Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

Briggio's Book of Astonishing ThingsA compiled volume of items of interest both magical and mundane

by Briggio of Moonshade

In this volume, compiled for easy reference, are some of the many fascinating constructions I have found during my researches. These items range from interesting uses for mundane items to fascinating miscarriages of magic.

Wands: A trio of terrible weaponry. The three identified varieties of magical wand all seem to have been made for the express purpose of changing the combat-weak spellcaster into a battle-ready automaton. And, for those with the ability to keep them from losing their potency (no small feat of magic, mind thee, but simple for anyone capable of crafting the wand in the first place), they are perhaps the most formidable weapons of their size. Fire Wand: This wand releases a bolt of flaming death. According to all known texts on the subject, the carnage was called "amazing."

Lightning Wand: The effect of a bolt of lightning as it bursts forth from the wand is as devastating as its counterpart, the fire wand. However, according to one of its proponents, "the corpses look and smell much less offensive."

Magician's Wand: While only slightly more lethal than the typical bow, this wand is rendered quite effective due to two interesting facets: Its damage is of a most magical nature and more than powerful against monsters with a predilection for challenging mages, and, it NEVER ceases to function. If thou art interested in power and duration, this is the wand for thee.

FireDoom Staff: Lethality itself. This staff, which hurls exploding fireballs that actually seek out a target, is perhaps the most lethal of all magical weapons created in the era of human-gargoyle cooperation. But, as with most of the more powerful magic weapons, its limited life means it may fail thee at the worst of times.

Glass Swords : A historical legacy of death. These single-use swords will almost always kill any creature in a single blow, but they are seldom useful for a second opponent.

Other Miscellaneous Magical Weaponry. As a general case, any person with a modicum of magical talent can identify magical weapons, armour and other apparatus by their pulsating glow. Often, however, the color indicates even more about the item than merely the existence of the enchantment. For example, a green field often denotes a poisoning weapon.

Burst Arrows: An arrow of myriad targets. The arrow functions as a normal arrow, but upon impact, explodes into a thousand flying shards of death.

Venom Dagger : The assassin's tool. This shimmering green dagger is actually the enchanted tooth of a poisonous sea serpent, joined to the hilt of a normal dagger. Its envenomed blade injects a slow poison into its victim, but it frequently breaks. It is the perfect assassination weapon (see Alagner's History, Assassination of Baron Johann IV (page 54)).

Stone Harpy: Unnatural beast. The stone harpy is the creation of the twisted mind of the magus. It is reputed to be magically triggered by the close approach of any creature.


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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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