Ultima VII: The Black Gate – Day 1

Intro | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Post-game fun

Trinsic

I spent time in Trinsic talking to the locals and rummaging through their homes; I had in fact played as a 100% honest Avatar in the past, but hey stealing is fun. As a result, I left Trinsic pretty cashed up, including the 100 gold coins Mayor Finnigan gives you for digging up the lead in the murder case of Christopher the blacksmith and Inamo the gargoyle. I’ve always been a bit annoyed that you never get to receive the other half.

While in Trinsic, I allowed Spark to join the team, despite his nauseatingly cutesy character portrait. Speaking of portraits, I forgot how crude they are compared to the Serpent Isle and how downright goofy/ugly/weird some characters look. What’s up with this creepy couple running The Fellowship Hall? They look like a pair of identical twins who decided to keep it in the family!

At Spark’s house, I committed an act of animal cruelty and whacked the parrot with a mallet to get the coordinates of the treasure cave; if I remember right, it contains a very valuable glass sword among other things.

Other than the murder plot, there’s really not much reason to hang around in Trinsic, so off I went. Horse and carriage has never been my favourite way of travelling around Britannia, but I’ve purchased it for kicks and abandoned it later near Britain.

While still outside Trinsic, I attended the Fellowship Passion Play performed by Meryl, Dustin and Paul (who I presume are parodies of Meryl Streep, Paul Newman and Dustin Hoffman?). The play tells you in no uncertain terms that The Fellowship is eeeevil and The Guardian is behind it all. I love The Black Gate, I truly do, but subtle it is not. I love the melancholy of the dying Virtues and Avatar being quaint and old-fashioned in the changing world. But how much better would it be if the game revealed the true face of The Fellowship slowly rather than planting the red flags so early on?

Paws

Paws is a rather sad little place and other than Morfin the shady slaughterhouse owner you can’t really rob anyone since everyone is too poor. I played cupid for the local mill owner and the lady who runs the inn; incidentally, one little touch I really like in U7 is that the guest logs in the inns always mention the names of the characters you run into later. It adds to the lived-in vibe of the world.

Britain

Britain really does feel like a big capital city; I could remember where everything was and who lived where but I still got lost at one point looking for the Royal Mint. I recruited Shamino and Sentri; Sentri to me was always one of the duller companions but free training is nothing to sneeze at.

I spent the rest of the day exploring the city, listening to people’s love troubles, and shopping. I fancied ham at the Farmer’s Market, but 20 gold coins for one slice?? Sorry team, you’re eating mutton for 3 gold coins a piece. Bought Iolo a triple crossbow, though I’m not sure why we had to pay at all with him being the owner of the Iolo’s Bows business.

I’m on the fence whether I prefer the narrating style of TBG which can feel a bit like spoon-feeding at times, or the one in SI where you just have conversations with the characters and get to form your own opinions. But some character descriptions in TBG are quite amusing, like You see a woman who oozes partially sincere friendliness.

At the Fellowship Hall, I chatted to Batlin and took his test, which contrives to prove you have deep personal issues whichever way you answer.

To prove I’m keen to join The Fellowship, I was instructed to deliver a special box to Elynor, the Fellowship leader in Minoc. I’ve promptly opened it and yep, more brick-in-your-face proof that The Fellowship is up to no good.

The only person in Britain who’s more annoying than Chuckles the Jester is Carrocio, the guy running the tiny amusement park on the corner, who speaks in irritating flowery verse. If his girlfriend is cheating on him with Lord British, boo-hoo.

By then it was getting dark, so I made my way to the Blue Boar pub, where lots of characters I haven’t yet spoken to were having dinner. Another feature that Serpent Isle improved on: names of the NPCs when you click on them! In The Black Gate, many characters look exactly the same and you can’t tell who is who without initiating conversations. The actors at the Royal Theatre are particularly annoying to track since they pace around all the time in a small space.

I also gatecrashed the nightly Fellowship meeting, which was too boring to stay at, and because I don’t like exploring cities at night I decided to spend time moonlighting at the bakery. Bizarrely, one of the actors/musicians hovered around all night and even went to sleep on the floor at one point! Those bohemian types. A street dog also strolled in, which probably was a bit unhygienic…

When the baker showed up at 6am and it was time to be rewarded for my labours, disaster struck. Apparently you can’t ask payment for more than 100 loaves of bread (or is it 99?) and the game crashes on you. I had to split the party and get paid in bits; all up I made 130 loaves during my shift.

Intro | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Post-game fun

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