The Stranger had to find the eight Stones, because they were needed to retrieve the ancient Key of Three Parts (Truth, Love, Courage) from the altar rooms deep within the dungeons. Six of the stones were found in the corresponding dungeons opposing the respective virtue. The white stone of Spirituality was stolen from Hythloth, and was instead found in a small valley in Serpent's Spine, only reachable with the Blink spell or with the balloon. It was, somewhat fittingly, the highest accessible spot of the game world. The black stone of Humility was not found in a dungeon either; there was no designated dungeon to specifically oppose Humility. Instead, it could be found at the site of the Moongate of Moonglow, when both of the moons were in the phase of new moon. Thus, it was removed from Britannia in a sense.
After obtaining the Key of Three Parts, the stones were again needed, this time to descend deeper into the Abyss. Each stone needed to be used at an altar to turn the altar into a ladder and descend to the next level, with each level dedicated to one virtue in particular.
The Virtue Stones then vanished for a long time, before re-appearing in the museum in Britain at the beginning of the Age of Armageddon. A new function of theirs was revealed: the teleport ability. With the spell Mark, a stone could be marked with the position where the spell was cast. With the spell Recall, the spellcaster returned to this position. With the exception of the white and black stones, each stone was pre-marked with the location of the corresponding shrine.
It is unknown what happened to the stones after this.
- In Ultima IV, each Virtue Stone recovered grants (only) the player's character 200 XP.
- Humorously, the yellow Virtue Stone of Compassion appears in Ultima VII Part Two, inconspicuously nestled amongst Filbercio's treasure cache. In light of the stone's marked resemblance to a gold nugget or gem, this could either be a tongue-in-cheek easter egg or genuine human error.