A Fool In Morrowind, Day 2 – Granny

By Alec Meer on June 24th, 2009 at 11:08 am.

The story so far is here. I’ll admit I’m still honing the tone of this ultro-series, but I suspect anyone turned off by the rambly first part should dig this one more.

I didn’t have to wait long to find some new trousers. There’s a pretty simple rule if you’re looking for trouble (and the cash rewards that usually result from it) in a place like Vvardenfell: find a cave. Nice people don’t live in caves, or behind sinister doorways built into the mountainside, or stalactite-chic, or whatever you want to call it. Bandits, skeletons and trolls do, however, and those are all guys I can stab in the face with impunity.

I stumbled across a likely-looking coastal cave pretty soon after my awkward trouser incident, and lo and behold, it was full of angry slavers. Ooh, my first proper fight! I may have looked openly ridiculous, but thanks to my burgeoning thief skills and the accidental gifts of that wizard-from-the-sky, I was decked out in some pretty decent kit. Biff! All fall down. A few nicknacks looted from the three corpses, a few slaves freed (only because it was convenient, mind – I was in this wretched cave for trousers, not philanthropy), a mild improvement to my short blade skills and – yes – garments for my lower half. Annoyingly, they didn’t match the rest of my Chitin get-up, but at least I didn’t look like a pervert anymore.

I was badly beaten up, however – those slavers hit pretty hard. Lacking a home to go to and too tight to rent a room at the inn, I decided to recover by having a kip in the now-empty cave, amongst the naked corpses of the slavers. Snooooooze.

A mere hour later, I was rudely awakened. In front of me lurked a man in black, dagger drawn. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t there to tuck me in. Scuffle, stab, thump, thwack. It was a long and clumsy fight, and I survived only thanks to a health potion I must have five-finger-discounted at some point. For a guy whose sole combat experience a mere hour earlier had been an unsuccessful assault on an innocent horse, I seemed to be doing pretty well for myself now.

Best of all, my defeated assassin had some truly excellent trousers – a neat little all-black number. Not to mention an assortment of armour pieces that put my current garb to shame, and a vicious-looking blade. I suppose I should have been worried that mysterious strangers were following me into random caves and trying to kill me in my sleep, but right now I was far more interested in free clothes. Check me out:

The great trouser crisis averted, I felt it was now time to move on from this one (slightly wounded) horse town. As I once more wandered away, I stumbled across a well-dressed corpse. One casual rifle through his pockets later, it was clear he was the missing taxman I’d been told about a while back. Oh yes, I was supposed to look for this guy, wasn’t I? I hesitated. Someone would surely want to know that he was dead. I should go back.

On the other hand, he had 200 gold on him, and I was currently headed away from town. My conscience and my laziness fought a brief battle, but the latter won handily. I satisfied myself by muttering some confused irony about helping myself to a taxman’s money, and moved on.

The landscape soon changed from swamp and forests to something altogether odder, and altogether prettier. Giant mushroom glades towered above me, and it was clear this was far more alien a land than it had first appeared. It was whilst I was gawping at my newly fungal surroundings that I first bumped into Granny.

It was unclear quite how she’d come to be in the middle of nowhere, but she begged my help to get out of it. She was seeking some shrine miles away, and needed an escort. Where others would see the delight of performing a good deed, I saw only money. This old broad looked rich – she’d be sure to pay me handsomely for this almighty hike across the deadly wilderness. Sure, Granny, let’s go.

What I hadn’t planned for was quite how far away her shrine was. Walking it was a slog. Fortunately, at least I had one thing to ease my boredom: Granny had to walk it too. Poor, tired Granny, on her ancient legs. So, chivalrously, I decided to make the journey as hard for her as possible.

Come on, Granny! Come on!

That’s it, Granny – just a little further now…

I think I know a shortcut, Granny, through this spooky ravine. Don’t mind those snakes.

Up here, Granny – yes, up this near-vertical cliff face. It’ll be quicker than the road, really.

The woman seemed tireless, but the aimless, drawn-out rambling was clearly getting to her. Once in a while, she’d begin to run in crazy circles or inexplicably backtrack. Each time, I ran back to the juddering geriatric, and demanded she follow me anew. Come on, Granny. This way, dear.

By Christ, I was bored of walking by now. So, I sought further distractions. During a haunted cave sojourn en route (I told Granny to wait outside), I’d ended up kitted out with a skeleton archer’s bow, so I aimed it idly at local wildlife as I wandered by. I truly had no intention to kill anything after The Duckling Incident, but I did casually test out my William Tell skills on a cute ickle bunny wabbit foraging at the side of the road.

I missed.

As the arrow struck the rabbit square in the side, mercifully failing to deliver a fatal blow, all hell broke loose. The animal tried to run, and from behind me came a banshee wail. Granny was furious. Just for a second, I worried she was some extreme animal rights activist, and that I’d have to fight her to death because of one wounded bunny. I drew my sword and sighed. This was not going well. Granny charged ferociously – and ran right past me.

As I looked on, with mixed horror and hilarity, she rained blows down upon the poor rabbit, with her bare, wrinkled hands. Goodness me – it seemed I had my own personal, arthritic bodyguard, willing to fight to the death for whatever honour she thought I had. This would be fun. Unfortunately, her puny fists seemed incapable of finishing off the tortured beast, nor could I lure her away from her confused vengeance in order that we might continue our strange journey. This could go on forever. I sighed again, rolled my eyes and cocked another arrow.

Later.

Finally, we reached the damned shrine. Granny duly trotted over to me, and I readied my wallet for what would surely be an extravagant reward.

200 gold? 200 gold? You’ve got to be kidding. Even a novice thief such as I could have earned that in a heartbeat back in town, and without having to trek across the wilderness for an age. Grannyyyyyyyy!

No, I can’t do this. I mustn’t do this. I’m no saint, but there are rules. Rules! But…. 200g?

Fate intervened, and oddly so. As Granny bimbled around her shrine, a large bat made a beeline towards her, out of nowhere. By the time I’d grumpily put my steel shortsword away, I looked up to find war had broken out. Granny vs bat, to the death. No fault of my own, but I should probably help, right?

I must have been distracted by something. Maybe I was washing my hair. Whatever it was, I just couldn’t seem to make it over to miserly old Granny in time. Already weakend by her comical scuffle with the bunny, she didn’t last long. Bye-bye, Granny. Bye-bye.

Victorious, the dastardly bat then turned its murderous attention towards me. I coolly swatted it to the ground with a single swordswipe, and strode over to the old woman’s corpse.

Poor Granny didn’t have any more money on her, but she did have a fetching yellow skirt. Turns out I could wear it over my assassin trousers, too. It matched my dildo-hat nicely. Perhaps I was just overcompensating for that embarrassing time I spent bare-legged.

Next time: the city.

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52 Comments »

  1. Jody Macgregor says:

    Reading this is more fun than actually playing Morrowind again. Well played, sir. Well played.

  2. Bukowski The Cat says:

    Wow, brilliant stuff. After reading your story of a madman in Morrowind that last pic made me laugh hysterically.

  3. Dood says:

    Oh sweet, you found black MC Hammer pants.

  4. Inanimotion says:

    I truly do want to play Morrowind again after raeding this. But like Jody said, reading it is more fun than actually playing it again D:

  5. Major Disaster says:

    Wasn’t too sure whether to bother reading this after day 1, however glad I did, excellent stuff!

  6. unclelou says:

    Not read it yet, I was just amused about today’s tagline – “Rock, Paper, Shotgun: the trunks are too wide”. :)

  7. Bob says:

    That had me in tears :D Keep this going!

  8. Acosta says:

    Seeing the pics of the granny running the mountains made me laugh hard… in public. Thanks Alec.

  9. Ayekay says:

    those slavers hit pretty hard

    Don’t they just. I was a mage of some kind first playthrough, and they handed me my head.

    Gratz on wrestling Morrowind’s NPC pathfinding to the ground.

  10. Tony says:

    FUCK YES COLOVIAN FUR HELMS

  11. Fede says:

    Awesome. Run, Granny, run!

  12. harvb says:

    That last picture sort of looks like he’s had his wicked way with poor, dear Granny, slotted her and left her to die, but all in a somewhat silent movie villainesque manner.

    I chortled anyway.

  13. Fat says:

    That b*tch deserved it, the cheapstake!

  14. Davee says:

    Haha! Absolutley epic. I laughed out loud several times! Now… I really must play Morrowind :)

  15. M.P. says:

    Mmm…. giant mushrooms! :)

  16. AK says:

    More, more!

  17. Moriarty70 says:

    Anyone know if most of these mods work with the Steam version? I had GOTY edition for x-box, but you know.

  18. Elman says:

    Aw, you should use a mod so the Brotherhood from Tribunal won’t start attacking you since the beginning for no reason, giving you free powerful armor…

    Other than that, nice diary xD I’m enjoying it.

  19. oceanclub says:

    “Bye-bye, Granny. Bye-bye.”

    Oh my God; it’s only day 2 and you’re already a monster. A. Monster.

    P.

  20. Kinsley says:

    Heh. Didn’t I say about the assassins? I warned you. They’ll keep on coming too, until you ask someone about them and traipse off to the council hall in Ebonheart.

  21. Jazmeister says:

    It’s weird how the expansions all have really odd, stupid ways of pulling you off into their worlds. What if you’re starting fresh? Like, you just emerge from the sewer in Cyrodil and “someone slips a note into your pocket” or “you overhear…”

    I resent being read a description of a horse approaching me and stuff happening, in a dialogue box, in a game as lush as Oblivion, ffs.

    Anyway, this was very funny, especially the dildo hat bit. Lulz were had, sir.

  22. Clovis says:

    Wow, this was amazingly funny.

    Re: all black uniform. It is against RPG rules to have such a cool outfit so early in a game.

  23. MrBejeebus says:

    Grrrr RPS Alec don’t make me spend even more money now, I want to play it now…

    I have to say though – the comments about the reading being more enjoyable are most likely true

    Dark Brotherhood are coming for you now :)

  24. Serondal says:

    This is much more interesting than the last one, which I knew would be the case. Loved how you made granny run around the hills lol.

    I think that is a first time I’ve ever heard of anyone cocking an arrow ( I think that is generally used for a gun, not a bow an arrow) I could be wrong, maybe it is diffrent in Angleland. :P Over here we would say “I quickly knocked an arrow” Not “cocked an arrow” Which means something totally diffrent lol.

  25. Tei says:

    hahahaha… great!

  26. Mr. Brand says:

    We cock arrows, and we do it without remorse. That’s just how Europe works.

    I fear for the grannies of Vvardenfell with Alec running around. And the bunnies.

  27. Warduke says:

    Well done Alec, keep it coming!

  28. Matzerath says:

    You’ll find that most of the missions in Morrowind, particularly the escort missions, are really thinly veiled tests of one’s resolve not to kill innocents.

  29. Marlowe says:

    Final frame: the David Bowie of the Ashes to Ashes video crossed with his appearance in Labyrinth.

    Also, on the accidental death of a taxman front:

    Colonel Lucas: Did you not assassinate a government tax collector in Quang Tri province, June 19th, 1968?… Captain?

    Willard: Sir, I am unaware of any such activity or operation – nor would I be disposed to discuss such an operation if it did in fact exist, sir.

  30. Tom says:

    I really wanted to like Bethy’s games but I find them so boring.
    Morrowing, Oblivion, Fallout 3 – all of em are just dull games. Can’t figure out why though. It’s not for a lack of story, which can make me enjoy even the worst executed games.

  31. Tei says:

    @Tom: no problem, mate. Not everyone as to like all games. Anyway Morrowind is not a story game, is a sandbox game, a world where you live. Somewhat like a sim game, you impose you own “quest”. There are people that want to steal all spoons of the game, others want to be rich, or powerfull. The main quest is just a nice element, but is not important.

  32. Jockie says:

    In some ways these articles are turning more into a comic dissection of the flawed RPG AI in openworld games than say, Johns look at playing Kotor as a bastard.

    The problem with sandbox is they have sort of global AI rules that when in the context of an explorer or an adventure seems completely ludicrous and draw you away from any sense of actually roleplaying (playing a role, i’m not on about stats).

    Damned fine reading either way.

  33. Alec Meer says:

    You’re very right, Jockie – but at the same time, I’m extrapolating those strange AI foibles into bona fide personalities and events I experience on my travels. Somehow, they add more life (and anecdotes) to the game than rock-solid AI would.

  34. sinister agent says:

    Much better. The first day was a bit bleh, aye, but the beginning of this sort of thing usually is if you’re writing it as you go, and can’t whack up a good start with the benefits of hindsight. I salute your killing of the assassin-type blokie, though. I’m pretty sure I waved a club at him, then panicked and ran until he left me alone.

  35. Funky Badger says:

    Serondal: nocked, isn’t it?

  36. DMJ says:

    I have the Collector’s Edition of Morrowind on my desk. Never played it. I officially consider you to be playing it for me, so that I don’t have to give up such a monumental slice of my days.

  37. Nick says:

    That hat.. when my friend played it he used to run around in that hat and nothing else (with the better bodies and all genetalia options) .. oh and a claymore.

  38. Serondal says:

    knocked nocked cocked corked forked (A elf cuckoled an arrow into his finely crafted bow) I don’t know, I’m horrible with words that sound a like and I will admit that openly. I like to write fantasy stories and it often is a problem for me. For example just the other day I postd a story on the bay12game forums and replaced the word Sweet with Sweat which made no sense in that context.

    Luckily there are people out there (like you maybe) to whom these sorts of things jump out like giant red stop signs and say “WTF , this isn’t right” The more of those kinds of people that read my story and then TELL me where I made a mistake the better the story will end up.

    I know I use these ” ; ” to much too but I don’t know how to stop it.

  39. Tom says:

    Haha! I’m surrounded by people wondering why I’m crying with laughter!

  40. peter says:

    Very good read, thank ye sir!

  41. Serondal says:

    Granny was probably going to try and kill you once you got where you were going any ways. Anyone that old who can climb hills like that and fist fights bunny rabbits can NOT be trusted.

  42. phat_chopps says:

    Damn you, Alec Meer! Two episodes in and you’ve just made me spend £20 I don’t have (£13 for this, plus another £7 for Evil Genuis when I saw it was on Steam).

    I guess my cat’s going hungry for a couple of days…

  43. malkav11 says:

    I’ve always been really irritated by Bethesda’s determination to make damn sure you know you have the expansion(s)/DLC installed by throwing up huge neon sign equivalents all over the place. In Morrowind, it’s legions of assassins after your blood (for Tribunal – which is at least -slightly- less overt) or every single person in the entire game badgering you to go to Solstheim (for Bloodmoon). In Oblivion, it’s sudden new quests and journal updates three seconds after starting a new game (or loading a game with the new DLC installed). For crying out loud, Bethesda, it would take so little to insert them unobtrusively into the game world. It’s clearly possible, since people who aren’t you do it all the time in mods.

    I can only assume it’s some misplaced desire not to break mods by modifying files. To which I say, sure, okay, don’t modify huge swathes of existing landscape. But a couple of subtle tweaks to an NPC or two to point you to the new areas surely would, at most, require a couple minutes of a modder’s time to restore compatibility.

  44. Noc says:

    malkav11: Since the game expansions tend to come out after the base game, the assumption seems to be that people will pick up the DLC after playing through the game first – which is the most common pattern for it, honestly.

    So the expansions aren’t supposed to be an unobtrusive modification to the game world, the way mods are. They aren’t even meant to add new facets to a subsequent run-through of the game! Instead, they’re essentially a new “game” tacked on to the perimeter of the existing one. “Expansions,” if you will. The reason they’re telegraphed all over the game world is so people who’ve just installed an expansion, and presumably want to get to playing it, can jump right in and do so with a minimum of fuss, and with in-game directions.

    While this makes things a little weird if you play through from the beginning with the expansions installed long before you want to play them it does fit the pattern for how most expansion buyers presumably picked them up. This is similar to why the equipment and enemies scale to much higher levels, and why they aren’t worried at throwing the fantastic Dark Brotherhood Armor at you right off the bat; they’re designed for people who’ve already played quite a bit of game-in-progress.

    Which, you know, isn’t really a bad thing.

  45. fuggles says:

    I have to agree with Malkav11, it’s poor design. I bought Morrowind and Tribunal as a 2 for 1. I couldn’t sleep in the game for days as every time I did, one of those dark twats would just kill me dead. I even tried running into town and the guards just ignored my plight, which sucked more.
    Ultimately I stayed awake until I got enough potions to compensate. After that I then had amazing and valuable armour and the game was really easy.

    I don’t care what the COMMON pattern is, have me wake up next to a note or something, just don’t murder me relentlessly for having the audacity to buy two of your products at once.

  46. Moonracer says:

    Great stuff so far. There is a part of me that wants another romp through that crazy world now.

  47. Unlucky Irish says:

    To be fair while it is annoying to have deadly assassins sent after you when you are (quite literally in this case) fresh off the boat, murders are rarely attempted at the victims convenience.

  48. Monele says:

    Getting much better :)

    Also, you’ve killed a duck… and a bunny. Now you must kill a duckbunny.

  49. Sic says:

    This makes me wanna play Morrowind again, until I remember the horrid game mechanics that made both TES3 and TES4 only fun if you disregarded the game and (in character) went around picking flowers. To be fair, Morrowind had a main quest worth doing, it does deserve honorable mention. Oblivion was a bucket of shite in that department though.

    Good thing that asshat Rolston isn’t designing the next one. Good riddance. There is such potential in vast beautiful outdoor RPG’s. They have the basics down, the engine, the forest and the cities, all they need is to make a proper game on top of it. With Rolston gone, this might happen. Could be one of the all time great games we have ahead of us here.

    [Then came the announcement that TES5 is an MMO]

    Fuuuuuuuu

  50. bill says:

    God i hated those assassins.

    Like a lot of people I bought the GOTY edition… so i also died every time i slept, making me reload and reload and reload.
    And then i ended up with armour that made the beginning really easy and boring, or which could be sold for a fortune… which meant that for the entire rest of the time i played it i NEVER found light armour as good… which also took out the “getting cool things” element of the game.
    Then a bit later they gave me a daedric katana and made most of the short blades bad by comparison.

    I don’t know if it was due to a mod, but they always appeared behind me and instantly fired a one shot kill magic blast, that was almost undodgeable…