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This is a simple blog for my headcanon of the Ultima series. It's not meant to be interesting to a wide audience and I suspect it's ...

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Time Lord(s) Origins

This is purely a fan theory and should probably only be used as an alternative storyline for your own entertainment or tabletop games.

This theory requires two intuitive leaps from canon. My ideas or the origin of the Guardian and the time loop idea.

- Synopsis -

The actual story of the Time lord is fairly neat on its own, and shouldn't be discounted in any way. I learned more from the wiki articles than from play as the lore on him was fairly thin and spread out over the entire series. He is a major lynchpin. He's most likely responsible for the ultima 1 time machine. For the avatar's immunity in 2. For the knowledge of how to shut down Exodus in 3. For his role as Hawkwind in 4. and on and on through to 9. But his Origin is ambiguous without delving into plotlines that were ultimately cut from the story.

According to this not-canon, Hawkwind the Time Lord is an Ultima, a race of beings like the avatar who somehow cast of their evil halves.

I can't say I like that idea. The Avatar does many things in 8 and 9 that would be considered evil. The player is always allowed (if discouraged) to commit evil acts. The casting off of evil or splitting of the spirit into good and evil halves, such as the canon origin of the Guardian, just doesn't sound well thought out. It could only be truly simulated if the player suddenly became limited to only performing good or, at least, non-malicious tasks.

It's kind of like the fallacies of the 3 laws of robotics, which sound great on the surface but falter under scrutiny. If the Avatar (and the Ultimas for that matter) cast off or somehow rid himself of all evil, it would limit the freedom of the player and thus make for a weaker game. The gameplay itself, with all of its freedoms seem to contradict the idea (Thank the stars).

And so, for my own peace and purposes, I formed a story of my own that fits in with my other ideas.


It is shakey second intuitive leap to attempt to use my own headcanon of the origin of the Guardian as a basis for this idea. If you liked the previous idea, then this is just a continuation. If you haven't read it, that's okay, I recommend it, but I'm biased, so allow me to sum up.

I theorised Exodus, the infernal machine created by Mondain and Minax, was meant to study, dissect, and experiment with magics that control time, space, and life. The chief purpose of which was to find any means by which its creators would become Gods. The Guardian was the final creation, escaping with the destruction of Exodus.

Exodus was created before the fall of Mondain and Minax (Or now that I think on it again, Minax could have finished it later, either way-) That means that the machine could have been operational the entire time. This would give it decades of data to experiment with on any unfortunate soul or creature to fall prey to its creations. One could imagine, that if the Guardian was created from a demon, what might have happened to a human. Perhaps one with gifts of her own.

The Manual to a copy of Ultima 3 reads thus:
One possible clue as to the identity of thy nemesis has been discovered. A derelict merchant ship was recently towed into port. No crewmen were aboard, alive or dead. Everyone had vanished, as if plucked by some evil force off the boat. The only thing found was a word written in blood on the deck: EXODUS.

Plotline in Ultima 3 was pretty thin, so the reader is free to create their own ideas and draw their own conclusions about the missing merchant sailors and passengers. Therefore, I choose to believe that the first Time Lord was a young daughter of a gypsy family, sailing with the derelict ship.

Okay, why a gypsy? I'll get to that. PROMISE!

Exodus instructs its creations and minions to seize the crew, battle ensues, and the ship is cast adrift. The people are taken to the machine, and are subjected to the horrors of Exodus's curiosity. The girl has potential, a small amount of power over fate and fortune. She becomes the newest focus of Exodus's attempts to artificially infuse a being with with all of the magical abilities it believes a god possesses.

It worked, in a way, one major aspect of magic over time and space merged with her talent of sensing fate, and a young, weak, and confused Time Lord stumbled out of containment. Time and space to her were now simply new directions to walk. She could simple step through a wall around the time of its creation or destruction. As if past and present were as simple to her as left or right.

But it was draining her, she was too weak, too young, too inexperienced to make her way, and so she slipped between worlds. She rested. And she sought out those with the strength to stop the forces of Evil.


Wait- No...Time Lords. Plural. More than one. right.

I like to think a hero from Earth wasn't the first idea. If memory serves me, the player could even choose different races. Not Earth lore friendly, really. Middle Earth, maybe.

Either way, I like to think the first heroes to take up arms against Mondain and Minax were Sosarian. An army or rebels desperate to defeat Mondain before his ambitions destroyed them all.

The young Time Lord, determined to help, uses her powers to help a great hero defeat Mondain by creating a time machine to use. Then again she kept the hero stable as reality was torn asunder by Minax. At last, the hero would engage Exodus.

Then she sensed it. The last of the great and terrible machine shut down and something escaped. Something she could feel the potential or true evil within. She haddn't known it was there until the containment Exodus had created broke down and in that instant she could see the fate of her world.

She knew she couldn't stop it, she didn't have the strength, nor a means to attain it in time. So she used what power remained in her to give her gift to someone with the power to control it better. She gave it to the hero of Sosaria.

From here, I get vague on my own ultimate ideas on what happens next exactly, but it goes something like this: The new Time Lord (NTL) hatches a plan with Lord British, and the first sleeps, her power permanently damaged. Lord British is tasked with the creation of a new power capable of defending his world from distant outsiders(The Virtues). NTL seeks out other potential heroes in nearby worlds, finding Earth, and a large pool of humans with the potential to become the Avatar.

In reference to my post about the Time Loop, this Avatar attains the experience and power necessary to combat the guardian and is drawn back through time to face Mondain, Minax, and Exodus. If he doesn't succeed in some way before his Ascension, then the avatar joins the effort as a new Time Lord and the next Avatar is sought out.

In the end, when the necessary tasks are fulfilled, the 8 virtues are overflowing with the power of mortal followers, and the Guardian is neutralised for all eternity, Britannia will find everlasting peace.

The young gypsy girl will awaken again and live a life in this new land. But, in the dreams of strangers from another world, she will tell of fortunes and fates, deriving her visions from the virtues they embody strongest. From her hard earned paradise, she will set the heroes of Britannia on their journey onward.


The real conflicts with this idea are all in the plot of the original games, but not so much in the actual gameplay. None of this "Alternate Lore" would have much impact on any of the player controlled portions of the games. so the only changes necessary for this to really be implemented ar ing the flavor text of the beginning and endings of the game.

This lore is a different perspective of the plot, but much of a gameplay change, in other words.

I think, possibly, the most drastic gameplay changes world actually be all the way into Ultima 9. I can't say with any certainty, but the shift from trying to merge with the Guardian to simply weakening him enough for him to lose control over the power of time, might entail a rethinking of the quests and objectives of the Avatar.

The final bit, is simply giving the Gypsy woman from the introductions and character creation stories a bit of background. An epic story, really. much like I'd like to do for some other characters in the game, but those would be truly messing with some of the plotlines I found lacking.

But that's another rant.

- The Pitch -

To be completed if/after the rest of the headcanon is complete.

- Too Long Didn't Read -

A Gypsy girl was the first Time Lord created by Exodus's experiments on humans. She turned a hero into a timelord and eventually became the Gypsy woman from the Character Creation screens. The Hero Timelord goes on to find other heroes to become avatars until, utilizing a time loop, they have the power to defeat the God-like Guardian for good.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Time Line and Time Loop


There's not a whole lot to explain about the original timeline of Ultima that can be learned in better detail from reading wikis and watching Spoony's Retrospective. Linguistic Dragon's Blog offers a perhaps the best synopsis of the series and eras within that I have ever read.

Seriously, stop reading. Read his. Bask in the glory. Come back if you have time.

I'll be here.


Hey, long time no see! No, I had the beard when you left, don't worry.

I hope you enjoyed it, but if you just skipped it and kept reading, here's the quick rundown.

Ultima 1-3 you are a stranger from earth (Depending on the version of the game). You save the world!

Ultima 4 You are declared the AVATAR! And you make the world safer.

Ultima 5 & 6 You make the world of Britannia a better place for everyone... committing accidental genocide is in there somewhere...

Ultima 7 The Guardian Appears! You thwart his plans!

Ultima Underworld 2 More Thwarting!

Ultima 7 Part 2 Yet more Thwarting! And you restore balance by patching up the serpent gods' breakup by Exodus. Once the band is back together-

Ultima 8 The guardian drops you into the conquered world of Pagan where you gather magic power to become the Titan of Ether!

Okay I'm going to stop there for a moment and just state...I have no clue why the guardian didn't just pinch the Avatar's little head off right there. Just, POP! I'm totally missing some lore here. The only thing I can come up with at this moment is the whole two sides of the same coin plot of Ultima 9. I know, I know, I'll work on it, but if anyone has some info on that I'd appreciate it.

Ultima 9 You return to Britannia. Titan of Ether no longer...for some reason. FINAL THWART! And you fuse your energy with the Guardian's with some special blend of the armageddon spell.

This is GROSSLY over-simplified, but if you see anything false here, please comment it. I'd like simple, not inaccurate.

That over with, time for -


The Time Loop

I love the Ultima series, I really do, but if you step back from it, there seems to be a bit of something out of order. I stated this in my Guardian origin post, the most powerful baddies are the 3 Original ones. Mondain, Minax, and Exodus. Sure the Guardian conquered worlds, be he did so away from the powers that could defeat him. He also had a lot of time, centuries even. where as the the first three games seem to span fifty years or so.

Somewhere along the way, and after the games were finished, game studios started doing something Hollywood caught onto pretty fast. They started remaking older games. At first it was simply updating graphics and re-mastering, but, especially around the time Squaresoft released a demo for a possible Final Fantasy remake, games started getting more than just facelifts.

What if I could pitch an Ultima Remake?

So I returned to that old nagging issue I had with the buildup of the Ultima series. The biggest baddies coming first, ending with the Guardian. He was powerful alright, but not world-wide reality-space/time-bending fusing-two-planets-together powerful. Compared to Minax, Mondain's apprentice, pulling down the moon is like the difference between splattering paint on a canvas verses Rembrandt.

If I were to reorder it someway, however, maybe it would work better, flow more smoothly. It really didn't take me long to find the perfect starting point.

In Ultima 4 you are drawn from Earth to Brittania. The world is new, the people are getting on the feet at the start of a new era. The land has been renamed with a nod to it's ruler, Lord British. The ancient wars of the three evils defeated by a legendary warrior. Now is the time to name an adventurer protector of the realm and paragon of the eight virtues.

Seriously, if there was a game that felt like the tutorial level for a modern game, it's 4.

No huge conflict, twisty plotline, or heavy feels. Just a journey of self exploration and the betterment of the world.

You learn what's great about the virtues in 4, then how they can be twisted in 5, and how even the best intentions can start wars in 6.

Ultima 7-9, you face the Guardian. At this point, if you haven't read my post on the Guardian's origin, I suggest you go check it out, because this next part isn't going to make much sense.

My theory is that the Guardian is an attempt at synthetically creating a god for the purposes of Mondain's hopeful ascension to cosmic power. He is imbued with powers of immortality, space and time manipulation, and interdimensional travel, but in the span of a god's eternal existence, he is still young. Powerful enough to enslave Britannia, but with possibly only one weakness. His origin point.

It is my theory, that at the end of Ultima 8,the Avatar, now harnessing the powers of the Titans, arrived back in Britannia too late. The Guardian had already won. But an opportunity for speculation came with the opening of Ultima 9. You appeared back on Earth and before the cataclysmic event that had wiped out a world (Possibly two since the Guardian did threaten Earth as well).

The answer could be as simple as time travel. The Time Lord has the ability to work with and see the fabric of time, but possibly didn't have the strength to fight the Guardian for control of it until the Avatar collected it on Pagan. With that amount of power, the Time Lord could gain ground and send the Avatar far enough back in time to face the Guardian as he first came through from the void in some kind of weakened state from travel. This gave the Avatar enough time and opportunity to defeat the guardian at a more vulnerable state.

But what about immortality? I like to think the Guardian wasn't destroyed. Banished maybe, or incapacitated, sure, but not killed. Just out of the way for the Time Lord to hurl the Avatar back in time again. Far back to face the three evils of the age of darkness.

To become the Legendary Hero the world needed in it's darkest hours. To put a stop to the Guardian before its genesis.


The beauty of changing the timeline around in this manner is that there isn't much to change. The Guardian's origins were somewhat thin in detail in the final game. There's a sizable hole between 8 and 9 that fills up quite nicely. And the first three Ultimas were not plot heavy. In fact, limitations of the time they were written pretty much forbade a complicated story.

There are no longer the same limitations so we are free to add in our own stories if given the chance.

The biggest change, I suppose, is simply the ending of Ultima 9. There are those who liked the idea of the Avatar Ascension into Godhood, but may I make just one last Observation about that particular plot point. Although it's layering headcanon on top of more headcanon driving the idea further away from the source material, what if the Avatar ascends following the defeat of Exodus, the god creating machine?

What powers would a machine capable of god creation be containing that the Avatar might require? That depends on whether the Avatar is successful in stopping the creation of the Guardian.

Now let THAT idea sink in, what if he FAILS. He's too late. He's not powerful enough, not virtuous enough, the entity that would become the Guardian slips away into the void through a vortex and out of reach.

Enter the Loop : The Avatar takes on the role of a god-like being and must seek out another hopeful soul of destiny. Another potential Avatar to send to Britannia to test their mettle by completing the Quest of the Avatar.

Ultima 4

- The Pitch -

To be completed if/after the rest of the headcanon is complete.

The Guardian's Origins (Formally Unrelated Headcanon)

Formally posted on the Ultima Dad blog, reposting here for the sake of keeping things together.

- Synopsis -

The Guardian is the main Antagonist working from behind the scenes in 7 & 8 and in person in Ultima 9. The official story of the Guardian's purpose and origins remain uncertain. In Ultima 4, as the player became the Avatar, an evil half of the character was separated and took on a life of its own. That evil half became the Guardian, which is why in Ultima 9 the Avatar is unable to destroy him.

This idea has inconsistencies, not surprising considering that 9 had some pretty glaring plot holes and, in my humble opinion, lazy writing. While it could simply be dismissed as a bad Superman 3 rip-off, there are other sources that conflict more...officially.

Ultima 7 part 2 contributed evidence the the guardian had been around since before the Avatar's quest. Also, and excerpt of the Ultima 9 hint book detailed Richard Garriott's original idea of the Guardian's origins being linked to the Gem of Immortality and the Shadow Lords of Ultima 5.

See the Wiki entry concerning the Guardian for more details.

Excitingly for myself, Richard Garriott's original story fell close to my own without my knowledge, somewhere between my idea and the canon presented in the final game. Even now, however, the idea that the Guardian's Origin was an unintended side effect of the destruction of first the gem and then the resulting creatures is, to myself, too flimsy. I've always enjoyed intelligent design gone wrong more than random happenstance. The mad scientist makes a more compelling story than the weird monster that resulted from radiation for some vague reason. And so I still enjoy my own explanation I came up with around the time of Ultima 8's release more than the official story. I hope you like it, and I hope I don't come off as egotistic...mostly.

- Headcanon -

To start, I'd like to discuss the three other biggest powerhouse baddies of magic: Mondain, Minax, and Exodus.

Mondain was the evil wizard who started it all. Master of life and death, he distilled his twisted magic into a gem that made him immortal. With this ability, his bid for power over the world was inevitable. With enough time, any challenges could be overcome and by the time an effective resistance was formed he effectively ruled over all. It  took several space battles, several odd moral compromises (Seriously, why did we rescue a princess from Lord British?!), and FREAKING TIME TRAVEL to stop him.

There are some seriously odd things going on here, but I actually just think the technology and space/time wibbly wobbliness has to do with the next boss, Minax.

Minax twisted space and time to create an Earth/Sosaria past/present/future hybrid. If that included the time of Mondain's reign, it's somewhat haphazardly explained. If the hero in the first game was running around a time blended Sosaria, Ultima 2 has him running around time bent Earth, and the two don't interfere. The hero wins the day again only to find out that there is one last trick up their collective sleeve: Exodus.

I have to stop a moment and wonder...why? What was the motivation to build a machine with the powers of life, death, space, and time. A computer mind powerful enough to enslave the earth serpent and threaten the world. 

The world wasn't enough, Mondain wanted to be ruler over multiple worlds, and the best way to achieve that is omnipotence. Mondain wanted to become a god.

I'm certain Minax wasn't %100 savvy of this, her rage fueled conquest over two worlds with her powers cost her the long play, Mondain's plan required time, waiting, and patience. I'm sure he would have warned his apprentice of doing anything foolish like conquering multiple planets, calling attention to Exodus, or leaving it vulnerable. Instead, some punk in a time machine stopped him from finishing his gem of immortality and then went on to slay Minax after she had a multidimensional temper tantrum. Oh SNAP! What's an artificial demon computer hybrid to do?

What it was designed to do, carry out it's directive. I don't think revenge was the true plot behind Exodus' motivation. From the perspective of the player, or even the denizens of Sosaria, that may be what it looks like, but we are talking about an evil computer intelligence. I can't imagine it having feelings of attachment to its creators. It was given its purpose, the death of its creators is an inconvenience, but Exodus was essentially a slave. A tool. It's goal wasn't conquest.


It had to follow its purpose, but its masters could no longer supply it with specimens. No more fuel. No protection. Only the directive. Only the single question its creator demanded it find an answer to: How could Mondain become a god?

It gathered, studied, and experimented with creatures and forces beyond the understanding of mortal beings. People disappeared, monstrosities were summoned, and finally it was close to an answer...

And then it shut down. It's work unfinished, untested, doomed to the abyss of the Sosarian sea...

Until it's final creation found its way home...and it rose from the depths to meet it.
I'll just let that sink in a bit...
Good? Excellent!

Let's face it, the Guardian is still a huge mystery. I believe Exodus created it within the void, a cosmic barrier serving as a sort of magical radiation containment. If the thing created exploded, no harm done. Exodus would experiment, test, and most likely destroy each iteration. Tossed as what it could learn from each subject dwindled. I say destroy, because anything within the realm of artificial deity is not something you want in existence long enough to become self aware.

Exodus's untimely shutdown probably left a very immature guardian fending for itself as it started it's slow trek through the multiverse. It would first learn about itself. What it could do, how it could survive. Then it would learn how far it could go and the amount of power it held over mortal beings. A slow process, one that took too long before finding his home world, now renamed Britannia, and protected from outsiders by the shrines or virtue.

The guardian focused on conquest of other worlds, gaining strength, power, and knowledge. All to pierce the veil of virtue, influence corrupt hearts, weaken the virtues, and disrupt the aether.

All to come home in Ultima 7. And at the time of his return, the Isle of Fire, containing the dark core of Exodus, rose from the sea once more. Erethian claims responsibility for the island's reappearance. He believed it necessary to study the core further in order to fuse it with Exodus' psyche. What kind of lunatic would want to restart the Armageddon machine? A Lunatic under it's spell.

- Changes -

While not a terrible shift from Richard Garriott's idea, this origin story is a huge change from canon. But the changes are from simple hand waves of "Because Magic Stuff" to a full plotline with mysteries, strategy, and motivations. And, to be honest, the motivation to discover one's own origin, to find one's way home, may have been an innocent life long motivator. The Guardian had nothing save for maybe other beings in the void or vortex to learn from. Good and Evil may not have been a priority lesson. Gaining power and strength could have been the only way to survive, and those instinct stay with someone raised in terrible situations.

I'm not entirely suggesting that The guardian could have been turned from the dark side. Just noting one thing. If you follow this head canon, born from 3 evil sources, thrust into the black, cut off from home. Evil my have been to only way to survive. The lessons learned from Ultima 6, and even the Wing Commander series, if you will, give credence to one idea. Being able to empathise with the bad guys makes a better story.

- The Pitch -

To be completed if/after the rest of the headcanon is complete.

Saturday, May 13, 2017


This is a simple blog for my headcanon of the Ultima series. It's not meant to be interesting to a wide audience and I suspect it's only use will be as fodder for DnD-like campaigns run by pie throwing enthusiasts.

On that note, SPLUT!- and well met, friends.

Nothing in this particular blog is going to be static. Over time entries will be updated as I get more of my ideas scooped out of my brain and organised.

Most posts will have their focus as the title and will be split into categories such as:

Synopsis - My understandings and observations of the subject. Please let me know if I get something factually wrong here!

Headcanon - How I think things worked out behind the scenes, between the lines, in between games, etc. Please send feedback, conflicts with source material, and your own ideas if you'd like.

Proposed Changes - Ideas I'd like to see added to, corrected, or stricken from the story. This is my playground. I don't expect anyone to take these entries too seriously as they would most likely only be used in the event I run an Ultima inspired tabletop RPG.

Pitch - This category might be used at some point in the future as a theoretical sales pitch to whomever hold the rights to Ultima (EA I believe, currently). This is how I'd sell the idea of a remake and/or reimagining of the game series.