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Topic Subject: Sepia Joust IX: How Do I Play This? (Submissions Scroll)
posted 01 December 2015 11:22 EDT (US)   
With a blaring roar of trumpets attempting to play the Fanfare, the gates of the Arena swung open on oiled hinges to reveal last year's Champion standing proudly alone.

The Champion took in the adulation of the crowd with a flourishing bow, then strode to the center of the pitch and drew his quill. Quiet fell over the crowd as they watched in anticipation. What will the Champion pen this year? Will there be worthy challengers like last year, or shall it be as before, when none other dared to enter the lists?

Time will tell.

The quill fell to ink, which quickly seeped up the metal head to fill the tiny reservoir.

Let the Sepia Joust IX begin.

(As always, this scroll is for submissions only. Kindly send all discussions to the Discussions Scroll.)

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII

[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 12-04-2015 @ 01:18 AM).]

posted 09 December 2015 12:15 EDT (US)     1 / 1  
Welcome to Tamriel!

You might still be a little woozy after crossing over to this magical realm. The scope of the Empire is breathtaking and a bit overwhelming at first glance, but relax. That confused feeling should pass shortly as you grow more accustomed to the place. So what is Tamriel? This is the Empire created by Tiber Septim, first of his line, who conquered the provinces and joined all into a strong and vibrant whole before ascending to Aetherius to become the god Talos.

I see by the wondrous expression glazing over your eyes that my explanation meant absolutely nothing, and was met with the purest of confusion. I got ahead of myself- I apologize for that. Tiber Septim built in Tamriel a multi-cultural and multi-racial empire where men and elves, orcs and beasts live, fight, and explore long-lost ruins in search of treasure and fame. It is found just north of the equator of the planet Nirn, on the plane of Mundus, a place where magic spells and potions are more the norm than a mystery.

I see by the smile on your face that this makes no more sense than the first. I agree.

How did you get here, you ask? You simply slipped that old CD you found in the bargain bin of the games store into your computer and fired it up. Its name: The Elder Scrolls IV- Oblivion. Yet you still have no idea into which dimension you tread, nor where to take thy first steps. You are in luck, traveler, for I am here to guide and assist you. I am a veteran of Tamriel, and know my way around the empire better than some men know their own wives. Or at least, that is what their wives tell me.

Ah, there is my map scroll. Here, take a look. You are here, in the middle, next to the L in Cyrodiil.

The most important decisions you will make concerning your visit here will show up pretty quickly once you fire up the magical disc. These decisions are how you want to set up your character, your avatar in Tamriel. The major factor of this, and arguably the most important part, is deciding your gameplay style. Are you a hack-and-slasher? A sniper? Do you want to charge in like a juggernaut and slaughter all in your way, or sit back with powerful spells and blast the foes with your power? Or as a thief, slip in and take the treasure without ever being seen? All is possible in Tamriel- you just have to decide what you want to do.

Once you decide how you think you would like to play, it is time to decide your character’s set up. First comes your character’s name- pick a good one. Nobody will ever speak it or write it, but it will show up from time to time as a label, so make sure it is a name you like and admire. Go for something medieval or ancient if you are stuck. Something like ‘Tortham the Strong’ sounds much more interesting than simply ‘Joe’. I would probably be a bit more awed by Tortham the Strong’s Skeleton Guardian, than by Joe’s Summoned Wraith. Your choice. A keyboard mash can also generate some good laughs, such as zsxrmkhb’s Horse or rypgibthg’s Magic Carpet.

Then comes a host of things you must consider. Chief among these factors is the race of your character, and its sex. Yes, boys and girls have different stats, but are otherwise treated equally. Feminists beware- nobody will hold the door open for you here, and you will be expected to pay for your own dinner, but do earn the same as the men. Equality is assured.

Now onto your race. Tamriel is an empire consisting of many provinces, though Oblivion takes place in only one- Cyrodiil, also known as the Imperial Province or the Heartlands. Here all the men and mer from all over Tamriel flock to the central Imperial City to seek their fortune. Your character will too, but more on that later. For now, you decide male or female (males are physically stronger, females a bit smarter and defter) and your race. In all there are ten playable races.

Nords are strong and daring warriors from the frozen northern province of Skyrim, crafty fighters but not considered the brightest of peoples. A favorite joke in Tamriel is: A Nord walked into a bar. Ouch. I have to put up with this a lot, until I flatten every man in the tavern with my fists and axe and flatten the women with my other tool. Anyway, our frozen lands give us a high defense against frost-based attacks, though, which can be handy. We can also freeze a foe once a day, also very handy.

High Elves (also known as Altmer) are the most in touch with the currents of magicka that stream throughout the world. As a High Elf, you gain bonuses in how much magicka your character can have (think of magicka as gasoline for your car- no magicka, no spells just as no gas, no go). They are also more susceptible to its effects as well- your spells versus an elf will do a lot more damage.

Bretons are slender battle-mages, a blend of Nord and elf, though as strong as neither.

Orcs, the Pariah Mer, are strong like we Nords and gain favorable battle bonuses, but suffer from discrimination and other factors.

Redguards are a human warrior folk like we Nords, but where the Nord gains bonuses with and against Frost magic, the Redguard gains an Adrenaline Rush to improve their battle stats.

Dark Elves (Dunmer) live in a province dominated by a large volcano- they have fire bonuses and a Guardian Ancestor.

And of course all know the Wood Elf (the Bosmer) as a hunter and archer.

There are also the Beastfolk- the Khajiti who are like lions that walk on two legs, and the lizardmen of the Black Marsh- the Argonians. Both races are despised by the Imperials, the Roman-like people of the Heartlands, though the immunity to poison and ability to breathe underwater do make the Argonians an attractive choice.

Choose the race which best serves your perceived style.

Now it gets really fun. You get to determine how your character looks. Hair style and color, eye color, every feature of the face. Or not- you can always stick with the original look the game gives you.

Next you must determine your birthsign. The Tamrielic Zodiac consists of thirteen signs. Each sign grants those born under it special abilities. Some, like the Lord, give also a balancing defect. Those born under the Lord can regenerate health, but are more susceptible to fire-base attacks and suffer a quarter more damage than otherwise. Others, like the Thief, grant minor advantages with no drawback. Look through your guide (it will appear onscreen when it is time to decide) and pick the one you feel best suits your character and how you want to play.

Now you decide your class. So far you have chosen your race, sex, and birthsign. Together these give your character various boosts to your ability scores. There are seven ability scores: strength, intelligence, wisdom, agility, endurance, speed, luck. Each of these rules three skills. For example, Strength is the key ability for Blade, Hand to Hand, and Blunt, while Intelligence is key for Conjuration, Mysticism, and Alchemy. Why do I mention this here? Simply because the game presents twenty one pre-made character classes to choose from, ranging from the Pure Warrior (with all seven Combat skills as major skills) to the Pure mage (with all seven Magic skills) to the pure Thief (with all seven Stealth skills) to mixes of two or all three, but you might want to make your own.

Making your own class can be fun. Simply click on Custom. Then select what you think are the major skills you want your character to have. This will only effect two things, really, so do not be so concerned about making a mistake. Having something as a major skill gives you a beginning boost in that subject (handy to survive the early days) and gives you a bonus to experience, making it easier to level up by making the experience cost less.

Some people try to min/max their character to get the most advantages for the least amount of disadvantages. You are free to try, but I think that missing the point of the game. Oblivion is a game of freedom and choice of action, not stats and bonuses. Others go for historical or fantasy set-ups for their character. My own avatar is a custom-class Viking of course: Blade, Block, Hand to Hand, Marksman, Armorer, Mercantile, and Alchemist. Blade and Block are self-explanatory, as is fist-fighting for a rough-and-tumble Viking. Vikings were also archers, but not known for that, and of course, smithing triple-mail makes them able to repair what they break. Fight and raid in the summer and selling the loot back in the winter made them merchants, and I threw in Alchemy for the spices they sold.

Now how does all of this work? Maybe a tutorial will come in handy. You get one, right about now. I strongly advise to pay attention during the tutorial, not so much to how things work but how you work. After the tutorial ends, you will be given a chance to make any changes before finalization. So it is a good idea to pay attention now, for then!

The tutorial is a trial-run of the game itself, with pointers and instructions on how to equip things from your inventory, how to use what you equip, how to fire off spells (everyone starts with a few, even the pure warriors), and generally how to exist. Then the tutorial ends in a sort of spectacular way, leaving you on your own.

I strongly advise that you follow this advice: master the keystrokes that define what you character will do, and re-map them if necessary for faster usage. Why? Because in a battle, your mastery of actions and quickness of thought will be the difference between “Yes! What a victory!” and “Oh shit I died again.” The line dividing the two is skill at keying commands, and you do not want to be on the Dead Guy side of the Line now, do you?

Now you exit the sewers, bearing the Amulet of Kings. What you do next is up to you. Literally. The game does not force you to take any direction, or even to fulfill the many, many quests it offers. All is totally open and without obligation.

Here I can offer some advice. Prior to this moment, it is you who must make the decisions and learn the processes, all in preparation for this moment. You step out of the sewers and into the Empire.

Welcome to Tamriel!

I would advise you to explore the Imperial City. This will get you some new equipment, or things you can sell, and help gain you some fame. Or infamy, if you join the thieves.

I strongly advise you to talk to people. Everybody you can. And listen. The people in Tamriel are more than simply static clutter- they walk and talk, and you can interact with them. The people talk to you and to each other, and by overhearing their comments, or discussing something with someone, you can learn about quests. Quests drive the game, and give you a purpose or a goal. Quests are also rewarded. Quests lead to adventures, which help you find better equipment.

More important, adventuring will gain you some experience. Maybe even a new level or two. Your health goes up by one tenth of your endurance every time you earn enough skill advancements to level up, so you will want to boost your endurance pretty quickly. Levelling up can only occur while you sleep, so make sure you find a bed (the Waterfront has an abandoned shack with open beds, if you need one, or Luther Broad in the Elven Gardens can rent you a room for ten gold) and sleep occasionally. Or you can clear out a den of bandits and sleep in their bed- it is not like they will need it anymore.

You do not actually need to sleep (unless you installed a mod that makes sleep required) but it is recommended that you catch some shut-eye every once in a while. You see, as you use skills, you gain experience in them. With ten major skill increases, you gain a level. If you do not sleep, the world remembers your increases and eventually when you do sleep, you will get every level you put off getting. That can be a pain in the butt, so sleep regularly to avoid the build-up.

You should then explore the City Isle. You will find caves and ruins to explore, bad guys to fight, the wandering wolf will attack you. Kill them all and take their loot. This you can sell to Jensine in the Market District, usually for a good price. Rosshan at the Fighting Chance deals in weapons, while at the Best Defense one can sell armor. Don’t forget to haggle! Prices in Tamriel are not fixed, and the merchants of Tamriel are like businessmen anywhere- always looking to buy cheap and sell expensive. Your wares will be no different.

Once you have some armor and a good weapon, it might be a good idea to report to the Bloodworks under the Arena and join as a gladiator. Each fight is one to the death, but it will usually be theirs, and not yours. You cannot take equipment for your defeated foe, but fighting does earn you some gold and some experience- very handy to have either. Plus, as a gladiator, the bedrolls in the Bloodworks are free to sleep in.

Outside the City Isle are several cities. Visit them all. Join the Fighters Guild, or the Mages Guild or both. Each has its own quest line to offer, as well as free food and beds. Free food can be made into potions and sold for quick cash, when needed. Nice, eh? One can even join the Thieves Guild, if one knows how. I have become a Master Thief, so I know how, but am not permitted to reveal the initiation to those who have not been through it. I can tell you this though- talk to the beggars of the Imperial City. Be nice to them, charm them, give them coins, and maybe, just maybe, they will give you the Golden Tip.

I wrote earlier that it is important to choose wisely when deciding class and race, but if thou has chosen incorrectly, all is not lost. It is simply a bit more difficult to do what you want to do. Difficult, but not impossible. My Viking began as a light-armored raider, then turned into a heavy battletank before deciding to try Magic. Along the way he became a thief, and from thief to the Arena Champion before returning to the Fighters Guild fold. He is a Master Thief, a Master Wizard, the Champion of the Fighters Guild, and the Grand Champion of the Arena, all at the same time. This may say something about my indecisiveness over my class, or reveal an astounding aptitude and breadth of interest. It also serves as proof that you are what you want to become, not what you were.

Total freedom of action. I love it!

After a bit of experience, say earning maybe seven to ten levels, it might be time to think about heading to the city of Kvatch and starting the Main Quest. You do not have to, though not doing so will mean missing out on a lot of loot and interesting experiences. I waited a bit too long, and had to face the toughest of all, every time. However, I did end up with the best of loot and the richest hauls.

I can sense confusion. I shall explain. Oblivion levels up with you. As a pup just out of the litter, the beasts and monsters you encounter will be small and easily killed- like you. However, the first time your Flare spell rips into an imp and drops it, or your warhammer flattens the wolf dogging your legs, you will feel like a god. But as you get stronger, so does the world. Bandits will be of your level, whether you are level two or level twenty. The creatures you encounter will also rise in toughness and strength. This helps prevent the game from becoming dull or boring.

Some advice: make potions, collect repair hammers, refit after every encounter, and take absolutely everything you can. I created potions to allow me to carry almost a ton- my Viking never left a red cent behind. My Mercantile Skill shot sky-high relatively quickly as each item traded gained me experience. It took time and patience to sell a hundred silver arrows one at a time, but the experience gained made it worth it.

There are hundreds of ingredients scattered throughout the world. Each has up to four effects, revealed as your character grows in alchemical knowledge. Combine any two with the same effect to make a potion. Learn really fast which restore lost health, cure diseases, and restore fatigue and carry five to ten of these with you. My character is sometimes called Amalric the Apothecary due to the dozens of potions he totes around. Eating an ingredient gives you a bit of experience. Making a potion gives much more. So make as many potions as you can- even if you do not like the effect. Sell those you do not wish- remember to haggle!- and soon you will be a good merchant as well as a bit wealthy.

Your armor will take damage, and your weapons will lose their effectiveness with use. You will bleed more with damaged armor, and dull weapons do not cut as deep. Use repair hammers to help bring them back up to speed. Each bang on the hammer will also boost your armorer experience, but also use up the hammer. Masters of Armorers do not use up their hammers, but all others will. But hey, the choice is to watch your sword break from lack of repair and become useless, or fix it. Which do you prefer?

After every battle or encounter, repair your gear, rest to let your fatigue and magicka regenerate, and bring yourself up to full health. Remain at tip-top as long as you can, and when you take damage or wounds, fix it as soon as the foe is dead. This is critical to survival- the routines you learn now will probably stay with you for a while.

Once you have cleared a dungeon or a ruin of foes, it is time to collect the loot. Pay day! I like to pick up as much as I can then bring it to the entrance, drop it all, then go get more. I repeat this until all has been collected and assembled. Oblivion has a neat trick- if you move something, it will stay there forever. So I take everything of value and bring it to the front door. Then I load up on the things that have the best cash-to-weight ratio until well past I can carry no more, drink a Clean Up Crew Brew potion (Fortifying Strength and granting Feather, a ‘lighten the load’ effect) and run like the wind to the nearest merchant for sale. I repeat and repeat. It is no wonder I was a Master of Mercantile (which gets the best prices, by the way) so damned early… I could also afford to buy every house in the game and then some. Vikings love silver and gold.

If you find Oblivion to your liking and wish to travel to the other provinces, I would recommend the mystical disc Daggerfall, which takes place in Breton High Rock, Redguard which takes place in arid Hammerfell, Morrowind, which takes place in the Dark Elf province of the same name, and Skyrim, the roof of the world where Dirt meets Sky, and one of the coldest reaches on Nirn. Bring a thick bearskin coat. The latest installment- Elder Scrolls Online takes you back to a previous era before the Empire, where three alliances are fighting each other to create the first Empire.

Another interesting thing about Oblivion- and to a certain extent the other Elder Scroll games as well- is the incredible opportunities to improve the world. Not just through defeating the bad guys, or the good guys if you intend to play evil, but in modifying the game. There are hundreds if not thousands of mods for these games, ranging from weather packs to new weapons and armor to total overhauls. The disc even includes the Construction Set, allowing you to tweak your game or create your own mods and quests. It really is quite amazing. Once you enter the portals, you might never want to leave.

Thus I say again, Welcome to Tamriel!

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII
Total War Heaven » Forums » Bardic Circle - War Stories & AAR forum » Sepia Joust IX: How Do I Play This? (Submissions Scroll)
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