Ultima III Manual

(Foreword: If you previously purchased Ultima III for any other computer type, this is the Ultima III: BOOK OF PLAY.)


Welcome back, oh illustrious adventurers! Long has been thy sojourn in this strange realm, though 'tis a fitting respite for great heroes. Glorious are the names of those adventurers who slew the mighty Wizard Mondain and his evil consort Minax. Lord British's minstrels still sing thy praises for the epic battles waged in the overthrowing of those two crimson necromancers. The chronicles of Ultima I and Ultima II bear witness to thine effects on behalf of the good subjects of the realm of Sosaria.

The time of thy rest is now o'er. Thou wouldst not be here if thou hadst not heard the distant braying of the war horns, or felt in thy blood the cry of kinsmen in dire peril. Thou art Called, and from such a Calling none of the People may turn aside. It is thy duty and thy destiny.


Gather close while thou art briefed on what changes hast transpired since last thou guested forth. A new, much larger Siege Perilous has been discovered. The gateway will now hold four adventurers instead of just one. Two paths thus radiate out before thee. Thou may choose to venture forth alone, in hopes of recruiting retainers once thou arrives in Sosaria. Or, thou may gather together up to three other adventurers of the People who rest here, and sally forth with them at thy side. Bare is the back who hast not kin to protect it! Decide quickly, the horns seem louder.

Also with this document is a rare cloth map and two eldritch manuscripts. Unless thou art trained in mystical matters, open not these two books upon destruction of thy soul! Both of these ancient books were presumed lost for many centuries. By means of portentous visions, Lord British's advisers were led to their ancient resting places. The manuscripts contain very powerful lore whose time has come to be used again. It is said that the wheel of the heavens now heralds a great conflict, and that even the Great Earth Snake will rise from the watery depths. The dreams of the wise are thus disturbed these days. Great evil walks the land again.

The map of Sosaria is, alas, incomplete. The great cartographer, Hawkwind, was gravely wounded by a roving band of Brigands before he could finish the map. None of the towns, castles, dungeons, or other special places are shown. You will have to make your own marks to indicate where each lies, as you find them. It is rumored that much lies hidden, just out of sight.

The first reference menu item contains the alphabetical commands. While the functions of most commands are obvious, several have subtleties:

Cast (C) - When chosen, thee will be asked for thy character's number (1-4) and, for some professions, whether the spell will be W/C (Wizard/Cleric). Then the rank of the spell will be requested.
Fire (F) - Has a range of three squares. Any enemy killed with ship's cannons yields no treasure! Watch out, Pirate Ships fire back.
Join Gold (J) - Pools all the Party's gold to one character. Useful for buying special items or services that are expensive.
Look (L) - Is particularly useful before entering unknown places or terrain.
Negate Time (N) - Is the trademark of a Master Thief. When the proper item is found and used, time stops around the thief for several turns. This allows an audacious thief to steal vast treasures and escape the treasure's guardians.
Other (O) - Allows regular adventure verb commands in special situations or places. Such a phrase might be (Kiss) Princess, or (Jump) cliff.
Peer (P) - With the aid of a special item, thou can gain an overview of where the Party is located. On the surface, the map is of the entire world. In a town or castle, the map shows all the inside areas. When used in a dungeon, all of that level is visible. Even the ladders, doors, and special objects are shown.
Yell (Y) - Allows words to be screamed over a distance. Very useful when being chased by a dragon. Yell, (Open) gate!

Now that everything has been studied, and whomever of the People thou couldst muster has been assembled, it is time to begin the ritual. Begin the program, and shortly, a viewport is opened through the gateway. Kinsmen engaged in mortal combat with a dark creature can be seen. Suddenly the battle ends. You are too late to help, but never too late to avenge. Follow closely the instructions shown on thy living machine. All adventurers must now gather around the machine. Total concentration among the party is necessary for the gateway of the Siege Perilous to open. A moment of transition is experienced, then ...


After the darkness of transition clears from thine eyes, a sample view of Sosaria appears. After a moment's inspection, press (SPACE BAR). Thou are now offered three choices:
  • Return to the view
  • Organize a Party
  • Journey onward

Only the first letter of any option need be used to select that option.

  • Return to the view offers reflection upon the realm's features.
  • Organize a Party is where thou shouldst begin. Thou art presented with a long list of options:
  • Examine the Register
  • Create a Character
  • Form a Party
  • Disperse a Party
  • Terminate a Character
  • Main Menu
  • Journey onward begins the adventure!

The first order of business is the defining of characters and the formation of an adventure Party:

  • Examine the register displays the name and classification of each type of character. The first three letters before each name give the character's Sex, Race, and Profession. The fourth letter states the health of the character: G=Good, P=Poisoned, D=Dead, A=Ashes. If the character is already part of a party, their name will appear highlighted.
  • Create a Character allows the adventurer to develop kinsfolk or retainers. Each character reflects the personality of its creator, so choose the following carefully:
  1. Assign a number from 1-20
  2. Name the character, up to 13 letters may be used
  3. Sex: Male, Female, or Other (M, F, or O)
  4. Race: Choose from among the five races of the People - Human, Elf, Dwarf, Bobbit, and Fuzzy. (See Table 1)
  5. Type: The profession of the character. Choose among - Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, Thief, Paladin, Barbarian, Lark, Illusionist, Druid, Alchemist, and Ranger. (See Table 2)
  6. Attributes: 50 points are available to be divided among the four attributes - Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wisdom. Strength is important for fighting. Dexterity grants speed and cleverness. Intelligence controls Mage spells, while Wisdom imparts Cleric power. (Refer to Table 2 to see the requirements of each profession). No less than 5 may be assigned to any single attribute, and no more than 25. If the wrong values are used, the character disappears and must be reinstated.
  • Form a Party by selecting up to four members. Check with the register, and use the number next to the character wanted. A Party stays together until it is disbanded.
  • Disperse a Party disbands the adventure party, and returns the members to the register for reassignment.
  • Terminate a Character clears the character permanently from the register. This would be done if the character proves unable to perform properly, and needs to be removed from the register to make room for another character.
  • Main Menu returns the Party to the primary option list. Here can be chosen Journey Onward to begin the Quest!

TABLE 1: Maximum attainable attributes for each race
Race  Strength  Dexterity  Intelligence  Wisdom 
Human 75757575
Elf 75997550
Dwarf 99755075
Bobbit 75507599
Fuzzy 25999975

TABLE 2: Characteristics of each Profession
Class  Weapons  Armour  Spell Type  Spell Attribute/Special 
ThiefSwordLeatherNoneSteal and Disarm Traps
PaladinAllPlatePrayersHalf Wisdom
Barbarian AllLeatherNoneSome Steal and Disarm
LarkAllClothSorceryHalf Intelligence
Illusionist MaceLeatherPrayersHalf Wisdom, Some S&D
DruidMaceClothBothGreater of Both Halfs*
Alchemist DaggerClothSorceryHalf Int., some S&D
Ranger+2 Sword +2 PlateBothLesser of Both Halfs, Some Steal & Disarm
*Druids regain their magic points faster than other characters.


Each character that is allowed magic has a maximum Magic Point level, which is displayed with the Party statistics. A cleric with a Wisdom attribute of 25, will have a maximum Magic Point level of 25. If thou art a Ranger whose Intelligence is 15, and whose Wisdom is 10, then thou will be able to only cast second rank, (B) spells. Thy Magic Point level is only 5, half of 10 (lower level of the two attributes). Every spell costs a different amount of energy to cast. A character replenishes that energy at a rate of one point per turn on the surface, and one point every four turns in a town or dungeon. Druids regain two points per turn, which is quite an advantage. Initial character races must be chosen carefully, or thy characters may never develop enough mystical force within them to succeed on thy quest.

Having chosen thy companions, and formed a party, a few last words of advice. The situation on Sosaria is worsening rapidly. The darkness of evil hangs like a pallor over the Lord British's realm.


Without the special items that can be Peered into, a party can now only see that part of their surroundings as is not obstructed from view. Anything out of direct sight is shown blank. Trees, mountains, walls, and other such barriers will block their vision. This new viewpoint may seem somewhat confusing at first, but it rapidly becomes familiar. Remember to check out each part of an area carefully. Many things are hidden just out of sight.

Movement outside dungeons is different from inside dungeons. Outside, the arrow keys move the party North, South, East, and West. In the dungeons, the same keys are used, but they move the party Forward, Retreat, Turn Right, and Turn Left respectively.


As thou dost travel in a party, so doth the monsters. When combat is joined, a special combat screen appears. On this new screen, each member of the adventure Party is shown separately, as is each monster. Each player may individually control their character during combat, moving, fighting, or casting spells. Beware, the monsters are permitted to attack on the diagonals, while a character can only attack horizontally or vertically. Watch out for monster formations where two or three of them can attack a character at once in a crossfire. Few can survive long against such a withering assault. To Attack, (A), or Cast, (C), a spell against a monster when it is thy character's turn, thou must give a direction for thine attack to be launched. If a Fighter wishes to attack an obnoxious Orc that is next to him on the right, he can swing his sword by typing (A), then (->). One can almost hear the thunk of steel against the Orc's foul hide. Bows and spells can be used very effectively across the entire battlefield. Be careful of thy Dagger, though. It is considered thrown if the enemy is more than a square away. Many a Wizard has been slain by being overeager in combat and throwing thy Dagger away. Each time a monster dies, the character who struck the fatal blow receives experience points for the deed. When a player accumulates enough experience points, thou will automatically rise in levels.

Thou shouldst consider all parties on the surface as being malevolent. All the good citizens of Sosaria dwell within the towns and castle. Any party encountered on the surface, or in a dungeon is thus an enemy. If thou art strong enough, attack immediately. If thou art new, or suffering from grievous wounds, consider trying to run away. Once a combat is joined, only one survivor emerges.


When a monster group is vanquished on land, a treasure chest will usually be left behind. Some chests have much treasure in them, while others may be empty. Many of the chests both above ground and below ground are trapped. Either a Clerical "APPAR UNEM" spell must be cast to disarm the trap, or a Thief must attempt to disarm the chest. Some of the traps include: Acid (injures only the character opening the chest), Poison (same), Bomb (destroys the contents of the chest and hurts everyone in party), and Gas Trap (affects the entire party).


The dungeons have, of late, become particularly treacherous and deadly. Explore carefully and slowly. Map everything. Secret doors abound throughout the different dungeons. Magical winds howl down the corridors, blowing out all light. If thou walks slowly, glimpses of faint mystic writings may be noticed periodically. Recently a rumor has surfaced of an apparition that haunts a deep level of a hidden dungeon. There also exist many traps and pitfalls for the unwary. A Thief is an excellent choice to have in a party. If the party puts the Thief in front of the Party, he will have an excellent chance of spotting traps, before the party trips them. Many strange and wonderful places are hidden within different dungeons, such as fountains. Some fountains are beneficial, while others are poisonous. Always drink carefully at a fountain.


Most of thy Party's progress will be on foot. If thou art fortunate, thou couldst capture some of the wild horses that roam the plains. Travel on horseback is much faster than on foot.

Ships are very scarce. The Pirate fleet has sunk most of the regular ships. When thou hast a ship, thou needst to maneuver it. To sail a ship, one must learn the ways of the winds. Thy ship may not sail against a wind, but must tack around it. Watch out for sudden shifts in the wind, for the wind is a fickle elemental force.

The greatest transport are the hidden Moon Gates. They are similar to, but less powerful than the Siege Perilous that hast brought thy Party hither. Passing through a Moon Gate when it is active will teleport thy Party to hidden powers. Access to many glens of old knowledge are restricted by the Moon Gates. No creature of the Dark can ever break through the wards that protect them. The coming and going of the Moon Gates is somehow related to the twin Moons, Trammel and Felucca, that grace our skies. The cartographer, Hawkwind, was supposedly greatly excited about a discovery concerning the true nature of the Moon Gates, when he was attacked. The success of thy quest may well hinge on thou solving this ancient mystery.

At the top of thy screen, the phases of the twin moons, Trammel and Felucca are represented by numerals as follows:

0 -New Moon 4 -Full moon
1 -Crescent waxing   5 -Gibbous waning
2 -First quarter 6 -Last quarter
3 -Gibbous waxing   7 -Crescent waning


When thou enters the plains of Sosaria, thou art stark naked without a weapon in thy hands. Immediately Wear, (W), thy Cloth armor and Ready, (R), thy Dagger before doing anything. Quickly look for a town and enter it. Inside the town, thy purses of gold will buy better weapons and armor. Thy party's ability to survive depends as much on the quality of its equipment as on the quality of its leader. Forget not to obtain enough Food. Towns are widely scattered, and starvation is always so unpleasant to watch.

If ever there occurs a need to just rest in one place until a certain time, thou may repeatedly hit (SPACE BAR). This does not do anything but pass time rapidly. Of course, remember that the monsters are still moving and that food is being consumed quickly.

Despite one's finest efforts and diligence, it is not possible to complete thy adventure on a single foray. Do not be dismayed, all that has been accomplished is not lost. As Lord British's champions, thou art aided by his great Wizard. Every time thou enters or leaves a place, the state of thy souls is reflected in the great mirror that hangs in Lord British's chamber that he might view thy progress. When thy party Journeys Onward next time, the wizard will invoke a mighty spell and Restore Game automatically. Thy party will resume adventuring at the last place visited or the last location thou used the command Quit (Q).

Thou art now as prepared as possible to face the trials of thy quest. Drink deep of the fellowship of thy companions, for the morrow may bring thy parting. Now, from the Main Menu, Journey Onward (J). May the Gods of the People grant thou victory.


This be a digest of town shops, citizens, and monsters. Refer to it often, especially the monster section - KNOW THINE ENEMY!


The Weapons Shop

Buy and sell superbly handcrafted weapons. Each weapon is guaranteed not to break for 1,000 fights, or thy next of kin gets double thy purchase price back.

The Armory

Buy fine armour, or trade in captured booty for gold. Please note that anytime thou dost sell armour or weapons, thou needst to re-equip thyself afterwards.

The Grocery

While the typical fare here wouldst never be considered gourmet, the food does not spoil on long adventures.

The Guild Shop

The Thieves' Guild offers, at a high price, tools of their trade. The Guild shops are difficult to locate as most towns have driven them out.

The Pub

Relax from a hard campaign to enjoy a cold draught. Bartenders hear strange rumors some times. A few pieces of gold may loosen a tongue. Remember though, gossip is rarely totally truthful.

The Healers

In remote areas may be found Healer Kiosks. Their restorative powers can be purchased, although the tariff is steep.

The Stables

In two towns the fine horses of Lord British may be purchased. However, they are only sold in lots that match the number of the party, so they are quite expensive.

The Oracle

In secluded sections of some towns dwell gifted Oracles. With their vision they can provide much understanding of the occurrences in the world around thee. Knowledge is a costly thing, so bring a heavy purse.



The mainstay of Sosaria's prosperity. They operate the shops in town to the benefit of all. Some are not very clever, and if a sharp Thief is in thy Party, then a chest or two might be stolen from under the Merchant's nose. If thy Thief is caught stealing, the entire town guard will assault thee.


They resemble big bouncers at tough bars - all brawn and no brains. If a crime is detected within a town, or Lord British's castle, each Guard will pursue thee to the boundaries of the place. Most Guards are very difficult to overcome, but rumors have been circulating that some Guards are not completely honest.


They entertain Lord British with their antics. Occasionally they even harass visitors.

Player Type

Any of the regular Player types may appear in the towns and castle. Speak to all of them, some hold valuable clues to the locations of hidden items.

Monster Type

Very rarely are renegade monsters seen in towns. These monsters no longer serve the Dark, but now serve Light.

Lord British

The august ruler over all the People. Widely regarded as a fair ruler, he will richly reward those who serve by his side.


Orcs - Goblins - Trolls

These three creatures of evil are the result of long ago mutation wrought by magic. As they were created by magic, so can a Wizard's spell dispel them from this plane.

Skeletons - Ghouls - Zombies

All Undead creatures are an abomination before the light of Truth. A Cleric with thy Party can Turn these Undead creatures.

Player Types

Any of the regular Player types may have fallen under the spell of Darkness and now serve their evil Masters.

Thieves - Cutpurses - Brigands

These are the worst of the human trash that pollute the countryside. Thieves can steal any weapon or armour that thou hadst, except for those which thou art equipped. The Brigands man the Pirate Ships and fiercely control the oceans.

Giants - Golems - Titans

These creatures have no special attributes, but their huge size makes them very formidable opponents. Watch out for the force of their War Hammers.

Pinchers - Bradles - Snatchs

Any bite from these creatures is poisonous. If a character is bitten, only a Prayer or a Healer can cure the poison that is running in thy character's veins. Every step the character takes, lowers the character's hit level by one. If thou art far from a Healer, thou dost travel with a walking dead man.

Gargoyles - Manes - Daemons

Be very careful dealing with these minor daemonic legions. They can hurl powerful magic attacks across the arena at thee, inflicting great damage.

Griffins - Wyverns - Dragons

These creatures can hurl mystical Fireballs at thy Party from afar. They are the only creatures that can wreak havoc upon thee when not in Conflict Mode. Any Party luckless enough to venture within three squares of one of these creatures will be subject to an awesome attack. The Great Dragons can destroy a Party before the Party ever engages in combat with the Dragon!

Devils - Orcus - Balrons

If thou attempts to overcome these mighty warriors of the Dark, then thou hadst best be protected by all means possible. Anything less will mean thy instant destruction. These archfoes are so filled with evil, that they can hurl poisoned magic bolts from across the arena. The slightest hit may poison thy character and sap their vitality.


Pirate Ships

Be extremely cautions when one of these ships is sighted if thou art on land. A Pirate Ship can fire its cannons at thee three squares away. If the shot hits, all members of thy Party take damage. Most beginning Parties cannot sustain more than a few shots before the Party is wiped out. If the Pirate Ship stays offshore, shelling thee, nothing can be done to get him. If, however, he touches the coast, thou couldst then attack him.

Sea Serpents

Small cousins of the Great Earth Snake, these creatures can destroy an entire ship. In conflict mode, they can hurl magic across water, making it hard to fight them.


These are the most feared of all the denizens of the oceans. Their long giant tentacles are poisonous, and they can hurl magic. Because of their nature, Man-O-Wars can take vast punishment without dying. A Party attacked by such as these, has a very slim chance for survival.


With the fall of Mondain and Minax, peace had flowed like molten honey around all of Sosaria. Everywhere, Lord British's subjects were happy and prosperous. A great cancer had been exorcised from the world body. The People were cleansed again, and there was much rejoicing in the towns. Even the Orcs had disappeared from sight after the fall of Minax's castle, as chronicled in Ultima II. Twenty years the peace lasted. Twenty years is also the time needed for an infant to become a person.

From the ruins of Minax's castle has come several fragments of a manuscript which hints at a dark secret. There appears to have been an unholy alliance between Mondain and his young apprentice, Minax. Something had fructified from that union. But whether that something was of Man, Monster, or Daemon, the manuscript fragments were eerily silent. What had become of that hell-born prodigy? No clues existed.

Time passed, and the omens began to be troubled. Comets clashed across the sky and rumbles were heard deep in the ground. Then one day, in a fiery birth of molten lava, an island rose up in the middle of the ocean. None could approach it for the heat and steam were too great. Some drunken sailors claimed to have had a glimpse of the island when the steam was momentarily blown away by a strong wind. They swore that a castle existed in the middle of that inferno, but thou knows how reliable is the word of a drunken sailor.

Then, the sweet flowing rhythm of country life was shattered. Orc drums began to pulsate through the hills and mountains, and the horrible raids began. The outlying settlements all moved in to the safety of the village fortresses. Shortly thereafter, a Pirate Fleet appeared suddenly, and commerce was swept from the seas. An evil power was rising in the West, and all the earth groaned to its flexing. When tales emerged that the Great Earth Serpent had risen from its long slumber at the bottom of the ocean, people began to cry that the End of the World was at hand.

Lord British sent his most trusted and talented advisors out to uncover the facts behind these wild rumors. Weeks passed, then a shattered man was found wandering in the groves outside the castle. Some terrible sight had blasted his reasoning. He just kept repeating, "From the depth of Hell ... He comes for vengeance." What he/she/it was, remained unclear. The spread of its evil powers, however, was very clear. Lord British sent out a Call for all of the Heroes of the People to rally. That is why thou art here today. Thou heard the Call and answered it.

Thy task before thee is not easy. Evil walks the land openly attacking all travelers. Thou and thy companions will need to grow stronger rapidly if thy Party is to survive. Seek among the ancient paths for long forgotten Truths and powers.

One possible clue as to the identity of thy nemesis has been discovered. A derelict merchant ship was recently towed into port. No crewmen were aboard, alive or dead. Everyone had vanished, as if plucked by some evil force off the boat. The only thing found was a word written in blood on the deck: E X O D U S.


I, Lord British, would like to thank the following persons for their efforts in creating this book. Roe R. Adams III, for the eloquent writings herein. Special thanks goes out to those who assisted through long hours of work and play test: Roe R. Adams, Ken Arnold, Chuck Bueche, Richard Garriott, Winfield Kang, James Van Arstdalen, Mike Ward, and Margaret Weigers. And to all those persons found within this game, I extend a warm greeting.

Copyright 1983 by Origin Systems, Inc.

ULTIMA and LORD BRITISH are trademarks of Richard Garriott.