The Let's Play Archive

Ultima 4, 5, and 6

by Nakar

Part 27: Joining the Oppression, Kinda

Joining the Oppression, Kinda

Skara Brae has changed a lot over the years. There's a big moat around it, a giant tower in the center of town locked by magical doors, and also the talking ankh seems to have been replaced with this signpost and its associated dumb Blackthorn rule. This one's not as funny as the Law of Humility, but it's still pretty good.

The town itself is fairly unexciting. We're here to meet with Archmage Flain, who is inside the aforementioned tower. Best thing to do is just break in.

The instant you open one of the doors, bats swarm out of Flain's belfry and attack you. Granted, they attack you one at a time and the Avatar can dispatch them in like one hit, but the thing is every time you enter combat magic doors reset. So it takes at least two skull keys to get inside, plus one to get out, and it pays to kill off all the bats so you can leave without incident.

Up the ladder and on the roof is Flain, although he's pretty foul-mooded and will tell you to get out of his house if you actually ask his name.

You see a dark and ominous wizard.
: Why hast thou disturbed me, wretch?
: I heard you're the go-to guy for the Oppression, and that sounds just fine with me!
: This had best be important, for if 'tis not... Who sent thee?
: Some nice honest fellow named Dryden.
: Dost thou wish to join the Oppression?
: Boy howdy, do I ever!
: First, thou must prove thy allegiance! Tell me the name of a member of the Great Council, so we might dispatch the traitor!
: Uhhhh...
: Are you sure we should actually do this?
: Look, we can do this one of two ways. We can betray the name of a loyal and self-sacrificing woman who has been reduced to pretending to be so poor that her son sews sails for a living, a job that will probably eventually kill him if his mother is dead or imprisoned, or we can risk our lives in Blackthorn's Castle without the benefit of being perceived as members of the Oppression.
: Right, so that's why we're not going to do it.
: Haha, no, we're going to do it.
: Wait, what?
: You heard me, we're going to do it.
: That's not particularly virtuous.
: Actually, it apparently isn't unvirtuous. You see, it turns out doing this has no effect on my Karma whatsoever.
: That's just preposterous! This would be a thousand times more evil than shortchanging a blind woman!
: Yeah, but even better, we don't actually have to do this in the first place, because the password to the Oppression doesn't change, and we can just reload the game after we find out! So you can just blow me, Flain. Oh and the password is IMPERA. Thanks, reloads and walkthroughs!
: Awww heck.
: I also know that if I had given you the name, you'd tell me to go to the northeasternmost island in Britannia to meet with your associates, which I will now do, because I am the Avatar and I know everything. Toodles!

Skara Brae locks up at night by pulling in the drawbridge. Yet another reason the Magic Carpet is the best item ever.

Could this island, which actually is more southeast of the Isle of the Avatar than northeast of everything else (yes, I know, they link together, I'm just saying), be the secret Oppression base?

It sure is. Behold the keep Windmere, which is probably the least useful secret base ever because it's about a day's sailing from Blackthorn's Castle. You'd think they'd put it somewhere farther away.

I'm just going to pretend I can't read runic and waltz right in uninvited. I'm sure nothing bad will happen.

Daemon guards. Well, this could end badly. Let's try not making it really obvious that we're here on false pretenses.

You see a tall, dark lady.
: Name?
: My name is Elistaria
: Sure it is.
: Job?
: I dabble in the dark arts.
: I'm more of a full-time professional myself. So you guys work for the Oppression?
: What is the password?
: Impera.
: Well, I'm sure you couldn't have just guessed that at random or used reloading to get it, so welcome aboard! Here, wear this badge when thou doth wish to show thou art with Blackthorn and the Oppression! Then remove it at all other times, playing us completely for chumps! It may be that Thrud has some items that may be useful in your mission, although he probably doesn't!

Note the little badge icon. When we wear this badge, Blackthorn's forces don't bother us (provided we can also provide the password). This seems like a phenomenally stupid item to give to the Avatar to use at will, but hey, at least it hurt our Karma to get it! Oh wait, no, it doesn't? Not even putting it on? Oh well, I guess that whole virtues thing was just a suggestion anyway.

You see a dark, heavyset man.
: I am called Thrud.
: Job?
: An infamous mercenary!
: Mercenary?
: I enjoy killing immensely!
: I suppose that would be an asset to the profession.
: Surely thou hast heard of the time when I butchered an entire village?
: I'm not exactly from around here, actually.
: I had just returned from a war across the sea, when on my way home I stopped at an inn. The meal I ate there gave me indigestion for two days! Upon recovery, I killed the innkeeper and his entire staff. The ensuing outcry forced me to dispense with the rest of the village!
: Gosh, imagine that. How audacious you are. So you've got a weapon for me or something?
: The Jeweled Sword and Shield are fine weapons indeed! Wouldst thou like them?
: If I say yes are you going to ask me for the password to the Resistance, an act which will lower my Karma, then psychically know if I'm lying if I say anything but the actual password and call the guards down on me?
: Probably, yeah.
: And if I actually do give it to you, is it going to turn out the Jeweled stuff has 0 attack and defense power?
: Yup, pretty much.
: Well you can just blow me too.
: Awwwwww man.

Yeah, if you betray the Resistance you get all of nothing from it. The Jeweled equipment is totally worthless and you can acquire the Black Badge without actually betraying anyone important. That's some pretty lousy security.

En route to Blackthorn's castle with the Black Badge, I happen upon a small swampy island that probably is important in some capacity.

Inside is just one guy, and he has only one conversation to go through. You pretty much can't even ask him anything.

You see a young, solemn mage.
: Greetings, I am Sutek. What is thy name?
: Steve.
: A pleasure! Art thou the Avatar of legend?
: For the first time, it is actually not a violation of Humility for me to say that yes, I am.
: I have been scrying for the nature of the three Shards! I have learned that they were formed at the time of the first Dark Lord. When Mondain's Gem of Immortality was destroyed-
: Yeah yeah, I remember that part seeing as how I kind of did it.
: -its shards still harbored unspeakable evil! They lay festering deep within the earth, but now their malevolent power has been unleashed upon the world.
: I wonder if this has anything to do with raising the Codex to the surface, thus making it the most boneheaded decision Lord British makes in the entire series.
: Come on, Avatar, it's not that bad, it isn't like the next game will be about how stupid that move was too.
: The Shards and the Shadowlords can and must be destroyed! The Shards must be recovered from their resting places in the boundless Underworld, and cast into the Eternal Flames of Truth, Love, and Courage... Even as each receptive Shadowlord stands nigh upon the flame of the Principle it opposes. Take this knowledge and use it well!
: So to destroy the Shadowlords, we have to actually get their attention and be standing right next to them?
: I didn't say it was a good plan, I just said it was the plan.

And that's what brings us to the gates of Blackthorn's Castle. So long as I have both the Black Badge and Magic Carpet, I should be able to avoid trouble while in here. Probably. So let's go get that crown!

Also, am I the only one who thinks that entrance looks vaguely like ?