Skyrim EP6: Adventures in Incarceration Shenanigans

By Rutskarn
on Feb 15, 2014
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Professor Rutskarn’s Introduction to Elder Scrolls Cosmology 101: New Gods

So maybe you don’t want to worship the Eight Divines, a gaggle of model-building intergalactic nerdcases with dumb names. And maybe you’re not on good terms with the Daedra after they made out with your boyfriend in one of those speakered-up parking spots at Sonic Burger. The question is: with those two options removed, who’s left to worship? Consider these three options:

1.) Nobody Much.

MORTAL: So Aedra, what’s the advantage of devoting my life to you? Are you going to deliver me from earthly suffering?

AEDRA: Yes! One specific kind of suffering, like not being able to carry enough stuff! We will alleviate this for several hours at a time!

MORTAL: That’s the kind of perk you’re willing to offer if I spend my entire life worshiping you?

AEDRA: Or you could drop like ten bucks on a shrine once in a while.  But yeah. That’s our upper limit.

MORTAL: Daedra, how about you?

DAEDRA: Yeah, sure, standard contract: we give you all the sex and booze and violence and money and artifacts you can carry away in a sack, and in return, you let us sort of…you know, kind of, ruin your life. A bit.

MORTAL: No.

DAEDRA: Shit. They’re catching on.

Funny thing, how functional atheism is pretty common for a universe with more than three different types of Gods.

The Tribunal. You remember that hoser that got kicked out of the intergalactic D&D club in last week’s lesson? Well, when he was kicked out, he left some of his stuff behind. Like his actual, literal, physical heart.

Turns out that messing with a god’s heart (and of course we started messing with his heart, what do you think) can have fascinating side-effects. It might make you into a god! Or it might destroy your entire species. You know. Both have been known to happen to various people, and not, as you’d sorta have to guess, in that order. Yeah–someone tried the godhood ritual after it literally wiped out the last civilization to give it a crack.

T1: Yeah, let’s just do it. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

T2: We and everyone who looks like us disappears instantly forever.

T1: Well…how likely is that?

T2: Based on a survey of all existing precedent, I’d say around one hundred percent likely.

The three self-made bootstrap gods called the Tribunal are to the Aedra as film-student indie aristes are to Hollywood standbys. They made it to where they are all on their own (or so they claim–they’re really just cribbing off an earlier, edgier artist’s work). They have a very meta, deconstructive view of their tools and responsibilities. They exhibit a stupid level of loyalty to their hometown, to their “crowd,” their “scene.” At their best they’re honest, personal, and well-intentioned. At their worst they’re navel-gazing opaque shitwits getting more and more stuck up their own ass and more and more crazy as the years go by.

Oh, and after a relatively brief honeymoon, their careers have pretty much imploded.

Talos. But there’s this other relatively new filmmaker. He actually got his start doing YouTube-grade stuff–cool, but strictly mundane in terms of reach and production values–but he was so popular, well-interviewed, and media-hyped that he ended up sort of being handed the reins to bigger pictures as though he knew what he was doing. These days the media insist on treating him like a “real” director, inviting him to promos and round tables and red carpet dealies, but it’s difficult not to think that’s just a little bit of an overenthusiastic appraisal.

But while not everyone agrees that he’s the best director ever, or even all that good, there’s one thing everyone can agree on: it’s that those pretentious, acne-ridden, sneering film-school dropouts calling him a a hack? The ones who dump on his “lowest-common-denominator” approach, who transparently envy his “undeserved” success even as their own works score double-digit viewcounts?

Those guys are the worst.

To be continued next week in, “What’s Up With All These Dovakids?”

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A Hundred!202018We've got 158 comments. But one more probably won't hurt.

From the Archives:

  1. TMTVL says:

    Actually, you can just wait 3 days, and they’ll stop being hostile (I did it in Solitude, where the guards went after for me for running up to guy getting executed).

  2. broken says:

    … and that, my child, was the tale of the Battle of Whiterun.

  3. Thomas says:

    For some reason, Josh downing 10 cabbages is the greatest thing ever

    Well if the rest of the episode hadn’t been the greatest thing ever

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Spoony had a great skit in one of his videos where he just “paused” a real life fight in order to down a whole can of jelly to “heal”.After seeing that,thats what I imagine every time I pause a game to heal,or when I watch Josh do it.Its hilarious.

  4. newdarkcloud says:

    We’ll probably get more into it in the next few episodes, but I absolutely can’t stand the climb to High Hrothgar.

    One of the reasons is that just getting to the steps to make the climb is a small journey in and of itself. There isn’t a really efficient way to make it there and you’ll likely pass by a giant or two on the road. On top of that, it’s so far away from any of the major cities.

    Second, the enemies that populate the climb, as Chris already stated, are way too strong for being so early in the main questline. I remember how frequently I died on the climb to bear-maulings and trolls. From a design standpoint, I don’t get it.

    • Greg says:

      I believe, and I could be completely wrong, that the design of this part was for you to get sidetracked multiple times on your way and gain levels. They put it so far away from the holds specifically so that you couldn’t fast travel there; you have to make the trek yourself and have it feel like an actual trek. This has the added benefit of making you want to stop for sidequests you run into, since you’re a bit bored, and consequently level a few times before you face the climb.

      The summoning, after all, isn’t couched in terms of “Come here now or the world is doomed!” It’s just “Hey, when you’d like to know more about Shouting, come see us.” So the devs likely assumed that most people would get sidetracked in the open world, and consequently made the enemies on the climb more dangerous so they’d provide more of a challenge to the “normal” player who’s higher level at this point.

      • Destrustor says:

        Or maybe the monsters are actually a deterrent to provide a subtle level cap to the main quest.
        Maybe they didn’t want the players to just rush ahead too fast, and instead of putting an invisible wall who says “you must be level X to access this content” in the way, they put these monsters there. So the message is less “you can’t go there” and more “you can go there if you really insist, but it’s going to be hard and you might want to enjoy the game a bit more before instead”, so the low-level players need to either wait a little or be extremely dedicated to this.

        I mean, if that’s their intention in this case, I consider this a rare example of an actual good plot door. It’s not a nonsensical barrier to the player’s actions, just a subtle (and possible to ignore) way to encourage them to go somewhere else first.

        • Noumenon says:

          And, it fits the theme. The place is supposed to be inaccessible, and climbing mountains is supposed to be a difficult trek. You can’t make people feel the strain in their thighs and lungs from the climb, so you make them at least walk a long way and fight hard to get through.

      • Mintskittle says:

        Or you could just dodge around it, make a mad dash for High Hrothgar, and let the greybeards deal with it.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYCMTjkk_XE

        • Disc says:

          Alternatively, try climbing the steep side (Something I actually did once just to see if it could be done. Took a while, but managed to climb all the way to the summit.).

          The way the steep angles work in this game, as long as it’s slightly inclined towards you, you can stay in place and travel the surface horizontally by running towards the cliff. Combined with spamming jump, you can climb to a lot of places otherwise inaccessible, as long as there are no invisible walls (the edges of the map) and you can find a path with good angles. You can’t normally jump when glitching on the cliff face, but running around and spamming jump you’ll usually get one off sooner or later, and with some route planning and luck you’ll get higher and higher and eventually where you need to go.

          It’s a nice side activity if you’re bored and willing to risk a slightly cramped left thumb ;P. Also lets you bypass obstacles and skip parts of a few dungeons on occasion.

          • Zagzag says:

            On my very first playthrough I spotted High Hrothgar from Whiterun and thought it looked pretty awesome, so spent an hour climbing up the steep side and inadvertently progressed the main quest, as I was supposed to be going that way anyway, though my quest marker was pointing to Ivaarstead, so it was a completely honest mistake.

    • Amnestic says:

      The first time I climbed up to High Hrothgarr I got very lost and tried scaling the mountain with my horse because I was an idiot and didn’t understand that the steps might be round the other side of the mountain from Whiterun. Derp. As I recall, it actually worked somehow because I remember entering the building for the first time from the backdoor.

      The first time I actually climbed the steps properly, the frost troll was fighting a dragon (possibly due to my “More dragons” mod which upped dragon spawns, possibly not?) and one of the random NPCs that are around the area. I didn’t stay to watch, I just ran, because I was still level 3 or 4 and didn’t really want to get caught in the crossfire.

      I’m fairly certain between power attacks and “Fus” stuns, you can keep it down long enough to sprint past. Makes a nice thing to come back to once you full power your Fus Ro Dah to knock it off the mountain.

    • aldowyn says:

      I actually really enjoyed it. My first trek up to high hrothgar (all like 3 hours of it from whiterun) is probably one of my fondest memories of the game.

      I don’t usually have *that* much trouble – sometimes some issues with sabretooths, and there’s that one troll that there are any number of ways to beat (I recommend fire – it retards their health regen), but overall not really that hard *shrug*.

    • Tizzy says:

      The funny thing of course is that when you talk to people in the village, they tell you: “Oh yeah, watch out for wolves on your way up there, but that’s pretty much it; nothing a seasoned adventurer like you couldn’t handle.” Ha ha! Very funny, game designers. I’m sure that line is in there deliberately.

      That being said, the troll should not be a problem when you have a companion. In my experience, you can sprint past it and your companion will hold it back long enough for you to lose it.

      This is the solution I came across on my first playthrough, and, at the time, I felt like a terrible person: “Oh no! I left Lydia to her death while she valiantly covered my flight! And she was carrying so much loot too!” I even reloaded a few times (thinking: I must be doing something wrong! Surely, this fight is not meant to be *that* difficult.)

      So it was only later that I finally figured that Lydia’s miraculous escape (and catching up to me) was not miraculous but rather the way the game was designed. What a letdown!

      Companion NPCs: between their almost immortality and their total lack of personality (and attaching companion quests), that totally soured me on them. I gave up using them soon after discovering that. Why bother?

    • swenson says:

      That’s why I liked the climb, actually. It legitimately felt like a challenge, like I was doing something that an ordinary person wouldn’t do, that I was actually putting effort into it.

      And you want to know the really fun part? I had Frostfall installed, and that early in the game, that trek is… very, very dangerous. I didn’t have enough time to kill the troll, so I had to sneak past it (taking up valuable time in and of itself, in which I was slowly freezing to death) and then sprint for the front door. I think I had dropped all the way down to “you’re freezing to death” level by the time I got there.

      In short: it was supposed to be an arduous trek. So I was very pleased that it actually was an arduous trek!

  5. Gilfareth says:

    Dovakids more like dovakitties.

    …I got nothing.

  6. Who picked the outro music, “Aurea Carmina”?

    I don’t know how rollerskating disco music fits with Skyrim, but somehow it’s the perfect choice! I LOVE it!

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Thanks professor Rutskarn for explaining all this so most of us can understand.

    But what about those that only understand stuff explained in car metaphors?

    (and seriously,we need a handy online normal-stuff-into-car-metaphors-translator)

    EDIT:Indeed,yay for edits.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      Haha I love it….not only is this season giving Rutskarn a chance to pun more but it’s also showing off his amazing analogy ability.

      Edit: Yay editing is back!

    • The Rocketeer says:

      Easy.

      The Aedra are American cars. Just a handful of reliable pick-ups, sedans with plenty of legroom, a muscle car… Some of them are pretty nice, but it’s all stuff you’re likely to see just around town.

      The Daedra are some fancy imports. They’ve got power, style, and raw sex appeal. But once the new-car smell wears off you realize you’ve got a vehicle that’s a real nightmare to take care of. $100 oil changes, $4500 dollars for some tiny part that the damn thing won’t run without, but is only made in Lichtenstein… You get what you pay for, I guess, but boy do you pay for it.

      The Tribunal is like RUF. They found a perfectly grand engine lying around, and thought, “Holy cow, whose is this?” and after about fifteen seconds, they decided, “Holy cow, look at our fancy new engine!” Yeah, the last company that tried to make a go of stealing that design went bankrupt immediately, but the new kids actually manage to make a go of it. And it would have worked, too, if someone else hadn’t moved in on their design and managed to use it even better than they did. And since they didn’t innovate it in the first place, they had nothing to counter with, and took a slow, painful dive into insolvency.

      Talos is Harley-Davidson. Wait, is that even an applicable metaphor? I thought we were talking about cars? I mean, it can get you around, and it looks pretty badass. Why shouldn’t it work? But no, we were talking about cars. Motorcycles don’t count. Well, why not? CAUSE SHUT UP IS WHY THEY DON’T COUNT. WELL F*** YOU TOO BUDDY I’LL DRIVE MY F***ING HARLEY WHERE I FEEL LIKE IT.

      • Okay, so where does Top Gear fit into all this?

        • Jakale says:

          Top Gear is the player characters. Yeah, they might have a personal preference for their long term daily lives, but they’ll totally give everything a shot for the fun of it and let the consequences of seriously dealing with just one of these vehicles to others.

          • Tizzy says:

            Perfect analogy! With the Daedric achievements and the like, I feel like the designers are really pushing the players in that direction. Or, at the very least, expecting us to want that.

            • kdansky says:

              When I started playing Skyrim, I wanted to be a good guy, and avoid the Daedric quests. But that just doesn’t work. Half the time you can’t even avoid them, generally there is no option to go against the evil guys (either you do what they ask of you, or you have to leave the quest unfinished), and most importantly, they are by far the most interesting quests in the game.

              So yeah, the Dragonborn pretty much has to be a dick.

              Otherwise, I hope we see the Dark Brotherhood quest line on the show, because I just got through that, and facepalmed a few times. Snagging my camera and having a big speech moment while I’m invisible? Check!

              • Tizzy says:

                Well come on, now, it’s not as if the game designers could expect that sneaky types would flock to that particular questline. Or, if they did, the questline would have involved giving you extra-sneaky gear at some point.

                Oh wait…

              • Khizan says:

                Perhaps my favorite thing in Skyrim concerns a Daedric artifact, the Ebony Blade.

                I was playing an Orc Archer, and I had been a good, honorable character. I had been a stereotypical good guy thief. Loose ideas about property ownership, but I never killed good guys, never betrayed anybody, etc.

                And then I got a quest for a Daedric artifact. Nothing big. Nothing against my morals. Steal a key, open a door, get treasure. No murder, no death, no problems. The problem was that my reward was the Ebony Blade.

                For those of you who don’t know, the Ebony Blade is a vampiric sword with a really powerful life steal enchantment. It’s basically a normal life steal sword that doesn’t run out of charges, except for the part where a Daedric prince speaks with you through the blade and the enchantment which scales up as you kill people who trust you. Okay, so it’s not a normal blade at all.

                When you find the blade, you also find a book next to it. The book says, To anyone reading this: BEWARE THIS BLADE … It has corrupted and perverted the desires of great men and women. Yet its power is without equal — to kill while your victim smiles at you. Only a daedra most foul could have concocted such a malevolent and twisted weapon. But it appears that all who wield it end up with the crazed eyes of those wild men who roam the hills chattering with rabbits.”

                Meh, whatever. Loot be loot. No problems. And so I carried it around for ages, because why not. And then it happened. Somebody betrayed me in a quest, and I had to kill them. The weapon I had out at the time was the Ebony Blade, so that’s what I used. And then it happened. The Daedra spoke to me. The sword grew in power.

                Well. That’s pretty nifty. I wonder if there’s any other legitimate kill targets for this weapon that don’t go against my morals… And there were. And I did. So I started looking for people who might betray me, intentionally looking for shifty types hoping that they’d betray me and I could kill them guilt free.

                And when that didn’t gain power fast enough, well. I found myself stalking a beggar through Windhelm at night after buying their trust with alms, for the sole purpose of draining his life energy into my sword. It was while I was doing this that the thought occured to me.

                That book was 100% right. The Ebony Blade turned me into a bad guy.

                So after that I decided to kill the beggar and join the Dark Brotherhood. In for a penny, in for a pound, I suppose.

  8. RTBones says:

    I can honestly say, uh, wow. I don’t know what to say. That episode was both incredibly insane, and yet, stupidly awesome. This episode is like the movie Striptease – its so bad, its good. I kept staring at the screen with a bizzare confused schadenfreude-esqe look on my face as I watched the season slowly implode. Then it was shaking my head in bewilderment wondering how the season was going to get back on track – heck IF it was going to get on track ever again. Then Josh walked out the door to be met by an angry mob and all I could do was laugh until my sides hurt because, well, the entire thing was just absurdly funny.

    So, in summary, I don’t know where we are going or how we are going to get there, but I think Josh is going to need every Get Out of Jail Free card from every Monopoly set ever made to get through this season.

    I think I need a cup of tea now.

    • Humanoid says:

      This really needs to happen again in about twenty levels’ time.

    • MrGuy says:

      So, I have to say how refreshing it is to see Josh attempt to completely break the game by antagonizing pretty much every NPC and NOT getting away with it. by using his “just kill everyone” strategy Restores a small amount of my faith in Bethesda that they’re once again capable of, y’know, killing the player with NPC’s.

      It happened exactly like Josh’s trip to Caesar’s camp in F:NV didn’t.

  9. Arven says:

    The things that bothers me about the Tribunal is that they used the tools that the dwemer used when they got wiped. What? Did they somehow know how to handle these powerful artifacts even when the people who built it got pretty much wiped out? Maybe there’s some lore out there that I missed. If so, then I’d very much like to know.

    Also, gotta love Josh going to jail and then supplexing the guard who sent him to jail before punching the dragon to death. It’s midnight here and I hope I don’t wake anyone up with my laughter.

    • Corpital says:

      Well, the dwemer used the tools probably in a massive hurry and before they were really ready, because they were attacked by the united army of the dunmer. Can’t remember if Sotha Sil was a psijic, but he spend several years studying the hammer, dagger and glove. And he had access to all the researing material of the dwemer, that every single person in the world forgot how to read afterwards.
      I like to imagine every single day the time stopped for Sotha, a psijic appeared before him to be a cryptic jackass and tell him how this was a phenomenally bad idea, then vanished again.

    • Humanoid says:

      With the stealth suplex, the absurdity of the screaming shishkebab stealth kill has finally been surpassed. Adam Jensen eat your heart out.

    • Danny says:

      I think the dwemer safely figured out how to use the heart to make a god, and then (rather foolishly) went “What else can we make this thing do?” Also, it didn’t make the entire race disappear. There was one guy who was away at the time, came back to find everyone missing, and spent the next three thousand years wandering the world going “Guys? Where did you go?”

    • The Rocketeer says:

      They were trying to do different things with the tools. The Dwemer seemed to want to use the Heart to bring their entire race to a higher plane of existence, whether that means making them all ‘gods,’ each with incredible power, or possibly to make them like the et’Ada once more, or to ascend to Aetherius. Vivec says he can’t sense them anywhere, so it seems they aren’t anywhere in the world, or Aetherius, or they’ve taken a form that Vivec wouldn’t even know to look for. Maybe they’re in the Void, or somewhere else entirely. Maybe they arrived in Middle-Earth, confused as fuck. Or maybe they just really did all die; their physical bodies did turn to dust.

      The Tribunal, meanwhile, just needed to figure out how to take the divine energy of the Heart, and just siphon that junk straight into their veins. Is this simpler? Maybe? But yes, I, too, always thought it was odd that anyone, even Sotha Sil, could figure out how to use the tools at all. Even, if my guess is correct, over the course of 30 years or more. What’s more impressive is that Dagoth Ur managed to somehow bind himself to the heart without even possessing the tools, apparently by force of will after having been killed already. So once he stole the tools back, he was able to make himself even more powerful than the Tribunal, while also preventing them from rejuvenating their divine energy, which slowly fades over time. And to make himself invulnerable, since he could not be killed as long as the Heart existed, having bound his existence to it.

      • swimon says:

        Yeah it’s very uncertain whether the dwemer actually are dead in a traditional way or simply gone. It should be noted that the dwemer appear to be somewhat atheistic, not just that they don’t worship gods but don’t fully believe that they exist. To the dunmer this just seems stupid (some of their religious texts talk about how their worship of math means that they couldn’t understand Vivec’s unending awesomeness for example) but it might be that they don’t see aedra or daedra as supernatural. I mean if magic is real then what is the difference between a daedra and a really powerful wizard? And if magic is how the world works then why wouldn’t you look at magic, gravity and hydrodynamics the same way.

        So if “gods” aren’t anything really special there’s no real reason why they shouldn’t have been able to make themselves into gods. Sure they don’t seem to show up much but the other eight divines doesn’t seem to do a lot either.

        Really it all comes back to how no one is really “correct” in the elder scrolls series. Every book is written from a certain perspective and most writing on the dwemer comes from their enemies perspective (they were not great at making friends let’s say).

        Also the elder scrolls cannon is crazy I mean the canonized ending of daggerfall is “every ending happens! At the same time” and Vivec knows that he’s a fictional character and sort of mentions quick saving in his sermons, so… yeah pretty crazy.

        • The Rocketeer says:

          It might not be that the Dwemer had no higher beliefs whatsoever, since I have seen at least twice some reference to “true misunderstanding,” which the Dwemer seemed to idealize in some fashion. But this might not be anything more than enlightenment in the academic sense; it’s impossible to tell with so little of the Dwemer’s culture remaining, and remaining incomprehensible at that. Like you, I took it that the Dwemer believed in higher beings like the Aedra, but simply held no reverence for them, or believed them to be “supernatural” in any way.

          But you might be surprised to know that Vivec felt the same way, after a few thousand years at least, telling the Nerevarine that he couldn’t understand why anyone would worship any Aedra or Daedra. But he also realized that he had lost his fire for ministering to the Dunmer, and that his time was coming to a close. Unlike the other Tribunes, he accepted his fate with dignity and responsibility. If only he had thought of some way to deal with the Ministry of Truth before he winked out of existence…

          • syal says:

            I remember a book in Morrowind about the Dwemer asking Azura what object was in a box, then changing the object before presenting it to the crowd. So they treated the Daedra as something of a force of nature, and were more interested in finding their boundaries than keeping them happy.

            Now I’m wondering if Azura had anything to do with the Heart making them all disappear.

          • Swimon says:

            I hadn’t read that of Vivec but it makes sense. The rest of the dunmer do consider aedra and daedra to be gods though (did they worship daedra back when almsivi existed? They did before and after but I never understood how daedra and tribunal connected).

            True misunderstanding was also new to me (man the lore is dense, there’s just bottom to it). From what I can find it does seem more akin to uploading minds on a computer more than something really supernatural (although I guess the difference between mind uploading and nirvana is debatable). Still cool idea though.

            Also, the ministry of truth… that never worked for me. Like I can see that being a cool idea. They just never did much with it. It explains the immigration problem in Skyrim (one city has like 5 dunmer in it) and the cool ash effect in the dragonborn DLC, but that isn’t much. It just seems like a waste to destroy such an interesting culture for that miniscule pay off.

            • The Rocketeer says:

              Finding the text of books from the game is easy, but spoken dialogue is harder to come by. Luckily, I can use the Construction Set to check any Morrowind dialogue.

              From Vivec, to the Nerevarine: “We turned our backs on the old gods. I still see no compelling reason to worship any of the Aedra or Daedra. But, for the respect I held for Nerevar, and the respect I held for myself, I should never have betrayed my oath. Of all my life’s actions, I most regret that failure.” And, “I still want to win. I want to defeat Dagoth Ur. Perhaps I have lost the feeling for the people, for their suffering. I don’t want that feeling. It is no use to me. That is no longer what matters to me. I only want not to lose .To lose would be very, very bitter.”

              Vivec did make it clear, however, that he still loved the Dunmer, all Dunmer, dearly, as he always had.

              The Dunmer did indeed worship three of the Daedra, which they called the Anticipations: Boethia, Mephala, and Azura. The Temple advocated and supported the worship of these Daedra, but privately, Vivec (I believe) saw himself as the replacement of Mephala, and the Tribunal was the dread foe of Azura, who cursed them and the Chimer, and who promised that Nerevar would return to set them right again. Nerevar himself, meanwhile, was said to be the true paragon of Boethiah’s ways, and, Boethiah being seen as the true patron of all Dunmer, certainly contributed to his people’s reverence of him, and of his memory afterward.

              I can find two references to the Dwemer concept I mentioned. I think it is especially significant that they call it true misunderstanding; I can’t help but think that it must indicate some special importance to them. The first is in Nchunak’s Fire and Faith, an account of a Dwemer traveling among the Dwemer freeholds and spreading word of Kagrenac’s theories. The second is in Hanging Gardens, which Yagrum Bagarn confirms is a travel guide of a Dwemer settlement. From what I can try to make out in the text, it is a Dwemer attempting to describe the location in both Dwemeris and Aldmeris, making it a sort of Rosetta Stone of Dwemeris. However, the Aldmeris reads very strangely, as if it has almost, but not quite the right words for a usable translation, and the footnote, written in a different hand, seems to confirm this: “Your Aldmeris has the correct words, but they cannot be properly misinterpreted.” It seems Dwemeris is so complex and bizarre that even the Dwarves couldn’t translate it accurately! However, that last phrase, “properly misinterpreted,” seems significant. If that footnote is translated properly, why wouldn’t it say “interpreted,” and not “misinterpreted?” Maybe it’s nothing at all. I certainly am grasping at straws, but that’s all the Dwemer left us: straws.

              And the Dunmer exodus from Morrowind was not only because of the Red Year- since Vvardenfell was rather sparsely populated to begin with, relative to the mainland- but because Argonia invaded after the Oblivion Crisis, and managed to sack and claim the entire southern portion of the province, including the former capital, Mournhold.

              Apparently, the Nords and Orcs invaded again as well, as they had in ancient days, but this seems only to have been established in a novel, which I have not read, so I can’t confirm how much this accomplished.

              • SyrusRayne says:

                I encountered the Hanging Gardens book just the other day; the footnote seemed pretty odd at the time. I agree that it reads as something significant.

                It could, of course, be a joke. “This is too clear-cut. It’s not obtuse and obscure enough! People in the future might actually /know what you meant/!”

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So the cast is now completely ignoring Rutskarns puns?Interesting new tactic.

  11. Corpital says:

    Two episodes for the price of one? Great!

    This episode reminds me of an old Oblivion playthrough, were I finished the thiefs guild as soon as possible and then went on a crime spree across the land. Put on Greyfox cowl, commit crime, take off cowl and be a model citizen again.

    This post was written in memory of Morthal, where every killable inhabitant was killed by dragons and vampires one time.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Anyone else find it funny that when people are sleeping,its their legs that are considered to be where their eyes are?

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait,dragon fights are considered intense at some point?When?

    I mean they are cool looking and engaging,because you have to run around and dodge,but intense?Nah.Now giants,thats where the danger lies.

    Though still not as scary as the deathclaws from new vegas.

    • Humanoid says:

      The hitbox issues that are inevitable when fighting them in melee takes a lot of the immersion out as well. There’s no sense of the violence of close-in combat, it’s just waving your weapon in the general direction of a large object until it falls over. Or in Christerminology, it’s kinaesthetically dissonant.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      For me one of the major flaws of Skyrim was always the dragon fights.

      Similar to how some DM’s will let you kill a Dragon at lvl 5 in D&D.

      Dragons should be massively powerful and frightening. Instead you have a better chance of being offed by a pack of “chase you to the ends of the Earth” wolves than a Dragon.

      • Amnestic says:

        If a D&D Dragon is dying when you’re level 5 then you’re probably murdering a child or a “teenage” dragon and you should unlock this perk.

        • Benjamin Hilton says:

          Again the point of this is that sometimes DM’s will just let you fight (and kill) a dragon because ZOMGDRAGONSPLOSTIONSFIREXXXXX!!!!! makes the game “more fun and exciting”. Which is what I think the developers of Skyrim did.

          Spoony Made a point similar to this where he said that realistically (yes I know arguing realism with dragons etc. just go with it) the Dragon would just circle in the air and rain down fire, never landing, and if it did start to get hurt, there is no reason it wouldn’t just fly away.

          • False Prophet says:

            Another dragon tactic I read someplace: fly by and snatch one of the PCs, fly up 300 feet, and drop them. Repeat until total party kill.

            • Neruz says:

              Skyrim Dragons actually do this to NPCs occasionally; it happens pretty rarely so I assume the conditions neccessary are uncommon but every now and then a Dragon will attack a town and swoop down to grab some poor fucker and drag him off into the air before dropping him from a few miles off.

              Alduin pulls this stunt a couple of times in the opening sequence too, but all the Dragons can do it if they feel like it.

              • There’s a mine somewhere you had to clear out, I think, and I accepted the quest and returned to get my reward just in time to see the questgiver tossed into the air and then (I assume, it was behind a treeline) hit the ground and then get stomped/eaten by the dragon attacking him. I never could clear that quest from my log.

                There should also be a tag or something that limits the number of dragon attacks for a given fast-travel point. It wasn’t that the dragons were hard to kill, but the college must’ve had enough dragon skeletons for the freshmen to do nothing else with their careers but clean draconic anatomy lessons out of the main courtyard and maybe build furniture out of it for their dorms.

                Actually, that would’ve been funny if the more dragons you killed, the more bits of town architecture, furniture, etc. got replaced with dragon bones.

        • aldowyn says:

          The starter adventure for 3.5 has a boss fight of a juvenile black dragon, at which point you should be level 2.

          You have to get it to *half* health to get it to run away, AND you get resist acid potions, and it’s still hard. But then again, level *2*

      • Destrustor says:

        But… But wolves are the single weakest enemy in the game!
        I’m more scared of one skeever than of five wolves.

        • Benjamin Hilton says:

          I was more making fun of the fact that if you just try to run by them they will chase you forever.

          • Veylon says:

            The creatures in Dungeon Lords II were worse. No fight started would ever end. I got killed by some slow-moving worms catching up to me half an hour after I’d run away (or I so thought) from the things. I’d forgotten about them but they never forgot about me.

      • False Prophet says:

        That was a design element of 4th edition of D&D–they wanted to make it possible to fight dragons at any level. Why, I can’t fathom.

        In fairness, younger dragons in 1st edition AD&D had ridiculously low hit points. A mid-level mage with a couple of magic missiles could take one out pretty easily.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      Nevermind the fact that, for a primarily melee fighter like my main character, fighting a dragon consists of:

      1:Hide behind a rock or use Spellbreaker while the dragon flies around.
      1a: Attempt to hit it in flight with arrows. Miss. Always.
      2: Dragon has landed for no reason. Stunlock him to death in one go.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        As someone who used bows more often than swords… it’s still roughly the same setup. Dragonrend is more useful for making dragons STAND FUCKING STILL then to ground them for an archer.

        It’s really tough to aim at them. You’re the Dragonborn, not Hawkeye.

        • The Rocketeer says:

          Ugh, that saddens me. You’d think archers, especially, would be uniquely suited to fighting dragons!

          And I hate having to rely on Dragonrend. It feels so cheesy! Not that I’ve actually done so; finishing the main quest was the last thing I did in Skyrim, and I haven’t been back since.

          • aldowyn says:

            You have to be DAMN good to hit a flying dragon. Zoom and slow-mo help, but it’s *still* super hard.

            • Khizan says:

              It’s really not that hard. If you shoot the bow enough at long range, you’ll see that the arrows have a predictable arc and travel time. Once you get those down you can make some really accurate long distance shots of the “Aiming 15 feet above the target to account for projectile drop” type. As long as they don’t change course after you loose the arrow, it’s not all that hard.

              When I was playing frequently, I could regularly kill dragons at enough range so that I had trouble finding their corpses.

          • Disc says:

            It’s still an awesome Shout in concept. I love the lore behind it. Created by mortal men, embodying the very concept of mortality and all the pain that comes along with it, being so profoundly terrible and inconceivable to an immortal dragon that it forces them to ground, down to our level so to speak, making them vulnerable.

            It’d be more awesome if you could literally make them drop from the sky, instead of just forcing them to land.

            • The Rocketeer says:

              It seems odd to me that there are, or could be, words in the Dragon’s language that they do not and cannot know. It seems that the power lies in the words themselves, though of course it’s up to the speaker to evoke that power.

              It makes me wonder if a master of the Thu’um could simply discover or invent his own words. Actually, I’m certain this is case: Ysmir himself did so after Alduin ate the Nord’s time and made them all children. He contrived a shout they called, “What Happens When You Shake the Dragon Just So,” which he used to re-age the Nords to their original state, though he himself was inadvertently aged too much by hearing it so many times, and he died from it. Temporarily.

              It’s worth pointing out that “the Dragon” referred to in the name of that shout must be Akatosh, or simply Time itself being referred to as ‘the Dragon’ in homage to the Aedra.

              • MadHiro says:

                This is a Big Question I have, actually. A common metaphor or euphemism for how Shouting works is that it operates at a fundamentally ‘lower’ or ‘more basic’ level than magic does. That it is binary to magic’s C++. I don’t know where or if this is supported in the lore, but this is how it is frequently framed.

                If that’s the case, it isn’t too far of a leap to suppose words in this language that the Dragons wouldn’t know. In this scenario, it isn’t ‘their’ language, they just are the most proficient users of it. And they certainly wouldn’t use a word that described a concept that was so alien to them.

                The Wizard of Earthsea has some interesting ideas about ‘underlying’ words of reality. Needless to say, the Dragon Words doesn’t quite stand up to the same degree of scrutiny.

                • The Rocketeer says:

                  There are a few times in the Elder Scrolls universe where it seems a people have power not originating from magic as we understand it, nor from any Aedric or Daedric power. The Dragonborn is one example. The Psijics are another; their abilities and capabilities seem to run outside of what everyone else considers to be magic, or parallel to it. It might be that they just aren’t sharing their spells with anyone else, but if anyone had a whole ‘nother line on how creation really functions, it would be the Psijics.

                  Another example is, naturally, the Cult of the Ancestor Moth and the Elder Scrolls themselves. To put it seriously, those things are epic mojo, the likes of which no one is really fit to handle.

              • Disc says:

                The way they explain it in-game, I always just figured it’s the one Shouting who gives the words substance, from their own “life essence”. The words themselves (at least as I recall Alduin reacting to it in the “time flashback”. He seemed to recognize it as dragon language), are not any stranger than any other words in the Dragon language, but the Shout as it comes from the mouth of mortals is (perhaps?) something the dragons cannot grasp, because their own nature and essence defies everything in it.

                • Disc says:

                  Cont.

                  Mortal men just making it up is how I understood the origin of Dragonrend anyway. Taking words, giving their own mortal spin to them and then projecting it all out in a Thu’um. Given that you have characters speaking in the Dragon language yet not projecting a Thu’um would mean there’s a significant difference between just speaking the language and using it to project a Thu’um.

                  • The Rocketeer says:

                    Hmmm, maybe, maybe not. The way I understood it, a word of the dragon language, when it is spoken, evokes the very concept it acknowledges from the fabric of the world. Hence, why ‘fire’ makes fire, ‘grace’ makes you faster, and ‘fade’ makes you go invisible.

                    Dragons don’t seem surprised at the idea of mortals speaking the dragon language, or even using it to shout Thu’ums; dovahkiin have been around since the first era, or longer. But the words are the very idea of these concepts placed into motion by the force of speaking them, which is why the three words of Dragonrend- ‘mortal,’ ‘finite,’ and ‘temporary,’ aren’t known to the dragons because they literally cannot understand these concepts. It’s as strange to them as watching someone un-bake a cake would be to us. Things just aren’t supposed to work that way.

                    As for characters, like the Graybeards or Paarthurnax, speaking dohva without projecting a Thu’um, I’m actually not sure what to make of it. Legend holds that Wulfharth had to be sworn into office as High King in writing, because his Thu’um was so catastrophically powerful he couldn’t take the oath verbally. Now, that could easily be a myth, since why would the oath be in dragon language, and why would it matter if it wasn’t? But it seems like to make a Thu’um, you need both a true word from the dragon language and someone who is capable of speaking one actually attempting to do so; the difference between speaking and doing a Thu’um is the same to a dragon(born) as the difference between speaking and shouting is to anyone else.

                    Besides, this is ignoring the real question: what happens when the Dohvahkiin gets a cold, and is all congested and scratchy? Do their Thu’ums come out all wobbly and weak? We need data on this.

    • Friend of Dragons says:

      They were pretty intense for me, mostly because I was a glass cannon mage with an aversion to heavy armor and a tendency to put all my stat increases into magicka.

      Oh, and I loved wandering through frozen northern mountain passes when still at a pretty low level…

      This was before I got into the habit of converting all the dragons I encountered into my allies via console command.

      • czhah says:

        It really helps that as a mage you can actually shoot dragons when they are airborne, thus not getting so perplexed by their inexplicable landing.

        I also found the first dragon fight, as well as the two dragon fight on the main quest and the final one pretty intense, but it was propably helped by playing a relatively low level character, and a mage at that. Of course that intensity did kind of die upon replaying the game with a character that made more extensive use of crafting skills and completed the main quest at level 50 or so.

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    18:08 – What are you talking about Chris?This is the best episode you guys did.

    • MrGuy says:

      This was pretty awesome, but when it comes to “best episode of Spoiler Warning,” there’s the Synergy episode, and there’s everything else. It’s just science.

  15. Gruhunchously says:

    Just figured I’d bring this up, but coincidentally, that one guy that did those retrospective Fallout videos a while back has just done one about Skyrim (and Dragon Age).

    Here it is

    It’s some good watching if you like long-form video game analysis/reviewing, but it’s also very VERY lengthy (over two hours long). Fortunately, it’s also neatly divided into topics of interest, so you can skip around a bit.

    • Thomas says:

      I’d like to give kudos for sharing because that was a very cool video. It’s given me a lot thought on the openness of Skyrim and how much is necessarily bad and how much can be fixed.

      It also made me wish that Fallout: New Vegas had a better third-person mode (whereas Fo3 should stay in first person)

  16. Melfina the Blue says:

    Wait, no waiting shenanigans? I am disappoint. Next Josh won’t carry around a heavy weapon he has no skill with.

    Seriously though, great season so far, and I love the Professor Ruts bits. Oh, and what shrine gives you the extra weight capacity? Given my complete inability to leave loot behind, that could be very useful.

    • Humanoid says:

      When Josh opened his inventory after looting all those guards, I was silently yelling at him to repair all the duplicate weapons and armour to get under the weight limit. Yeah…

      Along with the ridiculous binges on consumables, it really does we’re back in Kansas.

    • swenson says:

      Steed Stone. It’s way out over by Solitude, but it’s completely worth finding for the benefits. (if you’re a hoarder like me, anyway)

      • Ciennas says:

        I always imagined exploiting the steed stone in universe- moving whole cities into new places by having an equippable armor suit at the base somewhere, fused into the foundations.

        Or… I dunno. Magical giant stompy armor suit fights? Like the Dwemer Guardians, with zero weight added.

        Anybody else think any of this sounds awesome?

  17. Humanoid says:

    Ahhh, that was satisfying. The old friend last sighted during the Dishonored season, and last sighted to this extent in the Human Revolution season. This. This is the moment.

  18. Hitchmeister says:

    Congrats, Rutskarn. I almost said you managed in a few paragraphs what Bethesda couldn’t, make the Thalmor seem like something other than complete dicks. But not quite, you just made their dickishness relatable.

  19. Vermander says:

    I was never to clear on who exactly runs Sovengard? I get that it’s the Nord afterlife (at least for heroes), but it doesn’t seem to be linked to a particular deity, like Vahalla was to Odin. Talos doesn’t live there.

    So if your ascending to heaven is not linked to your worship of the gods, why even bother? Are there other versions of the afterlife all linked to deities (I remember Hircine’s hunting ground), or are there other heavens you can get to on your own?

    I know that Greek mythology was kind of like this, but they still had Hades running the place.

    • Amnestic says:

      Shor rules Sovngarde, as far as I know. You can even see his throne there when you visit, though it sits empty.

    • Mathias says:

      A Viking-related tangent here:

      In Norse mythology, there were actually -two- warrior heaven afterlives. The Valkyries only carried half of the victorious dead to Valhalla, and carried the rest to Fólkvangr, the realm of Freyja, the -other- Norse god of war.

      • Zombie says:

        By victorious dead, I imagine that means people who died on the battlefield or those who died after a victorious battle. So was there a difference between Valhalla and Fólkvangr? Like,does one have parties all day, every day, but the other is sitting around playing cards for long stretches of time?

        • False Prophet says:

          Like most things dealing with the Vanir, the traditional sources aren’t very clear, but the Wikipedia article on Fólkvangr lists some scholarly interpretations.

          • Zombie says:

            Basically, what I got from that was that it was a much less terrible Fields of Asphodel (and by that I mean it seems less boring and punishmenty), and that you randomly got placed in either Valhalla or Fólkvangr. Which seems both really weird and really natural for a warrior society like the Norse.

            I mean, on the one hand, it’s a giant field you live in for the rest of time, which sucks if you’re one of the victorious dead. On the other hand, war is cold, cruel and random, so being randomly selected to go to one afterlife or another seems totally in step with a warrior culture.

            • Mathias says:

              I suspect the difference may have been one of -where- you died.

              See, as I mentioned elsewhere, “Viking” isn’t a national denomination, it’s a military title. Vikings were the people who went from Scandinavia to other places around the world to loot, pillage and burn and bring it all back home. They were the folks sent overseas to do all the fighting.

              Meanwhile, there were still wars in Scandinavia, and the defense of home was as important as sailing overseas to wreck stuff. This was part of where the myth of the shieldmaiden come from. Women were prohibited from joining Viking raids, but they were trained to defend their home whenever the men were away on raids.

              So I suspect that the dead who died overseas went to Valhalla, while those who died trying to defend home and family went to Fólkvangr. But this is pure conjecture on my part without any academic backing.

              Though, a mythological side note: One of the Valkyries in Freyja’s service is Thor’s daughter, who was pretty much universally considered the most badass of his kids, and keep in mind that one of them lifted a giant the size of a mountain.

  20. Hitchmeister says:

    Something I didn’t notice the first few times I killed Mirmulnir is that just as he dies he says, “Dovahkiin! No!” When I finally saw it, it was strange. In Catbert’s case it makes perfect sense. “Dovahkiin, no. I thought we were team mates.”

    • guy says:

      The intended meaning seems to be that he was suprised to be fighting a Dragonborn and abruptly realized that he was going to die for real this time.

    • Raygereio says:

      Something I didn’t notice the first few times I killed Mirmulnir is that just as he dies he says, “Dovahkiin! No!” When I finally saw it, it was strange.

      In the English version of the game, you can only notice that line if you have subtitles enabled. There’s no spoken dialogue for that death-bark, or any of the combat-bars Mirmulnir can throw out during the fight. The sound files for it simply don’t exist. Given how goofy all of Mirmulnir’s lines are, I can only assume that someone at Bethesda has a moment of clarity and removed them.
      I believe that in some of the non-English vesions, those lines are voiced however.

      • Neko says:

        I could buy that, as Dragonborn, you were able to intuit something about the Dragon language.

        Also, subtitles should be on by default in games these days, because the studios seem so intent on making omgwtfbbq REALISTICLY LOUD EXPLOSIONS and forget that their NPCs are going to be delivering vital plot points during that scene. And all the voice acting was recorded with the exec’s iphone in the coffee break room.

  21. ET says:

    “It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve played Left 4 Dead, or how well equipped you are; If a tank shows up, everyone scrambles.”

    Wrong! :P
    Me and my pals back in uni, played L4D and L4D2 so much, that we just started goofing around when the tanks came.
    Also helped that we found optimal DPS weapons for normal zombies, specials, and the tank.
    Pretty much boils down to melee weapons in all cases, except when you need range.
    Chainsaw does less DPS than normal melee weapons too… ^^;

    • McNutcase says:

      Yeah, my reaction to a Tank is to bust out the molly I’ve been sandbagging, peg him in the head from clear across the map (not kidding; I’ve made throws all the way across the finale of Dark Carnival before now, because I am just that good with Molotovs) and saunter off to find a fresh molly (or, if it’s a finale and he was the second tank, a pipe to distract the horde)

      If I don’t have a molly, I just calmly shoot him until he stops moving, dodging his rocks. Ideally I’ll have a Tier 2 at that point, usually an AK with laser if there are any lasers available. AK with laser is stupendously OP.

      Now Witches, those I tend to worry about. Lately I’ve been mostly noob-herding so I have to be the shotgun guy and cr0wn her, and I don’t like shotguns…

      • Amnestic says:

        I find it so interesting when people start using game-specific jargon for games I’m vaguely aware of but haven’t got much experience with directly (my last experience with the L4D series being probably 4 years ago), because I realise just how I sound when I do the same thing with games I do have a lot of experience with.

        It’s something that doesn’t really seem to exist with other forms of media, at least not to the extent that it does in gaming.

        • Disc says:

          I can say it’s pretty much always there when you get people, who are really into a subject, talking about it. Music, life in the army, cooking, TV-shows, you name it. There’s always that certain subject-related jargon you’ll hear. Most other media and stuff-people-are-interested has the benefit of having been around for a long time and people being used to hearing it.

      • Rutskarn says:

        For fun, a translation:

        Yeah, my reaction to the big tough zombie types is to ignite them with the incendiary bomb that’s been sitting around taking up an inventory slot this whole time. I’m good at throwing them and can hit a target precisely even across this one large, open map. Once he’s hit, I then ignore him to go find another firebomb lying around–or if it’s the last big fight of the chapter, and we’re about to get mobbed by zombies, I look for another type of bomb that attracts and disposes of large groups so we can make a clean getaway.

        If I don’t have an incendiary, I just shoot at him while dodging the bits of rubble he throws at me. Ideally, I’ll have one of guns you get later in each chapter that have better damage, magazine sizes, and accuracy. I particularly like using AK-47s that I have modified with a laser sight. Those combine high accuracy with high damage per second to provide a very effective weapon.

        Now those initially passive but extremely dangerous enemies, those concern me more than the big tough ones. Lately I’ve been playing with inexperienced players who lack the acquired skill necessary to kill one with a single shot to the back of the neck, which means I need to do it–which means, in turn, that I have to carry the appropriate weapon at all times. Unfortunately, I find the appropriate weapon cumbersome in all other circumstances.

      • anaphysik says:

        Yeah, but can your “AWESOME SKILLZ” stand up against my innate ability to once (the first time I played it) glitch Dark Carnival into skipping the entire end battle and making the helicopter getaway show up after only 10 seconds?

  22. KremlinLaptop says:

    I loved it. I loved it so much … oh dear lord I my stomach actually hurts from laughing at the shenanigans there.

    At first I was mildly amused like, “Oh ha, Josh is playing like a derp again,” and then by the time he goes through to seek shelter among the companions? Oh jeez I could hardly breath.

  23. 4th Dimension says:

    I thought you could offer surrender to guards by blocking and trying to speak to them. At least you could in Oblivion.

    Other than that this episode was perfect.

  24. guy says:

    This one was hilarious. I think the best thing is how killing those guards during the dragon fight didn’t count as murder.

  25. Hal says:

    I think if you’re low level when you go up the 7000 steps, the frost troll just menaces you while you pass. At least, that’s what happened when I went through at level 4.

    • Raygereio says:

      Trolls regularly preform the dance of their people (an animation where they jump up an down and wave their arms around) when they enter a fight.
      If you run away and get a headstart while the troll is preoccupied with dancing, you can often loose them.

  26. Loved this. When I opened it, no comments. Came back to comment. ;)

  27. A lil’ tip: Climbing the path of the mountain can be a tad boring so getting a horse and riding up the path makes it a tad more enjoyable (not to mention faster).

  28. Mr Compassionate says:

    These lore explanations by Ruts are legitimately helping me understand the Elder Scrolls universe, like, unironically and everything. Especially last weeks one where I think my favorite line was ‘They’ve even got little people and s**t”.

  29. Nytzschy says:

    Reginald Catbert is the Drunken Master.

    He just, well, needs a bit more practice.

  30. aldowyn says:

    I think the dragons need to scale a *lot* more aggressively. They actually get pretty hard, but I have level 40 somethings that haven’t even seen the fourth tier of dragons, I think?

    Also I wish to mention that block has an awesome perk that reduced spell damage by a ton when blocking that helps a lot against dragon fire, which feels pretty cool :D

    Re: Troll: if you guys are still level 4/5 by the time you get there I am going to be *shocked*. It’s a loooong trek.

  31. Flavius says:

    While you all hit on the ambiguity that makes the “Chosen One” theme in Morrowind generally more palatable than in Skyrim, I believe there is another aspect that elevates it: pacing.

    In Skyrim, at least in this play through, we are barely three hours and four quests (most of them are fairly short) in and already there are definitive cries of “CHOSEN ONE!” with thunder in the skies proclaiming your greatness. In Morrwind, the first strong evidence of being the Chosen One comes after eight comparatively long quests, which represented a slow building of the mystery, the lore, and present state of the game world. The pace is much slower, and given the time, I was, at least, more willing to accept my character’s status in the world. The slow rising tension also gave the player a chance to explore the world before the plot became too intense (moving too quickly before the world was fundamentally changed was also a failing of Oblivion.)

    As a side note, this is also an issue in the Winterhold College quest line, but even worse; the very first quest proclaims you as the “CHOSEN ONE!”

    A second thought is about architecture. Another thing that Morrwind did well was to create various architectural styles and use them consistently and appropriately: just by walking in to town, one could instantly distinguish the dominant power–or powers–in the region: each faction had a distinct style; these were sometimes blended to create a new effect (the crazy mix up of Telvanni, Velothi, and Imperial that is Tel Vos immediately springs to mind.)

    Both Skyrim and Oblivion suffer from almost too much creativity in the architecture department: all buildings are either completely distinct based on city, or completely generic, and used all over the world. There is no unity of architecture, nothing to show that these cities were developed by the same culture, or even were built in the same region. The end result feels like a series of distinct video game levels: we have forest town, ruin town, slum town, important rich town, and so on, not multiple towns (plural!) that are close to the Imperial Province’s border and influenced by their sensibilities, nor towns in the far north that are characterized by steep roofs and centralized chimneys. There is little unity, and no sense that a particular culture exists outside of any particular town.

  32. Potato King says:

    Skyrim is like the opposite of a magic eye picture. The more you concentrate the less sense it makes.

  33. Thor says:

    Well, Josh still has it! I’ve never seen a larger group of pissed-off townsfolk. I hope Reginald Catbert makes it down to Riften to do the Thieves Guild quests in this series.

  34. Thor says:

    Sorry for double commenting, and slightly off-topic, but I thought this crowd might like it (if they haven’t already seen it on reddit). Today I learned that Fallout NV holds the record for the most lines of dialogue in a single-player role-playing game, with 65,000 lines. It’s hard to believe that Skyrim didn’t beat that but a quick Google search indicates that Skyrim has 60,000.

    http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/9000/most-lines-of-dialogue-in-a-single-player-role-playing-game

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallout:_New_Vegas#Development

  35. I’m going to turn over the idea of what happens when you have so many gods who actually do things to Sir Terry Pratchett:

    “…on the disc, the Gods are not so much worshipped as blamed.” – The Colour of Magic

    Also, it’s not like a lot of pantheons require devotion to a single being. One might make ablutions at the appropriate temple for whatever you were hoping to get a little divine favor for (travel, love, invading the next kingdom over, etc.).

    For example, right now in the Discworld novels, there’s a popular goddess to say a little prayer to every so often called Anoia, the minor goddess of things that get stuck in drawers.

    And while I was looking for the above quote, I ran across one from the book, The Science of Discworld that pretty much sums up what the magical college is like. This exchange takes place after the wizards of Unseen University accidentally create a universe complete with oddly-shaped (to the wizards) round planets:

    ‘Where did you get the idea for this, Mister Stibbons?’ said Ridcully.
    ‘Well, er, a lot of it is from my own research, but I got quite a few leads from careful reading of the Scrolls of Loko in the Library, sir.’
    […]’Loko…Loko…Loko,’ mused Ridcully. ‘That’s up in Uberwald, isn’t it?’
    ‘That’s right, sir.’
    ‘Tryin’ to bring it to mind,’ Ridcully went on, rubbing his beard. ‘Isn’t that where there’s that big deep valley with the ring of mountains round it? Very deep valley indeed, as I recall.’
    ‘That’s right, sir. According to the library catalogue the scrolls were found in a cave by the Crustley Expedition-‘
    ‘Lots of centaurs and fauns and other curiously shaped magical whatnots are there, I remember reading.’
    ‘Is there, sir?’
    ‘Wasn’t Stanmer Crustley the one who died of planets?’
    ‘I’m not familiar with-‘
    ‘Extremely rare magical disease, I believe.’
    ‘Indeed sir, but-‘
    ‘Now I come to think about it, everyone on that expedition contracted something seriously magical within a few months of getting back,’ Ridcully went on.
    ‘Er, yes, sir. The suggestion was that there was some kind of curse on the place. Ridiculous notion, of course.’

  36. Dracmean says:

    A bit off topic but I’am slightly saddened how badly Skyrim translated from it’s concept art to a game.

    concept art gallery by Adam Adamowicz (RIP).

    It’s pretty easy to see why some concepts couldn’t be done with the engine/hardware limitations but if they could have translated even some of the concepts semi-intact Skyrim’s art would have been some of the best.

    The Sky Haven Temple translated especially badly:
    In-game
    Concept art

    The scale was probably largest issue with the concept but doesn’t really excuse why they couldn’t just compress the concepted version to a more manageable size. In-game version is incredibly drab, not just in color but the space itself is laid out in a boring way, few nondescript pillars and asianish roofs. The concept art version is an epic, long forgotten temple that has interesting verticality and seems natural in it’s architecture.

    • Amnestic says:

      Sky Haven Temple felt like it should’ve been way more than it turned out to be. I got the feeling moving through it that it was really going to turn into Dragonborn Home Base or the like, but the most you could do was recruit some followers into the Blades. As if I’d want to do that, after what Delphine tried to make me do to Paarthunax?.

      It was a place you could sleep, but not a place to live. And I think it could’ve been/should’ve been. Did they run out of time? Am I imagining intention where there was none? I dunno. Feels like wasted opportunity though.

      • Microwaviblerabbit says:

        Sky Haven Temple was a faction’s headquarters without anything. At the start of the game the Mage’s College and the Companions Hall are fully fleshed out locations which gain minor improvements through quests. The Vampire Castle in Dawnguard is the same. The Dawnguard, the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood all have headquarters which gain significant improvements through their quests.

        Sky Haven temple has no forge, no smelter, no workbench, no alchemy lab, no arcane enchanter and zero merchants. Delphine’s basement was better equipped. I understand the Blades are hiding in an ancient ruin, but they are also trying to rebuild. Considering that about a quarter of the main quest involves the Blades directly, and the emphasis they place on the Dragonborn, it does feel like Sky Haven Temple was supposed to be ‘Dragonborn Home Base’. To me the building just felt like a monument to the Blades’ failure.

  37. Re: The Hobbit:

    Indeed, Rutskarn, that was before Tolkien had any plans to connect the story to his greater narrative, but people were clamoring for a sequel. 17 years, several writes, rewrites, and deliberations later, his story became something very, very different than how it started out.

    What I love is the brilliance of how he handled all of it, treating his stories (and their variations) not only like lost tomes of English myth or history, but also that it all had its own internal consistency. i.e., the first edition of The Hobbit (and the Riddles in the Dark chapter in particular) was the story Bilbo originally wrote down in the Red Book of Westmarch before eventually telling the truth.

    Man, can you imagine if the internet was around when The Hobbit was first published in 1937? All those diehard fans of the original work complaining about the retcon and that Tolkien “sold his soul” for money. xD

    • MikhailBorg says:

      My favorite thing about this is that it establishes *in canon* that Bilbo is an unreliable narrator. So, when people complain to me about the Hobbit movies going overboard in places, I can say, “eh, Bilbo’s just trying to impress his readers”.

  38. Steve C says:

    Hey Josh, what’s wrong with your computer that Catbert doesn’t look like this? I mean it can’t be Bethesda right? It’s got to be Josh.

  39. Zagzag says:

    I managed to get arrested by a solidude guard during the siege of Solitude by the Stormcloaks, in pretty much the same manner, and went along with it to see what would happen. It does get you inside the walls, but it also permanently breaks the questline, as even if you complete the battle and kill Tullius the besieging army will never leave, and Solitude will lose its fast travel points.

  40. kdansky says:

    I just wish Josh would stop wasting so much time looting pointless crap and then dropping it again. You can’t buy anything useful but spellbooks with money anyway.

    • acronix says:

      Don’t forget about iron ingots for levelling up blacksmithing, all of the non-expensive alchemy ingredients, and maybe grand soul gems.

    • KremlinLaptop says:

      Ah-haha! Really? Don’t tempt him!

      Just be glad this isn’t a modded play-through. Otherwise Josh would’ve found a Fallout weapons mod and carried a incinerator around for the rest of his journey through Skyrim.

  41. Jeff R. says:

    Say, is anyone tracking how many people the drinking game would have killed so far (as happened in the Fallout reruns)?

  42. TMC_Sherpa says:

    I haven’t watched the episode yet, I’m at work and the power is going a bit wonky but based on the comments so far I think I can tack this point on the discussion.

    It is very strange that in a game where the dungeon design does a very good job of getting you back out quickly (looping designs or locked doors at the end) finding the dang door to enter in the first place is such a PITA. Dear Bethesda, next time please make it clearer on the map which side of the mountain I’m supposed to climb up? Thanks.

  43. Phantom Renegade says:

    Dear Shamus: if you stop the main quest before fighting this dragon what do you do about player housing?

    In these types of games i’m always obsessed with getting player housing as soon as possible and not killing the dragon sounds like it’d make getting a proper house kind of a pain.

    • swenson says:

      You don’t need to do the main quest to buy most houses or property (from Hearthfire). I’m pretty sure all of them are available except for the Whiterun and Windhelm houses, and you can’t get the Windhelm house unless you pick a side anyway, so it’s not available to neutral characters either.

      And tbh you don’t need to own a house. There’s a good number of places that you can take over for your own (with unowned beds, safe containers, etc.) without ever spending a septim.

      • aldowyn says:

        The whiterun home is totally available without hearthfire – breezehome is only 5k, I think, and is usually the first actual house since it’s so cheap. and IIRC the windhelm house is super bugged because it’s part of that serial killer questline?

  44. stratigo says:

    You’re missing Sithis and the hist from your god majigger things

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