Skyrim: Hearthfire – The Dragonborn Buys a Dolly

I’m not sure why I bought Hearthfire, except that it was on sale for like a dollar, and I’d already spent several of those earlier at the casino bar, so my judgment was either

1. impaired
or
2. better than usual

depending on your opinion of me.

Anyway, I did, and soon after received a visit from the Courier.  I panicked for a moment until I remembered I wasn’t playing New Vegas,  then he handed me a letter asking me to consider the benefits of adoption.

I wasn’t planning on starting a family;  my home life was complicated enough, what with my wife having an affair with my housecarlnot to mention my obsession with Lydia.  So adding a child into that kind of situation just didn’t seem right.

But, I mean, how could I say no to this face?

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Especially when she tells me how her parents died and her dog ran away and her aunt kicked her out on the streets and now she has to work 16 hours a day assembling iPhones.  Seriously, your aunt kicked you out?  That’s so hardcore, it’ls like living in a Dickens novel.

And since they haven’t lifted the restraining order from the last time I asked the biology department what would happen if a cat mated with a monkey, it looks like adoption is the way to go.

Although apparently you have to build a house first, because when I offered to be Lucia’s daddy (is there any way that dialogue could not come off as creepy?  Ans: No.) she helpfully informed me I didn’t have a room for her to sleep in.

Right.

Because currently, you’re sleeping on cobblestones.  I may not be Bob Villa, but even some straw by the fire’s gotta beat rocks, kids.  I’m starting to understand why your aunt sent you to the iPhone factory.

But never mind.  I’ve got some land over by Falkreath that’s zoned for development.  Let’s go build a settlement, since that worked so well in Fallout 4.  At least Skyrim has a tutorial:

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That seems … less than helpful.

Oh.  Wait.  Apparently all I have to do is convert an existing room into a child’s room.  Ok, I guess since I have the kid and all, I can give up my alchemy lab in Riften.  I was only using it to homebrew BlackBriar mead anyway, and now that I’m a daddy, I probably need to stop hanging out with the guys at the Frat House.

2016-02-27_00001

Well, all was well except Iona had a freakin’ meltdown.  No, Iona, I didn’t ask you opinion, ’cause you’re not the one who had to pony up the gold for the renovations, ok?  Sure, it’s a little crowded now, but whaddya want?  You wanna go pick up a hammer and renovate Lakeview Manor yourself?  Didn’t think so.  So now, I’m off to deal with this Harkon fellow …

… wazzat?

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Would I like to play a game?  Um … I really need to go take care of this vampire lord

Okay, just one quick game, then I have to go.

So I’m supposed to be playing tag which, considering my sense of direction on the best of days, is probably a bad idea.  I started out on the dock of Honeysides, and never did find Lucia.  She may have wound up in Afghanistan, for all I know.  I ended up swimming somewhere in the lake outside Goldenglow estates.  The quest marker said I was done, but I felt kind of bad just fast traveling to Fort Dawnguard leaving Lucia hiding in a barrel someplace, but I knew I’d never find her anyway.

When I finally got back and found she was still alive, and CPS wasn’t waiting for me, I let her have a dog.  The next day, she shows up with this:

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Um … wait.  Lucia?  That isn’t a dog, honey, that’s a fox.  Vulpes vulpes, I believe.  It is not a pet.  It is a wild animal.  It … watches you while you sleep.

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Maybe she would have been safer on the streets.

So now I’ve got Ysolda, Iona, Lucia, and a possibly rabid canid running around a 2-room lakeside shack.  I think I need to get some space.  Maybe take a vacation.  I hear nice things about Solstheim …

wazzat?

No, sorry, Lucia, I really don’t have time to play another game.  What’s that?  Did I bring you something nice?  Lesse … um … I’ve got:

10,000 gold pieces looted from ancestral tombs
enough weaponry to go on a UN watchlist
the severed heads of my enemies
an ancient forbidden tome of magic that melts the eyes of anyone foolish enough to read it
and
the totemic shield of a plague god.

So … take your pick!

Wazzat? A dolly? Why no, I did not actually happen to come across any dollies while I was looting the tombs of Draugr Deathlords.

<high powered orphan guilt>

Yes, love, Daddy will fetch you a dolly.

I suppose at some point I should do something about this “World Eater” guy, and maybe think about handling all these damn vampires, but for now – where the heck do I find a dolly?  I haven’t come across any while raiding Forsworn camps or ancient wizard towers, although really, that sounds like a pretty neat idea.  I mean, if I ran across a Master Necromancer who had a stuffed ragdoll named Pookie, I’d beat feet the hell out of that joint.  That’s a whole nuther kind of crazy, right there.

Turns out they have them in the shop that I don’t remember the name of, in Solitude, with the super snobby elf lady … oh yeah, Radiant Rainment.  So I just popped in there, then spent 10 hours drinking in the tavern because fast travel messes up the game clock worse than jetlag, and then easy as pie, I got …

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HOLY SWEET MOTHER OF JESUS WHAT IS THAT THING?!?

Straight from the nightmare factories of the Iron City of Dis to your child’s midnight bed wetting terror – the Dolly Of Ultimate Evil, from Hasbrononono.

Being a kid in Skyrim must suck.  You gotta work in the iPhone factory all day and night, get kidnapped by Forsworn cultists, and your only comfort is some demonic entity made from sackcloth, with soul sucking black holes where their eyes should be, that they have the nerve to call a “dolly.”

The way it’s framed there, it almost looks like it’s actual size, like maybe it’s just hanging out in the doorway until they notice it, so it can drag them in the closet and suffocate them.  I think I saw that in a horror movie once.  You can almost hear the music box playing in the background.

But it’s what Lucia wants, probably to go with the rabid fox, because apparently I adopted Christina Ricci.

Me?  I’m gonna give her the Doll of Evil and beat it the hell out of there.  She’s Ysolda’s problem.  I’m gonna hang out with plague gods and world eating dragons.  You know, normal people.  Not creepy little kids.

 

 

Skyrim: Ooh, shiny!

I couldn’t have been more than seven or eight, I guess, when I saw my first UFO.  Maybe not even that old, since Star Wars came out when I was around four1, and I define everything in my life from that moment, and I wasn’t thinking about Stormtroopers when I saw it.  Call it 1978, then, when I saw the UFO gliding silently back and forth just above the backyard fence line.  Back then, there was nothing but vacant lots behind us, so I had a clear view, and there was no mistaking it: it was a narrow band of white lights rotating vertically in the air as the craft itself moved silently back and forth, almost as if it was looking … or, maybe … hunting … for something.

It was night, and I’d never seen a UFO before, so I had no way of knowing how far away it was.  At one moment it seemed little more than a speck in the distance; the next, it might have been hovering directly over the fence.  And while that would have made it a very small UFO, that wasn’t much comfort to a pre-K rugrat who was witnessing an alien invasion in his own backyard.

Naturally, I ran inside screaming at the top of my lungs.  Fortunately, and further proof that life rarely meets its full potential for comedy, the babysitter didn’t faint or have a panic attack.  Instead, she pointed out that what I was seeing was a night-flying advertising plane:

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But it’s an alien plane, I tell you!

I don’t know if they even have them anymore, but back in 1978, advertising planes were the hottest thing next to the G Channel Saturday night movie2.  During the day, they’d tow banners for for insurance companies and tire stores.  At night, using esoteric technology we still do not fully understand3, they’d use a lighted banner that ran across the wings:

 

Tell me that isn’t a UFO.  OK, maybe the propeller noise gives it away, but my personal UFO was too far away for me to hear that.

Ever since that day, I’ve had a fascination with lights in the sky, like the reflections of car headlights across low-lying clouds (my second UFO sighting) or the test-firing of a Polaris missile of the Pacific Coast (seen at the drive-in, which went the way of the Edsel, the dinosaurs, and the G-channel movie).

Which is why Skyrim is messing with my head.

Fallout, too:

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So … SHINY … 

But I think Skyrim’s visual style makes those lights more tempting – I’ve walked through parks that looked a lot like Riften, but I haven’t yet walked through the urban ruins of a post-apocalyptic city4,, which means there’s less to relate to in the darkness of Fallout.

So very often I’ll be roaming around Skyrim late at night and I’ll see, off in the distance:

And … I … just … can’t … help … myself!  Like a moth to the flame … and usually with the same results, ’cause it’s not like anything wandering the wilderness of Skyrim is looking to sell you Amway insurance5.

Granted, the light isn’t in the sky, precisely, but it makes up for that by reminding me of a jack o’ lantern.  In fact, maybe it’s not just lights in the sky, but lights in the darkness, or unusual lights in the darkness …  the actinic glare of streetlights, or the dull tint of taillights; even the cheerful glow of a porch light is too common, too expected.  But the flickering orange grin of a jack o’ lantern in the warm velvet night of October, or the electric flash of a radio tower aircraft warning beacon… something is happening with them.  There are secrets to be found.

In Skyrim, those secrets are usually fatal:

 

But I just can’t help it! I see a flash in the darkness and I wonder if it’s a video glitch, or maybe the alcohol is beginning to dissolve my optic nerves … then I see it again … is something there …?  There is!  And it turns out to be a pyromancer hurling flaming death at a dragon, all of which had nothing to do with me.

That’s part of the appeal, I think – you don’t expect to come across activity at night, in the wilderness.  You’re not expecting anything to be happening, out there in the woods, except for the occasional wolf.  Fantasy is about the forgotten, the lost and lonely – ancient dungeons, untravelled wilderness.  And especially at night, when horrors abound, you don’t expect to see people about.  And the glow in the distance is the mark of something active, often something intelligent.

Of course, when those others are a void demigod and an Elder dragon, that’s probably a party you don’t want any part of:

So I’m trying to restrain myself, although I’m not sure why, since in any video game, the general rule is, if you can see it, you’re gonna have to kill it.  Which makes me wonder why Lydia is always screaming “I’ll kill you if I have to!” ’cause, c’mon Liddie Bug, it’s not like there’s some other way this fight is gonna turn out.

I thought I had a pretty good handle on my peculiar obsession, until I moved up here to cow country.  From what I hear, there are more UFOs than people up here, and the only reason we have any cows left is because the aliens won’t go near all the secret military bases.  Now I find myself listening to the police scanner and watching the horizon for that telltale glow.  Which is when Skyrim decided to go meta on me, because I went outside last night and discovered …

… my neighbor has a drone.

Yeah, this is not gonna help the schizophrenia.

  1. Yes, the original New Hope one, back in 1978. I’m old.
  2. The G-Channel was the cable company’s TV channel. Back when cable had those A/B switch boxes. It played a movie on Saturday night. One movie. Usually five years after it was out in the theatre. And that’s what was happening, on Saturday night. Nothing like the G-Channel movie and a big bowl of popcorn drowned in butter, salt, and MSG. Then you’d go play Space Invaders on your Atari 2600 with the wood paneling. Hey, all you kids get off my lawn!
  3. Roswell space alien technology, is what we now think.
  4. Post-apocalyptic suburbia, yes.
  5. Do they even have Amway anymore?  Or is that another of my antiquated 70’s references?

Skyrim: The Khajiit, The Housecarl, His Wife and Her Lover

What follows is a series of e-mails in chronological sequence.  All of these e-mails are true; only the names have been changed to protect … well, me.  Also, I didn’t actually change any of the names.


 

7/18/14

Re: I want

A fantasy game with the same style as Fallout – big world, exploration, single player… I’m told Elder Scrolls is what I want. So which one should I get, or is there something better?Brighter colors would be nice.

Skyrim!


 

9/12/14

Re: Fallout update

I finished that POS Dead Money add-on; the ending narration was rather good, actually, despite the fact that the last task almost caused me to ragequit the entire damn franchise. But then, that was the problem with Dead Money – they had a great story, fantastic atmosphere, good characters – and a shitty-ass game mechanic. It was like they wanted to make a movie and had to make a game.

Anyway, I have high hopes for the next add-on, “Honest Hearts” which takes place in Zion National Park …

… but Skyrim was on sale for 4.99, so I bought that instead.

Brace yourself … “Don playing Skyrim” is coming.


 

9/12/14

Re: Fallout update

I’m not yet past the tutorial in Skyrim, or as we call it, “Fun Fun Learny Time With Sven the Svery Svedish Guy, Ya.” Srsly, I know they’re going for accuracy, but I feel like I’ve entered an enchanted magical realm that is located somewhere in Minnesota.

Ve calls dem “vorms” ja!
I mean, I’m not going to stop playing just because I keep expecting to hear him ask if I’m bringing a hotdish, but it is weirder than hearing the new Zealand accent in Fallout.

 


 


 

9/12/14
Re: they might be giants

Only died twice so far in Skyrim. The controls feel much slower than in Fallout. I’m not sure if that’s game design or my computer. I think I’m just going to wander around chasing butterflies and picking thistles … ’cause I’m a cat.

Sometimes if skyrim I would just run around hunting deer.

 

Tried that. Their deer are highly evasive unimaginably agile ACROBATIC MACHINES.

Or I don’t know what the fvck I’m doing. Either way.


 

9/13/14
Re: Skyrim update

I have made level 2, which means combat no longer automatically equals death. I have, in fact, killed not just 3 skeletons and something called a “draught”  – which is not, as I first imagined, something that comes from a “tap,” but some form on undead – I have also managed to slay 4 actual humans, because

MAGIC = AWESOME

mostly because when you are playing a 1st level humanoid cat, no matter how much you think you are this:

Thundercat

You are, in fact, this:

lolcatsdotcom1evls0ysqclgvzwn

but magic, at least, allows for a combat tactic I call “staying the fvck away from the pointy bits” and so I can laser my way to victory:

Until I meet a giant. Then I’m fvcked. And they’re everywhere, like Godzilla-sized cockroaches.


 

 9/14/14
Re: Skyrim update

I have a new combat technique: I bound up to people shrieking, “Lookit me! I’m a kitty!” and they go “ooooh kitty is soooo cute I wuvs da wittle kitty” and then I chop off their fvckin’ heads.


 

9/15/14
Re: Skyrim update

I typed “why are people in Skyrim” and Google finished it with “so rude” which I guess is the more politically correct version of what I was going to ask, which was “why is everyone in Skyrim a f*ckin a@@hole?”

Srsly, I think my game is very quickly going to go from “Cheeto the Dragonborn saves the kingdom” to “Cheeto the Cat breaks a foot off, Tabby-HoTep style” as well as “Cheeto Kills Every Last Muthaplucker in the Small Mountain Village of Iversomethingorother.”

Like when I accidentally drop my sword (item switch not being optimized in Skyrim) and the guard says “Watch what you’re doing” or that A@@HOLE mage in Whiterun says anything at all … I so had to tell myself “Don’t bury an axe in his skull, his boss gives you free stuff, don’t kill the jerkface.” But another comment about “mind your own business cat” and there will be a new force in the kingdom, called “AXE. IN THE FACE.”

And would every woman I talk to stop saying “I’m spoken for”?!? I am an anthropoid cat, your foolish monkey mating rituals are of no concern to me.

Except for the armorer in Whiterun; I had accidentally unequipped my armor (the commands are very counterintuitive) and she says “put some clothes on, fool,” which isn’t making me not want to AXE HER. IN THE FACE.

Or my Housecur Lydia – I suggest we trade items and she sighs and says all sarcastic-like “I am sworn to carry your burdens” WHEN I AM TRYING TO GIVE YOU ARMOR AND A MAGIC SWORD YOU FROST-MADDENED COW!

AXE. IN THE FACE.

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10/7/14
Re: Skyrim update

I am falling in love with Lydia from Skyrim. But it is a sick, twisted love, because I often hit her with things and I make her carry my burdens.


 

10/19/14
Re: My sink stopped up and I can’t do my chores

Thus giving me some free time to screw around in Skyrim.

I decided to get married to the hot redhead in Whiterun who likes cat people, which is definitely a match made in Furry Hentai Heaven.

It should not be that just because I got married in Skyrim and have a woman living in Breezehome that I should take all my loot and store it in a cupboard so the house is clean. Nonetheless, that is what happened. Damn you, better than reality simulator!

Fvck yeah, 6.5% alcohol per volume rocks!


3/12/15
Re: Skyrim update

All Was Well in the Land of Skyrim, until the Great Civil War came, which happened mostly because I ran out of sidequests to do, so I decided to go kill that Ulfric guy, ’cause he’s a jerkface.  I was chosen to lead the defense of my hometown Whiterun from the forces of the Stormcloaks.  There was lots of catapulting and arson and wanton murder, so I became worried that my wife might be hurt in the battle.  Once the last of the enemies lay dying, I rushed home to find, to my horror, an empty house.

OMG Ysolda was dead!

It turned out this is a bug in the game where she disappears if she’s in Whiterun during the battle, but I’ve never been one to allow reality to get in the way of a good story.

Because you can’t remarry in this game, and also because she’s a redhead, I reloaded the game and moved her to my backup house in Riften. And all was well once again in Skyrim …

… except I noticed that she wasn’t talking to me as much. She didn’t tell me it was “a wonderful house, my love,” and she was often out “running her small store.” I’d come home and instead of “Hello, my love,” I got “oh, it’s you.” Still and all, I figured, the mystery was bound to fade; after all, I was spending more time adventuring with Lydia, particularly since I gave her that skintight armor. I tried to ignore Ysolda’s, until I came home one day to find my housecarl Iona sitting in a chair …

… in my bedroom.

My wife is having a lesbian affair with my housecarl!

Which explained why I wasn’t getting as much money from her store, and also why I didn’t wake up feeling “Lover’s Comfort” but “a vague threat to my masculinity.”

Well, fine … I had a new house now, up in Solitude, and I’d kick it there with Lydia, unless we were out hunting mammoths … the other day she killed two giants by herself, then stood there with a weird little smile on her face, bobbing up and down ’cause of the graphics bugs and looking at me like, “did I do it right?” and I told her “oh yes, you did real good. You’re my little murder Muppet, baby” which I why when she got nearly killed by those two Draugr Deathlords and was beat so bad she whimpered “no, not like this,” I beat them both to death with my shield, resurrected them, beat them to death AGAIN, then reloaded before the fight because I didn’t want Lydia to have suffered through that, because while it might be wrong to care more for an NPC than any actual female I’ve ever known, including family, you just don’t understand how she understands me, how she carries my burdens, how … oh Lydia, I love you! That b*tch in Riften means nothing! I’m sorry I called you a frost-maddened cow!

Wait, where did she go? How come I’m fighting the dragon priest by myself? Is she dead?!? No, she’s …

… she’s hanging out with the ghost guy.

OMFG Lydia is cheating on me with the undead!

 


3/12/15

I just like running around Riften with Lydia. I don’t actually DO anything half the time. It’s … Kind of worrisome, actually.


 

3/16/15

… I bought Assassin’s Creed III …

Also, I have to stop playing Skyrim because I think Lydia is trying to kill me … she’s been hanging back more in combat, shooting arrows into melee that are coming perilously close to hitting me. Then she found a staff of fireballs, which I do not recall giving her – she apparently just found it someplace, which means she’s developing AI, but anyway, due to a quirk with the NPC system, it’s ALL SHE USES. I’ll be hacking away at some Draugr Deathlord, then suddenly … AIR STRIKE! Everything is on fire and I’m down to one hit point and when I finally heal up, I go over and I’m like, “Liddie Bug, you really gotta cool it with the fireballs, honey,” and she says, “you call yourself a Nord?!? … oh, sorry, I got a little carried away,” as she puts the staff away and blushes. But I can see the homicide in her eyes and it’s…

… kinda sexy, actually. So I loaded myself up with healing potions, and I have a feeling our relationship is headed toward a very strange place.

 


 

“If she keeps fireballing you, just take her staff away.”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“It’s hers. That would be mean.”

“Man, you gotta stand up for yourself or she’s gonna walk over you.”

 


 

3/17/15
Re: Skyrim Update

 

Skyrim got kind of weird tonight … I’m exploring a Dwemer ruin, and Lydia’s stomping along behind me looking all kinds of crazy. The walkthrough says these guys are tough, so when we get to the first enemy, I use my Shout, then go up with my mace but before I can do anything  BOOOOOOOM Lydia fireballs the everloving HELL out of them, and there’s body parts raining down and Lydia just walks on thru the organs with this … look on her face. She doesn’t remind their corpses that Skyrim belongs to the Nords, she doesn’t say she’ll kill them if she has to (hint: she always has to) she just stands waay back from me with that crazed look in her eyes.

We come to another batch and I just getting an arrow ready when

BOOM BOOM BOOM

it’s like John Lee Hooker time in Bthardamz. These guys are about the same level as skeletons or sickly hamsters, so one arrow to the knee knocks them out; a staff of fireballs, especially on chain gun mode, is like barbecuing chicken in a rocket engine.

At some point I just hang back and let her rage on stuff, but it just doesn’t feel right, plus I am starting to feel sorry for the cultists, so I finally just grab her shoulder and I’m like,

“Lydia, what the hell is wrong with you tonight?!?”

Of course, right then a whole group of cultists attack, so she’s nuking them. She doesn’t even look at me, just:

BOOM! “I saw you playing Assassin’s Creed last night.”

BOOM!

“Is that really what this is about?”

BOOM!

“Isn’t this enough for you? Aren’t I enough for you?!”

“But Liddie Bug, I’ve finished the main quest!”

“You haven’t married me!” and she jabs the staff and I swear EXTRA fireballs come out. The cultists are on their knees, but she just fireballs to punctuate her sentences.

“I can’t baby, I’m married to Ysolda.”

“So you’ll just” BOOM “run off to play Assassin’s” BOOM “Creed” BOOM “while I sit here” BOOM BOOM “and … what? Should I open a ‘small store?” Download Hearthfire and pop out a rugrat?” BOOM

I’m starting to feel a little nervous, so I sheathe my weapons. Imagine my consternation when she doesn’t.

“Are you developing AI?” I ask.

“I’ve got to do something while you’re out with that Riften bitch!”

“Okay, that’s it!” I say, mostly because I notice the staff is out of charges. “I saw how you looked at that ghost dude in Valthume.”

“Him?! That was just flirting.”

“Like how I almost got toasted by that Dragon Priest?”

She rolls her eyes. “Please. Flirting is harmless. Just ask the auditors.”

“Wait … how do you know about the auditor?!?”

“I’m inside you, Don. I’m closer than your skin.”

 


 


 

3/17/15
Re: Skyim update

I think Lydia and I are OK. After we had our talk in the ruin, we spent some time just walking around Skyrim killing bandits. Then a dragon attacked and sprayed her with fiery death, so I killed it and healed her. I brushed off her armor and checked her inventory.

“Aww, look at that,” I said. “You’ve still equipped the completely non-magical gold necklace I gave you when we first met. Even when I’ve given you half a dozen legendary enchanted amulets since then.”

“I am sworn to carry your burdens.”

She smiled and I helped her up. We kept going. She was silent for a while, but then she said:

“Hey look, a cave. I wonder what’s inside.”

“Probably lots and lots of victims, you little murder hobo, you.” And I smiled because I knew we were gonna make it. “Liddie Bug, whadya say we go adventure?”

“You lead, I’ll follow.”


 

Lydia doesn’t like it when I drink … “There’s a Draugr Deathlord on the other side of that door.”

“Yes. And …?”

“Do you really think you need another beer?”


 

4/22/15
Re: Skyrim Update

I think I gave my friend a meltdown last night when I mentioned I was playing that instead of Wasteland 2, Postal 2, Civilization, Assassin’s Creed, or any other the other games I have. But I was tired, and it had been a long day, and I was in the mood to game but not in the mood to pull my hair out.
So I’m gathering ingredients for an alchemist, and I’m in Solitude gathering nightshade. Now, my house in Solitude is where Lydia and I usually kick it, because Breezehome in Whiterun just has too many memories, and Riften, well, has Ysolda obviously. It had already been a long day, because I’d left Lydia facing two Draugr Deathlords while I took out a Dragon Priest before killing the High Priestess of a cannibal cult. We’re by Proudspire, our house, and she gives me a seductive look.

“It’s a wonderful house, my love,” she says.

“Man, Liddie Bug, I’m wiped out.  I kinda just wanna gather this nightshade and head back to Riften.”

And when I pan over to her, she has a look that would freeze an blood dragon.

I thought it was just a graphics rendering issue, until I fast traveled to take out what turned out to be an Ancient Dragon, and nearly got my butt kicked because she didn’t fast travel with me. She caught up with me somewhere in Morthal.


 

4/24/15

Re: Hey, look – a beer.  I wonder what’s inside?

So, yeah, been a long week. And the Skyrim DLCs are on sale. It’s time for Drunk Skyrim! Lydia’s eyes are gonna be rolling so hard they’ll look like pinwheels, but hey – she’s sworn to carry my burdens, and if that means hauling my alcoholic cat ass back to Solitude after nekkid mammoth boxing, then so be it.


 

5/24/13

Finally broke down and began modding Skyrim, which I think makes me the last person in the entire universe.  It took me most of a night to figure out how to do it … I knew I had the hang of it when I loaded a mod, ran Skyrim, and it crashed.

Now, the problem was figuring out whether it actually worked. Most of the ones I’d done were dungeons, and me being me, the moment I opened Skyrim, I completely forget where they were or which ones I’d loaded. So I tried a “sexy outfit” one, because I still had Aela on my mind, but Lydia was still dressed normally (which was a relief, actually, as it would be difficult to fight daedra dressed as a French maid. I am assuming that isn’t something that already happens at cons.)

So maybe it replaced clothes but not armor?  Hmm … Ysolda wears clothing, plus she’s my wife, so if anyone is bringing sexy back to Skyrim, it oughta be her.

I went to Honeysides, and Ysolda was dressed the same as always, altough apparently that was fine with Iona; I wandering into the kitchen and saw this:

Iona

 

Just look at the way they gaze at each other … it’s true love, but that didn’t help me test the mod. I went to third person mode, just in case I was the one with the sexy dress, which would have been … I mean, I don’t need sexy underwear, I’m an anthropoid cat; I’m not certain I wear underwear at all. Fortunately, the answer was no.

So I exited Skyrim and thought it over. …. it was clear I was going to have to do something to win Ysolda’s affections back (other than quit seeing Lydia, of course) so I decided to buy her a new dress … well, technically I downloaded a mod – and also, I didn’t really buy it, because the mod was free, but anyway …. long story short, I went back to Honeysides and success! Ysolda was dressed in her best “noble’s finery” …

… while sitting in a chair in Iona’s bedroom.

So something of a mixed blessing, I guess.

 

 

Skyrim: A Mammoth Tale

Slow night; think I’ll go kill some time in Skyrim …

It was a radiant mission to go kill some bandits – then the dragon showed up.  Then the mammoth –  and apparently mammoths hate them some bandits, ’cause once Lydia slew the dragon …

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Hey, where’s it going?
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Experience hog.
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“Huh?”
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“Did it just – “
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“I’ve never seen anything quite like that.”

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Mammoths don’t attack me anymore.

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“Just go with it, Liddie-Bug.”

 

 

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“I’ll kill you if I have to!”

Skyrim: Twilight – Breaking Dawnguard

Sometimes I worry that money can’t buy happiness.

Fortunately, right about then Steam has a sale.

Steam always helpfully e-mails me when games I want go on sale, which is usually ten minutes after I’ve already made another large purchasing decision.  Like Fallout 4 last month … so even with the sale, it was probably not the best financial decision to get the entire Skyrim DLC, but I did anyway, because God bless dollar beer night at the casino.

You’d think, since I’ve already put over 300 hours into Skyrim, that I’d have bought the DLC long ago, but  were two things holding me back:

  1. I thought you couldn’t bring Lydia with you in the DLC and
  2. I’m a cheapskate and they weren’t on sale.

Then I learned that not only can you take Lydia with you, but she proved so popular they added a whole bunch of snarky new dialogue specifically for her.  Which is typical for me – when I guess wrong, I don’t do it halfway.  That’s why they called me “Wrong Way Raymond” during my 10-minute high-school football career.

I was in the middle of Wymstooth’s boss fight when I was attacked by the cultists that start the Dragonborn DLC.  Or at least, I think they attacked me; they may have just talked to me – I’m not really sure, ’cause there was lightning flying around and people were trying to stab me with stuff and also there was a dragon and it was dollar beer night at the casino, so everything was sort of fuzzy and lager-colored.  Anyway, when all was said and done, I had no idea where the cultists went and no idea how to start the Dragonborn quest.

No worries; I’d heard a lot about Serana, so  I decided I’d just start with Dawnguard.

Of course, it turns out that all of Lydia’s new dialogue is for Dragonborn.  Sigh.  See note, above, re: Wrong Way Raymond.

Well, most of her dialogue, anyway.  Because when I asked her to trade items, I got:

wait … WTF?!?

That was the dialogue they needed to improve?  Really, Bethesda?  The line that made Lydia famous?  You do realize we all love her because she don’t take sh^t, right?  It’s the snark we love.  I almost want to uninstall Dragonborn, just to get my old Liddie-Bug back.  Especially ’cause I’m gonna need some snark if I have to deal with all this Dawnguard angst:

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Lydia has little patience for misplaced machismo.

and those are the heroes!  The actual vampires

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Serana … oh, Serana …

Meet Serana – or, as I call her, “Demon Queen of Angst.”  You’d think she’d be happier to see me, given that she’s been imprisoned in that sarcophagus for like 10,000 years , but she’s just very, very upset because her dad, the mostest evillest …

… wait.

I knew she sounded way too much like every single one of my ex-girlfriends.  Really, Skyrim?  Daddy issues?  I play video games to escape reality, not to be reminded of dating in my twenties.   And considering she’s a vampire, she’s been Forever 21 for, like, a gazillion years, which means enough shallow emotional trauma to make Stephanie Meyer hang up her pen.

OK, so anyway, her dad, Baron Harkonnen …

… sorry, little typo there; I mean Lord Harkon …

you ever notice how villains really go all in on the consonants?  Harkon, Sauron, Harkonnen, Saruman, Voldemort, Vader.  You never hear about villains named Jimmy or Jenny or Betsy the Flower Girl.  It’s always some vaguely Germanic or Hungarian conglomeration of nasal stops.  Maybe they’re not villains, they’re just angry ’cause their throats hurt.

Anyway, her dad, Lord Harkon (or, in the original German, Boopsy Thunderkissings) the mostest evillest and powerfullest dread vampire lord of them all, has a sinister plan to blot out the sun or something, and all hope is lost because he is pure unstoppable evil so that’s why she has to get all breathy and sigh like she just got stood up for the junior prom …

um …

… I mentioned I killed a god, right?  And not “Boopsy, Goddess of Flowers and Facial Tissues” either –  I killed The World Eater, the Thing That Eats Gods I’m sure your dad’s probably boss-fight material, but I murdered a deity.  We can probably tone down the angst, here.  There’s really no need to stand like this –

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Serena brings the angst!

especially when you’re also going to refer to the Keepers of the Soul Cairn, ancient guardians who sound like the next best thing to Lovecraftian Old Ones, as “those keeper things.” That’s crossing the streams.  You can’t simultaneously dismiss everything in Skyrim with an eye roll and a muttered “ugh. boooring,” and act all mopey about how terribly terribly doomed everything is.   You can either be angsty or be meta, but doing both means you’re straying dangerously close to the dreaded Hot Topic line.

But to continue our story –

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“Are you SURE we can’t just kill them all?”

… apparently her mother also went into exile, and of course we have to find her, even though it’s dollar ale night at the Bannered Mare, because she has an Elder Scroll.  She’s hanging out somewhere in The Soul Cairn, which looks like every 90’s horror fantasy game relived –

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I suddenly really want to play DOOM.

and I knew we were in for some serious trouble – ’cause if there’s one thing that will angst out an emo goth twentysomething more than fighting with her dad

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– it’s fighting with her mom.