The Let's Play Archive

Ultima 4, 5, and 6

by Nakar

Part 22: Poking Around Minoc & Britain

Poking Around Minoc & Britain

I'm still trying to figure out the moongates. My theory right now is that the way they work now is that Trammel's phase determines the destination before midnight and Felucca's after, but I'm still not totally sure. Anyway leaving the Shrine of Spirituality kicked us out at Minoc, which isn't a bad place to go anyway as we'll need to get something there before I can really exploit explore Lord British's castle.

At any rate, we're stumbling around in the hills, in the dark. Suddenly a light sweeps past! And then it's gone. And then it comes back! And then gone. What is it?

Oh, and I have no idea why I didn't dig up the stupid Minoc Moonstone and bury it somewhere near the actual town. Perhaps next time.

Would you believe an actual, functioning lighthouse? It's kind of funny that Ultima 9, for all the things it did wrong, actually remembered the lighthouses exist in Britannia. Although I think they're in different places, so maybe they just built entirely new lighthouses. You can actually go into them, but there's nothing in them I want right now so I won't.

On to Minoc. Blackthorn's Law of Sacrifice probably makes the least sense of all of the Virtue laws. This is the one Mario seems to have violated, incidentally. I don't see anything here about a death penalty, but I guess if you're dead you have no income.

Because it's midnight, I can't do much here for a few hours, but I can search a strange tree in the NW corner of town, where I find a ring of 5 "strange" keys. These are Skull Keys, which can open any lock without fail, even magical locks. They're handy, and best of all, they respawn every day in this tree. I grab two rings of keys before I leave, but I'll need more to beat the game. I'm in a bit of a hurry to get to Britain though and ten is more than enough for that.

Day finally breaks, and the locals come out to play. Let's see how everyone is suffering enjoying life in Blackthorn's Britannia.

You see a poor and destitute beggar.
: Pity, pity me, I'm a poor and destitute beggar!
: Yes, I'm aware, I read your description.
: Can you spare a few gold crowns?
: Sure thing, pal.
: Bless ye! What is thy name?
: Steve.
: A pleasure! Thou shalt find me a worthy investment! Later, I shall prove it unto thee!
: Is he hitting on you, Steve?
: Steve is a girl?
: Screw you, Iolo.
: I have to admit, the beard makes it hard to be sure.

You see a small, thin, and tattered child.
: Name?
: My name is Rew.
: Job?
: I sew sails.
: Sails?
: It's very hard work.
: Ha ha! Child labor. Adorable.

Now here's an innovation: We can actually buy a ship now, instead of having to jack one from pirates like in every Ultima up to this point. Of course we can still do that too.

Not only that, but two different kinds of ships now exist! There's Frigates, like the ships in the last game, which are affected by wind and stuff, and skiffs, which are slow but not tied to the wind (since you row them) and capable of navigating rivers and stuff. You can have a skiff onboard a frigate I think, although I may be thinking of Final Fantasy 1 and the Canoe. Whatever. Skiffs will be nearly obsoleted by a certain item I'm about to acquire.

Also we're too poor to buy even a rowboat.

And speaking of the poorhouse!

You see a mystical woman dressed in meager clothes.
: I am Fiona. I run the poor house. Art thou in dire need of food?
: No.
: Good.
: That's kind of lousy service for a charity.
: You get what you pay for.
: Shouldn't it be "Thou gets what thou payest for?"
: Oh, nobody actually talks like that here, we just do it to you because it's funny.
: I knew it!

You see a strong youth.
: Name?
: My name is Tactus.
: Job?
: I make the chainmail armour and coifs here at the Darkwatch Armoury!
: Don't you mean armor?
: Indeed, I believe it to be amongst the finest in the land!
: Finest, you say?
: Since Blackthorn has come to power, our sales have increased threefold!
: Funny how that works out.
: Blackthorn's reign has been most beneficial, I think you'll agree, yes?
: ...Sure.
: Avatar!
: Shut up, Iolo, I'm lying
: I thought the Avatar wasn't supposed t- MRGPHH!
: I'm taking care of this!
: Right.
: I can tell thou art very keen! I wouldst like thee to meet a friend of mine, if thou couldst. Wilt thou?
: Sure.
: He is very close with Lord Blackthorn himself! I believe thou shalt find him an interesting fellow! His name is Judge Dryden and thou might find him in the court of Yew. Ask him of the Oppression and tell him Tactus sent thee!

Oppression, huh? That sounds like a fine and upstanding organization.

Holy fucking crackers, what the hell is wrong with the ocean? Not just in Britannia, anywhere.

Anyway, as soon as the Moongate pops up I jump in blind, since I have no idea how they work.

I wind up here. Do you know which Moongate this is? Take a second to quiz yourself.

If you answered Trinsic, congratulations! I don't want to visit Trinsic yet, and besides which it's closed up tight at night. Most cities close their doors at night (although Minoc is an exception), or otherwise make it hard to get in or out. However, there are usually ways to sneak in or out.

The road from Trinsic runs to Britain by way of Paws, so once morning hits I'm going to say fuck you to the Moongates and hike to Britain.

Note that Paws remains roughly where it was in the last game. It will move around a bit later.

Many of the bridges in the land are infested with toll-imposing trolls, but you can avoid paying if the entire party can sneak across. Naturally, Iolo fucks everything up and the trolls demand money.

But the Avatar pays in smackdowns instead. Iolo and Shamino wait respectfully on the other side.

I forget how you disarm chests. I think you might have to jimmy their lock, but I'm lazy. Note the bounty of loot that drops out of chests now. The downside is you don't always get gold (you'll get a sack of gold if you do), but the upside is I can sell this shield for an okay amount.

At long last, Britain! The town and castle are about the same, only now there are three villages surrounding Lord British's: West, East, and North Brittany. Each is separate. We'll also skip them for now.

You see a bouncing jester!
: Name?
: My name is Chuckles.
: Job?
: I am here to welcome and try to entertain!
: Welcome?
: Welcome to the castel of His Royal Majesty, His Eminence, The Immortal, currently missing, feared dead, Lord Cantabrigian British!
: Lord British has a first name?
: I always assumed "Lord" was his first name.
: And his trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent... Jester, Chuckles the Bumble... that's ME!
: British?
: The same.
: The same what?
: Just the same.
: I hate you almost as much as Iolo, Chuckles.

Inside British's place. At least one thing hasn't changed.

Here's the stables. I'm not sure where the stable girl is, because it might be possible to steal rent a horse here. It turns out I won't need to of course.

Down in the basement. Note that chests and barrels can be pushed around, to allow you to get over and around them. In a crate all the way down at the bottom of a storeroom is a ring. In this case, Regeneration, which works like a reverse poison. Rings are nice and handy for their various benefits, but unfortunately their magical charge is limited and after a while they'll just disappear entirely. Free healing is never bad though, and the Ring of Regeneration works overnight.

There's also an armorer in the basement. It would be brighter in here, but I borrowed all the torches. Lot of good stuff for sale here, including a magic armor piece (the shield) and Plate Mail.

All that's left down here is the dungeon. Let's see who's locked up in here!

You see an unkempt and pitiful soul with a distant stare.
: Hey, come 'ere! Yer the first soul I've seen in months! Won't ye stay and speak with me a while?
: Uhhhh, alright.
: Chuckles 'ates me! Left me locked up 'ere well beyond me sentence!
: Hey, I hate Chuckles too!
: 'Twer his fault, really!
: Fault?
: I didn't mean to kill 'er, honest!
: Kill?
: Why doesn't they believes me? Ye believes me, don't ye?
: Sure.
: Then let me out. I can helps ye!
: Help?
: Why, I can show ye where it's hidden?
: Where what is hidden?
: Lets me out. I'll show ye. Ye will let me out, won't ye?
: Well, I can't see any potential downside in unlocking the cell of a convicted murderer.
: Are you shitting me, Avatar?
: Oh God.
: What's the worst thing that can happen?

Oh well, free experience. Too bad there was jack shit in his cell.

Searching the kitchens. There's an NPC somewhere in the castle that I was going to find, per OHNONINJA's suggestion, but for some crazy reason I can't find him anywhere at all! Well, screw him. I had a huge elaborate plan to  recruit Saduj, then go to Blackthorn's Castle with only him in the party and get him executed by Blackthorn , but naturally he had to screw everything up by not appearing. I blame Iolo.

Here's British's throne room, forlorn and empty right now.

Looking into his crystal ball has the same effect as peering into a gem. Note the better-quality maps.

Anyway, there's still one more floor to check out. Or more accurately, the roof.

Sneaking around south, it looks like there's a pathway to a little room on top of the castle. But there's a guard here, and try as I might, I can't seem to be able to get him to go off duty.

You see a big, mean, nasty, ugly guard!
: Hey you! Thou art not allowed up here! Art thou going to leave on thy own or must I throw thee off the battlements?
: Alright, alright.
: Get off the roof, NOW!

Strangely, once I've bumped into him once, he won't talk to me again and get pissed and attack me, so I can just press up against him until he moves out of the way.

Something about Lord British's bedroom being closed by order of Lord Blackthorn. That's a pretty secure-looking magical door, but I've got skull keys.

Good ol' LB's got a pretty bitchin' setup in here. His underwear drawer yields a couple of scrolls, he's not home so I can sleep in his bed as much as I want, and he's got a weird-ass rug on the floor.

A weird-ass rug which I can take. More on this in a second.

Just to prove that even I can be phenomenally stupid: Looking into a telescope at 2pm is not very helpful.

Lord British also has a harpsichord in his room. Since I'm psychic, I decide to sit down and play Stones on it, although the sound is fucked up so I can't actually tell I'm doing it. Mysteriously, a secret passage opens. Amazing! It's almost like I planned that!

And what's inside? A small, sealed sandalwood box. I take it, because an inconspicuous container behind a secret wall must be something important. And as a matter of fact it is; you absolutely must have this box at the end of the game. What's in it? We'll find out at the very end. Until then, it helps to think of it like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

You see a large, jolly man with a very dirty apron.
: Name?
: My name is Stephen.
: Job?
: I am the lower kitchen chef.
: Chef?
: I love to cook, especially for banquets!
: Banquets?
: Alas, we have not had one since the master left us.
: Master?
: Yes, 'tis very sad, though I hope for his return, so I may once again place roast pheasant before him!

Basic overview, everybody's pretty sad about Lord British being MIA, except all the jerks who profit from Blackthorn.

On to Britain proper. I love these laws.

While I'm here, time to bust out the magic carpet. Basically, the rug in British's bedroom is a magic flying carpet, and it is the best item in this game. Why is it so good? Well, for one thing it can be used anywhere (outside on the world map and in towns, castles, and dungeons), and confers the following benefits:

Two moves for NPCs and monsters' one: Enough said. We can outrun anything unless we're flying through rough terrain, and even then we can probably outrun it. Nothing moves more than one square at a time, not even the Shadowlords.

It fucking flies: The carpet can go over all terrain except mountains. It still gets slowed down by trees/swamps/hills/magma/etc., however since we're flying we don't take damage from lava, don't get poisoned by swamps, etc. It can fly over all sea squares, however "rough seas" will cause damage to the party when traveling over the deepest ocean. At high levels with lots of yellow potions or healing spells I can just ignore that if I have to and no frigate is available.

Handy roll-up storage: Once we're done with the carpet, we can X-it it and get it, keeping it safe in our inventory. Never have to worry about where you parked the carpet, just grab it and take it with you. of course if you get off and forget you might lose it, and it takes it six months to reappear in British's bedroom again, so I have to remember to pick it up whenever I'm done with it.

All this for the price of one skull key (which was free in the first place)! Awesome to the max.

The first thing we'll do is check out the store called Iolo's Bows in Britain. That seems a little suspicious.

You see a charming woman.
: Hello friends, 'tis good to see thee all!
: Name?
: Avatar, you already know this person.
: Who?
: My name is Gwenno.
: Never heard of her.
: She's my wife!
: Who are you?
: I'm Iolo!
: And I'm the Avatar, so kindly shutteth it.
: I repair bows and crossbows.
: Bows?
: Iolo makes them, I repair them.
: Iolo?
: Man, I'm standing right here.
: Strange, is it not, that even though Iolo is an outlaw, we still manage to keep his bows in stock... nudge nudge...
: You too busy to join us?
: Nah. Iolo and I both thank thee!

So now we have Gwenno, who is actually a slight bit better than Iolo in some ways. She's also a bard, so she's pretty versatile. We can always ditch her later if we want someone else though.

Flying over water. Try asking me for a tribute to Blackthorn now, jerks!

You see a sweaty, soiled farmer.
: Name?
: My name is Terrance.
: Job?
: I keep this orchard to earn my humble living.
: Orchard?
: It's even harder in these dark times!
: Times?
: It's mostly on account of them blasted Shadowlords!
: Shadowlords?
: If it weren't for the Resistance, I'd have nothing left!
: Resistance?
: Oops... dost thou intend to turn me in for my treason?
: No.
: Dost thou know of the Resistance?
: No.
: Ask the owner of the Arms of Justice!

Interesting. We've been told by Tactus in Minoc to seek out Judge Dryden in Yew if we want to join the Oppression. We've also been told by Terrance to speak to the owner of the weapon shop in Yew to join the Resistance. Obviously, these could both be good leads, so flying back to Yew on our bitchin' carpet is obviously the next move.

On the way I stop to rest, and something happens!

An apparition!
: Thou showest well the wisdom of an Avatar, but thou hast not yet achieved thy potential. Stay on the path and thy soul shall flourish!
: Dude, is that you?
: What? No, I'm the ghost of a mysterious man! You're not supposed to know who I am!
: You're wearing a crown!
: I could be the ghost of any particular king!
: This country has only ever had one king, and it's you!
: Okay so yes, it is me, Lord British, what of it?
: Are you freaking dead, dude?
: Of course not! A dead guy couldn't heal your entire party for free, could he?
: Possibly not. So where the hell did you go?
: Wouldn't you like to know!
The strangely familiar old man vanishes...


You see a hearty blacksmith (Chamfort).
: Resistance.
: Who told thee to ask me?
: Terrance.
: I see... dost thou wish to aid the resistance?
: Yes.
: Very good! What is thy name?
: Steve.
: A pleasure! The first thing thou dost need is to see Landon! The password is  DAWN .
: Landon?
: He is the local leader of the Resistance.

Well, that's one side of the story. Let's see what the other one is.

You see a tall man in flowing black robes (Judge Dryden).
: Oppression.
: Who sent thee?
: Tactus.
: I see... I think thou had best see Archmage Flain! He will be eager to meet thee. See him in the tower of Skara Brae and ask him of the Oppression!

A secret door in the graveyard. This doesn't lead us to Landon, but rather it's a secret exit from Yew should you be stuck here at night. It's locked though.

So we now have two ways we could go. If we want to join the Oppression, we'll need to speak to Flain in Skara Brae, to the south. The Oppression is obviously evil, but joining them might make it easier to get access to Blackthorn and anything he might have that could help rescue Lord British. However, it could cost us dearly. The Resistance has already given us their password, so now we can see if they know anything about what's going on and whether they can help us.

Of course, nothing's preventing us from playing both sides. Unless the two should make contradictory demands of us... so what do you think?