I am nearing the end of my time in the province of Skyrim, and thought you folks might be interested in what I thought of my haywire journey. (If you’re looking forward to James Bond posts, don’t worry – Goldfinger is up for Friday).
OK, so the weird thing about Skyrim, for me, was actually my character. Hold on, let me show you him:
Yeah, that’s one crazy motherfucker, isn’t he? Pontifus has made fun of my playstyle before, but you should probably know how he works. He uses destruction and restoration spells, one-handed weapons, bows, some conjuration and alteration spells, as well as sneaking (for the bow) and of course yelling dragon words at anything he hates. The specific thing that induces mockery, apparently, is that I often use all these things in one fight. I don’t like specializing in games like this; testing all the abilities seems more fun. And right away there is one difference from the other Elder Scrolls games – archery doesn’t suck. I always tried archery in every game and it was always loathsome, so I just put that fucking bow right back down and picked up something else. I snuck around in Morrowind with a katana, getting amazing critical sneak hits with the fucking thing.
So what about my dude? He is what has made Skyrim significantly different from other Elder Scroll games, for me. I actually gave him a character, rather than the relatively generic “good fantasy protagonist who steals for a living, but usually only from people who can afford it” guy. This character isn’t much more nuanced, mind you, but he interests me a lot more. It came from the visual design, actually. I fiddled with the character creation stuff, like you do when you play these games, though I didn’t mess with any of the length/width what have you settings. That is, I didn’t find a nose I liked and then try to make it slightly shorter or higher on the face or anything. Every single attempt to do that makes the character look like a gods-forsaken monster, so no, none of that this time. I shaved his head, I gave him a beard (for obvious reasons), and I gave him a sweet tattoo and aged him.
And that’s where the interesting thing happened. Young, feckless adventurers struggling to make their name, their motivations are obvious. They take quests because they are pretty much the people quests are made for. But why in hell is this guy agreeing to find someone’s lost cat (note: so far as I know, there is not a lost cat mission in Skyrim)? Why does he give two shits about who rules the province, or that the insouciant, smug bastard running Whiterun needs help?
I found the answer as I trekked around, doing some fucking thing for some fucking one. He’s a peacekeeper. As in, he wants to keep the peace. He is from a country (I picked a Nord) torn by civil war, with dragons invading and burning everything down. Everything is so chaotic he could be picked up by an Imperial patrol by accident, even though he wasn’t a Stormcloak (the rebels) and be sentenced to death with no trial. These things are all wrong for a country; they indicate a chaos that’s not good for a state to be in. I mean, these are obvious things – Skyrim is under attack and in a civil war, duh. But they’re the main quest, so presumably my character cares about them directly. People are being affected – citizens are dying, soldiers are being sent off to fight countrymen, shit is getting real.
This did affect my decisions. I would kill to keep the peace – a dead assassin can’t be hired to kill any longer. I even killed that ass from the mage guild quest, who’s from the capital, because his death would save countless lives and stores of lore that would better Skyrim (the college at Winterhold). I did that even knowing it probably wouldn’t affect the quest or the game itself, because that’s what my guy would do. Also, and this was hardest on me, I couldn’t justify doing Thieves’ Guild quests. Any other game’s guild might have meshed, as there was a sense in them that the alternatives would be worse. That is, thieves who killed were drummed out of the guild. But this guild seemed like a bunch of assholes who would injure, kill, and destroy to get what they wanted. Extortion is not something a peacekeeper wants to get into, even if they might steal some things (for the greater good, of course).
Was my guy always right? No. His idea of the greater good is sort of shitty, which people dying because they’re inconvenient. But it was a lot of fun to play. It even makes sense of all the different play styles mashing together. He’s spent time with pretty much everyone, sometime in his (relatively) long life, he knows how to do some of everything.
So my question now, even, is: do I have any sort of thesis here? I might do something down the road of silly stuff from Skyrim, or even about the dlc or the dragons. Those will probably have more of a mission to them, even if it’s just teh lulz. But, like Skyrim itself, this post appears to exist as itself, with no apparent purpose and a lot of shit you could grab ahold of if you’d like. I’ll leave it there.
Also, Pontifus wants to marry J’Zargo. That is all.