Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Oblivion Adventures Part 4: Free Money and Murders

Last time on our adventures in Tamriel, Shush’Ogar learned the subtleties of armor repair; took a treasure hunting job from a man whose hair could house several families of bird; and delivered a sacred artifact to someone in exchange for an important mission he didn’t really listen to. He then took a boat to the coast to continue his quest. This is arguably cheating because moving boats don’t actually exist in this game, but so what it’s a metaphor for fast travel shut up. Having successfully snuck that one by you, I’m going to get back to Shush before you take issue with it.

It took about a day for Shush to get to de coast city. When de boat got close to de town, Shush saw dere was a guard waiting for dem. When de boat wot Shush took hit land Shush got up, scratched his arm and walked up to de guard guy.

“Greetings citizen, welcome to Anvil. Can I offer you any directions?”

“Uh...did you say Anvil?”

The city of Anvil, where Shush was definitely probably supposed to go.

“That’s right, this is the city of Anvil. Is there a problem?”

Shush shrugged and scratched his arm. “Huh. No, Shush are probably just remembering somethin wrong. Shush could use directoring.”

“Of course. Well, most of the shops are along the docks here beside the warehouses. The residential district and the inn are to your left, and the church is to the right. In between are the fighter’s and mage’s guilds. The Anvil mage’s guild specializes in restoration magic, healing and the like. There’s also-”

“D’you know a guy called Martin? Shush is s’posed to find a guy called Martin.”

“Martin? Hm, no I don’t think anyone who lives here goes by that name. You could ask around at the bar, maybe he came by recently?”

“Oh. So dat’s all you can tell Shush?”

“For now, but I suppose I could offer more assistance after I speak to your captain. Excuse me sir!”

De cat person wot took Shush on his boat looked over to de guard guy. “Yes? What is it you are asking me?”

“Need to document cargo like usual, procedure and all. What are you transporting in those crates?”

“Oh, nothing important officer, just essentials. Food, calipers, drugs, repair hammers, you know.”

“Did you say drugs?”

“ No this one said...dugs. It is, ah, a term in Hammerfell for how you say...shovels. Yes, because it is dugs as in the digging.”

De guard person opened up one of de crates on de boat, den stopped for a second. He coughed. “This...looks an awful lot like bottles of illegal Skooma. Thousands of septims worth of definitely illegal Skooma.”

“Ah, this one must have...been thinking of a different cargo. But those bottles are not Skooma! Of course not, no. They are...poison?”

“Poison is also very illegal.”

“This one is quickly regretting moving to Cyrodil.”

Shush scratched his arm an walked away from de two guys, cause it didn’t seem like de guard man could help him soon. Shush saw de church as soon as he got inside de walls, but when Shush tried to walk up to it a guy at de entrance stopped Shush.

“Sorry sir, no one is permitted to enter the scene of the crime.”

“Is dere a guy named Martin in dere?”

“What? Well, no, no one is in there right now. I mean, technically some people are no condition to talk. None of them were named Martin anyway.”

“Okay, nevermind den.”

As a little aside, what I just skipped by was a murder at the Anvil chapel. This is something they actually added for the first major expansion to the game, Knights of the Nine. The quest is super long and, if I recall correctly, not all that interesting. So despite the whole town talking about it, I’m going to skip it for this playthrough so we can focus on the base game content, which is more than massive enough.

Shush walked past de church and into de middle of town, an sat down on de curb. Shush didn’t know how to find dis Martin guy, an dat were a problem. Shush scratched his arm again, it had been real itchy today. He squinted at it. Dere was a cut on de inside of his arm, but it was all puffy and purple. Was cuts s’posed to be purple? Shush tried de spell for gettin rid of cuts his grandmama taught him, but de cut just kinda wiggled. Shush frowned an looked up. De magey guild was across de street, an de guard said dey did healin stuff. Shush supposed he would visit.

The Anvil Mage’s Guild. No I don’t have a funny caption for it.

When Shush walked in de door an elf lady looked up from a counter. “Why hello there, welcome to the mage’s guild. I’m Carahil, leader of our Anvil chapter. How can I help you?”

“Shush got dis cut on his arm an it’s all itchy and stuff an Shush tried to use dis spell his grandmama taught him to fix it but it dint work.”

“Hm, mind if I take a look?” De lady leaned forward an Shush held up his arm.

“Oh my, is that...Rockjoint? Or no, Brown Rot. Er, Collywobbles? Oh what do I care, magic can’t tell the difference. One cure disease spell coming up!”

De lady waved her arms at Shush and den tings got all bright for a second. When Shush looked back, de cut on his arm was all gone.

“Dat was neat” said Shush. “Can you teach Shush how to do dat?”

“We do sell spells here of course, but we can only sell them to you if you’re an official member of the mage’s guild. Are you interested in becoming a member?”

Shush shrugged. “Sure, wot does Shush gotta do for dat?”

“Absolutely nothing! Welcome to the mage’s guild, associate!”

There’s no exaggeration here, by the way. Just wait, it gets better.

“As a member of the mage’s guild you can now buy spells from any of our members. Here in Anvil we specialize in Restoration, but other town guilds have different specializations. The best mages join the arcane university at the imperial city, but that requires you to get a recommendation from each of the guild halls. Oh, and as a member you now have completely free access to all our books and alchemy supplies.”

Shush scratched his head an looked across de room at a bookshelf. Shush pointed at it. “So Shush can have any of dose books he wants?”


Shush did some thinkin and squinted at de books. “Any of em worth lotsa gold?”

All the loose objects in Oblivion are things you can pick up, including all books. Though this is cool, what’s less cool is that all those similar looking books? Yeah, they’re all the same book. You will see the same half dozen SO many times.

De elf paused and spoke up again. “Well, they’re mostly normal books, but I suppose that red one and that blue one” she pointed as she spoke “are the most valuable there.”

“Cool” said Shush, walking over an puttin de books in his pack. As Shush turned around he saw a counter filled wit funny glass bottles. “Wot’s dis?”

“Those are our alchemical supplies I mentioned earlier. Elsewhere they would run you quite a few septims, but we treat our mage’s well in the guild. Help yourself!”

“Dis guild is real nice” said Shush as he started takin de bottles. Shush ran outta room in his pack so he started holdin de bottles in his hands. After Shush finished wit de counter he stumbled back past de elf girl wit a big pile of bottles into de nearest room. “Anything else in here?”

Someone cleared dere throat, an Shush turned to see one a dem blue elf guys wit funny hair. He looked even funnier through all de weird bottles Shush was holdin. De elf started speakin. “Felen Relas, guild alchemist. You’ve got an awful lot of alchemical supplies there friend, are you here to sell them?”

Shush smiled an nodded, knockin de bottles about in his arms. “Yeah sure, I’ll give you dese bottle thingys for gold n stuff.”

Shush dumped de bottles on de blue elfs counter an got de rest from his pack, shakin off de skulls. De blue elf spent a while goin through de bottles, writin stuff down an puttin de bottles away. After a bit he looked up at Shush.

“Well sir, you came in with quite a lot. Here’s your receipt and heeere” de elf pulled up a big bag a gold coins “is your payment. Have a nice day!”

Shush took de bag an walked back to de entrance room where de elf girl was. She was smilin real wide an lookin straight at de wall. Shush waved.

So yes, you can immediately join the mage’s guild, go to any guild hall in the world, take all of their expensive alchemy equipment and then sell it back to them without even leaving the building. This nets you up to a thousand or so gold in every single hall, solving all early-game money problems without having to set foot in a single dungeon. It is hilariously broken. It didn’t need to be either.

Hey look, a huge pile of free gold!

One guild hall has a shelf of alchemical supplies that you can’t take without stealing, like most valuable items. There’s no reason the game couldn’t have treated all other alchemy supplies the same. They aren’t that expensive and you only need one set of them (in fact, you only need one of the four pieces of the set). They could’ve just made the player buy their own supplies, as you can from any alchemy vendor, and it wouldn’t have been a big deal. If they were so keen on giving the player free alchemy stuff they could’ve given you a single set when you joined. But no, they have to do something easily and fragrantly broken, because Oblivion did not put much forethought into its economy. Oh well, at least it’s worth a laugh.

“So, did you say somethin about de best spells bein somewhere else?”

“That’s correct. The greatest resources for mages are at the arcane university, and to get in you need recommendations from each guild. I can give you one from the Anvil guild, but unlike some other guilds I’ll require you perform a serious job for me. Are you interested?”

Shush nodded. “Ya sure, Shush is super gud at doin jobs. ‘Specially if dey involve smashin stuff.”

De elf girl grimaced. “Well it may come to that here, this is a dangerous situation. You see several merchants have been found dead along the Gold Road recently, with even more missing. There’s speculation that the killings are the actions of a rogue mage, and the council has asked that I put a stop to them.”

“So Shush just needs to go to a place an smash a magey person? Dat’s easy! Where are dey?”

“Well that’s just it, we have no idea who the murderer is. If we did, we’d have tackled them ourselves by now. What I need you to do is go to the Brina Cross Inn and speak with Arielle Jurard. She’ll help you set up a trap for the rogue mage; your unfamiliar face will make you invaluable in doing so. Any questions?”

Shush thunk about what de elf said for a minute. “No, Shush got it. Go to de inn up de road and talk to A-real-juror an she’ll tell Shush wot to do.”

De elf girl cleared her throat. “Close enough. Good luck!”

So Shush left Anvil an went up de road to de inn. It was a real peaceful trip too, only one wolf tried ta eat Shush! When Shush got to de inn, he went inside an started askin for A-real-juror. One a de people sittin in de inn walked up to Shush and started speakin.

“Hello, stranger. What can I do for you?” Den she started bein all quiet like “Carahil has sent you, yes? Go rent a room for the night and once you head up we can speak in private. Just say you’re a merchant.”

Shush shrugged an walked over to de innkeeper. “Hey innkeeper guy, Shush are here to say dat Shush are a merchant guy wot needs a room here.”

“Oh! It’s rare to see a customer these days what with the, ah...well, you know, the incidents. Happy to house you, that’ll be ten gold septims. Thank you, room will be on your right at the end of the hall upstairs. Safe travels!”

Shush had only done a couple steps away from de counter when dis lady in blue clothes jumped out in front of him.

“Hello! Yes hello how are you? Pardon me, but did I hear you say that you’re a traveling merchant? You did say that, didn’t you? Not that I’m up to anything suspicious, just wanted to know. About your merchant status. You’re a merchant, yes?”

Shush blinked. “Uh...yeah, Shush are a merchant guy.”

“Oh! Ohooo my! Well, aren’t you worried, with all the recent killings and all? I’d be ever so scared, if it were a merchant like yourself! Stalked and hunted by some mysterious, enigmatic foe! A foe who I can’t possibly predict, moving only in shadow, probably a very competent and dashing foe at that! Me on the other hand, I’ve just been staying at the inn for days, not doing anything suspicious, just in case! After all, I wouldn’t want to get horribly murdered like those merchants! Imagine walking down the road only to be cunningly ambushed by a vicious enemy, streams of blood and gold intermixing and pouring from you like a violent, streaming rainbow of exquisite wealth and, yes. Would hate for that to happen to you! Good luck not being murdered!”

Shush scratched his head as de lady in blue walked away. She seemed nice. Shush walked upstairs an went into his room, an after a bit he heard A-real-juror come up. He opened de door an she was dere.

“Good, now we can speak in private” she said all soft.

“Should she speak in private wit us too?” Shush said, pointin to de lady in blue crouchin on de other side a de hall.

“Oh, uh, don’t mind me!” de lady in blue said. “I was just ah, nothing suspicious just, y’know, happen to be, and I mean you understand just, just...I’m not a murderer you know!” Den de lady ran downstairs.

This isn’t normally part of the quest, but I had an amusing coincidence in mine. Caminalda (the lady in blue) followed me when I went into my room, which she isn’t supposed to do. So when Arielle Jurard came in for our clandestine meeting, I had to awkwardly push Caminalda out of the room to make me feel better before talking.

“Well that was...strange” said A-real-juror before turnin back to Shush. “All right, should be safe to speak now. Once you’ve rested here, leave the inn and continue along the road east. I and a fellow battlemage will follow out of sight, and we’ll step in and stop the rogue mage once they reveal themself. See you tomorrow.”

Den de girl left, so Shush decided to go an sleep like she said. Shush woke up de next day, den walked up to de innkeeper an asked which way was east. He pointed for Shush so Shush started goin dat way on de road, just like A-real-juror said. Just walkin wit no smashin or stuff was borin, so Shush started pickin plants offa de side a de road. Shush had heard once dat dose fancy potions wot heal n stuff were just a buncha plants dat been all crushed up de right way, so meybe Shush was thinkin he should collect more plant tings.

Shush was pickin some o de plants a bit later when he saw de lady in blue walkin up to him from down de road. Shush waved as she got close. She looked real angry for some reason.

“Halt!” she said. “I’ll be taking whatever you’re carrying, traveler. After you’re dead, of course. I hope you have more than my last victims had. Because I killed them, you see, and took their money! And I am going to do the same to you! I am going to kill you and take your money, because I am a rogue mage and a murderer and killing is what murderers AUGH!”

De lady in blue got interrupted by some people in armor an hoods wot jumped out of de bushes an smacked her in de face. Shush thinked dat one of de hood people looked like A-real-juror. Dis was confusin Shush. He called out to A-real-juror as dey had de lady in blue on de ground an was stompin on her.

“Oh no, the police are here and I’m outnumbered 3 to 1! I know, I’ll violently resist arrest! The perfect plan!”

“So wait...dat lady in blue...was she a BAD lady?”

“Yes” said A-real-juror in between stomps.

“But she told Shush dat she wasn’t a bad lady.”

“She lied!”

“Oooooooooh. So she IS a bad lady?”


“Oh okay.” Shush pulled out his hammer an started helpin de hood people smash up de bad lady.

“Gack” said de bad lady in between smashes. “How...found out...after such cunning subtlety!”

As you may have guessed, I embellished a little on the details of this one, but it’s still really obvious. Caminalda is the only person at the inn besides the one you’re working with and the innkeeper. She always tries to figure out if you’re a merchant and if you are does in fact give you a shpiel about how she’d be worried due to all the murders. Oblivion has some interesting quests, on rare occasions even quests with mystery or multiple possible outcomes to them. This just kinda standard and boring. Oh well.

After de bad lady was all smashed up, A-real-juror told Shush to head back to de magey guild an tell em dat we did dat. Shush walked back down into town an headed inside de guild to see de elf girl again. When Shush told her dat he helped A-real-juror an dat de rogue mage was dead, she was real pleased. She said dat she’d write Shush one a dem reco-men-dations and dat Shush was on his way to becomin a master magic guy.

Shush was feelin pretty gud about dat. Before long Shush was gonna go to all de magey houses an do all de jobs so he could get de best magics. Den he’d be even better den just a stealthy smashy orc, he’d be a stealthy smashy MAGIC orc. Dats like even more original an great!

Shush sorta felt like he was forgettin somethin, but other den dat it was a gud day. Shush was sure it wasn’t dat important anyway.

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