Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Nosferatü Diary Day 5

Winterhold. A broken village in the north. Two buildings have been destroyed and still stand with their skeletons exposed. Off in the distance a man and woman are fighting over his drinking. He mentions the college. I can only assume he’s referring to the College of Winterhold. That’s where I must go. 

Sven trails behind me. As a good servant should. A steep ramp leads to the College. During our approach I notice a crumbling walkway overlooking a long drop to the water below. There must be some history here that I’m unaware of. Or just don’t care to remember. 

A woman elf stands watch at the first platform. The Eye of Magnus engraved in the stonework behind her. She stopped me and asked questions. I hardly heard her and gave some lame response. She agreed to let me pass as though I gave the correct answer. I think any answer would’ve been correct. 

She hands me off to a Breton who promptly tells me about the college. She commented about how many new students there are but I see none. Fellow students aren’t why I went to the College of Winterhold anyway. 

After the ra-ra speech from the Breton, I rushed away to meet up with a mage who specializes in Restoration magic. If I understand correctly, there's a special ability Restoration mages have that I could put to good use. 

The Restoration instructor is annoying. She’s constantly complaining about how she's treated although I never once seen her interact with colleagues. Maybe it’s her that’s the problem. 

I paid for several training sessions before leaving with Sven in tow. 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Nosferatü Diary: Day 4

Sven is a clunky dullard. He’s slow and loud, and unresponsive. Yes, he will do just fine. A general store merchant told me of a place called the College of Winterhold. Apparently it’s a place where magic can be taught. I’ll need to get there soon. 

Arrived in Whiterun, a Hold capital. A walled city with a busy marketplace. I think I’ll make it home. For now. 

Upon arrival in Whiterun, a gate guard stops me. He says the city is closed due to dragon activity. Seems odd as I watched people come and go from the city. I convince the dope to let me pass. I eluded to him I know about the dragons and have come to warn the Jarl. This, of course, seems odd since he should already know about the dragon given his guard stopped me for that very reason. Either way, I’m allowed to enter the city. 

Within the city I meet several women. A blacksmith having an argument with a man in Imperial armor. He asks me: Gray-Mane or Battle-Born? I’m assuming he wished to know where my support lies. I recognized the name Battle-Born from a farm outside the walls. I said Battle-Born and he approved. 

Ysolda, Hulda, and Carlotta all seem available, especially Ysolda and Hulda. I’ll approach them first. Hulda was easy to please by selling her firewood. This act grants me a free room for the time being. 

But the city is large with many prying eyes and strained ears. I’ll need to keep a low profile until the High Rock situation wisps away in the wind. I wonder if she’s coming for me?

Sólaire, are you out there somewhere? 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Nosferatü Diary: Day 1

Am I fleeing from some court intrigue? That’s what the Imperial soldier asked me. As if he might know what goes on in the rest of the world. What with the increasing decay of Skyrim due to the growing animosity between the locals and the Empire. Of course that countrywide fracture was nearly knitted back together as the Imperials hand the Bear of Markarth in bindings. Still, that Imperial soldier was much closer to the truth than he knows. Best to avoid him for now. 

Then that black dragon showed up. Of course stories of dragons have always been told, but as everyone else had done, I dismissed them as folktales to frighten children. Now, though, it appears they are real. No matter, its appearance garnered me freedom. I suppose I owe that dragon. 

The blond Nord said something interesting just before cutting me loose. He said something about the harbinger of the end times. That struck me in a familiar way. I can’t quite put my finger on it, though. I’m certain I have heard that before. But where? Or when? 

Riverwood. A small village with a mill and blacksmith. A tiny general store. A bed and bar. 

And Sven. A simpleton bard. He will do nicely. Or the wood elf. Nah. The bard. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Morthal, Skyrim

Just south-southeast of the Karth Delta is the real miserable little town of Skyrim. Morthal is a gloomy village in the marshes of Hjaalmarch. And there are some strange things going on. A mysterious house fire consumed the lives of a wife and daughter. The waterwheel at the lumber mill runs in reverse to the flow of water. The town wizard takes late night sojourns into the marshlands. A mysterious woman is only ever seen at night. An orc is the local bard. And the jarl has visions. And not far away is a cave that houses a dark menace. What are we to make of all these...coincidences?

When you first approach the jarl’s longhouse there are a mass of people shouting at someone. As you wander closer you find out that locals are upset about the new wizard, and it’s almost immediately evident magic use is categorically mistrusted. After more grumbling from the crowd they are unconvincingly assured the jarl will be informed of all their concerns.

If you strike up a conversation with these folks you’ll find out who they are and what they do. Jorge’s is the mill owner. Thonnir is a lumberjack in the employ of the lumbermill, which is one of the few businesses in Morthal. Either of these men could mention the burned down house, the biggest concern in town. Except maybe the new wizard.

If you walk away from the mob scene without hearing about the mysterious house fire head on over to the inn. The innkeepers all love gossip and you will surely get an earful about the house fire. Once you finally get a few details about the fire head over and talk to the jarl. She’ll send you on a quest to find out what really happened. Completing the “Laid to Rest” quest is a requirement to becoming thane. This quest will take you to the burned down house, playing a game with a ghost, breaking and entering, and a showdown with evil residing in a nearby cave.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Modded Fallout 4 The Solar Canon

First order of business: this character—Kylie—and her weaponry was created using mods available on Xbox 1 for Fallout 4. The character’s look, apparel, and weapons won’t be available on all platforms.

That being said, the Solar Canon is available for all platforms as it comes from the Creation Club. For anyone not familiar with the Creation Club, it’s a downloadable product available from Bethesda that works as a substitute for in-game microtransactions. The DLCs (I use the term loosely) are purchased with real money unless they’re specifically offered for free of a period of time.

As I mentioned in the video, I believe the writing is poorly executed. And I’m not sure the story itself is well articulated. A bit more time—and a proper editing—would have done wonders for this quest.

Overall, I don’t think this purchased content is worth your money, even if you’re a weapons hoarder. Wait for sale or free. There are enough base game weapons that are more than equal (several excelling) to this purchasable content. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Skyrim SE: My Mods

Unlike many people using mods to play Skyrim, I only use a small handful. And some of those are completely convenience mods. Some mods just allow me to continue growing my characters without the need to declare skills legendary, and they let me build more rounded characters, but they certainly aren’t needed so I won’t include them here.

To be fair some of the mods I am going to share aren’t necessarily must-haves but the do make the game more enjoyable from my standpoint. And essentially that’s all this post offers: my experience with the mods I use and what they might offer you in turn. Now, keep in mind some of these mods may be viewed by you as cheats and that’s fair. But since this is a single player game you’re free to do whatever you want and only have the right to judge yourself.

Anyway, enough disclaimer jumbo-jumbo and let’s get to the mods, which may or may not be available on the platform you play on. I’m on Xbox One X.

The mod I use to make the environment more better (ha ha) is Dolomite Weathers and Lighting Overhaul by Megaloblast. A significantly darker evening requiring artificial light, more intense rainstorms, and different weather options. I’ll also include the A Quality World Map-Vivid with Stone Roads by Chesko. This is simple, it makes the map readable. And finally Dawnguard Map Markers by Arthmoor. This adds markers to nearly all Dawnguard related maps like the Soul Cairn and Forgotten Vale.

Now onto the gameplay mods. Immersive Citizens by Arnaud.dorchymont, which allows you to hear cut dialog and keep all your NPCs alive as you can set them to flee from danger and not attack you when you’re rampaging guards as a werewolf.  Immersive Patrols by Ameermohamedtt. This just adds various patrols throughout Skyrim, which may or may not be hostile. It also adds civil war battles in various locations and forts, which is a great boost to build your skills in my next gameplay mod: Moonlight Tales by Brevi 11. If you want to play as a werewolf this is fantastic. More werewolf perks and skins (even werebears but the skins are the only differences), the ability to be a werewolf right out of Helgen, the ability to cure lycanthropy at any time, the ability to set involuntary werewolf transformations, and the ability to summon blood kin (werewolves and/or wolves) to aid you in combat. I do not believe this mod is available for PS4 users. The mod Werewolf Perks Expanded does offer some additional perks to the beast form though. Moving on to Alchemist Respite, which is a small mod that changes the weight of potions from .5 to .1. Next up is Stones of Barenziah quest markers. This mod flags each location for all 24 gems except the on inside the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. And finally my favorite mod for gameplay: Complete Smithing by ThordTV. A simple but exceptionally useful smithing mod. It completely overhauls smithing after Steel smithing. With this mod you no longer have to choose heavy or light as they are combined as you go. So Elven and Dwarven are level 30, Orchish and Advanced at level 50, Arcane and Faction (allows crafting of unenchanted faction clothing like Thieves Guild and Nightingale armor), Glass and Ebony at level 70, Daedric and Dragon at level 100 and Orsinic (higher quality lower-level armor using dragon bones) also at level 100. The mod also grants XP for turning hides into leather and ore into ingots.

Onto character creation. Unfortunately most of these won’t be available on PS4. Better Males by Alaan, Apachii Sky Hair Lite by Apachii, CBBE Body Slim from Jeir, and the superb clothing mod from Jeir: Keo’s Skimpy Outfits for CBBE Slim. Just go with the Forsworn Armor set and avoid the Nightingale armor. Most armor sets are changed to two piece and not one. Thieves Guild Armor, fur armor, elven armor are all tops with skirts. Is it realistic? Of course not. But neither is wearing glass against a warhammer or battleaxe.

Short and sweet. I’ll give my thoughts on the best Creation Club content I’ve purchased in the next post.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Fallout 4 Charisma Attribute

On my very first playthrough of Fallout 4, I maxed my Charisma as soon as possible. Truth is I believed Charisma was the best attribute in Fallout 4. Thousands on hours later it still is essential for all my play throughs. Without good Charisma you possibly leave a lot of experience points on the table. I recently earned 100 XP for a Charisma check with a sniper build. That’s a huge amount. But anyway enough of my gaming history and onto the breakdown of the perks in the Charisma attribute.

Tier 1 is Cap Collector. If you aren’t building settlements this perk isn’t all that necessary. Although the first two ranks give you a significant price discount over any other option it’s true value is in the settlement building as you must have the first two ranks to build stores at settlements. The third rank, which grants you the ability to invest caps in shops is a pass. You’ll have plenty of shops built at each settlement to sell all you loot. If you aren’t building settlements and still want the caps, you’re better off investing two perks in Fortune Finder under the Luck attribute.

Black Widow/Lady Killer perk is Tier 2. If you’ve built a female character this is a more useful perk as there are more male enemies than female and the bonus damage is nice. But it isn’t world beating, either. By the end game when this perk shows its most usefulness in combat, your weapons will be plenty powerful enough. The other benefit come from Charisma checks as it’s easier to convince the opposite sex and the Intimidation perk is more successful. Perk points best allocated elsewhere.

The Tier 3 Lone Wanderer Perk is the premier perk under Charisma and one of the best perks in the game. Let’s face it, companions are stealth killers and at best are poor shots and have little use in combat, except an overhauled Codsworth or Ada, both of whom can be devastating in combat and have a high carry weight. With the Lone Wanderer Perk you get a significant boost to carry weight +100 with rank 2, outdoing Stongback by 50. At rank 3 you also inflict 25% more damage while taking 30% less damage. And with rank 4, with the Far Harbor DLC, you get an addition 25 action points, a good bonus for V.A.T.S. users. And if you need to carry more loot bring Dogmeat along as he doesn’t count against the Lone Wanderer perk.

Speaking of Dogmeat, the Attack Dog perk can be had at Tier 4. The perks sound good but they really aren’t worth the investment unless Dogmeat is integral to your play through. Holding an enemy, maybe crippling a limb, and causing bleed damage isn’t likely worth the perk points as there are far better damage multipliers available. Give these a pass unless Dogmeat is with for the entire play through.

Tier 5 brings Animal Friend into the mix. You can pacify, incite to attack, or give specific commands to animals of the Wasteland. Other than provide to comic relief by bringing in a bloatfly to cause chaos, these aren’t worth the points. Easier to just kill the animals and the raiders. Maybe a Beastemaster-style play through is worth it or building arenas but honestly it’s more gimmick than useful.

Local Leader at Tier 6 is primarily for settlement building. You’ll need both ranks to combine with Cap Collector to buildshops, it only one rank to create supply lines and be able to build workstations in every settlement, which is beneficial as you can stop anywhere to improve armor or weapons, cookfood or make chems negating the need to always go to Sanctuary or Red Rocket or the Castle.

Like to drink? Well, the Partyboy/girl perk at Tier 7 is for you. This is actually a great perk for a variety of builds, especially and melee character as you can get even more strength by consuming alcohol. Plus your Luck goes up, and if you’re running a low Intelligence build with the Idiot Savant Perk, you can imbibe before turning in quests to 8mprove the chance of your XP multiplier. It’s a high investment into Charisma but probably a worthy set of perks.

The Inspirational perk at Tier 8 is mostly a pass. Yes it prevents you from harming your companions and them from harming you, but are companions worththis very high investment in Charisma to get? Since you’re far better off with the Lone Wanderer Perk, I would say no. Unless you already have high Charisma adding points to get here and then take these perks isn’t a great option.

Tier 9 and 10 are essentially identical to Animal Friend only they apply to wasteland creatures and people. Now maybe having a pet deathclaw is your thing or having arena fights with humans, creatures, and animals is also your thing. Either way these aren't worth getting until later in the game for any reason other than role-playing. Of course I'm going to be hypocritical under the Intelligence attribute in the next post as it has an option just like these only for robots.

Being able to manipulate others and have them do your bidding can be a fun and entertaining option, but the real strength in Charisma is the ability to dig out additional information and earn XP while doing it. I mean it is equally fun to squeeze more caps out of the tightwad residents of Diamond City. And, of course, the settlement system isn't fully optimized without the appropriate Charisma perks to make it happen.