Ultima Dragons FAQ v3.1 -- May 1, 1995
by Monomolecular Dragon
edited by Fallible Dragon
*Note:* This is an older version of the FAQ; the new one has not yet been converted to HTML. You can find an ASCII text version of the new one at http://wou.udic.org/~redjr/files/faq5.01.txt.
This FAQ contains information about the Ultima Dragons - Internet Chapter, an on-line club for and about Origin's Ultima series of computer role playing game. It also contains information about the alt.games.ultima.dragons newsgroup, as well as sources of Ultima-related information that can be found on the Internet. Technically, this FAQ is a guide and handbook for members of the Ultima Dragons, as well as a guide to netiquette on the alt.games.ultima.dragons newsgroup. There is no section of actual questions and answers for the games themselves, as this document was not designed to provide actual help on the Ultima games except in a most general way. Besides, answering specific questions about the games in this FAQ would more or less defeat the purpose of the Ultima Dragons. Therefore, a fair proportion of the questions are most likely devoted to answering queries about the Ultima Dragons' purpose, history, and the like, as well as that of the newsgroup.
This FAQ was written by Barry Ramirez (Monomolecular Dragon) and edited by William Herrin (Fallible Dragon) and is posted randomly to the alt.games.ultima.dragons newsgroup. It may also be obtained by emailing Mono at Monomolecular_Dragon@udic.org and asking for the UDIC FAQ. Note that this is not an automated service, but rather a real life person (at least, last time I checked). It may also be obtained from the Ultima Dragons FTP Archive, ftp://ftp.udic.org/pub/ud/udic/. A HTML version of this FAQ lives on the Ultima Dragons WWW homepage at http://www.udic.org/faq.html.
If there are any questions or you think you see a mistake or have something you think should be included in this FAQ, email Fallible. If it is pertinent, or if it has been suggested enough times as to warrant being called "frequent," chances are it will turn up in the next version of this FAQ. Enjoy! :)
0.0: MASTER CONTENTS AND GENERAL REVISIONS
1.0: THE ULTIMA DRAGONS AND ULTIMA DRAGONS - INTERNET CHAPTER
2.0: ALT.GAMES.ULTIMA.DRAGONS INFORMATION AND NETIQUETTE
3.0: GENERAL INFORMATION ON ULTIMA
4.0: INTERNET SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ULTIMA
5.0: OTHER THINGS THAT DIDN'T FIT ANYWHERE ELSE IN THIS FAQ EASILY
The Ultima Dragons are a club, a virtual club to be exact. A virtual club is defined as a group of people sharing a common interest who are part of an organization that is based on a computer network. Many of the members may never meet each other, and it's this anonymity that makes these clubs so popular.
The Ultima Dragons are composed of people around the world who share a common interest: Ultima. Though most of the members are, as of now, in the United States, there are members in Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, and Singapore (to name but a few).
The primary goal of the Ultima Dragons is to help other Ultima players with the games by providing assistance (plotwise or technical) to the Ultima gaming community at large. Along the same lines, a goal of the Ultima Dragons is to share experiences with and knowledge of the series with other players and Dragons-- which includes discussion, debate, hypothesizing, and the like.
Just as important a goal of the Dragons is to promote socialization among its members. One of the most notable characteristics of the Ultima Dragons has always been the sense of family (however dysfunctional it may be).
Yes and no. "Ultima Dragons" alone refers to the entire club, both past and present, and everything related to it. "Ultima Dragons - Internet Chapter" refers specifically to the club that exists on the Internet, but since there really isn't an Ultima Dragons - Prodigy Chapter (so to speak) any more, the plain "Ultima Dragons" is usually used to refer to both. Also correct is the abbreviation UDIC, which stands for the longer name.
The other difference is that the Internet version of the Dragons does not have the government or rank system that the Prodigy version had; this is but one of several such changes made to the club in the adaptation process.
Why, then, is it still called UDIC, when it really isn't a chapter of anything? That's a very good, still-unanswered question. Probably, the reason it hasn't been changed yet is that we've gotten used to calling it that already.
The main goal of the Ultima Dragons is to render a service to the Ultima-playing Internet community. This service mostly pertains to assisting other players through tough spots in the games; but also covers the discussions and debates about fine points in the games themselves, whether it be talking of the plots of the games, or wondering why something happened the way it did instead of some other way, or even the technical aspects of the Ultima series. This was also the prime motivator of the Prodigy Dragons for most of that club's existence (not counting GVT debates). In terms of assistance, the idea is that the Dragons read through Ultima-related cries to help on the newsgroup comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg and answer them to the best of their ability; although this is not specifically required, it is the general idea behind the club. Ultima questions posted to the alt.games.ultima.dragons newsgroup are also accepted.
The other, and in many respects just as equally important, goal of the Ultima Dragons is to bring together and form bonds of friendship between people from around the world who share Ultima as a common interest. In this respect, conversations about things other than Ultima are very likely to occur and, in most respects, encouraged. This will be detailed more in the section below on alt.games.ultima.dragons netiquette.
By September 1994, a very large number of Dragons had given up on Prodigy and written the Prodigy Dragons off as a lost cause. That month, it was discovered that some Dragons had Internet email addresses, and knew someone that knew someone else's address, and so on... the upshot being that, in the space of roughly a week, about two dozen Dragons had been reunited from across the United States.
Two of these Dragons, Ethereal Dragon (Stephen Brindle) and Gold Dragon (Doug Ricket, the creator of the original club), had been idly discussing the possibility of making an Internet version of the Dragons for quite some time. Ethereal was the one gracious enough to actually provide the utilities for it to become possible. The result was Ultima Dragons - Internet Chapter (at the time, the Prodigy club still existed, if only marginally). Ethereal was responsible for proposing and then creating the alt.games.ultima.dragons Usenet newsgroup, as well as the first Dragons FTP site.
It must be noted that, shortly after the creation of UDIC, the original Prodigy club voted to abolish their governing body, and (save for a few die-hard Dragons) was allowed to die.
If you can, fill out the WWW form. Its at: <http://www.udic.org/join.html> It'll ask all the right questions and make sure its delivered to the proper place.
If you can't access the WWW directly but you can telnet, then telnet to info.funet.fi and log in as www. You can use that to access the above URL.
If you can't do any of this but you can send email then send email to email@example.com. Include your chosen dragon name (__ Dragon) your email address, your real name, which Ultimas you've played and anything else you feel like sending. This'll deliver it as well.
Where does this actually get delivered? Well, right now either of these actions sends email to Rainbow Dragon and Fallible Dragon. Fallible picks out the finger and WWW home page information to update the web page. Rainbow checks your dragon name against the roster. If it doesn't conflict with anyone else, he adds it and forwards it on to one of several other dragons who send you a message saying "hi, welcome to the club". If it does conflict, he lets you know and asks for you to send him a new name.
The most basic membership information needed is that you must have played an Ultima enough to have some base of knowledge on it, and the willingness to help other people. The other requirement is that you need to pick a name in the format ________ Dragon, where the space can be just about anything you think sounds cool or fitting to your personality. For example, in the old club, there was a Rendell Dragon, a Lady Dragon, an Obsidian Dragon, a Whisper Dragon, and a Cathartic Bloodspree Dragon; in the new club, there are names like SwiftHeart, Ancient Balance, Parenthetical, and Seinentai Dragon. And just ask someone if they can join.
You will be then given a copy of this FAQ for your very own (ooh), a little rundown on what the Dragons do (depending on the person giving it), and told to use the symbol -==(UDIC)==- underneath your Dragon name to denote membership. Some Dragons have taken to altering their .signature files in some way to advertise their membership; while not required, it's a neat thing to do. Look around on alt.games.ultima.dragons for some ideas. Then, just jump right in. :)
Just stop on by alt.games.ultima.dragons and say hello and reintroduce yourself and all that nice stuff. :) Also, email Rapier Dragon at firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know you're back so he can add you to the memberlist.
Failing this, email Ethereal Dragon at email@example.com and introduce yourself there, and see if he can't put you in touch with the rest of us. :)
We read notes from a.g.u.d. :) But seriously. Other than the help and discussion aspects on both that newsgroup and comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg, many Dragons like to converge on Undernet IRC to chat (see section 1.8).
Many of us also tend to have Ultima-related hobbies in real life as well. A few of us write Ultima stories in our spare time (as a hobby). At least one Dragon has taken up playing Ultima songs on his mandolin.
Many Dragons (the actual number varies from time to time) often flock to the Undernet IRC every night to hang out and talk and kill time, or to argue (wide grin to all the fellow IRCers). The channel is 'officially' (not as if it matters) open at 9:00 P.M. Eastern time Friday through Sunday on Undernet IRC channel #udic. However, in recent months there has been activity on every night of the week, generally starting at around 6:30 P.M. Eastern. These chats have a tendency to last well into the morning, until the participants leave out of sheer fatigue. On Prodigy, something similar used to occur; the participants would exchange email and public messages until the system closed for the night. This was known as 'Nighthawking.' It would appear that this tendency is inherent to all Dragons...
To access the chat, one must have either an IRC client installed or access to one. If there is no client on your system, consider installing one. For users with UNIX-based systems with 2.5 megs free in their account, and the permission to do such, a self-compiling IRC client can be installed by typing the command: "telnet sci.dixie.edu 1 | sh" at the UNIX prompt.
Once in IRC, you MUST switch your server to one on the Undernet system using the /server command. A list of Undernet servers follows:
austin.tx.us.undernet.org 127.83.108.32 Texas davis.ca.us.undernet.org 126.96.36.199 California manhattan.ks.us.undernet.org 188.8.131.52 Kansas milwaukee.wi.us.undernet.org 184.108.40.206 Wisconsin norman.ok.us.undernet.org 220.127.116.11 Oklahoma sanjose.ca.us.undernet.org 18.104.22.168 California rochester.mi.us.undernet.org 22.214.171.124 Missouri stgeorge.ut.us.undernet.org 126.96.36.199 Utah tampa.fl.us.undernet.org 188.8.131.52 Florida washington.dc.us.undernet.org 184.108.40.206 Washington, DC caen.fr.eu.undernet.org 220.127.116.11 France delft.nl.eu.undernet.org 18.104.22.168 Netherlands delft2.nl.eu.undernet.org gothenburg.se.eu.undernet.org 22.214.171.124 Sweden lausanne.ch.eu.undernet.org 126.96.36.199 Switzerland ljubljana.si.eu.undernet.org 188.8.131.52 Slovenia oslo.no.eu.undernet.org 184.108.40.206 Norway oxford.uk.eu.undernet.org 220.127.116.11 United Kingdom paderborn.de.eu.undernet.org 18.104.22.168 Germany santiago.cl.underet.org 22.214.171.124 Chile wollongong.nsw.au.undernet.org 126.96.36.199 Australia akl.nz.us.undernet.org 188.8.131.52 New Zealand montreal.qu.ca.undernet.org 184.108.40.206 Quebec
[All servers are port 6667 unless otherwise noted.]
For those with no IRC client and no means to acquire one, it is possible to telnet to one of several public-access IRC clients. Note that these sites all have a maximum limit of 15 connected to each address (usually, though, that's more than enough). If one is full, simply connect to another one. If your system has identd installed, the site will know to put your real email address next to your name. The most recent list of these sites follows:
wildcat.ecn.uoknor.edu 7766 wildcat.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677 bearcat.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677 corsair.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677 skyhawk.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677 skywarrior.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677 intruder.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677 demon.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677 devastator.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677 cougar.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677 prowler.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677 crusader.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677 tiger.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677 fury.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677 vigilanti.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677 panther.ecn.uoknor.edu 6677
Note that it is CRUCIAL that you enter the port number. (Note that on a VAX system, the format for the command is telnet <wherever> /PORT=<whatever>) Once connected, the command /join #udic will take you to the channel. The /nick <whatever> command may be used to change your displayed name. Anything you type that is not preceded by a / will be sent to the channel for all to read; therefore, to send someone a private message, use the command /msg <whoever> <message>. To perform a MUD-style emote or action, use the command /me <does whatever>. And, to leave, just /signoff. Feel free to ask anyone else on the channel for help.
This newsgroup is a forum created by and for Ultima fans to talk about their favorite game, as well as socialize and increase their own personal community of friends. Gamers seeking help with the games may also ask questions here with a fairly good chance of getting them answered (sometimes in ridiculous detail) within a very short time. Alt.games.ultima.dragons also serves as the "home base" of the Ultima Dragons - Internet Chapter, and the prime hangout of many of them.
Sure! Just because the newsgroup name has the word Dragons in it doesn't necessarily mean we're exclusionist, or that anybody who posts there must join our club. The Dragons (who created the newsgroup) welcome anybody in the community of Ultima gamers to simply drop by and join an ongoing discussion or create a new thread, or just chat. In fact, non-member participation is encouraged in a.g.u.d (or, should be); the more Ultima fans there, the merrier, even if they aren't Dragons.
A definite yes. On the "hey, that's neat!" side, two Dragons have been lucky enough to have been featured in Ultima games over the years. Arbuthnot Dragon (William Jensen) was featured in _Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny_, as well as mentioned in the guidebook for _Ultima Underworld I: The Stygian Abyss_ as being the original bearer of the Ring of Humility. In a more visual appearance, Umbrae Dragon's (Jim Hammons) likeness was used in _Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle_ as the face of Ensorcio, the mage in Sleeping Bull.
On the "wow, this is really cool!" side, a small handful of current and ex-ORIGIN staff participate on alt.games.ultima.dragons from time to time. Brian Martin, who is on the design team for _Ultima IX_, used the group at one time for creative feedback in the creation of that game, and continues to monitor it for the opinions of the posters as to what constitutes the proverbial good Ultima game. Bill Armintrout, whose name should be familiar enough to any Ultima player who is in the habit of reading the credits for previous Ultima games, also participates from time to time; he no longer is involved with the production of Ultima, but is very knowledgeable on the making of and reasoning behind the making of several earlier Ultimas. Dr. Cat, who no longer works for ORIGIN but is a very familiar personage (especially if you have played _Ultima VI: The False Prophet_, also shows up from time to time. His current project is a graphical MUD known as DragonSpires, which he is working on along with several other former ORIGIN employees. The MUD is for PCs, and requires a special client that is available for FTP at ftp://ftp.eden.com/pub/dspire/.
This is the technical netiquette section of this FAQ. Agud follows the standard usenet nettiquette conventions. Basically, there are some common sense ones, however; flame wars (while they have a nasty habit to spring up in any concentration of Ultima Dragons members) waste more energy and bandwidth than is necessary, and also has the incredibly efficient ability of proving the immaturity of the participants. So-called "nasty language," while not precisely prohibited (this is, after all, an unmoderated newsgroup), is also somewhat unnecessary, as a few participants have young children who like to read this group as well. Generally, if it's not something you would say in a decent restaurant at a largish table with a group of your friends and some of their friends, don't say it here. If only to make it a pleasant place to hang out and converse.
This section pertains to those who can telnet but whose news boxes don't get a.g.u.d for whatever reason. If you have a WWW client, true, you can often access newsgroups that way, but usually the news URLs (in the format news:name.of.group) point the client to your local news machine, and if you don't get the group in the first place... you get the idea. It used to be true that one could telnet to library.wustl.edu and use the public Lynx browser there to read Usenet news, including the alt.games.ultima.dragons newsgroup; sadly, however, this is no longer the case.
There is a definite workaround for posting -to- the newsgroup, however. It is slow sometimes, and somewhat unreliable from time to time, but is really better than nothing.
The email will go to a mail-to-news gateway, and hopefully show up in the newsgroup within a short amount of time.
Another method, recommended for those also with telnet and willing to send mail to Cleveland, Ohio, USA, is the Cleveland Freenet. CFn allows reading and posting to Usenet newsgroups (over 6000 of them) from there. Email Monomolecular Dragon at Monomolecular_Dragon@udic.org for more information.
Well, since one of the other main missions of the Dragons (and therefore, the newsgroup) is the promotion of socialization and the "getting-to-know-each-other" bit, it's perfectly acceptable. Most people try to strike a fair balance between Ultima-related and non-Ultima-related posts, though, but discussions about topics as diverse (and odd) as spheres, Cinnabons, and Enya.
(by Rak Dragon)
And there [is] (supposed) to be more to this club than Ultima. If you just wanted a purely Ultima group, then go create comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg.ultima. What I am trying to say that [sic]this group is a society. The fact that every post is not Ultima - related (or even the great majority) is not bad... This club goes beyond Ultima...
Back in ancient Sosaria, Mondain had a twin brother Bernie. Bernie's greatest accomplishment was the creation of the Gem of Spam which, when it was accidentally shattered by the Stranger (who was on his way to Mondain's Apartment o' Doom) really smelled and looked icky. But later, when Perrier was accidentally spilt on the squishy mess that had once been Spam but was now... well, bits of Spam... a utterly pointless and uninteresting yet obviously real machine known as the Bizarre-o-tron was born. This machine was somehow forced into the Ethereal Void, where it pumps out waves of weirdness all across the Sub-Etha, including the Internet. Hence, the weird people on alt.games.ultima.dragons.
See? Actually, it seems that due to the diversity of views and hobbies of the Dragons (and other participants), everyone has some sort of bent world view that, when applied in the social context of the newsgroup, just makes things real nice and fun. A lot see this newsgroup as a way to unwind with friends; naturally, such situations tend to lead to frivolity and goofing off.
Ultima is the name of a tremendously successful series of computer role playing games by ORIGIN/Electronic Arts. The series began in 1980 with the eponymous first game, conceived and written by Richard Garriot and published by California Pacific. Since then, there have been twelve additional games in the series and two add-on disks. But then, if you're reading this FAQ, you must have -some- clue what Ultima is. :)
Ultima is a product of ORIGIN Systems, Inc., an Electronic Arts Company, based in Austin, Texas (USA). The series was created by Richard Garriot in 1980 with the release of the game "Ultima" for the Apple computer by California Pacific. Because California Pacific went out of business in 1981, Sierra On-Line published "Ultima ][: Revenge of the Enchantress" in 1982. Following the success of those two games, Richard, his brother Robert, his father Owen, and Chuck Bueche formed ORIGIN Systems, Inc. in 1983. Following the release of "Ultima VI: The False Prophet" in 1990, ORIGIN became affiliated with Electronic Arts; however, Richard Garriot remains the chief evil genius behind the Ultima line. ORIGIN is also responsible for the tremendously successful "Wing Commander" series.
In the first Ultima, you had to stop the evil wizard Mondain from completely overrunning the four continents of the planet Sosaria and end his reign of terror. In the sequel, you had to travel through several periods of time to find Mondain's child bride and prodigy Minax and undo the destruction she did to Earth. Ultima ]I[: Exodus takes place on Sosaria again. This time, you and a party of adventurers must find and defeat Exodus, Mondain and Minax's offspring, and restore peace to Sosaria. These first three games are often referred to as the First Trilogy, or the Triad of Evil.
In Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar, Lord British has united Sosaria, which changes it's name to Britannia in celebration. You are called back at the behest of Lord British to recover the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom, and in doing so become the Avatar, the embodiment of Virtue, as well as Britannia's moral role model. In Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny, Lord British has been captured and a tyrant has assumed the throne. You must defeat the true evil behind Lord Blackthorn, rescue Lord British, and return him to his rightful throne. In Ultima VI: The False Prophet, Britannia has been overrun by Gargoyles, who have captured the Shrines of the Virtues. You, as the Avatar, must discover the reason behind the attacks and put an end to them. These three games are sometimes referred to as the Second Trilogy.
Ultima VII: The Black Gate takes place 200 years after Ultima VI. Mysterious murders have been happening in Britannia, and a new organization, The Fellowship, seems to be at fault. Plus, the Avatar must solve the mystery of the Guardian, a mystery that could destroy Britannia. The add-on disk for Ultima VII, Forge of Virtue, sends the Avatar on a quest to the Isle of Fire to learn the meaning of Truth, Love, and Courage, the three great Principles of Britannia. The story continues in Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle, a stand-alone game that finds the Avatar and company sent to a mythical lost country to track down Batlin, the head of The Fellowship, and also discover the Guardian's plans. In the process, the Avatar must unlock the secrets of that land and restore Balance to it. An add-on disk for U7-2, Silver Seed, sends the Avatar back in time to the middle of the war between the armies of Chaos and Order. Like Forge of Virtue, this add-on disk builds the Avatar's stats up and gives him really nifty items.
Indirectly, this story continues in Ultima VIII: Pagan, the most recent installment of Ultima. The Guardian has deposited the Avatar alone on a dying world dominated by four great Titans. Against all cost, the Avatar must defeat the Titans and escape Pagan to stop the Guardian's plan to take over Britannia.
These eight games form the core storyline of Ultima. There are, however, four other games in the line. The first two were produced by LookingGlass Technologies, and feature a virtual-reality type interface. The first of these, Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss, sends the Avatar deep into the heart of a volcano to rescue a princess and stop an evil mage. The second one takes place between U7-1 and U7-2. In Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds, the Guardian has encased Castle British in a mysterious Blackrock gem, and it is up to the Avatar to travel deep underground in search of a way to destroy it. The other two Ultimas are the "Worlds of Ultima" series, consisting of Worlds of Ultima: Savage Empire and Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams. These games are separate from the Sosaria/Britannia stories.
(by Fire Dragon)
Savage Empire: The Avatar went to the lab of his friend, who just happens to be a scientist. Anyway, something happens, and they get blown back in time/space, to a place where all sorts of dinosaurs & pre-historic men lived. The A's goal is to make it back to his home time/place.
Martian Dreams: The big A goes back in time at the request of a woman. He ends up in the 19th century, and gets rocketed to Mars to rescue an expedition. He discovers these things called "dream machines", where Martians have decided to stay for their own safety, due to pestilence that the foul Raxachk (I think that's his name) has unleashed on Mars. You also have to free major players of the Victorian era (Nellie Bly, Mark Twain, Louis Tiffany, etc. etc.).
Your local software retailer would be your best bet for the most recent Ultima release (as well as other fine ORIGIN titles). ORIGIN has also released a CD-ROM containing Ultimas I-VI, a CD-ROM containing the complete Ultima VII, and an Ultima VIII CD-ROM collection. In addition, one of the Ultima Underworlds is available on CD-ROM bundled with Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi. Usually, these CD-ROMs exist as delivery material only; that is, the software must still be installed to the hard drive before playing. These titles may also be ordered direct from ORIGIN. All games are IBM compatible only; even though the original games were on the Apple, there are no games currently for the Macintosh (and no immediate plans for any, either). The general price range for these games is between $30 and $50 US, although some have reported seeing Ultima VIII for a low as $12. There are also Nintendo and Super Nintendo editions of Ultima, as well as the Game Boy Ultima: Runes of Virtue. General consensus in the Ultima community is that the computer versions are overall much better, however.
- The current location of this archive is at the URL: ftp://ftp.udic.org/pub/ud/
The Ultima Dragons FTP Archive contains roughly ten megabytes of Ultima reviews, some pictures of the ORIGIN staff, MIDI format music excerpts from the games, and (yes), walkthroughs. In addition, there is a directory devoted to the Ultima Dragons itself; this FAQ is stored there. The Archive is currently maintained by Fallible Dragon; address all questions to him.
- A slightly smaller archive (whose contents are mirrored above) is on: ftp://sneezy.caltech.edu/pub/ud/
- Origin's FTP site is on: ftp://ftp.ea.com/pub/
- Patches for many games (including, I'm told, Ultima) can be found at: ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/.14/dresden/games/patches/
- Not really Ultima-related, but cool in itself, is a
repository of dragonish art, stories, and poetry at: ftp://icecube.acf-lab.alaska.edu/pub/dragons/
This is included simply because dragons, of any kind, are inherently cool. :)
- Fallible Dragon created an Ultima WWW archive at:
and it contains links to other Ultima-related sources of information, as well as the home pages of several Dragons. Fallible also has the maps for the Ultimas digitized at this location.
- Origin systems maintains a home page at: http://www.ea.com/osi.html
- The Ultima MIDI soundtrack files are available at:
[If there are more locations (I lack the patience to perform a WWW search), by all means send them to Monomolecular_Dragon@udic.org]
Most obviously, there is the comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg newsgroup, and to a lesser extent, comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.adventure.
[At the time of this release (3.0), there was not any other information available to the author. In particular, gopher holes would be appreciated.]
- At the same location as the Ultima homepage (see section 4.3), Fallible Dragon has placed a HTML version of this FAQ in the UDIC homepage. It lives at:
Also located here is the UDIC WWW homepage, which contains a link to this FAQ, and is accessible from Fallible's Ultima page (and vice-versa, I assume). The precise URL for the UDIC page is:
Monomolecular Dragon, aka Barry Ramirez, joined the Prodigy Dragons on February 17, 1993, after completing U7-1. In very late June 1993 he was nominated and elected to Grand Council, a seat which he stubbornly held until that club's demise in September 1994. He is the madman responsible for Operation Blue Duck (even if the name was not his idea). He also writes in his spare time, and his only really completed story, "Ultima: Core of Darkness", was posted in installments on Prodigy during Spring 1993. He is currently, among other things, attempting to write a sequel to that story. He lives in Germantown, Maryland, USA.
Fallible Dragon, aka William Herrin, joined the UDIC in September 1994. He has played all the Ultiamas available for the PC and won all but Savage Empire and Martian Dreams. He runs the Ultima WWW Info page, the Ultima Dragons WWW home page, and the Ultima Dragons FTP site. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia, USA.
The most recent edition of the old FAQ was dated November 28, 1994. For all purposes and intents that old FAQ is being considered the Version 1.0 FAQ, even if it had suffered whatever updates (there was at least one to it). The first edition of the new FAQ is numbered Version 2.0, and this sequence will hopefully be followed for as long as someone is doing the FAQ. As expected, the number after the decimal will be increased with each minor revision or correction or contribution (but -not- with each posting) and the number before the decimal will change with each major new release; i.e., with a new section, or completely rewritten section, or change in format, or whatever.
For reference, this FAQ was generally patterned after Michael Wang's "Internet PC Games FAQ;" the general format was used in the writing of Version 2.0 of this document because Barry really has no clue how a FAQ should be organized.
Version 2.0 was finished on December 30, 1994, and released on
the same day.
Version 2.1 was finished on January 13, 1995 but never posted.
Version 2.11 was a last-minute on-Line revision of V2.1, done on January 15, 1995, shortly before posting to alt.games.ultima.dragons.
Version 3.0 was a complete redraft and reorganization, finished on February 13, 1995, and posted the same day.
Version 3.1 was converted to HTML and updated by Fallible Dragon on May 1, 1995.
This lingo is rather foreign to most members of the net, and rightfully so: it is personal and obsolete. The newer, hipper crowd of Dragons will probably not use these sayings, but you may catch a few old timers spitting them out like they were tiny seeds harvested in rich soil, warmed by the nurturing sun and cool spring rains, blossoming into beautiful trees...Well, enough of that poetic crap. Let's cut to the chase.
No more public replies. The software on Prodigy would blast you with this not very friendly message if you tried to post publicly to a note that was scheduled for deletion, whatever the reason may have been. When starting a new note but staying on the same topic, Dragons would prefix the note with the line, "Damn! I got NMPRed! Anyway, as I was saying...", or something to that effect.
Junk post. A junk post is defined as a useless waste of net bandwidth that serves no purpose. They can be pretty fun, actually. JPs come in many varieties: ramblings, meaningless lists, and just plain silly.
I admit, I made this one up on my own. But don't you agree that it should be a part of our extended Dragon vocabulary? Anyway, Anadak Dragon, once in a fit of boredom from being home sick from school as well as being frustrated that he had not been promoted, posted over a hundred short and pointless notes in under half an hour. The notes were incredibly wasteful of bandwidth and cluttered up the subjects for many hours thereafter, and at that time Prodigy had not yet implemented twit lists. So, Anadaking (or any variant thereof) is posting a large number of unnecessary notes with no content.
- :*, B), &, etc.
Many Dragons had ASCII symbols that, over the months (or maybe years), had become instantly associated with them. :* was Whisper's kiss, as she has a certain fondness of putting kisses in her messages. B) was Sun's symbol; sunglasses, natch. The & is Umbrae's symbol, and I have no clue what -that- is supposed to represent...
- G@C, GC, GVT
All three of these acronyms are shorthand for the Grand Council, but GVT encompasses the Grand Council and all the circle leaders and honor circle members. Since we have no circle system anymore, it is useless to explain it in this FAQ. If you really want to know, ask one of the old Dragons.
- Any strange 2 or 3 letter word that is used when referring
to another member
It's tiresome to write out Dragon names again and again, especially when you are referring to Monomolecular Dragon or Demented Cheez Wiz Dragon. Therefore, nicknames are quickly developed. Some examples include Beo (for Beowolf), Chammy (for Chameleon), DV (for Dark Vengeance), Eth (for Ethereal), Mono (for Monomolecular), etc. And then, of course, there are nicknames that are just as long as the regular names, but slightly less formal, like Whispie (for Whisper). Share your nickname with the Dragon crowd.
- UG/Lair (by Fire Dragon)
"UnderGround", which was a way to circumvent *P* board access times & E-mail costs. The originator would set aside a spare ID I.E. MVJP37A would open up MVJP37D for use (MVJP37B being my original ID... oh, how long ago, when that shit network was worth something.) by himself and several other people. He would give the ID & p-word, and several users would use the account. Instead of sending an e-mail to an actual ID, in the "TO:" field, one would put "Hey, Cathartic,", and write 6 pages of their message. *P* then flagged the term UG from then on...
[These became known as Lairs after Prodigy started deleting -any- message containing the letters U and G next to each other. A -lot- of things happened on these lairs.]
Operation Blue Duck, a conspiracy that it just too complicated to explain in short order. Maybe we'll get one of the members to write a complete thesis on it which we can store at the FTP site.
- Skyblade's Wet Noodle Of Death
Um... this is a product of Skyblade Dragon, plain and simple...
I tried to be more or less accurate with this. Any mistakes included are due simply to the sketchiness level of the notes I was working off of. In keeping this list as brief as possible, many crucial events seem to have been downplayed or ignored. This, however, is intended to be only a general overview of the history of the Dragons. I am, theoretically, working on a longer history file which will cover these events in as much detail as my notes allow.
1990 - Prehistory (before anything cool was happening)
1991 - First Era(the birth of Ultima clubs)
- Evil Avatars (EAs) and Guppes (Good Ultima Players Pounding Evil Slime, by some accounts) formed on Prodigy (founders and date uncertain)
- Guppes change name to PVLBs (Protectors of Virtue and Lord British)
- "Operation Morleycide:" Personal conflict between two EAs leads to one (Morley) creating Warriors of Tyranny. The EAs flame WOT into submission.
1992 - Second Era (the creation and growth of the Ultima Dragons)
- Prodigy revamps bulletin boards, loosening restrictions on posting
- Knights of Anarchy founded by Vargo (friend of Morley). EAs begin similar actions as Operation Morleycide.
- Players of Ultima For Fun (PUFF) formed by Doug Ricket (February 27, 1992)
- Following a taunt by Scorpion (an EA, the phrase was "PUFF the Magic Dragon"), Doug Ricket renames PUFF to Ultima Dragons.
- Gold Dragon (Ricket) invents Dragon government system (the Grand Council).
- Dragon member roster begins building to the total 200-300 members it would eventually have at one point.
- After being personally hurt by miscommunication, Copper Dragon begins creation of various Dragon policies and ranks with the end result of him having access to and some control of the Dragon GVT for long stretches at a time.
- "United Clubs of Ultima:" proposed by a group of Dragons and EAs to unite the various Ultima clubs on Prodigy into one unit. Did not pass in EA voting, passed in Dragons. Later learned the vote was rigged *pro* UCU in the Eas.
- Copper Dragon continues revenge against current Grand Council. Eventually, his membership is suspended.
- Evil Avatars and PVLBs begin to fade from the political limelight.
- "Aaron:" Aaron forms clubs with names similar to the other clubs. Several Dragons band together and harass him for this. Aaron retaliates by initiating a flame war. He would revive his grudge at frequent intervals over the next two years, including one (so far) stint in UDIC.
- "The Exodus:" The entire Dragon Grand Council abdicates, leaving power vacuum. Several Dragons elect themselves to fill the space and try to rebuild the club. Rules of operation (the "Tomb") codified.
1993 - Third Era (the Dragons' dominance and inner corruption).
- "Sylvan's Snowball Fight:" Turmoil of the Exodus and GVT rebuild continues. Sylvan Dragon starts a virtual 'snowball fight' as a (rather successful, if only briefly) diversion.
- "Matrix:" more of the same flame wars that became in Dragon vogue. I don't remember much of this one, actually.
- "Chammy's Convention:" During a Dragon convention at Chameleon Dragon's house, someone posts notes harassing Whisper Dragon. End result is further instability in the GVT, including the impeachment of Spectacle Dragon and the eventual resignation of Aiel Dragon.
- Prodigy, in an attempt to recover from losses, raises prices. This forces a large number of old-core Dragons to leave.
- "Operation Blue Duck:" Copper Dragon, still holding to his grudge, enlists Dark Vengeance to try to cause major political change in the Dragons. Dark Vengeance brings in several other dragons, with his own agenda being the political and emotional humiliation of Whisper Dragon. Copper backs out and tells Whisper. Using this information, the Grand Council, over the space of a week, gathers enough evidence of the conspiracy to force it public. The aftershocks keep things pretty ugly for most of the rest of the Prodigy Dragons' existence.
- Storm Dragon attempts to create Ultima Dragons - Florida Chapter. This does not go over well with certain other Dragons, due to Storm's involvement in Blue Duck.
- Also in 1993 there were several virtual Dragon marriages: Rendell Dragon to Iridescent Dragon; Lady Dragon to Aiel Dragon; Sylvan Dragon to Ebony Dragon; and Grignard Dragon to Whisper Dragon.
1994 - Fourth Era (The fall of the Prodigy Dragons and the birth of UDIC)
- Dragons member roster falls to roughly a dozen members, many without direct Prodigy access.
- Many Dragons begin discovering that they all have some form of Internet access. Within the space of a couple of weeks 24 Dragons are reunited.
- Ultima Dragons - Internet Chapter formed by Stephen Brindle and Doug Ricket (August 1994)
- Prodigy Dragons finally vote to abolish government, effectively marking the death of that club.
- Decision made to have UDIC remain government-free.
- USENET newsgroup alt.games.ultima.dragons created to continue the original tradition of the old club, that of helping Ultima players. First international members. Member roster, counting infrequent posters, jumps to 60+ members in the space of a week.
- ORIGIN design team representatives suddenly and wonderfully appear in the newsgroup.
- Aaron returns...
1995 - Fifth Era (continued expansion of UDIC ???)
- Another virtual Dragon marriage, between Monomolecular Dragon and his RL girlfriend Kitten (Kittydwagon).
- Greeting team formed by Fallible Dragon to welcome new members and manage the member roster (May 1995).
The Ultima Dragons used to exist completely on Prodigy, between its inception in early 1992 and early Fall 1994. Before July 1993, Prodigy's price schedule was such that clubs like the Dragons were possible. When Prodigy decided to raise prices and adopt an hourly charge for bulletin board usage in July 1993 (much to the outraged protest of the board users), it became financially difficult for many members to participate, and the membership practically halved overnight. Those that could stay did so only with great difficulty.
Many older Dragons (that is, pre-UDIC Dragons) are still angry at Prodigy because so many good Dragons (and friends) were lost at that time. With such a sense of family that the Dragons had (and have), the event was akin to losing a close friend or loved one. There are other reasons for the hatred, but this is the main one.
The clearest definition that anyone can hope to use to describe the Prodigy club is that of a dysfunctional family full of sibling rivalry. It rivaled even some TV soap operas in terms of viciousness and inter-personal conflict. This mood was a result of the combination of members leaving due to price hikes, a series of problems with mismanagement, real life problems, and the general bitter attitude most Prodigy clubs had (or have). If one were to talk to an old member and ask about government intrigue, conspiracies, and bashing, the response would most likely be angered and full of bitterness at the memories.
Paradoxically, however, the Prodigy Dragons were still a family, or at the very least mostly a tightly-knit group of friends. Dragon Conventions were held every so often in various locations. These rather fun events allowed members to meet each other face to face, get to know each other better, and raid each other's refrigerators. In fact, the bonds of friendship that formed were often so strong that at least four Dragons, two couples, fell in love and were married in real life. Just as paradoxically, many an old Dragon is likely to speak of the fun times in Vinnie's Pizza or the Drunken Stupor (pub-type things on Prodigy created by a few of the dominant Ultima clubs), or of diving from a sailboat at a Convention, or reading the notes that just made us laugh.
Many members of the time, though, will describe the Prodigy Dragons in only two words: sheer hell.
GVT is shorthand for government, and refers to the system the Prodigy Dragons used to keep track of members and such. On Prodigy, it was not uncommon for clubs like the Dragons to have a form of government, with ranks and stuff like that. The system worked fairly well for a while, but was rife with scandal and crises and insult and vendetta and grudge, and affected many of the members in a very negative manner. Many Dragons quit because of or due to their experiences with the GVT; the majority of Dragons who survived the GVT scandals and pessimism to form UDIC still loathe the concept of having another GVT system. Luckily for it, the Prodigy Dragons officially abolished their GVT in a unanimous vote in September 1994, but since there were only a literal handful of members still there, it wasn't as difficult as it had been in the past.
The anti-GVT sentiment is echoed by a lot of newer members who, although had never born witness to the perpetual headache that was the GVT, have been long- time Internet citizens and naturally tend to be aversive to governing systems in general.
The reason it is still such a hot topic is a debate between those that see a need for a committee of some sort to oversee the mundane aspects of the club (the member list, processing new members, FTP site and FAQ maintenance, etc.) and those that are, for whatever reason, opposed to such a system for any reason.
This will quite likely take some time, so feel free to skip on through unless you're real interested. Only some of the most talked about stuff is mentioned here.
It has been mentioned that, in addition to Ultima help, politics also played a large role in the Dragons (and indeed, in the other Ultima clubs on Prodigy). In mid- to late-1992, there was a proposal called UCU, which was short for United Clubs of Ultima. It would unify all the Ultima clubs on Prodigy into one single unit. The two big players in UCU were the Dragons and the Evil Avatars (an interesting story in themselves). Operating behind the scenes was a group of people who were conspiring to rig the vote in favor of passage of UCU. Initially, in the Dragons, the Grand Council (the government) was against UCU, but when it came time to vote, it passed. In the Evil Avatars, the Triumvirate (the EA government) and EA members voted and rejected the UCU plan. It was discovered some time later that there was a group of both Eas and Dragons who had attempted to rig the vote, and that this group had gained uninvited access to the private conversation rooms of the respective club governments.
After news of this conspiracy broke, a chain of events was set in on both sides that would lead to, in November 1992, the entire Ultima Dragons Grand Council simultaneously stepping down and leaving to form their own club, Township. Aiel Dragon, Gremlin Dragon, and several others rushed to fill the sudden power vacuum and attempt to rebuild what had suddenly shattered. This event was known as the Exodus, and is widely regarded as one of the causes of the Prodigy Dragons' eventual destruction: after it, no clear decisions on how to rebuild the Dragons could be made, and the subsequent flame wars weakened both the Dragons and the members therein.
Operation Blue Duck represents the government idiocy taken to an extreme, and happens at the other end of the timeline from UCU and the Exodus (and, incidentally, can be shown to be a result of both). Very briefly, a group of Dragons and a non-Dragon tried to rig a Grand Council election in September 1993, to prevent Whisper Dragon (Tina Haumersen, who had long been a favored target, and unfairly so, of several Dragons for flamage) from gaining the open seat and, hopefully, to have her kicked out from the Dragons entirely. In response, the Grand Council and several other Dragons government members planned and executed Operation Blue Duck (the name is just one of those odd things) to forestall this coup. The conspirators were revealed and, were it not for the fact that the Prodigy Dragons were already on a terminal downslide at this point in time, everybody lived more or less dysfunctional ever after. (More information can be obtained from the author of this FAQ by email, as Monomolecular Dragon was the one who planned Blue Duck to begin with and is more or less the definitive source on what happened.)
Due to the absence of a government, these rules can not be stressed. They have bled over from our Prodigy days, where they were sort of the golden rules of the club. A constitution was written there, but it has not been, and probably won't be, enacted in UDIC.
These moral standards were practically forced on us, to be exact. Prodigy had (has?) a very strict policy of what you could and could not post. So, all the members of the club had to get into the habit of not swearing and not bashing other people. Along with that, proper netiquette, which you should be following anyway, is pretty much the basis for these morals.
- In order to join the club, a person must have played (not completed) at least 1 Ultima on any platform.
- When talking with other members, and especially when posting notes in the newsgroup, stay away from "heavy" topics like abortion, religion, etc. At least, you CAN, but just do it via e-mail. And don't come whining if you completely destroy your friendship with that Dragon.
- Respect ALL members of the club, regardless of the real life lives they lead.
- Try to answer peoples' Ultima questions in comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg. Even answering one question a week is better than answering none at all.
- Your level of participation in the club is a personal decision, but you will generally be more liked and you will like the club more if you post in our newsgroup, help others with their Ultima queries, send any interesting Ultima related files you think should be up on the FTP site to Ethereal Dragon, and try to come to at least ONE IRC chat party. [See Section 1.8 for more information on the IRC chats.]
- Most importantly, HAVE FUN!
Thanks go to Ethereal Dragon for writing the first version of this FAQ, and therefore for some of the material within. Special thanks to both him and Gold for whatever flash of inspiration that motivated them to create the new Dragons and give us a home once more.
Thanks must also go to the contributors; I apologize sincerely if I've left your name off, but I don't have the best of memories and my computer area could qualify for Federal Disaster Relief...
Monomolecular Dragon/Barry Ramirez (Monomolecular_Dragon@udic.org)
Ethereal Dragon/Stephen Brindle (firstname.lastname@example.org) [former FAQ maintainer]
Rak Dragon/Ian Westcott (email@example.com)
Seinentai Dragon/Teri Takamoto (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fallible Dragon/William Herrin (Fallible_Dragon@udic.org) [editor]
Fire Dragon/Tim Read (email@example.com)
This FAQ is presented with no warranties or guarantees of any kind. I have attempted to verify correctness of most of the data contained in this document. I make no guarantees about it, though. Mostly due to the very ephemeral nature of some net.resources.