Ultima is a series of role-playing games created by Richard Garriott and Origin Systems Inc. Ultima started in 1979 when RG wrote his first game, "Akalabeth;" and at the suggestion of the manager of the computer store he worked at he made a couple hundred copies and sold them in plastic bags. He eventually founded Origin Sys. and has continued to making Ultimas for the past twenty years.
The plotline of Ultima centers around the Avatar, a virtuous champion for the land of Britannia. Britannia is the world that the Avatar's adventures center around. It is a kingdom that is a world unto itself, ruled by Lord British the sovereign of Britannia.
The Avatar is a hero from Earth that enters Britannia by way of a phenomenon known as a moongate when he is needed to save Britannia during troubled times. The title "Avatar" was attained in Ultima IV when the hero from the first three Ultimas became the champion of the Virtues. In Hindu mythology, an Avatar is a deity descended to Earth in human form. The American Heritage College Dictionary also defines avatar as: "An embodiment, as of a quality or concept; an archetype." This definition fits with the Avatar being the embodiment of the Eight Virtues.