From Before I Play
General tips for both Black Gate and Serpent Isle
- Play the game with Exult. Either version 1.2 or one of the recent snapshot releases that doesn't have the disappearing object bug.
- With these games, the secret is to try to talk to everyone and see what you can find out. Usually someone has a hint about what you're meant to do next. A lot of plots won't advance until you do so.
- On BG and SI, get lets of bags inside your backpack and use them to manage it a bit better or re-organise your non-plot equipement to different characters.
- Also, having to constantly buy food for your companions is a bitch. The cheapest deal is dried meat from Britannia.
- Oh, and one more important thing (especially in SI) - if you click on anything, it tells you its name. Most walls are called "wall". Secret, openable (either by double-clicking or by using a hidden switch) walls are called "Wall". This is vital to completing the game in many situations.
- Lastly, if you are deciding to have an inventory clean out and there is even the remotest chance that an item you have may be useful later on, have a designated area with chests or barrels that you store everything you drop. Don't drop them on the ground!! Put them in containers so you know exactly where they are and so the game's memory manager doesn't decide to delete them.
- Also learn your shortcut keys. "Ctrl + F" is food, and in Exult "Ctrl + K" will always choose the right key for a lock.
- Learn how to spot invisible chests, non solid walls and other things like switches and keys hidden behind other objects. If you can see a room that you can't get into then there is probably one of those there. You will need to walk through walls to beat both games.
The Black Gate
- Play this before Serpent Isle as the plot of Serpent picks right up from the situation at the end of Black Gate.
- Look for a spellbook behind the secret doors in the castle. Learn mark, recall, unlock, heal, cure poison and seance at a minimum.
- You can use mark and recall with the virtue stones found in the museum.
- Having a sextant in your inventory will show your position on the map.
- Unlike Ultima 6 the world is round instead of flat.
- Use a barrel instead of backpack when you're strong enough. You'll know when you're strong enough.
- This is cheating, but in the opening town, grab all the crates you can and make yourself a ladder onto the roof of (I think) the blacksmith's shop. You'll be put into a room with all the best items and every quest item in the game.
- Go south once you can leave the first town and search around a little, you'll find a nice magic item hidden in a tree or something. Look for like a single pixel of magical sparkle.
- East of Britain near the field with the spaceship (A reference to the Wing Commander series) you can bust into a shack and acquire a hoe with a red head. This is a sweet weapon.
- There's a magic carpet you can get very early on, but it kind of breaks the game (You can literally skip 8/10 of it by flying into a certain compound you have to work half the game to gain access to. Be carefull not to fly over the Isle of Avatar on it. Thats the island to the south east of the map.
- Moving things around in someone else's container is considered stealing. Steal too much and some party members will leave for good and you can't get them back.
- When you get to Britain, notice all the gold reserves guarded and locked up? Wait for the bank manager to leave at night. Follow her home, and kill her in her bed. Loot the keys from her body, then go loot the bank. Now drop her body in front of Lord British and ask for a rez. She'll go back to work like nothing happened, and exchange all those gold bars and nuggets for you!
- On the pirate island there's a way to make infinite gold through gambling. It's something like 1 in 6 rats will win a race, and you put money on the number you like, but you get back more money from winning than it costs to cover all the numbers.
- You can get the most powerful weapon in the game and a massive stats boost by doing the Forge of Virtue. 2 of the 3 tests do not require much combat so it's useful for an early boost
- From there just see where the game takes you. Don't go around killing random people because it could be easy to break the plot. Don't throw away items that seem "important" (Rudyom's Wand, the Prisms).
- If you kill anyone or one of your party dies take their corpse to Lord British for free resurrection services.
- Different trainers give different stats, so use game hints or a guide to figure out which ones you'd prefer your companions to be strong in.
- If you walk into a portal and all your companions disappear, load the game and politely ask them to leave, so they can rejoin when you're done with that portal.
- Don't let your companions carry important items, because sometimes they'll randomly drop all their shit and lose it forever.
- Bake lots of bread. Pick up the Hoe of Destruction (go fishing for the key or use a cannon on the door).
- Cast Armageddon (but don't save) once you know the main villains identity and go visit him, Lord British and the Ferryman for some fun dialogue.
- Use the Black Sword on Lord British and search his body (but don't save). A plaque over a door has the same effect.
- Don't forget to pick up the Prisms.
- You'll get a free boat from Lord British.
- Finish up everything that you can before confronting the guy that you've been chasing for half the game. This means do all your quests, training, purchases, etc
- Don't wear gwani cloaks (I don't think doing so will break the plot, but just to be safe). Make sure you have a full set of furs when going north.
- When you're collecting special waters, it'll save you time if you get two buckets of each type. Not all of the water sources are found in the temples.
- If you're not averse to cheating then in the cheat console (press F2, enabled from exults menu) and edit your avatar's status (npc #0) so that they have the (R)ead attribute. This allows them to read in english any runic and serpentine language. If you use a device or spell that has that effect you will lose that setting though.
- Do not double-click any pillars within the Silver Seed expansion (this bug might be fixed in Exult, anyway)
- Go to Silver Seed as early as possible and at least talk to everyone in the command post until you get the key ring. You'll have to die at least once in order to even get the ability to enter Silver Seed before arriving on Monk Isle, so let some wolves kill you or something
- As soon as you get a spell book go back the the Silver Seed and track down the ring of Reagents. You will be depending on a lot on magic in the late game.
- When someone gives you a magic scroll cast transcribe on it as soon as possible to get it in your spellbook.
- When bribing the prison guards drop all but one of your gold bars.