Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle

Principles of EconomicsBy Hyle

Economics is, simply put, the study of how an entity could most efficiently allocate its limited resources. I use the word "Entity" because these principles, moderately adjusted, may be applied on different levels. From the largest, and consequently least detailed, level -- that of a worldwide market in which the intricacies of trade and specialization are most emphasized, to an individual business's or, smaller still, an individual's struggle to gain maximum utility from the limited funds provided by that person's livelihood.

Let us begin by defining some simple, underlying theories which may dictate the behavior of our target, which, for the purposes of this book, will focus on the economy as a whole. I intend later to publish a separate document on the wholly different level of business and/or individual-level economic fundamentals. As is the case in any science, one must first be given a foundation upon which to build his knowledge; in this particular instance, I will refer to the "Tower of Economic Understanding."

The market is the basis of my study. A market is not a tangible thing -- not like the marketplace at which one might trade with merchants for needs or wants (these I will define further into the book), although a marketplace is a part of the market. Rather, the market consists of the consumer (the entity purchasing the resource) and the seller (the entity offering the resource for sale or trade). For example, at the aforementioned marketplace, the baker, offering a loaf of bread, would be the seller, and an entity interested in purchasing the loaf would be the consumer.

A market exists when there is a resource to be exchanged. A resource, in simplest terms, can be either a good or a service. A good is a tangible item -- examples include water, diamonds, and false beards. A service is something which is performed by an entity; e.g. the service a cargo ship supplies or even governmental bodies such as a standing garrison of soldiers...


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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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