The Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues game is based on The Sword of Midras: A Shroud of the Avatar Novel (Blade of the Avatar) novel by Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott. Much of the in game lore for episode one of the game comes directly from the terrific novel. The novel takes place hundreds of year before the game.
Cataclysm and Shardfalls
Also know at The Fall, happened when two moons collided and showered the lands with shards of massive, crystal-like, black stones. This happened over 500 years ago and the in-game calendar is based on this event. “PC” stand for Post Cataclysm. There are a number of areas that where deviated by their impact that are now known as Shardfalls. The most recent one is <FIXME> near the Midras Ruins. These areas are beyond the Oracle’s reach and she cannot provide here protection there.
There are rumors the Shardfalls also contain rare materials needed for some for spell casting and crafting of weapons and armor. It appears these areas also contain some special magical properties as they contain mutated plants and animals. You can find out more at http://sotawiki.net/sota/Cataclysm
Isle of Storms
This island floats far above New Britannia. This was the original starting place where Outlanders would first meet Arabella and the Oracle.
Rumor has it that you can still visit this magical place through a lunar rift. If there is a way, it is not obvious.
You may have noticed the remnants of the Cataclysm in the sky. Daedalus (the shattered moon) is the most visible celestial body and completes a full orbit every 7 days. However, all of the celestial bodies play a magical role. The most obvious of these are town sieges.
Periodically, towns will come under siege by the Obsidian Cabalists. The timing and location can be predicted by using a monomial or astrolabe to monitor the location of the celestial bodies in combination with knowledge of which devotionals are present in a given town. There are also rumors that the planetary positions may also affect crop production and crafting. There is currently little credible evidence of this, however.
The current New Britannian calendar starts with the Cataclysm at Janus 1, 0 PC.
One hour on Earth is equivalent to one New Britannian day. A New Britannian month is 28 Earth hours long. There are 336 New Britannian days in a year. Which is equal to 2 Earth weeks. The time it takes you to age one year hear on Earth would add about 26 years to your New Britannian age.
Courage, Love, and Truth are the virtues. However, there is some evidence there are more than three. Some ancient logos point to seven or perhaps eight virtues in total. Following these rediscovered virtues is up the every outlander. The Oracle will be monitoring your current progress upon the path of following or ignoring, the virtues.
Although virtues play a part of every outlanders daily life, this is not about being good or evil. It may be better to think of it as choice to have a more ordered or chaotic path in life. The choice is up to every outlander, and there are many forks along of the way.
The Kobolds have guns and grenades
The industrious Kobolds have engineered these terrifying devices and only hand them out to their best marksmen. While a few of these devices have be recovered by Outlanders, they did not come with ammunition. It is also unclear exactly how they work.
Elves, Satyrs, and Fauns
Elves are not natural to New Britannia. They were created from enslaved humans by the Obsidian sorcerers long ago. This horribly twisted their appearance. Satyrs and fauns were also created by the Obsidians.
The magic unleashed by the Obsidian sorcerers may be the source of the increase in undead presence as well.
Like the Elves, Trolls where created by the Obsidian Order. What is somewhat more horrific is that a single troll was made from multiple human bodies. Exactly how this was done is unclear and the existence of at least one set of twin trolls has only raised more questions.
The Atavists of Purity
While most are welcoming of Outlanders, this small group is trying to rid New Brittania of them. It seems they fear the Dire Prophecy’s foretelling of a repeat of past horrors. Others do not interpret the Prophecy the same way. Of note, this is a violent bunch.
This annual (at least from earth’s perspective) visitor causes the form of Dragons, Corpions, and other creatures to mutate into their aether forms. These creatures are especially dangerous and difficult to deal with. However, these creatures do have rare items that may be worth the effort. Keep in mind, the comet may have affects beyond these creatures.
While this heavy plate armor is much sought after by tanks, it is difficult and expensive to make. It can only be crafted on the sole remaining Obsidian forge in the bottom of Hilt Fortress, and requires difficult to obtain Obsidian Chips.
The forge uses lava from the nearby volcano at the center of Novia, so is overrun with fire elementals. These must be dealt with while the blacksmith is using the forge. This is not an easy or safe endeavor.
The Oracle is watching us. The Oracle protects us.