The Let's Play Archive

Ultima VII Part 2: Serpent Isle

by Nakar

Part 10: MONITOR- This Is MUCH More Important Than Staying Alive

This Is MUCH More Important Than Staying Alive

"Are you absolutely sure you don't want to go straight to Fawn?"
"Dude, we've got a magic hourglass that makes us immortal. I can put up with a few more hours of vomiting blood and things I'm pretty sure aren't supposed to come out of a human body."
"Well, what are we going to find, exactly? It isn't like there are random boxes full of magic armor in the wilderness on this isle."
"True. We just have to be... more creative."

"Take, for example, this abandoned manor east of Monitor! Surely this place is full of treasure, maybe some dragons, or something!"

"I suppose trolls are more suitable to our current equipment, though."
"Yeah, maybe if you're a weiner."

The good news is that trolls have been made a bit more lucrative in Serpent Isle. They drop gems now, often quite a few. About half as many as a dragon, but they're about ten times easier to kill and aren't terribly threatening even for Team Avatar's ghetto armor situation. And this manor has a lot of trolls.

Unfortunately you can't exchange gems until you hit up the Sleeping Bull Inn, which I want to avoid for plot reasons for a little while longer. You can also sell them in Moonshade, but since you have to get to the Sleeping Bull to go there, it is what it is. Not that we need gems to make money. I have a better method.

And I do mean a lot of trolls. Good thing they use whips and hammers, which aren't even technically weapons.

"Awwww, it doesn't do anything."
"You are aware that most thrones don't actually open secret passages or teleport you places? They're mostly just for sitting."
"Let her dream, Shamino."

North of the manor is a curious penned-in area of ancient ruins full of cattle and sheep. Some of them are dead, but the rest are milling around. There are two teleport pads in the enclosure. If you used crates to get over the wall, you'd wind up teleporting into an Ophidian ruin with two locked doors barring passage anywhere but a second teleporter going back to the enclosure. Looks like we may have to wait to get here from the other side.

"And now to put my plan into action."
"Wait, what plan? Why are we going into one of Monitor's highway guard towers?"
"Because none of the men in here have names."
"Oh God."
"Oh no."
"Awwww yeah."

Okay, so I just murdered a Pikeman. The question is, why?

Think back to the crematorium. Renfry is willing to pay good Monetari for the cremation of Monitor's finest. And he's not picky about how they died. Now if I killed somebody inside Monitor, I'd have gotten more Pikemen than I could handle, and the only way to stop them attacking me would be to go to jail or die. That's bloody inconvenient, so instead I'm going to the tower right outside Monitor.

There are three towers. Bull Tower, near the Sleeping Bull Inn, is plot-important, so I can't kill the NPCs there or it will break the game and I'll never go to Moonshade, and if you don't go to Moonshade the "correct" way, you can never initiate the quests there. So that's right out. Fawn Tower would work, but it's currently goblin-infested, and I'd rather not do any good deeds this update. So Monitor Tower it is!

"Two whole roast chickens? These guys are like freaking pinatas!"

Pikemen regularly carry more than two sets of equipment (two halberds? Who needs two halberds?) and two random food items. It's not always something as good as chickens; usually it's a pair of leeks, or two whole sticks of butter. But we ain't picky.

Halberds are the best melee weapons available to us right now, so that covers that expense entirely. They only drop chain armor, never plate, but we can get around that by looting the chain leggings and armor and selling it to Standarr for ~25-50 Monetari each. That plus the crematorium fee gives about 150 Monetari per dead Pikeman.

And best of all, you just have to go downstairs into the tower dungeon and walk back up and the Pikemen have respawned. They don't recognize you as a murderer and don't react in any way to your assault on the previous crew.

"For thy service to Monitor and to the community of Knights I shall pay thee for thy trouble. I thank thee for cremating that once proud warrior."

"You guys sure are acquiring a lot of armor lately. Some of this looks pretty familiar."
"Ever wonder what you're worth to Renfry?"
"Fortunately, I don't ask questions!"

"Awful lot of Pikemen dying recently."
"It's a good thing you've got a pretty bad memory."
"I'm sorry, you were again?"
"Wanting my 600 Monetari."

Fear not, brave and nameless Pikemen. Your sacrifice will probably save the Serpent Isle from... whatever it is we're doing here.

Oh, while we're here, better ask Renfry about that human hand.

"I deduce that the severed hand found in thy possession is not dead. What manner of magic could do this? I have never seen its like."

Okay, so the hand, still twitching, is alive. Nice to know. Now we just have to figure out how the hell that happened.

And there we go. Shamino and Iolo have ranged weapons because even a basic crossbow/bolt combo outdamages a halberd and Shamino's Magic Bow is really nice even with regular arrows. Plus I've never liked having too many people in melee, and Steve and Dupre are better suited for it. I've also bought some cloaks and fur boots for the boys to make them look cooler and to save time when we head into the frozen north. Bear cloaks for Dupre and Shamino because they are rough fellows and a leopard cloak for Iolo because he is a spotty pansy.

Now let's go cheat.

The most famous cheat room in Serpent Isle is a place known as the Isle of Cats. It lies between Moonshade and the mainland, and is full of cheaty crap. It's mentioned in-game in Fawn, but is otherwise inaccessible through cheating. Or is it?

Just an ordinary park in Monitor.

But moving this tree a little to show you what's there with eggs on. A teleport icon! It's not ground-level, because wandering around won't teleport you, so we need a few boxes (not many, only about 2-3 high)...

...more or less like this. Walk up the boxes alongside the tree and...

...voila! A tropical island with a catty motif.

The switch opens the swirling metal door, and leads to a cavern.

NPCs frozen in ice? Who could these be, and why are they in a cheat room? In the interest of game continuity I'll leave them alone.

The next room is the juicy part. There's a statue of a lich (the plaque reads "Cheaters Never Win), a locked chest containing some of the game's quest items, and a room full of treasure chests. But the best item here is on the corpse on the table. Look familiar? Yep. It's the Skeleton Key, that acts like a lockpick. Once we have the keyring, we can put this one on it and the 'k' hotkey will open anything that doesn't necessitate a key. It's one of the only things I will actually take from this room; the rest will be left behind as an academic exercise.

And it's quite an exercise. Four full suits of magical equipment, a Magic Sword/Fire Sword/Electric Whip/Firedoom Staff, four Infinity Bows, and some spoilers that I've carefully covered up.

Though they look good because they're ranged and require no ammo, Infinity Bows kind of suck. They're incredibly weak, the projectiles' damage isn't great, and the projectiles explode. Although this sounds great, the explosions are indiscriminate. It's a great way to get your frontliners killed.

There's a way to semi-legitimately get an Infinity Bow, so I may have one by the time all's said and done, but this would just be too easy. I am taking the Electric Whip/Fire Sword/Magic Sword though, because they're pretty lackluster for magic weapons (the two swords are weaker than a halberd) and I'd like to not have to carry a torch around, so the Fire Sword will help there.

This teleporter goes back to the park in Monitor. This should be a hint to anyone who cheated to get here how to "actually" find their way. You'd be surprised how few people actually know there's a real way to get to the Isle of Cats though. Me included (I had to look up if there was any reasonable non-F3 way to get here, imagine my surprise to find it so early in the game!).