Ophidian Dragon blogs his way through the entire Ultima series, from beginning to end.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ultima VIII, Day 4


Thus says the spiderwebby skeleton of Khumash-Gor, just before his ghost arises, which in turn is just before I cast "grant peace" before he can toss an exploding skull my way. Stepping back twenty minutes, and I'm wandering around the Zealan temple. This part of the game was one of two or three that required a walkthrough, due to this one annoying part where you have to toss a tiny little rolling sphere to activate a pressure plate that I did not realize existed. This part of the game also featured a multi-colored laser beam that kills me if I walk through it. Odd.

Speaking to the Zealans was interesting. I don't remember their names, but there was a generic woman, a Klingon-sounding warrior, and a guy that sounded like he was extremely bored about the whole process. In any case, they instructed me to steal a pyramid tip for the purposes of getting off the island.

From there I headed to the Argentrock Isle, where the Theurgists hang out. I encountered a few old guys, some generics, and one young fellow who had done a great job passing the theurgist test, except for the final one, where all you have to do is cast heal on a Torax. Humorously, I never did figure out how to get out of the pit with the injured Torax in a legitimate way, and I then used Mythran's recall item to get away. The first test I passed was a series of simple questions, and in the case of the second test, it merely involved collecting lumps of silver from underground. In fact, the lumps were large enough that with each one of them I had to dump some other object onto the ground, beginning first with my mass of "destroy trap" scrolls, followed then by yellow potions.

The metal was required for creating spellcasting focuses--and in fact, I am happy to note that all that's needed to cast the very useful Theurgist spells (notably--"Aerial Servent" to grab objects from afar, "Restoration" to...well, restore you, and "Wings of Air" to allow you to leap over obstacles and land far away from here you intended, usually drowning in the process.

So apparently, about an hour of training allows me to become a Theurgist, blowing away even the young fellow I mentioned earlier (Torwin) in my speed of learning. It's cool that in Pagan, becoming a high powered mage takes a few minutes. Of course, I have the sizable advantage over other students of being able to save and load my game. Ever considered how useful such a feature would be in real life? In any case, creating the focuses required a trip back to Tenebrae, where I decided to take the time to rescue poor old Devon from the jail. A cinematic encounter later and Mordea is dead, and the two other Tenebraean characters are laying on the dock groaning. With the focuses I headed back to the island where i discovered that Brother Xavier's healing touch focus was stolen, and he was too stupid to cast "Hear Truth" and talk to the other three people in town about who might have it. Turns out it was the young fellow Torwin, who intended to use it to resurrect his father, the guy executed at the very beginning of the game. Of course, his father's head is in the sea, so resurrection entailed that Torwin jump off the cliff and into the water and die. Oh well. He dropped his ring on the way, and I took it back to his mom in Tenebrae. Actually, I did that waaaaay later, but pretend it was now.

From there I spoke to Stratos, the maternal whirlwind sitting on a rock nearby. She told me I could not have the breath of wind which was too bad, since I had only just then realized that the breath of wind would be a cool artifact to have.

Now I will agree with a comment: Theurgy sucks. In fact, I only ever bought the very first spell, the confusion blast, which I never used because the damned reagents were so insanely expensive, though I almost felt I SHOULD use it because otherwise I have no use for obsidian in the game. By the time I hit Stratos, i was almost covered in magic armor, so the stores in Tenebrae were not much use, and I don't need to eat either. Oh well. I


Kobra Kai said...

To pass the third test "correctly" (not that using the Recall item is considered cheating or anything else...), you must cast Aerial Servant on the Torax to bring it near you. Only afterwards you may cast Healing touch on the animal.

Quentin said...

I remember that you are required to buy Confusion Blast, and then the next spell, to get buy the last Thaumaturgy spell Call Destruction. I found this one to be the nastiest spell that can take down a troll without having to be near it. The initial costs to the spells are big but I only need to pay it once as the spells can be subsequently casted without reagents.

Anonymous said...

Hey hi, i've been reading your blog since the very first entry and i'm curious about something:

Will you play the supernes version of Ultima VII???? i have been playing around half hour and it differs a lot from the PC version, you can't carry companions, Trinsic is completely different, Hook does not kill people (he simply kidnapps them) and some characters start in another locations like Sentri who starts the game in Trinsic!!.

Thank for reading this and continue with this wonderful blog.

zestypinto said...

You never used Invisibility? That's a surprise. I think I played with it to the point of it being bugged, where all I did was walk around invisible for most of the rest of the game until I had to take the Breath of Wind. It saved a lot of time and effort, believe me.

This is regarding an earlier entry as well: the third necromancer is a pain, not because of his behavior towards you, but because the spell you're supposed to use there (summon skeleton) does such a terrible job.

It fights the skeleton and 80% of the time it dies to it. When it does, it stops being your friend and attacks you. I can't count the number of times I tried doing it legitimately before giving up and using Grant Peace.

Astrael said...

I really liked the Zealan part of the game; it was the one hint of older Ultimas that was left remaining in Pagan. They each alluded to the Three Principles, which apparently existed in some form before the Guardian/Destroyer came and wiped their culture out. Apathos/Truth, Amoras/Love, and Odion/Courage. I know the instructions may contradict that but it was pretty obvious that the Zealan culture was similar to Britannia and that is probably why the Guardian is enjoying himself showing the Avatar what his world is going to become. (though Ultima IX threw that all out...)