Dino's Guide to
Dino's Guide to Ultima VI - The False Prophet



Game Intro

The Avatar watching TV, with a centaur poster on the wall
The Avatar watching TV, with a centaur poster on the wall
Ultima 5 poster, and the circle of stones outside the window
Ultima 5 poster, and the circle of stones outside the window

In a discussion on the UDIC Facebook Group on 1st October 2015, a lot of details emerged about the Ultima 6 intro:

The majority of detail, however, emerged about the odd centaur poster on the wall. The majority of the findings about it have been posted at The Ultima Codex by Withstand the Fury Dragon. However, there is also the background story posted by Dr. Cat which I am quoting here below:

Dr. Cat writes: "'Manda is right of course. So's Darren. Here's the whole story..."

"So John Miles programmed the gorgeous 256 color opening sequence to Ultima VI, using some clever programming tricks to get it displaying and animating quickly and even (gasp) smoothly scrolling sideways! (Some of that same graphics programming later got expanded upon to become the core fast-shape-drawing routine for Wing Commander.)"

"John gave the avatar the kind of nice component a/v system that I'm sure John would have bought himself if he'd come back from Britannia as an Avatar with a pocket stuffed full of gold coins. :D grin emoticon And being a Nagel fan (as was I, I'll add), he put a Patrick Nagel art print up on the wall of the living room."

"Well, someone at Origin noticed the copyright violation and said "Let's replace that image and stay out of legal trouble, please." I think it may have been Keith that re-did it the first time, replacing the Nagel with an image by Maxfield Parrish. (Who is AWESOME and you should google RIGHT NOW if you're not familiar with his work. And if you are familiar even more reason you should know how great it would be to go look at it some more! Go, now, really. I'll wait here.)"

"After a bit though, someone got curious if it was really public domain, and found out that while yes he is dead... Despite the classic look of his paintings he wasn't nearly as many years dead as you would think, and not enough for his paintings to be public domain. Whoops!"

"Having been bitten on the butt twice already, Keith Berdak says "Well I'll make SURE there's no legal problem with this next try" and he put a shrunk down image of one of his own fantasy art prints he'd been selling at sci-fi/fantasy conventions for years. In this case, the centaur hooker (or streetwalker if you prefer) under a lamppost. And he said "I hereby give Origin the right to use this image for free", and nobody could argue with that. So it stayed in."

"I hadn't noticed the wrong image was on the back box cover, good catch! Of course for marketing materials for magazines or production materials for boxes, game teams have long had to supply artwork months in advance. Faked-up screenshots of games that don't have their final UI or final functionality working yet are common. So the correct, legal version of that image probably didn't exist at the time some sample art was given to the production art department to put together a box layout and order tens of thousands of them to be manufactured. They might not have realized the issue in that department even if they'd had time to change it (or at least just omit that image). Anyway I guess Origin never got sued so happy ending all around. (Which is something you can probably purchase from that centaur lady too. Or those gypsies in U6, but that's another story and I've told that one before already.)"


Ultima 6 inaccuracies [English | German] can be found at Hacki's Ultima Page [English | German].

Easter Eggs

Many of the people who appear in Ultima 6 have real-life counterparts. Lord British, the Avatar's companions and other NPCs recurring throughout the series represent Richard Garriott and several of his friends from the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA). Other people in the game represent developers working on Ultima 6, as well as members of another fantasy group called Amtgard (see Through the Moongate (Part 1) by Andrea Contato, page 175).

Dr. Cat in his tavern in Paws
Dr. Cat in his tavern in Paws
The crypt of Romero
The crypt of Romero

Dr. Cat, one of the developers working on Ultima 6, appears in the game as the owner of the tavern in Paws.

The "crypt of Romero" is almost certainly a reference to John Romero of id Software fame, who worked at Origin for some time.

Sherry the mouse
Sherry the mouse

The book "Through the Moongate (Part 1)" by Andrea Contato describes how the characters Sherry and Penumbra ended up in the game:

Quoting "Through the Moongate (Part 1)" by Andrea Contato, page 170: When Manda met Sherry, whose nickname was "Mouse", a girl Richard was seeing at the time, she was very impressed with her ways and character: "I thought she has such a big heart, the little portrait has to have a heart-shaped patch on her front."

This is how the image of the character of Sherry the Mouse was born, even if the shape of the mouse, apart from the stain, was actually inspired by Peanut a.k.a. Hamsterball Lecter, the hamster of Dr. Cat, a avery adventurous animal, who used to escape and was recaptured in one way: the owner, or Manda, had to lie down on the ground and keep a hand open with some sesame seeds, until the hamster approached to eat.

Even some programmers ended up in the game. Manda's virtual alter ego is Penumbra: "I'm into herbs and gardening, and Richard created the character as the resident of a cottage with a naughty garden full of sleep and poison patches that the Avatar has to cross". Penumbra's drawing was a self-portrait of Manda, who granted himself [sic] a small license and disregarded the rule of Richard who had decided to make the world of Ultima different from other fantasy populated by the usual dwarfs and elves. Manda: "If you look carefully, you might notice she has pointed ears. Perhaps there are still elves in Sosaria, after all."

The Spam Cheat

The "spam" cheat is the most known Ultima 6 cheat around. Just talk to Iolo, tell him spam 3 times, and then say humbug. You'll get a cheat menu that allows you to get items, view NPCs, modify game flags and more.

This cheat is most widely known for the objects you can get. By typing the correct object number, you can get any object you want, including world tiles such as walls. Item lists can be found:

Another cool feature with getting objects this way is that you can create special items. You can make objects that look like one thing and behave like another. To do this:

  1. Take the number of any object from one of the object lists, for example, a halberd is #47;
  2. Add 1024 to it to make it look like the object after it - in this case, #48 is a glass sword so the object will behave like a halberd but look like a glass sword;
  3. Adding 1024 a number of times will make the object's appearance shift object that many times - for example, if you add 2048 to the halberd, it will look like a boomerang (#49).

More information about this, and 6 interesting examples of special objects to make, are at the Cool Tricks page of IT-HE Software.

The Alt Cheat

Pressing alt and three particular numbers on the keypad will produce some interesting effects. These are apparently debugging tools that were left in the game. To make them take effect, hold down Alt, press the numbers on the keypad and let go of Alt. The effects will happen when you let go of Alt.

Alt+213 will give you a bird's eye view of your current location just as a gem would, and it will show a long number. For example, during a visit to Empath Abbey, I pressed Alt+213 and got the number 74171407B0C30. This number is actually 5 numbers stuck together:

  1. The first 2 numbers (74 in this example) are your karma
  2. The next 4 numbers (1714 in this example) are the time of day
  3. The next 3 numbers (07B in this example) are your first coordinate
  4. The next 3 numbers (0C3 in this example) are your second coordinate
  5. The last number (0 in this example) is the plane you are currently in

Here is a screenshot to show you the effects of Alt+213:

The effects of Alt+213: bird's eye view and long number
The effects of Alt+213: bird's eye view and long number

Alt+214 will request 3 numbers from you and teleport you there. The numbers requested are the same as the last 3 groups of numbers when you press Alt+213 - the first number is the first coordinate, the second is the second coordinate, and the last is the plane. You can find a list of useful coordinates:

Finally, Alt+215 will make an hour pass - this can be useful when you're waiting for someone to open his shop.

On the Commodore 64, both the cheat menu and teleporting work a bit differently. The Ultima 6 C64 page at The Cutting Room Floor has the details.

Fun with Lord British

It's little known that in Ultima 6 you can both murder and rob Lord British. To kill him, you need a glass sword. The power of the glass sword is not enough to kill the powerful monarch when he is awake, so wait until he sleeps, equip the glass sword and kill him. He will stand up, but don't worry, he's dead.

Lord British dies under the might of a glass sword
Lord British dies under the might of a glass sword

There are three ways to steal Lord British's stuff. He's got leather boots, a protection ring, a regeneration ring and a unique Snake Amulet that can be quite handy. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Kill him (following the procedure above) and search his body.
  2. Cast a Pickpocket spell (level 5 spell, obtainable from Rudyom in Cove) on him and move his stuff to one of your party members, as Natreg reminds me.
  3. Use a little trick that I discovered. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to duplicate this trick lately, but I know it had worked a number of times when I first discovered it. Follow these steps to carry it out:

Bag Tricks

There are at least 3 tricks you can do with bags, because the way you handle items in the game works a little different when you have a bag open in your inventory.

The first trick you can do with bags is to steal objects in front of people without being arrested. Just drop a bag, move the item you want to steal into the bag and take the bag with you. That's not considered stealing and no one will run after you for theft.

Another trick, which you can also find at the Cool Tricks page at IT-HE Software, will allow you to bypass the game's weight limitation. In other words, you can carry items even if they are too heavy. To do this, open a bag in your inventory and while it's open, get the object you want to take. The object will be added to your inventory whether it's too heavy or not. There are a couple of limitations mentioned on IT-HE Software, including:

Finally, there is a trick I discovered which allows you to duplicate items. I only know this trick to work on reagents. First, move a reagent into a bag. It's not enough to have a reagent in a bag when you load a game, you have to actually move it into the bag yourself there and then. You can move any quantity of the reagent into the bag. Then, drop just 1 portion of the reagent anywhere on the ground. 1 portion of the reagent will be on the ground, but you will still have the same amount of that reagent as before you dropped the reagent, i.e. you created 1 more portion.

Resurrecting the Dead

Trying to resurrect a skeleton can create an interesting character. This trick was first discovered by Doug the Eagle Dragon, and you can find it on his Cool Tricks page at his IT-HE Software website. It was later pointed out and described in more detail by Runenklinge who posted a topic asking about it at the Wayward Avatar (this information is now lost).

The best place to do this is Empath Abbey. There is everything you need there, including a graveyard, a healer and a raft. You can get to Empath Abbey by going south of Castle British to the sundial, go west then south to two signs and follow the west road.

In at least one of the graves at Empath Abbey there is a skeleton. Pick it up, and if it is too heavy, you can use the second bag trick above to carry it anyway. Talk to the healer, and she will offer to resurrect the skeleton for about 350 gold. Make sure you don't have a full party of 8 before you resurrect it. Then, accept the healer's offer and she will bring the skeleton to life. It will be automatically added to your party (as long as you didn't have 8 party members before the resurrection), but it will be invisible. Doug the Eagle Dragon named this character 'Swift', so I'll use this name as well.

If you look at Swift's portrait, you'll see the portrait of Pushme-Pullyu, Sutek's abominated horse (which, by coincidence, is also the portrait you see if you try to rob Lord British using my trick - apparently Pushme-Pullyu is the default portrait for characters that don't exist). His strength, dexterity and intelligence are the same as those of the Avatar, but the rest changes whenever you board and leave a vehicle or vessel. For example, if you board a ship, his hitpoints will become 100. Whenever you leave a vehicle or vessel, Swift will look like a pile of gold coins. You can try this by boarding the raft just north of Empath Abbey. This is no coindicence; Swift really becomes the vehicle you board. If you open his inventory while you're on board a vehicle or vessel, you'll see your party there.

If you try to walk into him, however, he won't get out of the way as your party would - instead, he tells you "Thou art not on a Sacred Quest! Passage denied!", which is the same thing that the Codex Guardians tell you.

If you go into combat mode, you'll notice that Swift will also play the role of the Avatar, because you can control both the Avatar and Swift (notice the view centered on Swift in screenshot #5 below).

I've taken screenshots to show you everything Swift can do. Enjoy them below.

Swift is invisible in both the game area and the party roster, and denies passage when you bump into him
Swift is invisible in both the game area and the party roster, and denies passage when you bump into him
Swift's attributes and portrait
Swift's attributes and portrait
The Avatar's attributes, compare with Swift's
The Avatar's attributes, compare with Swift's
Swift turns into a pile of gold
Swift turns into a pile of gold
Swift in combat, with a centered view since you control him
Swift in combat, with a centered view since you control him
Swift as a vehicle - when the party is on this raft, they pass into his inventory
Swift as a vehicle - when the party is on this raft, they pass into his inventory
Swift's attributes change when you board a ship
Swift's attributes change when you board a ship

Abusing Magic

There are some spells that you can use to do weird things.

Obtain a pickpocket spell (level 5 spell, obtainable from Rudyom in Cove), and cast it on an animal. You can use this to steal meat from a deer or any animal that has meat in it - you can hunt without bloodshed. Not all animals have meat in them, so you can't steal meat from any animal.

With Clone and Animate spells (obtainable from Xiao north of the Lycaeum, level 6 and 4 respectively), you can get rich. You can animate any object, clone it and then kill it to duplicate any object. This is most commonly done with magic armours which sell for lots of gold in Trinsic. See IT-HE Software's Cool Tricks page for a screenshot.

A powder keg is not the only way to get beyond a locked door. Obtain the Magic Lock and Unlock Magic spells (you can get them both from Nicodemus near Yew or separately from other mages) first. Cast magic lock on the locked door, and it now passes from the state of "locked" to that of "magically locked". Now, magically unlock it and it's unlocked.

More Tricks

IT-HE Software has a page called Things your mother never told you about Ultima 6, which has interesting things to do, Ultima 6 tools and addon worlds and savegames.

The Cool Tricks page at IT-HE Software contains many of the tricks above and more. Some of the tricks that I haven't mentioned that are on this site include:

A game-breaking bug involving the Armageddon spell is described in the thread "Savage Empire Bugs?" (1997) at rec.games.computer.ultima-dragons:

Mark D. Niemiec wrote: "charge a wand with Armageddon; give it to a secondary party member; that member goes into solo mode and uses the wand. This causes everyone but the Avatar to vanish, and a no-longer-existing character has the keyboard focus in solo mode, so time passes, but keyboard and mouse are ignored."

© by Daniel D'Agostino 2002-2021