Well, for fun I tackled Exodus Castle twice today. The first effort I was wiped out very rapidly, the second time I was killed off a bit less rapidly. The place is really packed with some mean monsters! The worst are probably the dragons, which spit flames across the screen at my party, hitting everyone at once. Ouch. Anyway, I thinkk I will make it through fairly easily with lots of stopping and resting and healing between battles (conveniently, enemies can't cross the energy barriers, so I will have manny opportunities to rest).
In the more serious sections of my gaming I more or less continued where I left off. First I went and hunted up the two remaining marks, Snake and Force, which I found in the dungeon of Fire. It was suggested that I go there by some random guy in the town of Dawn, I think. On the bottom level I noted two highly suspicious rooms which proved challenging to get to because you had to take particular ladders down on a much higher level. They proved to have the two marks I was missing, and I was glad!
The rest of my time was spent pilfering endless quantities of gold from the big treasure chamber in the island city of Death Gulch. I previously said that I had to use the open spell to get the cash, but this is wrong--just "getting" the chest does not attract the guards, and my ranger, Shamino, is sufficiently adept as to be able to survive without being blown up by bombs and snuffed out by poison. Cheses are very well-trapped in this game, more so than in most of the later games.
All that gold I gathered I spent in Ambrosia. Currently my strengths for my paladin and ranger are maxed out, as are their dexterities. My druid's wisdom is maxed and so is my mage's intelligence--one trick to beating Exodus castle might just be attack the enemy, cast mass kill, wait until magic points regain, repeat. That would be exceptionally tedious, but still. I'm not sure how much more I need to raise my stats. I think I need to get more dexterity for my mage and druid, and possibly strength for the druid so she can defend herself.
I have also made a point of raising my character's level (and thus hit points) by attacking guards at Lord British's castle. Not exactly noble, I suppose, but they're asking for it. I've raised by ranger and apaldin simply by slashing them to bits. I'll raise my mage with mass kill repeated over and over again, whereas my druid's improvement may need to wait until i raise her strength a lot higher. In retrospect, I wish I had chosen a cleric because casting the wimpy heals over and over again to regain hit points after battles is very boring. I also considered buying +4 bows for my paladin and ranger (actually, I think the ranger can only use up to a +2 bow), however, a regular bow seems more than enough for killing all enemies in one to three hits. Hmm.
Tomorrow I need to go hit the Time Lord, to tell me the order of the cards to INSERT into Exodus, in spite of the fact that I already know the answer. I look forward to Ultimas 4 and 5 where I am less certain of how to solve the games, lol. Today's gameplay amounted to about 2-3 hours or so.