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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

How Ultima Affected Onn

Ever since the days of my Commodore 64 and Ultima IV I've been drawn in by the Virtues and seen a real-world philsophy as how they can be applied. Originally based on the Hindu belief of the 16 Paths of Perfection, the Eight Virtues of the Avatar have seen light in every one of my games in one form or another over the years. I did specifically run an Ultima-based campaign that lasted almost 3 years and saw the group explore Britannia, Serpant Isle, Pagan and have a hand in the Guardian's defeat (I did not allow them to take part in the central story of the Avatar, keeping that as background material, but did allow them to occasionally meet the Avatar as he was doing his Quest).

As I was working on class conversions for the World of Onn, I decided I wanted a less-restrictive class to take the place of the Paladin. I still wanted to have a 'holy warrior' type class but something that would be more a martial representative of faith rather than just 'do-gooder fighter'. What I settled on was a Templar-type that could follow any non-evil Deity (I don't really use alignments anyway, but included it as a guideline). It needed a Code to go by though, otherwise it was just a militant cleric. One night I was reading some Ultima material and it hit me: the Code of Virtues would make a good Code for my Divine Champion.

Thus the Champion’s Code was born. All Divine Champions must follow a rigid Code that governs their daily lives. Codes generally consist of the following:

(Honesty) Always act honestly and responsibly;
(Compassion) Show compassion to those in need;
(Valor) Be valorous in combat;
(Justice) Respect the ruling authority and laws of the land when they are applied fairly;
(Sacrifice) Give alms to those in need, live your life in service to the church;
(Honor) Always act in an honorable manner, show respect to allies and enemies no matter the situation;
(Spirituality) Hold fast to your faith and know you will be provided for;
(Humility) Lead by example; seek not glory for glory’s sake, but in the name of your faith.

Ths far it has been a wonderful tool for use in play for the players that are Divine Champions, far better than using the D&D alignments and Paladin's rigid code. It gives the player some leeway for 'grey area' descisions and allows the Referee to mind his entire game rather than constantly keep watch on the player to make sure some stuffy alignment is being followed.

Ultima makes its way into Onn in other ways as well, the Empire of Ankh-tor is named from the Avatar's symbol of enlightenment, the Ankh. Onn has 2 moons like Old Sosaria (from Ultima III) and Britannia (Ultimas IV+) and the goddess of the Moons, Tides and Travel is named Felicitar (for Britannia's 2 moons, Felucca and Trammel).

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