The Ultima series starred a consistent recurring cast, especially from Ultima IV onwards.
The Avatar (originally: the Stranger from another world)The customizable protagonist of all Ultima games from I to IX. Although most games allow the player to select the Avatar's gender, in those that don't, he is male.
- Anti-Hero: He becomes this in Ultima VIII where is forced to do questionable things in order to go back to Britannia from Pagan.
- Badass: He's a guy who took down various evil wizards and humanoid abominations and he basically became the Christ figure of the world of Britannia.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Seems to be often mocked or treated badly by some NPCs throughout the series despite being the supreme hero of Britannia.
- Featureless Protagonist: Most games allow the player to customize the Stranger/Avatar, under the assumption that the players basically play themselves in the games.
- A God Am I: At the end of Ultima VIII after defeating the Titans by acquiring their powers.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Since the games' graphics got to be good enough to display such detail, he's almost always been portrayed as a blonde.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: What being the Avatar is supposed to entail, though in the games themselves, it doesn't always work out.
- Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of Ultima IX, to destroy the Guardian.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Depending on the class of course.
- The Paragon: The whole point of being the Avatar is to be the paragon of the Eight Virtues to the people of Britannia..
- Suddenly Voiced: After spending most of the series voiceless (due to limited technology), the Avatar first acquired a voice in Ultima IX.
The Companions of the AvatarTraditionally, eight individuals who joined the Stranger on the quest to Avatarhood and each embody one of the Eight Virtues are considered the True Companions of the Avatar, although he was joined by others in the course of later adventures. Three of the eight (Iolo, Shamino, and Dupre) traveled with the Stranger even before that.
Iolo FitzOwenA famous bard and a skillful crossbowman, Iolo is one of the mainstays in the Ultima series (alongside the Avatar and Lord British), being present in some form in every game except Pagan. He is married to Gwenno and owns a talking horse named Smith, who usually appear alongside him. Iolo embodies the Virtue of Compassion.
- Demonic Possession: By the Bane of Insanity in Serpent Isle.
- Gadgeteer Genius: He invented triple-shot crossbows.
- Happily Married: With Gwenno.
- Jack of All Stats: Balanced in strength and magic capability, with a proficiency in dexterity.
- Quirky Bard: Averted, as he (along with the rest of the Bard class) is a competent fighter with high dexterity, as well as balanced strength and magical capability, though this is mainly because "Bard" stands for thief/rogue in the post-Ultima IV-speak (because an Avatar of the Virtues couldn't well have a likely criminal in his party—even less be one himself).
- Sapient Steed: His horse Smith, though we never see anybody riding him.
- Tagalong Chronicler: Goes on adventures with the Avatar and sings about them later.
- Wandering Minstrel: Whenever he is not saving the world, he travels around Britannia composing and performing songs.
Shamino Sallé DacilA king of one of the old Sosarian realms and a friend of Lord British, Shamino becomes trapped in Britannia after Mondain is defeated and his home continent is lost. From then on, Shamino becomes a ranger and embodies the Virtue of Spirituality.
- Author Avatar: Though it's much less well-known than the case with Lord British, Shamino is based off of the persona Richard Garriot used in the Society for Creative Anachronism.
- Demonic Possession: By the Bane of Anarchy in Serpent Isle.
- Forest Ranger: Whenever he is not saving the world, he prowls the wilds or meditates on the Virtue of Spirituality.
- Jack of All Stats: Justified, as he represents Spirituality, which in this game is defined as being spiritually balanced. Shamino is therefore balanced in all stats.
- Lightning Bruiser: To make up for his lost magical powers in Ultima V, he is made the fastest character in the game alongside Toshi, as well as a decently strong fighter.
- Older and Wiser: To the Avatar and his other companions.
- You Can't Go Home Again: His kingdom is destroyed along with most of Sosaria during the Age of Darkness.
DupreA paladin and the mayor of Trinsic. Dies by Heroic Sacrifice in Ultima VII Part II but is brought back from the dead in Ultima IX. Dupre embodies the Virtue of Honor.
- Animal Motif: Since his introduction in II, he has always been associated with the Running Gag of ducks.
- Badass Normal: Was once a Magic Knight until he lost magical ability in Ultima V. This doesn't stop him from using his raw strength to achieve ends.
- The Big Guy: While ultimately serving as the Avatar's lancer, he becomes the muscle of the party when Geoffrey becomes captain of Britain's royal guard.
- Demonic Possession: By the Bane of Wantonness in Serpent Isle
- Heroic Sacrifice: In Ultima VII Part II, he drops into the Avatar's incinerator so his ash can be used to reunite the Banes of the Chaos Serpent.
- The Lancer: In later games, he was established as the closest and most trusted of the Avatar's companions.
- Magic Knight: In Ultima IV only. Ironically, the Paladin class in general is given an intelligence bonus, and has the same magic ability as Rangers and Bards.
- Mighty Glacier: In Ultima IV and V, where he has a high strength but low dexterity. In later games, he has the potential of becoming a Lightning Bruiser.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After being free from the Bane of Wantonness. This is what drives his Heroic Sacrifice.
- The Paladin: Whenever he is not saving the world, he is busy serving as a role model of honorable conduct to the people of Trinsic.
- Undying Loyalty: Being the embodiment of Honor.
GeoffreyA fighter, later captain of the guard in Jhelom. Geoffrey embodies the Virtue of Valor.
- The Big Guy: Is known as "Geoffrey the Giant" in III, and has the size and strength to back up that name.
- Blood Knight: A benevolent example; he yearns for battle as much as he does for adventure.
- Desk Jockey: Became captain of Britain's royal guard in Ultima VI, where he became too consumed by responsibilities to join the Avatar's party.
- Lightning Bruiser: In Ultima V, where he has the most strength of the Fighter class, as well as the second-most dexterity (behind Shamino).
- Mighty Glacier: In Ultima IV, he is the strongest companion, but only slightly faster than Dupre.
- Jumped at the Call: Being the embodiment of Valor, he's always enthusiastic about going out on an adventure. Even before his exploits with the Avatar, he explored and mapped the Perinian Depths.
- Papa Wolf: "The Tale of Geoffrey and the Dragon" tells about how Geoffrey—then only fourteen years old—defended his sister from a malicious dragon by holding him off, despite being unable to actually fight back.
JuliaA tinker from Minoc. Has a crush on the (male) Avatar. Julia embodies the Virtue of Sacrifice.
- Fiery Redhead: She is often depicted as a redhead, and more consistently than that as the most temperamental of Avatar's companions.
- Gender Flip: Was made into a male named "Julius" in the NES port of Ultima IV.
- Mighty Glacier: In Ultima V, she is this by her class' standards; she is stronger but slower than the typical bard.
- Tsundere: Ultima XI reveals that she had been in love with the Avatar for many years. She is also temperamental, especially if the Avatar dismissed her from the party in VI and VII.
- Wrench Wench: Julia is an exceptional craftswoman, working with all kinds of contraptions but eventually specializing in musical instruments.
JaanaA druid and the leader of La Résistance during Lord Blackthorn's rule. Jaana embodies the Virtue of Justice.
- Druid: When she is not saving the world, she tends to the forests in north-western Britannia.
- Loyal Animal Companion: Her hawk in Ultima VII.
- Rebel Leader: In game five, she heads the rebellion against Lord Blackthorn in the absence of the Avatar.
KatrinaA shepherd and the only survivor of the old Magincia that fell to demons. Katrina embodies the Virtue of Humility.
- Crutch Character: In Ultima V and VI, she joins the party at a later level (giving her a higher amount of hit points) to make up for her otherwise underwhelming stats. Because of how leveling up works in these games,note the rest of the party will be able to catch up to her before she can reach the next level.
- Humble Hero: Being the embodiment of Humility.
- Joke Character: Justified, as she represents Humility, and has nothing to boast about.
- The Load: In Ultima IV. Being a shepherd, she is the least combat-oriented party member—which is why you will probably recruit her last, making her suffer from Late Character Syndrome and Can't Catch Up on top of that. However, unless you play as a Shepherd yourself, you will have to recruit her before you are allowed to enter the Abyss.
- Sole Survivor: When you meet her in Ultima IV, Katrina is the last person still alive in the city of Magincia, which fell to the demonic onslaught after succumbing to pride. As a result, she became the paragon of Humility.
MariahA mage and an adventure seeker. Mariah embodies the Virtue of Honesty.
- Desk Jockey: Became a scholar in Ultima VI, where she helps the Avatar in more indirect ways.
- Squishy Wizard: Has the lowest Strength of the Companions, but has the highest magical capacity to make up for it.
Other Good Guys and Girls
Lord BritishThe Big Good ruler of Britannia and an alter ego of Richard Garriot, creator of the Ultima series.
- Author Avatar: Of Richard Garriot.
- Badass Grandpa: In Ultima V, he went to the Stygian Abyss with an army to fight the demons and in Ultima IX, he went back to the Abyss to fight Blackthorn all by himself.
- Big Good: British is King of Britannia
- A Father to the Avatar: British is a father figure to the Avatar, both praising him if he follows the Virtues and scolding him if he doesn't (or he dies).
- The Good King: Generally benevolent to the Britannians, though the inhabitants of Serpent Isle may disagree.
- Good Is Not Nice: He banned those who didn't want to join the quasi-religion of the Eight Virtues to Serpent Isle, and he didn't attempt any diplomatic solution with the Gargoyles in Ultima VI.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: It requires a special way to kill him in each game, as not even the Armageddon spell could do the trick.
- Pun: Richard Garriot himself is also a British.
- Sorceror King: Lord British is an extremely powerful (if aging) magician and a benevolent ruler of the land named after him, Britannia.
Gwenllian "Gwenno" Gwalch'gaeafAn entertainer, scholar and explorer. Married to Iolo.
- Age Lift: Despite being portrayed as middle-aged in nearly every game, Ultima IX for some bizarre reason changes her to looking like she's only in her 20s or 30s. This has the amusing side-effect of making her relationship with Iolo into a May-December Romance.
- Happily Married: With Iolo.
RavenA Pirate Girl, a secret daughter of Samhayne (mayor of Buccaneer's Den), and the Avatar's Love Interest in Ascension.
- Pirate Girl: Thanks to growing up in the Buccaneer's Den, notorious for its pirate population.
The Bad Guys and Girls
MondainThe original Big Bad of the series, an evil indestructible sorcerer who is defeated in the first game. Has an enormous impact on all later installments.
- Big Bad: Of Ultima I.
- Bigger Bad: His Villainous Legacy mentioned below describes the impact he left after his demise.
- Evil Sorcerer: Unlike Lord British, who uses his powers for good, Mondain instead tries to subjugate the whole world with them.
- Villainous Legacy: Mondain is the Big Bad of the first game. The second and third games have the villains as his lover and apprentice Minax, and their creation Exodus. The fourth game requires the player to retrieve Mondain's skull, and the fifth game has the villains as manifestations of the shards of his Artifact of Doom the player destroyed in the first game. In the sixth game, the Gargoyles summoned Mondain's spirit to embody their virtue of Control, along with Minax and Exodus. Finally, the Guardian, the villain of all subsequent games from VI, was initially planned to be revealed as the combined form of the Shadowlords after they were cast into the Void, but this was axed.
MinaxA genius apprentice of Mondain who tries to avenge him in the second game. While not as indestructible as Mondain, she takes a lot more precautions to become unreachable by the heroes.
- Avenging the Villain: Her motivation in Ultima II is to avenge her teacher and lover Mondain.
- Big Bad: Of Ultima II.
- Dragon Ascendant: Became the Big Bad of Ultima II after Mondain's death.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Minax means "threatening" in Latin.
- Pimped-Out Dress: In the tapestry in Ultima IX, she is drawn in a green dress with fur-lining, which can be seen in the hanging sleeves.
- Teacher/Student Romance: She and Mondain were lovers.
ExodusA creation of Mondain and Minax (actually, a demonic supercomputer) who tries to avenge them both in the third game.
- Avenging the Villain: His motivations in Ultima III are to avenge his creators, Mondain and Minax.
- Big Bad: Of Ultima III.
- Puzzle Boss: You don't get to fight him directly. Instead, he is defeated by timely insertion of appropriate punch cards.
Lord BlackthornOriginally benevolent steward of Lord British, Blackthorn is corrupted by the Shadowlords in game five and has to be overthrown to bring Lord British back to power. Exiled to the Serpent Isle, where he finds redemption, although that was retconned by the last game.
- The Atoner: It is hinted in Serpent Isle that he joined a monastery and repent for his actions in Ultima V. Then, for some reason, the writers of Ultima IX decided to drop this development.
- The Dragon: To the Shadowlords in Ultima V and the Guardian in Ultima IX.
- Evil Counterpart: To Lord British.
- Knight Templar: Enforced the Virtues to an oppressive degree, and twisted them to suit his own needs.
The ShadowlordsThree mysterious figures behind Lord Blackthorn's coup. Actually, remnants of Mondain's Gem of Immortality.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Of hatred, falsehood and cowardice—the antitheses of Love, Truth, and Courage, the three principles at the base of the Eight Virtues.
- Big Bad: Of Ultima V.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Assuming the Avatar tries to fight them. Not only are they a borderline Hopeless Boss Fight (defeating one isn't impossible, but the fight is designed be as close as it can get without them being invincible), but they will just return anyways.
- The Corrupter: They turned Lord Blackthorn into their puppet, and made almost everyone else in their presence hateful, cowardly, and dishonest.
- Expy: Of the Nazguls from Lord of the Rings.
- Immune to Bullets: Only certain artifacts can destroy them.
- Sheathe Your Sword: The only way to defeat the Shadowlords is to summon them to their corresponding Flames of the Principles, then cast their respective gem shards into the flames.
- Two Guys and a Girl: If Martian Dreams is any indication.
- Villain Has a Point: In Martian Dreams, Astaroth makes a statement that is correct not only in the series' universe (barring Ultima IX), but also real life:"Alas, no soul in life can be purged completely of virtue or vice. My lesson for you is simply that while pursuit of virtue is long and difficult, vice is found easily and is strongly linked to pleasure."
The GuardianA powerful extradimensional force of evil that has conquered or destroyed many worlds already and sets its eyes on Britannia in game seven. Actually, the Avatar's own Enemy Without, his evil side cast out upon achieving Avatarhood.
- Big Bad: Of Ultima VII, VIII, and IX (collectively known as "The Guardian Saga").
- Bigger Bad: In both plots in VII, he's mostly in the background while the Batlin, and later the Banes of Chaos, serve as the main antagonists. in VIII, his only direct action is leaving the Avatar on Pagan and taunting him periodically. Aside from that, he's in the background in that game is as well.
- Big Red Devil: Minus the horns.
- Colony Drop: He attempts this with the moons in Ultima IX.
- Fusion Dance: In early drafts of Ultima IX, he was revealed to be the combined essence of the Shadowlords.
- Made of Evil: He's the embodiment of the evil purged from the Avatar in Ultima IV.
- Obviously Evil: He flat out tells you in the intro of The Black Gate that he's the bad guy.
BatlinThe leader of the Fellowship and The Dragon to the Guardian in games seven and seven-part-two. Killed by the Guardian after trying to betray him.
- Dragon-in-Chief: As the Guardian spends most of The Black Gate trying to enter Britannia, Batlin is the main enemy in the game.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: The Guardian dropped a lightning on him in 'Serpent Isle.
- The Starscream: Becomes this in Serpent Isle. The Guardian is not amused.