Balrons

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Balrons
Balron
Balron, from Ultima III manual
Also known as: Balrogs (Akalabeth), Orcus,
Devils (Ultima III)
First appearance: Ultima I
Last appearance: Ultima IV

Balrons are a type of daemonic creature that appeared in old Sosaria and in early Britannia as it came out of the Age of Darkness. They are amongst the most formidable of the hellborn and have been known to command legions of devils and other foul beings. They appear in Ultima I, II, III and IV.

Description[edit]

The balron has been consistently described as having an appearance similar to that of other daemons - with a thick, leathery hide and wings upon which it may fly. What sets balrons apart from their lessers, however, has long been their mastery of the magic arts. Balrons are renowned for their use of powerful spells on the battlefield and have been observed hurling balls of fire and poison at their victims. The balrons' potent ability to mystically lull their foes into slumber is especially debilitating, as it leaves those who succumb to it vulnerable to further violence. During the the time of Minax's interference with Earth, artifacts known as green idols existed, which could be used to counteract this disastrous effect. Such devices, however, eventually ceased to become available, leaving explorers facing these creature to rely on the powers of certain potions or a well placed An Zu spell.

After their initial appearance in Ultima I, balrons appeared in Ultima II, Ultima III and Ultima IV but seemingly faded from the material world as it moved into the Age of the Avatar. Although immensely powerful daemons such as the Slasher of Veils and Arcadion have still appeared to Britannia and its people, it remains unknown what has happened to the once populous balrons of old.

Lore[edit]

Balrog.gif
Huge, leather-skinned daemon lords, the Balron are perhaps the most fearsome of the evil minions of Mondain. Armed with vicious barbed whips and the ability to cast devastating fire balls at their victims, these winged scions of Hell have proved to be the nemesis of the flower of Sosarian knighthood.
Easily recognizable with its great leathery wings, the wretchedly evil balron ensures the success of its Herculean strength by using a sleep spell to render its victims helpless. Some have hypothesized that the spell is not real but that the fetid, putrid breath of the creature is so horrible that humans cannot resist the urge to escape it immediately by falling asleep.
It thou attempts to overcome these mightly warriors of the Dark, then thou hadst best be protected by all means possible. Anything less will mean thy instant destruction. These archfoes are so filled with evil, that they can hurl poisoned magic bolts from across the arena. The slightest hit may poison thy character and sap their vitality.
BalrogNES.jpg
It is believed by some that all of these Marshals of Evil were destroyed when the Triad fell. If any do exist, it would be better for one to Quit life itself than to face the fury of a Balron. The ancient scrolls describe them as flying creatures which cast devastating fireballs as well as weave massive enchantments that once felled entire armies.
I was getting pretty cocky until I came up against my first balron.

He swooped down from the sky, his leathery wings blowing gales of wind at me. Horns grew from his head and his eyes glowed yellow. Six-inch-long fangs protruded from his mouth and his smile revealed rows of razor sharp teeth. That smile sent chills down my spine.

Trivia[edit]

A "Barlon" appears in a dungeon.
  • Balrons are very likely inspired by the balrog from J.R.R. Tolkien's classic The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In the manual for the Nintendo Port of Ultima IV, the creatures are, in fact, referred to as balrogs, and an illustration of one (seen above right) closely resembles the leonine creature depicted in Ralph Bakshi's 1978 film adaptation of the books.
  • The FM-Towns Ultima Trilogy mistranslated the name of this creature throughout the games as "barlon", and in the port of Ultima II, a "Pazuzu Barlon" appears. Pazuzu, in addition to being an archaic Babylonian wind god, is well known for appearing as the demon who possesses Regan MacNeil in William Peter Blatty's novel The Exorcist and its film adaption.
  • The variant of balrons known as orcus derive their name from Orcus, the Etruscan and Roman God of the Underworld. This deity has frequently lent his name to fictional demons and may have been the inspiration for Tolkien's orcs.
  • In Ultima VII: The Black Gate (with the expansion Forge of Virtue installed), Erethian identifies gargoyles to be formerly known as balrons. When asked about "gargoyles", he replies, "Interesting creatures, thou mightest call them balrons, but they are not the beasts that history has made of them."

See Also[edit]