[LP Skyrim Redone] Dungeons and Draugr - The Lay of Blind Bassus

Morrius

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Damn, there's a lot of sweet mods for Skyrim. Makes me almost want to try running Boot Camp so I can play it on my MacBook.
 

nonsense

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0.99.21

-Voidnaut
I'm using 0.99.21.2 and not having any issues. Might be worth an upgrade. (There's actually a newer version, but I haven't bothered with it yet).

I've upgraded overtop of an old game and not had any trouble, but I didn't have any perks spent on stuff that was changed or removed. If you do, it might be a good idea to drink the respec potion first.
 

Icarium

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I really want to see you do Dawnguard, just so I can see your (Bassus') reaction to one or two areas. :)
 

nonsense

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Spoiler: Show


FA1: The Unconnected Adventures of Bassus the Bard
Wherein our hero faffs about.

The battle against Potema has left me exhausted, and I sleep two days away at the inn with Quintus for company, coming down only when hunger gets the best of me. The taproom talk is of war. It plays out in whispers, in ribald rumours of clashing steel, and in snatches of half-heard conversations that have the ring of truth to them. The innkeep speaks of troop movements that sound true to the Legions, so I question him further. He's reticent to speak to me--the man sees Stormcloaks in every corner--but in the end I coax a name out of him.



Dragon Bridge is not far. Perhaps I can learn more about this blighted war. Perhaps I can speak to Tullius, one sensible Imperial to another, and convince him that the Concordat is a far greater threat to the reestablishment of Empire than a half-dozen unwashed Nords. But before I leave, I suppose I ought to return King Olaf's verse to the college. Potema's secrets are of no more use to me, but it never hurts to have access to knowledge.

Viarmo's delight turns all too swiftly to dismay. The pages are old, the ink faded, and not a few couplets have been redacted, no doubt by Olaf's own hand. I suggest that he simply make up the rest. He balks at first, until I remind him that no eyes but ours have seen the verse in centuries.

"But what shall we write?"
"Aren't you the master bard?"

In the end, I decide to have a few laughs, and suggest that Olaf was a dragon in disguise. Solitude's ingenue of a queen accepts the tale wholeheartedly, and agrees that Solitude shall reestablish the ritual immolation of King Olaf as a warning to cruel kings. Let's hope this Ulfric isn't as prickly as Olaf, or she might find herself shouted apart as surely as her husband was.



The festival is a great success, I'm told. I wander about picking apples from carts and waiting for it to be over while Quintus shouts encouragement from an upstairs window. In the end, Viarmo hands me a purse and a job description.


Hey nonny nonny.

I go to Dragon Bridge to find this Shady Sam, only to hear that he will not return for days yet. That leaves me time enough for a jaunt to the College of Winterhold, whose magisters appear to be having some trouble with a Thalmor 'advisor' and the local citizenry.


I, of course, am handed College robes without a second thought.

I'm cold.


I take this opportunity to learn a new spell or two.

Spoiler: Show
Apocalypse Spell Package has done a wonderful, wonderful thing. No longer must I wander the entire college in search of the instructor I need to buy books. Urag, Book-orc, sells everything.


I ride back to Dragon Bridge and am too late. Apparently, Sam returned but left immediately for Kynesgrove. I think I'm developing a nervous tic.

Spoiler: Show

LAL presents three ways to get started on the main quest. One is the standard Skyrim start (accessible through the option: "I was captured crossing the border illegally."), one skips to the end of the Helgen sequence and leaves you watching as Alduin flies off ("I was camping in the woods.") and the rest have you chase after rumours and eventually Shady Sam, an NPC who moves between Dragon Bridge, Riverwood and Kynesgrove. He's mildly annoying.


I ride to Kynesgrove, and along the way spring the same inept deadfall trap I rode past while escaping Markarth. This time, I decide to wheel about and ring-a-ding-derry-dell the bandits' skulls to dust. A search of their camp turns up nobody--corpse or otherwise--of Shady Sam's description.



Spoiler: Show
I've mentioned this in another thread, but crossbows can be rather terrifying, particularly if the shooters are not immediately accessible. My armour only provides so much protection against bolts with a 50% native armour ignore chance, and since SkyRe's enemies do have increased access to perks, some of them may potentially bump that figure up to 100%. Regardless, having crossbows unload on me while regular bandits try to stave my skull in makes for a rough time.

Enter Gate. My word, is it ever satisfying to pluck a bowman from his rampart and deposit him at my feet. Most of them immediately try to run away, and they're faster than I am, but even if I get a hit or two in, that's a) damage; and b) a blissful moment in which I am not actively perforated.


Within the camp, I find something strange: a sphere of sorts, which whispers to me in the demon Meridia's hated voice. She orders me to be her cleansing hand. My counter-offer is impolite, but gets the point across.


Still, even if Meridia's a foul old hag, perhaps it's better that her blessing be in my hands and not those of some prejudiced fool who lashes out at every one of the peaceful dead with neither rhyme nor reason.

I find Sam in Kynesgrove, grease his palm, and am sent to some mining village between Windhelm and Riften. This, also, is no end to my journey. Tullius was here, but has left for Helgen to set a trap for Ulfric Stormcloak. Interesting.



Helgen is aflame when I reach it, and, wonder of wonders, something flies from the wreckage that ... well, judge for yourself:


And tell me that isn't a dragon.

I comb the ruins of Helgen for survivors, and find a Legion captain in a cave. He is incredibly poorly, and needs medicine. He urges me to ride for Whiterun with all haste, to warn the Jarl that ... well ...

A dragon.



This is turning into one long, strange trip.

Spoiler: Show
Two things. One: Hadvar's new armour is sexy, and definitely one of Bassus's options for end-game. I should be able to make myself a set eventually (I'm essentially debating between this and a rather attractive set of basic steel plate with a cloak), though I'm not sure what crafting tier the SkyRe compatibility patch has shunted it into.

Two: one of the things I most like about Immersive Armour is that it hand-places its armour sets here and there, and more generally stuffs it into leveled lists, which means that many of the NPCs you'll happen across are wearing bits or full suits of it. This not only means that you can (eventually) get your hands on a wanted set without necessarily needing to be a crafter, but generally makes the world feel a little more varied. It's probably my favourite thing about an already excellent mod.


 

nonsense

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I ride to Whiterun with all haste, and this time, the guards do not turn me away at the gate.



The Jarl is a respectable sort--a man of action with a place in his heart for the Hold's people regardless of political consequence--though perhaps his attempt to press-gang me into service oversteps a bound or two.




He has me meet with his court mage, who asks me to seek something he calls a Dragonstone in one of the nearby crypts.

Which?



He doesn't know, and suggests searching them all. I can't say I'm entirely opposed to the idea.

Spoiler: Show
One of my favourite contrivances to get out of the main quest is the pretense that quest givers don't know where it is I'm to go. This creates a few natural stops in the narrative for those who find it a little too gamist to randomly abandon the fate of the very world and all the puppies in't.




Spoiler: Show

Blind Bassus
Level 15 Cleric

H 154
M 147
S 152

Light Weaponry 53 - 3 perks
Heavy Armour 45 - 1 perk
Block 42
Smithing 48 - 4 perks
Conjuration 33 - 4 perks
Restoration 48 - 5 perks
Spellbook:

1) Healing
2) Conjure Draugr Warrior
3) Fires of the Master
4) Gate
5) Aura - Armoured Ascension
6) Circle of Scorn
7) Prayer
8) Finger of Death
9) Life Rend

We now have access to adept spells, although we haven't got the 50% mana cost reduction from their corresponding perk. As such, Prayer is actually the only spell I'm using--it's basically the Restoration version of Equilibrium. Instead of regenerating mana at the cost of health, it does so at the cost of stamina. With the respite perk allowing heals to regenerate stamina, I have significant control over my H/M/S resources.




Next up: I'm not wild about the idea of doing the Companions quest line (even if the free trainers would be enormously helpful), mainly because I can't really see Bassus accepting lycanthropy into his grey heart.

Dawnguard is definitely an option, as is following up the main quest. Since I'm already in Whiterun, my suggestion is that I get the Dragonstone, get dragons spawning, meet the Greybeards and then ignore the long-lost crypt of wherever it is I need to go to fetch the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller in favour of adventures around Riften.
 
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nonsense

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I'm pretty sick and have a heavy workload for the rest of the week, so the next episode probably won't be up until Sunday.
 

Phasma Felis

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One interesting quirk of the screenshot-friendly console commands is that they may or may not make your character disappear. I'm using ~tfc 1 to pause the game and allow me free camera positioning, but if I activate that mode in first-person view, Bassus disappears. As a result, I'm swiftly learning just how awkward it is to actually try to play the game in third-person.

It's hella awkward.

The end result is this weird little dance where I have to quickly zoom out when I spy a screenshot opportunity.
Can you set up a macro to zoom out and then immediately pause?
 

nonsense

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SR2: The Dragonstone
Wherein our hero returns once more to charming Riverwood.

Quintus. What would I do without Quintus?

Farengar, the Jarl's useless court mage, has buried me in maps to Draugr cairns in Whiterun Hold. Any other day, this would have been thrilling, but I've been asked to find a needle in this mass grave. How to approach the task? Start at the north and work my way down? Throw darts?

It's not that I'm not excited, just ... well, maybe it's not worth worrying about. If I find his Dragonstone, I find it. If I don't, maybe Farengar can waggle his own fingers.

Dear, wise Quintus. I woke to see him standing over me, scratching his chin.

"Quintus? What time is it?"
"..."
"What is it? You look like you're deep in thought."
"..."
"..."
"..."
"Of course!"

The claw! Lucan's golden claw! So much has happened since the bandit ambush that I'd forgotten all about it. From his description of the thing, it simply must be kin to the ruby-inlaid one in my own possession.

It all begins to come together. The bandits robbed Lucan's store and stole nothing but a hunk of dragon-themed metal so ugly that no self-respecting fence would buy it because they knew, as I have come to know, that the claw is a key. And one does not lock doors with nothing behind them. Does the Dragonstone hide in the hills above Riverwood?

Maybe it's thin, but it's better than nothing.

Bandits have returned to the hills in full force. I spy shovels, picks, wagons--all the signs of an excavation in progress.


This time, I wield more than a wooden club.

I climb through what feels like a wall of sleet, ever upward, until I reach my destination: Farengar's map calls this one Bleak Falls Barrow.


Such a name simply cannot do it justice.

I make it almost to the stairs before arrows are let fly, but these ragged fools are no match for Quintus and Bassus. We hack and chop and warp and spit fireballs until the bandit sentries lie dead.

The crypt's antechamber is home to bandits nursing their wounds, and the corpses of no fewer than a dozen dog-sized rats. We meet more rats, fleeing something in the depths, and then the beast itself. It's wounded, weakened, but still a hunter: its most recent prey calls out to me from a web, begging me to slay the creature.



The mer in the web calls himself Arvel, and won't say three words to me that aren't "Cut me down." I oblige ...


... and the fool runs off, gloating about the treasure he won't share.

He lasts thirty seconds, perhaps, before the unliving guardians of Bleak Falls Barrow rip him to pieces. I introduce myself to the Draugr, and lay them back to their rest before I attend to Arvel. He carries the golden claw on his purpose, and a journal that tells me nothing I don't already know about its workings.

The dragon door opens on an enormous cavern, with a strange curved wall etched in Draconic script.



One of these words burns itself into my memory before a coffin opens and a Draugr lord steps out.

It is a vicious battle, and one I owe to Quintus--had he not distracted the Draugr after his shout tore the mace from my very hands, I might at last have met my own peaceful repose. In the end, though, we have what we came for. In the Draugr's possession I find the Dragonstone.




Spoiler: Show

SkyRe's scaling is really unpredictable. The bandits were basically a joke, the spider was sort of tough, and then there was nothing of any real interest until a pretty serious boss Draugr. I haven't yet come across many challenges that couldn't be beaten--and of course, if anything is going to be scaled into possibility it's Bleak Falls Barrow, which is after all one of the first places the standard playthrough will go--but I'm definitely feeling tested now and again, and the unpredictability of it keeps me on my toes.


I return and tell Farengar that his Stone was hidden inside Bleak Falls Barrow.



He fawns over me for just a moment before the Jarl's Dunmer huscarl arrives, short of breath, and orders us upstairs.

A dragon. Whiterun's western watchtower was attacked by a dragon.

I arrive only in time to witness the aftermath. The tower has been dismantled; the fields burn and belch smoke. A guard hiding in the tower warns us away. It's still here, he says. Still ...


There.

I try to bring it down to earth with my Gate magic, but to no avail. I am, instead, forced to take cover from flames until the dragon decides the time has come to alight and feast. He burns one of the Jarl's guards to ash with a blast from his mighty lungs, but he cannot defend against us all.



I find myself strangely deflated. That was a dragon? That? It certainly couldn't be the beast that destroyed Helgen, to be brought low so easily after managing, at best, a poorly manned tower.

Spoiler: Show
Skyrim Redone makes no changes to dragons. This is actually kind of a problem, because it makes changes to everything else. PCs are far more dangerous, bandits are far more dangerous, etc. Mirmulmnir is of course supposed to be an easy fight, but when I'd tested SkyRe without Deadly Dragons, he was a complete joke--Irileth and her guards would literally kill him in seconds without my intervention. With Deadly Dragons, he's still a bit of a wimp, at least with respect to the amount of damage he can take, but he also dishes out a lot. Deadly Dragon breath weapons are pretty damn scary. Bring your resistance potions. Good news: the dragons I'll meet from here on in are going to be more varied and a lot more powerful than their vanilla counterparts.


Still, I wonder ...

No. I couldn't.

Well ... maybe?


No.

The dragon does not respond to my attempts to coax it from the grave. A disappointment; what a splendid body he would have made for Quintus. And surely, Quintus would have piloted it more adroitly. But ... wait. Something's happening. Something ... strange.

Fin



Next up: The Dragonborn shouts at old men.
 
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