Avatar (Ultima)

Missing image
The Avatar from Ultima IX: Ascension
The Avatar is the main (player) character in the Ultima series of games. He (or she) is not an embodiment of a god (as in the traditional meaning of the term "avatar"), but of a set of ethic guidelines called the Virtues. In the game, you must balance your actions and behave according to the Virtues, for it is all that will set you apart from your enemies.

The Avatar was first known as the Stranger (or, more fully, Stranger from another world) in Ultima, when he (or she) defeated Mondain. He returned to bring an end to the revenge of the enchantress Minax, and to dispatch their hellspawn, Exodus. It is widely debated whether or not the Stranger and the Avatar are the same person, as the games themselves are not quite consistent on this issue. Ultima IV seems to say they are different persons altogether, but latter Ultimas (Ultima VII part two: Serpent Isle as the most definite example) imply the Stranger and the Avatar are one and same person. As far as the gameworld itself is concerned, this could be explained with gradual muddling of history (as Batlin explains in Ultima VII: The Black Gate), after all, the games cover a very long time span, and due to different rate of time in Earth and Britannia, there are long intervals between the games.

The fourth time the Stranger returned, his quest took a different tack. Instead of defeating an enemy, his goal was to follow the path of the Virtues, and retrieve the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom from the Great Stygian Abyss. In the fifth episode, the Avatar defeated a repressive regime over Britannia, and in the sixth he brought peace between men and gargoyles.

In the seventh, eighth, and ninth episodes, the Avatar battled the Guardian, finally destroying both himself and his foe to rid the world of him.

In all Ultima games (except for Ultima IX), the player is allowed to name the Avatar character how they want. The implied idea is to make the in-game character a mirror image of the players themselves (the character in the game, in a way, becoming an "avatar" of the player), but this is not explicitly mentioned anywhere. In Ultima IV and V, due to graphical limitations, the player could only choose the gender of the Avatar character, but in most later games (including Ultima VI, Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle and the Ultima Underworld series) several different character portraits with different skin and hair colors are available. However, in Ultima VII: The Black Gate the choice is reduced to gender only - both the female and male portraits have blond hair and fair skin. (If played with Exult with Serpent Isle installed, the SI portraits are also available.) In Ultima VIII and IX, there is no choice in gender or portrait - the character is male with blond hair.

The Avatar's trademark clothing often includes a chain mail, with a white, red or orange tunic (with a golden Ankh symbol on the chest and back) over it, and a red cape. Typically, he's also shown wielding a sword. His appearance varies from game to game and version to version, but usually follows this schema - and it is, of course, possible to use whatever clothing, armor and weapons necessary in the games themselves.


Companions of the Avatar

Original eight companions

Other companions

Cameos in other games

The Avatar is also the last heroic adversary in Dungeon Keeper, also released by EA (though developed by different subsidiary, Bullfrog).


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