Skara Brae

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Destroyed Skara Brae

Skara Brae is city located on an island west of the Britannian mainland and near the forest of Spiritwood. It is dedicated to the virtue of Spirituality and was long home to many of the rangers of the land. It has suffered multiple calamities throughout the ages and has been twice destroyed by disaster.

Generally, the settlement has been home to a few modest merchants and the occasional fisherman, in addition to the rangers for which it is famed. As well as Spirituality, Skara Brae has a reputation for being a city of spirits, and numerous haunting have been reported over the centuries.

A moongate, formerly on the island of Skara Brae itself, has long provided transportation to the inhabitants, although the position of the gate shifted to the mainland during the time of the Guardian's early incursions. Besides the moongate, a ferry station can be used to enter the island.


Skara Brae was founded sometime after the destruction of Exodus, during Lord British's renaissance of arts and sciences that heralded in the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment.

Age of Enlightenment[edit]

In Ultima IV, with the development of the Quest of the Avatar and the spread of the Eight Virtues, the city became devoted to Spirituality. For some time, it was home to a strange monument, the Ankh of Spirituality, which was capable of speech and could impart knowledge of the Shrine of Spirituality. It was during this era that Shamino Salle' Dacil, who was residing in Skara Brae at the time, first joined with the Stranger in the hero's quest for Avatarhood.

By the time of Ultima V, the city, like most of Britannia's major settlements, fell victim to the Shadowlords. An active member of Blackthorn's Oppression, the archmage Flain, took up residence within a tower in the settlement and Skara Brae's representative on the newly-formed Great Council, Hassad, was driven into hiding to avoid persecution.

Eventually, the Oppression was dismantled and peace returned to the area. By the time the Avatar returned in Ultima VI, it was a largely peaceable settlement of maritime tradesmen, although its tranquility was disturbed at the time by the violent murder of Quenton. Mayor Trenton, the arrogant and petty official who governed the towne during the incident, did little to investigate the death. It was also during this era that Horance, a mage and poet who would later become a central figure in the city's history, first could be found dwelling in seclusion on Iver's Rounding, a small satellite isle named after a famous pirate who found himself beached upon its shores during a storm.

Age of Armageddon[edit]

It was Horance who started the tragic chain of events that would lead to the first razing of Skara Brae. Over the years of the magician's long life, madness slowly claimed him, and his specialization in death magics combined with his insanity to create deadly results. Dangerously mad and hungry for the secret to immortality, Horance transformed himself into a liche, summoning forth legions of the undead to be his servitors and wreaking havoc upon the living residents of the city.

Desperate to put an end to the terror of Horance's army of the undying, Mordra Morgaelin, the town healer, prepared the instructions for a concoction that would restore Horance to humanity. Unfortunately, the mayor, Forsythe, gave inaccurate figures for the reagents needed to create the potion to the town's alchemist, Caine. The result was a massive conflagration that destroyed the city, killing all within it and thereby placing them in the domain of Horance's power.

It is unknown for exactly how long the souls of Skara Brae suffered under the lich. Eventually, the Avatar arrived in the burnt remains of the once prosperous city. Listening to the tales of the spirits who dwelt there, the hero realized Forsythe's error, and managed to replicate Mordra's original potion correctly. The hero then removed the curse of undeath from Horance, rendering him sane and ashamed of his deeds. Once this was accomplished, the champion of virtue was saddled with the grim task of having to find a soul willing to commit themselves to complete oblivion, in order that one of Horance's devices, the Well of Souls, might be destroyed and the spirits within freed. Eventually Forsythe, realizing his culpability in the city's destruction, made the final sacrifice and the curses that had plagued Skara Brae for so long were at last lifted.

Destruction of Skara Brae

The city was eventually rebuilt, although there was a span of time during which superstition dissuaded many from resettling. In its new incarnation, Skara Brae existed under the care of a mysterious stone effigy called the Sentinel.

Sadly, twenty years later, during the events of Ultima IX, the Guardian razed the city with a fire wave that burned the populace to ashes. While doing so, he taunted the Avatar with visions of its destruction as he demonstrated his power. The hero was still able, however, to explore the ruins of the city and eventually free Shamino, whose body lay within the confines of the rebuilt Well of Souls while the soul was trapped in the realm of spirits.


Off the western shore of Britannia is the island home of the doughty Rangers. Skara Brae is a beautiful city and spaciously laid out. For those suffering from rare diseases or grievous wounds, a Mystical Healer resides within those walls. The Healer will aid the destitute as readily as the wealthy, expecting no payment save what the sufferer can afford.
A centre for rangers, Skara Brae is a city immersed in the study of Spirituality. The city lies on the southernmost of three isles just west of Spiritwood. A gentle towne of kind, thoughtful and generous people, Skara Brae houses a fine but inexpensive inn, an excellent apothecary, and a healer who uses physical, magical and spiritual medicine. Those in need are always welcome at the Skara Brae healer, and can be healed regardless of their wealth.
It has oft been said that Skara Brae, close by the mystic forest of Spiritwood, is the Spiritual center of Britannia. But the word "spirit" has many meanings, and only some of the town's inhabitants, notably the healers, magicians and priests, concern themselves with matters of the soul. Others in the area have a different meaning in mind: those inclined to take advantage of Skara Brae's fine winery!
This sad town was once know as the City of Spirituality. Few are those who venture to the spot where the city of Skara Brae once stood, near the mystic forest of Spiritwood, for all that remains are buildings that stand nearly deserted. While there have been many strange stories as to the goings-on in this uninhabited place, there are few who would seek to verify them. The wise traveler avoids Skara Brae altogether.
As of this writing, we are still waiting to see the sad isle of Skara Brae resettled, after the tragic accident that destroyed its entire population. Thus far, none have proven bold enough to occupy a house on this once-haunted isle.
On this isle west of the continent, a hearty people found harmony with nature. One did not have to venture from town to feel the connection of the rangers to the forest and the fisherman to the seas. From the tallest towers to the protected treetops in the famed parks down to the fishmonger stalls along the wide boardwalk, where a smiling nod placed the freshest fish in a buyer's basket, life was neither pushed not pulled beyond the will of nature. In that harmony, Skara Brae gathered a spirituality which people of similar mind came from all over Britannia to witness. The strength of the people grew from the ashes of loss, as Skara Brae was burned to the ground in a battle to eradicate a roosting lich. To know loss was to build strength, and Skara Brae grew into a place of spiritual might. Much of it emanated from the Sentinel, a stone effigy whose power protected the town. In the Cataclysm, the Sentinel was buried in rubble, and its influence since faded. Yet, the town continues to thrive to this day.


Ultima IV[edit]

Map of Skara Brae in Ultima IV


Ultima V[edit]

Skara Brae level 1
Skara Brae level 2

Ultima V: Lazarus[edit]

Skara Brae - Ultima V: Lazarus Map

Ultima VI[edit]

Map of Skara Brae in Ultima VI

The Ultima VI Project[edit]

Skara Brae - Ultima 6 Project Map

Ultima VII[edit]

Map of Skara Brae in Ultima VII

Note: All of the inhabitants of Skara Brae during this era are ghosts, and their profession only refers to those they had in life.

Ultima VII (SNES Port)[edit]

Ultima IX[edit]


Ultima IV[edit]

Ultima V[edit]

Ultima VI[edit]

Things to see[edit]


  • Skara Brae is the name of a real historical settlement on the west coast of Orkney, off of northern Scotland.
  • In addition to the Ultima series, settlements named Skara Brae appear in the universes of Wizardry and The Bard's Tale. This is due to the design influence on all three series of Roe R. Adams III, whose fictional counterpart, Hawkwind, is purported to hail from the town.[1] As well as this crossover, on some platforms it is possible to import characters from Ultima III and Wizardry into The Bard's Tale,[2] and in Ultima V, a tombstone can be found behind the apothecary's house that reads, "Here lies the tale end of a bard."


  1. Scorpia et al. "Speaking of Clues". Computer Gaming World. Golden Empire Publications Inc.: May 1988. Pages 12-13.
  2. Bagnall, Mike et al. "Pirates". QuestBusters. September 1987. Page 1.

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