Stranger

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The Stranger, from Ultima I.

The Stranger is a title refer to the protagonist (the player) of the Ultima series, prior to the character's attainment of Avatarhood in Ultima IV. The proper name of the Stranger is determined by the player.

Gender and Race[edit]

In Ultima I through Ultima IV, the player had the option to deem that the Stranger was male or female, and the additional choice of "other" in Ultima III.

The player also had the option of selecting the Stranger's race, and could dictate the hero as being a human, elf, dwarf or bobbit, with the additional option of playing a fuzzy becoming available in Ultima III. Given the graphical technology of the time, there was no clear indicator of the character's ethnicity or skin color beyond these broad categories.

History[edit]

The Stranger arrives, as depicted in Ultima I for FM Towns.

The Stranger was the hero responsible for the slaying of Mondain, Minax and Exodus - the three great evils of the Sosarian Age of Darkness. Each time, the Stranger acted in response to a summons by Lord British, who had brought the hero to another world through a simple act of contemplation as he held his amulet of the silver serpent.[1] It is rumored that the Stranger arrived by means of some manner of moongate each time, similar to the one that had brought Lord British to Sosaria.[2]

In Ultima IV, the Stranger arrived in Britannia to participate in the Quest of the Avatar. After the hero had a steeled soul such as that it embodied each of the Eight Virtues, the Stranger descended into the Great Stygian Abyss and read the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom - thus becoming the the enlightened champion of Britannian morality, the Avatar.

Continuity[edit]

The Stranger prior to embarking on the Quest of the Avatar, as depicted in the Ultima IV (NES) manual.
The concept that the Stranger who became the Avatar in Ultima IV is also the same Stranger that defeated Mondain, Minax and Exodus is a retcon that occurred in Ultima VI. The manuals to all Ultimas prior to Ultima VI refer to "a Stranger," rather than "the Stranger" being the one who defeated the Triad of Evil (with 4 strangers visiting Sosaria in Ultima III) which implies that the strangers in Ultimas I, II and III were entirely different people. In the intro to Ultima IV it is implied that you have never been to Britannia (or Sosaria) before and in both Ultimas IV and V, as well as the novelizations for such games, no references are made in game to the the Avatar/Stranger having been there at anytime before the events of Ultima IV.

However, from Ultima VI onward, it is clearly stated that the Avatar is the very same person who faced Mondain, Minax and Exodus, thus creating a stronger continuity between the Age of Darkness trilogy and later games. This is first established when the Avatar visits the Gargish Shrines of the Principles; at each shrine, the respective spirits of Mondain, Minax and Exodus provide counsel to the Avatar, causing the hero to remember having defeated them prior to becoming the Champion of Virtue.

Trivia[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Garriott, Richard et al. "Folklore". The Book of Lore (Ultima V). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1988. Pages 4.
  2. Morris, Andrew. "Lessons of the Past". Beyond the Serpent Pillars (Ultima VII Part Two). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1993. Pages 3.
  3. DeMaria, Rusel et al. "Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar". Ultima: The Avatar Adventures (Ultima IV). Origin Systems, Inc.: 1992. Page 6.