stories, ultima-online, origins

Origin Stories, Part II

This is part two of the Irregulars' Origin Stories project, where we tell short stories and anecdotes about our early days in gaming. In this installment, we continue with some more adventures involving my brother Ryan and I on the Krynn's Demise Ultima Online shard. Enjoy!

Raising edible birds for fun and profit

One Saturday afternoon, the game masters on Krynn's Demise decided that it was the perfect day for chicken battles. Everyone on the shard had one day to tame the most fearsome specimen of poultry they could find, then hone its fighting skills to perfection. Naturally, Ryan and I christened our champion fowl Pollo. My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I think he was orange for some reason...

These foolish birds are cultivated by farmers for their eggs and succulent meat. One of the staples of the Britannian diet and economy, chickens cannot long survive outside of the care of man.

--UOGuide

Pollo's training regimen was intense:

  • We polymorphed him in to a dragon and herded him through flame walls to increase his magic resistance
  • He fought other assorted woodland creatures to build up his physical skills
  • He consumed an obscene amount of bandages, as chickens are not known for their large hitpoint reserves

Fast forward a few hours; at this point, we've spent all day training this chicken in hopes of advancing through the tournament. Our names are called; we're in the first round!Pollo goes on the attack...and immediately perishes at the feet of a much more well-trained fowl. Thankfully, Ryan jumped at the opportunity to salvage the situation. Using his magical flames, he roasted our poor chicken over an arcane flame, and we got a few drumsticks out of the deal. Rest in peace Pollo; you were delicious.

The Invisi-Wizard

When you're a Grandmaster Mage, you don't cast spells to defeat monsters. You let other people defeat the monsters, then use your spells to secure the treasure! This was the case when the great dragon (unpronounceable name) invaded the city of Britain one weekend in 2001. It took the combined efforts of many heroes to slay the monstrous green beast, saving the city from temporary destruction. Strangely, when the dragon's corpse was examined, there was no treasure present (not even a scale)!

Accusations immediately started:

We've got a looter on our hands!

Unbeknownst to our band, Ryan had snuck in under the cover of invisibility and stripped the dragon of its artifacts and treasures before the body even hit the ground. He emerged at the Bank some hours later clad in a tie-dyed set of shimmering green plate, grumbling incessantly about "adventurers these days". Though most of us suspected foul play on the part of our land's grumpiest wizard, no one ever managed to successfully challenge him about the event. Those who brought their concerns to bear found themselves burnt to ash or stepping through a "free beer" portal to a horrid pit full of daemons.

I don't think Ryan ever removed that plate mail after he put it on.

Dangerous Waters

For a short period of time, my now-wife Katt played Ultima Online with Ryan and I. If you know her at all, she loves fishing in video games. After she joined us, we made sure she was equipped to reel in sea's bounty, and even provided a boat so she could reach distant waters.

However, we forgot to mention the presence of sea monsters.

Ryan and I were camping along the coast, when we see Katt shouting FORWARD FAST, FORWARD FAST, FORWARD FAST at the tillerman, sea serpent in hot pursuit. She had fishing up an extremely cranky kraken, and was making a beeline for the shore in her ship.

At the time, the boats were a little laggy as the shard was hosted on a 3 megabit cable connection. Katt successfully landed the ship and disembarked, but the serpent's attacks caught up with her a few frames later and she perished. After that, she mostly kept to the shores!

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About Kyle Bedell

Kyle's been writing about tech, ludology, and storytelling since 2004. When not soldering, playing board games, or geeking out over hardware, he can be found reading a good sci-fi or fantasy novel.
  • Massachusetts, United States