Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

Diary of Diabolical Traps

I, Seliashor, am accompanying a score of soldiers and scholars ordered to retrieve the Golden Orb. I was chosen for my knowledge of traps; a specialty particularly suited for a journey into unknown lands controlled by a mind such as the Fiend's.

First Level--The first trap! A soldier, wandering into an alcove, found himself separated from his command by poison fields! I had the good fortune to be looking his way when he triggered the trap; it is obviously of magical nature. If this is all we will face, the ring will surely be ours.

Second Level--The Fiend has raised the stakes! We discovered a large cavern, in which were numerous statues of harpies and decorative suits of armor. We had immediately deduced that these were traps and would smite us if we stepped to near, but the real trap was more cleverly hidden! Caltrops, painted to match the color of the floor, drew a great deal of blood from the soldiers as they gingerly avoided the obvious statue traps. Clever.

Second Level--We have discovered the next trap. A small number of chests, clustered together, proved to be explosive if tampered with. Amateurish--I spotted the trap before any of the foolish soldiers could tamper with it.

Third Level--Three soldiers entered a completely barren cavern and triggered a truly fiendish trap. When they reached the center of the room, we heard the sound of a bell. Nervous seconds passed. Just when we relaxed, a spell of terrifyingly destructive nature went off. The soldiers were consumed in flames which appeared from empty air, disappeared, and reappeared in other locations. Had they fled from the room, they would have lived. There was a body in there, and my mind's eye can still see the light cast from our torches glinting of a golden object in its hands. If it was the orb, it is lost, for not one of our number dares to face the flames. I think it was naught but a gold statue or somesuch; more accurately, I hope it was.

Third Level--we sent another soldier to his death. He was sent into the narrow mouth of a cavern. I knew he would not return. When he entered the cavern, an energy field appeared in the narrow opening! Neither I nor our wizard had Dispel Field in our spellbooks; he was left to die. He was one of the last soldiers alive; our prospects for survival are grim.

   

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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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