[Help Me Play Skyrim Redone] Advanced Dungeons and Draugr

Which Character Should I Choose?

  • Altmer Wizard

    Votes: 1 5.6%
  • Argonian Trickster

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Dunmer Arcane Assassin

    Votes: 5 27.8%
  • Imperial Cleric

    Votes: 8 44.4%
  • Redguard Druid

    Votes: 4 22.2%

  • Total voters
    18
  • Poll closed .

nonsense

Hey Nonny-Nonny
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Preamble:

I've been messing around with overhaul mods lately, and I've found a great mix and a fun playstyle to take advantage of it. I've been thinking of doing a WIP so that we can discover some of the changes together. This isn't entirely blind--I have been playing around with Redone and some of the other mods I'll be using--but the scales are still weighted on the side of things I don't know.

So, in order to showcase some of the things a heavily modded Skyrim can do, we're going to play (drumroll) Advanced Dungeons and Draugr.

Warning: text ahoy. If you're familiar with SkyRe or just don't want to read a whole lot of blather, you can go straight to the Spellbook section under the rules to understand how we're using magic, and then to the prefab characters.

The first step: you will crack open our adventure module and help me choose one of five prefab characters. All the classes are at least slightly magic-oriented, because Apocalypse Spell Package is just that cool, and because nothing says AD&D like memorizing spells at ye olde taverne. You will guide the character's steps. The only major stipulation I have is that every character must join the College (no need to do the quests, though), because I'll need to do the Master Spell quests when I get that far. This will probably be the first thing I do.

Races were chosen for reasons (tm), and mainly by process of elimination. None of the races make flat-out bad wizards, but some are definitely more interesting than others. Races that almost made the cut: Khajit (eliminated due to heavy skill overlap with Argonians, who are more magical), Breton (eliminated due to atrociously long cast time of racial spells, which is a shame because they're quite interesting).

The mods, in brief: Among the many mods we're using (a list will follow at some point for the curious) are two big overhauls: Skyrim Redone and Character Creation Overhaul. We're also using Apocalypse Spell Package, which is stuffed to bursting with 150+ really cool, cleverly scripted spells that go a long way towards un-boringing Skyrim's awful vanilla magic. Some examples of these will follow in the character bits below.

Skyrim Redone changes too much to go into great detail now. The main things to be aware of for the purpose of this playthrough:

a) Each perk tree is *much* bigger; but

b) Skill progression is capped at higher numbers, and every 5th level grants two
perks instead of one, so we'll keep pace perfectly well.

c) The game is more difficult, particularly early, for a number of reasons including numbers and AI tweaks. Playing SkyRe on the default difficulty means that even wolf packs will be scary for a little while (and that's despite CCO making us considerably better at our chosen skills early). Moreover, minimum levels have been introduced into the scaling in quite a few areas, so it will be quite possible to walk into a place that's beyond our pay grade. (So it's more like Morrowind than Oblivion or Skyrim).

d) Lockpicking and Pickpocket have been merged.

Lockpicking is now called Wayfarer, and mostly covers resistances, quality of life improvements, and 'Lore' perks, which you can sort of think of as a ranger's racial enemies. (Except that in addition to getting more damage against enemies whose Lore you know, it's possible to make them non-violent). It also allows you to set bear traps.

Pickpocket now goes by the woeful name of Fingersmith, and basically combines Lockpicking and Pickpocket into one all-purpose Thievery tree.

e) Speech, formerly terrible, now governs Dragon Shouts and the art of mustache-twirling disguise in addition to the mercantile perks. Mercantile perks (or thievery, or crafting for money) are a bit more important now, because money's a little harder to come by and doesn't stretch as far. It's not a huge problem normally, but we'll be playing with magic. Spells cost.

Character Creation Overhaul (CCO) allows us to build a class in a fashion similar to previous TES games, by choosing a general category, a preferred statistic, and tagged skills. Any skill that's tagged gets a 20-pt boost right off the bat, and increases 20% faster. Moreover, it's got a racial module that grants divergent stats and preferred skills to various race/genders mixes. Racial skills work the same way as tagged skills: a 5-pt boost to a skill also means a 5% boost to the speed of improvement. This makes for a faster game, which balances nicely with SkyRe's longer-haul design and greater difficulty.

Other notables that we'll be using include Climates of Tamriel, Alternate Start - Live Another Life, Immersive Armor and Deadly Dragons (which will be another surprise for me, and may or may not require some tweaking if the combat changes made to SkyRe render it too difficult).

Why now, with Dragonborn so near? I have precisely zero interest in playing unmodded Skyrim. Been there, done that. With the number of mods I'm running and their scope, I fully expect that I won't be able to play Dragonborn until at least a few weeks after its release date. At that point, hopefully I'll be able to upgrade without the save getting brutalized. If it does, I may just pick the runner-up and start over.

The rules:

The Start

We are using the Live Another Life alternate start mod, which allows a number of starting conditions, both player-chosen and randomized. These include getting a foot immediately in the door of a guild, starting with a housing property, starting with a bounty on your head, etc. In all cases except one, we'll be taking a random start. We will only throw that start back if it's a) the generic starting sequence with the interminable dragoning; b) a vampire start (not that I mind vampires, or anything; I'd just rather make that choice when I'm ready to make it and not from day 1).

The Spellbook.

Skyrim's spells are divided into five categories of escalating power: Novice, Apprentice, Adept, Expert and Master. Squint long enough, and they start to look like spell levels. With that in mind, here's how our D&D Spellbook will work:

Any spell of appropriate school may be scribed at any given time. We will not be learning or using any magic outside a character's skillset. That includes topping up damage with the basic heal. No Restoration? Drink a potion or wait.

Twelve spells can be equipped at any given time (I mark them with favourites, for ease of use), using the following breakdown:

1-6: Novice and Apprentice spells
7-9: Adept Spells
10-11: Expert Spells
12: Master Spell

Unequipped spells may not be used. Equipped spells may be changed after a rest in a proper bed, which for the purposes of this playthrough will mean homes, inns and faction quarters. If the wrong spells are equipped for a given area, my options will be to persevere or run away.

The limitation is in place for three reasons, really: 1) Even the least magical character below will potentially have access to more spells than can be managed in one go, even with items filtered out for trait synergy reasons; 2) Skyrim's hotkey system leaves a lot to be desired and I hate ducking in and out of menus to equip spells; 3) It's more fun this way.

The schools, in brief:

Destruction is a straightforward magical damage tree that's livened up some by clever scripting in both SkyRe and Apocalypse. A notable quirk of SkyRe is that the top of the tree wants you to commit to elements. The 'Soul' line of mutually exclusive perks represents a commitment to an element that grants added magnitude and resistance to that element. The 'Contract' line of mutually exclusive perks grants further benefits on top of these, but comes with a hefty price: you lose the ability to use spells of the other elements. This is not a great tradeoff and we likely won't be doing it, although I might be convinced otherwise in a few cases.

Illusion is mostly about magical stealth enhancements and crowd control. Many of the advanced spells in SkyRe require us to cast them on an illusion summons (Phantom Image). Apocalypse spells don't. Illusion spells don't work on mindless creatures, but SkyRe bakes the 90-pt you-can-now-cast-on-basically-everything vanilla perk into dual-casting, which will make a heavy focus on this school dramatically less annoying in the early game.

Alteration is a bit of a grab bag that's mostly oriented towards defense, utility, and tools for mages who go toe to toe. This is a formerly boring tree that Apocalypse in particular livens up considerably. Expect some petrification, some Feather Fall, some run speed: a little of everything.

Restoration is your standard divine magic tree. It focuses on healing yourself and others, some damage elements (particularly against undead), and debuffs. The SkyPocalypse version of Restoration is quite interesting, and has spells of use to both meleeists and pure mages, where vanilla Restoration is basically worthless if you're not engaged in toe-to-toe combat.

Conjuration is a summoning tree with three distinct flavours. Daedra are short-duration (30 seconds) demonic summons that level with the caster. Undead are made with spells that use the body and hence stats of whatever you're reviving. Familiars are spiritual beasts that get no specific bonuses from the tree and function on a more standard rank template--each level offers a bigger beastie than the last.

4) Character Growth.

We're not limited to the six skills we choose at character creation. Chances are we'll have perks to spare now and again, and those will find a home. That said, as mentioned before, we will not be using any magic that's not a class feature.

The main direction for growth outside our main skills will likely be crafting and more generally anything that makes money. Buying up all the spells we want is going to be prove expensive, particularly given SkyRe has made a number of changes that make cash a little more difficult to come by.



The Characters

Aldaril, Altmer Wizard

Category: Magic
Skills: Large Weapons (staff), Destruction, Alteration, Conjuration, Enchant, Alchemy
Birthsign: Apprentice (+50 magicka, +25% magicka regeneration speed, -25% resistance to magic).
Stat growth: Magicka-heavy, some health, limited stamina.

Racial benefits: +50 magicka, Channel Magicka (a toggled ability that allows spells to scale with remaining mana; casting a spell at full mana increases its cost and magnitude by 100%, half mana increases cost and magnitude by 50%, etc.).

Class Limitations: Cannot cast spells in armour and hence won't be wearing any. Weapons are limited to daggers (which in this game includes tantos) and the quarterstaff.

Aldaril, Aldaril, Aldaril. Why must you always open your mouth at the wrong time? Praising the Psijics is one thing. Praising them in earshot of a man you know is a Thalmor collaborator just to get under his skin? And what did you gain, hm? A moment of satisfaction, and a life on the run. Skyrim. Skyrim. Your mother weeps.

Strategic considerations: balancing the spellbook to ensure a good mix of damaging elements and sufficient defense and utility. Quarterstaff when things get dicy. Alchemy and time are our only means of healing up. Fairly straightforward on the whole, though.

Showpiece spells:

Inferno (aka Melf's Minute Meteors): launch three fiery bolts at the enemy in quick succession; dual casting fires seven.

Destructive Cantrip (aka Magic Missile): a novice-level non-elemental spell whose damage scales with Destruction skill level.

Winks-Her-Eye, Argonian Trickster

Category: Magic
Skills: Illusion, Conjuration, Restoration, Speech, Fingersmith, Enchant
Birthsign: Tower (unlimited unlocks of Expert-level locks and down; one of the few SkyRe stones without a drawback, and perfectly in keeping with the larcenous subtheme).
Stat growth: Magicka-heavy, some health, no stamina.

Racial Benefits: Lots. The most notable is Histskin, which is now a set of three toggles. Each doubles the regeneration of a particular statistic at the cost of completely shutting down regeneration of the others. As we will not be using much stamina and have access to Restoration to heal up, this will be basically a full-time boost to mana regen.

Limitations: Cannot cast spells in armour and hence won't be wearing any. No toe-to-toe combat unless absolutely necessary (by which I mean the occasional brawl to advance a quest), and then with fists. Weapons are for smaller minds.

A mountebank who's spent her life rummaging in everybody else's collective pocket, Winks-her-Eye doesn't much love the thought of sullying her own hands with 'work'. Not that any of the work available befits an Argonian of her talents in any case. Oh, she'll play along when the Nords try to press-gang her into a fishery. Maybe she'll even leave a reasonably convincing facsimile behind to tie nets while she robs the bastards blind. And if somebody rolls to disbelieve? Well, the next 'illusion' just might be a bit more tangible than expected.


Strategic considerations:
Without a weapon, and without Destruction, this may seem like a slow run, but it doesn't really have to be. Apocalypse adds damaging spells to every discipline (though obviously, Destruction comes out ahead), and summons can kick out pretty serious hurt as well. It's going to be rough at first, though, and this is the only start that won't go random. I'll need to use the Necromancer start, because that'll give me a free Conjure Familiar: Wolf book, which will be my only source of offense and distraction while I build up the money to get better spells.

I have no idea how well this class will handle dragons. Atronachs are probably a must, but I'm not sure they'll be enough. Still, there's only one way to find out!

Showpiece spells:

Evil Twin: create a copy of the enemy that attacks them.

Empathic Link: target is healed or damaged when you are.



Dissamsi, Dunmer Arcane Assassin:

Category: Magic
Skills: 1H, Sneak, Illusion, Destruction, Alteration, Alchemy
Birthsign: Serpent. +50% damage from sneak attacks, -20% damage against alerted enemies.
Stat growth: Balanced.

Racial Benefits: Whenever I'm taken below 50% health, I'll get 15% evasion against attacks, and will do 25% more damage with fire spells. Once per day, when taken below 30%, I'll automatically summon two ancestral ghosts that will stick around for a minute, and will probably kill me with ill-aimed fireballs. 50% Fire Resistance.

Limitations: Armour, etc. May only use bladed weapons. May not have any followers, except where required to by a quest.

A knife to the spleen is a surprise, sure, but it's a bit well worn. But a lightning bolt to the spleen ... now *that* raises eyebrows (also: hair). Dissamsi of House Telvanni learned her trade at the feet of the Morag Tong masters, and she strikes from shadows literal and illusory. Magic sharpens her sword and her wit. Hlaalu bounties sharpen her already considerable paranoia.

Strategic considerations: Stealth dirtbag extraordinaire. SkyRe allows destruction spells to benefit from stealth, which opens up new possibilities for the murderously inclined. Lightning bolts from afar, Chilling Grasp up close, and a weapon if all else fails. The Serpent sign does mean that we'll want to avoid straight combat as much as possible.

Showpiece spells:

See No Evil: target enemy does not see through your stealth

Almalexia's Grace: 70% increased run speed while channeling (basically, sprint with your mana bar)


Blind Bassus, Imperial Cleric

Category: Combat
Skills: 1H, Heavy Armour, Block, Smith, Restoration, Conjuration
Stone: Steed (increased carried weight, increased frost resistance, fire resistance malus).
Stat growth: Balanced.

Racial benefits: 25% better buy/sell prices. Damage opponent's stamina by 10% on a successful block. Two long-term buffs for followers that may or may not apply to summons (dunno).

Limitations: The cleric can wear heavy armour, but may only use blunt instruments. Conjurations are limited to undead.

A long stint with a faith he'll not reveal kindled in Blind Bassus a fascination with crypts and the things inside them. His abbot was not entirely sanguine about some of his studies, and tossed around heavy words like 'excommunication'. Who's ordering who about now, Quintus 'Rattlebones' Gallo?

Strategic Considerations: Hit Man With Club. Be mean. This is obviously the most combative start, with spells chosen to emphasize mastery over undeath and the fine art of creating new subjects for practice of same through the judicious application of force.

Showpiece spells:

Gate: Heavy Armour wearers are slower than other characters, so being able to pluck a mage from far away and teleport him right to my feet sounds like it's going to be pretty handy.

Circle of Scorn: While standing inside the circle, your melee damage increases by 40%.


Mane, Redguard Druid

Category: Magic
Skills: 1H, Light Armour, Smith, Destruction, Restoration, Conjuration
Stone: Ritual (summons last 3X as long, all other spells have a 25% reduced magnitude).
Stat growth: Balanced.

Class Limitations: Weapons are limited to spears, clubs, and scimitars, because--as we all well know--druids and Redguards both love scimitars. Armour is limited to leather and things that look suitably like leather. Conjuration spells are limited to spirit animals. No followers--Mane is the classic D&D wilderness loner. In addition, his sleep situation is different. He may change his spells after sleeping out in the wild, not in towns or inns. This will give him a little extra flexibility, befitting a jack-of-all-trades. Also, I'll be tossing back any start that gives me real estate.

Racial benefits: +50 Stamina, Sandstorm Charge (25% Slow Time, 15% Speed bonus for 15 seconds on a 2-min timer).

When plague took his savannah village, Mane--then a mere boy--wandered off into the wild, dazed and afraid. A betting man would have numbered his lifespan in days. A betting man doesn't understand what it is to cling to life with tooth and nail. Mane lived, and he grew strong, and he made the savannah his home.

Strategic considerations: A jack of all trades. I've taken smithing in place of the perhaps more appropriate alchemy because a) I don't actually like alchemy that much, and won't be using it if I can heal with spells; b) I intend to use scimitars and appropriately wild armour, which will essentially require that I make it myself.

Showpiece spells:

Eyes of the Storm: A lightning DoT that ticks only as long as you keep the enemy in your gaze (i.e. under the cross-hairs). Slow Time will make this a great deal easier to use.

Spirit Guide: Resurrect an animal. It is now your companion, and grants you a species-specific buff. Perks can make it permanent
 
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Ultimoron

Inflammation expert
Validated User
I'm actually kind of taken with the idea of a Discworld-like Dark Cleric. The others, with the exception of the Druid, are all pretty meh, IMO.
 

nonsense

Hey Nonny-Nonny
RPGnet Member
Validated User
One nice thing about the druid and cleric starts is that they'll allow us to show off combat to a greater extent than the others would.

One possible drawback is that a balanced approach means it'll take a long time before we see any of the higher-level spells. That said, Apocalypse's low-level spells are perfectly neat.
 

nonsense

Hey Nonny-Nonny
RPGnet Member
Validated User
For those in the know: how useful/non-cumbersome is the Steam overlay screenshot mode? I'm hoping to avoid converting a bunch of 2MB files manually, and I understand Steam saves straight to .jpg. Are the shots of thread-reasonable size/quality, or am I going to be sitting in GIMP anyway?
 

nonsense

Hey Nonny-Nonny
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Toying with video. Let me know what you think, quality-wise, etc. Sound comes through wonderfully, but the picture quality's on the low side. I likely won't be doing this a lot (I do prefer text), but certain things come across better in video than text.

[video=youtube;xwXPfHGil0g]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwXPfHGil0g&feature=plcp[/video]
 

Doc Bosch

Freelance Hypocrite
Validated User
The video was perfectly serviceable, and I found your voice soothing and reassuring in its Canadianness.

Could you post your full mod list? I am interested in trying this out.
 

nonsense

Hey Nonny-Nonny
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Sure thing. This isn't completely final, mainly because I just installed a few mods I haven't had a chance to test (notably UFO, which is apparently a little hit-or-miss with 1.8).

SKSE
DragonScript - SKSE and DragonScript are both script extenders which are needed to power the other mods.

Skyrim Community Uncapper - needed for SkyRe. This is a mod that sets a different cap for skills. SkyRe has perks that require 100+ skill levels. A recommended config can be downloaded from the SkyRe page, and I'm using that.

Dawnguard - is Dawnguard. Needed for crossbows and continuing SkyRe support. A non-Dawnguard version of SkyRe is available, but I don't know how far back its features go.

SkyUI - A UI that works. If you're using mouse and keyboard, this is as close to a must as it gets.

Jaysus Swords - which, unfortunately, doesn't have a working compatibility patch with the most recent SkyRe. The swords can still be crafted, and their stats are fine, but they don't have appropriate keywords (meaning that they're all treated as broadswords for perk purposes).

Climates of Tamriel - more weather patterns, some gorgeous clouds, and better lighting (dark nights, dark dungeons).

A Quality World Map - map with roads.

Alternate Start - Live Another Life - described above; allows starts other than the awful regular one. One thing to note: if you're used to the regular start, it's easy to take weapons and armour for granted. Using LAL, you might start without any and without enough money to buy them.

Apocalypse Spell Package v204 - 170+ spells, many of them cleverly scripted and fun to use.

Better Fast Travel - Carriages and Ships - adds carriages to and from all villages and cities. Adds a few ship routes. I prefer not to map travel, and this makes it a lot easier.

Categorized Favourites Menu with CFM Config - Skyrim Redone - big, full-screen, categorized favourites menu. Dramatically less painful than the default.

Convenient Horses - I don't know yet! Purportedly, it's an all-purpose horse overhaul, including a number of options like faster dismounting, horses for followers to ride, etc.

Deadly Dragons - Deadlier dragons. They're tougher, and there are new types.

Enhanced Distant Terrain - textures.

Immersive Armours v6 with a compatibility patch for SkyRe - adds a bunch of armours to the crafting menu and leveled lists. These are all quite cool and offer a ton of different looks. I don't know if they benefit from Skyrim Redone's set piece bonuses yet. (Matching sets of armour often have little benefits - full leather, for instance, grants a boost to cold and fire resistance).

Immersive Hud - compass can be hidden, crosshairs only pop up if you have a ranged weapon or spell equipped.

More HotKeys Please - A slightly wonky way to bind a number of behaviours to additional hotkeys. One neat example: you can bind a key to cast a spell immediately and then re-equip whatever you had in that slot.

Move it, Dammit - Push followers and summons out of your way more easily. This is required.

Ultimate Follower Overhaul - allows more followers (we'll be using only one for balance reasons), and better control over same. Notably, you can actually get into their inventories and steal away gear you don't want them equipping. Ed: To clarify, you can get them to unequip what they currently have on. This allows you to give them what you want worn with the guarantee that they'll equip it.

Wearable Lanterns - a light source that clips to a belt instead of taking up a hand. Very handy with lighting mods.

Dual Wield Parrying - ScriptDragon - Allows the character to block while dual-wielding or wielding sword and spell (but not two spells). Handy for immersion and surviving the somewhat less forgiving combat.

Skyrim Redone with SkyRe_Dreamcloth - SkyRe is SkyRe. Dreamcloth is a smithing perk that allows clothing to be made, and the plugin adds more clothes to be crafted. SkyRe has multiple .esps governing various changes, and we've installed them all.

Character Creation Overhaul - Allows more classic TES character creation, with six tagged skills, stats that vary by race and gender, and a Standing Stone birthsign to start. Like SkyRe, this comes in several modules. The only one I'm not using is Permanent Birthsigns, which removes the standing stones entirely and allows you only the sign you chose to start. I'm not even sure I'll be switching, but the stones are pretty and I don't want to lose them.

I have a few other mods kicking around (a DB armour replacer and some other stuff), and may or may not add more when I know which character I'll be playing.
 
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Eurhetemec

New member
Banned
That is disturbingly nigh-identical to my mod list (I think I have a couple of +pretty ones and the one that makes animals smarter - SkyTEST, as well).
 

nonsense

Hey Nonny-Nonny
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Great minds, and all.

I was thinking about SkyTest, but I wasn't sure about compatibility--I thought I read that it messed with leveled lists some. You haven't had any trouble?

ed: Oh, one thing to add about More Hotkeys, Please. If you use it to set up a hotkey, you can choose which hand to equip. This is functionality missing from the vanilla game (WHY?????), and is, for instance, the only way to re-equip an off-hand weapon without a menu if you dual wield and also cast spells.
 
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