If you read my first blog about Ultima VII you may remember that I finished it with the Avatar having just left the gates of Trinsic, ready to venture out into the world of Britannia...
I decided to head North, and before long I came across a stage at the side of the road. It seemed a bit strange having a stage set up pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but there were a few characters strutting back and forth across it so I decided to approach them and start up a conversation. It turns out they were members of "The Fellowship", a group that I had met a couple of members of in Trinsic. After I paid them a handful of gold they proceeded to act out a "passion play" for me which I think was supposed to demonstrate the philosophical ideals of The Fellowship, but as my companions pointed out once the play was finished the whole thing was quite confusing and ever so slightly sinister.
Without any further ado I continued on my journey. Not too far beyond encountering The Fellowship performance I entered a swamp. Luckily there was a natural roadway that cut through the middle of the swamp, and it was on this roadway that I experienced my first taste of combat in Ultima VII. It was over almost before it even began. Because the game is running in DosBox, GOG have obviously had to mess around with the speed of the game to make it run close to normal but it still seems like everything moves a bit faster than it should. Before I even knew what was happening a crocodile rocketed out of the swamp beside me and was insta-killed by myself and my companions. I didn't even have time to move the mouse on to the crocodile to try and attack it. After this brief encounter I am left none the wiser as to how combat works in Ultima VII, but I'm sure I'll have more chances later on to get the hang of it.
Upon leaving the swamp I entered the small village of Paws, home to a bunch of filthy beggars and poor farmers. I explored around a bit and eventually came across the local branch of The Fellowship. A seemingly friendly couple were running a shelter where they took in those less fortunate than themselves, but after talking to a couple of the tenants I discovered that they were only allowed to stay there if they agreed to join The Fellowship. In fact, one poor lady called Alina had to move in to the shelter after her husband travelled north to Britain to try to get some food for her and her child. Once in Britain he was accused by a Fellowship member of stealing fruit from the royal orchards. Now The Fellowship are trying to force Alina to join their group. If she does they say they'll attempt to clear her husband's name. If she doesn't she'll have to leave the shelter. Okay, so The Fellowship definitely are a sinister organisation.
I left Paws and continued North. Not far beyond the village I discovered the capital, Britain, and I was met with a charming digitised rendition of "Rule Britannia". I quickly discovered that Britain is pretty massive, with an almost overwhelming array of shops and buildings to explore. In one of the houses I met an actor named Jesse. He was very excited about his upcoming role playing The Avatar in a new play that had just been written.
Jesse. He actually looks quite hideous, doesn't he?
I mentioned in my first post about the clever dialogue the game presents you with, and Jesse really epitomises that. In a wonderful display of fourth wall breaking, he proudly boasts that the play is over 100 hours long, and his biggest lines are "Name!" "Job!" and "Bye!". This actually made me laugh out loud, because those three lines are what you are presented with whenever you double click on somebody to interact with them in the game.
I'll leave it there for now. I'm still exploring Britain, and I haven't even encountered Lord British yet. It really feels like I'm only just starting my adventure.