The most important thing to do when starting a new game of Ultima II
is to get food, ASAP. Unlike the first game (but like Akalabeth
and the original 1981 version of Ultima I
) you die instantly
once your food counter hits zero.
The best place to get food early in the game is in Le Jester, close to where you begin. Look for "Alfred's Fish N Chips" in the northeast corner of town, then stand outside the building so that your character is directly south of one of the letters in "FISH N CHIPS." Then, press S to Steal food, 100 units at a time. You may not always succeed, but keep going. As soon as you start to see guards moving in your direction, hold down your right-arrow key and make a beeline out of town. Save your game by pressing Q, then re-enter Le Jester and repeat the process. Keep doing that until you have tons of food units; I recommend at least 2,500 to start with, but try to get as much as you feel comfortable with. (Just remember Ultima II
's stat-rollover bug; if you ever get 10,000 units of food, the game will ignore the ten thousands digit and assume you have zero
food and kill you instantly. This holds for HP as well.)
Stealing food in this fashion also lets you save your gold for buying HP from Lord British, which is the only
way to raise it in II
. Once you have at least 3,000 HP and a decent weapon, you can start attacking characters in towns (again, Le Jester is best for this, as it's easy to escape if you get swarmed by guards) for necessary items such as keys, gems, and the all-important Blue Tassles.
Wait, so you don't get HP by exiting the dungeons/towers? What a ripoff! So not only are the dungeons nearly impossible to survive without godlike stats and equipment, but surviving one conveys no benefit other than treasure which, after buying hp, barely leaves you any leftover scratch for food or other necessities. Mind-boggling.