In Ultima 5 every character is characterized by three attributes that determine his/her abilities.
Dexterity is somehow the most useful attribute: it rules the accuracy of attacks (hit rate), the speed in battle (number of attacks), the ability to disarm traps, and probably the ability to dodge enemy attacks.
Strength comes second: if the enemy is hit (and that depends on Dexterity) Strength determines how much damage is dealt. There are a few weapons of which hit rate is based on Strength instead of Dexterity. Moreover, no matter your choices, the Avatar's Strength will be set to 20 if your answers would have set it to a lower value (see next section).
Intelligence is the least important attribute: it rules the number of Magic Points. Even if you are a magic-lover, in Ultima Magic Points don't rule over spellcasting, because this is actually determined by the gold you can spend on magic reagents. Since food and weapons come first, magic and intelligence should wait. However, on the other hand, the higher your intelligence is, the less you will have to pay for items in the shops.
At the beginning of the game, a Gipsy will ask you a series of questions about virtues to determine your attribute. Every question implies a choice between two out of eight different virtues, and each virtue chosen determines which upgrade the Avatar will get.
The test consists of seven questions. Although it is not said explicitly, it is divided in three rounds, like a tournament of virtues. In the first round you are asked four questions: you choose four virtues and the other four are discarded. In the second round you are asked two questions about the four virtues you chose right before: you choose two of them and the other two are discarded. The final round is a single question asking to choose between the last two virtues.
The correspondence between virtues and status upgrades is as follows:
|Spirituality||Dex+1, Str+1, Int+1|
If you are playing either the DOS or the Atari ST port, you can import your character from Ultima 4. In the process, experience points and attributes will be reduced, so that the Stranger still has a reason to earn experience.
- Experience points will be cut by 10 (e.g. from 9999 to 999), then experience level and health points will be recalculated accordingly.
- If attributes were at 50 (the maximum in Ultima 4), they will lowered down to down to 25 (out of 30 maximum).
Companions of the Avatar
The Avatar will meet fifteen more companions that are willing to help him on his quest. They belong to one of three classes: Fighters, with great strength but no magic points; Bards, with high dexterity and some magic points; and Mages, with great intelligence and magic points. Unlike the Avatar, all the companions have pre-determined attributes.
Locations of the companions:
- (a) Mainland: locations accessible since the earliest part of the game;
- (b) Islands: locations accessible using a skiff or frigate;
- (c) Mountains: locations accessible using a frigate and a grapple;
- (d) Quest: locations accessible in later parts of the game.
|Character name||Class||STR||DEX||MP (&INT)||Lv. & HP||Location||Sex|
|Shamino||Fighter||20||22||0 (16)||2 - 60||(a) Mainland: start||M|
|Iolo||Bard||19||21||8 (17)||3 - 90||(a) Mainland: start||M|
|Gwenno||Bard||17||22||8 (17)||2 - 60||(a) Mainland: Britain||F|
|Julia||Bard||21||19||9 (18)||2 - 60||(a) Mainland: Empath Abbey||F|
|Toshi||Bard||17||21||8 (16)||1 - 30||(a) Mainland: Empath Abbey||M|
|Jaana||Mage||15||17||21 (21)||2 - 60||(a) Mainland: Yew||F|
|Mariah||Mage||12||20||22 (22)||3 - 90||(b) Islands: Lycaeum||F|
|Katrina||Fighter||22||21||0 (18)||5 - 150||(b) Islands: New Magincia||F|
|Geoffrey||Fighter||24||21||0 (16)||3 - 90||(b) Islands: Buccaneer's Den||M|
|Maxwell||Fighter||21||19||0 (14)||1 - 30||(b) Islands: Serpent's Hold||M|
|Sentri||Fighter||23||20||0 (19)||2 - 60||(c) Mountains: Bordermarch||M|
|Dupre||Fighter||22||18||0 (16)||3 - 90||(c) Mountains: Bordermarch||M|
|Johne||Mage||14||20||24 (24)||3 - 90||(d) Quest: Underworld||M|
|Gorn||Fighter||21||19||0 (15)||2 - 60||(d) Quest: Blackthorn's Palace||M|
|Saduj||Bard/Judas||21||26||10 (20)||4 - 120||(d) Quest: Oppression||M|
The following graph compares the attributes of the characters, subdivided by class:
Despite mainstream opinion, using only four characters instead of six has several advantages:
- Faster experience gain, because experience points are divided between the companions;
- No confusion in battle, because the four characters will have different sprites;
- Less cost for food;
- Less cost for equipment;
- Less cost for healing.
|Profession||Top Dexterity||Top Strength
(2nd best Dex)
(sorted by Dex)
|Bard||Gwenno (D=22, S=17, M=8)||Iolo (D=21, S=19, M=8)||Toshi, Julia, (Saduj)|
|Fighter||Shamino (D=22, S=20)||Geoffrey (D=21, S=24)||Katrina, Sentri, Gorn, Maxwell, Dupre|
|Mage||Mariah (D=20, S=12, M=22)||Johne (D=20, S=14, M=24)||Jaana|