Well, with LEGO Lord of the Rings now completed to 100% and Borderlands 2 a real grind unless playing online with friends and farming for sweet loot, I’m digging back into Skyrim. Even without the Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC packs–which I will get eventually–there’s still plenty for me to do despite having now logged over 110 hours on my single character of Lohgahn, the stealthy Imperial that shoots from afar with an enchanted bow first and asks questions later. Such as finally finishing up the last of the faction questlines after having become the Arch-Mage, the master of the Thieves Guild, the leader of the Companions, and general greatest hero ever to set foot in the snowy, Norse-themed realm.
I am to believe that the Dark Brotherhood quests were the most enjoyable experiences in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I remember starting that questline and eventually joining the shady circle of assassins and shifty souls, but never really getting any further than that, so I can’t say for sure. What I can say confidently is that the Dark Brotherhood quests in Skyrim have elements of fun and the potential to be darkly delightful–but are not. They play out just like every other quest in the game, and everything is over sooner than you’d expect. Yeah, you get some cool loot along the way–and a horse!–but I wasn’t in it for the loot this time. I wanted to be dark and cruel and set up these crazy puzzle-like scenarios for someone to accidentally die from. That didn’t happen. Let me present an example.
[Spoilers for the quest “To Kill an Empire” to follow…]
Posing as a famous chef known only as the Gourmet, you gain access to Castle Dour in Solitude in hopes of poisoning the Emperor. That sounds really great. You meet with another cook called Gianna, who will help you prepare a special meal for the Emperor and his friends upstairs. This is all done via dialogue options. You are making some French-named potato stew, and Gianna asks you what goes in it, ingredient by ingredient. At the end, you tell her there is one more ingredient, the Jarrin root, and in it goes. Then you follow her upstairs, watch the Emperor eat, slump over dead, and then escape the tower. Your involvement in the quest is disappointingly minimal. It could have been so much more, with you having to drop in the poison root while distracting Gianna…or something like that. Make it more puzzle-based or use a skill like persuasion. As the Dark Brotherhood member fulfilling the contract, let me fulfill the contract. That Emperor turned out to be a fake, and killing the real one is even less imaginative.
That said, the story has some nice twists to it and fantastic dialogue from creepy characters like the Night Mother, Babette, Cicero, and Astrid, but other than that–it’s a big letdown. You assassinate contracts. Sometimes you talk to them before you do that, but the end result is always the same. Overall, I guess the Thieves Guild is the most fun questline Skyrim has to offer, with a range of mission types and a really useful base full of useful merchants.
So yeah, that was that. I am somewhat interested in sprucing up the Dawnguard Sanctuary with some new furniture and features, but with a house in Whiterun and those three houses I built from the Hearthfire DLC, I don’t really need another place to stash my stuff. Just curious to see what it looks like and then move on elsewhere.
Okay, new goals for continuing through Skyrim include getting married, finding more Shout walls, and finishing up the quests I’ve acquired before picking up new ones. Yeah, I know; that last one is just wishful thinking. So wish me luck.