Lord British

Lord British

General CVG character
width= 250px
name= Lord British

caption=Lord British from the most current game to date "Ultima Online".
series= "Ultima"
firstgame= "Ultima I"
creator= Richard Garriott
voiceactor= Richard Garriott ("Ultima VI" FM-Towns version, "Serpent Isle"), Ev Lunnings ("Ultima IX")

Lord Cantabrigian British is the name of the ruler of Britannia, kingdom of the fictional world of Sosaria, created by Richard Garriott for his computer game series "Ultima". Lord British is also a nickname for Garriott himself.


In the real world, Richard Garriott (born in England but raised in the United States) acquired the nickname "Lord British" as a teenager from friends at computer camp who claimed his first greeting to them, "hello", was distinct from the USA "hi" or "ugh". The "Lord" prefix was added when he played the dungeon master in Dungeons & Dragons games.citation | date = March 1986 | periodical = Computer Gaming World | title = Inside Ultima IV | year = 1986 | pages = 18-21]

Garriott released early games, such as "Akalabeth", under the name and occasionally appeared in "Ultima Online" playing as Lord British. He is still known as Lord British even after his departure from "Ultima" maker Origin Systems: Garriott retained the trademark rights to the name Lord British with its associated symbols, and the character appears in his new game, "Tabula Rasa" as General British.

Origins of the character

Neither the Avatar nor Lord British were born in Sosaria, but came from Earth via the moongates. The name Cantabrigian British is taken from his birthplace's name, Cambridge in the United Kingdom. The name was given to him by his friend Shamino, and later Cantabrigian British decided to leave his old name in favor of the new one.

When British came to Sosaria, the evil wizard named Mondain was still young. They had an epic battle deep within the labyrinth of dungeons, where British, the "Champion of the White Light", came victorious, driving Mondain away from the kingdom, thus receiving the title of "Lord British, Protector of Akalabeth". Mondain was seeking revenge in Ultima I. The stranger (who would become the Avatar) dealt with Mondain this time, but three-fourths of the world mysteriously disappeared for causes unknown.

Numerous plotlines and side-quests in the Ultima games revolve around one of Lord British's adventures or public works projects. He had a key role in founding the Museum, Conservatory and innumerable institutions of the Britannian society.

In the Ultima series

In the "Ultima" series, Lord British rules from his throne inside Castle Britannia, and continuously provides healing, resurrection and other miscellaneous help for the Avatar (the main character) and his adventuring party. In the first three "Ultima" games, British charged a significant sum of money for his services, but would provide them for free from "Ultima IV" onwards.

Throughout the "Ultima" series, Lord British never leaves his castle, except for "Ultima V", where his absence constitutes the main storyline, and at the end of "Ultima VI", when he uses a red moongate to travel to the Isle of the Avatar. Instead, he relies on heroes like the Avatar to go forth and correct the various crises that crop up in Britannia. In "Ultima IX", the Guardian comments on this behavior, accusing Lord British of always hiding in his castle while his land suffers. In the climax of the same game, Lord British finally ventures outside the confines of his castle to help the Avatar in a final showdown with Lord Blackthorn.

Assassination of Lord British

One of the most famous characteristics of Lord British is that he is supposed to be indestructible. In every Ultima game that he has appeared in, he is designed to be "almost" unkillable by the player character. However, there are ways for a player "thinking outside the box" to assassinate him.

* Lord British was killed during an in-game appearance on "Ultima Online"'s beta test on August 8, 1997. A royal visit was conducted as a part of server population stress test. A player character known as Rainz cast a spell called "fire field" on Lord British that, surprisingly, killed him. According to Starr Long, the whole thing was just a human error: Lord British's character, like others, had been made invulnerable, but by design the invulnerability did not persist over several game sessions. Shortly before the incident, the server had crashed, and Richard Garriott had forgotten to set his invulnerability flag on when logging on again. [cite web|url=http://www.playtr.com/team/team_bios.html#biosTop |title=Tabula Rasa Team Bios: Starr Long |accessdate=2006-08-17 |last=Long |first=Starr |publisher= NCSoft ] Shortly afterwards, Rainz's account was banned from the beta test for previously exploiting bugs rather than reporting them (infamously used by his character Aquaman to kill many player characters, a purported griefing incident). According to Origin, he was not banned for the assassination but rather for previous complaints against his account that were brought to light as a result of this attention. [cite web|url=http://www.aschulze.net/ultima/stories9/beta.htm |title=Ultima Online Travelogues: Ultima Online Beta |accessdate=2006-08-17 |author=Hawkeye Pike ] The massive amount of lag, caused by the stress test, was a factor in Lord British's death, as well as the guards being deactivated in the area, which allowed Rainz to steal, avoiding immediate death. Only the few players at Lord Blackthorn's castle witnessed this event. Those known to have been present besides Lord British and Blackthorn were their jesters Chuckles and Heckles and the following players; Rainz, Dr.Pepper, David Truong, Mental, DemonSoth, Haaaaaach, Helios, Pee Stain, Kingdedede, Phobos, Gildoreal, Wind Lord and Kylan. [cite web|url=http://www.razimus.com/uol/lbd.html |title=Raz's Ultima Page |accessdate=2006-10-06 |author=Razimus ]

*In "Ultima I" and "II", Lord British is not really invincible, he simply has a high number of hit points, making it unlikely the player will be able to kill him before he and his guards kill the player. However, if players are powerful enough (such as towards the end of the game or by modifying the clear text configuration files created for each character to increase hit points), they should be able to defeat British provided they have the patience to keep hitting him until he dies.

*In "Ultima III", Lord British is not really invincible, but he does have the protection of being very hard to hit, damage against him is reduced, and very high number of hit points. To kill him requires having high level characters with missile weapons and making use of the ship located at the castle in one of two methods. Both methods involves the player being near the ship and committing a crime such as killing a wandering civilian or guard then boarding the ship as all the castle's inhabitants head to the player to attack him. In the ship-to-shore combat scene, the player can exploit a weakness in the way the game AI causes the opponents to head toward the player's characters by having them all move to the left or right on the ship in a line depending on which side he initially appears causing Lord British to be unable to move toward the paths that would allow him to board the ship. The player can then fire missiles on Lord British without being attacked. The reward for killing him is very small and the next time you enter the castle, the inhabitants of the castle reset back to life and attack the player. The second method is to use cannonfire from the ship while making sure that there is water between the ship and Lord British. There is no reward for killing him by cannonfire and the castle resets in the same way as in the first method.

*In "Ultima IV", Lord British was more or less invincible. However, a player could cast a spell to create a lava field that damaged Lord British slightly. With enough patience and shuffling back and forth, Lord British could be killed. It was also possible to damage him enough with the 'Tremor' spell that he would flee, although this requires some luck (depending upon, among other things, what random number of hit points he is assigned when battle begins). Lord British, unlike every other town character, was impervious to the destructive use of the Skull of Mondain. One could provoke him, and attack him with a cannon from a ship that was docked in the moat.

*In "Ultima V", Lord British is held prisoner for nearly the entire game; the primary goal is to discover where he is and how to free him. If the Avatar finds the king without having what is needed to escape, however, the game ends with both trapped; with no other champions in Britannia, it has to be assumed that British eventually dies there.

*In the fan remake "", if the player smashes the mirror at the end, the "evil" ending is played, since this also traps Lord British.

*In "Ultima VI", Lord British was again largely impervious to weapons and magic. However, there were at least three ways in which he could be killed: (a) If the player dragged a poison trap to British's throne, then detonated it, British was poisoned and slowly lost health until he eventually died. (b) While asleep, he could be killed with a glass sword, a powerful weapon that kills nearly everything in one blow and is destroyed in the process. (c) Finally, filling Lord British's throne room with powder kegs, igniting one, and standing clear of the blasts was sufficient to kill him.

*In "Ultima VII", an easter egg allows British to be killed. If the player double-clicks the gold plaque above the castle gate when British is standing directly underneath (which he invariably does at exactly noon each day), the plaque will fall on his head. The player can arrange several chairs or crates around him in such a way as to trap him underneath the plaque. This was inspired by an incident at the Origin building; a metal bar, where the magnet on the door attached to it, fell on Garriott's head, warranting a visit to the hospital. One of the characters says "Yancey-Hausman will pay!", which is a reference to the owner and landlord of the building. [cite web|url=http://www.originmuseum.net/stories/story3.htm |title= The Bar That Killed The King |accessdate= 2007-09-07 |author=The Origin Museum ] British could also be killed by The Black Sword found in the game's expansion pack, "Forge of Virtue".

*In "", Lord British can only be encountered in the dream world in Gorlab Swamp, surveying the ruins of his destroyed castle. While death in the dream world does not actually kill the individual, the player may "kill" British using the armor and Infinity Bow found in the castle. He will make a saddened comment and disappear.

*Another easter egg enables the player to kill British in "Ultima IX". When the game begins in the Avatar's house, it is possible for the player to cook a loaf of poison bread. If this bread is brought to Britannia and switched with Lord British's regular meal, Lord British will eventually eat it. [cite web|url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=2HNClKZxkRc|title=Ultima IX - Killing Lord British |accessdate=2008-05-13 |author=DynamicCast ]

See also

* Lord Blackthorn


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