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UW2-feast

Lord British hosts a feast in Castle Britannia

Food has been an important resource since the earliest Ultima installments, although its exact level of importance and role in each individual game has varied widely throughout the series. This article will attempt to document these differences.


Ultima IEdit

Food levels go from 1 to 9,999 and decline quickly, so it is wise to keep food levels above 100 at all times by purchasing often when in a town. Reaching 0 food means instant death (but reincarnation is allowed). Rations are cheap, but consumed rapidly when traversing the surface world.

While in the various dungeons, food levels do not decrease; however, one must be wary of the gremlins, who can pilfer half an adventurer's food each turn they are adjacent.

Food consumption changes depending on the mode of transportation used:

Transportation Food Consumption
Walking 1 per step
horse or Cart 1 per 2 steps
Raft 1 per 4 steps
Frigate 1 per 5 steps
Air Car 1 per 6 steps
Shuttle or Time Machine N/A

Ultima IIEdit

Food functions much the same as in Ultima I (1-9,999; 0 Food = instant death), but mode of transportation no longer affects the rate of food consumption, and food levels now decline while in dungeons. Gremlins still pose a serious threat to rations, but steal a fixed amount of 100 food units each turn.

Obtaining a frigate is highly important in Ultima II because food is not consumed while aboard, unless the "Pass Time" (SPACE) function is used. Food is likewise not consumed while piloting either a bi-plane or rocket ship.

Ultima IIIEdit

As Ultima III first introduced the multi-character party, it also introduced individual food totals. Unless playing a modernized version of Ultima III, food must be purchased separately for each party member; otherwise, one character can buy all the food and then H)and it to the others in increments of 1-99. The overall rate of food consumption is 1 food per 10 steps taken (40 steps when in towns, dungeons, or Ambrosia) -- less than in previous Ultima installments, but still relatively fast, so food remains an important part of resource management in this game.

Gremlins exist in Ultima III, but are discovered only in fixed locations throughout the dungeons, and never actually seen -- they are "sprung" much like a trap.

Once a character reaches 0 food, that member begins losing 5 Hit Points per step the party takes, until more food is added to the starving character's total.

Side note: Exactly which "step" a given party member consumes 1 unit of food on can quickly become out of sync with the other party members from various factors, including death and subsequent resurrection. This usually isn't a problem if high food levels are maintained.

Ultima IVEdit

Ultima IV simplifies party food management by giving a single food total for the entire party; however, the rate of consumption changes depending on how many party members are present. The on-screen food total ranges from 0-9999, but for display purposes in this game, the last 2 digits of the party's food total are truncated, so the actual maximum is really 999,999. From this total, each move subtracts an actual amount of food equal to the number of characters in the party. When purchasing food, each pack of 25 rations is actually equal to 2,500 food in the Ultima IV save file.

Food consumption is relatively slow in this game, but is still necessary to upkeep. Starvation is slower, affecting party members' Hit Points much as poison does. Gremlins return in Ultima IV as a dungeon-based enemy that can be fought, and do not automatically steal rations every turn, but will attempt to steal a random amount every so often, while adjacent to any party member (much in the way rogues attempt to steal gold).

Side Note: Food is not a factor in the NES Port of Ultima IV.

Ultima VEdit

Beginning with Ultima V, in addition to grocery stores, taverns also sell food. It can also be found quite regularly upon looting the belongings of slain monsters. Gremlins function much as in Ultima IV but can occasionally be encountered while camping out.

A spell invented by Lord Stuart the Hungry, Create Food ("IN MANI YLEM"), can often save the party from starvation, but is usually only a temporary solution.

Ultima VIEdit

Starvation is no longer an issue in Ultima VI, but characters must eat food in order to regain Hit Points when resting. For the first time it is possible to hunt animals in the wilderness in order to fill up the party's food stocks; Otherwise, it has to be bought from numerous sources.

Gremlins can still steal food, although they are typically defeated before they have an opportunity to do so.

Savage EmpireEdit

Food can be found growing in the wild, and must sometimes be worked further in order to be edible. Certain creatures (and their eggs) can be killed and cooked as well. There are no gremlins in the valley of Eodon.

Martian DreamsEdit

Characters are not required to eat, and no food (other than the martian berries) is available The absence of this resource is instead replaced by the need for oxygen, thus the need to acquire Oxium to keep all party members' attributes at peak levels.

Gremlins do not exist on Mars, but their role is filled by the Oxy-Leeches, which are capable of stealing Oxium from any party members.

Ultima UnderworldEdit

Starvation is not an issue, but less Vitality and Mana are recovered when sleeping on an empty stomach. Getting a character to starve is a nearly-impossible feat, and the game is more likely to be completed long before this occurs.

Ultima VIIEdit

Beginning in Ultima VII, new sources of food, such as slaughterhouses and the Farmer's Market appear. Also, how much a character is satiated depends greatly upon the type of food eaten. Not eating will result in a character weakening, falling unconscious and eventually dying of hunger. For more information on this, see Food Values in Ultima VII.

Gremlins still exist and steal food as usual, but now also dissolve upon their death, leaving behind food instead of a corpse.

Ultima Underworld IIEdit

Starvation is not an issue, but less Vitality and Mana are recovered when sleeping on an empty stomach. Getting a character to starve is a nearly-impossible feat, and the game is more likely to be completed long before this occurs. (Note that the spell "Negate Hunger" effectively makes food obsolete.)

Ultima VII Part TwoEdit

The system demonstrated in Ultima VII remains largely unchanged in Part Two. The Everlasting Goblet can be used for infinite nourishment and saves inventory space, but its low food value may be seen as providing dubious practical benefit. Alternatively, the Ring of Reagents can be used to cast Create Food indefinitely at no cost.

A group of offshoot gremlins on Serpent Isle are purple, can use magic, and leave corpses containing food (as well as the occasional black pearl).

Ultima VIIIEdit

Food heals Hit Points, but otherwise is pointless. Mushrooms will sometimes heal, but can instead produce strange effects, putting the Avatar on a bizarre drug trip.

Ultima IXEdit

Food simply restores Hit Points, although other resources such as potions and fountains will work more effectively.

Gremlins were originally planned for Ultima IX: Ascension but were dropped during development.

Ultima OnlineEdit

Although eating is unnecessary in Ultima Online, there exist two separate classes of food: Plain and magic. Plain food can be purchased from NPCs, found as loot, carved from corpses, picked/collected from fields (and under certain trees), created by those with the cooking skill; or the Magery spell, Create Food. Magic food, however, is made exclusively by cooks.

There are five types of food available: fish, fruit, hay, meat, and vegetable. Pets will consume only their preferred type of food. Of these five types, only fish and meat exist in both raw and cooked forms.

For player characters, food currently has few important uses. Magic food can cause various temporary changes, such as raising a character’s statistics, removing curses, and preventing/lessening poison damage.

Food is one determinant of a pet’s loyalty. Feeding a tamed pet at the right time will cause it to bond with the character. Failing to feed a pet will eventually result in the pet returning to a wild state.

Lore Edit

None can live without sustenance. The food shoppes of Sosaria provide the local populace with fresh produce and meats, while the adventurer can find provisions therein that will last for weeks in the wilderness with no special care.

- from The First Age of Darkness (Ultima I)

Forget not to obtain enough food. Towns are widely scattered, and starvation is always to unpleasant to watch.

- from The Book of Play (Ultima III: Exodus)

There are no supermarkets, not even mom & pop stores, in the Valley of Eodon. You have to forage for yourself at all times. Edible goods you can find in Eodon include: Bean plants, ears of corn, bananas, peppers, pteranodon eggs, and berries. If you're feeling adventuresome or desperate, or are a big fan of red meat, you can kill and cook many of Eodon's animals and fish -- but not dinosaurs, parrots, Myrmidex, or giant spiders.

It's easier to find food in the villages than in the wild. The natives aren't upset if you take some, presuming that you're hungrier than they are right then. They often have lots of fruit lying around, plus cooked fish and meat chops.

In the Kotl city, you can find a type of green fruit growing in strange little trees; this fruit is edible.

- from Malone's Guide to the Valley of Eodon (Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire)

Fortunately, our food supplies were plentiful. That was one need that we never even had to think about.

- from The Lost Notebooks of Nellie Bly (Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams)

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