Sunday, 23 June 2013

Day 12: DragonBjorn, thief of princes

Well, we've a long day ahead of us DragonBjorn so let's get started.

 So Mercer can open those things by messing with them.  Well gee, THAT would have been good to know a while ago!  I mean I've been faffing around with these special dragon jewel claw things for months now and he just waltzes up and turns the door off.  I've got enough claws here to piss of an entire spectrum of dragons.  I'm not sure this is such a smart thing, actually, those dragons are a bit touchy...
 Oh boy, the thief man was actuall a backstabbing traitor.  Welp, didn't see that one coming.  Actually, I'll admit, I didn't but I can't say it was much of a surprise.  Oh well.
 So now for some reason I've got to sneak into a museum about dwarves and steal some research so I can read the language of the poo elves so that I can find the man who backstabbed me so I can remove the curse on the theives' guild so they can stop being unlucky and actually steal things.

Nope.  Not convoluted at all.

I've spent a lot of time in the guild hall and I've noticed one thing.  I'm the only thief who's, y'know, stealing anything.  "Oh me, oh my, won't someone rid us of this terrible curse of unluck" them will cry.  Perhaps you'd have more fortune if you actually got off of your arses and tried to get some money of your own, rather than relying on me to fund your entire organising by paying the sneak trainer thousands of coins.

I'm sorry, that might hurt but these things need saying.

I decided to enter the museum and do this properly.  Stick to character.  I would sneak in, not be seen by anyone and would do the whole thing without killing a single man.

This didn't go well.

After like 20 autosave loads and being stabbed, shot, burned, gassed (that's a new one!) and beaten, I finally find a gathering of guards who were actually guarding their section quite well.  There was an innocent little lever to one side.  Well, it couldn't do that much harm, surely.  It must open a door or someth-
 Mother of God.

I'll pay for the damages!  I've got money, we can work something out!  But why would you even leave a lever in a room that turns on the balefire gouts and activates the deadly propellor traps without, I don't know, disarming the mechanism?  This is a museum!  People are going to walk around here to learn about an ancient and rich culture.  They are going to bring their children and elderly parents to have an enriching and wholesome day out!

Dead people are very unlikely to visit the gift shop

God DAMN, I must be the only person in all of Tamriel who actually knows how to run a business.  Maybe I'll start my own museum.  The DragonBjorn Experience.  It'll involve walking across a perilous walkway while battering rams with "FUS RO DAH" smack into people and knock them off the edge into a pit of spikes and scorpions.

Since children are invulnerable, I suppose that'll just be an orphan factory.  Hmm...
 Luckily, the guy decided to keep all his research on a two-colour CRT computer monitor.  I refuse to believe that he etched all his reseach into that thing as opposed to writing it all in a book, because that reeks of batshit insanity.
 It's another funny dog!
 So yeah, I apparently took a rubbing of the research (I was interested for a while there, I thought DragonBjorn was going to prove to be literate but no such luck.  Whenever he does a "numbers job", I like to think he's just scribbling crayon pictures of flowers and rabbits in the ledgers.  The rabbits are on fire).  That scribbling noise was enough to alert like 20 guards.  I still don't know how I got out of that one alive.  Some guy read the rubbing but by this point, I'd forgotten why I needed to read the Falmer stuff and had lost interest in the whole affair.
 I got to know Karliah a little better.  She seems friendly but that sure if a face that only a mother could love.  She looks like if Richard O'Brian made sweet love to a drow.
 Why Vex, you're looking rather... sassy today, if I may say so.  Perhaps you and me could get together later on, we could share a nice bottle of wine, a little soft music and when you're good and drunk, you can train me in stealth for HOURS.

Sound good, baby?  No?  Let me ask again once I've got my speechcraft amulet on.
 You will note here that in Mercer's house there is a cabinet named "suspicious cabinet".  I really hope that he got this from IKEA and that "suspicious" is one of those funny Swedish words like how all their bookcases are called Billy for some reason.  Maybe suspicious means "finely crafted and affordable".

I looked at this cabinet.  There was nothing at all suspicious about it or its placement.  I think DragonBjorn has x-ray vision now.  Must stop accidentally eating all my alchemy ingredients, they're having a lasting effect.
 Ah, noble Chillrend.  Named, as all fantasy weapons are, by choosing fancy words for what they do and hoping that they sound all mysterious and cool and stuff.

In related news, Stephanie will soon be renamed to Darkstab Soulsuck.
 Well, this is nice.  He left out a bowl of gems for me.  True, fruit is more conventional in a home but it's a lovely alternative.  Funny though, looking at a bowl of rigid, geometric shapes picked out in bold, near-primary colours doesn't make me think "bountiful wealth" so much as "1st year 3D modelling coursework".  I'm surprised he didn't have a jewelled teapot, too.

</IT humour>
 Damn Karliah, you're... kind of freaky, huh.  Maybe you should just go somewhere for a while.  Get some supplies or something.  I'll be in touch, love.
 So Karliah was all like "you need to become a nightingale" and I was all like "well I'm already an imperial soldier, an assassin, a summoner, a magician, a blacksmith, an enchanter, a thief and probably a couple other things, so why not?  I don't even know what you're talking about, anyway, so I might as well do it if it makes you happy".

Because that's all DragonBjorn really wants.  He wants everyone to be happy.  I trust that this fundamental part of his personality has been coming across in these blogs, otherwise it'd seem more like he was a bloodthirsty pirate.

Karliah made me wear a special outfit that kind of turned me into one of those weaver guys from Loom.

Look, don't ask, just look it up.  Trust me.  You'll be glad you did.
 They thought I needed more plot.  I decided to explain that I didn't but realised too late that DragonBjorn can only talk in a ratio of roughly 1:30 lines of dialogue where the person I'm talking to gets about 30 lines to my one.  It's like trying to talk to a horse racing commentator.

I decided to see if the torches could set me on fire.  Turns out that they couldn't.  This, sadly, did not cause Kaliah to question whether I was the right choice to serve her God or whatever.
 Here I am with my buddy, Brynjolf, which is Nordic for "he of few vowels".  I don't know why nightingale armour makes your eyes light up.  There's something wrong with that.
 Oh look, it's Nocturnal, god of... blue lights?

From what I've heard of her, she seems like th god of "dicking people around when they're trying to undertake difficult and dangerous work" so I'm not sure why people even worship her in the first place.  It seems like a celestial protection racket if you ask me (which, since this is my blog, I'm making you ask me.  Blogging's great).
 So we all have to stand here while Karliah makes us listen to HER god and undertake HER rituals.  Don't you hate it when people force their religion on you like this?  I mean, she's all like "hey, would you like a lot more power and loot?  Maybe you should come along to our guild hall sometime" and I'm all "sure, that sounds great!  What a good friend!".  Next thing you know, you're sat in a rented hall somewhere in the bad part of town, holding hands and singing songs while the man in the front of the room tells you how with a small, regular donation, he can help your spirit transcend the spirit veil and become one with the grand cosmos.

Look, lady, I've already got a religion.  I'm happy with it.  I'll respect your beliefs but I'd ask that you do the same and respect mine as I think Hephaistos is pretty strict about pantheistic worship.

I'm sorry, I don't make the rules.  I just carry out his divine will by beheading things.  Alright, I convert people but I try not to make it a hard sell.  Just a few words, if they don't want to accept my system of belief then that's absolutely fine.
 This was a weird place.  Someone quite deliberately built an ornate cage on the side of a mountain.  Inside is a lever.  I suspect that the purpose of the lever is to open the cage.  It's like building a box with a lock which contains its own key, I don't understand how they even got out of the cage in the first place without, say, tying a rope to the level and tugging it from the outside.

I think what this is is a clearly over-engineered attempt to put a door on a dungeon.  You know what would have worked a little better?  A locked door.

Just saying.
 I found this place.  I don't know what it was, it was like a big stone chair.  I didn't have much time to admire it before a dragon came and ate my head, but it looked quite impressive so I thought I'd take a picture of it.
 Oh, now this is more my style.  Ostentatious, imposing, more grandiose than an entire fleet of elves riding through their town on the backs of jewel-encrusted snow leopards.  When all this mess with the dragons is dealt with, I am going to clear this place out and rename it "Stabhold Keep".  I'll keep the gold in the east wing and the wenches in the west.

I entered and had a little poke around.  I found a ball on the ground.  Odd little thing, but I thought it was a chest so I gave it a nudge.
 Ah, my mistake.  It was Optimus Prime's bratty little cousin.  Well, to the void with you, young man, I don't have time for your interruptions.

One fireball.  That's all it would have taken.  I'd kill so many things that I'd reach destruction level 100 in a single blow.  But no, the engine won't support that so I have to let them live.  Damn, damn, DAMN.
 A dwarven centurion master.  You'd think, with a name like that, that he'd last more than 20 seconds in a fight but apparently the chief construction material of the dwarves was balsa wood because not only was he brittle, he was flammable too.  I don't think that's how metal works.
 And now the poo elves have unified, too.  I think they've rallied around a single leader or embraced communism or something.  This is like a poo elf CITY.  The smell must have been amazing.
 Oh, there's Mercer.  Well, he's apparently found the magic key that lets him unlock all his physical and mental potential, so this should be a tough fight against a god-like being of near infinite power.

Aaand he's dead.


I took the key and hoped it would allow me to unlock every perk in the game at once.  It did not.  This is because Karliah is a liar or because Nocturnal lied to Karliah and she believed it.  The latter seems more plausible because Nocturnal is kind of a douche.
 And it's not even a lockpick.  I mean look at it.  It's clearly somebody's jewelled hat pin.  Nobody who's trying to break into a house would create something that bright and gaudy.  It'd be like making a pair of night vision goggles that play the Inspector Gadget theme tune at a high volume whenever you have them turned on.
 'kay, now a dog is talking to me.  Just keep on listening to those voices, DragonBjorn, because nothing's going to go wrong if we stick to that particular plan.  I mean, last time you gave in to the temptation of obeying your schizophrenia, we ended up in the sky, thousands of miles up.  I'm not saying you should stop doing what you love, I just think that it's time to maybe seek some... professional help.  There are people you can speak to about this kind of thing, you know, caring and understanding people.  Maybe we could-
 Nope.  Just following a dog then.  That's fine too.  Just remember what we talked about, okay?

I suppose that now we have a funny talking animal, we can go ahead and create an animated series, start appealing to that child demographic that we've been missing out on.  That's prime marketing real estate right there.  DragonBjorn lunchboxes, backpacks, cartoons and plush toys which FUS RO DAH when you pull the string in the back.
 Praise be to Hephaistos, another convert!  Knelt in prayer as I delivered our good lord's blessing, I could not wish for a more devout soul!  I would like to commend you on this uninhibited and powerfully expressive act of worship!
 Oops.  Guess the dog got impaled.  Sure didn't stop his endless chatter though.
 Sanguinare Vampiris.  Now I'm no doctor, but that doesn't sound like a good thing.  I mean, DragonBjorn has been feeling a little sick lately in the mornings, but I figured that could be pregnancy or something because once you're been a horse, anything is probably possible.  So sanguine roughly means of a blood-red hue and...

I've caught a vampiric shade of vivid red?

Well, I took a potion and everything was alright.  Seems Buffy the Vampire Slayer never realised that a course of medication and some bed rest was all it would have taken to make Angel actually stop his brooding and get on with the whole business of sleeping with her instead of crying in his bedroom about his conflicting feelings for her.

Or am I confusing him with Edward Cullen?

Vampires can be cured is what I'm saying.  Innoculations could work wonders out here.

To end another busy day, I went to the pilgrim's path in the nightingale sanctuary to prove my worth to Nocturnal so that I could... do... something.  I don't know what I needed to go there for, I thought I was already a nightingale.  Well, whatever, it's not a big deal.  Kill some ghosts, defuse some traps, sneak a bit.  At least they didn't have any dwarven mechs.  I converted some ghosts to Hephaistos because you can cut the heads off of ghosts somehow.

I really don't know how that works. 

What in the nine hells have I unleashed THIS time?!  This one looks pretty serious!  I mean I think it looks angry too, but all these outer-planes beasts look kind of angry anyway so I can't really judge it on first impressions and it seems to be willling to parley, but I get the feeling that if I piss this one off, it'll just devour me with birds.

Best tread carefully.  It's offering us power and in return, we need to drink deep from some water source or something.
 YyyyyyyNO.  Look at that stuff.  That's not clean water at all.  I don't think it's actually even water, more like... portal.  I'm not drinking that.  I'll wind up in some hell dimension as soon as it touches my lips.

Oh look, Karliah is here.  Funny, she couldn't tell me what the pilgrim's path would throw at me but here she is, right at the end of it after she had no idea what we would find here.

Well, there's a dent in our relationship.  Freaky lying cow.

Thought for the day:

I know that DragonBjorn is schizophrenic but it occurs that as the man who controls him, I might actually be one of his many personalities and, thankfully, quite a dominant one.  Though if he does get the help he so sorely needs, I may cease to exist.

'kay DragonBjorn, we have a new life goal.  We need to kill every licensed therapist in all of Skyrim.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Day 11 - Anticlimax of the gods

'kay, Skyrim, look.  We need to talk.

You've given me a glass hammer.


The glass sword?  Confusing, but I'll buy that, whatever.  Glass bow?  Well that's baffling, it won't flex at all but fine, you can have that too.

But a hammer?

Jesus H. Christ, I don't know why I bother with you.

Someone sent me to kill a guy or something.  Look, at least 10 people have told me to do that now.  Got to be honest?  Whenever people tell Dragonbjorn to do anything now, I'm waiting for them to tell me the name of the location 'cause I know it'll be somewhere I haven't been to, it'll be a new dungeon to explore and maybe when I get the named item at the end of said dungeon, they'll give me some neat stuff.  If I'm lucky, there's be a chest at the end of said dungeon with some more neat stuff.  If I'm REALLY lucky, the NPC will be all like "Hey, I was in a war a while back and learned a bunch of stuff about alchemy.  Here's a point in your alchemy skill, bro."

Most of the time they give me gold.  That's cool too.  So long as you pay me, I'll help with your problems, sure, just don't expect me to care that the sacred urn of Jurgen Helfgrun, thrice sainted high priest of Solemnhold was stolen by bandits by the light of the waning moon.

 This was notable though, 'cause the guy was carrying two staffs.  Maybe he's into that Nordic Walking thing.  Seriously, look it up.  Considering we're all vikings, that'd be pretty funny, actually!

I headed back to Rivendell.  Or... River... Riverwood?  Something.  Whatever.  I have a routine now, y'see, that once I've been on a couple of quests, I go to Riverbrook, dump all my gear at the smith then dump more gear at the Riverwell Trader and then travel to... Whiterun?  Yes.  I go there, dump more gear at the smiths, dump yet more at Arcadia's cauldron, dump more again at the store and then travel to Dragonbjorn Manor where I drop the rest in my chests, get drunk and yell at Lydia for living in my house again BECAUSE BY GOD WOMAN, WHY ARE YOU EVEN STILL HERE

 Oh.  A dragon invaded Riverwood and while I was fighting, the smith decided to lead a one-man kamikazee strike against it.  It went as well as can be expected.  However, it was a notable fight because the entire time I was fighting, the bard from the inn decided to help.  He came out and sang Ragnar the Red like 3 times.

What could I do?  Even in the confusion, I couldn't kill him or I'd accrue bounty and Dragonbjorn is a man of honour.  I had to let the man sing and sing and sing.

Now when I got this letter, I had to look up who the chap was because I only remember Lydia's name.  Then I found out he was the smith which was kind of a slap in the face, because there are only two NPCs in Riverwood that I care about, him and the Riverwood trader man.  Rest in peace, you endlessly regenerating source of gold.

I sometimes go back to town to check on his widow and see how she's doing.  She hasn't left the house in like 3 weeks and I think she might be dead or something.  She sure isn't leaving the house to get food or empty the privy or anything.  Maybe I don't want to go in there at all.

Then I went to the mages college and got turned into a cow.


 Oh look!  Now I'm a horse!  Isn't that wacky?  Isn't that a wonderful note of comic relief and certainly not riddled with all manner of questions like where did my armour go, how did I increase my mass so dramatically, how did my system cope with such an increase in size without me going into shock and dying, WHY DIDN'T -
Oh, hey.  Thanks.

But could you turn me back into a horse?  I think my carrying capacity would have been better and really, all I need to do is tie Stephanie to my head and I can still fight.  Y'know, unicorn style.


Well I guess being a human is fine too...*

Ohhh boy.  Yeah, this kid bears mentioning.  Holy crap.

So I meet this boy 'cause I want to open up some quest options (I've given up on the plot at this point and I'm referring to the wiki to get the juicy quests.  Honestly, it's not harming my experience).  I break into his house and sneak up all quiet like to see him stabbing a corpse.  And apparently he's been doing this for DAYS.

Well, the logical solution is to kill the child and avert what will, in 10 years or so, be an inevitable serial killing.  This kid is clearly well beyond being several sandwiches short of a picnic, having gone so far that he's not even able to locate the wicker basket and camping chairs!  But no, Skrim says I can't kill children.

Or pickpocket children.

Or blow them away with my magic dragon voice.

God, I'm a monster.

So we have a chat and he asks me to kill a lady who runs an orphanage.  Y'know what?  That's fine.  I don't think I care any more.  I mean, just about the only things I haven't done now are rape and torture and I think that's only because there aren't mechanics in the game to support those kinds of things (though I would draw the line at rape 'cause that's... that's just revolting, even if it is all land of make believe vikings).  So alright, let's go kill the owner of an orphanage.

What could possibly go wrong?!

Why not kill her in front of half a dozen impressionable children?!


But she was a total dictator, so it was all okay.

I was stood over her body, her assistant is all like running around and screaming "NO!  Don't hurt me!  I can't best you!" and stuff which was fine because she was a peasant and unless you're carrying a diamond, Dragonbjorn doesn't really care about you.  Then this little girl approaches me.

She thoughtfully comments that one death can have an incredibly positive effect on the world.

Well CRAP.  I can't undo THAT deed.  Guess I'd better wait until she goes through puberty and kill her before she decides that she's God's representative on Tam'riel and has been chosen to purge the unbelievers or something.  And I'd better kill that boy while I'm at it.

And anybody else who sees me do these things.

Look, let's just say that I'll have to depopulate this continent.  That's fine, it'll help me level up my one-handed.

I went back to the boy who hired me to kill the angry old lady and he paid me with a plate, because I don't think he understands how money works.  And he didn't have any money to begin with, so it kinda seems like this was his only possession of value in the entire world.

Impoverished an orphan.  Yep, add that to the list.

LIMBO!  LIMBO!  LIMBO!  How low can you go!

 And then there was this chap.  He died, fell to his knees and balanced there.  That's some unpleasant Blair Witch-level nonsense right there.

I don't remember who this was, but I think she was coming on to me.  Acceptable I suppose, Dragonbjorn is a highly eligible stallion of a man.  And the pope of the church of Hephaistos.  And probably the richest man in the world.  However, the dot on my Nordic HUD suggests that she was an enemy and that I probably stabbed her to death because if people aren't selling me things or giving me quests, chances are I'm stabbing them.

Once you simplify the world as much as I have, it solves all kinds of social problems.  Really, it's very liberating.

So I went to see the Angel of the North or something.  It's an angel and I'm about as north as you can get without falling off, so that seems right.  I'd looked at my quest log and decided to follow up on that voice I heard in my head a while back.  I've already indulged in lots of bad things today, so let's try a bit of schizophrenia.


Never mind, it's a named NPC so chances are it's not going to attack me.  I guess Dragonbjorn has met and held counsel with the gods now, so there's that.  That's kind of sweet.  I'm glad I can't sneak up on it, because it certainly seemed to suggest it was omniscient.  I tried to pick its pocket but it didn't have any pockets and it probably wasn't carrying anything I wanted, anyway.  Knowing this game, it would have been carrying a set of fine clothes, some mead, an apple and a tankard.  You see, by adding random items to a character, you flesh them out and give the impression that you're in a living, breathing world where people have normal lives that go on even when you're not there.

It's called immersion.

The worst thing is that someone will have been paid to make sure that each NPC who wasn't a dirt-poor farmer had some kind of narratively appropriate gear.

So anyways, this god comes up to me and is all like "Yo, my temple be all ruined, g!  You'd best get all up in that sh*t and stoke my cred!" and I'm all like "Yep, that sounds like a quest, magic glowing ball!".

I went in there and she gave me a sword.  All considered, it wasn't a bad sword but I'm already spoken for.

Promote your religion?  No, thanks, really, I appreciate it and all but I'm not ready to become an avatar of Meridia.  I'm already supporting Hephaistos.

I found this in a chest.  The chest wasn't even on fire or anything.  This suggests two things: 
Chests are flame retardant.
Chests are not airtight and are therefore suitable hiding places and probably filled with loot midgets like in Borderlands.

Actually, I think I preferred Borderlands to this.  Maybe day 12 will be set in Pandora.

I went to speak to some elf lady who said she wasn't the queen even though she so totally was.  I don't know why you'd refer to yourself as "The Fair" unless you were horribly conceited, but I suppose she is the queen so she can do whatever.  And she was sort of attractive.  She wanted to talk about politics, so I decided to drop 350 kilos of Nordic fury on her head.  Didn't faze her.  Now THAT'S what I look for in a monarch.

Oh hey, the volleyball from Castaway wrote me a letter.  Sweet, I love that guy!

I met an assassin.  She seemed to be far too laid back about the whole thing.  She forced me to kill someone while she watched which is a fetish I wasn't ready to indulge but the wiki said that I'd get good stuff from that quest line, so I guess it's time to abandon my morals yet again and become an assassin.

A demon summoning, vampire slaying, dragon born viking assassin.

I bet I can work cyborg pirate in there before the end of the game.

I stabbed the lizard guy to death because he sounded like he was enjoying himself.  Can't have THAT from my victims, no sir.  That's just weird.

I found an ent covered in bees.  The kindest thing to do seemed to be to kill it, because it was covered in bees.  Nobody wants that.  Unless you're another bee.

I met a party of people on their way to a wedding.  Well, the silly thing to do was to mention in front of Dragonbjorn that you were headed to a wedding and worse still, to mention you were bringing extravagant presents.  But that's cool, I like gemstones.  It's gonna be awkward when you go up to the bride and hand her an empty box as a gift.  And then she'll get all angry and the groom will get all upset, then someone's uncle will try to console her but get a bit too close and she'll punch him and then there'll be a big fight and THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A HAPPY DAY, WHY DO I DO THIS TO PEOPLE?!

Oh, this little girl is a vampire assassin apparently.  Despite her being 3000 years old, I couldn't attack her.  No wonder she's a good assassin, she's got pre-pubescent invulnerability.  I could do a lot more stuff if I were aged 6.  Or a horse.

God, I wish I could have stayed a horse.

Oh, look, isn't that adorable?  The assassin's guild has a big skull and a skeleton on the door.  Just as well they're not the guild of midwives.

Went questing a bit more.  Realised that whilever I'm picking a lock, I can also breathe underwater without any ill effects.  I'm probably invulnerable, too.  I think maybe my best bet is to get a chest, cut a hole in the bottom and put it on my head as a crude helmet.  Then I can look at the unlocking interface all day and still get around and kill things.

I don't know what's funnier here.  That they all died in the same place and their bodies fell in a pile, or that, upon seeing a dead body, two more of them came and stood in the same place, one after the other, to investigate how these mysterious arrow had apeared in their friends' bodies.

Actually, no.  It's the pile thing.  The pile thing is funnier.

But nowhere near as funny as this guy!  MAN that's amusing!

The face of Bo?  I don't know what this is.  Apparently I need someone to follow me so I can cut my hand and open this thing.  Well, makes as much sense as anything else I've experienced so far.


Some bad men were trying to summon a god.  It looked like they might have gotten away with it too if it hadn't have been for that meddling Dragonbjorn.

I thought I'd jump up and down on their summoning ritual circle thing, because worst case nothing happens and best case, I get imbued with the powers of the wolf god.  I'm not sure if the latter happened, but it might have.  Seems plausible to me.

I went back to Whiterun after a while and finally did a google search to see why people have been asking why I look so sick all the time.  Turns out I've been suffering from ataxia for a couple of months now.  OH WELL.

Finally, we close on Mercer Fey, lord of the thieves' guild.  Here, I've set off a fire trap because I'm cautious like that, and he's run into the flames.  Now he's trying to pass the whole thing off like nothing happened, like he's still competent and fit to lead a group of wily con artist, thieves, forgers and general ne'erdowells.

The truth will out, Mercer.  The truth will out.

 Thought for the day
It'd save me a lot of time if all the people in each town who had problems would come to one place, form a queue and ask me to perform whatever service they needed.  All this travelling around business isn't really a good use of my time.


*No it isn't.