February 24, 2012

Adventures in Oblivion - What If Sherlock Holmes Was Always The Killer, And He Was Just Figuring Elaborate Ways To Pin The Murder On Other People?

[...Posted by Ted H]

Someone needs to make that title into a Conspiracy Keanu meme or something...
2 or 3 more of these and maybe Ill be buggered enough to finish "Our Town2"

Not gonna lie, I had an elaborate set up for this in my head, but it all kinda dribbled out. Cant wait to wrap this series up...


[Adventures in Oblivion - What If Sherlock Holmes Was Always The Killer, And He Was Just Figuring Elaborate Ways To Pin The Murder On Other People?]

One notable mission from my early Dark Brotherhood days was to murder an entire group of people who were all gathered in one place. I would get a bonus if I could murder them all without anyone noticing me. In retrospect, this would’ve been an ideal time to deploy five poison apples and just kicking back while everyone dies, but this demanded a more personal touch.

My favorite aspect of this mission was its replay value. Five people need stabbing, in any order, and what order you kill them in can dictate the flow of the mission. Who are these people and why are they all gathered in one place?

Meet the cast: Retired soldier, the nobleman, Nels the Naughty, the pseudo-noble woman, and the dark elf that the nobleman has a hard on for. Everyone is here for a game that the DB construed in order to lure everyone into so they can get murdered. The idea is that there’s hidden gold in the house (there isn’t) and no one is allowed to leave until someone finds the gold and wins.

Like I said, there are various ways to go about it, but here is how I went about my murder spree…

Getting to know everyone first, I sent the dark elf to wait for the nobleman in her room for some loving, I sent the other lady into the basement under the guise that we can work together to find the imaginary gold. The nobleman was having a random conversation with Nels, while the soldier decided to head off to bed…alone…which was a very bad idea. One down.

Somehow, everyone automatically knows about the dead soldier, and accusations are flying. “We have a murderer! It must be that guy!” “No, the murderer is obviously that other girl!” Funny how every is confiding their suspicions of each other to me of all people…Anyway, my next tactic is to head off to the basement and kill off the noble-woman, which was easy as well.

Now there are three people left: The nobleman who seems hell-bent on protecting that “hot” dark elf, the dark elf is too busy being happy that the other woman is dead…and Nels is too busy drinking. I like Nels…I’ll kill him last.

The dark elf seems a bit paranoid since she won’t let me sneak behind her, so instead I decide to off the nobleman instead. After that it got a bit interesting. I talked to the dark elf about what she thought about her boyfriend dying and she says something along the lines of “Only three of us are left and one of us is the killer…I know it isn’t me…and I’m sure it isn’t you even though you were the last person to see everyone alive, but I’m still pretty sure it wasn’t you…*gasp* That means Nels is the killer! I’m gonna kill him before he kills either of us!” then off she goes, armed with a weapon she pulled out of her ass.

…Hey, wait, I liked Nels and wanted him dead last. By time I find my favorite drunk to warn him, it’s too late. The dark elf just finishes patting herself on the back and says that we’re both safe now. Yeah…safe…*stab*

…Alright, enough of these guilds. Back to the main quest!

Next time: "Back to the main quest!"??? What was I thinking?

February 18, 2012

Adventures in Oblivion - What's That Mother? You Want Me To Kill Everyone?

[...Posted by Ted H]

I wanted to tell a joke making fun of a certain singers death...realized I dont give a shit though....


[Adventures in Oblivion - What's That Mother? You Want Me To Kill Everyone?]

So not long after I defended myself against that Skingrad guard, I went to bed only to wake up with some robed asshole watching me sleep. He said he represented the Dark Brotherhood and offered me a chance to join. All I had to do was take a dagger and kill some old guy. He then disappeared and I was alone again. I ignored the offer because with the special exception of the guard I killed in self defense, I wasn’t rolling a character who killed. That was the case until I joined the Fighters Guild.

Pissed off at how pointless and useless my life in the guild had been, I needed to take my frustrations out. I had already worked my way up through the Arena in the Imperial City and became champion, but that was all official and fair. The game just fucked me over with the Fighters Guild and now I wanted to hand out some unfair punishments. Then I remembered the dagger, remembered the old guy I was asked nicely to kill, and remembered that now was a good time to work out some anger issues.

After several stabs, many of which were applied postmortem, the robed asshole visited me and told me where to go next to continue my initiation into the Dark Brotherhood. A few words and my own uniform later, I was a full fledged member of the Assassins Guild. All my early contracts could be completed in one of two ways: the direct approach where I walk in and stab a guy till he stops breathing…or I could stealth kill the guy. To this point, I had actually built up my sneak skills quite well and I had acquired a ring that gave me a cloaking style like in Predator so now I too could blow a hole through Jesse Ventura!

Not all missions were as strait forward like “Kill this schmuck.” One had me fake some guys death so he could avoid a loan-shark. Another, and my favorite quest in the entire game, had me participate in a murder-mystery in which I was the murderer and everyone was as good as dead. That quest was so awesome, Imma give it its own post…

Anyway, one day I got a letter from the robed asshole saying I needed to meet him at his crib for a special assignment. The assignment: I needed to kill everyone at my HQ. Apparently there’s a traitor in the ranks, and instead of investigating and gathering clues on the matter, apparently it’s easier to just kill everyone suspected. I’m reminded of an old saying: “Would you kill 99 innocent men in order to ensure one asshole gets his?” I think we all know what this guy would do…

Seriously though, how hard would it be to take a few minutes to try and figure who the traitor is? I’m not entirely on board with this train of thought. Hell, if this traitor is trying to bring down the Dark Brotherhood, what’s to say that this isn’t part of his plan? This is like flooding out your house because a smoke detector went off. Are we sure there isn’t a less homicidal way to deal with-wait, what’s that? No, this isn’t the “Let’s think it over Guild”…we’re the Assassins Guild. I guess we do solve out problems by killing. Don’t ask a plumber to cook you a meal, and don’t ask an assassin to be Sherlock Holmes. Fair enough.

So, how do I go about killing everyone in my guild? I could go for the straightforward approach and stab everyone, but if I’ve learned anything here, is that there’s always a more diabolical tactic to use to get your way. Todays killing tactic du jour is this pile of poison apples!

To use the poison apples effectively, they must be the ONLY thing to eat anywhere. My inventory was pretty full at the time so I had to eat everything else. Nobody seemed to question my sudden binge eating, or the fact that I ate all the apples while replacing them with different apples from my pocket. No one else thought it odd either that I was watching them with glee as they inevitable ate the only food available, or the sudden epidemic of sudden death that was suddenly going around.

At one point there were only three people left, including myself. The big, loud orc must’ve caught on to what was going on because he suddenly decided the talking cat was the culprit and killed him. I was very thankful for him saving me the time and energy and made sure to tell him as much when I was pulling several of my arrows out of his corpse moments later.

I returned to the robed asshole who thanked my by giving me a promotion and a new horse. Apparently he broke into Middle Earth and stole Shadowfax, dyed its hair black and hoped Gandalf wouldn’t notice. I didn’t really care since Fuck-Your-Mountains was still around and I didn’t really need the speed upgrade. A nice gesture though. Anyway, I was now the private assassin of the robed asshole.

The way I go about carrying out assassinations from here on out seems a bit retarded though. Instead of going to a superior for the mission, I was to instead head to some random location and get instructions, then kill the poor sap that needs killing, then head to a third location stated in the instructions to pick up my reward and next assignment. I assume there’s something in play here preventing me from skipping the assassination and just picking up the reward but Christ, what’s the secrecy for? I hold a position previously thought unknown and shit and what’s to stop some random passerby from stumbling across the reward before me?

I take it in good faith because while the Dark Brotherhood tale was starting to get bumpy from the emerging plot holes, the missions were still interesting and fun as opposed to the Fighters Guild which were grinding and riddled with plot holes from the get-go. Anyway, I hammer out a bunch of assassinations until the assassination quest that takes me to Bravil.

At this point in the game, I’ve set up Bravil as my HQ of sorts. I bought the house in town, I do all my trading with the two shops (one right next door to my house, the other right at the entrance for when I fast travel) and I make sure to hit up the statue every chance I get because it grants a boost to my luck skill, and I am a luck stacking mofo. So naturally I was already familiar with my next target, the elf that had an unhealthy fascination with the statue because he would always be staring at it whenever I come by.

Anyway, the quest stated he needed killing and that he paid off the guards so it would be ok to start a knock down-drag out brawl with him in the middle of town. Fuck that, I say. Like I said, Bravil is my town, and I already know how I’m taking this bitch down. My predator-type stealthed ass took position overlooking the statue and waited him out. When the target walked over, I bowed up and arrowed his ass from the shadows. Over before he could kiss the statue.

“Oh fuck! What did you do?! Shit! Why would you do that?! Ffffffffuuuuuuuu-!”


The robed asshole, my supervisor, jumps in and starts chewing me out for killing that guy, who turns out to be a really really REALLY important dude for the Dark Brotherhood.

“Why would you assassinate him?” the guy screamed

“I dunno! You wanted him dead!” I screamed back, still cloaked BTW so the robed asshole is only screaming to himself to anyone looking over.

“I didn’t want him dead! Why would you think I want him dead?”

“You totally told me to kill him! See? *hands him the assassination order* That’s you wanting that guy arrowed.”

“I didn’t send this order. Lemme see all these orders you have….FUCK! None of these are from me. What the fuck is wrong with you?”

Could it be that hiding orders under a rock and not telling me in person turned out to be a BAD idea? Turns out, since my promotion, I killed a shit-ton of people and only about six of them were actually official, the other dozen people were someone else fucking with me. All the unofficial killings were actually ranking members of the Dark Brotherhood, apparently dropping membership all the way down to me, the robed asshole, and four other people.

So once the robed asshole and I are done yelling at each other, we decide we need to track down the fucker who’s been giving me fake assassination orders. My job is to travel to where my next order is and confront the guy who plants the next fake order. The robed asshole meanwhile will be keeping it on the DL since a lot of people are angry at him since they think it’s him sending me after the targets.

I head to Anvil and wait out for the guy dropping off my next target. When I catch him and shake him down for info, he sends me to the lighthouse to where the man behind all this lives. Inside I find dead bodies, a rotting head and a diary. “Dear Diary, wah wah wah, some dark brotherhood asshole killed my mommy. I vow revenge. Here’s how I’m gonna do it…” Yeah, pretty standard.

The Dark Brotherhood has a traitor and it’s one of the six remaining members. This guy wants the DB completely wiped out, though between the fake orders and the cleansing I did with the apples, it seems I’ve been doing most of the leg work for someone else’s revenge plot.

I high-tale it back to the robed asshole only to arrive too late. The other four surviving members got to him first, stripped him, raped him and killed him…or something like that. He’s dead, that’s all that really matters. Great news for me though since it means I get another promotion. I get a fancy black robe and everything. One of these people is the traitor since the diary explicitly talks about how they’re gonna bring down the DB from within.

Remember that rotting head I mentioned before? Yeah, I totally took it with me because…well the only reason I took it was because the game said I could. I then dropped it on the floor in front of everyone thinking I was clever. Maybe the traitor will see his mothers head and start freaking out, maybe do a couple scenes from Psycho, revealing his traitorish identity…but no. Instead I had to play along and let the game do things it’s own way.

Everyone else starts patting each other on the back saying how wonderful it is that they tracked down the traitor before it was too late. Meanwhile, I was having trouble finding a dialogue option that allowed me to shout out “WE STILL HAVENT FOUND THE TRAITOR!” They have good reason to believe the robed asshole was the traitor, but when I have evidence that contradicts those beliefs and the game simply doesn’t give me any opportunity to present such evidence, then I call shenanigans. I just dropped someone’s mothers head on the ground and can show you their mother fucking diary!

Nope, instead let us go to the tomb of the Night Mother (aka: Jesus fucking Christ to everyone in the Dark Brotherhood) and speak with her in person…which is exactly what the traitor wants to do so he can take a shit on her corpse, which he totally said he would do in his diary…which I can show you guys…if ANYONE wants to see! No? Fine, let’s do what the bad guy wants like idiots.

In a completely SHOCKING turn of events, the traitor reveals himself in the tomb and easily kills off two of the three idiots who ignored me screaming about how we haven’t found the traitor yet. At this point, I'm willing to let the traitor do what he wants. He hasn’t harmed me in any way, in fact, I’m much better off now than when I was just a low level lackey in the DB. If at this point he were to let me go, I’d do it. If the DB is dumb enough to get themselves killed despite my best screaming efforts, then there’s nothing more I could have done for them.

No…again…Instead the traitor decides that EVERYONE must die before he can shit on the Night Mother. He picked a fight with the wrong assassin and once again I find myself having to kill someone in self defense. I didn’t kill you, buddy, over ambition did you in. Afterwards that lone surviving idiot and the Night Mother ghost all praise me and thank me and give me one last promotion. The Dark Brotherhood and all two of its members live to kill another day.

The Dark Brotherhood quest line got kinda dumb at the end, but it was waaaaaaaay better then anything the Fighter Guild shat out. And while the Mages Guild (I’m not gonna get into that one here) has a much tighter plot, the Dark Brotherhood was just more fun. Nothing topped the one mission though……

Next time: One of us is the real killer....and...let's just say it isnt you...

February 12, 2012

Adventures in Oblivion - Fun With Guilds

[...Posted by Ted H]

I was just about to write a letter to Al Gore, thanking him for making up global warming, but that was before a foot of snow fell outside my house...bring back my warm winter!

Yeah, more Oblivion...No Valentines update of any sort, romance was more Ryans fotre and he left this blog at the alter. Figure that out at your own discretion.


[Adventures in Oblivion - Fun With Guilds]

There are four major guilds in Oblivion: Thieves, Mages, Fighters and Assassins. I’m still trying to not be an asshole player…so no assassinating for me. I’m not really handy with the spells, so I ignore the Mages Guild. The Thieves Guild requires too much effort on my part to even discover, so I guess that leaves the Fighters Guild.

By the time I finish with these idiots, I’ll have regretted my choice ten times over. I’ve since done the Mages and Assassins quest lines, both being very fun and interesting, while the Fighters Guild was a constant exercise in grind questing. Let me compare the three quest lines, and illustrate how bad the FG is.

Major Crisis: The Mages Guild plot revolves around the feud between the Guild and the Necromancers, who are actively and currently succeeding in attacking the Guild. Your role turns into discovering the plot, and eventually taking the fight to the Necromancers head honcho…The Dark Brotherhood (Assassins) plot involves a traitor from within and finding a way to stop them before the entire Brotherhood gets killed off…The Fighters Guild major crisis is a rival Guild is muscling in on their operation and having better success at it. Seriously, one of my FG quests was to secure future contracts for Guild members who were too busy getting drunk at a bar to do anything else. Let me repeat myself: I was doing a quest to ensure future quests for people other than myself, because they were too busy drinking to do it themselves.

Advancement: Mages Guild associates are nothing more than little bitches. I needed to acquire recommendations from every cities Guild leader before the main HQ let me in and promoted me. From there I was privy to more important, plot related quests. I actually had to prove myself with some bitch work before I was trusted enough with the important shit. The Dark Brotherhood had me go around killing people, with escalating importance and difficulty before I eventually became the right hand man of a leader, thus placing me in a key role for the eventual end game. Again, I proved myself with bitch work before I was trusted with the important shit. The Fighters Guild put me on inane contract after inane contract, some based around the rival guild, slowly advancing me in rank, but never moving beyond inane task-work. I proved myself with bitch work, only to be given more bitch work.

My major problem with the Fighters Guild was that the crisis I was given, the rival guild, never really felt all that important. Sure, the Blackwood Company is cheating and using backstabbing tactics to get the upper hand, but it always seemed that the FG was never really that interested in doing anything about it. The FG was losing contracts, members, and prestige, but the collective attitude from the guild was little more than a “Damn those guys. I wish there was something we could do about them” followed by a shrug.

The Blackwood Company's major draw was they were willing to do the things the Fighters Guild wouldn’t, or couldn’t, handle…while the Fighters Guild was the go to destination if you wanted someone to help you pay off debt, find out why your pet rats are dead, or to do a fucking escort mission. Half my quests in the FG made me wonder what kind of operation this was anyway since they revolved around the ineptitude of the guild itself. There’s the before mentioned quest where you get work for a few drunk slackers, two where you’re doing someone else’s contract entirely cuz there couldn’t be buggered to do it in the first place, a couple where you go and figure out why your fellow guild mates haven’t returned yet (spoiler-they fucking died). Hell, my first FG quest was to run weapons over to three waiting members in a goblin infested mine. Seriously guys? None of you though it a good idea to bring weapons? Are you that fucking dense?

An honorable mention goes out to the one quest where I’m tasked to hunt down and kill several escaped convicts. That seemed solid in the sense that “Yeah, escaped criminals. Defiantly something you call the Fighters Guild about. I sure hope they’re all not to busy dying or picking flowers for some other quest so they can deal with these dangerous killers.” My only gripe about it is it seemed to give the impression that killing them wasn’t the only option. Maybe convince one or two to turn themselves in…but no, killing is the only choice. Not saying there was anything wrong there, but the illusion of choice gave me different expectations.

Maybe it’s me, but if I need to hire a fighting guild, and choice A is a bunch of pansies who like doing WOW style ‘collect X amount of Rat Meat‘, and choice B’s slogan is that they deal with the shit choice A is too chicken to fuck with, then I’m gonna go with choice B. Losing business and members to Blackwood? DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Don’t just whine about it and automatically assume it’s because they’re cheating scumbags. Cuz even if they are cheating scumbags, then that’s only 50% of your problem. The other 50% is the fact that the Fighters Guild is a fucking joke.

Anyway, the whole Fighters Guild nonsense came to a head when I was on a quest to figure out why people were disappearing or some shit. I was led to a cave where a bunch of tinkerbells attacked me. Clearly these “disappearing people” were dead, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to confirm it. Inside I was greeted with a bunch of dead trolls. Something was familiar about this place. Had I been here before?

I get to where the map says I need to be but there’s nothing. There’s a chest in back but it’s empty. I’ve been here before, haven’t I? I must’ve raided this cave before when I was trying to raise the gold for my “stolen” pumpkin/self defense murder bounty. I didn’t notice any bodies or anything important during my first run through, and I sure as hell don’t notice anything odd now. So…what now?

I check online to find that there is a bug in the game that if you clear out the mine before the quest, then you’ll never be able to finish it. I’m stuck. There is no body, or journal, or whatever it is I needed to find in here. The quest in unfinishable. And that was the last straw. I had been putting up with this endless parade of a retarded plot for long enough, and when it threw me an impossible to complete quest, it officially became time for me to rethink my guild choice.

Someone needs to die for this, and I know just the assholes to go to…

Next Time: EVERY problem can will be solved with murder

February 4, 2012

Adventures in Oblivion - The Hero Cyrodil Deserves, But Clearly Not The One It Needs

[...Posted by Ted H]

Just a heads up, I'm gonna continue with my Oblivion playthrough until the endgame before I move on to other things. OurTown2 should be finished by then. Late March/Early April is when it'll go up. From there Safe Haven should be the updates of choice unless any other author wishes to actually post...


[Adventures in Oblivion - The Hero Cyrodil Deserves, But Clearly Not The One It Needs]

A pumpkin.

I honestly don’t remember what town I was in, maybe Skingrad but I do know I walked into someone’s home and proceeded to break the law without even realizing it. Now, Bethesta game Fallout 3 and similarly New Vegas had similar set ups where people didn’t like it when you stole their items, but wouldn’t even bat an eyelash when you grabbed their stuff and flung it across the room. As long as you didn’t “steal” anything you were fine…“steal” meaning putting the item in question into your inventory.

It was a fucking pumpkin. I wanted to see how far I could toss some lady’s pumpkin off the shelf and across the room, part of me also wanted to see if it would break like a true November pumpkin might. It didn’t but I did notice the lady was throwing a fit over the whole ordeal. I noticed the game prompted me earlier that if I were to take the item it would be considered stealing but I didn’t care since I wasn’t gonna take it, just fling it across the room.

I left without stealing anything. I was still trying to roleplay a character who wasn’t an unprovoked dick to everything he met. I left and hit up a local inn, following up on a quest that I can’t even remember anymore. The person I wanted to meet with was locked in their room for the night behind a locked door that ranked as “average” to pick. Now, like I hinted at before, I graduated from the Fallout 3 school of RPGing and in that game, if you don’t have enough points in lock picking, then the game wont even let you try…besides, this isn’t even worth wasting a dozen or so lock picks when I could simply wait this person out. So I opt to utilize my time machine power and fast-forward myself several hours into the future.

Something went wrong though. I entered into my time machine that I wanted to be at a reasonable, daytime hour and yet when the fast-forward ended, it was still dark out. Not only that, but I noticed a town guard was now in my face, bitching that I was a criminal and I should pay a fine or go to jail.

…The fuck?

Call it stupidity or call it just not being too familiar with the game yet, but I fail to notice that my bounty was chump change…either way, I had no idea flinging someone else’s stuff around their house without asking was a crime and instead wanted my lawyer…oh wait, this isn’t America…I guess I’ll just resist arrest then.

The guard draws his sword and attempts to kill me. In what I will go to the grave claiming as self defense, I fight back and kill the motherfucker. I step outside to find another guard getting all up in my grill saying the same shit word for wor-wait, his last sentence was new. Something about how I don’t have enough to pay the bounty. Add that to the fact that my bounty has now gone up a considerable amount for me to actually notice it on my screen now…yeah, I think a couple apologies are in order.

I’m a dirt poor ex-con adventurer who just murdered local authority. If they wanted me in jail for attempted robbery, they sure as shit want me dead for my recent exhibition of self defense. And I’m sure to bring up the fact that it was self defense too as I scream it while running out the main gates. Fuck-Your-Mountains may be slow by horse standards, but he can easily outrun a town guard running after with his sword out, thank god(s) for that.

The game got interesting, that’s for sure, but it also hit a major roadblock when I attempted to enter the neighboring city and the guards went after me. How the hell did they even know? I don’t see no phones let alone smoke signals or carrier pigeons so can someone please tell me how word got around so fucking fast? I literally just got done running away from the last bunch of guards, how the hell did these guys now only know, but also know the specifics of my bounty? I can see the logic behind me not being able to enter Skingrad for the foreseeable future, but for me to not enter any major city? Fuck!

So now I have to roll up my sleeves and knock out some honest to God adventuring until I can scratch enough gold together to pay my fine because there is no way in hell I’m going back to jail. The adventuring, not gonna lie, honestly saved the game for me. I had been so unimpressed by the main plot to this point I was just using the game to pad my time out until I got enough real world dollars together to maybe pick up Gears 3 or (God forbid) go do something non video game related with my life.

But now here I was, as far away as possible for the stale as hell plotline and letting the game show me what it’s got. Each fort/ruin/mine had about 100 gold at most, and my bounty was about 1000, so this was gonna take a while. Not that I was complaining, cuz it allowed the game to play out without the plot, I got to see the good side of Oblivion, and it made me want to play on, even when the plot started back up…Oh, and speaking of Oblivion…

I happened across a few open Oblivion gates on my way around, and very much like at Kvatch, I ran head first in without as much as a second thought. Running around those got me a nice bit of gold as well, but it did bring up a bit of a quandary. Here I am, the “Hero or Kvatch” as well as the man who has been single-handedly running around and closing every Oblivion gate, saving lives and prolonging the countdown to the end of the world…and no one cares because of one pumpkin incident and one guard I killed in self defense. Ya know, Link never had to deal with shit like this when he barged into homes and broke pots, kicked chickens, and stole everyones rupees…you know why? Cuz he was saving motherfucking Hyrule! I’m saving the motherfucking world and if I want to toss someone else’s pumpkin across a room, then I should be allowed to! I don’t see anyone else queuing up to shut any Oblivion gates, so get off my back for the pumpkin!

But no, I don’t get any hero exemption to local pumpkin smashing laws, so I have to pay the fine…and the self defense one as well…fucking hell…eventually I scrape enough cash money together and I pay my fine, allowing my freedom to enter cities without enduring harassment. Time to continue the plot……

………nah, fuck that. Let’s join a guild instead.

Next time: There are worse things than the plot...