The Let's Play Archive

Ultima VII Part 2: Serpent Isle

by Nakar

Part 53: TEMPLES OF THE NORTH - Logic & Discipline, Avatar Style

Logic & Discipline, Avatar Style

As alluded to last update, this is not actually the Temple of Discipline, but rather Logic. I went here because it's quick, and also because it's the place Silverpate's treasure map is leading you. The reason is pretty simple; it's in the same area as his treasure cave, so this would have been the nearest place for him to have come via his jawbone.

To get into the temple we need to pass a couple tests. The color teleporters (which you can solve with simple trial and error) is the first test, and the second is these runes.

They represent the letters C, O, W, and B, and need to be placed in front of the door in alphabetical order. At least I assume it's alphabetical that explains it, as I don't know what B-C-O-W is supposed to represent besides that.

Inside we have our first Bane Prison, which has been blasted open by Batlin. A horde of automatons mills about around the empty prison. Their duty was, in part, to protect the prison, but they've failed. They have another problem, as well: One is a murderer.

"I am Number 1, milady. And I am sorry. Thou must postpone thy meditations, for the key to the fountain room cannot be found. I fear that someone hath destroyed Number 7, the keeper of the key! Thy search for Logic can go no further until thou canst drink of the waters of Logic. And until the key to the fountain room is found, no one may taste the pure waters of Logic."
"That's kind of a problem. Where did Number 7 go?"
"I cannot make any accusations, but we are incapable of leaving our post. Something dire must have happened to Number 7. I am restricted from taking action against any of my fellows, so it is up to thee to determine what hath befallen the keeper of the key. For my part, I can say that I was with Number 2 and Number 6 when last we saw Number 7."

And so it goes with the other five living Automatons:

"All I remember is that I was with Number 1 when last we saw Number 7. I wonder where he hath gone?"
"Something must have happened to Number 7. Let me think, I was with Number 5 the last time any of us saw Number 7... and that was quite some time ago."
"The last time any of us saw Number 7, I was with Number 2... And that was some time ago."
"But no, that cannot be. For Number 7 disappeared the day I was with Number 3, long before the strange mage came."
"None of us have seen Number 7 since the day that I was with Number 1."

Now, this is a logic puzzle, of course, where we're supposed to compare the stories and find the one that doesn't match up, then accuse the proper killer:  Number 4 .

Or we can try a more direct form of deduction.

"As the key that was stolen is on the corpse of Number 4, we can rightfully conclude that he was the murderer of Number 7."
"I should like to criticize your methodology, master, but I cannot fault your efficiency."

If you can find Number 7's body, I believe you can also Create Automaton on him and just ask him who did it. Puzzles are for suckers.

Speaking of which, the key opens this room, rather than the fountain room. The key to that is in here.

We can dispel the field by solving this stone puzzle.

Or we can just, y'know, Dispel Field.

"Logic can kiss my ass."

"Aaaaaaaanyway, that was clearly not the Temple of Discipline, but don't worry, I think I know where it is this time."
"I suppose if we just keep trying we'll get there eventually."
"With any luck, the world shall not even be completely destroyed by the time we get there!"

"This place feels like a Temple of Discipline. You know, just has that kind of feel to it."
"I'm not feelin' it, but I am carrying around this tolerant and logical water, so I might be getting interference."

"This sign reads, 'Body Transference Room,' master."
"Well, that would be useful if I wanted to trade bodies with any of you guys, but I'm afraid of what you might do with it."

The automatons here seem to be broken. They're barely functional.

Another bane prison. This one has also been broken into. It was mentioned in an earlier comment that one of the Order temples is missing this. Since we've seen it in Logic and Discipline, it must be missing from Ethicality (I've checked this, and it isn't there, so that's correct, one of the bane prisons isn't here). I'm not sure what those things are supposed to be. Big iron spheres? Blackrock chambers? Why is the outside all rusted?

More broken automatons. I believe most of them were created in this temple, if I'm remembering the Silver Seed right.

Upstairs and through a secret door there's a key (which doesn't open a door across the hall), a strange forked-shape object not unlike a serpent's tongue, and...

...of course, more Ophidian books!

~by Sharless

The Symbol of Discipline is a reminder of what we, the Initiates of Discipline, must strive for. Consisting of three prongs, they symbolize the following: Mind, Body, and Environment. The mind is the first level of discipline; without Discipline of the Mind, one cannot master the other levels of discipline. Discipline of the Body is the second level of discipline, for one cannot master one's surroundings without first mastering one's self. The third branch of the symbol represents Discipline of Environment. This branch, added to represent the superiority of Order, justifies the military's presence here; if one can master one's self, one can then master the world around him, and drive Chaos out from his environment.

The symbols here in our temple are not mere inspiration, however. The Altar before the serpent statue doth have upon it two slots. In order to insure the security of our temple, the automatons are aided by a safeguard against defilers -- bolts of lightning fire from the altar unless the quartz symbol is placed in the slot on the left side. A bridge spanning the water around the statue is called into being if the obsidian symbol is placed in the right slot; if it is not there, none can gain access to the Water of Discipline.

This is a solution to the temple here; we need to put some objects on the central altar to get to the fountain.

~by Shrosvitash~

The ultimate wisdom of life may only be reached through discipline. It takes strength and concentration to follow the guidelines of discipline. Therefore the weak and distracted mind will fail. The weak and distracted mind will not have the power to succeed. And only that power will take thee to the top. But there is no room for the weak at the top. Only the strong mind will find a place there.

Most of the rest of this stuff is just propaganda, however.

by Shilonar

The religion of our great nation must have leaders, worthy leaders. There are things, events and ceremonies, that require a person of great trust. The nation hath decided to choose trustworthy people for those positions and give them certain ranks. Full of respect do we call the leader of the Shrine of Balance our Great Hierophant. Only the Great Hierophant can perform the important ceremonies at the Grand Shrine of Balance. During those ceremonies, however, he receives help from the leaders of the Shrine of Order and Chaos. They have the rank of Order Hierophant and Chaos Hierophant. All three have assistants to help them with their duties; these are the sub-leaders. These assistants are of high rank also and we give them the title of Master. These Masters are the leaders of our Temples. Each one of them is authorized to perform ceremonies in their own Temple.

It's also worth noting that the Temple of Discipline seems to have been the center of the Order military regime, as Isstanar suggested:

by Sethmantih~

It hath become necessary to create a means of disciplining our soldiery. Though the soldiers we are given to work with are generally obedient and disciplined, on occasion an unruly soldier will appear in the ranks. It would be foolish to merely dismiss this able-bodied man, for in these times of war every hand capable of holding a sword must do so. Nay, dismissal is not the answer.

What, then, are we to do with those who resist the teachings of discipline? By what means may we save this soldier from the lure of Chaos and place him firmly back on the path toward being a useful implement with which to smite the Chaotic forces?

With these questions our Master did challenge the wisest men in the Temple. I, Sethmantih, did solve these challenges...

And if you need further hints at what to do here:

by Shartmannah

On my journey to find the Serpent Fountain I was troubled many times with doubt about my quest. Was I doing the right thing? Was I taking the correct path? How much longer could I resist the urge to accept failure?

I hunted through the master's chambers, stared into the coffins of those who once cared for the temple, and searched the library for the keys and implements necessary to complete the quest. The Master would only tell me two things; that I would have no reason to leave the temple, and that somewhere on the path my discipline would be tested.

I speak only in generalities, lest my words be seen by the wild eyes of one undisciplined. I doubt not that such a person would die on the way to the water, but there are wards against death in all its incarnations.

My discipline was indeed tested, and tested harshly. The key to completing my quest was perseverance. I had to search the same place many times and not admit defeat; I had to discipline my mind to keep it from wandering. The hardest part of the path to the fountain lay just before it, and I bear the scars on my feet, but, as is taught here, if one can only discipline the mind, the body can then be trained. I pushed the pain from my mind, so that I did not feel the acid searing my flesh, eating away at my skin. When finally I did reach the fountain, the test was not over -- to return to the temple proper, I had to brave the acid again.

The test made me strong, obedient, disciplined. Had I failed, I would be as one of those whose hearts I seek to skewer; chaotic and undisciplined. Due to the lessons of discipline I had learned, I was able to not only force the pain from my mind as the acid tried to eat my legs away, but steel my flesh against it so that now only the soles of my feet bear mild scars...

Ouch, acid? No wonder automatons are asked to get the water. But we don't have an Automaton handy... do we?

~~Body Transference~~
~~The Ultimate Warrior~~

When a warrior hath demonstrated unswerving Discipline, the Order Hierophant may approve the creation of the Ultimate Warrior.

The candidate must be willing to cast aside his or her own body in favor of that of an undying automaton. This is the highest honor of Order... to serve as Order's warrior through all time.

The candidate shall be conducted to the chamber with all pomp and pageantry. Upon the left dais shall stand the inanimate automaton husk. The candidate shall ascend to the right dais after the transference button hath been pressed.

Once the bodies have been transferred, the Final Test of Discipline must be completed. In this, the candidate must strike down the now-empty husk that he or she formerly knew as his or her body. Until this is done, the body transfer is not complete and the process will reverse unless the organic husk is destroyed.

Some few candidates may find themselves unable to withstand the transference, and as such would normally be considered failures. But it is the Order Hierophant's wishes that no stigma be attached to this weakness. The candidate shall be allowed to live the remainder of his or her life in service to Order, being an exemplar in all but the Final Test of Discipline.

This reminds us of the way the intelligent automatons were created. Maybe it has other applications. If we could transfer bodies with an automaton, we could walk to the fountain that way. But most of the automatons in the temple seem unsuited for the transfer, and for some reason we can't use any robo-companions.

~~Manual by Zazanush

The importance of meditation becomes noticeable when people of all ages admit that they are living a better, more peaceful life since they started to seek communion with the Serpent of Order. To apply the power of meditation to one's life, young student, obey the rules and follow them as they are written in this manual. I have gathered some guidelines that are easy to understand, so that thou mayest begin with these relaxing exercises without having to investigate any further.

1: Find thyself a place where thou wilt not be disturbed by anyone or anything.
2: Carefully spread the Mat of Meditation on the floor. Use only the prepared mats, for they are imbued with special powers to aid meditation.
3: Kneel and close thine eyes.
4: Concentrate on breathing very slowly and deeply.
5: Begin repeating the mantra "Issit."
6: Do not speak.
7: Do not let anything interrupt thee.
8: Continue with the mantras until thou dost feel total peace of mind.

These lessons will lead thee to a much higher level of meditation. They will prepare thee for the climax of the Test of Discipline.

That's all for new texts. Everything else is a repeat from Spinebreaker or elsewhere.

Downstairs we've got some tombs. I suspect, but don't know for sure, that these are the human bodies of the volunteers for the automaton soul transfer process. Isstanar's corpse might well be in one of the tombs. I'm not certain why we can get inside them, as there's nothing to take.

We do need to get inside this one though, as there's an invisible chest with a key in it.

That takes us upstairs again, to get a second snake-tongue-thingy.

One door over is an invisible chest with Serpent Arrows in it. There's a scroll elsewhere in the temple hinting at "hiding the arrows of discipline," but even if there weren't, this one kind of stands out as being obvious. They should have shunted it off into the corner where the cobwebs are, to hide it with like-colored stuff.

"And now we place these symbols here, because they are shaped like these depressions, and if there is ever an object-shaped slot anywhere ever, it's there so that something can be placed inside it."
"How did you know which color goes in which slot?"
"These things are different colors? I really need to start paying attention to this stuff."

A bridge then appears to get us downstairs, where we're warned not to go into the next room.

And for good reason. Every couple of steps you'll find yourself stepping in damaging acid puddles. Automatons are immune, so what we're supposed to do is get Petra to come help us, switch bodies with her (I never got this except from a game mechanics perspective; why not just have Petra go get you a bucket of the water?), and proceed to the water room.

But you don't really have to do that, as long as you keep healing yourself with potions, bandages, and spells and run as fast as you can between heals. In fact, since your companions don't seem to take damage from the acid, it should be possible to get through here with relative ease. Serpent Bond might also work to break the acid triggers. It doesn't really take that long to get back here after grabbing Petra, but why go to the trouble?

"I cannot feel anything below my own knees."
"Good thing I brought extra legs!"
"I suppose, if nothing else, that your Discipline cannot be questioned, master."
"We'll see just how disciplined I am after we make the walk back."

"That is some disciplined water."
"Truly, no water has ever been more stalwart."

Get two buckets of disciplined water. Get two buckets. You don't really want to get back through that acid bullshit, especially if you used Petra and then dismissed her (she won't join back up for it). You need two buckets because Gwenno requires one, and your companions will each require a bucket themselves once the Banes have been separated from them. This is, I believe, the only water you need to get double helpings of.

Back South...

But what the hey, let's go recruit Petra anyway.

"Yes, I know what acid is, Avatar. It is a corrosive liquid that is very detrimental to human flesh and most metals... Except mine. Dost thou desire mine help, Avatar?"
"You bet we do! We, uh, heh, can't do it without you!"
"Let me see if I understand thee correctly. Thou wishest me to accompany thee to an ancient temple. Once there, I will take thy form, and thou wilt take mine, for a brief period of time. Hmmm... It sounds intriguing. I shall discover, if only for an instant, what it is to truly be human."
"Yeah, that would be a fascinating experience, but actually we already got the water, so we won't be going back to the temple and we won't be trying the body transfer. But thanks for joining the crew!"

"Somehow, I feel as though I am loathing someone for the first time in my existence."
"Apparently that's pretty common for people who join up with Steve."
"If only I could learn to hate the master as well."
"I heard that!"

Petra is somewhat useful, with decent enough stats. It's worth noting that the game doesn't really swap bodies with her when you use the transfer stations in the Temple of Discipline. Instead, the game just slaps a Petra texture set on the Avatar and copies the Avatar's texture set to Petra. The Avatar actually has a 'Petra' flag which turns him/her into Petra. Sometimes, for no clear reason, the game will set this flag on the Avatar. I think it has something to do with the F2 console, so it may not come up unless you're using the cheat menu, but there's lots of not-that-cheaty reasons to use it, so this could very well happen to you!

Like all automatons, Petra doesn't get cold, so she never needs warm gear. That helps her defense a bit, allowing her to wear a Magic Helm instead of a Fur Cap.

"Now, we just have to get Gwenno to drink that disciplined water."
"Blood! I must have blood!"
"There's blood in that bucket!"
"...water blood!"
"Glug glug glug... ah!"
"I can't believe she actually fell for that."
"What a relief to see thee again, Steve. I fear that thy work hath only begun. Batlin's deeds have only worsened the storms. As the sand dwindles within the Hourglass of Fate, the danger will only increase. Thou must find the answer quickly, Avatar!"
"Yeah don't say hello and make small talk with me even though I haven't really seen you that much since Ultima V or anything, Gwenno."
"Uh... hi, I suppose? I'm not sure exactly what you want me to say considering I've been insane, dead, and then insane again for a few months here. I'm just glad to be talking about something that isn't flesh or blood for the first time."
"You're a bit behind on the times, but since we've seen a few things in the temples we don't quite understand, maybe you could fill us in?"
"Until Batlin interfered, this land had no Balance, but complete chaos was held in check... Until he loosed the Banes. Unless Balance is restored, this land shall die... And take every world that touches it into the dust of oblivion as well. Britannia -- even thine home, Avatar -- is in deadly peril! No world exists without influencing another. So all may be destroyed if New Sosaria dies."

And that pretty much explains what we already assumed: Batlin was responsible for actually worsening the Imbalance, by loosing the Banes. The Order Ophidians had kept a vague stability in the universe by imprisoning the Banes, but it's an arrangement that can't last forever.

"Thou hast already experienced the power of the Storms of Imbalance. As time passes, these will increase in frequency and strength. After a further period of time, earthquakes will begin to tear the land apart... Until it at last destroys itself."
"So these teleport storms really are tied to the Imbalance that's increasing in the world?"
"Well, that is how it appears. The Prophecies of Xenka speak of the Storms of Imbalance. Storms unlike any living man hath seen. Storms whose results no man can predict... I am sorry, the prophecies are cryptic at best."
"We've noticed that is true, yes."
"Now, the monks have recorded all of Xenka's visions. They keep this tome of wisdom within their Chapel, on the altar. But it is very confusing to read! The language is vague and hard to understand. Much of it sounds like bad poetry... In fact, if Iolo's songs were as bad, I would break his lute rather than allow him to inflict them on others!"
"God, where were you the last time we needed you to do that?"
"Dead, as I recall."
"Ah yes. Then how long do we have before the Imbalance gets to a critical point?"
"I do not know! These forsaken prophecies are so poorly written that I cannot make any headway in finding any reference to any other! I do not know who is responsible, the monks or Xenka herself, but I sometimes feel as if I could strike someone!"
"I felt the same way for pretty much the entire run of this quest, so don't think you're alone on this."
"According to Xenka's visions, 'The Hero from Another World will succeed through the use of powerful magic, the aid of specters, and the implements of the Hierophant.' Before the sands run down, we must find the meaning of these accursed riddles!"
"Well, do you have any theories?"
"I know not what a farm wife would consider great magic! For all I know it could be as simple as lighting a candle! Or perhaps she is referring to the power to trap souls. It would be so much more simple if Xenka would return and explain these infernal riddles herself! She is worse than Chuckles!"

Gwenno is so great.

"What about the specters? I mean, we've met some ghosts... such as you... but I'm not sure that's what she meant."
"Urgh! For all I know, Xenka is talking about herself! All of these monks are convinced that she will return to help thee finish thy quest... While I wade through all these insane ramblings! What I need is to talk to her specter and see if I can wring any sense out of her rather than these writings!"
"I'd help, but there's a mysterious hole in my spellbook where Seance ought to be. And the implements of the hierophants?"
"From what Karnax hath told me, a Hierophant was some sort of priest or holy man for these Ophidians. What tools would a holy man use? Something for blessing people, perhaps... I know not. I must search further for more clues."

Karnax and Gwenno are sort of The Plot For Dummies. Most of what they're theorizing about the Ophidians are things you could have already come to guess from their writings and history. Still, they help to clear up any uncertainties in that respect. More interesting, however, is what Gwenno thinks we need to do about our current problem, the Banes:

"The Banes are the splintered force of Chaos. Thou wilt have to cage them again, as they were before Batlin came. 'Tis only a temporary solution at best. Perhaps I can consult the materials here on Monk Isle and discover a way to rid this land of the threat entirely."
"But how shall we cage them?"
"Thou shouldst go to Moonshade, dear. If thou canst learn who gave Batlin the secret of trapping souls, I will try to learn what can make them able to withstand the forces that we wish to contain."
"You... do know that's not actually Iolo, but a robot cleverly disguised as him."
"Oh, is it? I really haven't paid any attention to Iolo in several decades."
"Wow, Dupre was right. What makes you think Moonshade can help us? Especially what with most of them being dead."
"I do not believe that caging souls was possible within Britannia. Therefore, the spell must have come from this land. And where else but Moonshade wilt thou find a spell in this land? But they are a closed-mouthed lot -- I wish thee luck. Although I spent quite a bit of time within Moonshade, I heard nothing about such a spell. Since the Mages are all basically vain, that must mean that the spell is a secret... or at least not common knowledge."

The first line there is a winking reference to the Skara Brae plotline in The Black Gate. Caging souls was indeed possible in Britannia. Although not for very long, and it turns out there wasn't much of Skara Brae left afterwards. But that's a story for another day.

"Alright then, let's get going."
"What, you mean all of us?"
"That is what I said, yes."
"I will be of more use to thee if I remain here. I seem to have a talent for finding the information thou dost need."
"You haven't found anything I didn't already know. I said you're coming. Let's skedaddle."

And so Gwenno is, ahem, forced to join. I believe there's a way to get her legitimately, basically by getting Water of Discipline before going to the Gwani Death Temple and curing her immediately. She seems to refuse to join if she's on Monk Isle, but she actually does have proper joining/leaving dialogue and is properly set up as an NPC.

In fact, she's awesome. Look at those stats. Sure, she pretty much can't join until after most of the trainers are dead, but with those lv1 stats, she barely needs much training. She's certainly better than Iolo was.

Later, In Moonshade...

"Wakey wakey, jackass! I got your stupid wand. You better know how to trap souls or the whole world is pretty much boned."
"So thou dost seek to learn the ancient art of imprisoning souls within gems? I can give this to thee, for a price -- but I warn thee, the outcome may not be what thou dost expect."
"What, you expect us to pay you?"
"We're trying to save every world that exists here, mister."
"Well yes, but... ah! Then again, thou didst restore the wand to me -- and the Philanderer's Friend is a great prize... Thou hast paid the price, I shall grant thee thy desires. Thou hast but to ask."
"Before I do, what did you mean about the outcome being unexpected?"
"Thou art not the first to seek this secret from me, adventurer! That fat fool Batlin purchased it from me, too. And I gave him this warning: The gems are not powerful enough to contain any soul of great power. Should they fail, the soul released shall be very angry..."

Not only did Batlin improperly prepare his soul prisms to contain the Banes, Torrissio outright told him it wouldn't work. What a gigantic douche.

"We're willing to take that risk."
"Knowledge shall be thine, Avatar. The secret is that souls can be imprisoned within gems. Only Worm Gems will do, and even these must first be enchanted with the spell which I give thee now. On this scroll, thou shalt find the spell for creating Soul Prisms. Transcribe this to thy spellbook at the first opportunity, for I shall not give thee another!"
"What on earth is a worm gem?"
"For now, I shall merely say that this spell was used by the ancient inhabitants of this land. They would remove their souls from their bodies, and place them within inanimate objects. Such gems are made, not found in nature. Seek out Ducio the Artisan, if he yet lives -- he fashions the gems for me, when I have need of them."

If the Black Sword has not yet been repaired, Torrissio also offers a nifty clue about how to deal with the Banes:

"It is a pity that the gem upon thy sword is broken. It looks remarkably like the Worm Gems that Ducio fashions. Perhaps he can repair it for thee..."

Only one spell left to go into our spellbook. I don't know if the game breaks if you attempt to use the Create Soul Prism scroll without transcribing it, since you need to cast it three times to beat the game. I'm not crazy enough to try.

Now we see why Ducio and Torrissio are alive: hamfisted plot necessity!

"What a strange request... Yes, I can make thee a Worm Gem, if thou dost desire. 'Tis a simple matter, when thou dost know the secret... Thou must bring me three Worm Hearts -- no less!"
"What makes it a strange request for such a... master artisan?"
"'Twas Torrissio who told me the secret of making these gems. He said he learned of it from ancient scrolls written in some strange runic lettering. For years, he hath been mine only customer for such gems. But then the stranger named Batlin asked me to craft some for him, and now thou dost request them..."

The little white spheres are Worm Gems. Worm Hearts are a reagent, which you should be able to locate in sufficient quantities without actually needing to hunt snakes in the frozen north for hearts. You only need nine to make three Worm Gems.

At any rate, once Create Soul Prism is cast, they transform from spheres into squares or something. This is the stage that Batlin got to before proceeding to ignore all of Torrissio's warnings. We need to do one thing more to ensure the Banes can be properly contained.

And that's to treat them with the waters of Chaos. Since we already got tolerant water from the altar in Gustacio's basement, we can create the green Tolerance Prism right away. We'll have to go to the other temples of Chaos for the water needed to treat the other two prisms, plus the Temple of Ethicality to get the water needed to cure Dupre once we've beaten the snakehead out of him.

With a sword.