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Will Richard Garriott's Lord British survive the night?

I hope not.

UPDATE 28TH JULY: I feel bad updating this story because Lord British, well, he survived - said no one even attacked him at all. What the bloody hell are you all playing at?!

ORIGINAL STORY 27TH JULY: Will Richard Garriott's Lord British survive the night? That's the big question - because history predicts his death.

Remember what happened in Ultima Online? Lord British was famously killed on the ramparts of Blackthorn castle by a mere commoner. Everyone believed him to be immortal but he wasn't - someone found a way.

'LB is dead!!!'

He died that night in August 1997 during a royal tour of Ultima Online, marking a milestone moment in the game's near-complete development. Tonight he tours his new game Shroud of the Avatar for the same reasons, well aware fate bets heavily against him. You see for almost as long as he can remember, and no matter what he's done to prevent it, Lord British has never managed to survive.

It began with Ultima 3 in 1983.

"Once we published Ultima 3 I began to see the letters people wrote in," Richard Garriott told me, "and I quickly realised how much fun people were having killing me in all of my games, so starting with Ultima 4, I tried to make Lord British immortal. But in every Ultima I failed.

Lord British in Shroud of the Avatar.

"For example in Ultima 4, even though if you attacked him with a sword no damage was done and he would get angry and kill you, you could lead him outside when he was trying to kill you, by a river, and if you jumped on a ship and shot him with canons, the canon damage routine was a different damage routine that I didn't test and so you could still kill Lord British."

He continued: "There was another Ultima where when Lord British was asleep you could kill him with a glass sword that killed things in one shot. And since the sleeping character wasn't identified as Lord British, it was just a sleeping character icon, again it meant you could kill Lord British.

"This has been a kind of hunt that's gone on in every Ultima since, and in the case of Ultima Online, we actually did have the ability to make Lord British immortal. I just had, on the previous wipe, forgotten to set the flag to make myself immortal, and everyone thought I was immortal, including myself, and so no one had tried to kill me for months, and so I happened to just not die for months - until that last day when someone tried it for a joke, and sadly for me it worked."

Incidentally, the character who killed Lord British was called Rainz and MassivelyOP tracked him down last year.

The specific occasion for Shroud of the Avatar tonight is final wipe, which has nothing to do with toilet routines. It's when server data will be wiped clean for the last time, so everything from tomorrow will be persistent for as long as the game lives. For Shroud of the Avatar's controversial property market it is particularly important, as valuable locations will be fought over and stakes claimed.

There will be a telethon to mark the occasion lasting right up to midnight Texas time (CDT). And it is during the final two hours of the telethon that Richard Garriott as Lord British, and Starr Long as Darkstarr (who was with Garriott on that fateful night in Ultima Online as Lord Blackthorn) will tour Shroud of the Avatar, in homage to UO, bullseyes on their heads. They will even visit player-owned towns, which sounds risky.

Cover image for YouTube videoShroud of the Avatar Gameplay - Steam Early Access - Has Ultima man Richard Garriott done it again?
My footage from late 2014. Much has changed!

So the challenge to the Early Access players of Shroud of the Avatar is this: can you kill Lord British in that two-hour window? Can you make a name - possibly a legend - for yourself in that time?

"By the way we have an immortality flag in Shroud of the Avatar, we've tested it, it does work," added Garriott, "but we never know what's going to happen.

"Another developer could backstab me by changing some data on the server without my knowledge; that could happen - and by the way I don't know what my retribution would be if anybody did that.

"But also Lord British, the way that his immortality is set, does take damage; the lower his hit-points are, the faster his regeneration is, so theoretically... you never know, there might be some way past it - but we don't know of a way to kill Lord British right now."

Oh it is a mouth-watering prospect indeed. Spill Lord British's blood - not Richard Garriott's blood this time. Please! Somebody do it.