The Let's Play Archive

Ultima VII: The Black Gate

by Nakar

Part 7: The Black Gate - Making Up For Lost Time

No update tomorrow, so enjoy an ultra-big update tonight!

Making Up For Lost Time

An example of the runic-alphabet signs that litter the game. By changing Steve's "Read" flag to Y, we can get...

...this instead. It turns out the translations are already there in-engine, so I guess Origin is just being a gigantic asshole making us translate manually.

"So this is the museum, huh."
"Wow, look at all of this stuff! Do you think this-"
"What, do I think this is all my stuff? Do I think this is all related to my previous quests? Do you think I'm stupid or something? I've tracked down those fucking runes alone at least twenty times by now. Putting them in a damn museum is probably the first smart thing they ever did with them."
"I take it, then, that you will be appropriating them?"
"Hell no, screw the runes."
"What if we need to cleanse the sh-"
"We will not be doing anything to the shrines, do you understand?"
"And look at this, what's this bullshit over here. The freaking codex lenses? My God, what the hell. I go to all the trouble of getting these things made so that British and Draxinusom can share in the infinite knowledge of the void and they stuff them in a museum and never use them for anything? No wonder this country is screwed."

"And this crap, honestly. 'Swamp Boots Once Worn by the Avatar?' Jesus Christ, it's just a pair of shoes. Do they have any idea how many I cloned 200 years ago? Those probably aren't even the originals."
"Errr, ummm, well yes, but..."
"Now here's something we haven't seen in a good while. Hello there virtue stones, who found you? I only bring this up because we left them in the Stygian Abyss. How the hell did they get these things?"

"Screw it, I'm taking these."
"Well, I do suppose that everything here doth technically belong to thee."
"Yes it doth. Now shut up and find a spot in your packs for the white stone, these things are gigantic. How did we ever carry these things?"
"I can no longer recall, to be honest."

"My God, what is this now, the Vortex Cube? Great, this is exactly the sort of thing you should leave just lying around! Who's in charge around here?"
"That would be me, I suppose. My name is Candice," she says brightly. "I must say I am honored to meet the Avatar!" She curtsies.
"And you're behind this monstrosity?"
"Uh, Avatar... perhaps you shouldn't be quite so confrontational."
"That wasn't confrontation. That was menacing."
"It seems a subtle distinction, ma'am."
"Believe me, subtle is the last word I know how to spell or employ."
"Well, I am the curator of the Royal Museum. In that sense I suppose I am 'responsible.' Feel free to ask about any of the exhibits. The Royal Museum has been in Britain for many, many years. It contains historical artifacts, as well as works of art."
"Yeah, you don't exactly need to tell me about things I found."
"Fair enough."
"Any other hobbies?"
"Oh my, well, I spend most of the rest of my time working with the Fellowship. We meet every evening at the Hall. Thou must come and visit! The Fellowship has given me a great purpose in life. I have made new friends, and have even found love!" She giggles. "Ooops! I gave away my secret! I must not speak of it. Do forget I said that, please?"
"Forget what, your secret?"
"What secret? I do -not- have a secret! It was a slip of the tongue. I cannot really speak to anyone about it. Why, if word got out that the Mayor and I... I mean, uhm, -may- I... er, ask thee to forget that I said anything?" Candice turns beet red and turns away.
"Hold on, this conversation ends when I say 'bye,' and only then. Go on about the other topic you were on."
"I want to attain a higher level of acceptance in The Fellowship. I want to hear the 'voice'. That is mine one true goal."
"You want to hear voices? That's crazy."
"Ja, totally insane."
"I wasn't talking to you."
"Dost thou not know? The longer one is a member of The Fellowship, the greater the chances that one will hear the 'voice'. Supposedly, it is a man's voice that thou wilt hear -- perhaps in thy dreams, perhaps while thou art concentrating on something else -- it is a voice that tells thee things, suggests things. I do not know, really. I have not heard it yet, so I am only speaking of what I have heard from others more fortunate than I."
"Voice from nowhere that tells you to do things, yeah that's not obvious or anything Guardian."
"Dude, no spoilers!"

Right, where was I?

That's right, tracking down some deadbeats.

Your old friend Shamino sits before you and you marvel that he has finally progressed into what some might call 'middle age.'
"Where's the money, Shamino?"
"What money?"
"We had like ten thousand gold! Where is all of it?"
"That was 200 years ago! There's inflation!"
"You spent all the money, didn't you."
"Well I certainly didn't see any of it."
"I might, perhaps, have split the proceeds with Dupre, but it's not like we were expecting you back."
"What, you think you can just get out of the game? You think I wouldn't be back for you? Didn't think I'd ever try to put the Warriors of Destiny back together? Got yourself a cushy job, maybe a girlfriend-"
"What dost thou know of it?"
"Avatar, ask him about 'Amber.'"
"Thou art a swine, Iolo."
"I knew it!"
You see a light shine in Shamino's eyes as you mention her name. He is obviously smitten. "She is an actress I know."
"So what, that's it? You're gonna up and quit on me now? Settle down?"
"I mean, I'm sure your latest quest is important and everything, but..."
"You're coming with me."
"What? Why?"
"Because if you say no, Iolo and I will come here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of the week."
"...w-well, I cannot settle down. Yet ...soon maybe." Shamino looks concerned. "I have grown up. A bit."
"Don't worry, I'll fix that in time."
"That reminds me. I have thine pocketwatch."
"Oh really? You do?"
"You left it here the last time you were in Britannia."
"Wait a second... the last time I was in Britannia was Ultima VI. But I didn't actually bring my pocketwatch to Britannia that time. The last time I actually remember having my watch around was on..."
"...Mars! You son of a bitch! Did you pickpocket me!?"

Shamino didn't have much stuff on him. This is fine in Black Gate, where the paperdolls are static, but the fact he's running around taverns in his underwear is kind of funny. His stats are very Shaminoish. This just leaves Dupre, but he's a fair distance away, so we'll get him in an update or two.

Awww hell yeah. Now we're bakin'.

This is the right kind of oven for our purposes. You just stick a roll of dough in there (either by drag-dropping or double-click using the dough on the oven)...

...and give it a few seconds.

"Hey Spark!"
"Yes, Avatar?"
"Looks like we're having blood pudding tonight!"
"Looks like we're making Rice Chrispies!"
"I'm baking with your father's blood."

And so we bake... and bake... and bake... there's an awful lot of baking going on, let's just say.

Make your own jokes.

Next door to the bakery is a clothier's. Can we use these objects? You bet we can!

First, we can spin a bale of wool.

That produces a roll of thread.

We can thread it on the loom after that.

Which produces some cloth.

If we use the shears on the cloth, it gets shredded into bandages. Neat, huh? Too bad bandages are essentially useless with yellow potions and Heal spells and Lord British around. I forget if there's any way to make other things from the bolts of cloth.

"If we ask nicely, can we get a discount on a triple crossbow again, Iolo?"
"And risk them finally tracing the fingerprints back to me? Hell no."

In fact, a Triple Crossbow (which is a massive improvement over the regular kind) is on display in the shop, but what with Iolo's latest child lover apprentice in the store and Steve's propensity to whip out a musket EVEN WHEN HER HANDS ARE FULL WITH SOMETHING ELSE...

...just leads to this. Well, we don't want that.

There must be some way to rob these places. Maybe if the shopkeepers weren't around?

"Why can't we just get a room at Lord British's?"
"We can never go back to Lord British's."

Of course, merely sleeping until sunset is insufficient for our purposes. We don't want to piss off our allies with our constant stealing, but we also want to outwit the guards. Now, it's pretty much impossible to smash a glass display case in Britain without guards coming (in fact, a guard spawns for every one you smash), but that doesn't mean it's impossible. However, stealth is highly overrated, as you are about to see.

"Alright, take all my stuff for a minute."

"If anybody asks, you're the Avatar."
"I don't know, you think I can manage to pull off the role? I mean I haven't shot anyone with a cannon or pickpocketed an old man in the last ten minutes, somebody's eventually gonna catch on."
"Just stand there and shut the fuck up."

"This maneuver will require stealth... grace... and the ability to smash as many cases as possible in the shortest amount of time."

"Oh yes, by all means, take me to jail."
"You're just lucky we didn't catch you with any stolen goods."

"That's because I haven't stolen them yet. Now then, if I know Ultima jails there's a switch in a really obvious place like behind a bucket..."

"This is the worst legal system I've ever seen, and I live in Texas."

"Hello there, pretty little triple crossbow."

Moral of the day: A case stays broken a lot longer than a prison sentence.

"I got you guys a present."
"You performed an elaborate ruse in order to rob my store for a weapon you will now give to me."

Now, to enact today's Cheater's Corner we'll need to drop by the apothecary's. You can't tell because I stole all the potions he had last night, but this is definitely the guy.

You see a very authoritative-looking older man who looks at you with thoughtful concern.

"Evening! My name is Kessler. I run the apothecary shop here in Britain."
"Yeah, we were here earlier."
"And you weren't here, so we left without robbing you."
"Oh, it must have been after you left then."
"Can you sell us some poison potions? I need them to... poison... a person."
"While the normal function of an apothecary is to administer potions and magical reagents, I am nowadays working almost exclusively for Lord British trying to study a specific problem."
"What manner of problem?"
"Since the mages have become so ineffective, we have been forced to develop other ways to accomplish all the things we used to be able to depend on mages to do. Unfortunately, many of these new methods are as yet untested. We still know very little about the effects of most of the substances we use. Many cause more problems than they solve, or react differently if taken in unison with other elements. Some might cause thee to become dependent on them for thine health and some may simply be poisonous."
"Yeah, but poison itself can be useful. Poisoning people, for example. ...Oh. Goddamnit."
"I am studying the effects of a particular substance known as silver snake venom. But I am encountering a number of difficulties. As one may surmise from the name it is the venom taken from the dangerous silver snake. The fascination that many people possess for these creatures has created a great deal of curiosity about the venom itself. There are those who claim that gargoyles take the venom which results in their becoming enhanced in combat and such. Now this may be just a myth, but the curiosity people feel is real enough."
"That would explain why some of those bastards won't die. Not like Inamo though!"

"Oh come on, you barely even knew him."
"My greatest difficulty is in finding any significant quantity of silver snake venom. But it is by no means mine only difficulty. If by any chance thou wouldst come across any silver snake venom bring it back to me here. I shall pay thee fifty gold coins for every vial of it thou canst supply."
"So wait, you want me to become Britannia's drug enforcement agency and you'll pay me for it?"
"That's correct."
"This War on Drugs is going to be awesome."
"People need to be alerted to how dangerous silver snake venom is. To this end I wish to announce my findings before Lord British and a consortium of lords and mayors, but to do that I must first finish my study."
"What have you found so far, Kessler?"
"The silver snake produces a venom that is extremely poisonous, but when taken in less than lethal amounts, it causes a variety of strange effects. For a time the venom will heighten one's physical and mental performance, such as allowing one to work harder, for example. But after the effects have worn off, it will impair the user permanently. It first makes the user feel extremely tired and eventually causes a sloughing of the skin. The venom is a dangerous substance and thou shouldst not partake of it under any circumstances."
"We'll probably just use it all on Dupre anyway. Alright, we'll keep that in mind. Now will you sell us some potions?"
"Of course. It was good speaking with thee, Avatar. Have fun poisoning people."

"Well, since certain assholes spent all the money we ripped off the wisps last time we were here, we're gonna need to rob the bank."
"Couldn't we just work for it?"
"Seriously though I have a brilliant plan."

"Hello, welcome to the Britannian Mint! I'm Cynthia and I-*glug*"
"Hi, Cynthia."
"What the hell was that?"
"Oh, alright then. Join me for lunch?"
"Oh definitely."

"I must be quite hungry. I'm feeling a bit woozy."
"It'll wear off in time. Let us know because we'll give you another."
"Another what?"

"This is working perfectly. We just keep slipping the poison into Cynthia's drinks, her food..."

"She'll pass out a couple times before the end comes."
"Well, yes, Avatar, but aren't you a bit concerned about the way this looks?"
"Not following you."
"Um, Avatar, I just noticed..."

"Not now. The plan has finally paid off!"
"She vomited up blood and died! Why doesn't anyone care?"
"Who cares? Help me drag her out the back."
"Steve, I feel you should know..."

"That wasn't Cynthia."
"You switched targets after Cynthia rushed ahead of us going into the Blue Boar."
"Then who the hell did we just poison to death?"
"Candice, the museum curator."

"Are we in trouble?"
"No, no, we just have to take her to Lord British. He'll be able to fix this."

"Hey guys! Hate to interrupt, but-"
"I hate you so much, Steve."

"Where am I? Why am I standing on a table? Am I a hooker?"
"If I say yes, will you take your dress off?"
"...get out of my castle."

"I was wondering where you all went!"
"Unexpected business at the castle."
"Sorry to hear it. Well, take care!"
"Are you following me?"
"Nonsense! We're just walking you home! Drink this."
"I really don't n-*glug*"

"I thought you were walking me home."
"What, can't friends chat a little first?"
"I have no idea who you are."

"Random inspection! Anything going on in here?"
"Nothing interesting, sir!"
"Cynthia is throwing up in a potted plant."
"So what? We're all legal adults!"
"I'm not."
"Go to your room."
"This isn't even our house."
"Oh well, nothing to report I guess."
"Oh God... oh my stomach... help... me..."

"I swear to God, that took forever."

"I'm sure she won't notice these are missing."

"...are you bringing Cynthia with you?"
"Well we can't just leave her here."
"You're bringing the corpse of the teller into you when we break into the mint. You don't think this will be suspicious at all?"

And thus was the Royal Mint breached through the backdoor, its contents looted.

"Will you guys stop bitching about food and help me stuff these bars into a sack?"

"Christ, we're trying to make a score here."

"Stand away!"
"No, you stand away!"
"Oh, hey Cynthia."
"Uh... hello guys!"
"Don't forget to lock up! You never know who might try to get in here."

"You know what? At this point I just don't care anymore. I'm going to raise this person and then I'm going to go lie down."

"I don't recall asking you to join me."
"Sure, like you need both sides of your bed."
"Is it okay if the rest of us just hang out here?"
"I got Uno."
"Awesome! This should be a fun night."

That Morning...

"We've come to exchange some gold bars and nuggets!"
"Oh, good! We just ran out of those. I was worried for a while."
"We'll take it in cash."
"But Avatar, there's no way you could carry all that!"

"Try me."

"Let's see, counting the nugget Shamino was hiding in his shoe, and my fillings, that brings us to... 2919. From about 930 or so."
"So you're telling me the net worth of the entire kingdom was only slightly more than twice what we already had?"
"Oh, Lord British keeps most of the kingdom's actual wealth in a mutual fund."
"You sly dog, you."

"We need a good spot to stash our extra loot. The hold of our ship should do."
"I'm not even sure this is our ship."
"Well it's about to be."
"Should we really be leaving the baby in the bottom of the hold?"
"He'll get used to it. Juuuuuust like I did."