Skyrim EP22: Hey Look, A Moose

 By Shamus Apr 9, 2014 93 comments


Link (YouTube)

“No, seriously guys. If I can’t make it, just do Spoiler Warning without me. We’ve got plenty of people. I don’t need to be in every single episode,” is clearly the most wrong thing I’ve ever said.

So enjoy this twenty-five minutes of listening to the lengthy exposition for a quest and then forgetting all about it, waiting for the arrival of an NPC who will never show up because they haven’t read the letter to begin the quest, going shopping and yet still not buying any health potions, stealing yet another horse despite how this has proven to be a pointless hassle in the past, dying in a pointless fight against random bandits that could have been avoided by simply staying on the horse instead of letting it wander off yet again, and finally bunny-hopping around the wilderness aimlessly murdering trash mobs with no clear goal in mind.

This is what I do on the show. I restrain this lawlessness and tomfoolery. I am the Nick Fury of this team. Except with no eyepatch. Or Trenchcoat. Or training. Or weapons. Or budget. And nobody listens to me.


2020202013There are now 93 comments. Almost a hundred!


  1. Ravens Cry says:

    So, you are the Roy to their Belkar

    • noahpocalypse says:

      The Paul to Josh playing JC?
      The Kristoff to their Anna?
      The Bruno to their Vatsy?
      The Martha Stewart to their Douglas Adams?
      The Mario to their Ezio?
      The Vizzini to their- wait, that doesn’t really work.

      • Ravens Cry says:

        The Jakkyl to their Hyde.

        • Dragomok says:

          The Judy to their McNinja.
          The Tenzin to their Korra.
          The Strongbad to their E-mails.

          The Bolvar to their Lich King.
          The Gunter to their Ice King.
          The Kubrick to their S. King.

          The Dr. Oak to their Bike.
          The Skarmory to their Shedinja.
          The Ledge to their TPP.

          The John Bain to their Steam.
          The Ben Croshaw to their QTE.
          The Control Alt to their Delete.

          The White Border Box to their Lemmings.
          The Blue Block is Moving to their Cannon Rush.
          The Railroad to their Plot.

          The Shoddy Dwarven Bridge-Making to their Gandalf.

  2. Twisted_Ellipses says:

    If Shamus is Nick Fury, that makes Spoiler Warning S.H.I.E.L.D. so was this episode derailed because it was infiltrated by Hydra?

  3. Microwaviblerabbit says:

    The immortal generals, who remain so even after completing the entire civil war questline, bothered me a lot. I understand why they would be normally, for the hold swapping in Season Unending but after that point it is just infuriating. The same is true for every Jarl, and their retinue, who are all always immortal.

    After Fallout: New Vegas did the meet the enemy leader thing well, by making them killable but logically surrounding them with elite guards, Skyrim shouldn’t have failed this badly at it. Ulfric just sits there, with a couple town guards, which seems to imply the programmers thought of the player wanting to kill him, but just fell back on making him immortal. They could have at least done the Lanius/Oliver thing of having him only show up in the final battle, rather than dangling him like a unkillable carrot in front the player.

    • RedSun says:

      It’s even more annoying when you remember that in Fallout: New Vegas, you also have a neutral party giving you orders, with Mr. House. However, in New Vegas, Mr.House tells you not to kill Caesar-but you can do it anyway. New Vegas lets you defy what seems like the most powerful man in the Mojave. Skyrim doesn’t let you do what your most reasonable ally tells you is the smart thing to do.

      • Ciennas says:

        Everyone keeps comparing New Vegas to Skyrim. And there are good reasons to compare the two, but there is one important distinction between them:

        New Vegas was a contracted outside party sequel, being written by a different team. While it was built using Fallout 3′s tools (Refined for the new mechanics,) It was still not a Bethesda game.

        Fallout 3, Oblivion, and Skyrim are all in house, with the writing staff and the game decisions being made by the in-house teams.

        What Skyrim shows instead, is what happens when the in house team takes a look at what made New Vegas so popular, and start to learn from them.

        The technique is shaky obviously. They’ve still got a lot to learn, but they did start to make things better about being internally consistent.

        We’ll see what the Elder Scrolls Six/ Fallout 4 do.

        (Personally, I hope they go back to letting us build our character how we want, and not cleave path fighter number six like here in Skyrim, and Taking away the tight railings that they so love. If they’re desperate for tight railings, go build a shooter.)

        • Raygereio says:

          While that is an important distinction to make: all it really indicates is that Obsidian is better at quest design then Bethesda and that Bethesda is scared shitless of giving the player the freedom to deal with the consequences of said player’s own actions.
          The fact that New Vegas was made with the same tools as Fallout 3 shows that Bethesda could have made a game like New Vegas instead of Fallout 3. They had the tools. Speaking of tools: Skyrim’s Creation Engine added the alias system to quests, which can make dealing with the player killing NPCs a lot easier as you can easily move quest-giver duties from a dead NPC to another one.

          Mind you, there are other factors then tools to concider. The cost of voice acting, and developer resources to name but two. But the point is that Bethesda didn’t even remotely attempt to give the player some sense of freedom of choice in their quests.

          • Ciennas says:

            Oh, I know. Point still stands; Two different artists with the same set of brushes.

            (They have an alias system now? They built in the solution to the lazy immortal plot relevant NPC thing? And then they didn’t use it? What the Wha?)

            • Thomas says:

              But when we’re comparing the quality of the art it’s not that big of a deal right? Knowing who made the game doesn’t affect how the game plays or the things we’re comparing between the two games.

              I would say the comparison is much more informative and useful when we’re comparing games made by different designers actually. If we were comparing games made by the same developer then whatever the newer game does better is a lesson that the developer has already learned. Whereas with different developers whatever one game does better is something the other developer can (and hopefully should) learn from

              • Ciennas says:

                … Sure. But I was merely pointing out to people that New Vegas is most definitively NOT a creation of Bethesda staffers. A lot of people seemed to be confusing the matter.

                Also… Yes, I suppose art’s fine to compare, but I don’t really know how retro 50′s-future compares to epic grimdark fantasy norse. They just seem so wildly apart that there would be no point in comparing them.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      Well instead of comparing it to New Vegas, I will compare it to Morrowind where not only could you kill the higher ups, but late game Morag Tong quests actually sent you after some of them.

      “That’s Right Varro, I’m eyeing the Shackler of Souls, and this here writ says I can take it off your cold dead corpse and get away with it.”

      • Ciennas says:

        Ah, Morrowind. My introduction to the Elder Scrolls. I would like to know what happened to the team.

        It seems like they exchamge mechanical refinement for player freedom.

        Because Morrowind was mechanically frustrating, but otherwise great.

        Also, as much vaunted as Morrowind should be, by the end of Mournhold, the new direction that Bethesda would take was on display: Two NPC’s that they desperately tried to make immortal, A final confrontation that glues you to the floor while the villain lectures you, breaking the convention established by Dagoth Ur, and Gaenor: The Dev Team Saying SCREW YOU to the players who weren’t feeling challenged.

        My question here is basic. What happened to the Dev Team, before Oblivion shipped, even?

        • Jeff says:

          There’s a list of Morrowind and Oblivion dev teams on the UESP wiki.

          Morrowind Writing & Quest Design: Douglas Goodall, Mark E. Nelson, Ken Rolston
          Morrowind Additional Writing & Quest Design: Bill Burcham, Todd Howard, Michael Kirkbride, Ted Peterson, Todd Vaughn

          Oblivion Quest Design: Brian Chapin, Kurt Kuhlmann, Alan Nanes, Mark Nelson, Bruce Nesmith, Emil Pagliarulo
          Oblivion Additional Design: Erik J. Caponi, Jon Paul Duvall,
          Oblivion Additional Writing: Ted Petersen, Michael Kirkbride

          Looks like only Mark Nelson was kept as Quest Designer, and I’m guessing Ted Peterson and Michael Kirkbride were only “Additional Writing” in Morrowind as well.

          So basically only one Quest guy was kept from Morrowind.

          • Ciennas says:

            Huh. I’m curious as to how they gauge their feedback then.

            I think… They’re trying to find the right balance between hand-holding and total freedom. The biggest complaint from Morrowind was that the game was pretty bad with directions and could be brutal for underleveled players.

            So Oblivion countered that WAY too damn far in the opposite direction- Not only were the directions fool proof (An arrow that’s always pointing the right way!) but the world was always a formidable match for you, because it leveled. Also, you had way less choice available overall.

            Fallout 3 stepped it back a little to a happy compromise (Until the rassafrassin’ Overlords and Albino Radscorpions…) But the main quest was a joke. Very well done atmospherics, though.

            Skyrim seems to be… an experiment. the leveling was more or less balanced, but the writing seriously impedes player choice to the degree that you might as well not even bother playing it through- It’s a lot of the big bad super villain is only vulnerable to the macguffined super PC, but only after he jumps through the GM’s hoops.

            Again, I’m hoping the next game will return that player choice to the right level, and keep the refined mechanics.

  4. imtoolazy says:

    I fail to see anything wrong here, Shamus.

    Man, sometimes I think you try too hard finding stuff to nitpick.

    I’m wondering, though: how often does an episode/week of SW go off the rails/more so than usual in the episodes where Shamus isn’t around? (And maybe comparing this number to when other members are missing?)

    (Edit)
    (Heh, a stable relationship. Good one, ruts. (I don’t feel like it was intentional, though.))

  5. 5:32 Rutskarn: “This horse is going to find a stable relationship…”

    I’m pretty sure that was Rutskarn’s pun gland running on autopilot, but I can’t believe nobody caught that.

    Edit: …and imtoolazy ninjas me while I try to get an accurate time stamp. I just care too much, don’t I?

  6. Helios Apollo says:

    I love you guys, I really do – SW is the highlight of my Twenty Sided week. But can you PLEASE work on not talking over each other? Rutskarn was trying to give his insight about the Nordic civil war and Josh took that as an opportunity to talk about killing a fox. This is just one example out of many – it’s just annoying.

    Now,this is just a point of constructive critcism. I wasn’t kidding when I said I loved you guys and your show. It’s 98.7% goofy fun and pure joy, 1% completely avoidable annoyances, and .3% references to cannibalism.

    • How dare you spread such blatant lies?!

      It’s at least a solid 2% cannibalism references.

    • Chris says:

      It’s a point of contention for us as well. It makes conversations (especially lively or heated conversations) exceptionally awkward not just to listen to but to hold.

      And as ever it’s a Vent thing. Ventrillo offers pretty good audio quality, but holy jeez does it suck at letting people have a conversation in real time. You either end up with us talking over each other in an attempt to engage one another like human beings do, or you get long awkward pauses as we check to ensure no one else is going to speak. And even then it’s hard – Josh is in-game and can’t see whether our mics are open and about to produce audio, and he often interjects with reactions to his half-second future vision of what’s going on in the game.

      Unfortunately the “real” solution to this is to get us all in a room and record with a single mic, but that’s just not possible. :(

      • Helios Apollo says:

        Understood – that explanation removes 50% of my contention (that others want to be heard regardless if someone is speaking), while leaving the remaining 50% (can’t be helped, the technology simply isn’t there).

      • Humanoid says:

        What Josh needs is one of those 3×2 array of monitors with the special stand to mount them on. On each of the side screens he’d have live footage of each of the other hosts, evil mastermind style. Get on it, Patreon backers!

        • Josh says:

          I actually do use my second monitor to view the ventrilo server and stream overview. The issue is less that I can’t see it and more that it’s hard to look at it when I’m focusing on what’s happening on the other screen. It looks awkward when it’s obvious I’ve stopped playing the game for a second to check something on my other monitor.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      Yeah, I love the show too, even despite all the antics. The only time I was ever bothered by something was during the Fallout 3 Pit DLC when Josh went all murder-kill on the slavers without walking around and talking to them. That was a part of the DLC that I thought was really cool and I was sad that Pants exploding got in the way of it.

      But lets be honest one small nitpick out of all the episodes they’ve done is a damn good success rate.

    • Neko says:

      Came here to say this too – I love the Spoiler Warning commentary, which is why the cross-talk and echoing really hurts. Does everyone use push-to-talk? Can you kind of hold it for a second to see if you can grab the mutex before speaking? Is everyone using headphones? I know Josh uses something like 2 pairs simultaneously =)

  7. hborrgg says:

    @Chris

    The reason that so many people can recognize many quests by nickname is that there are so many quests that seem obscure but in reality tend to get shoved down the player’s throat every single time. The first time playing sure they all seem pretty unique and interesting, but the second or third time you play you realize that, yes, they are all total bull.

    It’s actually sort of interesting how a game like HL2 can get praised for keeping the player on the rails without them realizing, but if Skyrim ever manages to make itself seem bigger than it actually is the players feel cheated.

    • Chris says:

      Yeah, I guess this is just my single playthrough bias showing – I played the game once, and while I didn’t aim to 100% the content or anything I put a solid 60+ hours into it. Mostly I remember lots of snow, Fus Roh Dah-ing, dragons, the silly parts of the end of the story quest, demon possession in Markarth, and… that’s about it. In terms of individual quests, who gives them out, whether they were well written or fun or have multiple outcomes… nothin’. The game’s story did pretty much nothing for me, so quests were more map markers for progress than a memorable adventure. It was all in-one-ear-and-out-the-other.

      So I’m amazed when Rutskarn/Shamus/Mumbles/Josh not only know these quests before we run into them, but know them so well they can refer to them as “that crappy courier corpse adventure” or whatever and everyone knows what they’re talking about. When we plan what we want to do for each week (and believe it or not, we do try to plan what we’re doing based on who shows up so we can cover stuff people want to talk about + we’re the right level for) I’m mostly silent. It takes a lot of time to know a game of this scope.

      *shrug*

      • RTBones says:

        Shamus did a DM of the Rings comic that addressed this phenomenon. Its a legacy of old-school pen-and-paper RPGing. In a nutshell, as a DM, you can go to great lengths to create the persona of a character such as Winton Suurditch the Third, Earl and High Overseer of the Lofty Pale, and the players will forever refer to him as Mr. McFancypants. Everybody remembers the character, nobody remembers the details. In this case – people remember the quest because there was that haunted monastery thing making people have bad dreams.

      • RTBones says:

        (couldn’t edit previous? might be time-related) EDIT: as I can edit this one just fine.

        You need to remember that Shamus has over 1000 hrs invested in the game, Josh has (if I recall correctly) 400ish, Mumbles has a ton, and Rutskarn is a living, breathing encyclopedia when it comes to this universe. At 60+ hours, you are only scratching the surface by comparison. I would be more surprised if they DIDNT know the quests.

      • Neil W says:

        To be fair, Rutskarn actually replied “No, it’s boring.” While he probably recognised it, this is generic enough an answer that he could have been playing the odds.

      • Henson says:

        I’m frankly more impressed that Josh both remembered the name “Mzinchaleft” and correctly identified it in passing.

      • guy says:

        The dumb nightmare adventure gives one of the Daedric artifacts, so it’s not all that surprising people remember it. It also has some annoying messing around with impenetrable barriers and astral projection.

      • Neko says:

        I can’t actually check Steam right now to see how many hours I’ve spent on it, but I’m quite sure it’s in the 100+ hour range – but so far I’m still on my first character. I think that’s the difference – I know Shamus with his permadeath runs will have seen the same starting quests several times over and gotten to know them well, but barring stupid crashes I’ve only done quests once so far and a lot of them aren’t so memorable.

        Also I tend to just derp around the countryside a lot, killing bandits with a hammer.

  8. imtoolazy says:

    (Wasn’t allowed to edit post again? Anyways.)

    I figured it all out! It all makes sense now! Jenessa is actually an anti-Imperial assassin! She doesn’t try wiping out whole camps on her own, cause she know she can’t, so instead she follows the Dragonborn, who has shown pro-Empire tendencies, into places with important Imperials, and taking out high-ranking officials.

  9. Can someone explain to me why this episode wasn’t named “Moose Ro Dah?”

  10. hborrgg says:

    *Mom looks over my shoulder as I’m playing Skyrim.*

    Mom: What’s that?

    Me: Oh, that’s just a deer.

    Mom: NO IT’S NOT!!!

  11. It’s weird watching you guys talk about Arby’s food since I work there.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Everyone knows where Josh lives.In the white house,of course.

    • Dragmire says:

      Speaking of which, I wonder if a Saints Row game will ever get a Spoiler Warning treatment.

      … The connecting thread being playing as the president in the 4th game.

      • Humanoid says:

        One of the great tragedies of human civilization is the loss of the SR3 new year’s stream from the livestream archives. :( Interestingly it looks like the Sleeping Dogs stream is still up even though others more recent than it have disappeared, so if it’s a conscious effort to save that one, much appreciated.

        While I had a great deal of fun with SR3, I thought SR4 was terrible, a regression in almost every single way (except that it had more haircuts).

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      NO no no. Taft Kicked him out a while ago.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “This is what I do on the show. I restrain this lawlessness and tomfoolery.”

    You say that like its a good thing.

  14. Nytzschy says:

    I think Rutskarn’s punning hit level 42 this episode. It’s kind of frightening.

    Did anyone else find the singer in that tavern a bit, well, off? Her introduction to some song about the Dragonborn sounded like a late-night NPR disc-jockey. In fact, the whole tavern was completely unfocused. There was a mysterious hooded figure standing in the middle of the room trading rumors of chthonic nightmare creatures and a child traipsing around the DJ. It was even weirder than this episode, and for a few minutes I was convinced that several people simply recorded their audio at separate times from the rest of the cast without hearing what anyone else was saying.

  15. Dragmire says:

    Hey, I liked the Bard’s Tale game!

    I fire it up now and then specifically for the music, nuckelavee being my favorite.

  16. Please, please, PLEASE stop the bunny-hopping! Please?

    It makes me nauseous every time I try to watch it.

    Thank you!

  17. RTBones says:

    Given Josh’s proclivity for stolen mounts, misdirected sword swings, randomly unannounced annihilation of NPC mules within his sphere of influence, and entirely avoidable random encounters that encourage all of the above, I am somewhat surprised (ok, not really) that someone (Ruts) didn’t yell:

    JOSH, WILL YOU QUIT HORSING AROUND?!?!

  18. DGM says:

    @ Rutskarn,

    You’re not thinking big enough with that rabbit flashback idea. When Josh faces the final boss we need an entire montage of him slaughtering hapless forest creatures and attacking children while Mumbles rants furiously at him and a cheesy, uplifting 80′s rock song plays in the background.

  19. Dave B. says:

    I think of Spoiler Warning as a ship, a leaky rat-infested hulk which the intrepid Captain Shamus tries desperately to keep afloat. Then he goes to his cabin for a nap and the rum-soaked First Mate spends the whole time playing “reef chicken.”

  20. Grudgeal says:

    Oh, look, it’s the Horrible Accent Elf!

    …Sadly, it helps make him one of Skyrim’s most memorable NPCs. If only because of how grotesquely stupid that accent sounds. It’s like if Joshua Graham occasionally decided to speak random words in his vocabulary using Cockney (or possibly Australian; people I’ve talked to give it a 50-50 wash) while having no real idea of how the accent actually goes.

    At least that guard captain on Solstheim sounds like he’s actually visited Yorkshire at some point.

    • viggih says:

      So I wasn’t the only one who heard Joshua Graham. I was half-expecting him to start quoting Bible verses.

      • Grudgeal says:

        The exorcism scene later in that quest *would* be much improved by replacing whatever is actually in-game with Graham’s “daughter of Babylon” quotation from Honest Hearts.

    • Neko says:

      As an Aussie myself, I cannot stand the pseudo-rural-Australia Dark Elf Male accent. What the hell, Bethesda. I am compelled to brutally murder every single Dunmer farmer I see on the road going to join up with Ulfric because of it. Why couldn’t they bring back the gravelly Morrowind voices? They were perfect!

  21. TMTVL says:

    That wasn’t a moose, that was an elk! Don’t you know the difference?

    Moose are big game. Greyish in fur, run around on four legs, and eat cheese.

    The elks live up in the hills and in the spring they come down for their annual convention. It is very interesting to watch them come down to the water hole. And you should see them run when they find that it’s only a water hole. What they’re looking for is elk-ohole.

  22. krellen says:

    Okay Josh, the next time you steal one of my players to record Spoiler Warning, I’m crashing the stream if this is what we get from it.

    Fair warning.

  23. Chris, there’s a movie version of Peter Pan where the same actor plays both the father and Cpt Hook (I forget the name of the movie, but Jason Isaacs is an awesome Cpt Hook and that is really the only reason I watched it). Doing the casting that way made me ponder Wendy’s relationship to her father and how she perceives him, which got me through the non-Isaacs bits. Might be worth a watch.

    And yes, that is what I take away from this episode. My ADD, she is crazier than normal atm.

  24. DrMcCoy says:

    A møøse once bit my sister

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