The Codex of Editable Wisdom


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This article is about a bestiary entry. For the Ultima IV character, see Reaper (NPC).

Reaper, from Ultima IV manual
Also known as: "Tangler" (in Ultima I)
First appearance: Ultima I (as Tangler)
Last appearance: Serpent Isle

This harmless-looking tree can be the end of an unwary traveler. Reapers are trees occupied by evil spirits that have turned them into highly effective death-traps. Reapers are usually rooted to the ground, but known to move occasionally. They make up for a lack of mobility with their long, tentacle-like branches and powerful magic spells. Since a reaper's body is composed of wood, however, it can be quickly overcome with fire.

They can be found mainly in forests, especially Spiritwood, but also dwell deep within dungeons. They often hoard vast wealth, thus making excellent prey for treasure-hunters.

These deadly creatures first plagued the dungeons of Sosaria in Ultima I. Referred to as "tanglers" at the time (not to be confused with tangle vines), they did not then display any magical ability. Since re-appearing as reapers in Ultima IV, they changed very little in future Ultima installments. Their changing mobility is explained as being only a very brief part of their life-cycle.



A tightly-coiled "tangler," as they were known in Ultima I.

Looking for all the world as naught but a vine-covered tree stump, the Tangler lurks in subterranean corridors, waiting to ensnare explorers of the underground. Once a Tangler hath ensnared an adventurer in its tentacles, it will hold the victim fast until starvation ends the struggle. The monstrosity then feasts on the corpse.

- from The First Age of Darkness (Ultima I)

These grim creatures stand upright on trunk-like bodies and wave many tentacles at their prey. The evil Reaper can also reputedly cast different energy fields, and this is considered a most vicious opponent.

- from The History of Britannia (Ultima IV)


A reaper (Ultima V, mines)

The strange, magical creatures known as reapers are strong, enduring, and do severe damage by bludgeoning. Their weakness, if it can so be called, is their immobility; although their arms strike out about them, they cannot change locations. They throw magical bolts at distant foes. They also bludgeon nearby creatures with their thick tentacles. Reapers are quite hardy, but often worth the trouble: they hoard good booty.

- from The Book of Lore (Ultima V)

A remnant of an ancient enchanted forest swallowed up long ago in a cataclysmic upheaval, the reaper at first appears as a solitary tree trunk rooted in the dungeon rock. Closer examination reveals a grim intelligence which lashes out with long, gnarled branches and magical bolts of destruction. But, the resourceful adventurer can turn the threat of the reaper into the evening's campfire, ofttimes uncovering hidden treasure in the process.

- from Compendium (Ultima VI)

Legend tells us that the first Reapers were born when an ancient, enchanted forest was swallowed up in a cataclysmic upheaval long ago. Ever since, these animate, arcane treeforms have been found in subterranean places, often guarding some object they fancy or patrolling their chosen territory. The common Reapers of Britannia are fully mobile for only a brief period in their life cycle, but the specimens to be found here can wander about at will (though quite slowly). Although their wildly swinging branches often miss their targets, one blow that strikes a valiant warrior can do more damage than any sword thrust. Therefore, Reapers are a serious menace, to be avoided by the inexperienced warrior.

- from Memoirs of Sir Cabirus (Ultima Underworld)


Reaper, Ultima Underworld II

The reaper is actually a malevolent tree spirit that has the power to reach out and grab passers-by in its long, powerful branches. The reaper also possesses the magical power to unleash destructive bolts of lightning. As it is a creature made of dry, dead wood, it is quite vulnerable to fire

- from The Book of Fellowship (Ultima VII)


The legends relate that long ago, an enchanted sentient forest sank underground in a great cataclysm, and there the trees that composed it mutated into something that could survive in the underworld. Reapers appear as ambulatory trees, broken and bare of leaves. Their thick limbs can deliver blows of enormous power, and for all its flexibility their wood is as resistant as any oak or pine. There are a few unconfirmed reports of magic use among the reapers.

- from A Safe Passage Through Britannia (Ultima Underworld II)

The cruel spirit of a living plant, the reaper is a most devastating hunter. Although tethered by roots to one location, the reaper possesses tentacle-like branches strong enough to grasp even the stoutest of warriors. In addition, the creature's magical abilities permit it to fling awesome bolts of lightning. While its natural intangible form prevents harm to a reaper, its body is simply the wood of the dying tree it has inhabited. Killing its host tree renders a reaper powerless.

- from Beyond the Serpent Pillars (Ultima VII Part Two)


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