Skyrim EP11: Lydia Becomes a Hottie

By Shamus
on Feb 28, 2014
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

188 comments


Link (YouTube)

At the two and a half minute mark you can hear the years-old Ventrilo bug in action. I mean, you can always hear it, but here you can hear proof that it’s a bug and not sloppy use of the push-to-talk key.

Mumbles says “I sai-“. Then you can hear her echo through Josh’s headphones where she says, “I said it!” Meaning, in the original conversation her message wasn’t cut off, but when Ventrilo exported the whole thing to MP3 it decided to truncate everyone’s messages. This is my #1 technical complaint with the show and has been for some time. We could switch to some other service, but they all have various tradeoffs. (Ask Josh. He does the sound editing.) And we wouldn’t need to balance those tradeoffs if SOMEONE would just fix this stupid bug. I mean, it’s only been a 100% reproducible issue across multiple platforms for over four years. Maybe someone could look into that so our sho_ doesn_ soun_ lik_ thi_ al_ th_ ti_. That would be super happy-making.

Bugs me. So bad.

At four and a half minutes, Josh says we look, “Kind of silly, you guys.” Sadly, this is always true. From the moment you put on your first set of crappy faction armor to the end of the game when you can finally craft yourself something respectable, you look like you got dressed by having yourself catapulted into the the Loading Ready Run costume archives. And even late in the game, all hats have been carefully engineered to look as ridiculous as possible. Are you having trouble deciding between a shabby hat, a heavy one, one with severely limited visibility, one that completely covers the face you spent twenty minutes on, or the one that looks dangerous to the person wearing it? Why choose? In Skyrim, you can have all of this and more. In every hat. Always. Forever.

Bonus points to the in-game perks that give you additional armor bonuses, but only if you are wearing a complete set of armor, including the hat. Well trolled, Bethesda.

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Footnotes:


A Hundred!202020208I bet you won't even read all 188 comments before leaving your own.

From the Archives:

  1. MichaelGC says:

    OMG mining Cuftbert-style.

    • ET says:

      Does enchanting or improving the pickaxe speed it up even further?
      Also, where’s the best place to mine, and/or best strategy?
      According to the wiki, mine veins respawn super slowly, so I’m always low on ore for crafting, but I can find friggin’ animal skins all over the place. :S

      • Amnestic says:

        I don’t think there are any attack speed enchants, and the shout Josh mentioned (Elemental Fury) which drastically increases your attack speed for a short period of time only works on unenchanted weapons because Bethesda are weird like that. It’s easily the best way to mine. I don’t think dual wielding would help with that either, though I might be wrong.

        • Josh says:

          It literally applies a temporary enchantment onto your weapon to increase its speed. So you can’t use enchanted weapons since oh there’s already an enchantment there! It is the biggest hack solution I’ve seen in the entire game.

          And it’s still, pound for pound, the most powerful offensive shout in the game. Because no enchantment – no two enchantments even – will ever make up for the ability to make your warhammer swing like a one-handed sword.

          Fortunately one of the unofficial patches seems to have fixed this, so with mods I can have the best of both worlds.

        • Hal says:

          If you want to level your blacksmithing, or just want materials for crafting, your best bet is to buy the goods from vendors, unfortunately. Nodes respawn slowly and are fairly limited.

          That said, there are a number of mines in the game, friendly or otherwise, that have a healthy number of nodes. You’d have to check the wikis to see which ones have which minerals, but you can get good amounts of specific materials from them. Many of the cities or villages in the game are centered around mines, so you can go in and get what you want. For example, there are bandits holed up in a mine north and slightly west of Whiterun that has 7 or 8 iron nodes. (That’s still only 21-24 iron ore, but it’s something.)

          An interesting place to go mining is Blackreach. Besides having a lot of nodes, many of them are special nodes found only there, giving soul gems instead of minerals. They’ll still give gems on occasion, too.

          • Viktor says:

            That mine also has the “Transmute Mineral Ore” spell, vital for fiscally responsible crafting.

            Also, on the way from Helgen to Riverwood is a very Iron-heavy mine, populated by bandits. Great for stocking up early on, or right after getting the Transmute spell.

      • hborrgg says:

        Fastest way to mine if you have the stamina is to have nothing in your off-hand, hold the block button, and then spam the shield-bash attack.

        You can empty the vein in a couple of seconds that way.

    • Alex says:

      I mine the same way. It’s fun to imagine what the miners think when they’re toiling away and they see some Nord barbarian woman run in, pickaxe in each hand and hew away like a combine harvester.

  2. Amnestic says:

    Modding the armour perks to remove the hat requirement was one of the first things I did. I spent far too much time on my character’s face and hair to have it all obscured by the glory that is Bethesda armour. The Aetherial Crown (spelling, Dawnguard DLC) was one of the few hats I actively hunted. Circlet so doesn’t cover my face and allows me to have two standing stone buffs at a time. Handy stuff.

    How on earth Bethesda didn’t include a Hide Helmet option in the game as baseline is beyond me. Those should really be standard these days in all RPGs.

    • ET says:

      Honestly, I just wish games would let you change your appearance separately from your damage-/stat-modifying gear.
      I mean, you could even limit it, so that you still need to have the relevant items in your inventory.
      Just allow the player to equip, for example, a heavy platemail as their “looks” gear, and a light tunic as their “stats” gear.
      Or a chainmail shirt as their “stats” and a wizard’s cloak as their “looks”, or anything they desire.

      • hborrgg says:

        Starbound does this with a separate cosmetic slot for all your gear. It’s still missing just a “no helmet” option though.

        • Peter H. Coffin says:

          GW2 gets half of that. You can turn off visibility on helmets, gloves, shoulder pieces, and back armor with a checkbox for each.

          Goes along with the ability to trivially combine the appearance, stats, and inset booster for any armor (or weapon, I think) at the expense of locking the unique item to that particular character. The ability to freely recolor parts of things at whim, for no cost once you’ve unlocked the color, means you pretty much look like you want to look, forever. No ugly gear, no mismatched WoW clown suit.

          LOVE that kind of customization of looks

      • Amnestic says:

        “Transmogging”/cosmetic sets is getting to be pretty bog-standard in the MMO market and for good reason. Their single player RPG cousins don’t seem to like the idea as much though, for whatever reason. I do hope that any eventual TES6/Fallout 4 has it.

      • Tizzy says:

        To be fair, showing exactly what you’re wearing is meant to be useful. In Skyrim, I’ve been known to switch back and forth between various pieces of gear as I am crafting potions, armors, or enchanting stuff. Every so often, I will see my character and realize: “oh shit, I’m going into battle with a helmet meant for crafting!”

        Now, is there a way to make this switcheroo a little easier on the player without necessarily breaking the game? I don’t know…

    • Sigilis says:

      Actually, it turns out they included an option for those who wanted to use Hide Helmets that you might find useful.

      • Tizzy says:

        I know!! I was so confused by that “How on earth Bethesda didn’t include a Hide Helmet option in the game” remark for a few seconds. (Wait a minute, I like Hide Helemets because they are open-faced and discreet, but why would I want all helmets to look like that?) Then I had to laugh at myself for being so slow…

      • Amnestic says:

        You’re a bad person and you should feel bad for making me both click the link and laugh. Well played sir/madam/other.

    • Hitchmeister says:

      I went with a mod that adds circlet variations of most helm types so I can wear whatever circlet I need rather than a silly looking helmet.

    • Trix2000 says:

      Usually I just ignore optimal equipment and just put on whatever looks good or that I happen to like. For example on my recent run, I got myself most of the dwarven set… with a circlet because screw helmets. With pumped up blacksmithing and a couple perks in heavy armor, I didn’t lack for defense anyways (think I had ~320 in that picture, still with a fairly low heavy armor skill and lacking perks).

      The thing is, smithing and armor perks make it really easy to hit the armor cap (which I think is ~528) with any set of gear. So I take it as incentive to pick whatever gear I like and run with it.

  3. guy says:

    Stupid helmets. I really, really hate how RPG games cause hair to up and vanish even when the helmet design should logically let you still see it.

    • czhah says:

      That would be nice, but would either require the game to model hair more accurately, which might be be rather CPU intensive, or require a separate version of the hair mesh for each type of helmet increasing the workload needed to add hairstyles.

    • PeteTimesSix says:

      Hair is one thing. Its another when I put on say, a robe with a hood (looking at you, archmage robes) and my argonian character decides that the only way to make it fit is to pop off his horns. I think they must be screwed on or something.

  4. cavalier says:

    That dungeon reminds me of Vault 87 in Fallout: travel past all these obstacles then find out someone managed to get there ahead of you without leaving a trace.

    • Tizzy says:

      Funnily enough, this part never bothered me. I figured she knew a shortcut in, which works well with the idea that I have no idea what I’m doing and that an uncomfortable number of people know more than I do about the whole Dragonborn business.

      That still doesn’t explain the rising pillars or whatever when you reach the tomb.

      It also doesn’t explain how she would know that you would be sent here to take the horn. None of THAT makes any sense, and it’s really annoying because there has got to be a better way to do window dressing on fecth quests. Are all newly minted dragonborn sent there? What would be the point? How would anyone even know that, given that there hasn’t been one in centuries?

      But yeah, if you think of this as a fraternity hazing, then it doesn’t have to make sense anymore. But you lose some dignity in the proceedings…

  5. Paul Spooner says:

    Reference for Vampires counting things, yep, totally true.

    … and that’s why it’s called “white run”… because of all the pale-skinned whirwind-shouting greybeard initiates.

  6. Destrustor says:

    As far as I know, the draugrs are in those tombs to serve as eternal undead lifeforce-buffets for their dragon-priest masters. I don’t know what keeps them un-alive in there exactly, but the reason (which I think I even heard in-game, actually) they are there and so aggressive is basically extreme devotion. They are religious fanatics who decided their afterlife would be best spent as undead batteries for super-undead clerics of dragons.

    Also, I kinda like the look of the dragon priest masks. Sure they cover the face, but they still look kinda okay. I don’t particularly mind hiding my character’s face anyway. It’s a mostly secondary concern, really.

    Another thing: this episode is in the “random” category for some reason. Shouldn’t it be in “spoiler warning”?

    • The Rocketeer says:

      It could be that ‘draugr’ is just the Nord equivalent to the word ‘zombie,’ and it doesn’t necessarily refer to one particular method of creation. The ever-hungering ghouls of Solstheim are draugr, and the undying thralls of the dragon heirarchy are also draugr, and Nord undead with no affiliation to the Dragon Priests who rise from the dead due to ancient necromancy, or to gaurd their crypts, or due to a bad death, are equally draugr. Just as long as its something Nord-centric, it’s more of a draugr than a zombie.

      Just as zombies in pop culture can arise due to curses, or viruses, or biological weapons, and are all equally zombies.

  7. hborrgg says:

    Well this is a pretty random post you’ve made Shamus. . .

    I was really disappointed at how the armor skills and perks worked. Really what you should want is heavy armor on the chest and head but light armor on your arms and legs. But according to the game that’s the worst possible set-up you can go for.

  8. TMTVL says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but I love the Dark Brotherhood robes. I even roleplay by saying stuff like “you see the hand on my robes? It means you die.”

    • aldowyn says:

      Eh, I actually like the look of the Nightingale stuff better, even if it does necessitate going through the Thieves’ Guild questline. Just don’t like the red on the dark brotherhood stuff.

      I do keep the gloves, though, because doubling my backstab bonus is too good.

    • Alex says:

      “you see the hand on my robes? It means you die.”

      That reminds me of silly but awesome idea I had for a D&D character once: a medusa ninja. Rather than turning herself invisible, she’d just make everyone decide it was in their best interests to close their eyes.

  9. TMTVL says:

    So Josh, what kind of audio services have you tried, and what kind of problems did you have with it? All I know is that I use Jitsi for audio chat, and it seems to work.

  10. Kana says:

    I feel bad every time Josh opens a guy up and just leaves the ancient nord weapons sitting around. I loved those models and lugged a bunch around the short time I played. Heart-breaking to find out how bad they really were. :(

    • Ciennas says:

      Go back and play again. Complete the Companions questline. You gain the perk of forging ‘Nord Hero’ weapons, which are those weapons beefed up to mid to lategame levels. All of them are lighter than all the other options for their equivalent weapon as well.

      Skip the bow, though. For some stupid reason, you can’t actually enhance the bow, and they never went back to fix all the trivial issues like this. (For example, the ‘Best’ version of the Nightengale Sword is immune to tempering as well, turning a badass weapon into a joke.)

      How hard is this to tick off a checklist? I understand not going to the levels of ‘overhaul’ for a finished project, but why are they screwing over console owners of these games?

      Anyway, back to you Kana: once you have these weapons, proceed to wreck your opponents with them. Especially with the faster sword swing shout.

      • acronix says:

        Bethesda has relied on modders fixing their games since at least Oblivion, so I’m not surprised about all the little broken details left around.

        “Meh, let the modders fix it.”

        • aldowyn says:

          Morrowind is almost certainly more broken than Oblivion and certainly Skyrim.

          • acronix says:

            Never played Morrowind. Hence the “at least since Oblivion”.

            • Thomas says:

              I haven’t played it, but apparently Daggerfall was bad enough that some people started calling it ‘Buggerfall’… although I’m pretty sure they didn’t realise what that sounded like.

              Also this
              http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_the_elder_scrolls_2_daggerfall_buggy

              I think Bethesda has never actually made a game that worked

              • Thomas says:

                Yep, the Elder Scrolls wiki has this to say about Arena

                ‘When the game launched it was initially very buggy, being very difficult if not impossible to complete the main quest in the original, non-patched version of the game.’

                Bethesda make large games that are way beyond their QAing capabilities

            • Corpital says:

              In Morrowind your chance to hit an enemy is determined by your skill with the weapon and how full your stamina bar is. Walking around is extremely slow, so you pretty much always run. But oh no! Running depletes your stamina really fast in the beginning. So you *will* run into enemies, say a single rat, and have about zero chance to hit it. And about 5% chance to cast a spell which you can try maybe 8times with your starting magicka.

              Oh and your weapon loses durability for each swing at an enemy, so you might break an iron sword with 300uses on the first rat encountered.

              Also the standart key binding has you jump with e and open your inventory with right mouseclick. And escape doesn’t close something, it opens your save/load/options menu. Still love the game.

              • Vipermagi says:

                Being Blind, however, improves your Chance to Hit considerably. 100% blind? 100% accurate.

              • Hal says:

                It’s been almost a decade since I played Morrowind, but one of the things I remember vividly is leaving the first village and taking forever to do so, first because of the stamina drain leaving you barely plodding along, but then also because your run speed was dependent on your athletics skill (which of course starts out so low).

                *Note, I might be confusing the athletics/run speed issue with Oblivion. Point stands.

      • Kana says:

        That’s a really good tip-off, thanks! I stubbornly stuck to the thing while I was playing even though it wasn’t as good. Actually started a new game after watching Fluffburt murdering crap with his bare hands.

      • Microwaviblerabbit says:

        Patch 1.9 or so fixed this so you could temper the bow. Though at this point there are better options like Auriel’s bow. Bow’s are the only weapon where higher level weapons are better due to how the game deals with how far you can shoot and arrow trajectory.

  11. Dragmire says:

    Heh, 20 minutes.

    20 min into character creation and I’ve usually have chosen a race, gender, physical build and possibly an eye shape. Eye shape is subject to change depending on how the rest of the face turns out though…

    In vanilla that is, moded character creation is… well, it’s quite the undertaking.

    Circlets replace helms was one of my priorities when I started mod hunting.

  12. hborrgg says:

    I did generally keep a set of fine clothes on me for when I went into town though. I also bound my shield to a hotkey so I could easily hide it when need be.


    When we finally find it I really think that the Santa hat should be Fluffbert’s new bonnet.

  13. Mathias says:

    The draugr change was most likely to bring it more in line with the sort of Norse mythology/Medieval Scandinavia-ish aesthetic of the rest of the game. Like how Sovngarde is Valhalla with the serial numbers filed off and with a much, much less interesting god dining there. You don’t even get to meet him! What a ripoff.

    • Corpital says:

      There are one or two books/journals about draugr, but they only work for ruins with a dragon priest. Apparently some priests and their followers burried themselves to wait for the dragons to return, who would then resurrect them.
      The people/draugr replenish their life force or whatever by resting in the alcoves and every day a few go to the grave of the priest to feed it surplus energy.

      So…the dungeons replenish their undead by a few of them awakening every now and then? And maybe dragging the depleted ones back into alcoves to charge. But it would mean every single draugr was/is a dragon worshipper or every single ruin has to be imbued with rather powerful magic.

      Also, and that just came to my mind, a part of the ancient nord believed that Alduin, son of the highest god Akatosh, died but would return one day with afterlife and paradise and all that? Am I reading too much into this?

      • acronix says:

        I thought it was more of a “He’ll come back, destroy the world, we all go to Sovngarde and not get eaten by his soul eating powers” or whatever. And the ‘he died’ part was only because they didn’t know the nordic heroes teleported him to the future.

      • Mersadeon says:

        That was my problem, too – I mean, not ALL of these Draugr can be dragon worshippers, unless 90% of the population that buries people was made up of dragon worshippers.

        The lore-friendly explanation I have for it (which is totally just Fan Wank) is that some tombs were full of dragon worshippers, while most were simply meant as guardians of the tomb.

        • Corpital says:

          Been playing Morrowind for the last two weeks and your Fan Wank is actually correct for the tombs there. Most families had little shrines, where they kept a few bones of their ancestors to summon they for advice and help. People estranged from their family were often bound to shrines/tombs against their will, went mad and acted as guardians by attacking anybody not protected by certains spells.

        • Tizzy says:

          Weren’t 100% of Nords dragon worshippers, willingly or not, at some point?

          • Corpital says:

            They were, yes, but that still only explains tombs before the war with the dragon and the ones with dragon priests. Except, of course, the nords just stopped building these things after they murdered all the dragons/worshippers.

  14. So the food is offerings left by family members, who also lit the torches, right? And they somehow didn’t get killed? Which is why you can hit a tomb for a nosh and there aren’t any (fresh) dead bodies all over the well-lit tables?

    Fallout at least had radiation and toxic preservatives in packaged food for an excuse…

    • syal says:

      Those torches are just enchanted with the “fire on self constant effect” enchantment; there’s no telling the last time family members actually went in there.

  15. Ofermod says:

    If you have Nalia and Jan Jansen in your party when you give the beggar a gold coin, it’s even more amusing.

    Although actually, I guess I could have just said “Jan Jansen” without the rest of that sentence, and “more amusing” would be accurate.

    And as far as Minsc goes… For as much as I love the character (and he is quite memorable), I maintain that he’s not the best written character in the game. Keldorn wins that award for me.

    • Amnestic says:

      Keldorn is my favourite Paladin of all time, inching just ahead of Uther the Lightbringer.

      I’ve grown to rather like Neera from the recent Enhanced Edition though. Wild Mages are awesome and I thought Neera was a breath of chaotic fresh air. Plus, murdering Red Wizards of Thay. Always fun.

    • Tam O'Connor says:

      Oh, Keldorn’s great, but Jan Jansen is the best written character. Most of the time, he’s hilarious. When he’s not hilarious (during his personal quest), he’s heart-wrenching.

      But on topic: the horrible part is that Skyrim’s cohorts aren’t even on the level of Baldur’s Gate 1 characters. With the possible exception of Serana and Lydia (with Dragonborn installed). I weep for the loss of character biographies and item descriptions.

  16. Regarding vampires and flax seeds: There’s a very good episode of the X-Files called “Bad Blood.” In addition to seeing the attractiveness/derpiness of a sheriff through the eyes of either main character, Mulder proposes the idea that vampires have massive OCD, which is why they have to count any seeds you throw at them.

    • Josh says:

      Bad Blood was just about the greatest X-Files episode of all time. Maybe edged out by Jose Chung’s From Outer Space or Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose (season 3 best season).

      That Shaft scene though.

      (Apparently the only clip of this scene that includes Mulder’s reaction on all of youtube was filmed on a potato)

      • Grescheks says:

        Josh, you just listed off my three favourite X-Files episodes.

      • The reason a lot of clips from shows like that are done in crap-o-vision is because Fox TV is really draconian about clips of its shows on YouTube. They’ve got search algorithms that specifically look for waveforms in the soundtracks and patterns in the video clips for automatic takedown, pretty much. It’s why any clips from The Simpsons are usually in a non-English language, shot via a camcorder pointed at a TV, and/or flipped so the searchbots won’t find it so quickly.

        They really don’t get the idea of fans sharing their favorite bits of a show as a means for promoting it and never have. They used to take down whole WAV-oriented sites back in the day if they had a clip of Bart saying “Don’t have a cow, man!”

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I always found it funny that in modern vampire stories,even if they include vampires from all over the world,youd sooner find them afraid of crosses than having such massive OCD.

      • aldowyn says:

        I bet somewhere there’s a movie or something, (even in english) that shows vampires being similarly afraid of holy symbols from other religions.

        • Thomas says:

          I think I’ve seen a few of them. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that a fairly large proportion of modern vampire mythology, when they choose to have holy symbols as a weakness, have it be holy symbols in general instead of faith specific.

          The best one I came across was a Terry Pratchett though where the new ‘Vampyres’ tried to through off the old-moded vampiric traditions and so the father vampyre exposed them to holy symbols of every religion he could think of from a young age. And so when the training failed later on in the story, they kept seeing holy symbols absolutely everywhere

      • In my opinion, any vampire movie where the vamp obsesses over someone with a passing resemblance to someone they knew when mortal is chock full of OCD. And the folklore is all over the place thanks to both “original” stories and retreads of the vampire legends over the years. Probably the better vampire takes I’ve seen are early Anne Rice (the stuff that inspired the Vampire RPG) and the Dresden Files.

        The Twilight-romance Fabio-with-fangs stuff can take a hike. :)

      • ET says:

        Obviously being afraid of crosses is a manifestation of their OCD.
        I mean, every side of the cross is symmetric, except one leg is longer than the others!

        • I think it was F. Paul Wilson’s “The Keep” (the novel, not the movie) that had a vampire (not really one, but close enough) psychologically damaging the faith of a Jewish scholar by recoiling from a cross while not being affected by a Star of David.

          Neither one worked on him, but he was trying to mess with the scholar’s head.

      • Hal says:

        In the Dresden Files, faith itself is the power that repels evil creatures like vampires. A cross wielded by an atheist would do nothing because it means nothing to him, but a devout Scientologist (of all people) could probably get by waving a copy of Dienetics at the vampires.

        • Yeah, the Vampire RPG went into that as well. That way it eliminated things like churches and religious imagery being off-limits to vampires (unless they had a hang-up or vulnerability as a defect trait) yet allowed for the lore to still have an impact.

          I once had some of the players run afoul of a homeless guy who claimed to have founded the Church of Ralph, and his holy symbol was a Freestone Pickle. Since he fervently believed (when inebriated), he could cause them damage, usually when there were a few cops around to see what all the fuss was.

          • Neruz says:

            On the other hand a Vampire really doesn’t want to walk into a Church when the entire congregation is there praying expecting it to be empty. The results are not enjoyable for the Vampire.

            • Ah, but that’s where the story would say something cynical about that not being “true faith” or what have you and he’d stroll through and maybe dive out a stained-glass window just to be a jerk.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Maybe not from the priest,but at least half of the people in the church would be true believers.

                • Tizzy says:

                  RPGs and a lot of fiction usually goes by “Faith”, which places the bar much higher than “Belief”.

                • A lot of stories (like the Dresden Files) have turned “True Faith” into a kind of superpower. This is to keep the auto-vampire-killers to a minimum to preserve a sense of tension as well as to explain why you don’t have True Believers running around commanding mountains to hurl themselves into the sea.

                  The rationale is usually along the lines of Terry Pratchett’s “Small Gods,” where a religion becomes basically a series of rituals people do without thinking, rather than what it means to the True Believer character. It also allows for a lot of redemption story arcs, commentaries on the nature of faith/belief, etc.

                • BeardedDork says:

                  Not in the Vampire RPG, “True Faith” is exceedingly rare, maybe a handful of people in an entire city would have it.

  17. allfreight says:

    I criticize because I love, but can you do your trading off screen? I’ve spent enough time staring at that screen in my own game but then I’m getting the “yay, gold!” feeling. As a viewer, it’s awfully dull.

    You’ve chosen an unarmed character. Why not make Catbert a Monk that eschews worldly goods? Let those poor souls that you’ve slain keep their dignity, and heavy , heavy, armour.

    • syal says:

      You might have a point about leaving them their armor, but there’s no way we’re not taking their dignity.

    • TMTVL says:

      Heavy armour has a perk where you do your gauntlet’s armour rating as damage when unarmed. That plus a few set perks and full daedric plate makes unarmed kinda powerful.

      • TheHokeyPokey says:

        Unfortunately you only get base armor rating (doesn’t include skill, enchantments or perks) so the largest unarmed bonus you can get from armor is 18 (deadric guantlets). Unarmed gets outclassed relatively quickly as a result.

        • Viktor says:

          There are actually relevant enchantments for unarmed. Head to the Thieve’s Guild, one of the bandits on the way has the disenchantable Gloves of the Pugulist, which can be applied to your Daedric Gauntlets and your ring, and the bonus stacks. Alternatively, Dawnguard gives you a ring that adds 20 to your damage.

          Still not as good as standard melee, but it’s not bad, it works well early on, and it requires minimal investment. Perfect for a Wizard who wants to avoid spending perks, or for an LP that needs a cheesy low-level build capable of beating the game without being boring.

          On that note, would anyone object to Josh doing his crafting/mercantilism off-screen? He’s got a ton of ingredients to use, but spending an hour navigating windows will drive us insane.

    • allfreight says:

      Whatever stops us spending half an episode in the shop inventory. Teabagging is quicker that dealing with the vanilla inventory UI.

      Does Smithing count towards the base rating of an item?

      • Alex says:

        “Does Smithing count towards the base rating of an item?”

        No. Only the improved version.

        • The Rocketeer says:

          This always bothered me.

          A master smith sits down and makes a helmet that is a complete piece of crap. A piece of armor that, assuming one was capable of working that metal at all, could at least equal in quality.

          But then, and only then, the master takes it over to a table and polishes/hammers it into an article of legendary might. Of course.

          • Destrustor says:

            And in the course of this, wastes some materials that he presumably should be skilled enough to not use in the first place.
            I never did get why exactly you need extra materials to improve weapons. Do you actually replace the dull parts with improved versions or are you just slapping an additional, sharper coat of metal? I guess it makes sense for armor, where making it a bit thicker would help, but there are limits to that as well.
            A truly skilled artisan should be able to save on resources, shouldn’t he? Nope, game balance.

  18. Raygereio says:

    I disagree that the lack of memorable characters in Skyrim is because of voice acting. Good voice acting can certainly help in creating a memorable character, just like the character’s appearance can help. But the main thing is the writing: The dialogue and interactions you have with the character.
    I feel Skyrim actually does have some decent, memorable characters here and there. But regardless of that I think the comparison to Minsk is rather unfair: I haven’t even played Baldur’s Gate and I know who Mink is. The Internet has had 15 years to firmply place “that quirky ranger with his hamster from that one game” in the collective minds of videogame-geek-culture.

    • aldowyn says:

      oh, that’s where the hamster comes from. I should probably finish Baldur’s Gate at some point.

    • Henson says:

      Yeah, Skyrim may re-use voice actors ad nauseum (hello, Stephen Russell), but so does Bioware, and they get away with it all the time. Skyrim’s characters are mostly one-note, super obvious, or bland exposition/lore dumps. The more I play, the more obvious it is that Bethesda isn’t terribly interested in NPCs as characters so much as quest givers.

      Contrast their approach to dialogue and characters with the Interesting NPCs mod. The mod’s characters are not mostly not tied to any quest, yet they all have many things to say, most of which are – as the name suggests – interesting. They exist mostly independent of the player, and so feel like actual people rather than a means to an end. And they’re often well written.

      I have to wonder if the Elder Scrolls games should move back to keyword dialogue options, given how much the characters exist for the sake of quests, and how little the game encourages roleplaying.

    • modus0 says:

      I also disagree that it’s the voice acting. I think it’s Bethesda’s horribly bland animations.

      Shamus has already mentioned Max von Sydow doing a lot of gesturing while recording his lines, only for Esbern to stand stock-still while delivering them.

      Now, imagine of Cicero was hopping and bouncing, and gesticulating wildly while talking. He’d be a lot more memorable wouldn’t he?

      • Thomas says:

        I do think professional voice actors are much more accustomed to dealing with this sort of problem though. A lot of the people Shamus has made this point about have made their living almost entirely as actors, relying on their body expressions to convey emotion is absolute second nature. Max von Sydow is an example of that.

        Whereas professional VAs have to try and deliver memorable performances in the face of cruddy animation all the time, in cartoons and games and they often overcome those limitations.

      • Hydralysk says:

        Cicero is already memorable enough with his completely infuriating voice. The worst part of the brotherhood quest is having to listen to him, while the best part is getting to slaughter him.

        Maybe the point was trying to make me remember him (and I certainly do) but I wish they’d found a way to do it without his voice making me want to tear my eardrums out.

    • Ysen says:

      I think he meant voice acting was the problem not because of the quality, but because having every line acted places limitations on how much dialogue you can have. Because of the logistics of recording it all, written dialogue is much cheaper and faster than spoken dialogue.

      In Baldur’s Gate, the majority of dialogue was written, and only some key lines were voiced, which allowed characters to have more to say than might otherwise have been feasible.

      • Tizzy says:

        Indeed. The probelm with all-voiced is that all conversations are kept purposefully bland to avoid spiralling nto too many lines and options. To the point that even inane merchant banter is recycled amng different merchants. This has to be the worst possible solution: we are unable to ignore aural stimuli (I can ignore ads easily so long as the sound is off; it doesn’t take very long otoh to have the audio of an ad entirely memorized).

        So instead of a rich soundscape, we get endlessly repeating lines that make us twitch and cringe every time we hear them.

  19. MrGuy says:

    The horn is actually in the basement of the Alamo.

  20. BeardedDork says:

    Holy crap. Did Josh just sell the giant useless overweight weapon?

  21. General Karthos says:

    I always liked the Dragon Age system where you could trigger whether the hat/helm/helmet was visible or not in conversations. I’ve been replaying the Mass Effect trilogy lately (because I’m a masochist) and I think the most annoying aspect about Mass Effect 2 is that your helmet gives you an HP boost, but doesn’t become invisible in conversation.

    So I don’t wear the helmet. I’d rather my character’s face be visible in conversation, and I’ll sacrifice some combat efficiency for that.

    In Skyrim, I dunno. It doesn’t seem like as big a deal to me, but I did have this ridiculous helmet that was the face of one of the Daedra (I got it from a quest where I followed a talking Dog, I think) that gave me a HUGE boost on the gold store owners were willing to give me and reduced costs of items by the same percentage. But it was like… three feet tall and made me look totally ridiculous. So I carried it around most of the game, and only equipped it when talking to merchants.

    • BeardedDork says:

      I did exactly that.

    • aldowyn says:

      That was a neat feature in Dragon Age, one I wish more games had. Taking off helmets when not in combat just makes sense.

      As for Mass Effect, it’s easy enough as it is and the helmets don’t give a big bonus.

      Actually, in 2 and 3 I tend to pick the visor that gives 10% headshot damage or whatever. It makes it to where I can still see my character but I still have a useful bonus, particularly for an infiltrator.

  22. Daemian Lucifer says:

    While watching the credits,I always find it odd how Campster is always referred to as Chris by everyone,and meanwhile Rutskarn is always just Rutskarn.Its like actual names are reserved for grownups,and nicknames are for kids.

    Except for Mumbles,but girls dont count.

  23. Arven says:

    There’s a book in Skyrim about a guy who lives with the draugr to research them. He found out that draugrs periodically goes over to the boss of the dungeon to give their live spirit and he deducted that these draugr were buried alive (or made undead beforehand, my comprehension skill is really bad) and they get to where they are from giving out their live spirit.

    But that’s convoluted, and wouldn’t make sense for draugr that were in the open. So let’s just call it Ancient Dragon Magick™.

    • acronix says:

      Well, Alduin does revive dragons all over the place, so I think it stands to reason that he would be causing some “magic disturbance™” and raising the dead all over the place. To explain why only in ancient nordic ruins, we could maybe imply that the stones, carvings and runes in them act like some kind of catalyst or whatever.

      But yeah, A Dragon Did It™.

      • Amnestic says:

        The only time I ever saw Alduin revive a dragon was as part of the storyline to show you that he’s doing it. Despite coming across multiple dragon burial sites on multiple playthroughs since, I have not once seen him ress a dragon.

        I dunno if I’m doing it wrong or what, ‘cos I’d kinda like to see it! Do I need to shout “AL-DU-IN” and the sky or something to summon his smelly world eating face?

        • acronix says:

          I think that’s the only time, though I vaguely remember running into him exactly once outside the main storyline, in a burial somewhere between Markrath and Solitude. I couldn’t bet my wallet on it, however.

          What you can see is that the burial sites are ’empty’. If you visit them before certain point (which I forgot, I think it’s after you kill the first dragon) of the storyline you can see they are filled with dirt. After that, they aren’t.

        • Arven says:

          Go to Rorikstead. Every time I decided to go through MQ, I always find Alduin resurrecting a dragon when I escorted blade-guy to blade-hideout through that place.

        • Alex says:

          Every burial site has its own point in the main quest when it is opened. There are apparently only four which you can watch for yourself: Kynesgrove, during A Blade in the Dark; Great Henge, between Diplomatic Immunity and Alduin’s Wall; Rorikstead, between Alduin’s Wall and Elder Knowledge; and Yorgrim, between Elder Knowledge and Alduin’s Bane.

      • The story referred to by Arven leaves out the detail that the liches were Dragon-priests and the undead that give up their life force are cultists that they were buried with. So it makes sense, for a given amount of Fantasy World sense. Kind of Egyptian when you think about it, though that was more to have servants in the afterlife as opposed to having a kind of crapsack immortality.

  24. A. Hieronymus Bosch says:

    Just throwing this out there, but…. If you ever get lost like that again, you can use the Clairvoyance spell to draw a path to the next quest marker.

    • ET says:

      Wow, I forgot this spell even exists, and it’s like, in my inventory/face at least once per game.
      …and then promptly forgotten again. ^^;

      • MichaelGC says:

        Yeah, I always just stuff everything into my Favourites with the idea being I don’t forget them.

        Which just means my Favourites are a giant overwhelming mess where I never even notice the things I was trying to remember! It’s got so I have to use an enchanted weapon if I ever want to fill a soul gem – buying the Soul Trap spell itself was money well wasted.

        • newdarkcloud says:

          I usually limit my favorites to:

          My best set of daggers (or sword/dagger)
          My best bow
          My best shield
          Unrelenting Force
          Dragonrend
          Aura Whisper
          Invisibility
          A healing spell
          A set of armor
          A set of civilian clothes (for towns)

          This is usually enough for me to cover every circumstance my Thief character will find himself in.

          (Side Note: I’d love for Bethesda to allow us to combine an entire set of armor in the favorites, making it a single button press away as opposed to 4 or 5.)

        • Tizzy says:

          Soul Trap is not that great. It gives you a much longer time window to kill the target, but when is that ever useful? Not worth the bother to individually target the dude.

          • newdarkcloud says:

            Honestly, I just use the Fiery Soul Trap enchantment. Combined with the perk for 2 enchantments on one item, you can make really useful weapons.

            For example, my favorite dagger has 3 seconds of Paralysis and 1 sec of Fiery Soul Trap on hit.

      • aldowyn says:

        there’s a copy of it… I think in the bandit hideout right outside the exit from Helgen that I always go into before doing anything else.

    • Destrustor says:

      I once had that spell bug out on me and create a permanent streak of magic lingering around in Whiterun, impossible to remove and pointing exactly to the door. I decided it was never worth trying again.

  25. Henson says:

    As Shamus & Co. indicated, the way this tomb is built indicates that the person who left that note has the power of the Thu’um, in order to get past the obstacles. Because of this, I was convinced that the culprit was actually Ulfric Stormcloak. The bait and switch was certainly a surprise, though it did manage to make me respect Delphine for completely fooling me.

    Speaking of notes left by ‘a friend’, do we ever figure out who’s sending the Dragonborn notes about where to get the words of power? Some shadowy organization? A rich politician with connections? Deus ex Machina?

  26. Neko says:

    I really miss the interesting magic of Morrowind. I suppose they took things like Levitate and Mark/Recall out because it would become easy for mages to break dungeons like this one, bypassing all that stuff the poor level designer put their heart into. I can understand that.

    But then again… No! Becoming a master of magic should let me break the game! It should let me break the very rules of the universe! Putting a bunch of research and gold and effort into making my very own suit of Fantasy Iron Man armour and then raining fiery destruction upon my enemies is my idea of having fun. Let the player decide if that’s what they want to do.

    Also, if we’re deciding that whatshername got the Horn by going in the secret back way of the dungeon, let the player use those secret exits too! So many times I’ve looked at a ‘dead end’ near the start of the dungeon and thought to myself “Yep, that’s the secret door I’ll be coming out of later. Pity there’s absolutely nothing I can do to take advantage of that”.

    I also share your sentiments on voice acting for everything. It dilutes the quality you could get and reduces the depth of conversations you can have.

    • Destrustor says:

      Some dungeon exit dead-ends consist of a visible yet barred door, where you can sometimes manage to click on the bar through the door if you fiddle around enough.
      It makes even less sense to do that, though.

    • Tizzy says:

      Toatlly agree. For a game that gives a premium on freeform game play, it’s funny to see how linear the dungeons are, and how carefully they worked to prevent any kind of alternative routes. Which is fair enough in places that have a lot of scripted events, but that’s not really the case here, is it?

  27. MadTinkerer says:

    “From the moment you put on your first set of crappy faction armor to the end of the game when you can finally craft yourself something respectable, you look like you got dressed by having yourself catapulted into the the Loading Ready Run costume archives.”

    Unless VAMPIRE ARMOR.

  28. PlasmaPony says:

    I must say, a game where you play you go to school and join the Greybeard fraternity house (always fraternity, never frat. You wouldn’t call your country a cunt) would be amazing. Yet another instance of the Spoiler Warning crew thinking of better games than the one presented.

    YOU MUST DRINK THE ENTIRE 6 PACK OF SKOOMA LIGHT, DRAGONBORN. THEN YOU MUST SHOUT SERENADES TO LYDIA IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE DRAGONREACH SORORITY TO ASK HER TO THE DOVADANCE MIXER

  29. Weimer says:

    Additionally, the crotchthrust dragonshout would fit perfectly to the Fratboy Scrolls: Sky High experience.

  30. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I find it really shocking just how much of the main quest I apparently forgot/repressed. I remember it along the lines of “so you get to kill that first dragon, then climb the mountain to the greybeards and they teach you some shouts and send you for the horn… and then… um… their boss is a dragon (no surprises there) you somehow get an Elder Scroll… fight Alduin, somehow go into the Norse afterlife to fight him again and that’s pretty much it. Oh yeah, there were also some ruins with stuff screwing the cosmology and lore, also you’re expected to solve the war along the way.”

    Skyrim really works better as a heavily modded sandbox than it does as a story…

    • Mathias says:

      Once again I’m going to levy a complaint at Sovngarde being boring. This place is the center of Nord belief, the hall of the dead, the greatest reward and greatest honor for the victorious dead.

      …And it’s a giant hall that looks like every other hall. And you don’t even get to meet the guy who runs it.

    • Amnestic says:

      I’m actually going to point out one part I did enjoy from the main questline which was infiltrating the Thalmor Embassy. I thought it was pretty fun from a gameplay standpoint, if a bit simplistic. It wasn’t just tomb plundering. They could’ve made it more than it was (especially if you happened to be playing an Altmer, so you could disguise yourself), but it was probably the most fun I had in the main questline.

      • Raygereio says:

        They could’ve made it more than it was (especially if you happened to be playing an Altmer, so you could disguise yourself)

        Actually you can disguise yourself, the problem that it’s a bit glitched. Bethesda set up the Hooded Thalmor Robes to function as a disguise in that quest, but only placed Thalmor Robes for the player to find in the embassy.

        • guy says:

          I’m pretty sure that there’s at least a couple mages indoors who drop hooded robes; I tried sneaking around in them as my Imperial.

          Didn’t work out because one of the guards noticed something funny, checked under the hood, and determined I wasn’t Altmer.

          • Ringwraith says:

            The closer the race you’re playing is visually to an Altmer, you closer you can get without being spotted.
            Altmer of course can stroll around freely, other elves can get kinda close, humans have to stay semi-far away, and Khajit and Argonians just can’t do it at all.

  31. Rodyle says:

    On the subject of those beggars: it was hilarious how the one in that racist town where the Stormcloaks hide is also the one person who teaches pickpocketing. So you could pay her 500 gold for teaching you to pickpocket, after which you give her a single gold coin when she starts begging.

  32. Genuine inquiry: was this episode deliberately placed in the Random category?

    Don’t know if anything can be done about that now, but it did throw me for a whirl when I tried to jump straight from episode 10 to 11. :3

  33. Ilseroth says:

    I worked a lot with the Skyrim Creation Kit, I wouldn’t say it is *totally* ridiculous, it really depends on what you are doing with it.

    Inputting new weapons/armor (Most common mods) isn’t particularly challenging if you already know about 3d modelling and texturing. On top of this editing existing weapons/armor is totally braindead once you have spent any amount of time with the editor.

    Building something of existing resources is again, pretty easy. Just building say, a player home, isn’t too hard.

    Building a dungeon is where you start to get into the more irritating stuff. You have to build it, build the nav mesh (generally has to be done by hand), set up button and trap parenting. This kind of parent attatchment has to be set up for every Draugr that is in an alcove or coffin and is so clunky that they literally have a interior cell built so you can load it and copy paste a pre-setup draugr. Essentially everything in the dungeon besides just building it is pretty fiddly, which is why you don’t see many dungeon mods.

    Script editing is really irritating even if you are a programmer. Essentially everything is kind of jury rigged together with regards to scripting. I went in to change one setting and after a few hours of going around between endless scripts I found it, but changing it caused an error in half a dozen other scripts. i ended up having to write a completely new script and just called it after the other script was called so it kind overwrote what I needed it to…

    But the most surprisingly frustrating thing? Setting up dialogue. Setting up dialogue in the editor is one of the most circuitous set ups possible. Now the default concept is that the dialogue was build with the idea that multiple people may say the same line. Now this makes sense for generic NPCs like town guards and the like.

    However when it comes to making a unique NPC with dialogue you have to make a quest just to give them dialogue. Once you make a quest you set the text up inside the quest and specifyu “Can only be said by X NPC” or you can make it all people within X faction so on so forth. Now that you have the quest made you have to initiate the quest. Now you can set it to start already activated but that function is bugged (sometimes works sometimes doesn’t) so it frequently won’t activate.

    Alright so essentially set up a script that activates the quest when the game starts up. So just to get some dialogue you have to do some coding. Now grats if you did the rest of it right the person will say something, but it’ll disappear off the screen before you can read it. So now you go into the dialogue editor and record some voice files (silent if you want) to artificially delay the game from moving past the dialogue.

    That is three paragraphs outlining how to get a character to say something… doesnt even get into nested dialogue trees or having the dialogue advance quest “stages” or taking items… Honestly, I was all for making a massive dungeon/questline but the dialogue nonsense really put me off… That and it seems like people don’t DL dungeons really. I have made a few mods and the only one that seems to get DLs took 5 seconds to make and just edits it so werewolves can spawn (something like a 1% chance) where you would normally get wolves.

    Dungeon took days of work, scripting, setting up traps and so on, people are extremely critical of it. Any mod I make that is a small tweak gets a load of DLs and is called great. *shrug*

    • Eric says:

      It’s probably worth noting that the game has plenty of dungeons already. It doesn’t have the little tweaks some people look for, like your werewolf mod.

      • Ilseroth says:

        Honestly, there arent *that* many dungeons, I have seen every one at least a few times, and I don’t even have that crazy amount of hours in the game

    • acronix says:

      What about the camera? I found that moving the camera was awkward and counter intuitive.

      I’d also assume that the reason the tweaks are called ‘great’ while the dungeons aren’t is because people downloading tweaks are already unhappy with how the game was working in that particular regard. Meanwhile, people who download dungeons want more and better gameplay than the base game, so obviously their standards might be a bit out of whack.

  34. Joseph says:

    I’d be interested in hearing about the tradeoffs you’ve encountered with other voice software.

    Have you tried Mumble? I’ve been using it to record group conversations for years and it has always performed flawlessly. Although my use for the recordings is admittedly less demanding than broadcasting to several thousand viewers.

    It would be worth it just for the potential hilarity of trying to talk about Mumble around Mumbles.

    First post here, so hi everybody.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      Well I know they are aware of Mumble; we used it to communicate back during our brief collective fascination with Guild Wars 2.

      I still say running dungeons with Shamus, Josh, Jarenth and JPH was some of the best fun I have ever had, even if the dungeons themselves were the worst thing ever. Shoot, especially then.

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