After making my way through the much hated Vauban Pass, cursing the very creator of such a terrible place, I arrived in South Drachvald Spur.
“Outlander! You’re just the sort I’ve been looking for! I am very much in need of your help,” said a woman who identified herself as Master Squire Osterhild.
“Good evening to you!” I replied. “You have been waiting for me? I see my reputation precedes me.”
“Indeed it does! You are quite renowned for going into the less than savory places, digging up dubious relics, and performing all sorts of dangerous and sordid acts for a token reward.”
“I think there is a bit more to my adventuring skills and helpful nature than that,” I replied.
“Of course there is,” she said with a smile. “Nevertheless, I have a little favor to ask.”
“Very well, how may I be of assistance?”
“Well, as it happens, we set out some leather to dry and cure in the sun. For reasons you won’t quite understand, doing so imbues the material with all sorts of magical and exciting properties. However, due to the blazing sun and terrifying heat, a few of the little squires are suffering a bit of heat exposure, and I was wondering if you would be so good as to help round up the cured leather they left out in the Corpion infested desert while I wait here out of harms way with this refreshing beverage at my side? What say you?”
“You want me to go out into the desert and find some leather?” I asked.
“Not just any leather my dear fellow. It’s Lucky Leather.”
“What makes it lucky?” I questioned.
“As I explained, you wouldn’t understand.”
“Couldn’t you just make some more?”
“Don’t be silly!” she said with a laugh. “It’s vitally important that you head out into the desert risking your life for this very specific leather. Making new leather would simply be wasteful. No, no, this is much better. It’s the way we do things around here.”
“Are you sure we can’t just make some new leather? I’d be happy to help. I’m quite good at the Tanning Station. Speaking of which, where is your Tanning Station?”
“My, my, my, what a lot of questions,” she said tersely.
“Yes, but if you don’t have a Tanning Station, or even a house that I can see, how did you make the leather in the first place?” I said looking around.
“Are you going to help or am I mistaken in thinking you are a man of action, capable of great deeds? Perhaps you are not the adventurer your reputation claims you to be. No matter, I’m sure another, more worthy adventurer will be along shortly.” Osterhild was quite stern this time.
“Oh no, no need for that,” I said with embarrassment. “Have no fear. You keep an eye on the little people and I shall head out into the Corpion infested desert looking for these Lucky Leather scraps.”
And so I did. And it wasn’t long before the Corpions sensed my presence and moved in for the poisoned kill. I anticipated their desire to envenomate me and lashed out with arcing attacks of Whirling Blades. Not only did I rifle through the dirt piles and locate my treasure, I harvested those Corpions for their tasty tails and debilitating poison glands. Oh yes Halmar, just you wait until I get back to town. I have quite the “bitter” to add to your ale when next we meet.
The excavation was slow going. Many of the leather locations proved difficult to see and on many occasions I felt myself on the verge of striking gold, only to find I had already been there.
After a time, all sides of the desert began to look the same and in going the wrong direction, I strayed into an Ebon Dawn encampment. It became clear, that not only did they mean to cause harm to my person, but they intended to relieve me of my newly found leather. This simply would not stand and I had no choice but to defend myself.
I gave them a sound thrashing and out of spite, set their encampment on fire. But not before smashing up a few crates and making a general nuisance of myself. I felt they deserved that much.
In the ensuing light of the fire I left behind, I was able to pierce the night and see the path I had come. Keeping to the rock formations on the right hand side, I was able to make my way back to Osterhil while locating the rest of my quarry. With the requested Lucky Leather scraps in hand, I handed them out to the joyous children, who put down their spears long enough to make sure I didn’t take an unnecessary stab in the backside.
With the deed done, and designs on investigating an intriguing looking temple I saw in the desert, I bid Osterhild a good day.
“Steady on Outlander! No need to rush off so soon! I have a reward for you.”
“A reward? Might it be a refreshing ale to combat the ridiculous heat of the desert? Perhaps a moist cloth I can use against my brow? Perhaps I should have paused for a moment in the shade of that encampment to regain myself before I set it ablaze.”
“Much better than both of those!” she said excitedly. “Have some Lucky Leather! You’ve earned it.”
Well, how very good of you. I’m not sure what to do with it, but very kind indeed.”
“I can tell by that tone and look about you, disappointment has befallen you. Clearly, you are not aware of what you hold.”
“I fear that is correct,” I replied. “I have plenty of leather at my disposal and a vault of animals hides that still need processing.”
“Ah, but this is special leather,” she replied with a smile. “Tis magical. You should seek out Preben in the South Majestic Forest. I venture to say he could fashion you a fabulous pair of boots from those!”
“Oh, new boots you say? I like boots. I’m not normally one to slip into a pair of leather boots as I prefer something more sturdy to protect my delicate and supple feet, but I will have a chat with Preben when I next find myself lost in the forest. But first, I believe I will take my leave and have a bit of a look at that temple in the distance.”
“Do be careful Outlander. There are many skeletons out there just itching to stab you in the back.”
“Oh, if I had a coin for every time I got that warning,” I said slipping off into the darkness.
Huzzah! What have we here? Excellent, a non-descript pile of dirt out here in the middle of desert. I’m sure this is the spot I’m meant to be looking in. And don’t think for a moment I don’t see you sneaking up on me, you dirty Corpion.
Oh, a temple. I like temples. Now that the sun has come up, I shall make my way over there and say hello to what I am sure are docile and peaceable tennants.
More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia
- Climbing the Stairs of the Mysterious Temple in South Drachvald Spur
- To the Top of the Bell Tower in South Drachvald Spur
- Alley tans my hide for skill and profit
- I fell into a burning ring of fire
- Jobe quells the hot temper of the Fire Chicken in Wynton’s Folly – On His Own
- The House on the Hill – Part I – The Call for Justice
- The Tale of the Hood of Truth
- The hunt for a bit of hot and spicy tail
- Taking a moment to pause and reflect
- Into the Dragon’s Den – by mistake
After retrieving a bevy of family heirlooms from the bandits, locating several absconded bottles of Elven wine, putting an end to some vigilante violence and being on the giving end, rather than the receiving end, of a warrant, I felt I had put the citizens of the Outskirts mind’s to rest. However, it turns out there was another in need of my assistance, but not really a citizen at all.
In my many traverses from one side of the refugee camp to the other, I stumbled across a different sort of refugee, perhaps even an escapee based on his tale. It was a late evening when I collapsed into his makeshift shanty, a head full of psilocybin. I was astonished to see, what I mistook for, one of the Tour Guides from my earlier explorations of the realm. In my delirium, I asked if he was in possession of yet another fetching hat and if I might perchance have one.
He merely laughed and said he put those days behind him. He offered me a medicinal libation and a whiff of smelling salts to get me to my senses. It was then that he offered me a seat in his small abode.
“You may call me Gus. I have heard much of your exploits in these parts,” he began. “You are a pillar of this little community, setting right all manner of discourteous wrongs.”
“I am pleased to help,” I replied, still a little out of sorts from the fungi that lurk at the entrance to his home.
“I wonder if by chance, you might be able to help me?” he asked.
“I can certainly give it a go,” I replied.
“Even though I am merely an automaton rather than a refugee and may have beeen responsible for putting your life in danger one too many times in search of a chapeau?” he asked.
“But, of course,” I said. “I have to admit though, I could have done without you skulking about by that fire chicken. That is all in the past though. And truth be told, I’ve taken a few knocks to the head, so I barely remember those days.”
“That is indeed good to hear,” he replied.
“Are you on the run my metal friend? Are you in need of a man to scuttle you away to parts unknown due to some legal entanglements? You didn’t get caught up in that salt running fiasco did you?” I questioned.
“Oh no, nothing of the sort. But, as you guessed, I spent some time welcoming Outlanders such as yourself, then graduated to a full time Tour Guide. I then had an epiphany, and to make a long story short, I left the Tour Guide service and moved into these wonderful caves.”
“You have done well for yourself,” I commented.
“Why thank you. But there is one small problem,” he said, looking rather sad and forlorn. “I have misplaced some of my children due to the bandit trouble I’m sure you’re aware of.”
“Children?” I said a little taken aback. “I didn’t you know you had such ways with the lady automatons.”
He merely looked at me with a puzzled expression. As puzzled an expression as a metallic face can give.
“I built them you see. Lots of little companions to keep me company. Have you by chance seen any of them in your travels?” he asked.
“Little automatons running around the woods? Afraid I haven’t. I’m quite sure I would have noticed something like that.”
“Actually, no. They are little automaton monkeys.”
“Monkeys?” I questioned. “Um, very well. Not for me to question. But, oddly, I believe I may be able to help you. I don’t often say this Gus, but I have a monkey in my leggings with your name on it.”
Gus clapped his hands with glee and gave a cheer as I withdrew the little automaton monkey I had found.
“That is some handy work Gus. That is a quality item with a fine eye for details. I was wondering where the little nipper came from.”
“You are a true gentleman!” he exclaimed. “The light of truth surrounds you Outlander!”
“I’m quite sure that’s the haze from those exploding mushrooms you have outside, but I thank you all the same. That being said, if I do find any more of the little rascals, I will be sure to bring them home to you. How many exactly did you lose?”
“Oh dear me. I’m not entirely sure. I’ve made quite a few to be sure. I suspect there are several more out there,” he replied.
“Very well, I shall keep an eye out. I have few more small jobs to complete, but rest assured, I’ll be back.”
“Well, because of your good deeds, I am liberty to give you a reward,” Gus said excitedly.
“The beverage and sanctuary from those mind altering mushrooms is plenty thanks enough. It’s much better than the slap in the face I normally get when stumbling into a strangers home.”
“I have something far better than that!” he exclaimed.
“Do go on,” I said.
“I believe I know the location of an ancient item that might be of use to you. And I think it suits you. The Hood of Truth!”
“Hood of Truth? What might that be? It’s not like the Burlap Sack of Shame is it?”
“I believe it is a hood and represents the virtue of truth,” he explained.
“All right. Very well. If you want to be literal,” I replied.
“Now, I believe it is located a short way from here in a pyramid. There is a caretaker there. If you say Gus sent you, I do believe he will give you the item in question. If you bring it back here, I will spruce it up for you, using my previous hat making experience and fix it right up.”
“Very well Gus, I accept this challenge. I will search for this pyramid and retrieve said garment. If I find it, more monkeys or some of that Elven wine, I will bring it back and we can divvy up the spoils.”
“I shall anxiously await your return,” he said. “In the mean time, I shall be here playing with my monkey.”
I don’t often say this Gus, but I have a monkey in my leggings that might interest you.
More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia
- The Pyramid of the Cryptkeeper
- How many Avatars completed all the Tour Guide quests?
- The economic instability – A Crate by any other name
- Because I could not stop for Death
- A trip to Penmawr Island and thoughts of my own sailing vessel
- To the Tomb of Ankhurt the Prestigious in South Midmaer Way
- A showdown with Evil, blanks out the world
- Complete the Grand Tour Quest in Release 12 and receive the Pilgrim’s Hat
- Completing the Grand Tour to get the Steampunk Goggles in Shroud of the Avatar Release 22
I was really excited to listen to this Dev Hangout since Lord British was going to talk more about the Virtues and how they related to the new game and the new world. Unfortunately, it was nowhere near long enough for my liking, but there were some interesting tidbits related to Virtues.
First off, most of the virtues we know from Ultima IV such as Love and Compassion are back. It sounds like there might be some new one since it’s been 400 years since New Britannia has come into being. And from the little bits and pieces I’ve been able to put together, it has been all roses and rainbows for those original citizens. It sounds like they’ve gone through some dark patches and not everyone is on board with the idea of virtues.
Lord British did make a couple of interesting comments about how virtues play into the game. They are a major factor but not necessary to complete Episode 1. Many NPCs will be concerned and will know about your virtuous path while others won’t care at all. As a player you won’t know how you’re doing as virtuous Avatar and unlike the previous games where the questions were pretty direct and obvious, you will be tested in much more subtle ways. If they do things right you won’t even notice.
Some NPCs will have you do certain tasks or quests or give you information if you walk a virtuous path, while others will give you different tasks if you don’t walk the true path. As Richard put it, nefarious characters may ask you to do nefarious deeds.
Will some acts cannot be redeemed, such as murder, other less than “karmic” acts can be undone. It will take time, but it might be possible to redeem yourself. This sounds very, very interesting. You won’t know which are the tests and if you fail, you’ll have a chance to make amends. But the way Richard said, “you can finish the episode” leads me to believe there are a few things going on here. It sounds like the story will in fact change and quests won’t be available depending on certain actions. Second, the ending can and quite possibly will be different depending on how you’ve played the game. Now whether that’s simply a different set of cut scenes or perhaps the difference between getting a weapon or item and not getting it remains to be seen. But the way he answered the question and tone makes me thing the game and the ending will be different if you go around causing trouble and beating people up. It sounds like the game will quite dynamic, which in my mind means you can actually play it “the right way” the first time through and then go back and play as a more sinister character and get a different experience. Is anyone else getting that feeling?
Unfortunately, there wasn’t any talk about what exactly you do with the virtues and if there will be shrines like in the old series. There was mention of The Oracle, which was brought up before. This will be your moral compass so to speak. This is how you can learn how you’re doing with the virtues. Sounds interesting.
There was also talk of how virtues can affect a guild, but since we don’t quite know the role of virtues or even how guilds are going to work, we didn’t get too deep into that.
But, it was pretty fascinating. I’d really like to come back to this topic and more of the pieces of the story. Sure, the combat is neat, the crafting is interesting, the houses will be fun, but the play’s the thing! I want to know more about the story and the history of this land. That to me is the fun part.
Any other thoughts on what Richard laid out for the virtues?
More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia
- A Conversation about Conversation – Dev Hangout 6-14-2013
- Dev Hangout – Chris Spears, Richard Garriott – PvP and PvE
- Richard Garriott is back with Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues
- Shroud of the Avatar Release 4 – March 27-30
- Two schools of player, Ultima versus Ultima Online
- Dev Hangout with Chris Spears and Richard Garriott
- Some highlights from the Shroud of the Avatar "Streamathon"
- Dev Hangout 5-23 at 3PM CST – Richard, Tracy and Chris discuss their progress so far
- Truth, Love and Courage plus The State of the Realm – A Dev Hangout
- What Shroud of the Avatar game are you playing?
I thought was an interesting video where Richard Garriott relates how he approaches the Virtues from Ultima. It’s not simply a matter of right and wrong, but varying degrees of right and wrong, good and bad. In this little snippet, Richard relays a tale of Olive Oil trying to cross a river to see Popeye and how she deals with the obstacles that are put in her way. In this story everyone makes a mistake and there is bad judgment all around, but in overall scheme who is worse? Who is more villainous? Most will say Brutus is the devil in this tale and on the surface that seems so, but if you look at all the pieces and participants did Brutus really set the wheels in motion? Perhaps Popeye is the worst one?
More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia
- Freegameslist interviews: Richard Garriot
- Last decade’s nerd is today’s mainstream gamer
- Tracy & Laura Hickman’s Sojourner Tales Board Game – The Final 12 Hours
- Jumping Back to Ultima II – If only for a little while
- Tracy & Laura Hickman’s Sojourner Tales Board Game
- Ember by N-Fusion Interactive – A game inspired by Ultima