Ultima VII: Serpent Isle
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Serpent's Isle Cosmic Balancing Act Source: IT-HE Labs (Last synchronized 2 July 2005)

Serpent's Isle

A tough nut to crack

Serpent's Isle


I said it couldn't be done. But here it is at long last:

Starless and Bible Black - An anti-walkthrough for the Silver Seed!

  1. Introduction
    1. The Premise
    2. What's in a name?
    3. Avoiding the Storm? Not likely
    4. Money
  2. Cold Things
    1. Preventing the release of the Banes
    2. Perverting the release of the Banes
    3. Brutalising the test of Discipline
    4. The test of Logic - introducing the Grim Reaper
    5. The test of Purity - If I had a hammer...
    6. Miscellaneous
    7. Reprise
  3. Other Stuff
    1. Danby's Progress
    2. A plea for help: Mr. Danby actually panics
    3. Humour in Ultima games, an illustrated usenet post


Of all the recent Ultimas, Serpent's Isle seemed to me the most robust.
Most situations have been very carefully thought out, leaving little margin for me to fool around with.
That is why this section is so long in coming: SI has proved difficult to break.

But not impossible...


When our weary world was young
The struggle of the ancients had begun
The gods of love and reason
Sought alone to rule the fate of man...

Yes, it's time to repair the Universe again in Serpent's Isle.
Like in the RUSH album Hemispheres the opposing disciplines of Love vs Reason or in this case, Emotion vs Logic, are out of whack and it's up to you to sort it out.

What's in a name?

Of course, I called my character Mr Danby, to carry on the long tradition of the evil art teacher.
SI has a whole load of new portaits and character figures. I accidentally chose the asian avatar, since I was trying to avoid the blond-haired twerp from the Black Gate, as the real Mr. Danby has dark hair.

My brother had quite different ideas.
He called his character 'dickhead'; all the other characters suddenly become abusive. For example, Dupre says 'We must press on, dickhead!'

Dickhead ran around the town of Monitor, killing cats with what I believe he described as 'a f***-off big hammer'.

Mr Danby, sporting the cat-hammer
Here, kitty kitty...

Some alternative names can be found on the PAGAN PAGE.

Avoiding the Storm (if only...)

When the game starts, there is a big teleport storm.
The designers have been clever here, AFAIK you cannot avoid the storm without cheating, although I had a good try.

First I chose the Black Sword as the most valuable item. I chucked it on the ground, and as the storm began nicking my things, I picked it up, and kept drag-and-dropping it all over the place to try and keep hold of it..

At one stage, a bag appeared. I pressed 'I' to stop the game, and chucked everything in it. Then of course the bag vanished, sending all my stuff to obliteration... ;-(


The only reliable source of income I've found is the Pikemen of Monitor.

If they die, and you take their bodies to Renfry for cremation, he'll give you 100 quid for each body.

As soon as I discovered this, a mysterious plague struck dozens of Pikemen.
It was very sad.. but I was always there to give them a proper funeral..

Later on in the game, you have to pay a ransom to the corrupt Knights.
Initially they ask for only about 100 quid, but when you go to pay it, they move the goalposts.
I used the pikeman trick to see if they had a limit.
Afterwards, the town was filled with halberds and posessions which didn't want to go away..

Danby: I'm here to pay the ransom for Captain Hawk
Guard: What have you got?
Danby: Lots and lots of monetari..
Guard: 'Tis not enough!
Dupre: But you said the fine was 100 monetari!
Guard: We changed our minds. Now we want 9600 monetari!
Danby: Oh well.. better rob the mint again I suppose..


Danby: I'm here to pay the ransom for Captain Hawk
Guard: What have you got?
Danby: You can have 9017 Monetari, or a gold brick worth 100 Monetari
Guard: Ooh! A gold brick.. alright, you can have him.

Cold Things

('Cool Stuff' translated to Spanish and back by Altavista)

Preventing the release of the Banes

Yes, you can prevent the release of the banes!
You won't want to though, but it can be done..

First, enter the chamber of the Wall of Lights. If any of your core characters are missing or dead, Thoxa will appear and bring them to you so that they can be posessed by the banes.

As soon as I saw this, it got me thinking.
Thoxa will appear if you try to enter through the large double-doors with the characters missing, citing the 'prevention of disaster' as her reasons.

Let's see what the disaster is, shall we?

So, go through the double-doors, and then ask Dupre to leave. Disarm him first, since wild animals do turn violent when trapped.

Kill Dupre- don't allow him to leave the chamber of lights, or Thoxa will reappear.

Now ask Shamino to leave and kill him, finally Iolo.

Now, go up to Batlin, and watch the universe unravel!

Wall of lights with Dupre, Iolo and Shamino dead

Press Alt-X and return to DOS when you're bored...

Making the Banes go AWOL

While editing this page and tinkering with SI instead of doing final-year coursework, I discovered how you can prevent your core party members turning into the banes.
There may well be trouble later on if you try this, but it's fun all the same.

Follow this recipe..

  • First go through the doors as normal
  • Proceed towards Batlin until he comes on screen.
  • Make SURE the party members say 'we must hurry!' or it won't work.
  • Now, instruct each of your three core party members to leave.
  • Go up to the Wall so the script begins and Batlin dies.
  • The party members have not turned into their psycho counterparts!
  • Quickly, talk to Iolo Dupre and Shamino before they run offscreen
  • Ask them to join, and they will!

Haha! I am Dupre, bane of drunkenness!
I am Iolo! Bane of shooting-the-Avatar-through-the-heart-with-the-triple-crossbow!
Kneel before Shamino, bane of rapidly diminishing consequence..

Another possibility...

  • Enter the double-doors
  • Reaching back through the doorway, feed the three with water from the LEFT fountain.
  • Make sure they stay sleeping when you talk to Batlin
  • Come back afterwards and you'll find the banes sleeping happily outside..

Brutalising the Test of Discipline

Hmm. Apparently you're supposed to swap minds with the automaton Petra in the Temple of Discipline.

I didn't guess this until later, since all the books said I'd have to kill myself afterwards.

Instead I went for the brute-force approach.

In the temple of Discipline is a small duckblind which has lots of acid, so you die if you're not made of metal.

I cast Great Heal on myself to achieve perfect health, and then I just kept swigging yellow potions every few steps.

The test of discipline
Use of drugs to attain perfect discipline is loosely acceptable

The Test of Logic (introducing the Grim Reaper)

Seven automatons, Seven deadly sins..

Number seven is dead, find the murderer

JM: You haven't seen my new party member. I've tried to go for the grim reaper look.
IM: Cool!
JM: I've covered every part of the body, you wouldn't know it was an automaton..
IM: Petra I suppose?
JM: No, number 4 from the test of Logic

La, la la, la, la..
Don't fear the Reaper

But back to the test of Logic.

Once you've got the key and joined #4 to your party using CREATE AUTOMATON, it's time to do the final puzzle.

There's five stones, and a set of conflicting instructions.


If logic fails, just use Dispel Field.


The Test of Purity - If I had a hammer...

The Avatar must demonstrate Purity by performing three tasks, guided by his three companions.

First, go East and meet Dupre.


The worms seek thy death, Avatar!

So I've got to kill the worms, right? Are they big? Are they fierce??

Killing worms can be boring
Are they hell..

Now, using the hammer you find on the floor, keep killing the worms.

Dupre will come back and urge you to follow him. Doing so will fail the test.
Or will it?

Wait until Dupre says it's the last chance, that you can kill the last worm later.

Say 'No', and hit the worm twice.

Now follow Dupre and enter the room full of chests.
Wait! There's nothing here.. Dupre has betrayed you!

..but it doesn't matter. Just kill the final worm and it's all OK.

If you like, you can take revenge on Dupre...

You have betrayed me mortal, and for that you must die..

Don't try this at home

..but you won't get out of the test, since he has to say his piece before you are able to leave.


OK, now go North and you'll meet Iolo. Skip all the crap and just get out.


Finally, go West, and you'll meet Shamino, whose account of the past half-hour doesn't match that of Dupre or Iolo.

He urges you to press the Left Button, but this will fail the test.
Now, can we somehow push the button of pleasure without failing the test..?

Using the hammer from the first test, go up to Shamino and stove his head in.
Kill everyone else too.

Shamino isn't carrying any of his usual posessions.. Isn't that odd?

Now press the left button. Pretty music starts up, but everyone's dead. Oh well.
Now press the right button, and you've passed the Test of Purity.

The testmaster will congratulate you on the fact that you didn't follow Dupre and how nice you were to the people trapped with Shamino.


Penfold: This isn't possible!
Dangermouse: Never mind that now! Just do it!

Gold! Gold everywhere!

On Losing things

IM: How can you have LOST one of the most important objects in the entire game??

JM: How the hell should I know?

IM: I can just imagine it:


Avatar: Umm.. just a second.. (rustle rustle)
Um, I must have put it down somewhere.
I could have sworn I had it just now..
Please, sir, can I go back and look for it..?


Have you seen a big, golden sword? I think I left it somewhere in this room..


...Then all at once the Chaos ceased
A stillness fell, a sudden peace
The warriors felt my silent cry
and stayed their struggle mystified..

...They sat a while in silence
Then they turned at last to me
"We will call you CYGNUS
The God of
you shall be..."

Master savegame list

Here's an index of all my savegames, representing a 23MB archive of most of the key positions in the game.


00 - Before the Storm
01 - Iesus Christos
02 - During the storm
03 - a bag
04 - Sir Danby (Danby gains his knighthood)
05 - In monitor with tons of loot
06 - Ready to become a Knigget
07 - The test of Death
08 - Testing
09 - Road Crash (Knights run into each other)


00 - I must go to fawn
01 - Cantra is the Chaos bane
02 - The Trial is reset
03 - Dupre is freed
04 - A re-run of the trial (In which I try to get Dupre executed)
05 - Extended success
06 - Down the hatch
07 - Find the goblin meeting place
08 - Find stairs in a dead tree


00 - I must find the Phoenix egg
01 - Return with the Knigget (Attempt to stop the knight dying)
02 - The knight is still in the cave
03 - Money conversion
04 - Room with a view
05 - A comedy of terrors (Killing to boost my funeral business)
06 - I must break into the mint
07 - We're off to see the Wizard
08 - Stoneheart
09 - Pothos is Erstam's son


00 - I must find the Phoenix egg
01 - I am on monk isle
02 - Whoops, lost the stockings
03 - I'm Starving! (In which I'm stuck and have exhausted all
04 - Avatar shags the magelady possible supplies of food. I resort to
05 - Freedom hanging around banquets and pinching the
06 - Arcadion is still with me food from the table as it's served.)
07 - I must speak to Julia
08 - Down the catacombs
09 - The Test of Purity


00 - This is the test of purity
01 - I'm back in Monitor!
02 - Dupre is f'ing dead
03 - Down Down to Goblin town you go my lad!
04 - Iolo rises again
05 - Iolo back from the dead AGAIN
06 - Got the keyring, now flee! (I chicken out of Silver Seed
07 - Gorlab swamp by sleeping for 168 hours
08 - I must eradicate God while the rest of the party
09 - Shamino's kingdom starves to death)


00 - Draygan burnt the ship
01 - Forest master
02 - Death to draygan
03 - At the sleeping bull
04 - Looking for the wooden sword (Which I threw away because
05 - Batlin:unattainable Dupre kept wielding in combat)
06 - I found tons of cash and reagents (Which mysteriously appeared
07 - Train me Sarah, Train me again with love and kept me going forever)
08 - O superman
09 - To the house of wares


00 - To the frozen north
01 - Snow leopard furs
02 - Got some loot
03 - Ice dragon
04 - Back to the Gwani
05 - Enter the place
06 - Shit Happens
07 - PoWDeR (In which I find some coveted

08 - V is for Vampire gunpowder and blow things up)
09 - Spinebreaker


00 - Where am I?
01 - Wall of Lights
02 - WOL
03 - The banes are free
05 - Blood! Blood everywhere!
06 - King Crimson:Discipline (The red album)
07 - Drink of discipline
08 - Sting:The soul Cages
09 - I defile logic


00 - The castle of the White Dragon
01 - CWD
02 - Breakfast in America (The dining hall in the castle)
03 - This isn't possible (In which I climb onto the
04 - Throne Room walls of the castle)
05 - Gold! Gold everywhere!
06 - Die, Shamino!
07 - Dupre is left
08 - Now what?
09 - Seek the grave of the Chaos Hierophant


00 - I spoke with the False Hierophant (Because I couldn't find the
01 - Dupre is very dead proper one)
02 - In the temple of Chaos
03 - I think I've found it!
04 - Bum! (In which I find I've dropped
05 - Balancing act one of the blackrock serpents)
07 - Balance
08 - Communion
09 - Finale

A plea for help

Subject: Re: SI: The hound of Doskar (and other possible screwups)
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 18:45:14 +1200
From: Paul Ryan
Organization: The Internet Group Ltd
Newsgroups: rec.games.computer.ultima.series

JP Morris wrote:

> I've just got hold of the dog.
> However I need to give him something of Cantra's to act as a scent.
> Now, Cantra's mother won't give me anything: I assume she already did
> and I've lost it.
> I think I have to give him a Sword, but if so I do not have it.
> Is it:
> A: marked specifically as 'Cantra's Sword'

It's called a wooden sword I think.

> B: will any old sword of this type do?
> (This worked in BG, where you could pick up a serpent dagger
> from DeSnell's table and tell him it was used as a murder weapon
> in a town you haven't visited yet)

It will. IIRC there may be one in a cheat room - the one in the Isles of
the Mad Mage.

> C: If all is lost, can I summon (or create) the object using the cheat
> system? I really do not want to have to restart at this stage.

If necessary item number is 520.

> Other possible screwups:
> 1. My brother started with SI before me, he armed himself with what
> he descibed as a 'F--- off big hammer' and went around killing cats.
> When I tried this the cat I ended was very tough and as it died I
> realised it had a name.

Not relevant to the plot of the game, but cruel.

> 2. Near Gorlab Swamp is a cow, which I attacked for food.
> This cow was very tough and had no meat therein.


> While the other animals all respawn when dead, the cat and the cow
> are still dead just where I left them.
> Have I killed two important characters, and can I resurrect them when I
> gain the Restore spell?

Stop sweating. There are no plot problems with killing them, but they're
now dead for good.

Paulon Dragon d++ e- N- T+ Om U1!23!4!5!6!7'!S'!8!KA!L!W!M!
-==(UDIC)==- u++ uC+ uF uG uLB+ uA+ nC nH+ nI nPT nS+ nT+ y?

Insights are always valuable, even if they only show
you your duodenal ulcer.
Ka'a Orto'o, Gnomic Utterances, V XCIII

Negate the spell to wish me well...

Humour in Ultima games Part 2

An illustrated usenet post continues

A weird bug involving resurrection ...
Dupre is alive and well and living in Spinebreaker
A strange event happened to me during the last days of my sojourn on
Serpent Isle. This occured soon after the Chaos Serpent was reunited
due to Dupre's selfless sacrifice.

I was poking around Spinebreaker looking for the last serpent tooth,
which I needed to get to Sunrise Isle. Thinking that I might have
overlooked something on Batlin's body, I set off with the remaining
Companions to the Great Shrine. Unfortunately, in my haste, I had
forgotten about the series of explosive traps set on the path to the
Shrine. Running through the gauntlet, Iolo and Shamino fell, and I was
heavily wounded. I managed to retrieve Iolo's body, deciding to go
back for Shamino later, in a better condition.

Standing before the doors leading to the Great Shrine, I used the to
Hourglass of Fate to summon Thoxa. Waves of ether rippled through the
air as the monk appeared. But unexpectedly, after she had resurrected
Iolo, she made a comment about how not all my Companions were with me
and proceeded to summon them here. Shamino appeared, fully restored,
but so did Dupre, whom, last I saw, had been reduced to a pile of
ashes in a jar!

The noble knight, or replica of him, was none the worse for wear.
Indeed, It appeared as though he had no memory of his demise. He
joined and accompanied my party to the end of the quest.


A similar bug is that you can actually get Thoxa to resurrect Selina
(or whatever her name is) because she was once a companion.

I couldn't get this to work.
However, if you kill the avatar off when her dead body is in your posession, it will work just as well.

When the monks have resurrected you, they notice her:

No.. please.. I much preferred her dead..

If you resurrect her then and there in Spinebreaker, then she says something
about not wanting to talk, and hangs the game.(IIRC)

I want to be alone.
I want to be alone.
I want to be alone.
I want to be alone.
I want to be alone.
I want to be alone.
I want to be alone.

You will need to click on the words and QUICKLY press ALT-X.
But you'll have plenty of time to get it right..

If you bring her somewhere else, like Monitor, for example, you can
get her to join your party, but she drops dead after a few steps.
("Hey, this isn't the way to the mint!")

- Concussed Dragon

Following her resurrection in a cornfield in Monitor, Selina babbles mindlessly

The light's on but no-one's home

hen she changes tack and babbles more violently

Selina, what the Hell are you talking about?

After this she dies of a massive, psychosomatically-induced stigmata, which appears where Iolo had stabbed her earlier on.

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