Guards only seldomly bring about notable personalities. Most of them look the same and also act similarly. However, there are noticeable differences between the ages, which are looked at here, together with all the guards that are more notable.
In the Age of Darkness
The guards in the Age of Darkness were not known for their brains. They avoided any conversation and were fanatical in their job. Trained to be ultra-strong, even the strongest hero could be slain by them, and they only waited for the slightest transgression to dish out punishment to the guilty party. In Ultima II, guards were the only source of lockpicks, and therefore at one time had to be attacked.
Of note are the guards of Ultima III. These brutal strongmen were very corrupt, and it was possible to bribe them with a big enough sum to leave their post and allow the adventurer to do whatever crime or misdemeanor was planned.
Compared to guards of earlier ages, the guards of Ultima IV were only poorly equipped and quite weak and could be easily bested in combat. However, they made up for this by for the first time being interesting. While many of the guards had only little to say, others had useful information for the Stranger or tested how virtuous the Stranger truly was. Generally, the guards were quite polite during these times, even if often of only few words.
Notable Guards: (too many to list, just some examples)
- The Bridge Guard of Britain, who knew about Compassion.
- A Guard in Castle Britannia, who tests the Stranger's Humility.
- The Guards of Yew, who knew about Justice and tested the Stranger's Humility.
Thanks to the creation of a dictatorship by Blackthorn, the guards of Ultima V were generally of the unfriendly sort, and it was best to avoid speaking with them. Also, these guards were of a new breed, equipped with the best armour and well armed to the teeth with weapons and crossbows whose bolts rarely missed.
Three groups of guards during that time were especially bad. The corrupt guards of Minoc would stop every traveler and press them to give up half of their gold for a perverted "Sacrifice tax", or be thrown into jail at once; guards in Yew jailed anyone that refused to pay a 50 gp "tribute to Blackthorn"; and guards of the Palace of Blackthorn would attack everyone who didn't have a black badge and know the password of the Oppression.
The guards of Ultima VI were, after the last time, quite polite to the Avatar. Their armament is still the same as in the last game, and they actually have managed to get a STR stat of 31, a feat that the Avatar can't manage (apart from cheating).
Because of the war, the guards were told to not tell anyone their name, as they politely told the Avatar. They said that their job of keeping order in Britannia by patrolling the cities was made very difficult by the fact that thanks to the war, many of them had been drafted into the army, thus thinning their ranks significantly. They feared that they might lose the war, noting a certain resemblance of the gargoyles to daemons.
- None to speak of. All the guards are the same.
The guards of Ultima VII were rather rude, and didn't recognise the Avatar. Unlike their earlier incarnations, these guards were easily beatable and their equipment was mediocre, most were armed with either a Two-Handed Sword or a crossbow.
The guards of Trinsic were the politest guards the Avatar found during these times. They said that their name was not of consequence, and were proud of their job of keeping criminals out of the city. They were also responsible for the city gates and should the Avatar not know the password, recommended the hero ask Finnigan for the password in order to leave the city.
Compared to that, all the other guards in Britannia were very rude. They felt that their job was enough of a description, and called the Avatar an idiot when asking about it, saying that the hero should leave them alone.
- Gilberto, who was knocked out at the Trinsic east gate by the murderers of Christopher.
- Johnson, the day guard of the east gate, found the unconscious Gilberto.
- The guard guarding Weston, who shows many arrogant viewpoints.
Ultima Underworld II
In Ultima Underworld II, the guards of Britannia were generally armed with swords and protected by chain mail, making them formidable opponents, although there was little reason to attack them. They were polite and answered simple questions like how the watch is going and how they are, but otherwise were short on words and concentrated on their jobs.
Of note is, that for the first time it was explicitly shown that woman also serve in the Britannian forces frequently, and are the men's equals. They were equally as strong and skilled, and therefore also as dangerous. In later events, guards reported the murder of Lady Tory, Patterson's treachery, and even defended the castle against invaders from Killorn Keep.
Killorn Keep also has guards, but they are more unfriendly.
- None to speak of. Personality-wise, the guards are all similar.
Ultima VII Part Two
In Monitor and the three guard towers, the pikemen were used to upholding order. Since they were recruited from a city of warriors, they were heavily armed and very dangerous. The pikemen showed their general disdain of non-warriors by being arrogant to the Avatar, until the hero became a knight, at which point they became friendly. However, the pikemen in the Bull Tower were the most corrupt lot, and the Avatar had to bribe them to free Captain Hawk.
In Fawn, only little about the guards came to light. The guards generally were armed with light weapons and were very insistent on being addressed by their rank; something the Avatar couldn't know. They were tight-lipped, and only revealed little information.
The Rangers of Moonshade were only lightly armed, since serious non-magical opponents were rare in Moonshade, a city of mages. They were quite chatty and revealed a lot about their work and how they generally stayed out of the messes the mages created, and only rebuilt things afterward. The rangers also were corrupt, as shown especially by their leader.
All three groups were destroyed when the Banes of Chaos were freed.
- Astrid, the last knight-champion and leader of the patrol that was ambushed by the goblins.
- Johnson, a pikeman who wrote a book on how to be a good warrior.
- All of the corrupt pikemen in the Bull Tower.
- Jorvin is the captain of the guard in Fawn.
- Julia, who is the leader of the rangers.
- Ernesto, the only ranger to survive the carnage of Moonshade.
The guards of Pagan in Ultima VIII, fitting into the darker theme of the game, were also much darker. Besides their armament with long pikes they were difficult to defeat thanks to superior armour and weapons
While avoiding trouble, the Avatar often got a taste of how corrupt and bullying the guards were (it is unknown if this is a result of Mordea's dictatorship). Peasants were harassed and threatened into paying more taxes, logbooks showed little scruples on the guards' side, and the Avatar himself got threatened by impatient guards more than once. A testament to their efficiency was shown, when they effortlessly defeated the hero after catching him red-handed in the evidence chamber reading Bentic's notes.
- Tarna is the only guard who has a unique personality. She also is the only female guard to be found.
Thanks to some strange magic, the guards of Ultima IX were completely invincible, which made combat with them suicidal. By that time, many guards were similarly equipped to the Avatar's previous visit to Britannia.
Guards by now showed the whole range of human personalities, although generally the guards were rude until virtue was restored. For example, the guards in Britain would threaten the Avatar with expulsion to Paws, while the guards in Minoc were acting out the wishes of a dictatorship, and the guards of Trinsic were lethargic and neglected their job. After restoring virtue, almost all guards became quite polite, although they often hadn't much to say.