Part 38: The Black Gate - The Final
So, where were we?
There's still a few things left to do. Loose ends and goofy things, mostly.
The Fake Lord British
I couldn't find this one in Exult, because the teleporter doesn't work right in this version. Basically if you teleport into one of Britannia's mountain ranges, you may find yourself in a small room into which Lord British will teleport and say the following:
"Busted, you thieving scoundrel bastard! Perhaps the only thing more ridiculous than your pathetic attempt to destroy the black gate without paying proper dues is your inevitably embarassing explanation to the friend to whom you are, no doubt, showing this! For the atrocious crime of cheating against the virtues of Britannia, I find you guilty. Judgement rendered. Sentence selected: Death."
He then attacks you, and every dialogue option and cheat menu entry becomes "Oink."
More Treasure Troves
An invisible wall makes this an obscure place indeed.
The islands north of Jhelom have a few treasure troves; the one to the west has a cave with some pirates and a small amount of loot (magic helmet for one). This one, however...
...is much better stocked. A musket and bullets, gold aplenty, and even an extra smokebomb, for some reason.
Normally, to reach the Cube Generator, you need the Time Lord to tell you about Caddelite, a mineral which can block out the high-pitched sound. Talk to the astronomer in Moonglow and he says it comes from meteors, and that one fell in the northeast ocean.
The F3 map makes this a little cheap, but on the "real" map, that northeastern island is covered by the compass rose. This is the isle of Ambrosia, and the primary feature here is a unique monster... or set of monsters, perhaps.
The head on the right looks up and at you. "I wonder if it is good to eat."
The middle head wakes with a start, sees you, becomes alarmed, and begins to snort excitedly.
"Fear not, brother; we know it's there."
"I wonder if it talks?"
"Of course I do."
"We are not talking to thee! We are trying to eat thee!"
"Who are you guys?"
"My name is Shandu. My brother next to me is Shanda. My brother next to him is Shando."
"It does not matter what our names are!"
Shanda shakes his head and glares at you.
"That is me." Shandu smiles and licks his lips. "I like it when my food says my name!"
Shanda rolls his eyes and exhales a puff of smoke from his nostrils.
"Shanda says that thou shouldst refrain from saying his name. He does not like it when his food says his name."
"That is me. I am the oldest brother."
"We are all connected, Shando! Thou cannot be older!"
"Mine head was the first to breathe the air."
Shandu spits. "What does it matter? Our food does not care which of us is the eldest!"
"So what is your, uh, job? You guys' job. Whatever."
Shanda opens his mouth wide and emits a burst of flame.
"He thinks that is a joke. Job! Ha! I think it is amusing, too. I have never heard my food tell jokes."
"Ah, but brothers, we -do- have a job."
"We guard the Caddellite, do we not? Our purpose in life is to guard the Caddellite! Thou dost want to know about Caddellite? Very well, I shall tell thee about Caddellite." The hydra shifts its weight a moment, then grins wickedly. "We are guarding it."
Shanda becomes excited and snorts as if he were saying several sentences.
"What did he say?"
"He wasn't talking to thee!"
"So you guys are guardians?"
"The creature seems to echo everything we say, Shandu."
Shanda makes a horrid growling noise.
"Shanda says he is hungry!"
"So am I!"
"Now that thou dost mention it, I am feeling a few hunger pangs myself. If we did not have to protect the Caddellite, I would eat this creature in a single gulp!"
"But why are you guys protecting it?"
"I suppose we must protect the Caddellite from creatures like thee who come around once every 1000 years or so wanting to take it."
Shanda growls louder than before, then breathes a bit of fire.
"Creature! Thou art making Shanda angry! He thinks that thou art attempting to steal the Caddellite! Beware!"
"Guess we'll just be leaving. Bye!"
"Thou cannot say 'bye' to us! How rude!"
"Look, we don't want to steal anything, we just want to-"
Shandu becomes enraged. "I knew it! It is trying to steal our Caddellite!" Shandu addresses his brothers. "We must not delay any longer."
Shanda roars angrily!
"That is a good idea, my brother!" Shandu turns to you. "This creature vaguely resembles a troll, only it smells a little more pleasant. Dost thou think it might taste better than a troll, Shando?"
"We shall not know until we try!"
Shanda nods his head furiously, licking his lips.
"Very well! Let's eat it!"
And then we kill it. Them. Whatever. Inside the belly of the hydra is a Headless. Inside the Headless is a Troll (I... don't know how that works). Inside the Troll is, of all things, a Fire Blast object. If you wished you could equip it and use the Fire Blast spell for free.
Beyond that is the meteor, with the Caddelite lying around it. Get one chunk per party member and head to Zorn in Minoc. He makes the helmets, you head back to the Meditation Retreat. Isn't that lovely?
Alagner's Crystal Ball
Alagner's crysal ball shows what he was doing the day before, and is used to see his murder after it happens. But it's not actually calling up still images; it's scrying a room identical to Alagner's house stuck in a mountain on the Isle of the Avatar.
Should you attempt to go back in time and rescue Alagner, the scripts on the false Hook, Forskis, Elizabeth and Abraham will start up, and they will attack and kill the prone Alagner-clone and then turn on you. Interestingly, killing the Hook-alike will trigger Batlin's endgame speech script, even though Batlin isn't here.
Warp here, to the top house.
Mind you, there's nothing beyond what you would have seen in the crystal ball.
"This throws my whole understanding of reality into question."
The good news is you can warp to the southernmost house, even further back in time, and find Alagner alive and kicking! He's a fake, of course, and cannot be spoken to.
But where'd the real one go?
The Land of the Dead
Death in Exult doesn't work exactly like it does in the original, so this is somewhat incomplete. Basically, NPCs are NPCs in the Ultima VII engine, and corpses are not the NPCs, but objects which replace the NPCs when the NPC dies. An NPC cannot actually leave the world, so the game puts them all somewhere.
Easiest way to find the place is to use the F2 cheat menu, hit 'n,' then look for an NPC you know to be dead. You should see them either lying down or standing still with the Wait activity. Hit ' to teleport to their location.
This is supposed to be full of dead NPCs, but only the Hook-clone appeared there for some reason. I believe Exult just handles death differently. It also does the Armageddon spell differently, as you'll see later.
Land of the Dead is here, apparently.
Where is the Trinsic Cheat Room, Anyway?
We already know about the Trinsic room(s), but in Ultima VII pretty much every area in the world is accessible, so unlike Serpent Isle, they can't just be shoved to the periphery of the game world. So where is it?"
The first cheat room, with the eight chests, is here in the mountains north of Jhelom.
The second, with the long hall and teleports, is in a narrow sliver of mountain south of the Vesper mine.
What if Steve had taken a hardline position on the Guardian's arrival?
"Oh Lord, there she goes again."
And then everyone dies.
Everyone except Hook. I have no idea how he survived Armageddon, but I reloaded and cast it several times and he just plain won't die. Maybe because his death is scripted to trigger Batlin's text, and the devs didn't want it randomly triggering when you cast the spell.
Note the blood. This differs from the original game. In the original DOS version, everyone doesn't actually die when Armageddon is cast. Instead, everyone's AI simply shuts off and the characters drop into a "lying down" position on the spot. A thunder and snowstorm starts up worldwide, and nothing you can do will ever bring anyone back from the dead, because they aren't dead. In Ultima VI it just wiped everything out all over the planet, so U7's is a much bleaker outcome.
But not everyone drops dead.
These guys were already dead, actually.
"Are you mad?"
"Fool!! What possessed thee to cast that damned Armageddon Spell? I knew it was dangerous! Thou didst know it was dangerous!! Now look at us! We are all alone on the entire planet! Britannia is ruined! What kind of Avatar art thou!?!"
"Slow down, you're going a mile a minute, and we've got plenty of time to discuss th-"
"Now, with no Moongates working, we are both forced to spend eternity in this blasted wasteland! Of course, it could be viewed as a clever solution to all of our problems. After all, not even this so-called Guardian would want Britannia now!"
The one time Lord British acknowledges the Guardian's existence is after you blow up the world. Nice timing.
Two more survivors.
The Ferryman of Skara Brae still stands in his spectral boat, holding out his hand for any who would pay his price.
He seems a bit disgruntled. "I told you I would be here... until the end of eternity."
"Well you are a real go-getter!"
There is one final person who survives the spell. The one person even the Black Sword cannot kill.
Batlin. Yes, he's still here even though I teleported here from the Black Gate. The one who shows up there is a clone/copy who actually is killed by Armageddon. Batlin is a somewhat interesting character, because it's really not clear why he tries to sell out Britannia and his motivations in Serpent Isle are different from his plans here.
Yet there is a way to get a bit of backstory, and that's to cast Armageddon, of all things.
Batlin looks at you and his gaze returns to the Armageddon winter storm. "Many years ago, Avatar, I went to Skara Brae, the ghost city. The way the world is now reminds me of that dead place. In Skara Brae I had a spiritual experience so profound that I have never spoken of to another soul. I would like to share that experience with thee now, Avatar. There at Skara Brae I saw a man who was called The Tortured One. I asked this dead man, pray tell, what is the answer to the question of Life and Death? He gave me no reply, and I asked him again. I beseeched him to impart some small parcel of wisdom upon me. What is the answer to the question of Life and Death?! He said nothing, but in his eyes... In his eyes I could see, Avatar, that he could not answer me for there was no answer to give. No answers to the question of Life and Death! It was then I understood. No meanings! No virtues! No values!!! ...I commend thee, Avatar, for reaching that same liberating illumination!"
And that about wraps it up for Britannia (in more ways than one). No matter what other Ultimas wind up LP'd from this point, we'll never return to it. You do come back in Ascension, of course, but you kinda wish you hadn't. Underworld 2, Serpent Isle, and Pagan all take place in different worlds entirely.