The Let's Play Archive

Ultima VII Part 2: Serpent Isle

by Nakar

Part 16: FAWN - And Then We Were Done With Monitor Forever

And Then We Were Done With Monitor Forever

"Well, Johnson is dead."
"A real shame. He almost made it."
"I suppose we can't leave him here."
"You're right. Dupre?"
"Saw that one coming."

And so, the Avatar returns to Monitor with shocking evidence.

"I'm glad you all could join me here in the Accusatorium. I am pleased to announce that, per the giant rusty bucket perched on my head, I have slain Pomdirgun and become the new Empress of Monitor."
"I think thou dost mean Champion Knight."
"I think thou dost need to fucking shut up, you greasepaint-mustache creepmonger. I'm sorry, that was uncalled for, I'm not accusing you."
"Dude, spoilers!"
"At any rate, In the process of slaying Pomdirgun - well, actually several minutes afterwards, as he rather adeptly locked his shit up rather than just leave it in a box - I discovered something incredible! Something that blows the lid off this whole traitor situation."
"Oh my, I think I need a cigarette."
"And I have to... number two."
"What are you, five?"
"Marsten awayyyyyyyy!"
"Awww, they ran off before I could say anything dramatic. So anyway Marsten and Spektor are the traitors."
"I told you they wouldn't believe it."
"But didst thou not already slay Simon, the traitor?"
"That's what I thought but I'm pretty sure these documents say otherwise."
"By the blazes of Furnace, this is proof! I shall send a messenger to warn Bull Tower immediately. Also, GUYS!"

"Something the matter, Lord Caladin?"
"Arrest Lord Marsten and Spektor! I have evidence that they are our traitors!"
"Arrest... Lord Marsten?"
"Look man, thou art a Bear like myself! Obey me and all will be right."
"Well that doesn't seem like a very sound reason."
"Well, I mean, there are many reasons to put our minds at ease, sir. You could show us the evidence, for instance, trusting our discretion when presented with concrete reason for suspicion. You could appeal to the sense of due process by assuring us that if Marsten and Spektor are indeed found innocent that they will be released in a timely fashion after a fair and speedy trial. An appeal to authority when asking us to commit treason against an authority higher still is a bit insufficient, wouldn't you say?"
"I thought the Bears were supposed to be stupid."
"This one was always a little different."


"Well, these guys didn't get far."
"To be fair, there isn't really anywhere to go on this island."
"Didst thou come to ask me why I did betray my city? Ha! Any idiot can see the reason. With the current emotional and spiritual state of the city, the Goblins are certain to win this war against us! The foolish Bears and the cowardly Wolves are weakening us! They needed to be turned against each other so that the Leopard Command could assume their rightful leadership of Monitor. I had even devised a secret weapon to defend the city without the Bears or Wolves."
"So was this just an insane power grab or did you have some kind of pseudo-legitimate reason?"
"The Bear Command would have hibernated safe within the walls of the city, and would never have seen the danger until the Goblin hordes were climbing over our walls. The Wolf Command would have never remained here this long. They would have pulled up their stakes and gone roaming the day we had to fight to keep this place. Once on the run they would have been cut down like dogs! Both worthless. I had learned of a weapon unlike any that hath ever been seen in this world. A substance that could change the face of war forever! The substance I would have used is well hidden. And thou shalt never find it. Ha!"
"Oh, I wouldn't be too sure of that. Let's pressure the nerdy guy."

And so...

"Mine actions stand beyond the shallow morality of any tribunal. No court can condemn me. The only crime of which I am truly guilty is that I allowed myself to be caught."
"Yeah, but you did get caught."
"Very well, I have been found out. There is no point in denying my guilt any longer. It was I who stole the money from the treasury. I was in league with Lord Marsten, who schemed to become King of Monitor. The Bears and Wolves would have been powerless! Cantra's father stumbled into our secret cave, so he had to be killed. If the secret of the explosive weapons had been revealed, Marsten would have killed me..."
"I didn't tell them what the weapon was!"
"Too late, now I know!"

Spektor is pretty defiant, although he seems more coldly rational about his treachery than Marsten. But that isn't the whole story. Remember Harnna mentioning his insomnia and his general anxiety?

It turns out, if you kill Spektor, his confession is a little different.

"Very well, I have been found out. Listen to my secrets, brute, for I must confess all with my dying breath... Yes, Marsten and I did plot with the Goblins -- but we did think to cheat them in the end! Then the Leopards would have ruled Monitor. And it was I who stole from the town treasury, for we needed the money to acquire a cache of powerful weapons -- explosive weapons... The blood of Cantra's father weighs upon my soul. He did stumble into our secret, so he had to be killed. If our secret had not been protected, Marsten would have killed me."

So let's summarize the various treacheries in Monitor:

Unrelated To Monitor Itself

Batlin traveled to Monitor looking for information on serpentine relics. He discovered the sculptor Andral had a blackrock serpent, and had it stolen. He was thrown out of town and proceeded on to Moonshade.

Some time later, unexpectedly, Lydia the tattooist received a visit from her long-lost sister Selena, who had been taken to Moonshade as a girl because of her magical talents. For reasons unknown, but probably related to Batlin, she told her sister of an individual called the Avatar and how the Avatar was the lapdog of the Beast British. Selena also seduced Knight Teser Shmed and hired a thug at Batlin's insistence, to attack the Avatar if she tried to take the Test of Knighthood. Should Shmed fail, Selena figured Lydia would poison the Avatar.

Monitor's Betrayal Plot

Many years ago, goblin king Pomdirgun's father had a potion produced by a Moonshade mage which would disguise a goblin as a human. A goblin who would later come to be known as Simon was chosen as the goblin spy, and he settled in Monitor.

Lord Marsten, disgusted by the infighting between the Commands, came to believe that Monitor would be in better shape with one ruler. Thus, he conspired to decimate the Bear and Wolf Commands and take over the city. He commissioned the blacksmith Standarr to create explosive powder under an assurance of secrecy. The blacksmith was not aware of the greater plan, and as a Leopard would not have questioned his lord. Spektor began embezzling money from the treasury to pay for Marsten's schemes, then started a rumor that someone was stealing from the treasury, knowing everyone would sympathize with his neuroses and look elsewhere.

Here's where it gets tricky. The first step in destroying the other commands was an alliance with Pomdirgun, allowing goblin attacks to take out Wolf and Bear patrols. Astrid, the Champion Knight, was ambushed and killed, despite Spektor's request that the goblins leave her alive. This caused the symbol of Monitor to fall into goblin hands, further dividing the Commands. It also put the city of Fawn in danger. What's not clear is whether Simon was the one passing the messages between Marsten's faction and Pomdirgun, or if he was acting independently; both Simon and Spektor take credit for the attack on Fawn Tower.

Either way, Marsten planned to betray the goblins by using powder weaponry after seizing control of Monitor. The secret stockpile was discovered by the father of Cantra, so Spektor killed him and the Commands were led to believe he had been killed by goblins on patrol.

Based on his killing of Astrid, it does seem Pomdirgun did not trust Marsten, but was willing to go along with it for a while. Since he didn't know about the explosive powder, he probably didn't think Marsten's unified Monitor would be a great threat.

Now, where is that secret weapon? Well, only one person seemed... intimate with Spektor.

"Now that Spektor hath been arrested for his crimes, I wonder what I shall do with this key that he gave to me for safekeeping. Perhaps I shall give it to thee. Since thou hast determined all of what hath been happening, perhaps thou wilt be able to put it to good use."

West of Harnna's farm is an invisible wall. You might have accidentally stumbled in here if you were thorough, but a locked door prevented further passage.

No longer.

"Oh sweet. I've been hoping we'd find some of this stuff. Iolo?"
"I don't know..."
"Don't worry. This stuff is precious now. I'm not about to waste it blowing your ass up."
"Wellllll... alright."
"And now..."

"Well that's depressing."
"And kind of sloppy. They just left him lying here? That's kind of incriminating."
"I think a dozen powder kegs, several chests of embezzled riches, and an invisible entrance is incriminating enough that having a corpse here just kind of makes it quaint."

"Anyway, Dupre?"

Spektor must've been taking all the hard assets out and leaving the cash. Strangely, no one cares that this money will never be going back into the treasury. Part of that may be because the treasurer/moneychanger is now in prison and nobody else in Monitor is smart enough to care.

"I thank thee, Steve, for solving the mystery of mine husband's disappearance. 'Tis better to know what truly happened than to be left knowing nothing. I have grieved for mine husband, and I shed tears not for him, but for myself and the waste that all hath become."

"I just want to be clear I'm not paying you for Pomdirgun no matter how important he was."

"This one's just for keeping score. Although we do have two people who technically count as pikemen. Dupre?"
"About damn time. Why did you not come here right away?"

And so, Johnson and Cantra's father join the many other brave Pikemen who gave their lives and 100 Monetari to the cause.

The southern jar on the table there is Lydia.

"All right! Time to get cracking on the city of Fawn, and unravel its quests and mysteries!"
"Ummm, Steve?"
"What, something on my face?"
"Well, no, that's rather the problem."
"Oh, the tattoo? That was just magic marker anyway."
"Aren't you worried about what the Monitorians will think?"
"Who gives a shit what Monitor thinks? I got their magic helmet, two of their most essential service NPCs are dead or in jail, and we never need to go back there. Fuck Monitor."

Delin's back in his shop. I'm including his conversation in this update because it's short and depressing.

"Ah... art thou one of my daughter's friends? I cannot seem to recall thee... I am Delin, Fawn's provisioner. Is there something I can do for thee? Though I regret that my stock is not great at the moment. These storms have made the supply wagons from the other cities rare indeed."
"People do seem to be having problems with these storms."
"Such as Iolo."
"Oh yes, and he'll be having more problems if he pulls another lute-related stunt."
"The storms... oh, yes. They're very interesting to watch. Though my daughter will not allow me to go outside where I can see better. So many pretty colors, and such unusual results..."
"Father, thou WILT stay indoors when those storms come through town!"
"Ah... I suppose I must if thou sayest so, my dear."
"Would you say you know much about these storms from your observations, sir?"
"Oh, yes! Thou shouldst watch one of these storms some time. The lightning is all different colors... Of course, if thou strayest too far out to watch, thou mayest not enjoy it too much."
"Because of the results?"
"Results? Results of what? What were we talking about... Now I remember! The storms! There are two reasons these storms are fun to watch."
"Two reasons?"
"Sometimes 'tis FLASH!, and something thou wert standing across from is gone. But sometimes 'tis FLASH!, and something thou wert watching is a big, orange pumpkin. I like the last one best... 'Tis fun to guess what will be there after the flash."
"Sounds like he doth have a sense of humor like thine, Iolo!"
"'Tis such an incredible sight. Ho ho hee!"
"'Tis not very funny if what was hit was a person!"
"Nothing is safe... Not even life. I lost my dear Elissia after childbirth..."
"Uhhh, what?"
"Oh, she was a true beauty, I tell thee! Soft golden hair and the brightest eyes that thou hast seen. Though she came from Moonshade, no one had cause to fear her. She had not a drop of magic... Other than her smile."
"Our friend Iolo shares thy grief, milord. His wife is lost somewhere in these lands."
"For thy sake, I hope that she doth live, stranger Iolo."
"If Gwenno were lost from me forever, perhaps I too would be a little confused. Condolences to thee, Delin, and apologies if we have been unfeeling."
"Oh you guys are the biggest pussies ever."
"They say that I shall feel better soon... But I don't believe it."
"What became of the child, Delin?"
"The Magister comes like a thief in the night, to test the children of the land for magic talent. If a Mage Child is discovered, the Magister steals the child. Just as he stole my little Freli... Thou dost not work for the Magister, dost thou?"
"I sure don't think so."
"Good! Because the Magister hath no call to spy on me. I have had no contact with Freli since he was taken away. No mortal can win in a struggle against wizards..."
"Funny how you're the first sensible person about that and you've completely got the depression."
"Then Delin's son may have been taken to Moonshade."
"Moonshade is where my wife was from... She was the most patient of women. Moonshade is ruled by Mages. To them, if thou art not a Mage, thou art nothing. The Mages shed no tears when mine Elissia left the town. She was nothing in their eyes... But everything in mine."
"If we happent to go to Moonshade, I dunno, maybe we could find Freli for him?"
"Freli... Didst thou say Freli? Hast thou seen him? I have not seen him since the Magister took him away. I would give anything to be able to see him again, or to have some word from him. Elissia died bringing him into this world... He is all that I have to remember her by, except for Alyssand of course. But Freli favors his mother more."

Not that Alyssand really seems to favor her father too much. I mean just look at them:

Anyway, let's ask him about Batlin before we're done here.

"Bats? What bats?"
"Not bats! B-A-T-L-I-N!"
"No need to shout. I'm not deaf. Batlin... ah, I remember he came here asking about some sort of rock sculpture or something. Black rock... I told him I am a simple merchant. I do not carry such luxuries. I directed him to Monitor. There is a sculptor there."

Basically, Delin was happily married to a young woman from Moonshade. They had one daughter, Alyssand, when suddenly everything got turned upside-down. His wife died bearing their son, Freli, who had magical talent. The Magister of Moonshade (whom we'll meet later) claimed (kidnapped, more like it) the child to raise as a mage. All of this happening at once basically caused Delin to snap, becoming withdrawn and senile before his time. It's pretty sad, but we can his later because his son is still alive, and we can sort of reunite them.

Also, I cut this part out because we already know where the ring came from, but if you show Delin the ring he'll mention that his money was replaced by some food. Basically the Filari you get from the storm is his, but he doesn't really want it back (he won't give back your food either, if you care about that).

Before I get too text-heavy again, I'll poke around Fawn for more loot. There's an abacus in a desk, which is a great find I was worried I might not be able to acquire until Moonshade (where you can buy them). Just use an abacus, and... know exactly how many valuables you have on hand. The rollover text is "and 0 gold bars," but there aren't very many gold bars in the game at all, so don't worry about them.

Another chest here has the first magical scrolls we've seen yet. These are just Light and Create Food, but they're worth taking.

Scrolls are spells in single-shot form, as is the case with most fantasy RPGs. But much like the Baldur's Gate series (or maybe I should say that Baldur's Gate took the idea from Serpent Isle, although of course both actually took the idea from D&D), a scroll can also be transcribed into a spellbook, allowing the spellcaster to cast as many times as they want. There will be a bunch more scrolls, notably in Moonshade, and it behooves us to collect 'em all before we get our new spellbook. That spellbook will come with Transcribe for free, so many (but not all) spells can be learned for free. Good news, because there's a bunch of them. All spells cost money now so that's 9 circles with 8 spells each; it's something like 15,000 Guilders to buy them all. Of course I have a much better way of earning money than I've showed off before so we won't have to murder hundreds of Pikemen to afford spells. In fact, we can produce 15,000 Guilders from one Pikeman. More on that when we get to it.

Nobody's in the jail right now, but we can take the key from the unguarded desk and unlock every cell. There's nothing to see, and no secrets here, but I like to take... precautions.

Though the kitchen seems to be in use, it actually isn't. In fact, interactivity in general is down considerably in Serpent Isle. You can't really bake bread in this one (I think there is one functional stove, in Moonshade, but I could be mistaken), and you really have no reason to. On the one hand, it doesn't really detract from the game much. On the other hand, it does show how the game was rushed. There's no "Fawn baker" NPC, nobody whose job seems to be cooking. It just seems to be a bit lifeless compared to Britain, where everybody was working. On the other hand, it means we don't have to talk to such a person, and the dialogue writers don't have to write for such a person.

More treasures. I think this is Great Captain Voldin's house, but it doesn't much matter.

I included this for reference; this is the healer's. If Delphynia is not at the greenhouse on the east side of town, she's here on the west side.

One final secret. This barely qualifies as cheating so I'm not putting it in the corner. There's a chest behind the stairs. Where's the switch?

 Under the spear, next to the wine keg. 

But all we get out of it is 99 Filari (which is like 25 cents) and some potions.

And a couple reagents in a barrel. Yay. Fawn isn't terribly much fun to loot. Wait until we get to Moonshade and we're pulling wands out of Columna's panty drawer and taking advantage of Gustacio's hospitality to steal scrolls from him.