I’ve only read the documentation so far and imported my avatar into the new game. The plot in the manual is by far and away the most detailed of any of the games I’ve played so far. In brief it describes the backstory of Lord British and how he made his way to Britannia by finding a serpent amulet, stepping through a moongate and immediately finding Shamino. It also states that he brought other companions from earth such as Iolo as can be evidenced by their long lives. Shamino lives as long as the rest of them though and he didn’t bring him with him so he should have a normal life span. Anyway, he rose to a position of power, set up a system of government, closed the dungeons, raised the codex and life was good. There is also a footnote at the end relating to his disappearance and the Lord Blackthorn is now enforcing the virtues a little strictly if his new laws are anything to go by.
A separate document in the box is a diary of Lord British’s journeys into the underworld describing his disappearance. In short, an entrance to the underworld was discovered and he set off with a small party in boats to sail into it. This proved to be dangerous and in the end he was seemingly killed by 3 wraiths (who will turn out to be the Shadowlords).
I’ve played Ultima 5 once before and I cheated with a hex editor. I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to playing this one or not. The way I remember it the game is very very large and extremely difficult even with a walkthrough. Importing my avatar should help out a bit. My experience is divided by 10 but my stats are now all starting out at 25/30 and I’m Level 5. Unfortunately the other character stats don’t get imported at the same time.