Good day everyone to Issue Eight of
where Aram, Chronicler of the State, will report
on attempts to find the ultimate solution to
ULTIMA III - EXODUS
LORD BRITISH - ORIGIN
INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF SOSARIA BY ARAM
And so it came to pass that on the land of our beloved Sosaria
there walked a party courageous and valiant, their goal no less
than to oppose the forces of evil wherever encountered and
eventually to thwart completely the plans of the Dark Lord to
install upon our land his everlasting reign of terror.
Four there were who accepted the challenge and risked their
very souls in the battle against darkness:
Chopstix being a strong Ranger of low birth but high aspira
tion, his motto as clear to his friends as to his enemies: My
Sword is Justice.
Palmara the Magician had chosen to leave her father's store
and go in search of the magical powers so sorely needed to oppose
the black magicks of the many daemons that roamed the land. It
was her extreme intelligence that enabled the learning of the
spells of old.
Barcrux the wise was the name of the apprentice who'd left the
safety of the parish and donned the robes of the travelling
Cleric, his words of healing always countering the destructive
powers of their sinister enemies.
Trix had been a Thief for a long time before she realised that
the mechanics of the world were turned upside down by the dark
forces, and although her heart was not easily softened she
decided to steal from the rich rather than the poor. Her
dexterity and quick wit would be relied upon to save many a life
from traps and snares.
A Dwarf, a Fuzzy, a Bobbit, and an Elf - Chopstix, Palmara,
Barcrux, and Trix - these then were the heroes that would have to
gain all the experience, the skills and the clues necessary to
stand a fighting chance when the day came to turn the tide
against the evil that was swarming the land - in Exodus.
Good day to all you action adventurers out there, warm and
safe behind the keys & cursor of your computer but not unwilling
to risk once more the artificial lives of chip-generated heroes,
villains and monsters - welcome I say to the eighth Crimson
Column Issue where today we'll have a look at an old adventure in
a new ST-look:
Ultima III by ORIGIN
As you may or may not know, the Ultima-series (1 to 4 so far,
I think) have appeared on various computers and it may well
be that they form the oldest series of microcomputer graphics-
based sword & sorcery adventures. The first one I've seen on an
ST was Ultima II, but at the time it did not impress me - it was
a German version, menu driven and looking very bare and
unattractive; I didn't bother to investigate any further. Ultima
III - Exodus (although virtually the same as PC and C64 versions)
is much better in its graphic representation and overall playing
Concluding with the usual reference: those of you interested
in my articles (or the ethics involved) are urged to read the
part of ST NEWS where the making of back issues is explained.
Crimson Column articles in ST NEWS up to this date are, in
chronological order, Sundog - the Frozen Legacy (FTL), Phantasie
(SSI), Brataccas (Psygnosis), Roadwar 2000 (SSI), Barbarian
(Psygnosis), Leisure Suit Larry (Sierra) and The Bard's Tale
Okay, now, "Dost thou really want to travel onward?"
EXCERPTS FROM THE CHRONICLES OF SOSARIA BY ARAM
Of the first audience with King British
Out upon the lands of Sosaria the fellows met and decided that
their very first step would be to ask kindly the help of King
British. Into his royal courtyard they came and great King
British gave them his advice, which was that before they should
return to him for further guidance they should experience more
in the world of Sosaria so that the gifts and lessons to be
taught by the King's teachers would be fully understood.
Disappointed but stolid, the fresh friends walked out of the
lofty palace and into the nearest town where they equipped
themselves as best they could with what little funds they had.
Their largest sum of money was spend in the purchase of bows and
swords, for clear it was that an enemy killed at range was far
less dangerous than an enemy opposed in close combat.
Once more out upon the land it was toward the East that the
companions travelled; for rumor had it that a great and terrible
dungeon was hidden amidst the mountains at the end of a dangerous
The party fights its first battle
But long before they reached that dreaded dungeon they were
discovered and set upon by a troupe of Orcs. At the first sight
of the enemy, Chopstix and Trix, in the foremost position,
readied their bows, while Barcrux, mace already in hand, stepped
forward and Palmara wrought the words that would repel the
Luck was with the party, for though the Repond spell that
Palmara had mastered was specifically effective against such
creatures as Goblins, Orcs and Trolls, it did not always work.
But this time it did, and out of nine enemies only three
remained. Trix felled one of the ugly monsters with a single
arrow; Chopstix needed two shots to kill his opponent. Only the
Cleric was locked in melee for more than two rounds, and by the
time his foul adversary had finally been struck down fresh blood
oozed from various cuts and gashes on Barcrux's left arm and
shoulder. Aware that a weakened member formed a danger to the
party, the Cleric called upon the help of the Gods and through
their infinite power cured himself of the wounds so recently
Of the first dungeon and the discovery of the Mark of Kings
Onward it went and when they reached the narrow stroke of land
that connected the dungeon entrance to the rest of Sosaria all
the Cleric's magic power had been restored. Fresh of mind and
determined to fulfill their quest, the company of four entered
the ominous mouth and descended a long flight of stairs which
seemed to lead into the very bowels of the earth.
Short was their adventure there; for only with the aid of
magical spells could they see where they walked, and when the
brief light went out they were lost, and wandered through the
myriad of corridors and rooms until they were set upon by no less
than eight zombies.
The surprise and shock of the whole party must have been
evident on the face of the Cleric, for when he took out his holy
symbol and ordered the vile creatures to return to their unsacred
graves with the Alcort spell, they merely mocked him. Here on
their own territory they felt certain and were not to be scared
away; and only after long and tedious battle was the party able
to destroy its cursed enemies.
Now it became crucial to find the exit, but the only two
staircases they found led further down. Just before the magician
had gained enough arcane power to simply teleport the whole party
out of the dungeon and onto the surface of Sosaria with a strong
spell, they came across a mark in the wall. Having heard many a
strange tale in their youth, they knew this to be a token of
Good, to be carried as a witness to their experience in the
opposition of the forces of Darkness by those able to stand its
burning sensation. None of mortal soul there were who could touch
a Mark unscathed; but only those of impure heart and selfish
thought would die at the contact. For a brief moment, they
hesitated - then, surprisingly, it was Trix who first put her
hand over the burning Mark. Ignoring the pain, she showed her
lower arm to the other party members, who each in turn touched
the wall and henceforth bore the Mark of Kings.
Palmara used the spell to bring them out of the dungeon and
onto the land of Sosaria, and the party, between the attacks of
vicious monsters and the healings of Barcrux, made good progress
to the Castle of Lord British.
Of King British' favor - roaming the palace
As the party had increased its gold by taking the treasure
from the enemies killed in combat so they newly equipped
themselves in the Towne. After a thorough search there they
realised that torches could not be had and knew that more
travelling on the land of Sosaria would be necessary before a
dungeon could be properly explored.
Many a rumour did they hear in the Towne and although most
were too cryptical for understanding so early, they remembered
things said about the Lord of Time and also the suggestion that
they search for the lost world of Ambrosia; a rumour confirmed by
the waitress in the local tavern.
Exiting the Towne they once more entered the Castle of Lord
British and asked him for his boon, and thus it was that three
out of four adventurers were considered ready for further
instruction and treated accordingly, thus increasing their endu
rance and skills.
Also in the castle they heard many other rumors and did
several interesting discoveries, such as the presence of a healer
and also of many doors that needed keys to open - keys they did
Of a sojourn in Grey and many surprises
West they walked and when the mountain ranges narrowed they
changed direction to the South, finally entering after many days
of travel and a good deal of combat the Greater Towne of Grey.
Nothing seemed special at first but after some investigation
they found one of the few remaining Guilds, where they supplied
themselves with costly Gems, Keys, Torches and Powders. Thus
having spent their money it was hard for Trix to repress an urge
to steal from the large amount of gold hidden in treasure chests,
and only after some very threatening looks from the City Guards
did they manage to restrain their thief from unlawful acts
within the boundaries of Grey.
Some clues they found about Exotics, and how these would be
necessary to protect from great evil, but none of the party
members could find out the meaning behind these words and thus
they left Grey in the morning and set out to explore again the
dungeon they had so hastily abandoned on their first visit.
But many strange things can happen when travelling in open
country and when the party decided to walk by the water they were
attacked by cruel Man-o-Wars, and before long two of their
company were shaking in the convulsions of poison, and they just
barely managed to escape with their lives from the exhausting
fight. Both Barcrux and Chopstix were losing strength rapidly,
and while the party wondered if they could reach the safety of
Lord British' castle in time, they were again attacked from the
sea, and it was with one single shot that a gun from a pirate's
ship killed dead the valiant ranger.
Running for their lives, it was only through the effectiveness
of Palmara's spells that an onslaught of Orcs and Trolls could be
repelled, and when they finally reached the healer and spend
their very last money on neutralisation of the poison and also on
the ceremony to resurrect Chopstix, none of the party was fit for
another day in the open.
Of gems and keys and dungeons
Having restored themselves completely, short explorations were
made in the land and when their funds had been restored, new food
was bought, and then it was during the lessons of King British in
the advancement of the characters that locked doors were dis
covered. Knowing full well that they were under the scrutinous
eyes of the guards, the heroes openened a door from the King's
audience hall and walked through the passages until they came to
an Oracle, and many a wise word was passed onto them. Then they
explored more of the castle grounds and found a Jester and a
Cleric who both offered valuable information.
Satisfied but not sure if they had missed any clues, Trix took
out a gem and peered at it, thus seeing in her mind the entire
layout of the castle. It was this procedure that was henceforth
followed whenever a new Towne, Dungeon level or Land was
discovered; that Trix would peer at a precious gem and others map
the area as she described it.
After some days of recuperation the party readied itself for
another attempt to penetrate the dismal depths of the earth and
walked out on the land toward the dungeon entrance. Torch lit,
single file, they explored the mighty catacombs, and their many
days of rummaging and searching awarded them not only with the
discovery of a good many surprises - magic fountains some of
which would heal, others poison, still others cure or damage -
but also with the second Mark, the Mark of Fire, and with
sufficient funds to improve their equipment. Passing between
castle and dungeon, and later between castle and the second
dungeon, the ramshackle group of adventurers soon became a well-
trained well-equipped tightly disciplined strikeforce, and
already it seemed the Dark Lord was sending out his fiercer
beasts to end their days upon the Land of Sosaria.
Gargoyles they killed, and Devils they felled, and not even
the poisonous Pinchers or Man-o-Wars could hurt them. But still
their fights were long and arduous, and it was after further
investigation of taverns and towns and villages and holy places
that they decided to look for the lost world of Ambrosia, for
there it was rumored that strange powers could be acquired. None
there were who knew where Ambrosia could be found, but all said
that the sea offered the only means of transportation.
The Adventurers find Ambrosia
First, a boat would have to be found, and as the increasing
threat from pirates shook the land's economy beyond repair, it
was Chopstix who led the party in a well-conceived sideways
attack on a pirate ship and took revenge on the ill-bred seamen
with the huge strokes of his two-handed sword.
Once the owner of a ship, the party boarded and set out on the
easy waters, and for days and days on end searched shore after
shore but found nothing that indicated the existence of a lost
Downcast and gloomy it came to happen that Barcrux, in command
of the ship at a stormy night, did not notice the surreptitious
movements of an unnatural vortex in the water, a coiled
spiralling whirlpool that suddenly seemed to reach for their ship
and take them into the very heart of the waters.
But lo! none of the adventurers was drowned, for the ship was
once more cast out of the vortex as through the emptying of a
stomach, and from the waters it was wrecked on the shore of a
land unknown, and as the fearless and indomitable heroes picked
up their weapons and looked about them they noticed that beyond
the wreckage of their ship there lay in magic silence, and
unmoving, the secret coil of destruction in a quiet and waiting
Having set foot upon the land it was Trix who immediately used
one of their gems to see if what she suspected was true. And
indeed 't was so, that the party had stranded on the shores of a
land long forgotten, and although none knew how to ever return to
their beloved Sosaria the party members readied themselves for a
thorough exploration of this mysteriously floating continent.
Trix and Chopstix took the lead as usual, and together the
party members discovered that the land was not only populated by
strange and dreadful beasts, but also they found several holy
shrines where wonderful benefits would accrue to those of
After a sojourn of many days the party once more raided a
pirate ship and through the vortex left old Ambrosia, pennyless
but much improved.
Travelling on Sosaria
Now came the time to use their increased abilities and get to
know the meaning of many old and forgotten spells and battle
techniques, and while the party members fought and trained and
became a dangerous warrior group force King British helped them
to achieve always higher levels of profession.
It was in this time that the party also hunted down the many
corridors of many different dungeons and found much gold and even
more enemies. Trix was the key character in evading and removing
traps, whereas Barcrux and Chopstix aided in healing wounds and
poisons, and Palmara often helped them to avoid long walks to
nearly-inaccesible staircases by magic transportation.
Also the adventurers learned much from the people in the towns
of Sosaria; they heard about a great snake and ways to penetrate
beyond, they heard rumours, they prayed, they payed, they talked
with jesters, wizards, thieves, clerics, fighters, with guards
and bartenders, demons and assassins. They talked in towns in
many places, on land, on islands, and once they visited the town
of Dawn which would magically appear if only the right moment was
awaited at the right place.
And finally, after months and months of adventuring and after
the party had come to gain the last two Marks, as well as four
Cards (on Ambrosia), Exotic armor and weapons, and the password
for the snake, they boarded their frigate and searched the seas
for the entrance to Exodus.
Sailing west they reached the place where the giant snake
guarded the entrance to a small lake in the middle of the
mountains. Yelling their challenge, the party was allowed to pass
without fight, and sailed into the small inner sea when on
starboard the Elf discovered an unknown Stargate.
Ignoring the magnificent castle on the shore, the party put to
land near the stargate and was magically transported to a small
valley in the midst of veritably enormous mountains, where
nothing could be seen but the single entrance to a dark dungeon
they had never seen before. Knowing full well that dungeons often
hold vital clues to survival, the heroes entered.
At the very last level in the dungeon, the party finally met
the Lord of Time, and none of them would forget the few words
that passed between them.
Out of the dungeon, they once more boarded their frigate for a
short trip to yonder shore, where they set foot upon the land and
daringly entered the castle of the Dark One.
What befell the heroes in Exodus none may tell, but many a
rumor tells of strange and unseen enemies; explosions from the
very stones, and an eerie ceremony as the fate of the Dark One
was sealed by the actions of the heroes.
And thus, with the help of four brave and heroic adventurers,
darkness was once more driven from the Land of Sosaria.
Thus ends the tale of Aram, chronicler of Sosaria. And thus
begins the message from me, narrator and raconteur, RAM-writer
and floppy-reporter, teller of tales. It is once more my pleasure
to inform you that all correspondence, be it a reaction to an
article, a request for one, comments on style or an exaggerated
sign of appreciation in the form of unexpected but deeply
appreciated monetary contributions - send all correspondence to:
Lucas van den Berg
6511 RL Nijmegen
Local Tel. 080-238586
-- The Netherlands --
- although I think it's my duty to inform you that anyone
sending money should, in my humble opinion, see a shrink.
I am asham'd: does not the stone rebuke me
For being more stone than it?
The Winter's Tale
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.