map of the new world in its original state (estimated map availability in December 2013)! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Virtual Collector Level Rewards

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    COLLECTOR ============================= Get the full experience with the Shroud of the Avatar Collector’s Edition! In addition to the cloth map, you also receive a physical copy of the Runic Language Translation Print and an official Collector’s Coin. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Explorer Level Rewards

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    PATRON ============================= Get your name permanently listed in a Domesday Book in game as a Patron, visible to all who play the game for all eternity! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Collector level rewards

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    ANCESTOR ============================= Get your name or your character’s name permanently displayed on a tombstone in the game as an ancestor of the old world, visible to all who play the game for all eternity! Lord British would love to include your avatar’s name from your past adventures! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Patron Level Rewards

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    NAVIGATOR ============================= Includes all the Collector Level rewards, but your cloth map will be hand signed by Richard “Lord British” Garriott himself. (If you choose this level, you can take satisfaction in the agony signing tons of maps will cause Richard. Also, look forward to a time lapse video of Richard signing all the maps!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Ancestor Level Rewards

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    DEVELOPER ============================= Want to be a part of the Development process? This is the level for you! Gain access to the private Developer Chat/Forums and help participate in guiding the game (estimated Developer Chat/Forums access in April 2013). You also get to help create a character in the game as well as name them. When everything’s said and done, we’ll put together a PDF document of various concepts and design documents. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Navigator Level Rewards

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    CITIZEN ============================= Stake your claim! Gain a Rent Free Village Level House Deed that you can pick up and place on any open Village lot in the game. This Village House proudly displays a special Founder Level plaque for all to see. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Developer Level Rewards

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    KNIGHT ============================= As a Knight you will receive an upscale Knight's home (to place on a Citizen level Village property) + Your very own, unique, Founder's house servant, appropriate to your stature as a Knight (dependent upon reaching $1.8 M stretch goal) + One Expert level crafting station for your home, uniquely identifiable as a Founder's crafting station + A unique piece of furniture, fit for a Knight, identifiable as a Founder's piece, as a digital, in-game decoration for your house (What could it be? A Knight's Round Table, perchance?) Your Knight House proudly displays a special Founder Level plaque that can be seen by all. In addition, your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Knight" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Citizen Level Rewards (note: only 1 Village House Deed per Knight pledge)

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    LORD ============================= Stake your claim! Gain a Rent Free Town Level House Deed that you can pick up and place on any Town lot in the game. This Town House proudly displays a special Founder Level plaque that can be seen by all. In addition, your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Lord" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Developer Level Rewards

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    BARON ============================= Stake your claim! Gain a Rent Free City Level House Deed that you can pick up and place on any City lot in the game. This City House proudly displays a special Founder Level plaque that can be seen by all. In addition, your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Lord" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Developer Level Rewards

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    BARON 2 ============================= Stake your claim! Gain a Rent Free City Level House Deed that you can pick up and place on any City lot in the game. This City House proudly displays a special Founder Level plaque that can be seen by all. In addition, your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Lord" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Developer Level Rewards

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    DUKE ============================= Being involved in developer discussions is great, but joining the team and Lord British is even better! Gain VIP access to special round-table design discussions hosted by Lord British during gaming conventions and events where the game is being showcased. Plus, a full tour of the Portalarium studios in Austin, Texas for a behind the scenes look and personal design discussion with the game team. (Event entry fees and travel expenses not covered; includes at least two round-table discussions to be held at those events occurring no later than twelve months following the delivery of the game). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Baron Level Rewards

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    LORD OF THE MANOR ============================= Want to be the Lord of the Manor? Join Richard “Lord British” Garriott in a personal tour of the actual Britannia Manor and its collections. (Choose 1 of 4 offered dates; travel expenses not covered). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As a bonus, Richard Garriott will give each Lord of the Manor one of the rarest Ultima collector items imaginable, the game that started it all, Akalabeth. This rare game is in the original packaging that Richard made himself and sold only a dozen copies before it was picked up by a publisher. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Duke Level Rewards

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    LORDS OF THE MANOR ============================= Want to be the Lord of the Manor? Join Richard “Lord British” Garriott in a personal tour of the actual Britannia Manor and its collections. (Choose 1 of 4 offered dates; travel expenses not covered). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Includes Duke Level Rewards

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Funding period

- (30 days)