So, I'm still sucked into finishing Ultima IV.
I managed to get a number of things done since last time:
- I finished collecting all of the stones.
- I finally figured out how to use the Silver Horn to ward off the demons guarding the Shrine of Humility.
- I cleared the pirate's cove and tossed the Skull of Mondain (the bad guy from Ultima I) into a volcanic crevasse.)
- I got one of my characters not-killed.
The whole pirate cove was an exercise in game manipulation. Way back when I tried to sail in, and fight ship by ship, and got sunk. No way. This time, I rushed in and fought one ship, then disembarked and let the other ships shoot my party with cannons. The ship I stood on was invulnerable to the hits. Eventually, the pirates came close and we melee'd them and boarded their ship. And so on. We took a lot of damage, but it takes 5 hits to kill a maxed-out ship while it takes many more than that to kill the party with cannons.
The cool thing about the Skull of Mondain is that it's a very powerful magical item. If you use it, it gives you a considerable power boost. Of course, it crushes your progress to be an avatar of the eight virtues - Justice, Honor, Compassion, Sacrifice, Valor, Humility, Honesty, and Spirituality. It might be possible to use it, gain the power, and then re-gain all of your good virtue . . . but equally, you can win the game without using it. It's a fun temptation but, really, not worth it. I gather it can be used to auto-kill all foes in any fight, too. But fights are a slog but really easy to win, so it's not that big of a temptation.
I also like that the game doesn't force you down a path - I finally got some clues to stones . . . that I found by being persistent and just investigating weirdness. Also, from just remembering stuff from watching my cousin play decades ago.
Next up, according to my hand-written notes from the first part of this playthrough, I need to take the stones down into one of the dungeons, get around to a bunch of altars, make a key, and then go into the Abyss after the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom.
So, I need to sit down and fill up on some spells by mixing reagents.
Oh, and the "not-killed?" - I had one of my characters touch a glowing Orb. It inflicted 600 HP of damage, taking her to 0. She gained +5 to all stats in return. I tried a Resurrection spell and it failed. Huh?
Then I realized she was listed as 000G - 0 HP, but in "Good" condition. So I cast a healing spell on her, and she was fine. Weird. So she managed to not die going to 0 HP. How AD&D!
I'll try to finish the game and put up a victory screen of some kind. Assuming I don't have to spend 3 hours fighting useless battles against random wandering monsters instead of finishing the quest.