Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Ultima Underworld II: Won!

 
        
By the end of the last entry, I had cut all the Guardian's lines of power to the various gem destinations, and I had used all the blackrock gems on the teleporter in Britannia's basement. I have to say that even this late in the game, I'm still a little unclear about these items; specifically:
 
  • Why did the Guardian's plot to encase the castle in blackrock have to involve a teleporter in the sewers?
  • If the teleporter was simply to enable the later invasion, why delay the invasion?
  • Why do all the various universes have a single blackrock gem?
  • Why does using the blackrock gems on the teleporter weaken it and cause new teleportation facets to open?

I'll review dialogue and see if I better understand any of these things for the final entry.
       
Is blackrock just obsidian?
    
In any event, I start this session in the wreckage of Killorn Keep. I have a save from before I destroyed it, but I decide to play from here. Killorn Keep was a threat. I had active intelligence that the Guardian was planning to mount an invasion from here. The keep was full of enemies and only one ally--who refused to accept my warning and leave. This is war. If you have a chance to destroy an enemy's fortress, you take it. You don't worry about the servants and horses.
   
I thus return to Britannia. Before going anywhere else, I toss one of my moonstones in Britannia's basement, near the teleporter, so I just have to cast "Gate Travel" when I want to return.
      
I feel like I didn't fully explore the possibilities of "Gate Travel."
     
I head back to the Pits of Carnage and make my way to Level 2. I bypass most of the level with the "Fly" spell. I can't remember the right button sequence to get through Zoranthus's Puzzle, so I bypass it by opening the grates with the "Open" spell. That's what it means to be a mage in this game--not to defeat enemies through magic, but to use magic to bypass a bunch of puzzles and navigational obstacles. That isn't a complaint. There aren't many games in which magic serves more as a utility than a weapon. I rather like the novelty of it. 
  
Zoranthus happily takes the scepter and hands over the air daemon, bound in a jar. I run through the ritual steps one more time with him, then "Gate Travel" back to Britannia.
     
I'm not sure a trapped demon is worth a single wand, but I'm not going to complain.
     
Step 1: I have to bathe in filanium-rich mud--the kind found in the ice caverns--mixed with basilisk oil. I have two bottles of basilisk oil. Curious that I've never encountered a basilisk in an Ultima game.
   
I return to the ice caverns, where the slick floor is also obviated by "Fly." I find the mud. I'm not sure how to mix the oil with it, so I drink one bottle and toss the other into the mud; the latter turns out to be the correct answer. I enter the mud myself and get a message about the mud caking me.
   
Apparently careful not to let too much drip off, I go to the next step: "fire" the mud in lava. The closest lava I can think of is in the Arena of Fire in the Pits of Carnage, so I head back there and drop into the lava. "The oily mud bakes on your skin." 
         
Does that mean I'm walking around looking like a stone golem?
    
Third step: seal the deal with a Potion of Iron Flesh. I don't have a potion, but I'm hoping that the spell will accomplish the same thing. It does. This would have been a very different sort of entry otherwise.
   
Now I've got to break the air daemon's current vessel and transfer it to me. Zoranthus warned me only to do this in the Sigil of Binding on the Astral Plane. (Because of course I had to check: Breaking the bottle elsewhere causes the air daemon to kill you. You resurrect in Britannia but are probably "walking dead" at that point.) I head there, drop the bottle in the pentagram, and smash it with my sword. "The air daemon is absorbed into your body."
      
The floating skull approves.
      
When I gate back to Britannia, I'm surprised to find four soldiers wearing Killorn Keep uniforms in the basement. When they see me, one says that "MG" told them to scout, "but I reckon I'm gonna be the first in my squadron to rack up a kill." Both of them are soon dead; my Sword of Stone Strike is extremely overpowered. "MG" is certainly Mors Gotha, the Guardian's champion. Apparently, my act of destruction didn't end the threat posed by Killorn Keep. 
      
With this sword, I could take on an army.
    
Before moving on, I head upstairs and make sure everyone is okay. I try blowing the Horn of Praecor Loth, but the game just says that "somehow the horn's power does not seem to be at its fullest." How did Praecor Loth manage to use it to bring castles crumbling down when I can't use it even with an air daemon in my lungs? 
     
I love how they programmed the ability to play individual notes for no reason.
       
I return to the ruined fortress, and sure enough, a bunch of guards are amassing in the guardroom. I can't reach them because  the regular corridors are collapsed. The guardroom is open to the main chamber now, but there are beds and other pieces of furniture blocking me from walking through. I have to go back to Britannia, get the second moonstone, return, throw it past the furniture into the guardroom, and cast "Gate" on the other one. It later occurs to me that "Portal" would have done it. Why do I keep forgetting about "Portal"?
   
The guards are suspicious of me, but not after I slip on one of the Guardian's signet rings. They at least acknowledge what I've done to the keep ("somethin' horrible happened here--corpses everywhere"). They've been told that they're headed to a place where "the defenders are 100% sealed up" and they'll just be "goin' in and cleanin' up."  
      
I can see these guys, but I'm stuck on some furniture.
     
Mors Gotha is in an office nearby. She asks how I like my "handiwork," gesturing to the keep around us. I say I did what I had to do. "Thou wert e'er as bloodthirsty as I, if not more so," Mors crows. It's a tired argument. Of course I am. I've been through 10 prior Ultima games. My skin is permanently tinted by blood. I can't even begin to count all the people I've killed. I've killed on land, sea, and space, and in past, present, and future. I killed dozens of castle guards just because one of them had a key. I killed most of the gargoyle race. I battled my way through hundreds of giant ants to kill their queen. I killed a megalomaniacal Martian with an M-60. I killed three shadowlords and countless liches, demons, and dragons. I've killed the very creator of my universe. Does Mors Gotha imagine that I am ignorant as to what I am?
   
The subsequent battle is rendered trivial by the Sword of Stone Strike. Guards rush in behind me, but I just have to petrify Mors Gotha, then turn around and petrify the guards. From there, as long as I strike everyone every 10 seconds or so, they remain petrified.
     
This is too easy.
      
Mors completely disappears when I kill her, leaving a spellbook behind. It contains magic formulas and references to the Guardian, so I grab it for Nystul. 
   
Back in Britannia, Nystul says he can use the spell in the book to unravel the Guardian's magic. He just needs to know the time and place of the original casting. It was Nell, Lord British's chambermaid and sometimes lover, who told me that she heard chanting in the throne room at four bells. That's exactly what she said. Nystul accepts "throne room" but rejects "four bells." He just wants "four." I think this is the only place in the game where you type your own keywords. It makes me miss the earlier Ultimas as well as their more complex parsers.
      
The question of "who was it?" remains a mystery. Everyone probably blames Patterson.
    
As I deliver my answer, Julia runs in with the message that soldiers are pouring through the gem and attacking the castle. Before she can finish her account, Mors Gotha steps through the doorway behind her. Julia and Nystul rush off to the throne room while Mors Gotha confronts me again. 
   
I don't know how Mors Gotha survived our first encounter, but keen to defeat her again in a more challenging way, I discard my Sword of Stone Strike and equip the Black Sword of Major Accuracy that I found in Loth's tomb. I chug every potion that I think might be helpful and blast her with a few wand remnants at the outset of combat.
         
That VAS IN MANI spell I have lined up isn't going to work.
      
The combat is long but not hard. I try to use some magic but remember too late that no spells above Level 3 can be cast in Britannia. I can't use "Poison" on my sword, let alone more epic magic like "Paralyze" and "Freeze Time." I mostly just keep myself healed with "Minor Heal" as we swing away. She doesn't last long. As she dies, she calls for the Guardian's help. Nothing happens. "God DAMN it," she says, and dies.
   
I kill a couple of guards in the hallway as I make my way to the throne room. "Avatar," Lord British offers as I arrive, "The time to act is now!" The last act I make on my own is speaking to Nystul; then the game takes over. Nystul reads from the book as I raise the horn. The daemon's strength surges through me.
      
It would be funny if the castle crumbled here but the dome stayed in place.
     
A cinematic shows the blackrock dome crack and crumble. In the final scenes, The Avatar stands next to Lord British on a balcony. Lord British says:
     
Again thou hast bested the Guardian. Thou hast shattered the curse of the obsidian jewel by the power of thy strong hands and quick mind, and it hath passed from us like a feverish dream. We are at peace again, Avatar, and we must return to the task of rebuilding our nation. Come! 'Tis time we breathed once more the sweet air of Britannia.
      
If I'm mad at anything, it's that I never found out if the Guardian's invasion of Britannia that I kept seeing in my dreams was real or a hallucination. Freeing the castle isn't going to matter much if there are enemy troops all over the continent. 
       
I get why the dome is cracking, but where is all the light coming from?
        
I reload and try some obvious ways to screw things up. If you rush to the throne room without killing Mors Gotha, Nystul just says that the ritual can't start while the invasion is still happening. If you drop the horn of Praecor Loth, Nystul just tells you to go and find it. Denizens of the castle remain invincible and are never targeted by the invaders. If you attack them, you just end up in the jail cell as usual.
   
I checked out the official cluebook for anything that I missed. It appears that the official walkthrough suggestion is to do the Ethereal Void before the Tomb of Praecor Loth. The ritual with the air daemon triggers the Killorn scouts and the appearance of Mors Gotha in Killorn, but nothing is much different if you don't destroy the keep. Doing things in the cluebook's order puts some space between the two battles with Gotha. The book says that she "disappears into a moongate" when you first defeat her; I guess the petrification animation kept the moongate animation from appearing. But you can also just steal her spellbook and run.
   
Note how the silhouette of the Avatar could plausibly fit either sex.
       
I missed several spells not found in the spellbook. I was supposed to somehow get "Dispel Hunger" from Zaria in the Pits of Carnage. Merzan, the merchant in Killorn who attacked me, sold "Rune of Stasis." "Summon Demon" was apparently found on the bloodstained pentagram in the Pits of Carnage, but all it does is summon a hostile demon. I suppose it could be useful for grinding.

"Smite Foe" (VAS JUX MANI) is an advanced version of "Bleeding" that kills almost any creature. You have to deduce it by adding VAS to JUX MANI. That's fine, but it feels like some other spells ought to work that way, too, and they don't. VAS ORT JUX doesn't give you an extra powerful "Magic Arrow," for instance.

The mother of all inferable spells--which surprisingly I didn't even think about--is VAS KAL CORP, or "Armageddon." That just means "summon great death," which I would assume was just "Mass Kill" or something. In Ultima VII, the spell is IN CORP HUR TYM ("Cause death [via] the winds of time"), which makes more sense, but you can't use four runes in Underworld
       
A storeroom before "Armageddon" . . .
     
Anyway, the cluebook says that casting the spell "kills all creatures, destroys all objects, doors, stairways, and bridges . . . on all realms" (emphasis mine). It also makes the blackrock stop teleporting you and removes all the runes in your rune bag. You have to take its word for the effects "on all realms," because there's no way to leave whatever realm and level you're currently in to go and check. And you can't cast it in Britannia to see Lord British's reaction because you can't cast high-level spells in Britannia.
          
. . . and after.
      
I love how "Armageddon" went from a spell given to you in ignorance by a wisp (Ultima VI) to something available on the open market for a high price (Ultima VII) to a spell that any mage could infer and cast with three common runes. Britannia's fate is sealed if it doesn't try to exert some control over VAS runes.
     
Let me know if you think there's anything else I should try before moving on to the rating. We'll have that in a few days.
    
Final time: 54 hours


72 comments:

  1. Now I'm curious if it's possible to crash the Keep after Mors Gotha arrives and if so, what happens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. stepped pyramidsJune 21, 2022 at 3:22 PM

      From walkthroughs, this is a viable alternate way to defeat Mors Gotha and get her spellbook. Also, this spares Altara because she leaves the keep. Chet had the right idea, but triggered the event too early.

      Delete
  2. Congratulations.
    I played this game with less magic. The golden maze in the ethereal plane without fly was awful. Also I didn't used the stone sword. The first battle with MG and all those guards was too Hard and I finally used a Time stop scroll, got the spellbook and ran away. I think my character was less optimiced tan yours also.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Did your characters sex make a differnce or was this just cosmetics?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Is there any way to precast Armageddon and then travel to Brittania like with other high level spells. It's been many years since I've played this game to completion

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. The only reason that works on "Open" is because after casting it, you have to then click on the object that you want to cast it ON. "Armageddon" has no such intermediate step. It just casts and that's it.

      Delete
  5. IIRC the teleporter blackrock gem is explained by Nystul early on, where he mentions the spell used to create the dome would also create a miniature version at the centre, and that it would ripple through dimensions. So presumably the spell also created the little blackrock gems in each world that the Guardian was drawing power through in order to reach Britannia (since he was prevented by you from reaching it directly last time).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I remember that conversation, but I wouldn't exactly call the matter "explained" by it.

      Delete
    2. There is a bit more on it - it is explained that the Guardian's magic is very powerful, but very crude and has unintended side effects.

      So my take on it was that the teleporting gem was not intentional, the later invasion from the Keep was only planned when the Guardian became aware of it and the original purpose was to starve the government and a lot of the most the heroes of Britannia while the Guardian's remaining followers in Britannia try to take over.

      Delete
  6. Supposedly, you were meant to find a blackrock serpent somewhere in this game. You'll probably remember it from UVII-part 2. Not a spoiler since you start with it in that game along with a scroll saying you got on a recent trip to the underworld (iirc). I always assumed that meant it was in UU2, but I never found it myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I assume this is what abacos is referring to below. I'll see if I can trigger that.

      Delete
    2. I've never managed to get it myself, but from what I understand, you have to train Tracking with the goblin in the sewers who offers it. Then, at some point later in the game if you return to him he gives you the statue. However, it seems if you wait until too late in the game (apparently my mistake), you can't get it anymore. I've seen screenshots of it so I know it is real, but I'm surprised the developers made it so obtusely difficult to obtain. The item doesn't do anything, so it doesn't matter if you miss it, but considering Serpent Isle starts out telling you that you obtained it in your most recent underworld adventure, I'm sure everyone who had played UW2 was scratching their heads like me and thinking, "I did?"

      Delete
  7. Congrats! For some reason both times I've replayed this game I have trouble with the filanium mud part of the djinni ritual, but after I do it I always wonder why it was tricky for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What an utterly bizarre ritual, to bake yourself into some kind of iron golem without killing yourself. I'm pretty sure lava is more lethal than that.

      Delete
    2. Having played every mainline Ultima, I'm kinda used to the franchise frequently displaying a... tenuous grasp of the behaviour of molten rock.

      Delete
    3. To be fair, you die so quickly while standing in lava that you really have to cast a protection spell to do it safely. The game doesn't let you splash around in it.

      Delete
    4. Travesty O'JusticeJune 21, 2022 at 10:04 PM

      Even being in a "room" with an appreciable amount of lava would be like being in a 2000 degree oven. It shouldn't really matter whether you're actually standing on the lava or not. Of course, you can't really fault UU2 for not playing lava straight. Has any game ever?

      Delete
    5. Some of the Metroid games hurt you just for sharing a room with lava, but even then you can eventually just run through it like it's not even there

      Delete
    6. There is a whole TVTropes on the topic : "Convection Schmonvection"
      https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ConvectionSchmonvection

      Delete
    7. Fair, but it's not just the lava part. The whole idea of coating yourself in dried clay and turning that to iron all to capture an air elemental within yourself, well, to put it in TVtropes terms, https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs ?

      Delete
    8. Come on guys... it's time to suspend your disbelief!

      Delete
  8. Did the goblins give you anything ? The beginning of Ultima 7.2 assumes you received one unique item from one of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, but it was ages ago that I visited them. I can check again.

      Delete
  9. Careful, if you criminalize VAS, only criminals will have VAS. Anyway, congratulations! Another one in the books.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Quest for Glory comes to mind as a series where magic is more utility than weapon; and I agree that it feels more "wizardly" than just hurling fireballs everywhere. The spiritual sequel Heroine's Quest does it, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, good point. Even some Wizardry derivatives have their moments. In Werdna, I'm saving every Level 1 slot for DUMAPIC, for instance.

      Delete
    2. Ooops sorry I missed this comment when I mentioned below the same thing.

      Delete
  11. Interesting that here you're told that Armageddon kills everything on every place because back in Ultima 6 the wisps tell you the spell is weak because "it only affects the plane you're currently on". Pretty small beer as far as Ultima continuity errors go but it leapt out at me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just one suicidal mage somewhere in the multiverse who thinks that it would be better if everything ceased to exist would easily be able to un-make reality completely.

      Delete
    2. Yes, the Armageddon spell is meant to be an Aesop about nuclear weapons.

      Delete
    3. Britannian lore has it that someone actually cast Armageddon aeons ago; you can find his bones in the museum in Ultima 6 (and in that game, its incantation was Vas Corp Bet Mani).

      Delete
    4. If I remember correctly, in Ultima VIII you can create wands to cast 10 or more Armageddon in a row. The M.A.D. doctrine of fantasy, if you will.

      Delete
  12. Did anybody link this to you yet, specifically the list at the end?
    http://web.archive.org/web/20110806045235/http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/compass/0305/2.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All I can think of is this https://youtu.be/rWvpvlT9pJU

      Delete
    2. That's a riot. I'm sometimes embarrassed that I adopted the 8 virtues as my personal credo when I was a teenager. But at least I was a) a teenager, and b) I didn't choose the BAD set of virtues.

      Delete
    3. If by riot, you mean 'very disturbing ' then agreed.

      Delete
    4. I remember hearing about that was one of the earlier "Hmm, maybe cops aren't your friends" moments for me

      Delete
    5. While I would agree there have been plenty of things that have happened in some agencies to make one think that, in this particular case, the people in question are corrections officers, not "cops."

      Delete
    6. Yes but when I first saw it I didn't actually notice that. I was more focused on the "official government thing taking the wrong lessons from facism" side of it, so it'd probably be more accurate to say that was one of the things that showed me the issues with law enforcement ran a lot deeper than I thought

      Delete
  13. I killed three shadowlords and countless liches, demons, and dragons. I've killed the very creator of my universe. Does Mors Gotha imagine that I am ignorant as to what I am?

    Little Bill Daggett : You'd be William Munny out of Missouri. Killer of women and children.

    Will Munny : That's right. I've killed women and children. I've killed just about everything that walks or crawls at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you did to Ned.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congratulations on winning! I'll be fascinated to see how it scores compared to the first game. For me, although it is technically ahead of UU1 there is a feeling to the first game that I can't quite describe that makes me feel much more fondly towards it than this game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never finished UU2, nor went very far really, while I [almost] finished UU1. My feeling was that "story gets in the way of exploration". I think the Addict touched about when he mentionned how he particularly liked that segment in one of the dimension where he explored an UU1-like dungeon.

      Delete
    2. I'm curious to hear our host's thoughts regarding the two games as well. I found there were things I liked better about UU2 and things where it was very much straining against the seams of its engine.

      Delete
    3. I've had that "special feeling" from UW1 too, I think the game is just better designed overall. The last third/half of UW2 just seems rushed to me.

      Delete
    4. I preferred UU2 but I realize it's purely subjective. Technical improvements, more variety, and more effort made to integrate with established Ultima canon might not trump UU1's consistency (UU2's many worlds could certainly be hit-and-miss) and uncommonly coherent dungeon design.

      We still have Ultimuh coming up though, so maybe that'll be the dark horse of this race. Fingers crossed?

      Delete
    5. I would have loved to see a few titles using the Ultima 5-7 engines that were not Ultima / Avatar themed!

      Delete
    6. I very much wanted a lot of games built in the Ultima 7 engine. I think it could have been a great adventure game platform. Combat needed some retooling. The Ultima 6 engine had fine combat, but not as many simulational aspects that I think would enhance the adventure genre.

      Origin did do 2400 A.D. in the Ultima 4 or 5 engine...

      Delete
    7. I think 2400 A.D. was a unique engine, although it is certainly similar in many ways to Ultima IV and V.

      Delete
    8. Yeah I just reread The Addict's review. I have to imagine there was at least some copying and pasting of code between IV and 2400 A.D..

      Delete
    9. I liked the concept behind Worlds of Ultima, those games had very cool pulp adventure settings. But for some reason they had to involve the Avatar in them, even though it made little sense.

      Delete
    10. It's not hard or anything to play Savage Empire or Martian Dreams (particularly the latter) and just ignore that marketing says that it's the same character as in Ultima 6. I mean, that's pretty obviously what the designers did, too.

      Delete
    11. I imagine most folk here are already aware, but for anyone who isn't: there was a non-Avatar-themed game planned using the U7 engine, though it got cancelled early / mid-development. Arthurian Legends was pretty much what it sounds like, described by Sheri Graner Ray as:

      Set in ancient England, shortly after the “Fall from Grace”, you as the main character were trying to put Camelot back together. Along the way you would encounter the various Knights of the Round Table and could help them with their quests. These included such knights as Sir Pelenor and the Questing Beast, Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, and Melora (the only female knight to show up in any of the legends) and her lover, Prince Orlando. You would eventually deal with Sir Mordred and Morgana as well as Lancelot, Guinevere and Arthur, himself.

      Check the References at https://wiki.ultimacodex.com/wiki/Arthurian_Legends for more details. Apparently it was originally going to be "Worlds of Ultima"-style as well, with the Avatar connection, but that was dropped early on.

      Delete
    12. I was about to object to the idea of any of the original legends containing characters named "Melora" or "Orlando," but damned if there isn't an anonymous 16th-century Irish story called Eachtra Mhelóra agus Orlando in which they both appear. I somehow missed this one in the research I did when I was younger. Still, it's only one story, and comparatively late. And she's nowhere near the only female knight. There's an entire land of women knights named Alarie, ruled by Lady Marine, in Wirnt von Grafenberg's Wigalois. Edmund Spenser has Britomart. There's Silence in Heldris de Cornualle's Roman de Silence and Avenable in the Vulgate Merlin. That might be it, though.

      Delete
  15. "There aren't many games in which magic serves more as a utility than a weapon. I rather like the novelty of it. "

    The entire Quest for Glory series comes to mind. Just like Ultima 6/7/8/9/UW/UW2, I suspect rarely people play as mages, but more often as melee characters that use magic as utility

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cadaver is an adventure game with an RPG paint, where a good portion of your inventory-based puzzle solving involves using utility magic to get past obstacles. Absolutely everything in the game has a level, or potency rating, which potentially makes a considerable interest. Level 5 water simply tastes better than level 1 water, but level 10 poison kills you outright while level 1 poison barely hurts you. A lot of the magic utility items (like the wand of open locked door) will only affect objects on a lower level, but there are potions that can increase the potency of a magic item, which need to be used on the right spells so they can now affect the right objects. There's always tons of potential options available to you and often multiple solutions to the puzzles, some of them probably not intentional.

      It's a very good and cleverly designed game, particularly the sequel/expansion/add-on level pack. Heavily recommended.

      Delete
    2. In Quest For Glory if you're playing a mage it's generally more convenient to just skip all the combat than it is to bother fighting with your spells OR your dagger.

      Delete
    3. Calm, dagger, dart, dart, dazzle, dagger, dart; take beard

      Delete
  16. Speaking of walking dead situations, there's only two basilisk potions in the game; if you drink both (e.g. because your Lore skill is too low to identify them) then you're stuck.

    ReplyDelete
  17. When I originally played this way back, I had recently read the AD&D module Queen of the Spiders. It has a black bubble that suddenly appeared to enclose a castle, sent by an evil extradimensional god, who is invading the players' dimension. The adventure leads to the god's home plane, which has eight portals to alternate worlds, each in varying degrees of influence or attack from the god. One portal goes to a frozen wasteland, another goes to a swamp, a prison, etc. And I thought to myself hmm...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. That seems too much to be a coincidence. Are they really that similar, or are you cherry-picking a bit? A quick Google suggests you're the first to have explicitly made that connection.

      Delete
    2. It's one of the most famous AD&D module series, where you start out by fighting giants (G1-3), proceed underground to meet the drow (D1-3), and then finally fight Lolth, the Demon Queen of Spiders in the 66th layer of the Abyss (Q1).

      Delete
    3. stepped pyramidsJune 23, 2022 at 8:45 PM

      There's a fair number of differences. The bubble of darkness isn't a physical barrier, and as Anon said you spend a lot of time going and beating up giants and drow before finally going to the Abyss. The actual Demonweb doesn't really resemble anything in UW2, and the worlds the portals connect to also include an elven kingdom, an ocean world, a spider labyrinth, a vampire castle, etc. These worlds are not nearly as important to the module as the other worlds are in UW2. I think most of the similarities can be chalked up to the fantasy roleplaying tropes of the era.

      That said, Warren Spector worked for TSR in the late eighties, so it is more or less impossible that he wasn't at least aware of GDQ 1-7.

      Delete
    4. Reading through the module, I don't see any world or NPC from UU that is obviously a reference to or inspired from this D&D module. As the above poster notes, even the dome is different, and having some kind of huge force field barrier is not exactly rare in fiction. For example, Star Control 2 also has one; and TVtropes predictably has a page full of examples (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DomedHometown).

      Delete
    5. I only mentioned the similarities, not to say that they're identical, or that the plot was necessarily stolen, but because I distinctly remember noticing them at the time and making the comparison. All the similarities I listed are certainly present, within a larger adventure anthology which has tons of content, including I believe the first published module featuring planar travel (the 1980 finale Queen of the Demonweb Pits).

      Anon, your link goes to examples of domed cities, e.g. underwater cities which need a dome to keep the water out. Huge black hemispherical force field barriers, which appeared instantaneously and mysteriously, enclosing an entire castle, sent by an extraplanar god, who is also mounting an invasion of the players' plane of existence, were not common in fiction from 1993 and before I don't think, differences in the material the black dome is made of notwithstanding.

      Delete
  18. When you say "I've killed the very creator of my universe", is that a reference to something, or is this something in the Ultima series I can't remember?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just meant that I killed Lord British in U3 and U7.

      Delete
    2. Did you ever kill him in Ultima VI? That was the first one I thought that it was possible to kill him, until I read your U3 posts.

      Delete
    3. Apparently, I did!

      http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2014/03/ultima-vi-playing-in-sandbox.html

      I misremembered.

      Delete
  19. Re Armageddon and Lord British, see: https://ultima.fandom.com/wiki/Killing_Lord_British#Ultima_Underworld_II

    Not sure what to make of this... might be interesting to try.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Magic is mostly for utility in the Magical Diary series, though they are only slightly RPG in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah those are far more dating sims than RPGs, it's not that uncommon for dating sims to have RPG elements

      Delete

I welcome all comments about the material in this blog, and I generally do not censor them. However, please follow these rules:

1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) This also includes user names that link to advertising.

2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters. I will delete comments containing profanity on a case-by-case basis.

3. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

4. I appreciate if you use ROT13 for explicit spoilers for the current game and upcoming games. Please at least mention "ROT13" in the comment so we don't get a lot of replies saying "what is that gibberish?"

5. Comments on my blog are not a place for slurs against any race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or mental or physical disability. I will delete these on a case-by-case basis depending on my interpretation of what constitutes a "slur."

Also, Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

I read all comments, no matter how old the entry. So do many of my subscribers. Reader comments on "old" games continue to supplement our understanding of them. As such, all comment threads on this blog are live and active unless I specifically turn them off. There is no such thing as "necro-posting" on this blog, and thus no need to use that term.

I will delete any comments that simply point out typos. If you want to use the commenting system to alert me to them, great, I appreciate it, but there's no reason to leave such comments preserved for posterity.

I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.