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The balloon

A hot-air balloon is a very safe and comfortable way to travel in Britannia. It floats over everything and only airborne enemies can attack it. However, it can only drift with the currents of the wind, thus the Wind Change spell or the Magic Fans are essential for control over it. A balloon basically consists of:

  • A balloon basket.
  • A big silk bag.
  • A cauldron for the fire.
  • Lots of rope to tie all of it together.
  • A heavy ship's anchor to keep it on the ground.


The hot-air balloon was originally invented in the time of Ultima IV, but bandits stole it. The Stranger found it at the exit of dungeon Hythloth, on the Isle of the Avatar, and used it to reach the White Stone. In Ultima VI a balloon was needed to reach the Shrine of Singularity. By then, the Avatar had already heard rumors about a balloon builder who had traveled to Terfin. The Avatar found the plans deep under Terfin by the dead balloon builder, and used the plans to successfully build the balloon from scratch. With the balloon and wind from the south, it was easy to reach the shrine. The hot-air balloon has not been seen in Britannia since.


  • The Balloon weighs 25.0 stones in Ultima VI.
  • A massive exploit involving the Balloon existed in some early versions of Ultima IV.  The exploit is performed by launching the Balloon and then simply exiting it without landing it first.   Doing so causes all NPCs in the game to become immobilized, and will prevent monster parties from spawning on the world map.  Otherwise, NPCs/monsters can be interacted with normally, including having converstations and starting battles.   This exploit was extremely effective, allowing players to remove the threat of monsters from the world map, or loot and plunder towns without resistance, although unintended consquences (such as becoming trapped inside the haunted room at The Inn of the Spirits by Isaac) were possible.


Horse may be obtained and greatly speed travel on land. The sages of the Lycaeum are reputed to have been working on a lighter-than-air device for Lord British, but it was stolen some months ago and its whereabouts is not known.

- from The History of Britannia (Ultima IV)

It has even been said that some adventuresome souls have learned a way to travel in a craft that is lighter than air itself, but these rumors, though widespread, remain unconfirmed.

- from Compendium (Ultima VI)