Well, after vanishing for a week (no good excuse, just lazy), I've returned! I'll continue the Serpent Isle blogging process with the goal of finishing up this week. I'm not sure why there was a request to focus on my blog-related progress rather than my real-time game progress; usually I allot only a sentence or so to the latter, mostly for the benefit of the oddly large number of people who are eager to know when I will get around to Ultima VIII :-P I haven't started that game yet. Once I get very close to finishing this blog I'll begin, for fear that playing it will damage my memory of Serpent isle...
This blog concerns two days, which include a series of time-consuming but not very...evocative(?) adventures. Basically, they were fun to play, but not so fun to try and describe. The first involved retrieving the helm of Monitor from the goblins in the great northern forest, which for some reason isn't frozen like everything else up there. Most of the time alloted to this quest was spent exploring the dungeon there, including finding a nice but oh-so-dangerous firedoom staff (I learned from Ultima VII never to actually use it as a weapon). Incidentally, am I the only one who thinks the paperdoll graphic for the firedoom staff, a wooden staff with a blue glow around it, was pretty bad? In the game world it looks like it's positively flaming! The same goes for the Juggernaut Hammer, which doesn't have the cool flashing effect in the paperdoll that it ought to have. On the other hand, magic swords and flame swords look pretty awesome, and the Black Sword looks especially menacing.
Anyway, killing the goblin king was not so hard. He was disappointed in my failure to eat his Monitor spy. It's interesting that this fellow, Pomidigrum, seems exceptionally brutal and conniving, when the implication is that one of his predecessors, Guodinir (?), was the embodiment of courage (he originally had the helm, and his ashes are used at the end of the knight's test). Anyway, with him dead, the rest of the goblins fell pretty rapidly. I tried to rescue a pikeman, who followed behind me torwards Monitor but eventually ied of a heart attack or something. I also gathered proof that Lord Marsten and Spektor were traitors! I don't really understand their motives--by letting the goblins destroy Fawn and the Sleeping Bull, aren't they essentially giving up control of the entire continent to the goblins? And with the other two Commands dead, how can they possibly expect to hold Monitor? Their scheme is very bizarre indeed. Marsten even lost his "bedmate" (his phrasing)!
But I'll quit ranting. Onward to the Gorlab Swamp, where my party all falls asleep. Interestingly, even automotons will fall asleep if you have any in your party, though they do not strictly announce that they are getting sleepy. Once asleep, you enter the gigantic dream realm, where you see, among other things...
-Dancing naked girls
-Mages torturing one another
-A tiny little moongate that a monk tells you that you need to seek out
-Yourself being killed by Batlin
The latter item is rather sad, as the king is wandering around a totally demolished castle. I was impressed tht the guard-corpse in that scene looks just like the Ultima VII guards rather than the red-and-purple Serpent Isle guards. He's upset by the teleport storms and earthquakes. I suppose I would be too. I run into Smith the Horse as well, though for reasons unknown he does not have a character portrait. He, as usual, gives me a worthless hint. From there I went and defeated a guy named Rabinrath who had put the town of Gorlab (from Ultima 1) to sleep; Siranush in return gives me a serpent...Which was it, the necklace?...which she says was a thing of power from those that settled the Serpent isle after Gorlab collapsed. Interesting--why does she have it? I enjoyed he minor plot detail that she has a dream crystal on her neck that matches the one Edrin has in Moonshade.
Tomorrow...Shamino's castle and the dragon slaying sword I never figured out how to get!