Lord British Presents… A Map Puzzle (Updated!)

A new hint for the upcoming announcement by Lord British surfaced on Facebook with the above image this morning:

Curious about what waits beyond for Lord British? Collect the pieces and be illuminated.

They soon followed up this question with an announcement:

We will be releasing a new piece every day this week, so come back tomorrow for the next piece, and be sure to sign up at http://www.lordbritishpresents.com/ to be one of the first to know what waits beyond!

Now obviously, this is a piece of a map related to the Ultimate RPG. What lands is shows, and whether it will be identical to the cloth map that was very highly anticipated on Google+, remains to be seen.

The First Age of Update (WtFD): Here’s the full image, just because the cropping above is rather egregious:

The first puzzle piece!

Revenge of the Update: The second puzzle piece was released on the Ultimate RPG’s Fcebook page, along with this teaser:

Less than 3 days left until Lord British reveals what waits beyond! The path to Truth can be filled with peril; Are you prepared to battle for Honor in a dangerous and exciting new land?

The second puzzle piece!

The Terror of Exoupdate: A third puzzle piece has been posted on the Ultimate RPG Facebook page, with this message:

Think you’ve decrypted what waits beyond? Are you even traveling in the right direction?

The third puzzle piece!

Quest of the Update: The fourth puzzle piece has been posted on the Ultimate RPG Facebook page, with a message reminding us of tomorrows deadline:

Less then 24 hours left! The journey is almost complete with only one more bridge to cross. Be sure to join us tomorrow at www.lordbritishpresents.com to complete your quest!


Keep checking back, Ultima fans; we’re getting our first glimpse at the world in which the now-assuredly-for-PC Ultimate RPG from Richard Garriott is going to be set.

And we here at the Ultima Codex will do our level best to piece together the puzzle as new portions of it are revealed.

And remember…sign up for news updates at the Lord British Presents website, if you want to get in on the news that will be forthcoming later this week.

Quest of the Update: The full map has been revealed.

50 Responses

  1. azzerac says:

    This is fun. On a scale of 1-10, for generating public-interest, I’d rate the program an 8.
    (interactivity would bring the marketing rating to a full ten out of ten)

  2. WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

    Thanks for posting this, Jayson.

  3. Andrew says:

    A town and a dungeon.

    I’m sold.

  4. Hemlock says:

    This project has piqued my interest too. Can’t wait.

  5. Lodestone says:

    That could be a dungeon. It could also very-well be a dolmen, the standing stone & cross-stone combination of stone circles, a few of which remain intact at stonehenge. It’s hard to tell with the bottom part cut away.

  6. Dominus says:

    It’s a dungeon, because the blackness is more than shadow!!!! It MUST be a dungeon 😉

  7. enderandrew says:

    I ran this through a steganography program and found hidden codes in the image.


  8. The second puzzle piece has been released on the Ultimate RPG Facebook page, so I’ve added it to the post above. Enjoy!

  9. Thepal says:

    Is it just me… Or is that a column?

  10. ZephaniahGrey says:

    It’s possible that it’s not an actual map at all. I find it interesting that we can see an edge now, and not only the land, but the roads continue out of it’s boundaries. The various markings on the map may actually spell something out, and it’s just made to look like a map as a red herring. How’s that for wild speculation? =D

    • Lodestone says:

      Way to “think outside the map”, Bro!

    • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

      It’s quite wild, as speculation goes, and were they not releasing puzzle pieces (implying the assembly of a set thereof into a complete whole), I’d be tempted to share in it.

      But as it is, I’m not. My question is: will they be releasing puzzle pieces daily into next week (and beyond?), or are we likely to get deluged with pieces as Friday draws near?

  11. cncfreak says:

    Does anyone know if someone owns the rights to the name Alkabeth. It would be great if Richard would re-create the Ultima series in a modern engine and call it Alkabeth.

    • enderandrew says:

      When EA bought Origin, it likely inherited the Alkabeth name, but I was thinking the same thing.

  12. BigWeather says:

    Well, we know a couple of things despite the pieces being discontiguous. We know that the first piece is pretty far removed on the map, as it has none of the compass rose cardinal lines in it. We also know that the second piece is south and west of the third piece, not only because of hte obvious reason that both have a border (with one being north and the other being west) but also it does have a compass rose cardinal line — the SW one. It is also a fair distance away since there is not a hint of water on its northeast side and the third piece is all water on its southwest side. The town on the first piece is the same as the two towns on the third piece, icon-wise, further supporting dual scale. Finally, that the towns on the third piece are smack dab on the edge of the map indicates this is likely a smaller piece of a larger map because, really, who would put towns right on the edge of a map? =)

    • BigWeather says:

      Above when I said “pretty far removed on the map” I meant “pretty far removed from the first (compass rose) piece on the map”. Sorry.

      Also, “Are you even traveling in the right direction?” I bet the map is rotated and the icons kept their traditional orientation to throw us off. I wonder where north truly is on these pieces?

      • Fenyx4 says:

        I figured the “traveling in the right direction” was just a reference to compass rose.

      • Fenyx4 says:

        I occurred to me that the “pretty far removed” piece could be directly below the compass rose. That is why it doesn’t have any angled lines.

    • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

      Don’t put all your stock in the straight edge on the second piece. Even my 4 year-old has puzzles that feature straight-edged pieces…er…that aren’t positioned within the puzzle’s outer edge.

  13. Thepal says:

    The only thing in Ultima I can think of that ever had two towns on either side of a river like that is the Two Montors. So, unless it is back in time, I don’t see this being Britannia.

    It does seem strange that he is putting it out as a puzzle, however. It’s almost like we should be able to work something out…

  14. Ideal Dragon says:

    I’m going nuts trying to figure out what it is! C’mon Lord British, let’s hear it!

  15. BigWeather says:

    New piece is up!

  16. iceblade says:

    I vote that they keep releasing pieces until a complete puzzle can be done. And we have to put it together as a community or individual effort. Maybe even a contest.

    • The compass rose line doesn’t match up, otherwise I would agree. I’m assuming that the longitude lines will be the same distance apart, and the first puzzle piece shows two of them. We don’t really have any idea if latitude lines will be the same distance apart (forming squares) or not (rectangles).

      My guess is that the puzzle will be at least 6 columns x 5 rows, or 30 pieces, but could be larger (I don’t think it can be smaller and have a finished edge).

      I do believe we are only looking at a region, rather than the world map. Hopefully that is true; I don’t tend to like fantasy maps that only depict part of a continent, especially when there are adventurers like traditional Ultima players.

    • Dave says:

      The land and roads extending beyond the boarders makes me wonder what the subject of the map and mystery is about. It probably is not a portrait of a country, unless the landmarks on the edge are unimportant, and definitely not a whole world or continent. There are no names either, so they’re either not important or omitted to be cryptic. The way the landmarks appear cut and pasted suggest it’s not the hand written work of a fantasy cartographer.

      If we assume the pieces are similar size, I wonder if it’s possible to estimate the position between the compass piece and the piece with lava and the diagonal line. It’d only be possible assuming the line connects, the grid is square, and the pieces are approximately similar. Maybe we could guess where the latitude line should fall on pieces below the compass. It’s interesting only because it’s the only possible connection I can see between any two pieces, but I doubt it solves anything to know where they are in relation.

      The talk of journey and the dashed line in some pieces suggests it may be the record of a travel. That’s my guess, if this is all we get.

      It’s still so little, I wonder if we had a fair shot at solving a puzzle. Is it a message of abstract concept? Is some more useful message encrypted? I’ll be pretty impressed if something clever has been revealed that no one has understood yet.

  17. Slash says:

    Ok, this is my current guess based on the wind’s rose and the “ghost piece” (assembled from the background pic, it extends piece # 4 :P) http://imgur.com/LPQnBp9

    • BigWeather says:

      Great catch on the ghost / background piece! I think your current guess is pretty close. Still doesn’t make much sense, though. Here’s hoping all is illuminated tomorrow!

    • Fenyx4 says:

      Well… you made my coming here to point that out pointless. 😉

      There are a few pointy mountains in the bottom corner of the background piece. I wonder if it ties in with the pointy mountain range we see in the other two pieces.

      Say could you make just the background piece available for us to play with?

    • Fenyx4 says:

      P.S. Your compass rose lines up and your horizontal lines look good. But the vertical lines seem a bit off to me.

  18. LoneStranger says:

    Unless EA is on board with this or otherwise is loaning the Ultima IP to Garriott*, it’s not going to be Britannia.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if, as Sosaria was ripped apart and reformed, the lands of Britannia have undergone a similar change to bring us this new land. Familiar in many ways, but new. Perhaps an age has passed and all that is left are legends and myths, and a call is made for a new hero to arrive to save the people from certain evil… and themselves.

    * There is money to be made, obviously, and EA might be willing to let Garriott have the reigns to the old horse because his following means more publicity and likely more sales based on loyalty alone.

    • cor2879 says:

      I want EA to stay as far away from this as possible. Every franchise that I love that they’ve gotten their dirty hands on has turned to crap (see SimCity for the latest instance of this). I’d much prefer a game that is true to the spirit of Ultima, Ultima in every way but name, than allow EA to think they have any semblance of ownership of whatever new game Lord British gives us.

      • LoneStranger says:

        I agree. Though, if EA wanted to go hands-off and basically give Garriott a near-dead (newly rebirthed?) franchise in exchange for a percentage of the profits, I’d be for it. If they have any kind of say in design or milestones, I’d be 99% against the deal.

  19. ZephaniahGrey says:

    What I wonder about is the “only one more bridge to cross” comment. There’s obviously no one piece that could make all these fit together, unless we’re thinking about them as wrong kind of puzzle. This can’t be a complete map, so I wonder just what it is we’re looking at here.

  20. HereOh says:

    I am curious, actually I just found out about this tonight. Glad I found it! Here’s to you Richard Garriot, don’t sell it to EA this time…