Tag Archives: Thieves Guild

Restoring the Thieves Guild to its former glory one loading screen at a time


To my surprise, I returned the Thieves Guild to its former glory last night, a task I assumed would take a lot longer, seeing as you have to first do a number of miscellaneous tasks for both Vex and Delvin before getting the chance to do a more important quest to gain the loyalty of someone who will then set up shop in the Ratway, thus making it a better base. It’s a lot of back and forth, and it seems like there’s randomness involved in that you have to do at least five tasks within a specific city to get the loyalty missions to trigger; I just did what I got assigned and soldiered on. Anyways, it is done; check it out in Achievement form:

skyrim one with the shadows ach
One with the Shadows (30G): Returned the Thieves Guild to its former glory

Right. Go me. Having just finished up the Dark Brotherhood questline, I can definitely say that the Thieves Guild offered the most quests to do, and you can take that as you will. Granted, in a game like Skyrim, you shouldn’t be lacking for things to do, but this guild questline did seem the most fleshed out and sporting a better base, one you personally invest in and see grow. As a reward for restoring the guild to its heyday reputation, I was made the Guild Master and given a pretty sweet set of armor.

This has been something I’ve been working on for over a year. Granted, not every day, but whenever I’d load up my save and begin running around the world, I’d always keep both Vex and Delvin’s quests in mind, trying to at least do both before returning to Riften to turn them in and pick up the next two. The main reason this task takes so long, at least for me on the ol’ Xbox 360, is due to load screens, which stretch the gap between the beginning of the universe and the end of everything. Vex says to go to Solitude and do this–loading screen. Delvin wants you tooling around over in Dawnstar–loading screen. Fast travel back to Riften to enter the Thieves Guild hideout–loading screen. Enter the actual hideout–loading screen. Enter the Ratway–loading screen. Pick up two more quests from Vex and Delvin, but sit through two more loading screens before you can even get outside to fast travel and experience yet another loading screen. Sure, the easy answers are “play on PC” or “don’t use fast travel” but those responses don’t really work for me. I play how I play, and it’s built around slowness.

Okay, my new Skyrim to-do list, which is mostly based on as-yet-unlocked Achievements, and all of this will hopefully be crossed off before I dig into Dawnguard or Dragonborn:

  • Get married
  • Hit level 50 (I’m halfway to 48 currently, have to really work on magic and one-handed combat, maybe even more smithing)
  • Collect 15 Daedric artifacts (feel like I’ve gotten four or five so far)
  • Learn 20 shouts
  • Do more quests than acquire more quests

I don’t know if it is possible for me to get a bounty of 1,000 gold in each hold with my current character as he’s too nice of a fellow, despite his deep association with the shadier guilds. Chances are high I’ll never make a second character or play differently, but maybe after I’ve done every single thing I ever want to do and know that Fallout 4 is coming out soon I’ll just go apeshit and put each hold to the torch–figuratively, that is. More or less, Lohgahn will fill every civilian and solider with arrows. Maybe even summon a dragon. But only then, at the end, when I will play no more. Because that’s a one-way street.

Until then.

Still a hundred and one things to do in Skyrim

Over the weekend, after putting some healthy time and work into my newest and craziest comics project thus far, I played some more Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I kind of wanted to see if I needed the recently released DLC Dawnguard just yet or if I could hold off for a wee bit. Aye, seems like I need not rush. Will explain more on that in just a moment, but for right now, check out these two Achievements I pinged after over 90 hours of traversing the realm and being all sneaky and meticulous:

Thief (30G): Pick 50 locks and 50 pockets

Delver (40G): Clear 50 dungeons

For the Thief one, I most definitely picked over 50 locks a long, long time ago. It was the pickpocketing that took forever. Despite my love and desire to always play a sneaky sneaker, I generally roleplay it in the way that keeps me a great distance from enemies and people. So there is little chance for me to steal from bandits since I’m filling them with arrows from across the room, which leads to me robbing from unaware citizens of Whiterun as they snoozed or were out for a morning walk. Shame on me, but whatever. The Delver Achievement one just requires you to kill all enemies in a dungeon/cave, and sometimes I wanted nothing more than to escape back out to sunlight, leaving a single dude or bear still breathing. Didn’t take long to clear out a few, especially since I was working on a lot of miscellaneous quests where you are tasked with killing the bandit leader, often hiding out in a cave.

Oh, and that miscellaneous quest log? It’s never ending. Still there, still growing. I cleared out a few, but still have plenty to keep me busy, as well as the larger, more story-driven quests. Mainly trying to restore the Thieves Guild to its former glory. I think I’m two-fifths of the way there, as I’ve now gotten to complete two big quests to get cities to support us and bring in new merchants to the Ragged Flagon. But it’s slow going. Basically, you have to do a bunch of small thieving jobs in a randomly picked city, and once you do a certain amount you can then do a special task for Devan which will then help you improve the Thieves Guild. All in all, a whole lot of back and forth, which in Skyrim terms means fast travel loading screens.

So, right now, with a long laundry list of things to do, I just don’t see Dawnguard happening immediately yet. But I will get there, if only for the crossbow action. Not really interested in being a vampire. But spearing one from afar with a magical crossbow? Yes please.

Only took 90 hours to become filthy rich in Skyrim

Picture this: I was mulling around the Thieves Guild in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, trying to lighten my load when I noticed I was just below the mighty threshold of having 50,000 gold in my apparently limitless coin purse. I immediately popped over to the constantly open for business Tonilia–I swear, all this woman does is move from table to crates, eating bread and buying my junk–and passed along a few wolf pelts, a couple enchanted daggers I’ll never use, and four of my 16 rubies. With ease, I crossed over 50,000 gold…and sat staring at my screen, waiting for the Achievement to pop.

::cue this tune::

Now, if you know things–and I have to trust that the several silent readers behind Grinding Down know things–then you won’t be surprised to learn I sat for at least half a minute, with no Achievement popping and Tonilia generally ignoring my presence. Pulling up Skyrim‘s list of unlockable icons, I came to the shocking letdown that I was only halfway to the real goal, which is 100,000 gold. And so I got back to questing, making a promise to myself to not spend on all hard-earned gold on buying skill increases and then trying to sell as much stuff as I could as often as I could. Basically, any time I returned to the Thieves Guild I emptied my load as much as possible, waited for 48 hours, and sold some more. Even still, this didn’t get me to 100,000 speedily.

Fast-forward many hours and save slots, and I was finishing up the seedy quest called Pieces of the Past, with plenty of shiny things in my backpack to sell. This time I popped over to the Honningbrew Meadery to mix things up as I have a friendly fence there, and boom, it happened. It actually happened this time. Guess I’ll put my money where my mouth is:

Golden Touch (30G): Have 100,000 gold

Wow. That’s a lot of kaching-kaching. I could buy a bunch of houses or all the potions this side of the Misty Mountains or enough skill increases in all my lackluster attributes to go up several levels or take a carriage-driven tour of the realm. Only…I didn’t. I saved and turned the game off. I later came back to finish up the Civil War quests, taking Whiterun as all mine with the help of a friendly dragon and a handful of Stormcloaks, but have not really done anything with my money-money-money. At this point, at level 42 with plenty of kick-ass, enchanted bows and light armor, I really don’t need it for anything specific. Though I might look into buying a second house as Breezehome can only hold so much of my loot.

A part of me wishes I could somehow transfer all this gold to a new character so that I could buy a way different house during my next playthrough, which, by the nature of my home base just being somewhere other than Whiterun, would result in a new experience. Yeeeeah.

And let me leave y’all with this humdinger: how much gold do you have?

Don’t let this post about being stealthy in Skyrim sneak by you

I haven’t touched The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in a couple of weeks now, but I did put some solid hours into the beast right before Christmas hit. Hey, I had time off of work, and well, I didn’t really know what to do with myself so I just plopped down and teleported away for a bit. From that spree, I was able to finish off the Thieves Guild questline–not counting restoring it to its former glory, which is based around doing a thousand and five miscellaneous tasks for Vex and Delvin–went to jail and then escaped, and polished off a sidequest called The Man Who Cried Wolf, which had the Dovahkiin investigating a cave after rumors of disappearances and strange lights. Also, I got my first skill up to the cap of 100. See here:

Skill Master (40G): Get a skill to 100

Now I’m sure you’re all chomping at the bit to guess which skill I raised to one hundred first. Was it Smithing? Nope. How about Heavy Armor? Um, no. Two-handed Weapons? Unicorn Riding? General Economics? Get real, kids. It was…


Duuuuuuuh. This really should come as no surprsie to anyone that’s been following Grinding Down now and/or for some decent length of time. I love being stealthy in videogames (except when they punish me for going the stealth route ::ahem:: Deus Ex: Human Revolution ::cough::), and since I’ve never been great at swinging swords, blocking with shields, or casting crazy magic spells, I built my character around the battle-plan of creeping through dark dungeons and loosing arrows from afar, hiding in shadows when caught. This works out pretty well except for when I have to fight a dragon or get spotted and then have to deal with a draugr right up in my face.

From what I can gather, the sneak skill increases in a couple of ways. You boost it by literally sneaking around people unnoticed, whether out in the woods or in a cave or potentially inside the hall of some great jarl. The other way is to kill enemies (or animals in the wrong place at the wrong time) without being detected. With an enchanted bow and the perks to zoom in and slow down time, this becomes a piece of sweetroll. And thanks to finishing off the Thieves Guild quests, I now possess the special ability to turn invisible for a significant length of time, useable once per day. Nobody is ever going to see me coming.

There are some downsides to being a sneak master though. I previously mentioned that once you are spotted it can be pretty difficult to defend yourself, especially if there’s more than one foe coming at you. The best tactic I have is to skate backwards and hide in a corner in hopes of them giving up after a few minutes. Because I like to be quiet and not alert everybody to my presence, I can’t bring along companions. I had a companion once; her name was Lydia, and she was loud as all gets, and sadly, something killed her so that I didn’t have to, and missions where I have to team up with someone never work well as they constantly run forward into rooms to say hi to everyone. And lastly, because of my OCD to creep and inch my way forward, going through a single cave can sometimes take up to an hour or more, whereas a warrior-like character would just charge through, smash everything with a mace, scoff at traps, and loot all chests before the fifteen minute mark.

But yeah, I’ve topped Sneak. Haven’t bought the 100 level perk for it yet though, and I’m not sure if I need it exactly, but we’ll see. I kind of like saving my perk points. My next closest skill to 100 is Archery, and after that I need to work on Light Armor or Pick-pocketing. Then nothing will be out of Lohgahn’s reach. And at some point I’ll pick a side (Imperial or Stormcloaks), but if it hasn’t turned out to be a rush after 70 hours or gaming, it probably won’t ever be.

Achievements of the Week – The Chair-ismatic Expert from Tethyamar Edition

So yeah, I forgot to do Achievements of the Week last week, but I doubt any of y’all noticed. It was Black Friday, after all. The day after one eats too much food and drinks too much wine and sleeps a little too well. Or not at all if you’re into that crazy shopping craziness. But fear no more, for I have recovered and am back to bring you up to speed. Naturally, I’m slipping in Achievements from both that week and this one.

And here we go!

From Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale…

Welcome to Tethyamar (10G): Complete Tutorial – Descent into Darkness

That’s actually all I’ve done so far with this one. Seems like a by-the-books hack-and-slasher, which is fine, really, if a little bland. The cutscenes are nicely animated in that “motion comics” kind of way. The only strangeness is that nobody speaks in the game. Not a soul. All dialogue is written, but accompanied by LEGO-esque grunts and mumbling. It cracks Tara up.

From LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7…

He’s Back! (10G): Complete “A Veiled Threat”

Chair-ismatic (10G): Complete “Out of Retirement”

Just some story-related Achievements. Nothing terribly special, but I like their names nonetheless. For the really not special ones, see my thoughts on Idling and Avid Reader.

From The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim…

Expert (25G): Reach Level 25

Taking Care of Business (10G): Join the Thieves Guild

I’ve joined, but I’m barely accepted yet. Seems like I need to do a lot of miscellaneous jobs, such as shilling nice folk and breaking and entering locked buildings, before Lohgahn can be loved.

Dragonslayer (50G): Complete “Dragonslayer”

Hey, I just wrote about this bad boy!

That’s it, more or less. I already showed off the two I got so far in Beyond Good & Evil HD, and while I did download two more DLC case files for L.A. Noire, I’ve not yet found a moment to play ’em. Kicking the World-Eater’s ass took priority. This weekend is looking good though for some more crime scene investigating.

What have you unlocked recently?