Ultima 9: Dungeons From the Bob White Plot

Courtesy of Joe Garrity of the Origin Museum, and thanks to the hard work of both him and the team at the Wing Commander CIC, the Ultima Codex is pleased to present over one hundred (100) scanned pages of the actual “Bob White Plot” document. Regrettably, the entirety of the plot is not to be found here. What the good reader will find in this gallery, however, are detailed designs of each quest and plot link for almost every dungeon intended to be included in Ultima 9. There are even a few dungeons in the collection here that didn’t make it in to the released game!

This document was one of many discovered in the deep recesses of the Origin archives at Electornic Arts (BioWare Mythic), and was scanned during the Origin Archive Project done in the summer of 2008.

Download the documents:

Some additional details are worth including here.

The original plot of Ultima 9: Ascension — what is known to Ultima fans as the Bob White plot — was actually written, in the main, by Richard Garriott himself, along with Brian Martin and John Watson. Bob White provided polish and revisions to the plot later on, and is generally associated with it because he is the one who ultimately made knowledge of it public some years ago. Bits and pieces of the release version of Ultima 9 reflect this original plot and were included (and, in some cases, shoehorned) into the revised plot (which was crafted to be shorter and less complex).

The original plot told the story of a Britannia on the verge of civil war, due to the machinations of the Guardian and his henchman, Lord Blackthorn. As the Avatar journeys around Britannia trying to liberate the corrupted runes from the Guardian’s columns, and as he tries to do everything he can to stop the brewing civil war and reveal who is really behind it, the Guardian begins to poison Lord British’s dreams with corrupted images of the Avatar’s actions, making even the king doubt his champion’s intentions and goals.

The Avatar manages to stave off the civil war, by outing the advisor to the leader of each side in the brewing conflict to be Blackthorn in disguise. But as he does this, the Guardian again taunts Lord British, making the king fear that the Champion of Virtue intents to usurp the throne. Lacking support from the king, the Avatar builds up a force by other means (even enlisting the dragons of Destard to join in the fight), and attacks Terfin, the island the Guardian has claimed for his own whilst he corrupts Britannia. The Guardian is not found there, but Lord Blackthorn is; he is subsequently taken to Lord British, who orders him to be put to death.

The columns are revealed, by Hawkwind, to be primed and ready to destroy Britannia. Lord British orders that the Britannian people take refuge on the island of Skara Brae; the island is subsequently protected with the eight runes and the Ritual of Life, as Lord British and the Avatar journey to Stonegate to deal with the Guardian once and for all. They defeat his corporeal form in the tower, but Hawkwind reveals that the Guardian’s life force has been bound, inextricably, to that of Britannia; only by destroying the world can they destroy the Guardian. To that end, Lord British and the Avatar ascend to the top of Stonegate and cast the Ritual of Armageddon, destroying all of Britannia

…except for Skara Brae, which — protected by the runes and the Ritual of Life — floats off into space. Thus would have ended the Avatar’s story, Lord British’s story, and also Britannia’s story. In many respects, one gets the sense that this original plot was meant to either close the Ultima series for good or else pave the way for post-Britannia, post-Avatar, post-Lord British plots bearing the Ultima label.

Now, a few disclaimers.

These are scans of documents, saved in the JPEG format. The original PDFs are available for download.

Also, the images are quite large as resolution goes, though not overly large in terms of file size. Still, they may take a while to load when you click on them. Once you click on them, they will appear in a lightbox formatted to fit your monitor resolution; right-clicking on the lightbox and selecting “View Image” (a feature not available in all browsers) will take you to the full-resolution image.

Finally, enjoy. Pull up the images. Pore over them. Print them and mark them up. Pick apart every little detail you can, and see what you find. There are, I am sure, countless little gems hidden in these many pages. This is Ultima history at its finest, and the Ultima Codex is indebted to Joe Garrity, Electronic Arts, BioWare Mythic, BanditLOAF and the team at the Wing Commander CIC, Bob White, and everyone who worked at Origin for it.

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