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Ultima IX Nitpicks - General

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Here you’ll find numerous open question in Ultima IX. Basically, all Ultima IX nitpicks that don’t fit into an other category will end up here.

Ignorance of PredecessorsEdit

MoongatesEdit

In no Ultima, the moongates worked exactly the same way as in the predecessors, but in Ultima IX, the designers have smashed all imaginations of them. The same applies to Nico’s strange Orb of the Moons.

  1. In earlier times, blue moongates automatically rose at night where moonstones were buried in the ground. The Orb of the Moons could be used anywhere.
  2. The destination of a blue moongate was determined by the moon phases.
  3. The destination of a red moongate (which was created by the Orb of the Moons) was determined by angle and distance used when throwing the Orb to the ground. In addition, the destination of a moongate created by the Orb wasn’t necessarily the location of a blue moongate.
  4. Mantras were never needed to use moongates.
  5. There has never been a connection between shrines and moongates.For example, the moongates worked in Ultima VI although the shrines were occupied by the Gargoyles.

Additionally, in former times, a moongate’s color, blue or red, had a meaning. In Ultima IX, the moongates are now purple.

Moongate2

Four Elements of MagicEdit

What do pentagrams and the four elements suddenly have to do with magic in Britannia? In former times, it also worked without such stuff, didn’t it? Mariah tells you that a new kind of spellcasting was invented, but in the rest of the game, it's never mentioned.

Blackthorn Allied With GuardianEdit

Why is Blackthorn allied with the Guardian? The story of Blackthorn is cut off when he leaves the Xenkan Monks as a purified man on Serpent Isle. In Ultima IX, he has suddenly joined the Guardian.

Timelord's AdviceEdit

In Ultima VII, the Timelord said the Guardian couldn’t be stopped once he entered Britannia - But in the end, he is stopped nonetheless.

Time Between Serpent Isle and AscensionEdit

Did 20 or 200 years pass since the end of Serpent Isle? An argument for 200 is a dialogue in the tavern of Buccaneer’s Den. It would really explain a lot. But several facts indicate 20 years is right: All people talk about how Britannia was ravaged by evil since the Columns appeared 20 years ago. Well, now we could just suppose nothing happened in Britannia for 180 years. However, in Ultima VII, the Guardian frequently taunted the Avatar with stories of his attack in Britannia.

What Happened to Vesper?Edit

Vesper has completely disappeared since Ultima VII.

Avatar's Bad Memory of MantrasEdit

Why has the Avatar forgotten all of the mantras?

Companions Moving AroundEdit

A book in Ultima IX tells us where the eight Avatar companions live. According to that book, Geoffrey lives in Valoria. Why did he leave Lord British’s Castle? And Iolo lives in Britain? He lives in the forest, doesn’t he? Shamino, too, lived in Britain in Ultima VII. Why did he move to Skara Brae?

Stonegate's ReappearanceEdit

Stonegate sank down in the swamps in Ultima VII.

Shrine Cleansing Déjà vuEdit

The procedure for cleansing shrines has completely changed from Ultima V, wherein you needed the proper Word of Power instead of sigil, mantra, and glyph.

Few Mentions of Ultima VII 1&2, Underworld II and Ultima VIIIEdit

An interesting view: With little changes, Ultima IX could have taken place immediately after Ultima VI. The two major plot elements of the last trilogy (Ultima VII - IX) were just ignored. Nothing is left from the influence of the Fellowship, and the evil deeds on Pagan don’t have any consequences for the Avatar either. It’s ironic that the only Ultima trilogy that was planned as a trilogy, has an ending that somehow disregards the previous two parts.

Guardian's OriginEdit

The main points against the revelations about the Guardian’s origin in Ultima IX:

  1. In Ultima VII, the Wisps describe the Guardian as an “extradimensional being”. They say that he cannot be beaten in “his” world.
  2. The history of Pagan reveals that the Guardian was present at the battle against the “Destroyer” and the war between the Pagans and the Zealans. This happened centuries before the Avatar’s arrival in Pagan and means the Guardian ruled in Pagan at least for centuries. Ultima IX takes place less than 300 years after Ultima 4 (according to most sources). Of course, time flows differently in other worlds etc. But the meeting of the Avatar and Arcadion indicates that this era of Pagan is already in Britannia’s past. All information about the Guardian before Ultima IX point toward the fact that the great villain is very old - much older than the Avatar.
  3. Why does the Guardian conquer so many other worlds when he is just interested in Britannia? Serpent Isle, Underworld II, and Ultima VIII made it clear that the main reason for the Guardian being interested in the Avatar is because the Avatar once stopped him from coming through the Black Gate.

(Richard Garriott himself once claimed that the Guardian’s origin was the Shadowlords, or rather the Gem of Immortality. That would have made more sense.)

Inconsistency with Silver SeedEdit

In Silver Seed, which takes places before Ultima IV, the three witches know the Guardian. According to Ultima IX, the Guardian can’t have existed back then.

Mordra and VardionEdit

Since the Avatar sees Mordra dead in Ultima VII and learns that Vardion is her grandson in Ultima VIII, Ultima IX should have shed some light on this case.

More Information on ArcadionEdit

What happened to Arcadion and the Black Sword? Although the storyline with Arcadion appeared to be quite finished in Serpent Isle, a little more information about him would certainly be nice, especially in regards to his presence in Pagan.

Meditation at ShrinesEdit

Why does the Avatar only have to speak the mantras once at the shrines? In Ultima IV, V, and VI, three times in a row was required.

Sudden Appearance of SigilsEdit

What are the Sigils? They never appeared in any Ultima before. Maybe they are those items from the shrines in Ultima VII, but this would only open up dozens of other plot holes.

Tatoo RemovalEdit

The Avatar’s tattoo from Monitor on Serpent Isle is missing. In addition, if the Avatar was truly the "Stranger from another world" that defeated the "Triad of Evil", then he should also be sporting the Marks of Force, Fire, Snake, and King from Exodus. They should be easily visible on his arms/hands since you had to touch the marks in the dungeons to gain them, (i.e., have them burned into your skin). However, his skin is perfectly smooth and unmarred by the time Raven gets to him, and he yells in agony as if though he's never been branded before in his life.

Purity of the AvatarEdit

There is a discrepancy between Martian Dreams and Ascension regarding the Avatar philosophy. When he is tested by the Shadowlords on Mars, Astaroth, the Shadowlord of Hatred tells the Avatar, upon giving reasons why the Shadowlords still exist within everyone, even the Avatar:

“No soul in life can be purged completely of virtue or vice.”

Ascension wants to make us believe that the Avatar is completely purified.

Britannian Class SystemEdit

The class system in Britannia first appeared as a plot element in Ultima VII. In Underworld II, it culminated in the servants’ strike lead by Nanna. Instead of showing the fans which measures promised by Lord British in Underworld II have actually been taken, Ascension completely disregards it.

Death SpellEdit

The death spell takes away half of the Avatar's hitpoints. It did not do this in previous Ultimas. Other spells also change slightly, but this one is a bit extreme.

Magic CarpetEdit

What happened to the magic carpet from Ultima VII?

Spellcasting FightersEdit

In Ultima IX, fighters can cast spells, unlike in all previous Ultimas.

Middle EnglishEdit

Elizabethan English (or rather “Ultima English”) has gone; no more “thou” and “thee”.

Mass DisappearancesEdit

Where have all the people from Ultima VII gone? Only 20 years have passed.

Britain empty street

The Fate of SentriEdit

Where is Sentri? Of course, he could be dead by now, but he was already young and healthy in Ultima VII, despite being more than 200 years old.

Return From Serpent IsleEdit

How did Iolo, Gwenno, and Shamino get back from Serpent Isle to Britannia?

Ascension RunesEdit

In Ascension the runes have the symbol of the virtue on both sides, directly contradicting Ultima VI, in which we were told that the runes have a letter on one side.

The Isle of FireEdit

What happened to the Isle of Fire that rose from the sea in Ultima VII? It’s not even mentioned in Ultima IX.

Lord British's ChildEdit

What happened to Lord British’s child? In Ultima VII, if Lord British died, the Avatar would find a will on his body in which he admits to having an affair with Nell and conceiving a child He leaves his kingdom to that child. So what happened to the child and the mother? Lord British must be losing an immense portion of his mind if he cannot remember his own child. However, this may have only been an easter egg.

Chilly FormalityEdit

The Avatar uses an air of formality around Lord British in Ultima IX. In Ultima VI, the party had the option to refer to the king as “his nibs”, and “Mr. Nose.” In Ultima VII, the king gives the Avatar a big hug upon first seeing him, and further jokes are made among them. However, in Ascension, the Avatar is always bobbing up and down in that silly little bow he has and calling him “My Liege” and whatnot. They have become incredibly distant.

Technical ShortcomingsEdit

Flickering MoongatesEdit

What is the purpose of all the flickering of the moongates? Of course, you could argue that the designers had the right to put this into the game, since Ultima IX was the first in the series to offer the technical possibilities to do so, but on the other hand, all images of the moongates in several manuals showed a quiet gate each time.

Impressive CoordinationEdit

In the closing cutscene, you see how the eight companions simultaneously put the runes into the dungeons. That’s impressive, especially in Shamino’s case: In the minimum amount of time possible, he managed to get into the innermost part of the Stygian Abyss without any trouble.

Mysterious Name LearningEdit

The Avatar often writes the names of people he talks to into his journal even though that person did not introduce himself or herself.

Britannian GlobeEdit

Taking a close look at a Britannian globe (e.g. in Samhayne’s house), you will notice that it shows Britannia in its former geographical shape.

Globus

Silver Hart's Fast TravelEdit

When the Avatar travels to a different place via a moongate, Raven is already there.

Astronomical InaccuracyEdit

Britannia is one of 9 planets that circle the sun of the Britannian system. However, if you look at the maps of the solar system in Ultima IX, then you will only find 2 planets next to Britannia and its moons.

Where Does Everyone Sleep?Edit

There are far more people than beds in Britannia. The fact we see any beds at all shows the designer’s original intention to include NPC schedules.

Runes' New ShapeEdit

The runes previously had a different shape.

Column DiscrepancyEdit

There’s discrepancy between the Columns in the final cutscene and those in the game. In the video, they are very irregular and bulky. In the game, their surface is smooth.

Frozen RainfallEdit

Rain drops fall from the sky even in the highest snowy regions and the Northern Arctic Sea.

General ProblemsEdit

Why Does the Guardian Need Blackthorn?Edit

When the Avatar faces the Guardian the first time in Ultima IX, he sends Blackthorn away, and afterwards, he mentions:

“Isn’t he a worm? But I still need him.”

For what purpose does the Guardian need Blackthorn?

One Way RoadEdit

When the Avatar attacks the Guardian, he hurts himself by doing so, but the Guardian can shoot lightning flares at the Avatar without any trouble.

Sentri's AgilityEdit

What does Sentri have to do with jumping higher?


Events Between Black Gate and AscensionEdit

The whole game never actually tells us what happened in Britannia. It looks as follows:

While the Avatar’s in Pagan, the Guardian enters Britannia and destroys a few towns and keeps; He also kills many people. Part of this is somehow accomplished by the Columns, which eventually steal virtue from the people. Now he retreats to his fortress on Terfin and waits for 20 years until the Avatar returns.

Shortly after the hero’s arrival, he mentions something about his plans to conquer Britannia, ignoring the fact that Britannia has been conquered long since.

The people in Britannia have apparently gotten used to the Guardian bullying the kingdom and living in Terfin. Yet nobody talks about it to the Avatar, not even Lord British. The good lord doesn’t even think of mobilizing Britannia against the Guardian. They just all wonder where the Columns come from.

The Guardian now watches how the Avatar turns off all his Columns, without batting an eyelid. Although he’d certainly be able to put an energy shield around Terfin or redirect vessels, he allows the Avatar to enter the isle and to get rid of him. He doesn’t even think of fighting him, but suddenly changes his mind when the Avatar confronts him face to face at the end.

That is the result when you do not have enough time to come up with a somewhat plausible plot. Lord British likely did not have such a wacky end in mind when he planned the Guardian trilogy.

WyrmguardsEdit

Who are the Wyrmguards? Where do they come from? What do they want? Why are they commanded by Blackthorn?

Evil Is LazyEdit

Blackthorn and the Guardian had 20 years to find the lenses.

Origin of the GuardianEdit

At the end, you get far too little information about the origin of the Guardian. You are just told (approximately), why and when he came into being, but it's never really made clear where and how it happened.

Reason For Obtaining the CodexEdit

What did the Guardian and Blackthorn want to know from the Codex?

Evil Is IncompetentEdit

Why could Blackthorn only catch the Avatar once?

Sigils' AppearanceEdit

Sometimes the Sigils are identical to the symbol on the rune (like the Chalice of Honor), but in other cases, they differ completely (like the Quill and the Scales of Justice).

Avatar IncognitoEdit

It happens quite often in the game that a surprised Avatar asks:

“How did you know that I’m the Avatar?”

Well, let’s see: A blond giant with blue eyes, a virtuous look, and a big ankh on his chest, who looks very similar to the Avatar on the Tapestry of Ages, runs around holding a sword and asking questions about the Columns - Who in the world could that be?

HawkwindEdit

Where is Hawkwind? Why does he never appear in his physical form before the Avatar as in Ultima IV and (as Time Lord) in Ultima VII?

Fate of the Avatar's CompanionsEdit

What happened to the Avatar companions after the game? Could they safely escape the dungeons, or were they killed when the Columns collapsed?

Fate of the RunesEdit

It is unclear if the runes survived the destruction of the Columns.

Hawkwind's Lack of HelpEdit

Why does Hawkwind stop helping the Avatar after Stonegate? Is he not allowed to do more because of all the favors he has done for Britannia in the past?

Isle of the AvatarEdit

At several occasions, it is stated that the Isle of the Avatar has sunken into the seas, despite the fact it’s still there.

Avatar's Immunity to the ColumnsEdit

There is no explanation for why the Avatar is not affected by the columns.

Blackrock Armor's Lack of Magic ProtectionEdit

Why does a blackrock armor suit not protect the Avatar from magical attacks?

Magic SubsidiesEdit

If the Columns have rendered magic unusable for 20 years, why are there still merchants dealing with reagents? With their goods becoming useless, they should have gone bankrupt long since.

Reply: Although it doesn't explain the rest, garlic, ginseng, mandrake, and possibly spider silk all have non-magical uses.

Guardian's Lack of Magical DisturbanceEdit

It is very strange that you cannot fill a spellbook but still create magical scrolls with higher circle spells. The Guardian is inconsequent. Why doesn’t he disturb all magic? His generator back in Ultima VII did paralyze everything, after all.

External linksEdit

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

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