The Let's Play Archive

Ultima VII Part 2: Serpent Isle

by Nakar

Part 3: ARRIVAL - I Hate It When Zeus Touches My Stuff

I Hate It When Zeus Touches My Stuff

It was an ordinary day on the Serpent Isle. Then suddenly...

...something bad happened.

"'Twas a fearsome passage, Avatar. After we sailed between the Serpent Pillars, I could have sworn that we were flying... Yet here we are on the ship. I wonder if I lost anything..."
"We may be on the ship, but the ship is upon dry land! I think that thou art correct, Iolo. We did fly!"
"So we just got thrown through the air by way of a dimensional portal and crash-landed on a beach and nobody even remembers it happening? We are awesome."
"Brrr. Dost thou notice the chill in the air? 'Tis much colder here than at home. I hope Gwenno brought enough warm clothing..."
"Oh I'm sure she won't have any problems with-"
"Very funny right because my wife is fat and so am I, you're a font of new humor Shamino."
"And that fiend, Batlin, I hope!"
"...huh? What was that in response to?"
"Hey, unlike you assholes, I remembered my lines."
"Oh... right. Look, Avatar! A strange storm is nearly upon us. This is certainly not Britannia!"
"So I gathered, yes."

"Well, twenty seconds in this place and I already hate it."
"You guys just have to have the right perspective on this. We're in a new world! A new place! A world where nobody knows us. A world whose problems we aren't indirectly responsible for. A world not full of the vengeful ghosts of our dead relatives and lovers. A world we probably won't destroy. Do you understand what this means?"
"You'll finally stop-"
"Nobody's gonna see it coming."
"Perhaps we could take stock of the situation and our resources, since we're stranded here?"
"What do you mean, stranded?"
"Well, the boat is beached."
"Yes, the boat is on a beach, which are usually found next to oceans. All we have to do is get Dupre to-"
"Aww hell naw."
"Fine, we'll do it your way, but I'm going to laugh at you guys when this backfires on you and I'm mostly fine."

Holy shit, did everybody sit around eating doughnuts for eighteen months? I didn't get all those awesome stats in The Black Gate only to fucking lose them this time. It's not my fault the game has no stat transfer!

While that's being repaired, let's see what else we've got.

"Hey, it's a letter from Lord British!"

"Dear Iolo,"
"Why would he address a letter in Steve's backpack to me?"
"Probably because Steve never actually reads anything."
"Boy, I sure must be having a great time right now without you clowns around. And the tens of thousands of gold you grifted from the Fellowship have given us the largest budget surplus since your last arrival when you left all that money in your bedroom at the castle. Dumbasses. Unfortunately, I had to spend a large portion of the budget outfitting your stupid expedition, but knowing I'll never be seeing the four of you again, I know it's money well spent."
"You call this provisioning? It all fits in one backpack."
"For Steve, I've provided a full suit of magic armor, with a new design for the helmet because I felt the ones in the previous game weren't quite stupid enough. Also included is a glass sword, and the Black Sword, because I want that thing as far away from me as possible and also Steve can't actually drop it or otherwise get rid of it."
"Believe me, I'm aware of that."
"I've also packed Rudyom's Wand, since I knew if I didn't Steve would just steal it anyway, and a Blackrock Serpent which Steve found in the underworld (or would have, had she actually played through that game). I figured, serpent isle, serpent idol, what are the odds? Finally, a new spellbook."

"We had to confiscate Steve's old one because, as I'm sure you're well aware, Armageddon is illegal. In fact, I'm pretty sure Steve is the one responsible for that law."

Spells have changed up a bit since The Black Gate. Most of them are similar, but some of them have been replaced or shuffled around, and there are no longer linear spells (the circles now number First to Ninth). Notable changes include the removal of Armageddon entirely (awww) and the addition of the Fourth Circle spell Transcribe. Transcribe is a super handy spell, as Serpent Isle has added magical scrolls which can either be cast from one time or Transcribed into a spellbook. Free spells are good, especially when you steal everything you can find in Moonshade. But for now I won't go too in-depth into spells for... reasons.

"For Shamino, a magic bow and some burst arrows. Also a fish and a pair of swamp boots, because I really can never think of anything to get him."

"I got Iolo a crossbow because Iolo's Bows gives me a discount, plus he actually made that one so it's basically ripping me off anyway. Also his lute and a change of pants because we all know he's gonna need one."

"I've sent Dupre with the Magebane in case he needs to kill Steve or something, and with a bitchin' personalized shield because it's his birthday. Go get 'em, tiger. Unfortunately, all that stuff was expensive so I couldn't afford to get Shamino, Dupre, or Iolo shirts."

Alright, now that's a bit more in line with where we were previously. Let's see, what next?

"Oh oops I dropped all our stuff on the ground for some reason."
"Now let's walk 10 feet to the south."

"Hey those clouds look a little-"
"Holy God lightning!"

"Whoa, Dupre turned into a basket!"

"I'm pretty sure you can't run from lightning, dude."
"Man, Lord British was right about those pants!"

"Well, it appears the storm has passed and has, at worst, killed all my friends. And that's really not a big deal so I'll just move along and-"

"Ow! Jerk!"

What happened indeed? Something definitely feels... different.

"Holy God I look ridiculous."

Welcome to the "how to screw over the player by taking his stuff away" plot gimmick of the game. Serpent Isle is plagued by mysterious "teleport storms," which seem to transform objects into other objects, switch two objects, or teleport people and things around. All the crap everybody was carrying has been switched out for other stuff. To get it back, we have to ask people about the strange items we've found and figure out where those objects originally belonged. Then the old stuff will be wherever the new stuff used to be.

It also has the side effect of making the Avatar look retarded. The stockings are even funnier on a male avatar.

"Noooooooooo, spellboooooook!"

Oh right, and the Black Sword and the spellbook are gone. Note that dropping the items has no effect on this (although see Cheater's Corner); it's worth dropping everything anyway, as this will put most of the switched-out items into the Avatar's inventory instead of the companions'.

"Hello, strange lady."
"Even as was foretold! I have travelled a great distance to meet with thee. My name is Thoxa."
"Okay, that's great, who are-"
"But wait! I proceed too quickly. Perhaps thou art not the promised Hero... I must test thee, lest I give mine assistance in error."
"Is this copy protection?"
"You don't even know me, you show up randomly ten seconds after I've been dressed like a clown by a lightning storm, and you start asking me questions from the manual?"
"My parents never socialized me properly. Are you going to answer my questions or not?"
"Alright, alright."

This is my favorite copy protection question/answer in the entire series.

"Thou art truly the one I seek! Here is the Hourglass of Fate. Keep it with thee always, for through it the Monks of Xenka can aid thee."
"Oh, fantastic, I'm already dressed like a ren faire drag queen and now I have a big glowing hourglass too."
"As long as the Hourglass of Fate is with thee, if thou art killed, thou shalt be resurrected on Monk Isle. And if one of thy companions is killed, thou canst summon one of us to resurrect him or her, by use of the Hourglass. The monk shall come soon, when thou art in a safe place, without strangers or distractions."
"So wait, I've got resurrection monks on speed dial? I don't have to drag corpses to you guys?"
"That is sweet."
"Thanks, we really pride our great customer service."
"So what's all this prophecy stuff? I'm used to it by now, but I like the specifics."
"I am a Xenkan monk, my daughter. As such, I have devoted my life to studying the prophecies of Xenka. The writings are clear: the Hero shall come in the last days, with Three Companions, to battle against the Evil which is in the land. Further, the Hero shall be given guidance from a Power that dwells in the Void."
"Yeah, about that, those guys blew up."
"The writings of Xenka speak of the Three which shall travel with thee. Without them, thou canst not succeed."
"Well, yeah, I do wind up carrying a lot of shit."
"They shall be thine oldest and most trusted friends, and it is their part to share thine adventure with thee. Thou must find them, Hero! And then never let them leave thy side..."
"I couldn't kick those assholes out if I tried. So what about this power that will help me?"
"The writings are vague on this point, so that it is not certain whether the Power lives in the Void now, or merely came from that place. However, I know that thou shalt need to seek out three artifacts -- a Ring, a Necklace, and an Earring. Through these ancient items, the Power shall communicate with thee. More than this, I know not."
"Mysterious force communicates with me through dumb-looking jewelry. Got it. So you're a Xenkan monk?"
"I believe I said that, yes."
"And you follow Xenka."
"Who the fuck is that?"
"Oh. How can I explain Xenka in the short time we have? Xenka is the prophetess who receives wisdom from beyond the Void..."
"So you have no idea, right, I'm used to that too."
"The land is in dire need of a Hero, for the end of the world draws nigh! There are storms which lash out with magical lightnings, and strange illnesses which plague the innocent. Lastly, there is the growing sense that something is wrong in the land..."
"So this stupid lightning isn't something that just happens because God hates me, then?"
"The storms are one of the signs that the end of the world is at hand. I know not what causes them, or how they may be stopped. Most ships have ceased to sail, for the storms strike any vessel which leaves harbor. The lightning doth have the power to kill or to teleport, and sometimes it changes the nature of that which it strikes. The prophecies also mention that a plague will come among us, to sicken the meek and the innocent. Hast thou noticed the dying birds? They are only the first victims. At first the disease shall strike the wildest races, and lastly, the race of Men."
"I haven't really been here long enough to notice the birds are shitting bricks, but I'll take your word on it."
"I cannot explain further. Dost thou not feel it? The sense that something is... not right?"
"Not really, but that may be because I'm the source of that unease."
"Xenka speaks of these days as the Time of Imbalance. My time with thee is short, so take careful heed of mine advice -- there is a cave further south by a large red bush -- its entrance is invisible. If thou canst find thy way in, it may provide more clues. Then, follow the coast until thou dost come to a great city. The name of the city is Monitor. An old friend of thine awaits thee there. If thou dost fail in thy quest, our world will end... ripped apart by the earthquakes that will soon plague it. No pressure though. I must go now, before those who oppose me find that I have been here."

"You mean like that guy?"
"Thoxa! Thou shouldst know better than to meddle in the affairs of Fate, Thoxa. By merely talking with the Hero, thou mayest be condemning us."
"We must intervene, Karnax. The very fabric that weaves the tapestry of the Cosmos may depend upon it."
"Thou art as foolish as ever, girl... Xenka's writings are crystal clear -- those who seek to aid the Hero, shall cause her greatest calamities! I must stop thee, before thou sendest us all to our doom!"
"Just so we're clear, this doesn't involve me, right?"

"Flam Mas Flam!"
"I was just asking a question!"
"This fire ring shall save thee from being destroyed during this battle, Hero. Neither of us means thee harm, but errors can occur in the heat of combat. Remain within the ring!"
"Why would you do something like this!? Are you crazy?"
"Poorly socialized, we went over this!"

"Damn thee!"
"So are you guys friends or something?"

"I'm not so easily defeated, friend monk... In Frio Grav! Mas Frio! Take that!"

"Hero, listen to me before the fires consume me! Beware of thy friends -- they shall only bring destruction upon thee!"
"That's the most sensible thing anyone's said to me in years."

"Vile witch!"
"Thou wilt pay!"
"Okay, you were beating him before, now you're just kicking his ass."
"Karnax awayyyyyyyyyyy!"
"Goodbye... Hero... Karnax is defeated, for now... I am weak, and must leave... Remember to seek out the Three Companions -- they must be at thy side! And seek out thy black sword with the caged demon that thou didst bring with thee from the other land. Thou must have it to complete thy quest."

"Okay, so I've been kicked out of Britannia, wound up in some random world, been assaulted by random monks, and I don't have any shoes. Is there any way this day could get worse?"

"Avatar! There you are!"
"I just had to ask."

Boy, it sure is a shame we had to lose all our stuff in the teleport storm, isn't it? How did they do that, anyway? Well, the game is programmed to take items out of your inventory and add new ones, but the designers had to come up with a failsafe if you dropped a bunch of the items on the ground before the storm, thinking you'd be able to avoid the lightning strike. They fixed the items being added by just adding them no matter what (and adding them to the Avatar's inventory just to be sure), but they couldn't quite fix the dropped items thing properly.

So they cheated. And so shall we!

F3 pulls up the map of the Serpent Isle. Understandably, things are... a little different. Don't bother trying to figure out what all those little side areas are, they're all over the place. The thing to keep in mind is that we're standing on the shore, yet there are two identical shorelines slightly offscreen from the one we're now standing on.

If we go back to the far west one, we discover it's an exact replica of the spot we disembarked.

In fact, it is where we disembarked, with all the stuff we dropped still there. The teleport storm actually just teleports you to a new area so you can't go back for everything you dropped. From your perspective, it's like it all vanished, but the game hasn't actually removed the items from the game.

Note that the items they got switched for are all fresh, brand new creations. The transposed items actually start the game in their "new" locations. This means that, yes, you can dupe them, giving you two Dupre's Shields, two Blackrock Order Serpents, two Magebanes, two Rudyom's Wands... of course most of them aren't all that useful, but an extra suit of magic armor is nice if you're not using the other cheat areas.