Editable Codex
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Great Stygian Abyss
Dungeon Type: Dungeon
Opposes the Virtue: Eight Virtues
Word of Power: None (but the password for the Codex is VERAMOCOR)


Entrance to The Abyss, Ultima IV

The Great Stygian Abyss, situated on the south part of the Isle of the Avatar, is the darkest and most evil place in Britannia. The Abyss is the antithesis of all good things, opposing all of the virtues at the same time. Dark creatures of unbelievable evil, balron lords, aggressive dragons and numerous other monsters inhabit this hole of evil. This makes the Abyss a place to be avoided at all costs, for only the most virtuous person won't forfeit their life as soon as they enter.

Regardless how many times the whole Abyss is destroyed, evil always resurrects itself in an even worse form than before. A possible reason for this may be the fact that the walls between dimensions are thinner in Abyss than anywhere else in Britannia.

For a solution of the hardest puzzle in the Abyss, see Abyss Room Puzzle.


Entering the Abyss in Ultima Underworld I

In Ultima IV, the Stranger, trying to complete the Quest of the Avatar, had to descend through the Abyss to find the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom, since the Abyss was connected to the Shrine of Singularity which housed the Codex. In order to approach the part of the Isle of the Avatar where the Abyss entrance was, the Stranger had to find the wheel of the HMS Cape. This item made the ship strong enough to survive the trip and the fight against the pirate fleet stationed there.

The dungeon was situated in the middle of a huge volcano, and could only be opened using the Book of Truth, the Candle of Love and the Bell of Courage. This was also the only place the Skull of Mondain could be destroyed. Only magical weapons would work inside the Abyss. In order to get from one level down to the next one, one had to use the correct Virtue Stone on the altar found inside each level. It was clear that the dungeon was not a natural formation but artificially built.

After the Codex was pulled up to Britannia, and the lava had cooled down, the Shrine of the Codex was built to seal the entrance to the Abyss. In Ultima Underworld I, Sir Cabirus had erected a colony in the Abyss, using another entrance. But the colony degraded into a prison, with several scattered settlements inside. After the Avatar travelled there and stopped the evil wizard Tyball, everything sank into boiling lava.

The Abyss is the last dungeon visited in Ultima IX. The Avatar has to use Pyros to enter it and travels through four elemental areas before going down into the Abyss itself to find Lord British and Lord Blackthorn in a duel.


Near the heart of spirituality lurks a foul pit to swallow all but the surest warrior. As if drawn to Skara Brae by the forces of balance in the universe that seek to place emptiness near wholesomeness, the Abyss was discovered by a wanderer who, upon entering, was quite sure that he did not want to remain there. For all who dare to try the Abyss, the people of Skara Brae are full of tales of it. They who have returned tell a confused tale of perverted forces beneath the ground, where up is down, where trusted magic flies askance, there the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water are torn apart. In seeking escape, many have plunged ever deeper where madness or beast has consumed them.

- from Journal (Ultima IX)


Surviving the spiritual transfiguration of the Great Stygian Abyss hath earned for thee the Mantle of Adept of the Sixth Circle. Few indeed have the strength or skill to cross the Abyss.

- from The Book of Amber Runes (Ultima III)

  • The need for a "Bell, Book and Candle" in order to open the Abyss is a reference to the bell, book and candle method of excommunication of the Catholic Church. Other videogames, such as Zork and NetHack also make use of these three items in order to access evil or hell-related places.
  • Early concept arts of Ultima IX show the Abyss having some kind of underwater entrance, thus being consistent with the premise that the Abyss "sunk" at the end of Ultima Underworld.

External Links[]

Cities YewMinocSkara BraeBritainNew MaginciaMoonglowJhelomTrinsic
Castles Castle BritanniaEmpath AbbeyLycaeumSerpent's HoldCastle of Fire
Towns Buccaneer's DenCovePawsTerfinVesper
Shrines CompassionHonestyHonorHumilityJusticeSacrificeValorSpiritualityShrine of the Codex
Dungeons The AbyssCovetousDeceitDespiseDestardDoomHythlothShameWrong