Sosaria Mod

Overview

Sosaria Mod is a world mod to Ultima’s 2 and 3 that allows both games to be set in the “Lands of Lord British” from Ultima 1. This effectively keeps the first three games all on the same consistent world.

Sosaria Mod has the following features:

  • Ultima 2 (unreleased)
    • completely replaces all overworld maps
    • maintains geography of U1’s Lands of Lord British
    • maintains locations of towns
    • overhauls town maps, including new/replaced towns
    • overhauls NPC text
    • world guide
  • Ultima 3released 3/15/2018!
    • completely replaces overworld map
    • maintains geography of U1’s Lands of Lord British
    • maintains locations of towns
    • inherits some geographic features from Ultima 3
    • town maps unaffected
    • world guide

About

Why Sosaria Mod?

When I began playing the Ultima series back in 1990, I started with Ultima 6. By then the world of Britannia and its history had been firmly established. The manuals and the NPC’s in-game talked about the lore of the earlier games as if those events occurred in the same setting and all these things happened in one connected and consistent world.

I did not realize until years later when I went back to play the prequels that this history was not as stable as it was made out to be as there were some glaring continuity problems. The inter-game narrative was connected in the manuals by the Triad of Evil, but the setting was largely disconnected. The Sosaria’s of Ultima 1 and 3 barely resembled each other, and Ultima 2 took place entirely on Earth. Furthermore, Ultima 4 had no resemblance to its predecessors save for the namesakes of some cities.

What if we could take those disparate worlds and make them more consistent with each other?  What would Ultima 2 feel like if it took place in Sosaria? What would Ultima 3 feel like if that Sosaria was consistent with the one in Ultima 1? And can it be slightly less difficult to imagine this world could become Britannia? That’s the driving purpose behind Sosaria Mod – make the game worlds of the first trilogy consistent with one another, and possibly later lore.

Why choose the Lands of Lord British from Ultima 1?

Note that the four continents of Ultima 1 are modifications of Richard Garriott’s original D&D campaign map, while the Sosaria of Ultima 3 is actually closer to the original.  He talks about this in the Avatar Adventures interview:

“Then for Ultima III, since I wasn’t going to be doing the time travel theme again, I didn’t need Earth.  So I went back to a modified Earth, this place Sosaria.  It didn’t really look much like the first one, but I know it was, because when I built the first one I drew in my old D&D world and cut rivers through it and cut it up into separate land masses.  Ultima I actually had four maps on it, but they are just a flip and translation of the ones you see for Ultima III.  Pretty close to it, just cut up.  Ultima III is actually a truer representation of my old D&D world.” – Ultima: The Avatar Adventures, p364

However, despite this information, I decided to embrace Ultima 1’s layout for this mod rather than the Ultima 3’s for several reasons.

  1. All other continents in U1, including Lands of Danger and Despair (aka Serpent Isle), are transformations of the LoLB continent.  Since Serpent Isle’s shape is canon, a case could be made that the LoLB in U1 would make more sense to carry forward.
  2. The LoLB map can be transformed into Britannia with less work. It still requires a massive cataclysm to have taken place, but the persistent towns like Moon, Britain, and Yew are near the appropriate geographic spots already.
  3. The U3 world map is already currently in use as the main continent in Shroud of the Avatar.  With SotA being a successor to Ultima even in terms of world lore, it did not feel appropriate to reuse the same shape in Sosaria Mod.

What’s your progress?

Release 3.3 of the U3 Upgrade will add world modding capabilities.  I also have a fair amount of the game world mapped out.  So look for the U3 mod either included with or shortly after the next U3 Upgrade release!

U2 will take a fair bit longer as the upgrade is not currently in active development and both the code and the game world require a lot more rework.  Not only do the overworld maps need to change, but many of the towns and all the NPC text will be affected.  However I have a first pass of the overworld maps and a few towns completed.

If you want to monitor progress more closely and you like reading assembly code then you’re welcome to follow the bitbucket repo.

When will you be done?

Since this is a personal side project it’s difficult to make a commitment. Having said that, Sosaria Mod for Ultima III is now included with Ultima 3 Upgrade v3.3!

Do I have to play with Sosaria Mod when I use the upgrade?

Not at all! Playing with the mod is completely optional. Even if you have the mod installed, it’s designed so that you can always choose to play the original game.

Media

These pics are from a pre-release iteration of the U3 Sosaria Mod and may or may not reflect the actual release.

Britain and the Castle of Lord British
Britain and the Castle of Lord British
Moon across the channel, on Verity Isle
Moon across the channel, on Verity Isle
Grey and a nearby moongate
Grey and a nearby moongate
The hidden city of Devil Guard
The hidden city of Devil Guard
Peer gem view
Peer gem view

Installation

Sosaria Mod comes pre-packaged with the Ultima 3 Upgrade.  It keeps a separate set of save files from the original game, so you don’t need to worry about your saves conflicting.

You may activate it in one of two ways:

1) Config: Set the Default Mod

To do this, simply run the upgrade configuration program, select option ‘8’ to change the default mod, and ‘S’ to save.  The config program used depends on your O/S:

  • Windows: u3cfgw   (Can be launched directly from explorer)
  • Linux: ./u3cfgl
  • DOSBOX: u3cfg

2) Command Line: Call a Specific Mod

Alternatively, when you start Ultima 3, you can provide the desired mod on the command line when launching the game.  This could also be used to set up separate launchers for the different versions.

  • Runs Sosaria Mod:
    • ultima3.com sosaria
  • Runs the original game:
    • ultima3.com ultima3

 

U3 World Guide

A Guide to the World of Sosaria

The ranger Shamino hath compiled the following guide to the known settlements of our realm. It serves as an addendum to the Book of Play and is intended to assist would-be adventurers in their quest to rid this land of the hell-born Exodus.

Britain – In the center of our fair land, on the eastern shore of the Sea of Akalabeth, rests the fair towne of Britain. It’s namesake given in honour of our sovereign, Lord British rules with a just and kind hand from his nearby castle. He hath worked diligently in the score of years since Minax’s fall to unify the disparate and independent city-states of Sosaria, and it has henceforth become a centre of commerce and governance for our realm. It is here where Lord British issued the call for a champion to save the realm from Exodus, thus it is here where an adventurer’s sojourn must begin.

Devil Guard – Somewhere on the northern end of the Sea of Akalabeth rests the city of Devil Guard. Nestled between the towering snow-peaked mountains and the glistening sea, this city hath a long and storied history as an ancient seat of governance, and was once a forefront of defense against Minax’s horde of horned devils. The years of peace hath transformed it from a fortified bastion to an open marketplace. Sadly, the earthquakes that heralded Exodus’ appearance hath caused many landslides and made travel by foot no longer possible. Though the way remains hidden to many, the rangers from the region tell stories that access may still be found by way of the mysterious Moon Gates.

Yew – One of the oldest communities of the realm, the City of Yew is quaintly nestled amongst the magnificent trees of the Deep Forest. Protected by the thick canopy of these ancient woods to the northwest, the reclusive druids and stoic clerics hath embraced their affinity for nature and celebration of the divine. Within is the mystical Circle of Light, a holy place of worship for those who reside there. Be sure to search the forest well, for there is much else that lay hidden in Yew.

Grey – Far to the northeast lay the industrious City of Grey, a bustling sea port and hub of commerce. ‘Tis largely home to trade guilds, skilled craftsmen, larks, and enterprising merchants. As such, there is both fortune and merriment to be found in Grey. However, exploring the city is not without risk as ’tis also rumored to be frequented by less savory characters such as conniving thieves and bloodthirsty pirates.

Moon – The Holy City of Moon rests on Verity Isle to the east. ‘Tis a center of the mystic arts, astrology, alchemy, and magic of all forms and thus home to practitioners of said disciplines. The wizards, alchemists, and illusionists of Moon have dedicated themselves to the study of all that is hidden, thus it will undoubtedly serve as a source of invaluable knowledge and clues for a wise adventurer.

The Montors – The city of Montor was once a modest barracks for fighters who protected the southern reaches of Sosaria. But it hath seen immense growth since those times. Now two fully fortified cities, Montor East and West are twin town centers that together hold several armories as well as a prison. An adventurer may also enjoy the pub where fighters, paladins, and barbarians are always willing to share tales of their heroic deeds over a pint of grog.

Fawn – Fawn, City of the Sea, is an isolated and peaceful town located on the Bay of Beauty to the southwest.  Once nestled beside a serene lake, its geography changed drastically as the land nearby eroded and gave way unto the sea. Despite its changing surroundings, the impassioned community of Fawn have dedicated themselves to keeping Fawn beautiful for all.

Death Gulch – This foul bastion of ill-repute is located at the foothills of Mount Drash. ‘Tis said that only the most unsavory of folk dwell here. Little else is known, as scant information makes its way out. But this aptly-named hole of death is likely to hold many secrets, and a would-be adventurer may wish to coerce pertinent clues from its denizens in order to advance his or her quest.

Other Places – Beyond the known towns, there are rumoured to be other more secret settlements throughout the realm that only the most clever of adventurers may find. Some of these, the rumors say, are places of wonder, such as a mysterious city that only appears when the time is right. Yet others are shadowy dens of evil, such as the many abandoned mines and dark dungeons that lay hidden across the realm. And even more sinister is the cursed abode of the vile Exodus, said to be on a fiery isle in the Great Ocean and guarded tirelessly by the Great Earth Serpent! Stay keen, dear adventurer, and search for clues. I believe thou must find all that is hidden to save Sosaria from this dire peril.

Please note that Ultima is a registered trademark of Electronic Arts (EA). This project is not affiliated with nor endorsed by EA. You must own a legal copy of Ultima III: Exodus in order to apply this mod.