This FAQ is in no way affiliated with Origin. All information
within this FAQ is from the author, contributors or
from books. Since this is the final version of the FAQ
I will no longer be accepting any comments pertaining
to it. Thank you.
The purpose of this FAQ is to ask and answer some the
questions that come up when one plays any of the Ultima
game. These questions do not pertain so much to how
to solve the game in particular but is more to try to
make sense of some of the inconsistencies that exist
within the story line between each game.
I am not doing this to read any deep meanings into
the Ultima games. I enjoy just playing the games like
thousands of others do but I find it fun and entertaining
to find plausible answers to some of the story line
inconsistencies. To me it is like writing a story
which allows me to enjoy playing Ultima in a different
way. Furthermore the purpose of this FAQ is not to
make the story of Ultima believable! It is a fun attempt
to make sense out of the storyline. I will not attempt
to cite historical and scientific accounts of time
doors actually existing on Earth like they do in Ultima
II as that is neither important or the purpose of
this FAQ. The Ultima series is fantasy and this FAQ
seeks to make that fantasy more enjoyable.
The two books I have (The Official Book of Ultima
by Shay Addams and Master Ultima by Ralph Roberts)
are both very good in terms of helping the reader
complete the individual games. But what this FAQ is
to do is answer some of the questions concerning the
story line which in many places is very inconsistent.
So I see this FAQ having a unique purpose.
Worlds of Ultima II: Martian Dreams
Since the second and third trilogies are more consistent
in terms of storyline there isn't as great the need
to answer many questions concerning those games.
As well the Worlds of Ultima games are more like
"side adventures" that have little to do with the
Britannia/Guardian theme so they will not be focused
on too much in this FAQ. If people do have questions
or answers concerning any of the Ultima games they
can e-mail them to me to be entered into the FAQ.
II) Questions and Answers to the Ultima Storyline.
In the first trilogy there existed up to five
different races available to players. They were
humans, dwarves, elves, bobbits, and fuzzies (who
appeared only in Ultima III). In Ultima IV and onwards
only humans were available to play with. What ever
happened to the dwarves, elves, bobbits, and fuzzies?
A combination of factors eliminated these races
from further Ultimas:
i) The continent of Sosaria was transformed between
Ultima III and IV. Many people of all races were
killed due to this violent transformation, but because
these other races were less populous than the humans
they had a more difficult time surviving.
ii) In Ultima IV and onwards these other races
still exist within Britannia but play a non-role
because of their reduced numbers, self-induced isolation,
and because of the dawning of human achievement.
Note, however, that in Ultima Underworld I, Dwarves
are reintroduced. As well we see in Ultima VII new
races appear such as the Emps and the Faeries. We
could assume that the Fuzzies from Ultima III evolved
into Emps while Elves from Ultima I through III
became the Faerie race.
How do you explain the presence of high-tech
weapons, armor, and vehicles in Ultima I and II
despite the fantasy/medieval atmosphere of both
games? As well, from Ultima III and onwards these
high-tech items do not exist, how do you explain
In Ultima I Mondain the Wizard was intent on world
domination. He was also intent on conquering other
civilizations. Using his magic and power, Mondain
altered the dimension doors (the very same ones
that allowed for Lord British and all later heros
to enter Sosaria) so that they would allow him to
enter a point in time into the future. In this new
dimension Mondain encountered and became allied
to an alien race who too shared Mondain's thirst
for power. With these new allies Mondain intended
to totally conquer Sosaria and many other dimensions.
Adventurers and earlier heros managed to use Mondain's
time door to steal some of the weapons, armor and
transport that belonged to the aliens for the defense
of Sosaria. Merchants eventually got a hold of some
of these items as well and began to sell them to
those who could afford them. Thus the presence of
high-technology became common in Sosaria.
In Ultima II the game takes place no longer in
Sosaria but on Earth. This change of battleground
alone explains the presence of biplanes, blasters,
reflect armor, and spaceships among other things.
The presence of time doors upon Earth is something
that will be explained later.
In Ultima III the battle has shifted back to Sosaria
(though a radically different place than before)
and we find that the high tech items of the earlier
games no longer exist. The only explanations for
this lie in the actions of Lord British who had
decided to do away with these items since their
potential for evil was far too great. He felt that
these items posed a threat to the natural balance
of Sosarian life. Besides with the death of Mondain,
the dimension door to the future had closed and
these high-tech items could no longer be recharged/repaired
thus limiting their usefulness. You can bet that
the merchants were sure upset!
Yet Ultima III does have an element of high-technology
within its story. This is based on the fact that
Exodus is actually a computer! It seems likely that
Mondain and Minax had worked together and combined
their black magic with the sciences of the future
dimension opened by Mondain to create Exodus.
Why do the continents change so drastically
in the first three Ultimas?
The only change that does actually take place is
between Ultima I and III, since Ultima II is played
on Earth and not Sosaria. Sosaria as found in Ultima
I consists of 4 separate continents, with towns,
castles, and dungeons found on each one. The change
to the world as seen in Ultima III is quite radical
since it changes to a world of two continents, one
of which has Lord British and various towns, while
the other is largely uninhabited. It seems that
the loss of two continents can only be explained
by some kind of massive cataclysm (perhaps a comet
hitting the planet, or the last dying magical wish
of Mondain) which totally gutted two continents
and transformed the others. The continent that Lord
British lived on (which became Sosaria in Ultima
III) was spared in large part due to his magical
power. The hidden continent of Ambrosia was created
when the cataclysm submerged the continent, separating
it from Sosaria.
In Ultima II the geography changes radically because
the setting takes place in four different time eras
of Earth. The reason for the change from Sosaria
to Earth is that Minax wished to destroy the planet
that produced the hero who killed Mondain. Minax
accomplishes this by creating time doors upon Earth
to go into the past and future and set up the conditions
for a nuclear confrontation. It was the goal of
the hero in Ultima II to defeat Minax so that the
future created by her would not come to pass.
The transformation of Sosaria in Ultima III to
Britannia in Ultima IV can be explained by the ending
of Ultima III when the heros kill Exodus. Following
the death of Exodus, great natural catastrophes
took place which was due to a self-destruct mechanism
that would be activated if Exodus was ever destroyed.
The catastrophes consisted of earthquakes and volcanic
explosions killed many people and also transformed
Sosaria into what is now Britannia.
Please also note that Ambrosia returned in Ultima
VII and that Serpent Isle itself is one of the four
Ultima I continents. Thus those original continents
of Sosaria still play a role in the Ultima series.
How do you explain the presence of Lord British
on Earth during Ultima II when he belonged in Sosaria?
Lord British used the portal to come back to Earth
to help the hero of Ultima II to defeat Minax. Since
Minax had plans to destroy the Earth, Lord British
worked to prevent this by summoning the hero and
then providing support during this battle on Earth.
When Minax was defeated Lord British returned to
Sosaria to help in its rebuilding. It was likely
during this time that Lord British also recruited
many of the future Avatar Companions, such as Dupre
and Jaana to invite back to Sosaria.
Why is it in Ultima I-III players steal, cheat,
kill "innocents", and commit other non-virtuous
actions, yet that all changes in Ultima IV and on?
In each of the first three Ultimas, players found
themselves in a time where survival was of the utmost
importance. Because of the great threat that the
Triad of Evil represented to Sosaria and Earth little
importance was placed on virtues and principles.
Thus players found themselves doing some un-avatarish
things such as stealing, lying or even killing "innocents"
(Remember the Clown in Ultima I)! Despite what traditional
history tells us, it was not the Avatar who saved
Sosaria and Earth from the Triad of Evil, but it
was other brave individuals who sometimes had to
do wrong things for the right reasons. (Stealing
food in Ultima II was a necessity if the player
wished to live)! This all changed after Exodus was
defeated and a new age came into being. Lord British
rediscovered the ancient ways of Avatarhood that
existed in ancient Sosaria, and called out for the
players to now embody this new philosophy. Thus
the eight virtues and the three principles became
a new way of living for Britannia, its inhabitants
and its visitors.
This theory runs in conflict with that posted by
Batlin in his rendition of Britannia history (as
in Ultima VII). Batlin states that the Triad of
Evil was defeated by the Avatar and that he never
committed any non-virtuous acts. This makes little
sense as one of the main purposes of Ultima IV was
for the player to actively strive to attain Avatarhood
which is something the player never had to do in
the first trilogy. Furthermore having a human Avatar
playing a role in the first trilogy makes no sense
as players could choose to be any race or class
they wanted. It is unfair to assume that all of
the Ultima series has to be formed around the Avatar
character. Surely throughout Sosaria's and Britannia's
history there must have been other heroes and heroines.
Why does the magic system change so much through
All of the same basic spells appear in each Ultima.
(for example there is a magic missile and blink
spell in each Ultima) Some new ones are created
due to progress in the magic arts, while some old
ones are lost. It seems that spell components were
abundant in earlier times (Ultima I-III) such that
if you needed something, it was easily found along
the countryside. After Exodus was destroyed, the
lands went through violent change and spell components
became harder to come by. It thus became more expensive
to collect these reagents and thus players were
now charged for them which is a practice that began
in Ultima IV. Also in Ultima II players were also
charged for acquiring spells but we must remember
that this episode took place on Earth, were magic
is rare and to practice it is expensive. Think of
all the props that David Copperfield must buy! ;-)
Seriously the presence of magic on Earth during
Ultima II can only be explained by the presence
of the time doors which linked up Earth and magical
realms such as Sosaria and the Age of Legends. From
Ultima IV and onwards the magic system remains relatively
stable and only seems to change if the player moves
to a different land such as Pagan.
It is important to note that in Ultimas I and II
an often used spell was the Prayer spell to call
upon the aid of a personal deity. This is unique
since in Ultima III the Priests seemed to rely on
the power of truth instead. From Ultima IV onwards
there have been no signs of deities existing or
playing an active role in the history of Britannia.
Possibly the deities of Ultima I and II did not
survive the cataclysms that shook Sosaria from Ultima
How would you explain the changing of professions
between some of the Ultimas? For example in Ultimas
I through III there is a Priest class yet there
is not such class in Ultima IV and onwards. As well
how do you explain the changing of professions by
certain characters, such as Shamino being a Ranger
in Ultima IV but in Ultima V he is a Fighter?
The Priest profession transformed over time between
Ultima I, II and III from that of a god following
profession to one that follows the way of truth.
Many of the spells in Ultima III were truth oriented.
For example they could turn undead since living
death is an untruth and their second most powerful
spell Zxkuqyb unleashed the power of truth onto
all enemies. In Ultima IV and on truth is one of
the three Principles upon which the Avatar's virtues
are based. The Priests' disappearance was due to
the fact that evil was mostly banished from the
land which made their existence as a distinct profession
not necessary. Instead their order disbanded and
turned to forming towns based on the virtue of truth.
Some towns created were Moonglow, Trinsic and Yew.
Shamino and others likely changed their profession
due to necessary circumstances. Each of the eight
professions of Ultima IV ended up congregating into
the three major professions of Ultima V and VI.
It looked like this:
Fighter, Ranger, Paladin, Shepherd --> Fighter
Bard, Tinker --> Bard
Mage, Druid --> Mage
The reason for the change was to have each of the
eight professions embody the three Principles more
than the eight Virtues. The Fighters embodied Courage,
the Bards embodied Love, while the Mages embodied
Truth. This took place due to the pressures of the
three Shadowlords who tried to corrupt the three
Principles in Ultima V. The people of Britannia
and the Avatar Companions responded by strongly
emphasizing the three Principles in an effort to
What is the time lapse between Ultima I-VIII?
The time lapse is given while the reasons for the
The first era begins with the Triad of Evil and
the resulting Three Ages of Darkness (A.D.) Time
was not kept during this difficult era so these
ages are identified only as 1st, 2nd and 3rd A.D.
This era ends with the founding of the Codex of
1st A.D. The First Age of Darkness : Mondain the Wizard
2nd A.D The Second Age of Darkness : Minax the Enchantress
3rd A.D. The Third Age of Darkness : Exodus
The second era involves the establishment of the
Principles and Virtues as embodied by the Avatar.
Thus this time was called the Ages of Virtue (A.V.)
Time begins with the founding of the Codex by the
Avatar. The "+" means that the resulting adventures
happened around the time noted.
123 A.V. The Quest of the Avatar
139 A.V. Warriors of Destiny
161 A.V. The False Prophet
162+ A.V. Savage Empire; Martian Dreams
171 A.V. The Stygian Abyss
360+ A.V. The Black Gate; Labyrinth of Worlds; Serpent Isle
Since Pagan is in a different dimension from Britannia
the time line changes no longer applies. We can
assume Pagan has some unknown time line of their
own. We can call this time the Guardian's Age (G.A.).
... G.A. Pagan
Is it possible to tie in the history of Ultima
to the Wing Commander universe?
Sure it is. In fact in Ultima VII there are references
to the Kilrathi! To explain this would not be too
difficult. It would be safe to say that Earth would
not be the only place that had portals connecting
to Britannia. Surely some of the planets within
the Kilrathi empire also had these portals as well.
Furthermore we could make an assumption that it
was the Kilrathi that Mondain recruited in his efforts
to conquer Sosaria in Ultima I! As well there is
one reference of them in Ultima Underworld II. Unscramble
the name 'Trilkhai' who are the creatures who dwelled
in Killorn's Keep and asked you to uncover their
true identity and you get 'Kilrathi'.
What are the origins of the Avatar's Companions
(Iolo, Dupre, Shamino, etc) and where did they come
Unfortunately not all of the origins of the Avatar's
Companions are known at this present time. What
information I did collect was found in the book,
Ultima : The Avatar Adventures (Copyright 1992).
Iolo the Bard is named David Watson in his Earth
life, who really does make crossbows for a living.
He and his wife, Gwenno, write songs together. They
both first appeared in Ultima I.
Shamino the Ranger is in reality the only native
Britannian. He does not have an Earth identity but
appears to maintain his youthful appearance through
some unknown means. Perhaps there is some bond between
Shamino's and Lord British's slow aging and their
identical physical appearance. Shamino first appeared
in Ultima I.
Geoffrey the Fighter also has the Earth identity
of Jeff Hillhouse who works for Richard Garriot.
Geoffrey first appeared in Ultima IV.
Jaana the Druid is a friend of Richard Garriot
whose Earth name is also Jaana. She first appeared
in Ultima IV.
Mariah the Mage is in reality Richard Garriot's
personal secretary, whose Earth name is Michelle
Caddel. Mariah first appeared in Ultima IV.
Why is it that people from Earth (Lord British
and the Avatar) age at a slower rate then people
This could be linked up to the travels that take
place between worlds through the moongates. When
a person travels through a moongate their age is
set back to a younger age. The basis of this could
be found In Ultima VII; The Black Gate, where in
a cave south of Dungeon Destard lives a unicorn.
The unicorn explains that a person's virginity is
restored when you travel through an interworld moongate.
It would seem logical that if virginity is restored,
so should age.
I am flattered that this FAQ has reached the eyes
of Mike McShaffry at Origin. Mike is the technical
director for Ultima IX and has expressed his enjoyment
of the FAQ! He has told me that Ultima IX will attempt
to tie in many of the previous Ultimas into its
storyline. Like many others I am looking forward
Thanks to Ralph Roberts for his appreciation of
the FAQ. Ralph is the author of the book, Master
Since this FAQ was started over a year ago, it
has made an attempt at answering some of the questions
that have been hounding the Ultima games. Thanks
to the great response I have received the most important
questions related to the games have been answered!
For this reason and due to other personal time commitments,
I have decided to let the FAQ stand as it currently
is and will not be making any more additions to
it. What this means is that this FAQ will continue
to be available but will no longer be updated by
I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this FAQ!
It was a new concept that was given allot of support
by the great people on the Internet. If someone
is interested in continuing the job of maintaining
this FAQ I would be willing to entertain proposals.
I would like to thank countless people for their
contributions and support. I hope you had as much
fun as I did.