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The Shadowlords

The Shadowlords are the main villains in Ultima V.


When the Gem of Immortality was shattered by the Stranger, three big shards of it went missing. Each of the shards opposed one of the Principles. The shards ended up in the Underworld, but they were safe until the ship 'The Ararat,' under Captain Johne, was sucked into the Underworld through a whirlpool. Johne found the shards, and they drove him to temporary madness. He slew his three companions, and their blood fell on the shards. From it, the Shadowlords were born:

They wasted no time in spreading their evil. Scattering the three shards in the Underworld, they attacked Lord British in the Underworld below Dungeon Destard during an expedition, capturing him and imprisoning him in the dungeon Doom. On the surface of Britannia, they established their keep, Stonegate, with the daemon Balinor as a doorwarden.

They corrupted Lord Blackthorn, making him cruel and twisting his perceptions of the Eight Virtues. The Shadowlords themselves haunted the cities, and their mere presence would infect the peoples' personalities like a disease. It was a dark time for Britannia.

While many tried to stand up to the Shadowlords, none prevailed. Those who weren't killed outright suffered the lingering agony of being pierced by the Shadowlords' Black Arrows. Notable examples of this are Shamino, Mariah and Kindor.

The Shadowlords hunted specifically for members of the Great Council, as they knew the Words of Power that could unseal the dungeons, perhaps allowing someone to find the shards. They also hunted for the companions of the Avatar, to prevent them from summoning Britannia's hero to their aid.

This was the situation when the Avatar arrived in Britannia in Ultima V. After confronted with the fact that the Shadowlords could not be destroyed by conventional means, the hero learned as much about the nature of the Shadowlords as possible. They were finally banished by casting the shards of Hatred, Falsehood, and Cowardice into the Eternal Flames of Love, Truth, and Courage respectively.

True evil can't be destroyed, however. The Shadowlords were only physical manifestations of the darkness in men's hearts, where they continue to exist. In Martian Dreams, they even invade the Avatar's dreams.

Assaults on Cities[]

In Ultima V, each Shadowlord will attack, from time to time, each of the eight cities of virtue. They arrive at a town and stay there for one day. When they arrive, the player is informed with a message saying that an "air" of hatred/falsehood/cowardice surrounds them. While in the city, the Shadowlords will affect the behaviour of the citizens: Astaroth will make them violent; Faulinei will make them liars; Nosfentor will make them fearful and thieves. The player may also run into the Shadowlord, who will transport them to an alternate dimension, where he must be defeated or driven off in order for the player to survive. Between 12:00 and 1:00 at night, a Shadowlord can't move.

Shadowlords in Combat[]

The Shadowlords as envisioned in a Lazarus trailer

Fighting a Shadowlord

When confronting a Shadowlord in Ultima V, the Avatar's party instantly finds itself in a shadowy plane which is impossible to flee from. The player must win the fight, force the Shadowlord to flee, or die.

Shadowlords are capable of teleportation, invisibility, summoning daemons, possession, sleep spells, and throwing magical bolts of energy. They have strong physical attacks which can also cause poisoning.

The best way to defeat a Shadowlord in combat is to use the Crown of Lord British to negate its magic use, then employ Time Stop and Summon Daemon scrolls to kill it while it is immobilized. Another alternative is to use the glass sword found in the Serpent Spine mountains. Unfortunately only one of these can be carried at a time.

A Shadowlord dissipates once killed in combat, but it must be defeated twice in a row before it vanishes from a city. What's more, this will not get rid of the Shadowlord for good. It will return the next night.


  • If you engage a Shadowlord in combat while in possession of Sceptre of Lord British, you get the message "The sceptre has been reclaimed!" and it vanishes from your inventory, instantly returning to Stonegate.
  • All three Shadowlords must be destroyed to enter Dungeon Doom and win the game.
  • In Stonegate, all remaining Shadowlords are always present.
  • In Martian Dreams, the Shadowlords give themselves gender. Astaroth and Faulinei call themselves brothers, while Nosfentor is called a sister. While they have dialogue in this game, in Ultima V they never spoke.
  • Sin'Vraal used to serve the Shadowlord Astaroth.
  • In Ultima V, the Shard of Hatred is found in the Underworld at I' A", I' A". This is 28 tiles west and 101 tiles south of the entrance to Covetous.