The Codex of Editable Wisdom

Sea Serpents

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Sea Serpents
Sea Serpent, from Ultima VII manual
Variants: Frost Serpents
First appearance: Ultima III
Last appearance: Ultima IX

Dragons not only live on land and in the air, but also in the sea. The sea serpent is a dragon, perfectly adapted to water. It attacks ships on sea with its fire breath and magic abilities. Intelligent, they stay at a distance for their own safety. Warriors are helpless against this kind of attack, and have to trust the ship's cannons to deal with the foe.

As one might expect, sea serpents are only encountered at sea, but are capable of attacking anyone who ventures too closely to the shoreline.

Sea serpents stayed the same after Ultima IV; however, in Ultima IX, they appeared much less serpentine.


In various Ultimas, sea serpents have appeared in one form or another.

The creatures first called sea serpents appeared in Ultima III, wherein they first displayed the ability to hurl magic at their enemies.

In Serpent Isle the conventional sea serpent is replaced by its cold-water cousin, the frost serpents, which are almost identical, other than the fact that the creature is blue, and spits cold-fire instead of normal fire.

In Ultima I the similar-looking ness creature appears (mention is made in the Ultima I manual about the creatures having been verified by this stage), but they do not breath fire or use magic. In Ultima II there were "Sea Monsters," which again, appeared similar, but also had no special abilities.



Small cousins of the Great Earth Snake, these creatures can destroy an entire ship. In conflict mode, they can hurl magic across water, making it hard to fight them.

- from The Book of Play (Ultima III)

The Sea Serpent is an aquatic relative of the Dragon. The fireball cast by the Serpent can sink a ship long before it has a chance to close with the beast. The best defense against a Sea Serpent is to engage it in close combat as quickly as possible. It is thy only chance, albeit as slim one, to survive the encounter.

- from The History of Britannia (Ultima IV)

These serpents can appear from nowhere to rock a ship. Capable of launching great fireballs from a considerable distance - even across an entire island - they are among the most formidable of opponents. Since they are not intelligent and are easily outwitted, the best strategy is often to evade them and flee. However, if forced into battle, closing in to engage the serpent directly in combat will improve a ship's odds of surviving.

- from Book of Lore (Ultima V)


Like its land-based cousin, the dragon, a sea serpent will attack the seagoing traveler with magical fireballs and violent physical swipes of its long tail. The wise sailor avoids this nasty beast.

- from Compendium (Ultima VI)

This creature is a sea-going dragon. It is capable of spitting out fireballs, much the same as dragons breathe fire. A sea serpent can severely damage a ship with a single lash of its powerful tail.

- from The Book of Fellowship (Ultima VII)

In the deepest waters resides a scaled serpent nearly half the length of a capital ship. Of this creature, little is known, as in death, its water-bourne corpse defies capture and transport. Although the sea serpent prefers to feed on creatures from the sea, attacks against even the largest ships have been reported. In one reporting, the creature was driven off by a fire aboard the ship. It is believed that many ships lost at sea have succumbed to the serpent's whim.

- from Journal (Ultima IX)

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