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
. 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 in Distress: At the beginning of Ultima VI, the Avatar is captured by the Gargoyles and is about to be sacrificed.
- Badass Normal: Technically, he is a regular human from Earth.
- Deity of Human Origin: At the end of Ultima VIII after defeating the Titans by acquiring their powers.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Hero: He is the protagonist of the whole Ultima franchise, and follows virtues of heroism.
- Heroic Mime: In the early games where he doesn't get dialogue, he is reduced to this.
- Magikarp Power: If you opt to play as a Shepherd in Ultima IV, you obviously start off very weak and will rely on your companions to get you through the game, but in the process of becoming the Avatar, your weaknesses effectively end as you gain access to all equipment and magic, leaving your party without The Load to worry about.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: In undertaking the quest of the Avatar in Ultima IV, he unwittingly brings about the destruction of the Gargoyles' realm, resulting in the events of Ultima VI. Later on in Ultima IX he all but finishes them off, albeit while working under the instructions of their self-appointed leader.
- The Paragon: The whole point of being the Avatar is to be the paragon of the Eight Virtues to the people of Britannia..
- Took a Level in Dumbass: In an attempt to simplify things for newcomers in Ultima IX, the Avatar infamously seems to have forgotten how Britannia, and just about anything else for that matter, works. Including having a book that goes on about how reading books is so much fun, and asking what's a paladin. The game even seemingly does a Lampshade Hanging by listing your starting Intelligence stat as "Dim".
- Suddenly Voiced: After spending most of the series voiceless (due to limited technology), the Avatar first acquired a voice in Ultima IX.
- We Are as Mayflies: Humans from Earth age much more slowly in the world of Sosaria. This technically applies whenever he's there.
The Companions of the Avatar
Traditionally, 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) encountered and helped the Stranger even before that.
A 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.
- CamelCase: His last name.
- Cool Old Guy: He appears physically the oldest of all the companions, his hair and beard graying in VI and shock white in VII. This doesn't hamper his skill with the crossbow any, and he can still fight alongside the Avatar just as well as any of the other companions. Personality-wise he is the most level-headed and dependable of the group.
- 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.
- One-Song Bard: Iolo may well be the king of this trope: despite being present as a famed bard in every installment (except VIII), he is only ever credited with a single full song, "Stones", which he didn't even compose until Ultima V (and whose lyrics were actually written by his wife)!
- 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.
- Sticky Fingers: Had a tendency to pilfer your things in Ultima I.
- 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.
- We Are as Mayflies: Humans from Earth age much more slowly in the world of Sosaria.
Shamino Sallé Dacil
A 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.
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.
- 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.
A 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.
A 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 IX 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.
A druid who embodies the Virtue of Justice.
A 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.
A mage and an adventure seeker. Mariah embodies the Virtue of Honesty.
- Brought Down to Normal: In VII, all mages in Britannia lose their powers due to the Tetrahedron Generator disrupting the Ethereal Waves, making magic unpredictable. She still sells spells and reagents, however.
- Cunning Linguist: In VI, she helps the Avatar decipher the Book of Prophesies written in the Gargoyle's language.
- Desk Jockey: Became a scholar in Ultima VI, where she helps the Avatar in more indirect ways.
- Driven to Madness: In VII, the disruption of the ether and the consequent loss of her magical powers drives Mariah insane. She gets better after the Avatar destroys the Tetrahedron Generator.
- 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
The Big Good
ruler of Britannia and an alter ego of Richard Garriot, creator of the Ultima
series. A native of Cambridge, England, he came to Sosaria by making contact with a Moongate somewhere in the UK.
- A Father to His Men: 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).
- Fish out of Water: When he first arrived in Sosaria. Though with the help of Shamino, he adapted to life in the area.
- Going Native: As far as we know, he doesn't miss living on Earth.
- 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.
- Line-of-Sight Name: Dubbed "British" by Shamino after telling him where he came from.
- The Magnificent: Known as British, Champion of the White Light prior to attaining kingship.
- No Name Given: It's never stated what his true name is.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: It requires a special way to kill him in each game, as not even the Armageddon spell could do the trick.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: "British" is just a nickname he got from Shamino.
- Pun: Richard Garriott himself is also a British.
- Rags to Royalty: Went from being a Fish out of Water disgruntled British youth Trapped in Another World to powerful Nigh Invulnerable ruler of Sosaria.
- Sorceror King: Lord British is an extremely powerful (if aging) magician and a benevolent ruler of the land named after him, Britannia.
- We Are as Mayflies: Humans from Earth age much more slowly in the world of Sosaria. British is no exception.
Gwenllian "Gwenno" Gwalch'gaeaf
An 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 MayDecember Romance.
- Happily Married: With Iolo.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Called "Gwino" in some of the early games.
- We Are as Mayflies: Humans from Earth age much more slowly in the world of Sosaria.
A Pirate Girl
, a secret daughter of Samhayne (mayor of Buccaneer's Den), and the Avatar's Love Interest
- Pirate Girl: Thanks to growing up in the Buccaneer's Den, notorious for its pirate population.
The Bad Guys and Girls
The 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
- Beard of Evil: Originally depicted as clean-shaven in his character portraits, he is drawn with facial hair on the Tapestry of Ages in Ultima IX.
- Big Bad: Of Ultima I.
- Complete Immortality: He can't be killed as long as his Gem of Immortality exists.
- Damage-Sponge Boss: He's got about 1100 health and can take a couple dozen hits from a weapon that kills Daemons and Balrons in 1 or 2 shots.
- Evil Sorcerer: Unlike Lord British, who uses his powers for good, Mondain instead tries to subjugate the whole world with them.
- Final Boss, New Dimension: You fight him in a unique arena that operates differently from the game's other 3 combat sections (overworld, town, and dungeon), and actually runs off a unique code base/game engine used specifically for this one fight.
- Greater-Scope Villain: His Villainous Legacy mentioned below describes the impact he left after his demise.
- Self-Made Orphan: Murdered his father at age 15.
- 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.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: In the final fight he'll turn into a bat and try to run away from you after taking enough damage.
A 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.
A 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.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: He is a computer, and an evil, destructive one at that.
- Big Bad: Of Ultima III.
- Master Computer: He is actually a computer. An old-timey large computer who works with punch cards.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: So, he turns out to be a computer... but that's not very medieval-fantasy. He is described as nor human, nor machine. Part of him is also some sort of winged horned demon, which is the depiction maintained in the later games of the series.
- Not Quite Dead: His Dark Core survived the destruction of the rest of him, and getting rid of it is the central mission of the Ultima VII expansion "Forge of Virtue".
- Outside-Context Villain: Being a computer in a classical fantasy RPG series... makes him stand out among the other sorcerers and demons. So he's also kinda been Retconned into a demon.
- Puzzle Boss: You don't get to fight him directly. Instead, he is defeated by timely insertion of appropriate punch cards.
Originally 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.
- Anti-Villain: In Ultima V, he was a fascistic dictator but this was under the influence of the Shadowlords. Even then, his main intent was to force the population to uphold the virtues. When he is defeated, he accepts his punishment and later repents at a monastery, learning true wisdom. However, he becomes a straight one-dimensional villain in Ultima IX.
- 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.
- Big Bad Wannabe: He's the dictator of Britannia in Ultima V and the would-be ruler in Ultima IX, but he's just an unwitting pawn of the Shadowlords and later just a lackey of the Guardian.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He's supposed to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but named his own faction "The Oppression".
- Knight Templar: Enforced the Virtues to an oppressive degree, and twisted them to suit his own needs.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Like Lord British, he's completely invincible to all possible attacks. You can sort of "kill" him by wearing the invisibility ring and causing him to leave the fight since there are no targets left; this causes him to disappear from the game world as though he had been killed, but has no effect on the game's plot. In Ultima IX you simply never confront him directly, with Lord British ultimately dueling him one-on-one at the end of the game.
- Right Hand vs. Left Hand: When he captures you and threatens to execute one of your party members if you don't give him the mantra to the Shrine of Honesty, it's possible to trick him into executing his own spy, Saduj (though this is rather difficult to pull of, as you need to recruit Saduj and then get captured without getting into a fight or else he'll immediately turn on you).
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: In Ultima V, he becomes the ruler of Britannia while Lord British is missing, and enforces an oppressive fascistic rule.
Three 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.
- Black Cloak: They're humanoid-shaped darkness inside a black hooded cloak, rather like the Ringwraiths.
- 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 The Lord of the Rings.
- Immune to Bullets: Only certain artifacts can destroy them, and only if used in 3 very specific locations.
- Implacable Man: They appear periodically throughout the game to pursue you relentlessly, forcing you to drop whatever it is you're doing and run away from them. While you can fight them, doing so is extremely difficult (actively impossible with a low-level party), and costs you considerable resources while gaining you nothing in return.
- In the Hood: They only wear big cloaks and their faces are engulfed in total darkness, their Glowing Eyes of Doom piercing through.
- 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."
A 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").
- Big Red Devil: Minus the horns.
- Colony Drop: He attempts this with the moons in Ultima IX.
- The Corrupter: Seems to enjoy corrupting his conquests rather than straight-up killing them, if Killorn Keep, Pagan, or Talorus are any indication. He also corrupts almost all of the Avatar's Companions into members of his Wyrmguard.
- Dimension Lord: He rules over numerous worlds across multiple dimensions, including Killorn Keep, Pagan, and many others.
- Enemy Without: Revealed to be this in the ninth game.
- Fusion Dance: In early drafts of Ultima IX, he was revealed to be the combined essence of the Shadowlords.
- A God Am I: Is worshipped as one on the worlds which fall under his control. An early developer origin for him would have had him simply be one of many powerful divine beings that ruled the multiverse, but this was dropped before Ultima VIII was developed.
- Greater-Scope Villain: In both plots in VII, he's mostly in the background while 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.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: In Ultima IX, when you first confront him face-to-face, he lets you fight him just to show you how powerless you are against him. Not only is he invincible, but you also suffer any damage that you deal to him.
- Incoming Ham: As he introduces himself in VII, his face comes out of the screen and he does a thunderous evil speech!
- Large Ham: A big villain who is loud and grandiose when he adresses his enemies.
- 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.
- Sealed Evil in a Duel: The series appears to end with the Avatar and the Guardian doing this.
- Smug Snake: Especially in Ultima IX, where he repeatedly taunts the Avatar and even temporarily physically fights him for a moment just to show how powerless he is against him.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: He doesn't seem to wear much clothing, if any. Lampshaded by Spoony, who finds him hard to find intimidating when he is buck-naked and standing in the Avatar's personal space.
- Ye Olde Butchered English: Averts this, speaking with completely modern diction. This helps emphasize his otherworldly nature.
- You Have Failed Me: He kills Batlin when the latter tries to pull a The Starscream on him, and abandons Mors Gotha to her fate when she fails to kill the Avatar a second time.
The 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.
- Villain with Good Publicity: In The Black Gate, as the founder and leader of The Fellowship he's essentially second only to Lord British in terms of the most respected and influential person on the planet.
- Wolfpack Boss: At the very end of The Black Gate you and your party fight him alongside the rest of the Fellowship's top leadership (Abraham, Elizabeth, Hook, and Forskis).
The Elemental Titans
Servants of the Guardian who rule the world of Pagan in his stead in game eight.