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Getting Started (Pre-Alpha)

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So, you are a backer of Shroud of the Avatar and are getting ready to step into New Britannia for the first time? Where do you start? What should you do?

This article will help you take those first steps into Pre-Alpha Release 48!

Getting Started


Download and run the Portalarium installer here:

  1. PC:
  2. Mac:
  3. Linux:

Download and install on Steam here:

Read the Player Instructions and Known Issues.

After this is installed, run the game from the shortcut. It will patch to the latest version and launch the game when done. Hereafter, you do not need to reinstall the program for each release; simply run the patcher to update to the latest version before launch!


To log into the game, enter the Username and Password you created for your account on the Shroud of the Avatar website. Note that this *may* be different than the login information for the SotA Forums. You can also select what mode to play the game in.

  • Play Offline: In this mode, your character is the only Avatar in the world. All gameplay is saved on your computer.
  • Single Player Online: In this mode, only your character appears in the world. However, you can see the effects of other players, including their housing, merchant, and effects on the world.
  • Friends Online: In this mode, only players whom you have established a friendship with will appear in the world.
  • Multiplayer Online: All players can appear in this mode, although only a limited number may be in a single instance.

Character Creation

After logging in the first time, you must create a character. Select your appearance and provide a character name. Don't worry too much about this now, other than trying out the various options. Characters will be deleted regularly between each Pre-Alpha test, and you can delete and recreate the character yourself at any time.

Subsequent logins will allow you to continue with the existing character, or delete them and create a new character.

Basic Controls

Main article: Controls

Lets take a look at the most basic things in Shroud of the Avatar; how to move around.

You move using standard "WASD" controls, with a few additional options:

  • Pressing "W" will move you forward. Pressing "NumLock" will cause you to continue to move forward until you tap "S" to stop. You can also use your left mouse button to move forward.
  • Pressing "A" will cause you to move to your character's left.
  • Pressing "S" will cause you to move in the oposite direction your character is facing.
  • Pressing "D" will cause you to move to your character's right.

You can also turn your character using the "Q" key (to turn left) and "E" key (to turn right), or use the right mouse button and move the mouse to turn.

Finally, general speech is controlled by pressing "Enter" to put focus in the text box, typing what you want to say, and pressing "Enter" again to say it. You do not need to target someone to speak with them, although you can do this to ensure you are talking to the correct person (otherwise the game assumes you are talking to the person closest to you. Another way to start speaking with an NPC is to double-click them, which will begin a conversation. Targeting is controlled by left clicking them with the mouse, or pressing "Tab" until they are highlighted. Note that characters are leery of speaking to adventurers who bear weapons threateningly; press "Z" to sheathe or unsheathe your weapon.


Main article: Tutorial

You first appear in the presence of Arabella high above Novia on the Isle of Storms. Depending on how you respond to her queries, you will find your way to one of three locales. Complete the tutorial by following the hints provided, or click the link above a quick walkthrough.

Enter New Britannia

You have just stepped through a Lunar Rift and arrived in one of the towns in Novia. Only a few buildings form the village proper, but more are available for players to purchase and place.


Main article: Quests

Quests are the bread and butter of the adventurer. In various locations throughout New Britannia, NPCs seek your aid in accomplishing a wide variety of tasks. To get started, double-click on the one of the local NPCs to start a conversation with him. Press "Enter" to bring up your interaction window and introduce yourself. Continue with various NPCs in the area and you will quickly be given your first quest.

Press "J" to display your Journal. In the Current Tasks section, there is an entry there from your conversation. Many items that can be followed up with are automatically noted in your Journal; you can use these notes to help you recall what you need to do or ask about in your travels. In future releases, some keywords may be clickable from within the Journal, allowing you to quickly start a conversation with your currently selected NPC about that item. Not all characters will know about any specific subject, however, and not all have your best interest in mind. For now, close the Journal and you can start on this quest.

Additional quests can be unlocked by speaking to other NPCs in various locations. Be sure to check your Journal occasionally to keep track of your current progress, but note that this game is unlike many MMOs; you will have to remember to do things on your own!

Overland Travel

Once you are done, turn around and travel through the archway to exit the village. As you pass the boundary of the town, you will see the screen darkening like the iris of a camera. This indicates a zone change is coming, and if you do not want to leave a particular area you can stop and turn back.

You will find yourself on a zoomed out map of the area. The same controls are used in this view, so press "W" to travel north, "A" to turn to the west "D" to turn east, and "S" to turn south". In the future, you may also be able to travel just by clicking where you wish to move.

For now, follow the road. You will approach the next town where your quest will continue, and a button will appear at the bottom of the screen to enter the town. Click it, and you will find yourself outside of the city.

Things to Do

While you can certainly explore the town and its environs, the main things to do in Novia involve housing, crafting and quests.


Main article: Housing

To test housing (we are here to test, after all), click on the sign in front of any of the player lots. If it is owned, you will see who owns it, otherwise you can claim it for a modest sum, and purchase a house to place there. Smaller lots with a wooden fence are Village lots, those with a low stone wall are Town lots, and ones with crenelated walls are City lots. Outside of town is a Castle lot which can be claimed. Houses can be purchased from Realtors, who are often found on the second floor of the Bank.


Main article: Crafting

Crafting involves gathering resources, refining them at a workbench, and then producing the end result. In many larger towns, a public crafting station can be found.

You can find a provisioner in the crafting pavilion, who will happily sell you some crafting gear. While there, make sure to purchase a Harvesting Axe and any other gathering tools you might want.

To perform crafting, double-click on a station to approach it. Your inventory and the contents of the station itself will be displayed. Press "R" to display your recipe book. You can click on any of the section names to jump to that section of the book. Double-click on a recipe to place the items for that recipe in the crafting station.


Main article: Quests

Additional quests can be started in many towns throughout Novia. To get started, ask NPCs how you can "help". Their responses can generally guide you to find new quests.

Press "J" to display your Journal. Note that there is an entry there from your conversation. Many items that can be followed up with are automatically noted in your Journal; you can use these notes to help you recall what you need to do or ask about in your travels. In future releases, some keywords may be clickable from within the Journal, allowing you to quickly start a conversation with your currently selected NPC about that item. Not all characters will know about any specific subject, however, and not all have your best interest in mind. For now, close the Journal and continue on this quest.

Take care in your explorations!

Journey Onward

When you are done, head out of town. Move to a nearby wilderness scene, represented by a banner above the area, and double-click to enter.

Things to Do in the Wilderness

Exploring the various wilderness areas can be exciting. There are two main things to do in the wilderness: gathering and combat.


Main article: Gathering

To aid in crafting, you can gather your own supplies out in the wild.

You can purchase gathering tools from provisioners and shopkeepers. To use tools, simply open your Skills window (press 'K'). Click on the skill group you want to use, such as Forestry, and drag the tool from your inventory to the "Equipped Tool" slot. When you are near a node, simply double-click on it to use the tool on the target.

Locate a tree with red leaves. Approach the base of the tree and use your harvesting axe. The tree will fall and you can loot a few logs to use in Carpentry back in town.


Main article: Combat

Also in the forest area, you can find aggressive enemies. Approaching elves, wolves, or spiders will cause them to attack. You can also attack stags and other animals.

Combat is initiated by double-clicking the enemy you would like to engage, or using a combat skill from the toolbar at the bottom of the screen.

Basic combat involves you automatically attacking your target with the equipped weapon. How quickly you attack and how much damage is done depends on the equipped weapon. These will be modified by the passive skills you select.

In Release 5, active combat skills were introduced. Skills are managed by assigning skill points in the Skill window, accessed by pressing "K". Any learned skill appears on your Skill List (press "L"), which can be placed in the hotbar at the bottom of the screen, and activated using the designed number on the keyboard. Assigning more than one point in a skill allows multiple copies of that skill on the hotbar, allowing you to use them with separate cool-down timers. Using skills costs Focus.

The Deck builder is accessible by pressing the "Y" key. Drag items from the Skill List to the Deck window, which was added in Release 8. The minimum hand size is 20, so if you have fewer skills in your deck, the remainder will be filled with "slugs". Additional slugs are added for heavy equipment. Click Equip to use the selected deck, which you can then utilize in combat.

In Release 29, targeting was updated. There are two combat modes; the reticle mode, and the cursor mode. You can toggle between them using the Tab key. In reticle mode, your character aims where your face, and you must be within range to use your abilities. In cursor mode, you can change the facing of your character separate from your cursor, but must still be within range to attack. In either mode, the 'G' key will allow you to cycle through local targets.

Player vs Player

Main article: PVP

PVP scenes include the Shardfalls and Ruins scattered throughout Novia, as well as areas designated as PVP by players. This can include basements, or even entire player-owned towns.


Now that you know the basics of the game, feel free to explore and start testing. Remember to submit bugs and feedback on the Forums. Here are a few places you might consider visiting in the Hidden Vale:

  • The oceanside town of Kingsport to the east.
  • The bandit's cave of Owl's Nest, just east of Owl's Head. Travel down the path past the spiders and take a left at each intersection to locate the caves.
  • The forest village of Braemar to the south.
  • The dungeon Ravensmoor, south of Braemar. Travel deep into the ruins past the undead to find the crypt's entrance.
  • Several player housing villages throughout the isle.
  • Ruins inhabited by satyr can be found in some southern hexes.


This video by The Mad Hermit provides basics about how to play Shroud of the Avatar.

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