Stonegate is a keep located in a valley in the mountains south of Lost Hope Bay and north of Lock Lake. Created by the Shadowlords, it was later used as a refuge for several different groups of creatures though the years, until it was swallowed by swamps.
The keep was raised by the Shadowlords prior to Ultima V to be their fortress. With daemon Balinor guarded the front, the Avatar had to enter the keep to reclaim the Sceptre of Lord British from the Shadowlords, although deadly traps surrounded the sceptre. Without the magic carpet it was impossible to reach the sceptre; the trapdoors surrounding it would drop the entire party into a lake of lava, where death was inescapable.
After the defeat of the Shadowlords, a family of cyclops made Stonegate their home, scaring away thieves who had used the walls as their camp. In Ultima VI, the Avatar had to visit Stonegate again, to reclaim the Vortex Cube, found in the cellars below the keep.
After that time, the keep was empty for thirty years, before a group of wingless gargoyles made it their home. They in turn were chased away three years later by Lord Vemelon of Jhelom, who made Stonegate his private estate. It was their family estate for generations, before the mountains opened up, and the swamp known as the Bog of Desolation flooded Stonegate. Trolls later occupied the ruins, along with a dark mage.
Prior to Ultima IX, Stonegate was rebuilt by Hawkwind as a tower of virtue and was said to be the only place in the land free of the Guardian's influence. It is here where the Avatar enters the world of Britannia to begin his quest. The Avatar gets his spellbook here, as well as receives his first pieces of equipment. The equipment here depends upon the Avatar's character class.
This stronghold of unutterable evil casts irs shadow upon the mountains of the eastern Serpent's Spine, and is approachable only by crossing the trackless mountains south of Lost Hope Bay. It is the temporal abode of the Shadowlords. 'Tis rumoured that the Sceptre of Lord British rests in Stonegate, and that one who seeks to steal it from its thieves must be willing to die for their treasure, for such is the lot of all who have tried. Answer Well the Guardian's riddle, if though wilst, but watch they step afterwards, lest ye fall so far that none may reach thee.
The story of Stonegate Castle is, indeed, an interesting one. At one time the keep was occupied by the Shadowlords, during Lord British's disappearance and Blackthorn's evil rule. However, once the Avatar returned our noble Monarch to His throne, eliminating the Shadowlords from Britannia, a family of cyclops made the castle their home. Not more than three decades from then the walls were abandoned. This lasted but for a short time, however, for a small colony of wingless gargoyles found refuge within the confines of the keep. Three years later they were driven out by Lord Vemelon of Jhelom, who chose to retain the castle for his own purposes. For several generations ownership was passed down the Vemelon line until one day the very mountains nearby opened up, and the swamps engulfed the castle. Now, rumors purport that a colony of trolls have taken up residence amongst the ruins, along with an ancient wizard, but no one has ever confirmed their existence.
For years, Stonegate was avoided by the gentle and wise. High in the crags of the Serpent Spine, Stonegate was erected by the Shadowlords as their fortress of evil. From this stronghold of the Shadowlords bloomed an evil that drew to it many beasts and rogues until their banishment by the Avatar. Over time, evil in living and ethereal form continued to be drawn to the malevolence contained herein. Some believe that the columns that have fouled the Shrines of Virtue were summoned in a ritual cast from the parapet of this keep. In an act of mercy, the spirit of Hawkwind has purged the residue of evil and has claimed it to be a place of Virtue. Now, the parapets and courtyards of this stone castle offer protection to forces of good and walk through the opened gate, and some visitors have claimed to encounter the spirit himself. It is writ that the spirit of Hawkwind shall serve the Avatar a final time.
Ultima V Edit
Ultima VI Edit
- In Ultima V, the best time to try and get the sceptre was during the hour of midnight (when the Shadowlords couldn't move), or after the Shadowlords were destroyed.
- In Ultima VII, Stonegate can only be reached through a very narrow path of dry spots and planks through the swamp. And without swamp boots, this is deadly.