Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ultima IV: A Spicy Woman

Last time we talked I stupidly walked into some poisonous swamp, then died a pointless death as I wandered about, idly hoping the poison would eventually wear off.  Of course this did not happen, so as I died and prepared to reload (or whatever approximation this game has), I found myself being revived by Lord British in Britain Castle.  I briefly explored the castle, then saved and quit.

Since then I've talked to a few people about this game, and have heard that the game is actually an "open world" experience and contains no overarching story.  Very interesting.  So, I've still not read through the instruction booklet, which I've already paid for once (with my life) and I'm sure it will happen again.  Soon, even.  It was suggested that I skip this game in favor of some of the latter Ultima titles (even the Ultima Adventure games, which are also freebie GoG games), but for now I will ignore this advice.

So I exited the castle and decided to have a look around the town of Britain, which for me means talking to people and taking notes.  Whilst on this journey, I came across a spicy woman.

Needless to say the conversation went downhill from here

I'll be honest, I wasn't super ready to ask her what made her so spicy, but this was after encountering the drunk wandering around the building armed (the guy above the Armour sign).  Turns out her name is Pepper, and she is a fighting bard.  I wonder if the original description of this woman had something to do with the way she looked, or if this is something she goes around telling everyone she is.  Plus, is pepper spicy?  I mean, this Britannia so far seems rather old-worldy, so maybe they don't have anything outside of pepper.  Maybe paprika is spicy to them as well.  Imagine what one could do with a bottle of Cholula and a plate of tacos in this world.

Anyways, Pepper.  Alas, I did not ask her to "join," as I need to read the manual about the implications of this action.  The reference card suggests acquiring companions immediately, with up to seven allowed, but I want to read up on the classes a bit more first.  A fighting bard (Pepper's class) does sound useful, but all in good time.

I would like to propose something, even though it has likely been proposed before, either by the Ultima people themselves or the hordes of fans that exist.  While each of the Ultima games often share common elements (names, locations, and sometimes history), they are autonomous and not directly related or relatable from game to game, much like some of the details in the Space Odyssey series by Arthur C. Clarke aren't always exact.  Anyhoo:

Things to do:
  • Research the classes to better (perhaps) prepare a team to venture forth to...  do something.
  • Learn how I go up in experience, and if this will better prepare me.
  • Read the frigging manual!  I imagine it will provide me with many answers to these basic questions.
  • Once this is done I will work on getting a party together to start on those dungeons
On a separate note, I have been experimenting with different ways to run this game (and other DOS games) so that I can play it using the same save data whether I am at work or at home (basically anywhere I am at a computer).  My current solution is to run a Linux Mint 17 (Cinnamon) on a USB pendrive with Wine installed.  So far this is working well, but I may want a larger solution with support for Virtualbox in the future, perhaps using a USB hard drive (as opposed to a pendrive).  There is a portable Virtualbox, but who knows.  Any suggestions will be appreciated.

One other thing.  I find that sometimes I have difficulty playing this game, at times just starting the game, talking to a few people, then turning it off.  I may start playing two different games so that I don't get burned out on one genre (or decade).  I imagine when this game starts to grab ahold of me this will change, but we will cross that bridge later.

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