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Ultima IV Nitpicks

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IntroductionEdit

Ultima IV is considered by many fans to be the first REAL Ultima (i.e. the first in a series of mostly canonical, high quality games). It has also placed on numerous Top 100 Games Lists. Since the canon mostly starts here, one should not judge too harshly the differences between Ultima III and IV.

Ignorance of PredecessorsEdit

Exodus: Man or Machine?Edit

This inaccuracy starts in Ultima IV and is a central thread in later Ultimas: While in Ultima III, it was clear that Exodus was a machine, all later Ultimas display him as a kind of daemon.[1]

Response: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke. In not having any techology right back, apparently, to plumbing, the people of Sosaria/Britannia would likely see a world-altering computer/robot/mechanical device as some kind of demon. Indeed, the term 'demon' could still refer to Exodus since its purpose was infernal in nature (and its origins arose from the two most evil people in the world's history). Postscript: ...or the answer to "machine or demon" is "YES" (quo vadis)

Runes and MagicEdit

When the Avatar picks up the book and map in the introduction, he cannot read the runes and he does not dare open the Book of Mystic Wisdom. However, if the Avatar was the Stranger, which is claimed in every Ultima after Ultima V, he had dealt previously with both magic and the runic language.[2]

The Stygian AbyssEdit

The manual of Ultima III said that magicians used a “Stygian Abyss” for their final tests. In Ultima IV, the Abyss is closed and must be opened with the Book of Truth, Candle of Love, and Bell of Courage.[3]

Response: "The final destruction of Exodus rocked the known world. Mountains rose; land masses sank. Most of the surface area of the world became fused together into one large mass. It is over this major continent — now called Britannia — that Lord British rules." - The History of Britannia, chapter II Geography. If these changes altered continents, it's reasonable to assume that an open, accessible Stygian Abyss became locked away and needed the power of these mystical items to admit entry.

Technical shortcomingsEdit

Torches Illegal?Edit

Why are torches only available in illegal guild shops?[1]

ADA on SteroidsEdit

Isn’t it strange that all herbalists in Britannia are blind?[1]

Kill SpellEdit

The Kill spell works against all creatures, even undead ones. This clearly contradicts the Book of Mystic Wisdom, which says about the Kill spell: As the last syllable of the chant fades, all of the target’s vital organs shall cease to function for the space of seven heartbeats. It is easier to Dispel a field of vibrant energy than it is to stop the functioning of a living being. This was not caused by an engine limitation, since the Undead spell works only on undead beings.[4]

General problemsEdit

Mayor Dupre?Edit

Why is Dupre the Mayor of Trinsic? All he does is hang out in the pub a join any wondering adventuring party that stops by. No wonder they sacked him before Ultima V! Dupre is the mayor of Trinsic? I wonder if it’s considered virtuous for the mayor in the city of Honor to hang around in the tavern all the time and join the next wandering stranger to a risky adventure... (The people of Trinsic obviously got tired of him soon and voted him out of office, because Dupre fortunately isn’t mayor anymore in later Ultimas.)[5]

Response: Dupre actually says

I am towne leader.

And refers to questing - a paladin would be an 'exemplar' who leads by example, rather than an administrator.

Another Avatar?Edit

Scatu in the Lycaeum wears Mystic Armor, and says you can only find it if you are an eight-part Avatar. So why didn’t he try to get the Book, Candle, and Bell himself, and why isn’t he interested in finding the Codex?[6]

Response: Maybe Scatu was a full Avatar, found the armor, and then did something to lose his Avatarhood in one or more virtues. This can happen to the player, as well, as you don't lose the armor once you've found it; you just can't go back for more.

Test of the AvatarEdit

How was Scatu able to achieve all eight parts of Avatarhood anyway? You needed the runes for this, in order to medidate at the shrines, and the Stranger was the first to find all the runes. The manual also claims there are some who have already achieved partial Avatarhood... without runes? Are those used by the Stranger used ones by any chance?[1]

Response: Hmm, maybe once you gain Avatarhood you're supposed to return the runes? Kind of like geocaching?? ;)

Are the Runes Unique?Edit

Azure in Minoc says his job is to carve runes for passage to the shrines. Aren’t they unique? Although that would explain a number of other flaws, it would also contradict all subsequent Ultimas. Besides: If it’s true, then why does the player in Ultima IV only find one rune each?[5]

Response: Maybe there are multiple copies of each rune at each 'cache'...but why would the player need more than one?

How Did the Avatar Get to Britannia?Edit

How exactly is the Stranger taken to Britannia at the beginning of the game? Obviously, the scents of the gypsy befuddle him - But what happens then? Does she carry him to the next moongate? (Well, OK, maybe this nitpick is a bit on the hard side.)[1]

Gain a Rune, Lose an EighthEdit

Why are you penalized for looting the chests in Lord British's treasury, but you are not penalized for taking the Rune of Spirituality that is in the same room? They both don't belong to you![7]

Response: Yes, neither belong to the player, but the Avatar-to-be is permitted (and, indeed, expected) to use the Runes. And according to the dialog about the Spirituality Rune going missing from Skara Brae indicates that it isn't normally kept in Lord British's secret room; likely some entity stole it from its location in SB and hid it in the treasury, also likely without telling anyone like Lord B or his guards about this...

Stealing Your Own Stuff Edit

Whenever someone joins your party, all their equipment becomes property of the party, in the Avatar's trust. However, if you take Mariah's gold, regardless of whether or not she is in your party, you lose an Eighth.

Response: Hey, no one said that Mariah was guarding her own gold!

Reresponse: William did.

Response: Just because someone joins the adventuring party does NOT mean everything they own becomes the Avatar(-to-be)'s property; a companion is not a slave or serf. True, the equipment they carry becomes community property of the party, but what they carry is not all they possess (Geofrey's room isn't free to rest in)

References and original contributors to Hacki's pageEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Originally submitted by Tribun Dragon
  2. Originally submitted by Flash
  3. Originally submitted by Natreg Dragon
  4. Originally submitted by Flauschepelz
  5. 5.0 5.1 Originally submitted by Hacki Dragon
  6. Originally submitted by Shadow of Light Dragon
  7. Originally submitted by Elzair

External LinksEdit

This article includes material originally taken from Hacki's Ultima Page, and is used with permission.

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