Part 49: Post-Shrine Housekeeping
We're at the end of the first act of the game, so to speak. Ultima VI can basically be categorized into three parts: rescuing the shrines and acquiring the moonstones, translating the Book of Prophecies and learning the extent of the Gargoyle situation, and then reaching the Gargoyle world and resolving the crisis.
In game terms, the first two acts are definitely the longest, but not really the most interesting. It's a lot of running around and collecting objects. You do need to get stuff assembled for the final act, but it's a lot more interesting and you need far less of it. I can technically skip about 90% of the second act, but I'll explain that part when I get there and see what you guys think about it.
In the meantime, though, I've got to do some general-purpose things like leveling up and, dare I say it, rearranging my inventory. It's getting a bit of a mess, you see.
I mentioned breaking into the vault a while ago. Early on, actually. I pointed out most notably that a cannon will not faze a locked door. This is true, but that shouldn't be meant to suggest that nothing can breach a locked door.
For example, Shamino is showing off what happens if you plant a lit powder keg by the vault doors of the Britannian Royal Mint.
Well done, Shamino!
Yet so juvenile. It's far too noisy, too messy, too much of a waste of a valuable and expensive object that could have been better employed at such tasks as "killing Iolo" and "killing Chuckles."
Want to see how a real professional does it?
First, we use An Por (Lock) on the Mint door.
"But it's already locked!" you say.
Exactly. And now it's magically locked.
And if it's magically locked, we can cast Ex Por (Magic Unlock), and unlock it.
Now the door is not just magically unlocked, but conventionally unlocked as well! It turns out doors only have three states: Locked, Unlocked, and Magically Locked. An Por turns a door into a Magically Locked door regardless of what state it was in previously; Ex Por turns a Magically Locked door into an Unlocked door.
This works on any door in the game. As there are doors which are specifically designed to only be opened by keys and only at particular points in the plot, this combination of spells completely wrecks the game. Rune of Honesty? Didn't need to talk to Manrel. I could've let the thief of the Rune of Justice out of prison without getting permission to even access solitary. Granted, this wouldn't have gotten me out of Lord British's castle without passing the copy protection, but it turns out you can do that anyway with various glitches.
All this for a couple dozen gold nuggets and about 400 gold coins. I don't even bother to take any of them. It's not worth stealing. The point is, I can.
The Animate + Clone trick works on more than just armor. But you could've guessed that. One glass sword means infinite glass swords, as long as I feel like animating them. I'm not sure if glass swords will attack if provoked, instantly killing whoever they hit and killing themselves in the process. I'm not sure if this destroys the cloned animate sword or if they "die" and drop a normal glass sword upon death, turning them into the ultimate assassins. I say I'm not sure because I can't get anything I Animate to do anything but wander around. I can't even seem to provoke them into going on a murderous rampage. Help me, Doug the Eagle!
We haven't visited Xiao in a while.
I came to buy Mandrake Roots, but nothing stops me from stealing them too. Best to reload and take the bag whole though, I think it's less of a karma hit.
After all that, back to Minoc. Remember that time I went to the Shadowlords' house? I wonder if it's still there.
Of course it's still there. But who's this at the head of the trail?
It's a little boy named Myles, who seems quite surprised to see more "two-eyed people." He directs me to check out his parents at the keep. It seems they've moved into Stonegate since the Shadowlords were forcibly vacated.
I suppose a good fixer-upper evil castle in the deep mountains is a good project.
Ah, just the way I remember it, with the entrance on the north and not the south, where it was last time I was here. Goddamnit it Ultima, at least pretend to be consistent with these things.
Hey, why is the ground shaking?
This is Mama. Mama is a cyclops. Mama's "one-eyed child" died many years ago, so she adopted Myles. They live here in Stonegate. Despite being a cyclops, she's a decent person.
And there's Papa. Papa has the keys to Stonegate. He'll give them to me if I get him a fish from the river nearby. He even provides the fishing pole. Of course with the trick I mentioned earlier it's completely pointless to even bother, but what the hell.
It takes all of ten seconds to do.
Downstairs, everything's locked down with portcullises. X-Ray reveals the switches I need to get through them. I could send Quenton through the walls and just flick the switches, but since people apparently think that's not terribly legitimate, there's a secret passage upstairs.
Further downstairs are some electrical fields, quite different from the ones that can actually be dispelled by magic.
Apparently these are actual electrified doorways, as this big Frankenstein switch suggests. What were the Shadowlords hiding? Well, I mean, besides the Scepter, which I stole from them last time.
The room seems bare, but X-Ray to the rescue! Dispel those fields, unlock that door (one way or another), and...
What in the hell is this thing?
The Vortex Cube? I bet this will be important later! The Vortex Cube is a container (and there's a reason for that), but it weighs quite a bit and doesn't cut down on the weight of anything inside, so it's pretty damn heavy. Good thing I reorganized my inventory. This will come into play in the third act of the game, but this'll save me a trip here.
Oh, and I'd better not lose it. It's one of three items that are technically absolutely required to finish the game. Of course it's not very helpful unless the eight moonstones are in it, so it's more like 9 to 11 items.
And finally, here's the rough breakdown of the Britannian government, as I understand it: