My name is Aaron, I am a Dad.
His name is Josh, he is a son...of mine...the son...my only...you know what I mean.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ultima 6 Day 10 : Once More!

Poor Dupre, he haddn't the slightest chance. Every time we engaged the winged gargoyle, we lost at least our valiant knight. The entire party laid into it with swords, crossbow bolts, and Sherry's lightning wand. Son of a bat-winged horror, just... Wouldn't... DIE!

So we ran, healed, and portaled in to immediately dispel the curse. Taking advantage of the delay between arrival and combat, we quickly used it to level up Sherry. 

Yay! She can actually carry things now!

We tried once more to take on the gargoyles, but the story was just the same, I kept Dupre alive long enough to make a retreat and we all hopped into the moongate. Lord British was very accommodating and we struck out again in search of trouble and loot.

We found slime.

It was coming from a narrow tunnel underground. I briefly considered walking away, but instead we camped at the tunnel's exit. As it duplicated itself and came into the open, the party sliced it up for Exp.

Who knew you could learn so much about combat from a play-doh fun factory?

Things went smoothly until a pink ooze ate Dupre's Shield. Off to Britain! It didn't take long to find a replacement, but as we passed Iolo's bows, Joshua became convinced that BROOK JOHNSON required a bow. After the terrible accuracy of Iolo and Sherry (Both responsible for many injuries to the party in combat), I was against it.

Josh persisted and I asked him why he wanted a bow.

With a severe expression, and a closed fist raised, "For the awesomeness," he replied.

So we're in the market, I'd like to hold out for a magic one if possible.

     -Dear Joshua,

Your mother had to recite that last story to me because I completely forgot why she had collapsed with laughter during our game. It took her a good 40 seconds, just being asked about it, to stop laughing about it long enough to talk about it. Apparently you got her right in the funny bone with that look. Might be terminal... time will tell.

With Love,
Dad

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ultima 6 Day 9 : Jhelom

After training for a good deal of time by running around looking for trouble, we managed to get Sherry ready to level. A quick glance at a guide to the shrines and we found that the best shrine to gain strength is in Jhelom. So we started looking for ways to get there.

I really should have been using the first shrine in Cove for Exp farming, because leveling up has been a pain and we are broke. I've begun to get comfortable with the moonstone, portaling back to the throne room for healing. It's saving a buck or two on food, too. Seriously though. Really tempted to rob the bank or something. Oh! And murder Finn for being an inconvenience.

But I digress.

We summoned a gate to Jhelom-

No, actually we went to the shrine of Valor and got our butts handed to us.

After a restore, we THEN ported to Jhelom and proceeded to talk to everyone in town. Eventually, with some exploration and leading questions for Josh, we found out the Mantra and discovered the Rune. There was also cheese, naturally, because we found the rune in a mouse hole, along with a ring of invisibility.

Glance around for Hobb- I mean...Bobbits...

And off to the shrine, once again!

...And again!

...Third time's the-

...Oh bother.

...OH THE HUMANITY!

We took several swings at taking down the gargoyles. Alas, Dupre seems to die every time. I started taking direct control over the entire group, but Josh was getting very confused. I'm trying to limit myself to only controlling BROOK JOHNSON and Sherry, but it's difficult.

Next time around we'll probably just take the Exp hit again and deal with the aftermath. Once we have a few more party members and some level-ups, I think we'll have a good foothold in the game...Finally.

     -Dear Joshua,

Sometimes we learn more from failure than success. While, true, sometimes saying that just feels like we're slow learners.

With Love,
Dad

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Quick Announcement! 5/15/17

Air conditioning went out, family in the hospital, cats and dogs living together.

You get the idea, it's been a bad week for father/son time. So no progress in Ultima 6.

Very little progress on the U/M Project as well, just some modpack experiments and plans for opening up development to the public to any Dragons wanting to contribute to building on their favorite map.

And lastly I will be taking down the "Unrelated Headcanon" post. I have moved, added to, and made some corrections to it on a second blog. Ultima Dad's Headcanon. Yes, the name isn't original, but while it's important to me to write out my ideas, the Ultima Dad blog is far more important over-all.

So if you're interested in my odd views on what the stories of Ultima could be, head on over and prepare to be confused.

Just being honest.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Ultima 6 Day 8 : Sherry Shenanigans

No! We did not kill Sherry the mouse. WHEW!

Or, if we did, I restored the game and just forgot. Could have sworn we killed a rodent the castle, but maybe that was just my memory playing tricks on me.

We acquired Sherry as a companion and immediately began seeking trouble to train her up. I am definitely going to spend some time in my own doing this, as exciting as combat is for Joshua, finding animals for her to take on safely isn't easy. And battle tactics with an easily killable mouse... definitely need a plan. I think I have one.

We started with a lightning wand dear-ol' Chuckles had stashed away.



Aaaaand we quickly found that it was overkill for the rats in the sewers.

I'm not sure what the respawn rate for the first level of sewers is, but trying to go further down into the depths has had a surprising effect. Joshua is scared of the caverns. I tried to reassure him, but he would have none of it. The dark atmosphere, music, and the appearance struck a terrifying cord.

I remember having this reaction in a few games back then; Underworld, Dungeon Master, and later Alone in the Dark. Just, not Ultima 6...Maybe I would have been afraid in 8, but in 6 I remember running through every area I could... usually into certain doom. I'm not sure of how to proceed, I will simply have to avoid any quest underground for now, but I can't see that lasting forever.

Out we went into the wilderness to scare up some snakes, to no avail, and had to settle on traveling towards minoc...

*mysterious outro music*

...budget shortfalls, we work with what we gots.


     -Dear Joshua,

Caves, we will need to go eventually. I hope we can work out a way of getting you over your fear of...cave tiles and spooky tile sets... maybe a few rounds of Zombies Ate My Neighbors? We might have to skip Ultima Underworld.

With Love,
Dad

     -Dear Izzy,

Daddy's hair isn't long enough to braid, and you don't know how to anyway. Please stop. You two will cause my hair to fall out in due time, no pulling necessary.

With Love,
Dad

Sunday, April 23, 2017

U/M Project entry 4 - Map update 2

I rendered the entire world this last weekend, and I was not disappointed. There is still much to be done, more detail work on rivers, lakes, mountains, and a few of the forests. I am using only the vanilla trees at the moment, but I plan to thin them out and mix them with custom works by some talented builders. They have shared their works with the minecraft community, and their creations are staggering. So enjoy some pics of my favorite areas, there will be further changes, but I'd say this map is about %80 finished. Next I'll be on to another Ultima. Most likely 4.

Getting a sense of scale. Looking good.

Biomes and trees.


If anyone knows of a way to view the world of ultima online in close detail without walking around in the game world itself, I'd be very appreciative. Working from the overhead maps alone has been great for the land, but the flora isn't clear. I could really use a good look at the trees and forest floors.

Ultima 6 Day 7 : To Trinsic

With our first victory behind us, we bought some crossbow bolts and headed south. I have begun to let Joshua take more and more control over the navigation. He still tends to go a bit crazy with power (no idea where the comes from...*COUGH*mom*HACK* whew, sorry) but as long I keep updating the restore file there's no danger of permanent damage.

Yes, I know, those early experience eating party wipes could have been avoided, but I have trained myself to not rely on save files like that. Thank-you Fallout 4 survival mode. I'm happy to report that I'm back in the habit again, I just need to remind my brain of that every now and then, because I'm starting to get in the way.

So there we were, we've talked to the townsfolk, snagged the rune, found out the Mantra, and we get to the swamp. I stopped us there. Why? because I wanted to strategize, go back to town, stock up, PREPARE FOR BAT-What? Just run in, Joshua? Shouldn't we think this through? What if...

And so on...

I am an idiot. He wanted to go in, battle cry and all. Darn the poison and tally ho! Leeroy Jenkins this b-...situation. And I stopped him, forced us to turn around and go through boring tedium instead of just saving, trying and THEN thinking about it.

Of course I eventually realised my folly, saved, and dove right in. The only strategy needed was that we were too weakened by the poisoned swamp to outright kill them. We beat them into retreat and made a bee-line to the pedestal. one quick rune use, a mumbled mantra, and a help spell later, we were victorious and healed.

First try.

 I checked out exp, again, it took a toll. I will have to do some grinding. Joshua can watch and help if he wants to, if not it doesn't matter. I might write about it if something interesting happens. Until then, off to battle!

     -Dear Joshua,
Daddy messed up. Yes, nothing new. I will try to loosen up a bit.

Also...we may have killed Sherry...not good.

With love,
Dad

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Unrelated Head Canon

Upon request, I am going to share some thoughts on a few of the major villains of Ultima. Chiefly, I will be focused on the Guardian and my theory of his origins.

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.

Assimilation.

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...
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.
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.
.
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? One under it's spell.

If you have any concerns that simply do not fit withing the narrative of the game, please let me know. If there is enough demand I may have to start a different blog. Other theories, changes, and wishful headcanon stories on everything from the Time Lord(s) to Spark.

Thanks for reading!