Following the events described in the (in-game or manual's) introduction, and your subsequent character creation, you regain consciousness in Intanya's hut. Intanya is the first person to talk to you, and will ask you a copy protection question. If you need the answer, look in the documentation section of this guide.
If you answer him correctly, Intanya will judge you fit to travel, and will let you go free. He will give you a companion, Triolo, and mention your friends, Rafkin and Jimmy. He will also be the first to mention the Myrmidex, but will not tell you anything beyond the fact that they are tough enemies. If you ask about your friends, he will tell you that Rafkin is with the Yolaru tribe to the east, and Jimmy is among the Disquiqui far to the south.
Your companion, Triolo, is an Eodonised version of your old companion Iolo. He has been assisting Intanya for a while and thus has command of some magical powers that only shamans have access to. He has some food and reagents with him. If you search the pot in the east part of Intanya's hut, you'll find more reagents. Feel free to take them - there's no such thing as stealing in Eodon, so you can help yourself to anything in the world and no one will get upset.
Two interesting people you should talk to in this Kurak village are Tristia, who should be near the door to Intanya's hut, and Aloron, who should be on the animal skin next to the fire. Tristia, the adopted daughter of the chief and a very mischievous girl, tells you about the 'schweitzer' at the Yolaru tribe - a person who is "short and old" and who "knows many things". Sounds like Rafkin. Aloron, the chief, asks you to help look for Aiela. He explains that the real problem with the Urali is the fact that they are a hidden tribe and no one knows where they are, but also hints that their former shaman Topuru, who is now mad and lives on an island far to the north, might be ready to give away their secret.
While you are in the Kurak tribe, you can stock up on food and weapons. Don't carry too much though... you can always come back later for more food. When you're ready, leave the Kurak tribe by taking the southeast road. Follow it until you come to a fork in the road. You will have to take the north road to get to Topuru, but first it's better to go get Rafkin from the Yolaru tribe to the east, so keep going east.
Somewhere along the road, or in the Yolaru tribe, you should meet Sahree. She is a friend of Aiela's, and will tell you about the Myrmidex threat and the story of Oloro, which is what you will have to do later.
You will find Rafkin in a hut southeast of the bonfire. He says that you should find Aiela and Jimmy. He also tells you that you should find the lab, which is supposed to be near the Kurak village. He also offers to teach you how to construct rifles and crude bombs, but if you have some patience, you will find them ready-made later. Ask the old fool to join, or he will just stand there. He is useful to have in the party, as he is necessary to make certain things; but he is weak so don't expose him too much in battle. Take the pouch in his hut - it contains some modern items you'll find useful. In the hut north of the bonfire, you'll find some valuables in the pouch.
Next you have to find Jimmy, Topuru and the lab. Jimmy is not a companion I recommend - he is weak and useless, and the only reason why people recommend him is that he takes notes of each quest you complete later in the game. And with your current companions, you don't have enough strength between you to carry the items in the lab. So go back to the road and find the fork... we're heading north.
Head north, crossing two bridges, and follow the road until you end up at a fork going north and south. The north road goes to the Pindiro village, while the south road takes you to the Barako tribe. Although the main destination is the Barako tribe, you can optionally visit the Pindiro, where you will find food, boomerangs, fishing poles and a stegosaurus shield, as well as the potential companion Dokray, who is Dupre's Eodon version. Kunawo, the shaman, will heal you or trade one unit of any reagent in exchange for 5 flax, if you are ever short of reagents. Inara, the chief, will tell you about the Pindiro's rafts requiring four people and paddles; and she will also tell you about a stranger who lives in a cave along the northern cliff face. We'll visit him later. Meanwhile you can ask Inara about Topuru; she will tell you that he lives on a small island west of the Barako village. So whether you stopped by the Pindiro or not, you should head to the Barako next.
On the road to the Barako you can pick up Shamuru, the Eodon version of Shamino. Once you reach the village, find chief Halawa, who should be on the west side of the village, where a road leaves the village. She will confirm what Inara told you about Topuru's location, and will also tell you that her daughter was kidnapped by a gorilla. You do not have the right tools to help her yet, so follow the road on the west side of the village.
You'll get to a raft on the shore of a lake. Pick up the paddles and distribute them among your party members (you need at least 4 party members); then use the raft and sail to Topuru's island (just west of the raft). Topuru will tell you how he lost his mind, and will agree to tell you where the Urali hide if you bring back his mind, bound to a small blue rock, from Balakai, shaman of the Barrab who live far to the southwest.
Near Topuru's island you may also admire the only apatosaurus in the Valley of Eodon - the biggest creature in the game (its full length doesn't even fit in the screen), which is thankfully a harmless herbivore.
We're going to have to go far to the south to get Topuru's mind back, but first we're going to run a few errands on the way. Now that you have enough strong arms, we need to find Rafkin's lab, and we'll also pass by the stone city of the Nahuatla, Tichticatl.
Find your way back to the two bridges and get back to the fork taking you to the Kurak and Yolaru villages. Go to the Yolaru village, and follow the road south (ignoring the west fork) until you get to the stone city of the Nahuatla. This is where you can buy weapons and armour, or sell feathers, for emeralds. There is also a sundial which is the only thing in the game that can tell you the time.
There are two buildings you need to go to. One is directly west of the sundial, and there you'll find food, weapons and a prison where the old Nahuatla shaman, Oaxtepac, lives. The other building, north of the weaver, is the palace, where the throne room and the treasury are located. Note that the guards are hostile, but won't attack you unless you talk to them or someone tells them to.
Three people (well, two people and a parrot) you need to talk to are Oaxtepac (in prison), Cleese (the parrot, who will talk to you as soon as you enter the throne room) and Zipactriotl (in the throne room). All three will tell you about how Zipactriotl (who is actually a modern archaeologist named Johann Spector) took over Tichticatl, the Nahuatla city, and now acts as a tyrant by making the new king, Huitpalacti, do his bidding. All three will also mention the (hidden) Underground City of the Kotl, and will give you different information that is very important.
Cleese mentions Fritz, Spector's assistant, who Spector sent away when Fritz recognised his madness. Zipactriotl tells you that his force field, which makes him and Huitlapacti invulnerable, is powered by the generators in the Kotl city. And Oaxtepac tells you what you need in order to find the city - the head of a golden man (which you should pick up in the palace treasury, along with other riches) and a giant gem (which the Urali stole recently) which reveals the city entrance when placed in a device on the greatest of three mesas, far to the southwest.
The next thing to do (after you learn what you need to know from these three and take the food, weapons and riches you need and take the metal head) is find the lab. Before you go there, though, follow the road east of Tichticatl and get some bamboo poles by attacking the bamboo stalks. Once you get to the lab, Rafkin can make rifles out of them. Be sure to travel light to the lab - if you carried off too much food and weapons from Tichticatl, you'll have trouble carrying away everything at the lab.
To get to the lab, first go back to the bonfire at the Yolaru village. Go due west - don't follow the road this time - just keep going west, and follow the coast northwest when you can't go west any more. Cross the river to a peninsula, and go south to a series of tar pits. There's a dead tiger in one of the tar pits - skin it to take its hide (if you don't want to, you can always collect a hide from a village later). Go south past the tar pits until you get to a large clearing with patches of earth (no grass). The lab is just southeast of there. Take everything you find, and while you're here, ask Rafkin to make rifles out of the bamboo you got earlier, because he won't make them anywhere else. Make sure you don't leave the lab without (at least) the fire axe and the fire extinguisher.
Get back to the Yolaru village the same way you came, and follow the road south again as if you were going to Tichticatl, but this time take the west fork you ignored earlier. This takes you to the Hill of the Drum, which you should be familiar with if you heard Sahree's story about Oloro. If you got a hide as I advised earlier, you can now get Tuomaxx to build you the Great Drum, which you need to summon the tribes once you unite them.
To get to the Barrab tribe, you can take the long road southwest of Tichticatl. But you'll save a couple of days of travel if you simply use the teleporters. The nearest two teleporters are the one just south of the Nahuatla sundial, and the one near the road that connects the Kurak and Yolaru villages. Once you use the correct teleporter, all you have to do is go up the stairs and you're right on the mesa where the Barrab village lies.
Balakai's hut is on the north side of the village, reached by taking the path lit by torches. Balakai will tell you about his sick son, Nakai. The only cure is to get the roots of a "giant flower with pale petals" from the Great Mesa. Since you're going to have to go there later to reveal the entrance to the Kotl city, you might as well wait until you get the giant gem from the Urali before you go there.
When you ask about Topuru, Balakai will tell you how he tricked Topuru into believing that his mind was cast into a blue stone. He will also tell you that giving Topuru any blue stone will earn his gratitude, and that a blue stone can be obtained by going to the Sakkhra caves and striking a blue boulder with a small hammer.
West and north of the Barrab teleporter are some stairs, atop which is a blue boulder. Use a hammer on it (making sure that the person holding the hammer is next to the boulder) to get a blue stone. Now you can teleport near the Barako tribe and take the stone to Topuru to get some turtle bait and learn how to get to the Urali:
"Find the stone city of the Nahuatla. Go northeast to where the cliffs are riddled with caves."
"The second cave from the north is a tunnel. It leads to the Urali lands."
Teleport to the Yolaru tribe and go due east until you hit the cliff face. Follow the cliff to the south and you will find a cave. This is not the one you want, so keep on following the cliff southwards until you reach a second cave.
Enter the cave. With Rafkin in the party, you can use the crystal garden to obtain potassium nitrate. You may run into a few bears as you traverse the cave. Head east until you reach the cave exit.
Head east. Before you can reach the Urali tribe, you must first sneak past the T-Rex that guards the third island. This can be done in one of 3 ways:
Once you get to the other side, you must talk to Wamap, the Urali shaman, who will be the first person you meet before reaching the Urali tribe. He will tell you how Darden became chief of the Urali by hiding the statue of the Great fabozz, spirit of the animals, in a cave north of the Urali tribe.
Follow the road and take the north fork to get to the Urali tribe. Here you will have to be careful because the favourite weapon of the Urali guards is a blowgun with poisoned darts.
Proceed north until you get to the cave. Enter the cave, kill the guards and find the statue of the Great Fabozz. Talking to the statue gives you a hint to what you need to do. Fabozz says one word: "Light". You need to expose him to a bright light, by using either a camera or a magnesium ribbon.
Fabozz will be teleported to the centre of the Urali tribe, and will ordain Wamap as the new chief of the Urali, and will command the T-Rex to let you pass unharmed. He will also tell you that Aiela is being held in a cave south of the Urali village.
Go southwest of the village, and proceed south between river and cliffs. when you find a new path, head east around the small lake to the cave. Get in and open the door to free Aiela. Just then Darden will come and attack you, but he does not have the support of his men, and is easily killed.
Aiela will join you automatically and possesses the giant gem you need to reveal the Kotl city entrance. She says Darden gave it to her to buy her love, but apparently she kept both the gem and her love.
Before you leave the Urali lands, tell Wamap you want to unite the tribes, and he will join your alliance. Now you can head back out of the Urali lands the way you came, and the T-Rex will not hurt you. Aloron of the Kurak tribe will also gladly join the alliance, since you rescued his daughter, so the trip to the Urali lands served to kill two birds with a stone.
Head to the northlands and go to the Pindiro tribe. Tell Inara you want to unite the tribes; she is the only one who will accept without conditions.
Take a raft and sail due west. Land when you see a ladder. A few steps north is a cave, where you will find Fritz, Dr. Spector's former assistant. Fritz will tell you how Dr. Spector went mad, and he will tell you about a crystal brain which Spector found in the Underground City of the Kotl. Get the brain from him and help yourself to his food and ammunition.
If you have any grenades, you can optionally visit Seggallion's hideout. Head west of Fritz' cave until you come to a promontory with 3 skulls on poles. Light (use) a grenade and throw (drop) it at the great tree to make it serve as a bridge. Make sure no one is standing at the edge of the promontory or he will be crushed.
Head west and follow the path north, watching out for Myrmidex. Over here you can say hi to Seggallion, check out the broken teleporter plate on the north side, and fill your pockets with grenades, modern items, and riches. The place is filled with Myrmidex since there are 2 entrances to their caves in this region, so your stay should be brief.
Take the southeast teleporter to the volcanic lands. Head south to get to the Jukari tribe. Jumu, the chief, will tell you how the volcano erupted, killing his father and barring the way to their sacred cave. Their history is written on a sacred hide, which is kept in that cave. When you mention lava, Rafkin will hint that you can use a fire extinguisher to cross lava.
Jumu will only agree to unite with the other tribes if you can fetch the sacred hide for him. Head southeast from the Jukari village, using the fire extinguisher (which should be in the Avatar's possession) to cross the lava. In the cave you will find valuables, a bear, some food, shaman totems and the sacred hide. Make your way back to the Jukari village, hand over the hide to Jumu, and convince him to join the alliance.
If you talk to members of the Jukari tribe, they will mention their enemies, the Haakur, who live in caves to the northeast. Head northeast, going round the lava, until you reach the caves. There is a small sulphur pit on the way if you want some sulphur powder.
At the Haakur caves you will find Ugyuk, the strongest warrior in the game, who will only agree to join the party if Dokray is not in the party. Grugorr, chief of the Haakur, will send you to retrieve Krukk's shield from the spider cave to the south, hinting that torches can destroy webs.
Head south, hugging the eastern cliff face. Once inside the cave, you must attack webs with a lit torch to avoid getting stuck in them. Krukk's shield is under one of the webs. You will also find an entrance to the Myrmidex caves, around which you will find the bodies of Nahuatla soldiers, equipped with obsidian swords and bark armour which you may find useful. Take the shield and return it to Grugorr, who will agree to join the alliance.
Teleport to the Yolaru village and talk to Apaton, the chief. He wants ten Nahuatla (obsidian) swords to unite with the other tribes. Go to Tichticatl and pick up the swords you find lying around. You can get more by killing guards or trading with Atlipacta. Return ten swords to Apaton to earn the friendship of the Yolaru tribe.
It's time to pay a visit to the Disquiqui tribe, so teleport near said tribe and cross the river to use the northeast to get to the village. Talk to Moctapotl, the rightful king of the Nahuatla in exile. He will agree to unite with the other tribes if Huitlapacti is removed from power and Moctapotl is restored to the throne, which is impossible since both Huitlapacti and Zipactriotl are invulnerable, so this quest will have to wait.
While you are in the Disquiqui tribe, you can free your old friend Jimmy. Jimmy will join you if you wish, but he is weak, and his only advantage is that he keeps track of your quest progress in his notebook.
Talk to chief Chafblum and ask him to join the alliance. He will offer you a drink called plachta, which you should accept. He will then tell you to put a bell around the neck of a nearby T-Rex they call Sharptooth. He will hint that you can use plachta on a spear to turn it into a tranquiliser.
Use a jug of plachta on a spear to make a spear of shamap. Cross the river to the south and follow the coast southwards until you see the T-Rex. Throw the spear of shamap at the T-Rex to put it to sleep, then use the bell on the T-Rex. Return to Chafblum and gain his loyalty.
The time has come to reveal the location of the Underground City of the Kotl. If you go southwest of the teleportation hub, you can see the gem holder, which is where we need to go. Take the Barrab teleporter and go due north, onto the mesa. Knock down the tree on the north side with the fire axe or a grenade to gain access to the Great Mesa.
Head northwest and kill the carnivorous orchid to claim the orchid bulb. Then head north to the gem holder. Stand on the gem holder and use the giant gem to reveal the entrance to the Underground City of the Kotl, which is a couple of steps southeast of the teleportation hub.
Go to the Barrab village and give Balakai the orchid bulb. Balakai will agree to join the alliance when you ask him to.
Now that the simpler quests have been completed, it's time to discover the Kotl civilisation, which will provide you with what you need to complete the remaining quests and ultimately achieve your final goal.
The stairs down to the Underground City of the Kotl is just 3 steps southeast of the teleportation hub. Go down the stairs and proceed until you find a sealed door, a broken argent sergeant (robot) and a headless gold statue. Searching in the statue, you will find a paper written by Johann Spector:
"The statue is of the same materials and workmanship as that golden head Fritz found. It appears to be a mechanism of some sort. I will have to talk to Fritz about this..."
This is the only written text in the game, and is hardcoded in GAME.EXE. It gives you a hint as to what you need to do. Place the metal head on the gold statue, who will join you automatically. The new party member, Yunapotli, is invulnerable in the Kotl city, so you can send him in solo mode on any dangerous mission. Get him to open the door, and then learn all you can from him and Katalkotl, the hologram to the north by the teleporters. Yunapotli will also tell you about Kotl devices once you give him his brain, but you can get him to talk about them even without it.
Katalkotl and Yunapotli will tell you the history of the Kotl, the Myrmidex and the tribes, and will mention some of the anti-Myrmidex items the Kotl made. These include Kotl shields, black staffs, the device capable of locating the black stone the Myrmidex took away, and explosive devices. Your first task is to locate as many of these as you can. While this is optional, these items will give you a great advantage over the Myrmidex later. Also, you will need a couple of explosive devices for the remaining quests; your alternative is to make your own grenades. You will find these items running around in the west and north sections of the Kotl city.
To the west you will find the former home of the Myrmidex. There are at least 4 explosive devices outside the room, a black staff inside, and a Kotl shield just outside. To the north you will find the quarters of the Kotl; the south is the former quarters of the humans. Your main interest to the north should be the set of connected rooms just east of the white floor. In a southeast room you will find the locator device, 2 explosive devices, a black staff and a Kotl shield; but they are sealed off by a force field. A teleporter in the same set of chambers will take you to the northeast corner of the city; take the southeast teleporter in that room to access the sealed room. Note that a wisp is often sighted in this area, and you should look for further devices and healing crystals under cushions in some of the other rooms.
If you head east of the teleporters at the centre of the city (where you came in), and take the south door, you will come to a bridge over lava blocked by Spector. If you talk to him, he will tell you about the generators that power the city (as well as his force field), and the black stone taken away by the Myrmidex which he plans to find. Your main quest is to sabotage the generators to end his madness, but the generators are protected by the same field, and he is blocking the bridge that provides access to the generators. Take the central south teleporter, then head east until you hit a wall. Follow that wall south and north until you reach a teleporter. Take the teleporter to a room with fruit, devices and healing crystals. To the east are the generators and the control panel which powers them, but the area is heavily guarded by automata, so you may want to send Yunapotli alone to destroy the control panel.
Once you destroy the control panel, Yunapotli will die, a mentally sane Johann (Spector) will replace him, the city will shake, and you will have to leave the city (you can just head north over the bridge and go due west until you run into the now broken teleporters; the entrance is a few steps south). Note that you cannot return to the city after leaving it once you have destroyed the control panel, so make sure you carry off everything you find useful. Unpowering the city is a necessary step.
Talk to Spector. He will tell you that the ultimate goal is to unite the tribes and attack the Myrmidex to destroy both their queen and the black stone.
Go to Tichticatl and talk to Moctapotl. Glad to be back in his throne room, he will agree to join the alliance.
Teleport to the Sakkhra caves and talk to Sysskarr, the chief. He is having a problem with a T-Rex called Thunderer who is eating his Sakkhra when they venture north to collect fruit, and wants you to slay it.
Get to the teleportation hub and go north and east until you find the fruit. This is like the fruit in the Kotl city, which explains why it is sacred for the Sakkhra. There is a boulder on the cliff above the T-Rex. Throw a grenade or explosive device next to it to knock it down and kill Thunderer. Sysskarr will owe you a favour and join the alliance.
Teleport to the Barako tribe. Chief Halawa's daughter Halisa was kidnapped by a gorilla. Take the west road and go north, round the trees, when it finishes. You should eventually come to the gorilla ledge, but there's no way to get on it. Northeast of it, by the water, is a cave blocked by a waterfall. Of course the mighty Avatar can't afford to get his feet wet, so throw a device or grenade next to the boulder to block the river.
Make your way through the cave, which ends on the gorilla ledge. Kill any gorillas and talk to Halisa to rescue her. Her mother will agree to unite with the other tribes.
Now that all tribes have agreed to unite, it is time to summon them and attack the Myrmidex. Get to the Drum Hill and use the Great Drum.
You start at the southeast entrance to the Myrmidex caves, which is marked as #5 on the Myrmidex cave map at the Savage Empire maps at the Ultima Web Archive. Since you are being helped by the united tribes, the Myrmidex will not flood behind you, and resistance is not as strong as it would have been had you not united the tribes. Also, the black staffs cause great damage to the Myrmidex, and can only be used as ranged weapons against them. You should head in a northwest direction until you find the Myrmidex queen. The black stone is right behind her. Destroy both the queen and the stone, and your quest is complete!
The following are other walkthroughs for The Savage Empire:
Linguistic played through The Savage Empire between 2016 and 2018, and documented his journey at his blog, Ultima Journeys.
Speedruns of The Savage Empire can be seen at speedrun.com.
I set the first record for playing through The Savage Empire as fast as possible on 13th September 2020, completing the game in 1 hour, 22 minutes and 11 seconds (see YouTube video).
In this speedrun, I played through the entire plot (including uniting the tribes) as quickly as possible, taking minor shortcuts to minimise the take taken.
On 7th August 2021, I managed to complete the game in just 20 minutes and 15 seconds (YouTube video), beating the previous record by over an hour.
This speedrun uses a completely different approach: entering the Myrmidex caves early (an idea suggested by Mao Lim) and using Yunapotli's invulnerability to power through it. I later found that this same approach was documented on a blog back in 2007.© by Daniel D'Agostino 2002-2021