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Lord British seeks $1 million for Shroud of the Avatar

Richard Garriott is back with plans for a new RPG that's already attracting thousands of backers.

Shroud of the Avatar allows players to follow their own paths in a fully interactive world. Kickstarter

Open your wallets, Ultima fans. Lord British needs cash.

The RPG pioneer and space tourist has a Kickstarter campaign to raise $1 million for an Ultima-style game called Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues and he's well on his way to that goal.

Lord British, whose real name is Richard Garriott, says Shroud will be "a fantasy role-playing game that will focus more on player choices and discovery than on level grinding."

Garriott developed the Ultima franchise from its inception in 1980 through hits such as Ultima IV: Quest for the Avatar. The series evolved into Ultima Online, which was launched way back in 1997 and is still going.

Garriott's Texas-based company Portalarium is developing Shroud of the Avatar, which is being billed as a return to Lord British's fantasy RPG roots. It will have both online and offline playability and will feature a fully interactive world with "ethical parables" and cultural history.

"I as Lord British will be with you in the game and together we will forge this new world," Garriott says in a Kickstarter video, adding that the game will not have a checklist of preset goals. "Players will explore, discover, think, and decide what path is right for them."

The release is slated for October 2014. Shroud also will have physical swag, such as a cloth map.

The Kickstarter campaign has attracted more than 11,000 backers and nearly $750,000 in only three days. The first 5,000 who pledged $25 or more received a digital download of the game.

High-level backers receive titles such as Citizen, Lord, Baron, Duke, or Lord of the Manor. These titles come with perks too, such as rent-free, in-game housing for characters or real-world meetings with developers or Lord British himself.

What do you think? Did you like Ultima enough to pony up?