Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

A Short Treatise on Combat Tactics & Habiliments of War

Trusty and well-beloved adventurer, I greet thee well and thank thee for reading this short treatise. Herein, combat tactics will be described for thy benefit in setting forth, dearest adventurer. Thou wilt learn how to read a book and how to fight intelligently in our worlds.

Thy safety is important for the worlds are vast enough for thee to roam freely about. Restless warrior, I know thou hast oft crisscrossed the land and oft the swamps, so think how easy a prey an injured man would be for the creatures who inhabit these realms.

The basic rule of safety in combat and in unknown territories is not to think of thyself as over-mighty. Thou mayest be witty and subtle in thy speech, but thou must be even more alert and aware of thy combat environment. Adapt to thine opponent, to the weather and to the terrain.

Know thyself, know thine opponent. Thou shalt know thy limits. Thou shalt identify as quickly as possible what kind of creature thou art faced with so that thou canst use the most appropriate strategy.

For example, know that herbivores will flee quite oft. On the other hand, carnivorous creatures attack the weakest opponent. Some creatures will attack at random or toward the weakest party member. Thou shouldst expect militiamen and guards to use tactically accurate strategies. The weakest member will be attacked, flanking will be used, as well as tactical retreats, and so forth...

Always use logic. Creatures from the Icy Lands will be more susceptible to fire, for example, and swamp creatures are immune to poison. When attacking foes, a good strategy is easily available to thee: thou canst always hide and shoot. Or thou canst flank and protect thyself quite well. When flanking, it is best to use some long range type of habiliment. For example, a crossbow could be given to an ally who is flanking. Make sure the ally who is flanking does not hurt any of the other members in thy group. Caution is strongly advised.

Use thine habiliment of war well. A bow always requires arrows. Ensure thou art not short of ammunition or wielding a useless weapon. Use thy surroundings to slow thine opponents. For example, thou mayest lay down caltrops on thine enemy's path. Most of all, always maintain a good balance between ranged and non-ranged habiliment of war within thy travelling group.

Upon leaving a town for thine adventures in the wilderness, do stop by the various shoppes to purchase a backpack and fill it with many a variety of foods. Long trips without food will leave thee weak and more susceptible to wounds from thine enemies' attacks. Thou shalt not bypass a trainer's hall. Thou shouldst train hard to become a better warrior. Visit trainers and learn from them. Those hours spent training with masters may save thy life.

While it is necessary to use armour wisely, I recommend to thee to buy armour as soon as possible. In doing so take into consideration the following qualities: weight, sturdiness, protection. Armour may be divided into the two types appearing hereunder: antique and magic. The magic armour type is almost twice as effective in protecting thee as the antique one. Antique armour includes leather, metal scales, chain mail and metal plates. The sturdier the material, the greater the protection. Leather armour, boots, collar, gloves and helm offer the least protection. On the other hand, they will be the lightest. Scale armour and chain armour, chain coif and chain leggings are a bit better than leather, but not overmuch.

Shields: a buckler or a wooden shield will provide thee with the least amount of protection in this category. A brass shield or a curved heater will provide thee with the most protection. By protection, thou shouldst understand that thine attacker will be deflected away from thee. Amongst helms, thy choice is great and the best protection comes from the magic helm. The great helm is nearly as efficient, though. The crested helm and the caddelite helm do offer the same amount of safety.

Chain armour, chain coif, and chain leggings will decrease very little the impact of enemy blows. Thou wilt need a gorget and some greaves for those exposed vital areas. A kidney belt could be useful but, I must needs warn thee, of little protection. Plate armour offers solid protection for thy money. I would recommend a pair of plate leggings as well. The ultimate protection, in matters of armour, at this point in time, is as follows: a magic helm, a magic shield, a magic gorget, a pair of magic leggings and some magic gauntlets.

Dearest fighter, for thine ease I will divide weapons into groups. Thus, at one glance, thou mayest easily remember their efficiency. I will begin with the least damaging weapons: Blowguns, boomerangs, daggers, slings, pitchforks, picks and whips have very little effect. A magic axe, a mace, a morning star, a two-handed axe, a spear, a shovel or a sword are of limited effect upon thine opponent. A scythe, a bow, a fire sword, a musket, or a two handed hammer are slightly more damaging.

Crossbows (my favorite), halberds, lightning whips, magic bows, fire wands and fire bolts are very powerful weapons. Find the best weapon and armour thou canst obtain. Remember all weapons ought to be kept ready for immediate use. One more word of wisdom: Do not neglect thy sleeping time. Sleeping frequently will give thee the rest fighters need. An eight hour sleep will restore full strength for thee and thine allies.

If thou hast weak allies, thou shouldst know the most suitable and productive method of combat is to prompt them to attack the weakest enemy or encourage them to flee. In order to protect a weak ally, thou shouldst bestow the protection halo on them. In addition to that, thou mayest put the strongest member in thy group in charge of protecting the weakest.

When attacking foes, a good strategy is easily available to thee: thou canst always hide and shoot. Or thou canst flank and protect thyself quite well. When flanking, it is best to use long range type of habiliments, for example, a crossbow. Be sure the member of thy group who is flanking doth not hurt any of thine other allies. Caution is strongly advised.

Thy band members armed with heavy weapons should be swift to attack the strongest opponent. Other members should follow thy guidance and attack the weakest enemies. When reading a book, look for useful information and memorize it or jot it down, for thou mayest have need of it later. Read quickly, but read all pages. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of reading all of the pages of a book.

Dearest adventurer, I beseech thee to thoroughly consider the aforesaid cautions and advice. The reason that I wrote such a treatise is to sharpen thy fighting skills, but thou canst tell that is not a goal in itself. My goal in using my quill is truly to convince thee with all mine heart and all mine expertise to hasten home safely once thy quest hath been completed and thy thirst for adventuring quenched.


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Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

Back in Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness, one section of the game world was known as "The Lands of Danger and Despair". Shamino, a recurring character in the Ultima series, was a ruling lord here. The Lands of Danger and Despair vanished after the conclusion of Ultima I and became Serpent Isle, separated from Sosaria, as the world of Britannia was called before Ultima IV.

The original inhabitants of Serpent Isle, the Ophidians, had a culture where serpents played a central role. They eventually became polarized as the forces of Order and Chaos, respectively, and fought a great war that destroyed their culture and left their cities and temples in ruins. Order "won" the war, destroying the Chaos Serpent, but thereby upsetting the natural balance to the point where the entire universe is unraveling. (It turns out that the "Great Earth Serpent" that guarded Exodus's fortress in Ultima III was actually the Balance Serpent that Exodus had ripped from the void, triggering the war between Chaos and Order in the first place.)

Much later, Serpent Isle was re-settled by humans who had left Sosaria voluntarily, or who had been exiled. An alternate name for Serpent Isle is "New Sosaria", a reference to the original homeland of these settlers. Many of them referred to Lord British as "Beast British", and had a very low opinion of him. After he united the lands, and with the establishment of the eight virtues, those unhappy with his rule fled to Serpent Isle. Unlike Britannia, which has eight cities representing the eight virtues of the Avatar, Serpent Isle has three city-states, each with their own beliefs, which are warped versions of the Britannian principles of Truth, Love and Courage.

Launch Year: 1993
Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle Cover

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