The hoe belongs to farmer Mack, who can be found in his farm east of Britain. When the Avatar met Mack, he told him a story about a mysterious craft that had landed on his field, and the strange feline creature that came out of it. (The mysterious craft is in fact a Kilrathi vessel from the Wing Commander series, also by Origin)
When describing the encounter, Mack mentions his hoe. Around the time the game takes place, the magical ether is greatly disturbed, and most of the mages of the land have gone completely insane. Some years before the game starts, Mack had taken his broken hoe to a mage called Mumb, who, almost unable to practice magic anymore, had started to fix things. At the same time, a fighter had brought his sword to Mumb, hoping he could turn it into a "Sword of Death." It appears that Mumb, in a fit of insane confusion, managed to enchant the hoe with terrifying magics, and the fighter killed Mumb because his sword was now only good for cutting weeds. Whatever the truth is, Mack now had the Hoe of Destruction.
Mack was happy to give the hoe to the Avatar, but there was a problem. He had lost the key to the shed where the hoe was kept, and could only remember that it had been used as a fish hook. In order to obtain the key, the Avatar had to either find the key from among the fish and rubble of the Lock Lake shore, or find another way to open the door.
The Hoe of Destruction can be found in Mack's Shed at game coordinates: 21 South, 25 East. The key to Mack's shed can be found under a cattail on the shore of Lock Lake, inside a dead green fish, game coordinates: 2 North, 48 East. The door to the shed can also be opened using the key found under the rock at 130 South, 1 West (which also opens the chest at 128 South, 3 West), or destroyed with a powder keg.
Accidental glory. One of the most recent magic items created, this once ordinary hoe dates back to only a few years ago when one of the first mages (a bush mage of no real merit) to succumb to the illness that now plagues all mages, was asked to both repair a broken hoe for a local farmer and enchant a sword for a warrior. Unfortunately, his perhaps-never-to-be-repeated-enchantment has made this hoe one of the better melee weapons around today. This hoe can be distinguished by it distinctive red, glowing head. Be wary if thou dost ever face it.
The Hoe of Destruction is an inside joke relating to Ultima VI, wherein there is a cheat menu that can be accessed by speaking with Iolo when he is in your party. Among other options, the cheat menu can create arbitrary items. The item list for this cheat menu is available elsewhere; however, if you entered an item number that was higher than that of the highest item, the item's qualities and appearance would 'wrap around' according to two different formulae. The more times you made it wrap around, the further apart the appearance and qualities would be on the list. All of which is to say, depending on what number you entered, the item you got could have the appearance of one item (say a horseshoe) and the qualities of another item (say, bread). It would look like a horseshoe, but you could eat it like bread.
"The hoe of destruction" was the informal fan name of the item you got when you entered a particular number. Its appearance was that of a garden hoe, but its qualities were that of a potent magical weapon. Origin noted this use of the editor, and, as an inside joke, included the Hoe of Destruction as an actual canonical item in their next game.
References in other games
- Doom II's map 11 is named "Circle of Death", but on automap, the name is listed as "The 'O' of Destruction". (John Romero is a fan of the Ultima series in general. One of Doom II's quit confirmation messages is "You want to quit? Then, thou hast lost an eighth!", which is a reference to Ultima IV.)
- In the game System Shock 2 by Looking Glass Studios, the same company that made Ultima Underworld, there is an item called the Game Pig which is a portable game device. One of the games that can be played on the Game Pig is called Overworld Zero, a game made in the style of the early Ultima games. One of the items which can be found in the game is the Hoe of Destruction, which gives the character a +6 to his combat damage roll.
- In the game Titan Quest by Iron Lore Entertainment, there is a Spear called Hoe of Destruction.