In the Ultima series, character attributes or statistics (commonly abbreviated to stats) indicate the relative abilities of the player character and other party members, with each game handling them somewhat differently. Contained herein is an overview of the three main attributes used in Ultima IV onward, as well as the changes in their implementation for each title.
For earlier Ultima games, see the individual articles for each installment:
Strength (STR) determines two things:
- First and foremost, STR determines how hard a weapon can be used against an enemy. Only high strength allows full damage, otherwise a penalty is applied. Several weapons also have a minimum STR needed before they can be used in the first place.
- Second, STR determines how much the character can carry around, the exact calculations differing from game to game. It also determines the minimum strength needed to carry certain types of armour.
Dexterity (DEX) determines two things:
- The chance to hit an enemy and the frequency of attacks. This is especially important for ranged weapons, which far more rely on the warrior having a good aim with high DEX.
- The chances of evading an enemy's blow entirely.
Intelligence (INT) is solely responsible (among other things) for determining the mana pool of the character. The exact formula differs from game to game, but there is no penalty for low INT to actual spellcasting ability.
These attributes were used for the first time in this way in Ultima IV. In this game, the attributes can still go as high as 50.
- STR determines if there is a damage penalty, but carrying capacity is not yet of a concern.
- DEX determines the hit chances of the character and the enemies.
- INT calculation for the mana pool uses the following formula: (INT × X = MP) X stands for the magic ability modificator of the various classes and goes as follows:
Starting with Ultima V, some modifications were done. Attributes in this installment only go as high as 30, and have some of their calculations changed.
- STR now also determines if a character can wear a certain armour or use a certain weapon, with a minimum requirement needed for some of them.
- DEX now not only determines the hit and evade chances, but high DEX also ensures that a character has several turns in a combat round before the enemy can act.
- The INT-modifications were changed, but the lower overall mana pool is compensated for with generally lower mana consumption. Magic ability is determined as follows:
Some important changes were made to the attributes in Ultima VI:
- STR no longer hinders equipping something; instead it now determines how much can be carried around. There is a distinction between equipped items and inventory. Items (like weapons and armour) can be equipped to the weight equal the STR-attribute, while the inventory can hold items of a weight up to double STR.
- DEX was not modified in any way.
- INT modifiers were radically simplified. Besides the Avatar, only Rangers and Bards still have magic. While all other classes have mana equal to INT/2 (rounded down), the Avatar has double the mana of the INT attribute. This was probably done to make the Avatar the main spellcaster.
Worlds of Ultima
The Worlds of Ultima titles Savage Empire and Martian Dreams essentially work the same as Ultima VI. However, the INT-attribute is mostly useless, as in Savage Empire only Triolo can cast magic , while in Martian Dreams there is no magic at all, and therefore no need to ever elevate INT at all.
Ultima Underworld I & II
In both parts of Ultima Underworld, attributes can only be assigned at the beginning and not raised (except in a few cases). Therefore, getting good attributes at the start is important. It is important that the attributes this time are part of a bigger multiplicator.
- STR determines the overall carrying weight, with double STR being the weight the Avatar can carry. STR also factors into the calculation of the damage a weapon does to an enemy in combination with the attack and weapon skills.
- DEX, together with weapon skills, determines the hit chances, and with the defense skill, the evading chances.
- INT, together with the mana skill, determines the mana pool, and with the casting skill, the chance of a spell being successfully cast.
Ultima VII & Ultima VII Part Two
In both parts of Ultima VII, the formula for the attributes is made slightly more complex.
- While STR still determines possible penalties when hitting enemies, the weight a character can carry is no longer split up. STR is now multiplied by two and determines the overall weight a character can carry around, everything included. Also, STR now directly determines how many hit points the character has as a maximum.
- DEX no longer directly influences hit and evade chances. Instead it flows into the attribute "Combat", which is battle ability. Combat is either risen by training DEX, or can be trained directly. The formula for this is somewhat complicated and described under "Training in Ultima VII".
- INT now is a factor for the attribute called "Magic", which is casting ability and in return directly determines the mana pool (Magic=Mana). Magic is raised by training INT, but can also be trained directly. The formula for this is somewhat complicated and described under "Training in Ultima VII".
Attributes were changed in Ultima VIII and can only be trained through "learning by doing." Attributes can only go as high as 25.
- STR was modified in that at first it only offered carrying weight of (STR × 2), but the patch raised it to (STR × 4). Hitpoints are double the STR.
- DEX determines as usual hit chances and evasion.
- INT directly influences the mana pool, with (INT × 2 = Mana). It also determines how many charges are stored in a foci when creating a Sorcery spell.
Here the system was completely changed. All three attributes now have four levels, which can be pushed to the maximum over the course of the game (with exception of the Shepherd). Also, how they work was changed significantly compared to previous installments:
- STR still determines the amount of health available. Each level of STR gives the Avatar 30 HP, the maximum being 120. Also, the higher levels give damage bonuses of +2, +4 and +8 damage done.
- DEX only determines the number of combat techniques the Avatar can learn for each weapon, the number equivalent to the current level.
- INT gives 10 Karma per level, 5% spell resistance per level and damage bonuses of +2, +4 and +8 for spells on the higher levels
- The mana pool is determined by the Karma, which is measured on a scale from 0 to 200 and is not bound at the attributes.