Oblivion DLC – Mehrunes’ Razor
This post will be about the Mehrunes’ Razor official plugin for Oblivion, which adds a large dungeon and a new artifact to the game.
Upon loading you’ll hear a rumour about a lost Ayleid city called Varsa Baalim, where Mehrunes’ Razor is supposedly hidden. Mehrunes’ Razor is an artifact made by the Daedric Prince Mehrunes Dagon. You can receive other Prince’s artifacts by finding their shrines and doing tasks for them, but since the Main Quest in Oblivion is stopping Dagon’s evil plan, going to him looking for a quest sounds like a bad idea (plus, you destroy his shrine anyway). This plugin gives the player a way to obtain his artifact, a dagger which has the chance of instantly killing an enemy at random.
According to the rumour, the uncovered entrance to Varsa Baalim can be accessed from an old fort called Sundercliff Watch. A long way from civilisation, this abandoned fort used to be an outpost and iron mine. In fact, it has the largest iron ore deposit in the Valus Mountains (or anywhere else in the game for that matter, as iron ore is added by the plugin). When you enter the fort, you are attacked by some Dunmer mercenaries. According to a journal you find, an army is amassing here, lead by Frathen Drothan. Drothan is a rouge Telvanni (a Great House from Morrowind) wizard. The journal also kindly provides a password to explore further.
After killing the Dunmer defenders, you should find yourself in a small underground village. Locate Drothan’s cabin and read his journal (they should really stop taking notes of their evil plans). Drothan hates the Empire and wants to topple Imperial rule. He thinks the Razor and a giant army will do the job. He obviously hasn’t met the player. The journal also reveals he has sealed himself inside Varsa Baalim to look for the Razor (he had found a Morag Tong assassin and got all paranoid). To open the magical barrier, two bezoars cut from the stomach of an albino guar must be placed on the pedestals nearby. He has entrusted these to the forgemaster and the commander. The commander is right next door, but to get to the forgemaster you have to fight your way through the mines (which is filled with Argonian and Khajiit slaves who want to hit you with rakes) and the forge (where they make armour and weapons for the army out of the iron). Make sure to have a look around Drothan’s cabin, because you’ll find some interesting books and a varla stone, a few iron veins in his ‘basement’, a unique potion and some special scrolls which I’ll talk about later.
Once you have the two bezoars (which look like pearls), remove the barrier and enter Varsa Baalim. The macabre decorations (piles of skulls, red candles, etc.) are never a good sign. After a peaceful stroll through the excavated ruin, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a warzone. If you had read up on the city while in Drothan’s cabin, you would’ve known that Varsa Baalim is full of vampires. And now hostile Dunmer as well. They fight amongst themselves, so the best thing to do would be to hide till only one side remains and finish off the survivors. To get around the ruined city you need to use three small tunnels. Eventually you’ll reach the entrance to the Nefarivigum, the holding place of the Razor.
Inside, you’ll find dead bodies and red light. Descending the steps will lead to a room with a strange mix of Daedric and Ayleid architecture. Drothan is in here. You can kill him, or wait for him to get killed by the Razor’s guardian. You can also read his field journal, which explains what Dagon’s challenge is. The dead guy in the coffin who Drothan was looking at isn’t actually dead. He’s Msirae Faythung, once Dagon’s mortal champion. He failed Dagon, and now eternally guards his artifact. The Razor is behind a locked gate. To open it, you need to pull out Faythung’s still-beating heart and eat it. It will give you four points of infamy and infect you with vampirism and a new disease called ‘Cannibal’s Prion’, so having a cure disease potion ready will save you a lot of trouble.
Or if you’re gonna rub your ass in Dagon’s face again, you could defy his challenge and just force the gate open (you need a strength of 90+ to do it). Either way Faythung will wake up and attack, but if you’ve taken his heart out he drops dead after a few seconds (so you might as well take it anyway if you’re gonna force the gate and you don’t feel like a fight). Once dead, his body will fade away, and his weapon crumbles to dust of you touch it. Grab the Razor and a secret passage will open, which leads though a natural cave out into nearby Lake Canulus. Yay.
The Razor isn’t as deadly as it sounds. The ‘instant death’ is based on your luck attribute, and it can be reflected back at you due to a bug. It keeps a tally of the souls you send to Dagon. It’s only other enchantment is a ‘disintegrate armour’ effect. The huge dungeon and the new items make up for it though, and it looks awesome in a display case. The new items include unique enchanted gear off Drothan and the forgemaster, a full set of Morag Tong armour, hoes and rakes which can be used as weapons (courtesy of the slaves), random crap like an empty potion vial, iron ore and the Drothmeri tunic all the mercenaries wear, a new ingredient which gives the player an easy to become a vampire, and lots of new notes and books.
It also adds two new potions, and special scrolls with a new spell effect. Using these ‘Scrolls of Transmutation’ (found in Drothan’s cabin, on his desk and on a hidden shelf behind a fake wall) will transform iron ore nuggets into silver nuggets, silver nuggets into gold nuggets, and gold nuggets into 50 gold coins (one transmutation per scroll).
This plugin contains a lot of fun references to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, such as the Morag Tong assassin (a joinable assassins guild) and his writ of execution, the receipt from ‘Jobasha’s Rare Books’ (a bookshop in Vivec city) and an amusing letter home from one of the forgemaster’s apprentices (his wife is working in a gentleman’s club called ‘Desele’s House of Earthly Delights’, unbeknown to him). If you explore Varsa Baalim, you will also find a dead Drothmeri recruit holding an undelivered letter he wrote when fatally injured.
My only complaint about the plugin is that it isn’t very lore-friendly. It makes out that the Razor has been resting in the Nefarivigum for centuries, but in Morrowind (which is set only a few years before Oblivion) the player retrieves it from an ancestral tomb for Mehrunes Dagon. And the vampires in Varsa Baalim are of all races, instead of Ayleid (or at least Altmer, if the developers weren’t bothered to make a new race). Other than that, I enjoyed it.
The underground village.
Mehrunes’ Razor. Image taken from the UESP, because all my screenshots turned out terrible.
Other Oblivion posts:
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Entry filed under: All, Oblivion, The Elder Scrolls. Tags: albino guar, artifact, Ayelid, Daedric, dagger, Dagon, Desele, don't write journals, Drothan, Drothmeri army, Frathen Drothan, iron ore, Mehrunes Dagon, Mehrunes' Razor, mines, Morag Tong, Msirae Faythung, Nefarivigum, rakes, random crap, Razor, shrines, Sundercliff Watch, Telvanni, TES III, transmutation, vampires, Varsa Baalim, Vivec.