Lord Cantabrigian British is the name of the ruler of Britannia, kingdom of the fictitious 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 Britain but raised in the United States) acquired the nickname "Lord British" as a teenager from older students in his school who claimed he spoke with a British accent. 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 he has suggested that the character will appear in his new "Tabula Rasa" game.
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, instead relying 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 unkillable by the player character. However, there are ways for a player "thinking outside the box" to assassinate him.
- During an in-game appearance during Ultima Online's beta test on August 8, 1997. A player character known as Rainz cast a spell called "fire field" on Lord British that surprisingly killed him. 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). 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.
- In Ultima I and II, Lord British is not really invincible, he simply has an ungodly amount of hit points, making it unlikely the player will be able to kill him before he and his guards kill the player. However, if a player is powerful enough (such as towards the end of the game), they should be able to defeat British if they have the patience to keep hitting him until he dies.
- In Ultima III, Lord British was invincible in combat. However, he could still be killed by cannonfire from a ship. So, to kill him, all the player had to do was steal one of the Castle's ships, lure British to it (by killing some civilians), then blast him with the cannon until he disintegrates.
- In Ultima VI, Lord British was again impervious to weapons and magic. However, he was not immune to simple poisoning. If the player drags a poison trap to British's throne, then detonates it, British will be poisoned and slowly start to lose health. He will die after some times passes. He can also be killed (while asleep) with a glass sword, a powerful weapon that kills nearly everything in one blow and is destroyed in the process.
- An easter egg allows British to be killed in Ultima VII, if the player double-clicks on the gold plaque above the castle gate when British is standing directly underneath. This was inspired by a real-life situation in which Garriott suffered a head injury in similar circumstances and was hospitalized. British could also be killed by The Black Sword found in the game's expansion pack, Forge of Virtue.
- 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. The poison doesn't kill him, but it does take away his supernatural invincibility, allowing the player to stab him to death.
Lord British is also the name of the main spacecraft in the arcade game Salamander, released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in the U.S. as Life Force. Salamander is a sidestory to the popular Gradius series of arcade shooters made by Konami.
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