Also: if any of you know artists who are running sales on sketches, point me in their direction because I am considering commissioning Murderface sketches to liven up the long text blocks when I forget to take photos of the TV with my phone. :)
We left off with our not particularly intrepid hero ditching his temporary shield-brother to go on a quest that might result in slightly more personal profit, the infiltrating of Black Falls Barrow to retrieve a golden dragon claw for a merchant and a dragonstone for the Jarl’s mage.
I believe the mage had reassured Murderface that the barrow would be a cakewalk, although Murderface probably wasn’t paying much attention at the time, and was jumping up and down on his desk or attempting to walk around a column or some other such difficult feat, so for all I know the mage might have said YOU’RE GOING TO DIE.
Anyway, turns out that the barrow was full of undead draugr. Gosh, who’d have expected that. (Probably not Murderface, tbh.) However, they really weren’t that hard to defeat because when you set them on fire, they’re so dessicated they pretty much go up like a torch and a couple good bashes with the mace will do them in.
Didn’t stop Murderface from being creeped out the entire time, especially when he ran across one dessicated skeletony draugr who, he was pretty sure, had boobs. “Living” has definitely been added to his short list of desirable characteristics in a potential date.
Along with the draugr, he fought a giant spider using two scrolls of Create Fireball, which sounded like something he’d try, so I didn’t sell them when Murderface first obtained them some time back. Once the spider was incapacitated--apparently you don’t kill it?--he rescued a thief who’d been mummified in webbing. Not because he was nice, but because the guy was blocking the exit to the chamber, and had the golden claw on him. Of course, the thief bolted as soon as he was free, but Murderface expected that and followed along. Slowly, because the barrow was still creeping him out.
This is Murderface creeping along in Stealth mode. You wouldn’t even know he was there if I hadn’t told you, would you?
He soon came upon the body of the thief, killed by draugr, and looted the golden claw off him, but not the thief’s journal, which was too bad because Murderface is not much for puzzles and he was shortly confronting the door in the image above, where you had to rotate three stone circles with icons carved into them into the correct positions, then use the claw as a key. Had he (cough*I*cough) read the journal, he’d have known to peek into his inventory at the golden claw, rotate it about a bit, and discover the icons carved into it in their correct order. Instead, he spent hours in game-time (read: maybe 10 minutes real time?) peering at the walls of the room to try to find any clues to the order.
Murderface was about to give up and start rotating the circles at random and try the key over and over when he was divinely inspired (i.e., Toby wandered into the room and told me to look at the claw), and solved the puzzle.
When he drew near to the boss fight, Toby settled in to watch and keyed both me and Murderface up really high by saying things like “You’ll want to save now. Okay go over that bridge. SAVE NOW!!” and explaining that he was looking forward to this fight. I’d found a scroll earlier that would set undead up to level 30 on fire and set them fleeing for 30 seconds, and had it in my favorites, ready to arm at a moment’s notice.
The soundtrack grew more and more intense. Murderface’s senses were on overdrive, causing him to be jumpy. He was in a cavern, approaching a platform that contained a chest, a small set of shelves with a potion and some junk on it, a couple of candlesticks, and an ornate coffin that somewhat resembles a desk, giving the whole thing the uncanny appearance of a study.
Opposite that was a wall on which were carved words of power. Murderface crept to the chest and quietly looted it--his stealth indicator showed that someone, or something, spotted him! I quickly saved and he jumped off the platform...and who/whatever it was lost sight of him. So he crept up to the wall. Power coursed through him, and he learned a word of a Dragon Shout. (It’s a Skyrim thing.)
“Turn around!” Toby shouted. Murderface whipped around as fast as he could, to see a Draugr Overlord climbing out of the coffin! Forgetting that I still had him in stealth, he slowly scurried in that direction until Toby said “He’s spotted you, you don’t need to be sneaky now,” and I made him stand upright. The draugr overlord attacked, his weapon humming with magical frost power!
Murderface set him on fire!
Murderface swung his mace one! two! three! times!
The draugr overlord collapsed in undeath!
Murderface kept swinging because I was on a roll!
When he eventually wound down, Toby and I looked at each other and he said that it usually took him a lot longer to get through that battle, and I said it seemed rather anticlimactic, and then we both realized that I had the game set on dead easy while Toby usually plays on regular. Oh well! Murderface triumphant!
Toby pointed out a couple of loot spots in the cavern, and then the exit. On the way out, Murderface spotted an altar carved into the stone. The altar had offerings of mountain flowers on it, wreathing a skull.
This creeped Murderface out and he didn’t touch it. But he did touch the chest nearby, looting it, and exited out into Skyrim, teleporting to Riverwood to return the claw to the merchant.
You might wonder why Murderface would bother to return the claw, as selling it might net him more money. But you see, the merchant has a sister! Who is not undead! A plus!
Murderface landed in Riverwood in the evening, after the merchant’s shop was closed. I sent him into the inn to poke around. He talked to Sven, the bard. Sven was pining over some girl named Camilla. He had a rival named something Murderface didn’t bother to learn because he didn’t care, and he had a plot--he asked Murderface to take a vile letter of some sort supposedly written by his rival to Camilla, in an effort to turn her off the rival. Murderface said sure, not intending to do it, and then pointedly didn’t ask the bard to sing anything.
After annoying some of the other customers at the inn until I got bored of seeing what responses they’d give, Murderface stood in front of the bartender and stared at him for nine hours game time (you can set them to wait a specified number of hours if you need it to be a certain time of day). Neither man broke eye contact for those nine hours, so Murderface gave up and bounced off the doorjamb a couple of times on his way out.
He went to the merchant’s and discovered that the sister was named Camilla! Not being one to help out a bard, he gave Camilla the letter, but explained it was from Sven and not the other suitor. She was happy to know that, and even happier that her brother got the claw back, and thanked Murderface over and over and over and over and over. (Toby tells me that she will thank you every time you see her, and will still do so if you marry her.)
Murderface discovered that some of the items in the shop weren’t marked as “Steal,” so he could pick them up. He explored the shop thoroughly, pocketing several items in front of the merchant and his sister, then sold them back to the merchant for a little cash.
He also crowded Camilla into a corner, along with her brother.
After that, since Camilla didn’t seem inclined to invite him upstairs for a little quality time--I can’t see why not, after he showed his appreciation for her by following her around the shop for a time, poking her to see what she’d say other than “Thank you,” then trapping her against the counter--he teleported to Whiterun to turn in the dragonstone.
The Jarl’s mage, who has a name neither I nor Murderface can be bothered to remember--was talking to a mysterious, tough-looking lady named Delphine, who had no time for Murderface until the mage explained that Murderface had gotten the dragonstone. She mildly approved of him for a brief second, then went back to ignoring him. Turns out Delphine was the one who figured out where the dragonstone was, and I think is set the task of translating it. Mage-Bob told Murderface to go see the Jarl for his reward.
At that point, Irileth, the housecarl to the Jarl, entered and said a dragon had been spotted near the western watchtower. Everyone trotted out to the Jarl, who directed Irileth to go to the watchtower and try to kill the dragon, and strongly suggested Murderface, who has the most dragon experience of anyone there, go with her.
Note that Murderface’s dragon experience consists of seeing one and running like hell away from it.
The Jarl then magnanimously rewarded Murderface for his quest by giving him the ability to give the Jarl money. Er, I mean by awarding him the right to purchase property in Whiterun. And gave him a pair of enchanted bracers, which was better than nothing for the huge amount of work Murderface had to put in destroying the draugr overlord.
Murderface left, feeling put out, and determined to avoid both dragons and government work for a while.
He did some last housekeeping before leaving, heading to Claudia Christian’s forge to offload stuff and make daggers and bracers to sell. He improved the bracers as much as he could, having to purchase leather from Claudia Christian to do so, and then sold the final product back to her at a 66% loss. A financial whiz, Murderface is not. He also fell into the moat next to her house.
When he tried to drop loot on the ground next to her smelter for storage, a young woman appeared out of midair, said "I think you dropped this!" and helpfully placed one of the items back into his inventory. He waited a short while to make sure she'd gone, then dropped it again.
When going in to Warmaiden’s, her store, he discovered that, much like the Riverwood merchant’s place, he could pick up quite a lot of the merchandise without being marked as a thief. So he picked up everything he could as the burly clerk eyed him suspiciously and then sold it to him, making about 50 gold. A better deal than crafting daggers and bracers!
As my session wound to a close, I sent Murderface to Silent Moons Camp, which had the advantage of being nowhere near the place the dragon was going to appear, and was the closest he could fast-travel to the spot he arranged to meet his temporary shield-brother, Farkas, for the Companions quest. In the distance, he spotted two mammoth.
Toby said, “You could try to kill them.”
I said, “Do you really think Murderface could take two mammoths?”
“No,” Toby said. “But you’re playing on easy and the game is saved. We could find out.”
So I sent Murderface to confront the mammoths, whereupon he died quickly and messily. A mammoth on fire is a very angry mammoth indeed.
I restored the save game, got him to the place I wanted him to start from next session, and so to bed.
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