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:
The next post will be about The Vile Lair. To make sure you keep up-to-date on any new posts, you can follow me on Twitter or get notified by email by subscribing using the widget on the sidebar.
This post will be about the Thieves Den plugin, which adds another player home. But this time instead of being up the side of a mountain, it’s in a cave. By the sea. Under a castle. Oh, and it has a wrecked boat inside too.
When you load up the game you’ll “hear a rumour” (even if you’re at the bottom of Niben Bay or in the middle of fighting trolls in an abandoned mine) about the legendary Dunbarrow Cove being uncovered underneath Castle Anvil. Travelling to Smuggler’s Cave (which is in the vanilla game but doesn’t have anything in it except a skill book and a locked door) will reveal a new passage which leads into Dunbarrow Cove proper. It’s crawling with skeleton pirates (wut?). Kill them all, take their unique cutlasses, and then enter the Captain’s Quarters (which has somehow detached itself from the ship and ended up on a cliff overhanging an underground lagoon). Inside you’ll find Cap’n Dugal. He’s another skeleton with a cutlass. Kill him and read his diaries (he has four).
The skeletons were the remains of Torradan ap Dugal and his crew. You’ll have to read the diaries yourself to find out what happened, but basically they became trapped underground when a cliff collapsed over their ship during a battle with the first count of Anvil. Then they died and turned into walking skeletons. But now that they’re gone, you have a whole cave complex and a ruined ship to yourself. For some reason your character feels the need to live there. You need to visit Dahlia Rackham, a pirate added to a ship in Anvil harbour. She can sell you an upgrade to the captain’s quarters and can hire pirates to live in your new cave and provide you services. You can buy a supplier, a fence (who will buy stolen goods), a security expert (who has a special locked box which will never open, allowing you to train your security skill), a fletcher and a spymaster (who is glitched an likes to randomly attack everyone else). Some of the pirates sell unique items which can only be obtained with this plugin.
Once you hire enough pirates, more will join you for free. When you buy everything, you’ll have three ‘free’ pirates. You can then send them out to plunder. In about a week they’ll return, and place your share of the money in the captain’s quarters. You can do this indefinitely, with no negative consequences. When all the upgrades have been purchased, the key to that locked door in the Smuggler’s Cave will appear in a chest in the captain’s quarters. The door leads into a secret passage in Castle Anvil. Perfect for a thief to make a little money.
Smuggler’s Cave with the new entrance to Dunbarrow Cove.
The fence, Khafiz, along with his pet boar Bacon.
The wrecked ship.
Dahlia Rackham onboard The Sea Tub Clarabella, a pirate ship which is smuggling sheep.
Zedrick Green, a pirate who joins your crew after purchasing two upgrades.
The chest which contains the Smuggler’s Key and any gold your pirates bring back when plundering.
Secret video footage of what your crew does while you’re away.
This plug-in adds Frostcrag Spire, a home built for a mage character. Located in the snowy Jerall Mountains (a.k.a. the middle of nowhere), this tower has everything a magic-oriented player needs.
Upon loading you recieve – you’ll never guess – a note from a long-lost relative. He decided to build a giant tower up the side of a mountain, but now he’s dead so it’s yours. Inside you’ll find a unique summoning altar (which you can use to create permanent atronach familiars), a large garden which includes many rare plants (perfect for alchemy), the highest viewpoint in Cyrodiil which offers an amazing view if it’s not cloudy (shame it usually is) and transport pads to every Mages Guild Hall in the game as well as the Arcane University.
But that’s all there is. There’s not even a bed. You must buy these upgrades from Aurelinwae, a new merchant added to the Mystic Emporium in the Imperial City Market District. She can sell you a bed, a library, an alchemy lab (which will increase your alchemy skill by 15 points when standing near it) and an upgrade to the vault. The vault is an underground ice cave accessed by a teleport pad in the main room. Once you buy the upgrade it will be filled with many chests, barrels and crates for storing your items in. It also comes with an impressive collection of wine (including the quest-related Shadowbanish Wine), friendly imps called Vault Guardians who protect your treasure, and two hidden tombstones. One of the tombstones gives you a daily blessing which fortifies your personality, mercantile and speechcraft, while the other adds a bottle of Daedric Lava Whiskey to your inventory. This whiskey burns you, heals you, paralyze you and summon a Dremora to fight by your side – all at the same time! However you will only get one bottle, so you might want to think twice about drinking it.
Aurelinwae also sells two boxes of Magetallow candles, which are needed to activate the spellmaking and enchanting altars. Without this plugin, the only way to use these altars is to become a member of the Mages Guild. Once you’ve bought all the upgrades a small jewelery box will appear in the room with the bed. Inside you’ll find the Pentamagic Loop, an enchanted ring.
Screenshots (click to enlarge):
The entrance room, with the main room in the background.
The alchemy lab.
The alchemy garden.
The viewing platform on a clear day.
Vault Guardians in the underground vault.
The jewellery box which contains the Pentamagic Loop.
This post is about the Orrery DLC for Oblivion.
Similar to the horse armour, you will receive a note after installing this plug-in. It’s from Bothiel at the Arcane University. She asks for help in recovering some Dwemer artifacts that were stolen by bandits. She needs these to repair the Imperial Orrery, an ancient Dwarven machine. Your quest is to go to a couple of bandit camps, kill the bandits and take the artifacts. Go to Bothiel to get a levelled amount of gold. After 24 hours the Orrery will be fixed, and you can visit it to get a Greater Power. These powers are based on the cycle of the moons, so return every now and then to see if you can get a better one. Watch out for the lag, though!
The bandit camps are all in the vanilla game, so if you’ve already found them then tracking down the bandits will be simple. But you probably won’t have, as they’re out in – very literally – the middle of nowhere. At the beginning of the quest you only know of one location – Camp Ales. Once you find and kill the ‘bandit carrier’ there (who is well equipped with enchanted gear and higher levels), you will find the first Dwemer artifact and a note which conveniently lists the locations of the rest of the parts. These camps all contain another bandit carrier.
All the Dwemer artifacts use the Dwarven Shield icon, and since they’re quest items you can’t drop them to look at them. At first I was disappointed at the lack of new textures, but then when I gained access to the repaired Orrery I was amazed. It looks awesome. Sadly, this comes at a price. The lag inside is terrible. It’s worth it to have a look at the shiny robot stuff, but after that I don’t go in there except when I have to. You can also have a good look at the parts you helped recover. One thing which annoys me about the plug-in is that during another quest which involved Bothiel she mentions that the Orrery is ‘in a state of disrepair’. This is in the original game, but it doesn’t make any sense once the Orrery is fixed. >.>
The Greater Powers you get aren’t that bad. Greater Powers are spells that you can use once a day, with no magicka cost. To get one from the Orrery you must activate the panel at the top of the stairs. You get a different Power depending on the cycle of the two moons, Masser and Secunda. (Another annoying error – the panel moons don’t match the real ones.) All the powers drain one attribute while boosting another, for 60 seconds. I personally never use them, but I suppose they could come in handy. You can only have one Power from the Orrery at a time.
Screenshots (click to enlarge):
The Imperial Orrery.
The Dwemer artifacts you need to retrieve.
The Orrery Console, which gives you the Greater Powers.
The next few posts will be about the 9 official plug-ins released for Oblivion. These plug-ins can be bought off Bethesda’s online store (or Xbox Live for 360 players). PS3 players cannot get any other plug-ins other than Knights of the Nine, which is included in the PS3 version. All plug-ins (excluding Battlehorn Castle) were also released for PC in a retail box version. The first post is about the Horse Armour Pack.
This was the first DLC released for Oblivion. Upon loading the game, a note from Snak gra-Bura of the Chestnut Handy Stables appears in your inventory. If you present the note to her, she will armour your horse for free. There are two types of armour available – Elven and Steel. They offer an equal amount of protection, so it really only depends on looks. If you don’t have a horse or don’t want it armoured, you can get an “old nag” for free, armoured in steel. It’s the worst horse in the game though – even with armour it’s still weaker than the weakest breed. But if you want all the horses, you might as well add it to your collection.
From now on you can get any horse you legally own armoured for 500 coins. But I highly recommend not armouring Shadowmere – she will lose her essential status and instead of returning to Fort Farragut she will stand around indefinitely. Besides, she won’t recieve any bonus from armour. All the armour does is increase a horses health, but Shadowmere’s is already maxed. Also, you can’t armour the unicorn.
Be careful when deactivating this plug-in, as any horse you have armoured will be removed from the game, with no way to get them back (other than console commands). The plug-in also adds a bugged chest to the Cursed Mine, an old mine near Skingrad. Inside is a book entitled ‘Horse Armor Plans’. It has no icon and inside it simply says ‘I am a set of plans. Bring me to the Chestnut Handy Stables.‘ The book is a quest item and cannot be removed from your inventory, so it’s not a good idea to pick it up. Best thing to do is leave the chest alone (or disable it).
Screenshots (click to enlarge):
Two white horses modelling the new armour.
Sorry for the short post, but there’s not much else to write about this mod. The next post will be about the Orrery plug-in.
In other news: As you can see, I’ve figured out how to take screenshots in Oblivion (just had to edit the ‘.ini’ file) so I’ll probably be updating my first Oblivion post with some pictures soon.
Before I begin, I’d like to apologise for not writing a post in seven months. I haven’t abandoned this site, but the truth is I have nothing to blog about at the moment. I’m finished with my Spore posts. If you’d like to keep up with me you should follow me on Twitter (my username is McLego).
In an attempt to fix this, I’m going to write about The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for a while. It won’t be a big project like the Spore posts, but hopefully I’ll get a few posts out of it. This post will introduce Oblivion, but it won’t have any screenshots at the moment (I may add some later).
Oblivion is a single player roleplaying game released for the PS3, PC and Xbox 360. It takes place during a medieval era in the province of Cyrodiil, on the continent of Tamriel. You start the game as a prisoner in the Imperial Prison, but quickly escape when the Emperor and his bodyguards need to use a secret passage in your cell. The Emperor is under attack from assassins and needs to escape the Imperial City. You are allowed to follow them through the passage, and will learn the basic controls along the way. Ultimately the assassins will succeed, but not before the Emperor gives you the Amulet of Kings, a magical amulet that the assassins are after. The remaining bodyguard sends you off to give the amulet to the head of his order (The Blades) who is posing as a monk in Weynon Priory.
Once you escape from jail however, you do not have to follow the Main Quest. There are many other storylines to follow, the main ones being for mages, fighters, thieves and assassins (not the ones who killed the Emperor however). But don’t worry about which to follow – you can do all of them. The game is extremely free roaming , and you can do almost anything you want. Kill everyone in a town, explore every dungeon, buy a house and fill it with watermelons. If you follow the Main Quest, soon portals to the realm of Oblivion (a parallel universe controlled by Daedra) will begin popping up. These are created by the “bad guys”, who are working for the Daedric Prince of Destruction, Mehrunes Dagon, who wants to invade Nirn (the world Tamriel is in). You must go into them to remove the gate’s Sigil Stone and shut it. This can become boring after a while though, and you don’t really need to shut them all (only ones directly involved with a quest).
The great thing about Oblivion is its open-endedness (is that a word?) and it’s “do what the hell you want” attitude. But be careful about committing crimes, as the guards are all psychic and pop out of nowhere to arrest you. You can either pay a fine (which can be very expensive, and once it goes over 5000 coins you lose this option), go to jail (might sound like a nice idea, but your skills can be damaged if you spend too long in there) or fight the guard (this will just increase your bounty if you kill him though, so this is only a good idea if you plan to run for it ). Oh, and the guards are inhumanly strong too. But they have some nice gear for low-level characters.
The levelling system in Oblivion is unique, but could be better. At the start of the game you pick out your character’s favoured skills. As you get better in these skills, you begin to level up. You must sleep to go to the next level, and when you wake up you’ll have the option of increasing your attributes (my favourites are strength and speed). You can increase three attributes, and you can receive bonuses by training skills which use a certain attribute (up to 5 points). However, every time you level up, so does the world. That means every monster will be a little bit stronger, and every dungeon will get a bit more loot. It’s a good idea in theory, but it usually works out as you becoming stupidly rich after one dungeon dive, being able to kill most non-levelled things in one hit and having every random bandit in the game equipped with supposedly “rare” Daedric armour and weapons. Not to mention those stupid ogres, who take like 100 hits to kill, getting even stronger.
All the NPCs in the game have a schedule for the week. So that means that most of them don’t spend all day standing in the same place. They go to bed, have dinner, chat with others (although these conversations are usually very badly put together), visit friends, wander around, pray at the chapel, and sometimes visit other cities (often being killed along the way, because roads are actually one of the most dangerous places in the game). The game was advertised as having ‘radiant’ AI, but a quick search on YouTube displays how stupid NPCs really are. Nevertheless, they could always be worse. Important characters who are essential to completing a quest can be marked as ‘essential’. Essential NPCs can’t die – when their health reaches zero they simply fall unconscious for a moment. These NCPs can be identified by the crown icon that appears in place of the normal talk icon when you hover over them.
The PC version of the game has access to the Console, which is activated usually by pressing the key to the right of ‘1’ . It will pause the game and you can type in console commands, which are sort of like cheats but can help get rid of bugs. Be careful while using it though, because it can screw up the game. My first character is level 93, has resurrected a bunch of NPCs who are meant to be dead (thus, they don’t function properly), has a black body but a white vampire head and has disabled the entrance to his Bravil house.
There are 10 playable races in the game, as well as Dremora (who are a Daedric humanoid race only found in the realm of Oblivion):
- Imperials/Cyrodils: This race of men are the creators of the Empire. Their homeland is Cyrodiil. They are shrewd traders and have conquered all of Tamriel with their armies.
- Nords: This race of men are from the snowy province of Skyrim. They have a natural resistance to frost and are very strong.
- Bretons: This race of men are gifted magicka users, as they were a result of mer breeding with men. Their homeland is High Rock.
- Dunmer/Dark Elves: This blue-skinned, red-eyed race of mer are tough and make adept mages, but their distrustful nature has prevented them from gaining more influence. Their homeland is the province of Morrowind.
- Altmer/High Elves: This tall, golden skinned race of mer are strongly gifted in the arcane arts. Their homeland is the Summerset Isles.
- Bosmer/ Wood Elves: This race of mer are from the woodland province of Valenwood. They are short, and are skilled with a bow.
- Orsimer/Orcs: These barbarian beast people hail from the Wrothgarian and Dragontail Mountains, and have claimed a section in the province of High Rock called Orsinium as their homeland. They are brave and have endured many hardships. Legend has it that they were originally elves, until the Daedric Prince Boethia “ate” their god Trinimac and turned him into Malacath, and his faithful into orcs.
- Argonians: This reptilian beast race is from the swamps of Black Marsh. They are immune to poisons and can breath underwater. They have a special connection to the Hist trees.
- Khajiit: This catlike beast race are from the deserts of Elsweyr. There are many different breeds of khajiit, based on the positions of the two moons at the time of their birth. These range from the Senche-raht, giant sentient cats used as mounts, to the almost-human Ohmes. The only breed encountered in Oblivion is the Suthay-raht.
- Redguards/Yokudans: This dark-skinned race of men are the most naturally talented warriors in Tamriel. Originally from the far-off islands of Yokuda, they now call the province of Hammerfell their home.
You might also hear of Ayleids (Wild Elves) and Dwemer (Dwarves). These races are extinct. Ayleids originally inhabited Cyrodiil and their ruins can be found all around the landscape. They were very advanced in the arcane. Dwemer were the opposite. They’re not small like traditional dwarves. They lived on the volcanic island of Vvardenfell in Morrowind and were technologically advanced, but didn’t believe in the power of the gods (which angered their very religious Dunmer neighbours). They aren’t encountered much in Oblivion, but their armour can be found.
I think I’ve gone into enough detail for one post. My next one will be about the official downloadable content. If I’ve left something out that you’re curious about, leave a comment. Or you could head over to the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages wiki and look for your answers there.
Remember to follow me on Twitter,
This post contains spoilers.
This Spore post is about the Centre of the Galaxy. It’s a giant purple black hole in, not surprisingly, the middle of the Spore galaxy. This also happens to be Grox territory. Getting there is a pain in the neck, because you have to travel a vast distance (even with the use of a wormhole key) and your travel range gets seriously stunted for some reason. You’ll also most likely have a ton of Grox spaceships shooting at you. Be prepared to lose your fleet, and stock up on energy and health packs before you leave.
When you eventually get to the centre, the Grox ships will leave you alone. You can take your time admiring the pretty colours, or you can jump straight in and see what happens. If this is your first time here and you haven’t cheated on this save, you’ll also get an achievement. I had a picture of me reaching the centre, but I must’ve forgot to save it once I pasted it on Paint. -_- Here’s one off Google Images instead (click to enlarge):
Once you enter the galactic centre (just like you’d enter a normal black hole) a cutscene will begin, where you get to meet Steve. I’m not gonna describe it, so you can watch this video instead:
You’ll get a new tool called the ‘Staff of Life’. It only has 42 uses, but it instantly terraforms a planet to T3. Steve also mentions that you should stop by “the third rock from Sol” for a free breakfast or something, but no changes happen on Earth so this is probably just a hint about the Sol system.
After your meeting with Steve, you’re plonked back outside the galactic core. My advice would be to go to the nearest Grox planet and wait until you die so you’ll be teleported back to the nearest colony. If you’re after making a trail of colonies along the way though, this won’t get you far and you’ll have to attempt the journey back. The Return Ticket super power will come in handy here, if you have it.
Nothing really changes after this adventure, other than an entry on your timeline stating you’ve reached enlightenment. Once your Staff of Life runs out, you can’t go back to the centre to recharge it – 42 uses is all you get.
That’s about all there is to it. You might wanna read my post about Earth on Spore if you haven’t already.