A Fool In Morrowind, Day 5 – Big Jobs

By Alec Meer on June 29th, 2009 at 4:58 pm.

The Diamond Job

The armed guard wasn’t the problem. The child was. I’d successfully lockpicked my way through the upstairs door, sneaking into this alchemist’s store from their unwatched balcony. The guard, I knew, was downstairs, watching the front door. If I stuck to the shadows, I should be able to get past him to the storeroom, where the jewel awaited. Easy. Straight in, straight out, cash reward, and if I was lucky a spare diamond for myself.

But the child almost ruined it.

There had been reports that Vvardenfell was once a sad, strange place with with nary a youth in sight, but these days children were all over the towns. One, a teenage boy, was inhabiting the upstairs bedroom of this shop. He spotted me the second I entered the room. Rather than shouting or running, he simply stood stock-still at the top of the stairs. I had no way down.

Unless… dark thoughts flickered across my self-interested mind, and I placed a hand on the hilt of my dagger. No. There had to be a better way around this than physically carving a thoroughfare through a faintly creepy Aryan child.

Instead, I skulked in the shadows, and waited. For hours, I waited. It was boring as all hell, but somehow it made me feel like a professional – just waiting for my chance to strike. I must have dozed off at some point, for when I came to around 4am, the child was gone. I didn’t know where. Was this his home? Was he a thief like me? Had I imagined him, even? No matter – the important thing was that this tyke-obstacle was now gone.

I crawled downstairs, coolly cast my Chameleon spell to sneak right past the guard’s eyeline, and swept everything in sight – including two diamonds. O frabjous day! – into my bags. Then I just walked right out. If the guard was surprised, he didn’t show it. He was a consummate professional – just like me.

The Mansion Job

I was a thief enabling another thief – obtaining the key to a locked-tight mansion for some sinister high-up figure in the Guild. I never found out why, nor did I establish why my employer couldn’t do it himself.

The job was easy, a simple pick-pocket from a drunken councilman. He never even saw my face. Curious, I used the key to snoop around the mansion in question myself. Whatever it was my employer wanted from here, I couldn’t find it. I idly hoped his intentions weren’t too insidious. Who lived in this place? What did he want with them?

Still, a job’s a job, right?


The Artifacts Job

It takes a thief to catch a thief, as they say. A delivery of stolen Merman artifacts was due from the tiny fishing village of Hla Oad, but the contact hadn’t come through. It didn’t take long to find him. Annoyingly, he was as cool as a cucumber – I’d been secretly spoiling for a fight, something direct after all this skulking around. What artifacts, he asked. Ah, go on, I replied, piling on the charm. A few well-timed compliments later and he was calling me Friend. The bastard still wouldn’t tell me where the artifacts where, though. He did, however, confirm he hadn’t delivered them. It didn’t take much reading between the lines to realise the smug oik didn’t intend to, either. So, when my ‘friend’ turned his back, I snuck through the trapdoor behind him. Where else would one keep ancient, mystic artifacts than in a sinister underground cave system?

Alas, there were no artifacts here. There was, though, a nest of criminals. I turned on the charm again, but none of them knew anything about my target. One did, however, request I do a job for him – to deliver a slave to a man of ill-repute. No, of course I won’t: I’m naughty, not a monster.

As I turned to leave the cave, the slave – a skinny female Khajiit – watched me. She didn’t say anything, didn’t even gesture sadly – she just watched, as though this was exactly what she expected. Something flipped in the pit of my belly. I couldn’t just leave her there. Equally, I couldn’t just pick a fight with the slaver and his nearby chum: I was pretty sure I could take ‘em, but to simply start stabbing would contravene my flimsy moral code. I gamely attempted to provoke him into a rage and attack me first, but I couldn’t get him past Very Grumpy. But what if…

Despite our war of words, he agreed to let me deliver the slave after all. I led the haggard creature out of the caves, and as soon as we were out of sight tried to assuage her fears. The poor wretch was terrified, and could barely speak to me. A few friendly words later – I was becoming quite the Persuader by this point – and she seemed to realise my intentions weren’t as a monstrous as the slavers’.

Tell me, I said. Finally, she revealed the slavers weren’t interested in her after all – only what she carried in her belly. She was a drug mule, and expected brutal punishment whether or not her consignment reached its target. Her one hope was the Argonian mission, an enclave of charitable lizardmen, in the far-off outpost of Ebonheart. Argonian Mission? Clearly the catlike Khajit were not the only non-humans this island had treated unkindly. I was glad there was a place to take care of such abused folk.

Ebonheart, though? I thought back to my travels with poor old Granny, and how difficult it had been to lead a frail, confused soul across so many miles of hostile terrain. Gah. Would it be wrong to stuff a tortured catlady into a mailbox?

By a miracle, a woman at the local dock offered sea passage direct to Ebonheart. I began to wonder if a higher power was interfering in my life – leading me off my path of mild darkness, making me into – ugh- a do-gooder. Fortunately, I didn’t seem to have any compunction about robbing everyone in this village blind, so this shouldn’t muck things up too much. A sign is a sign, after all. So we sailed to Ebonheart, a strangely bland town of military brickwork. The Mission took the Khajiit slave in gladly, and I felt good about myself – the first time I’d done so in this land. They also paid me well. Hmm – good deeds and profit aren’t mutually exclusive after all…

There was still the matter of those artifacts, however. Back to Hla Oad I sailed, and back to the thieving thief’s den I went. He seemed pleased to see me- the feeling was not mutual. I searched the room again, and just before giving up all hope, imagining my career in tatters, I spied a chest hidden behind a few barrels. Aha. Gotcha, dunderhead.

The second his back was turned – literally, the second; he didn’t take his eye off it for long – I prised the box open (with the help of a magic ring that temporarily boosted my meagre lockpicking skill. Hurrah for magic rings!) and made off with my trophies. Both my wallet and my soul had profited, and without even a drop of blood spilt. This was a good day.

Tomorrow, I shall celebrate by being a dick to someone.

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47 Comments »

  1. Thirith says:

    God, all of this is making me want to reinstall Morrowind – even though I know exactly that there’s so much I didn’t enjoy about the game…

  2. NoRCoN says:

    Me too, Thirith. But I have the same problem every time with Morrowind and Oblivion. I get too caught up in the side quests and never finish the main story arc. Side quests are what help make RPG’s great, but they also put me off a bit.

  3. dtgreen says:

    Installed Morrowind after a recommendation from a friend, loving it so far. Funnily enough, I’ve just completed the diamond mission myself. These diaries are a great read!

  4. Feintlocke says:

    In the case of Oblivion, the side quests were easily better than the main story. I much preferred wandering into each town and seeing what the locals were up to than warping my way across the map to the next Oblivion Gate.

    I can’t find my Morrowind box, this is tragic!

  5. Stitched says:

    Would the author consider a seperate thread/story just for the mods installed (updated as needed) ?

    I’ve installed the Steam version, myself, and notice some mods just won’t work at all.

  6. Clovus says:

    I thought of this diary last night when I bought Dark Messiah of Might and Magic for $5. After getting through the tutorial and cyclops eye poking bits you get to wander around a peaceful city. I quickly starting shooting arrows into people, dropping barrels on their head, and smacking them with staffs. This requires a re-load since making the guards mad = FAIL.

    So, apparently you can’t hurt the nice people. I did some exploring and found a little room with a fire in it. Just outside that room a lady was washing the blood out of some of the clothes from the cyclops battle. Some weird CRPG-playing part of my brain quickly realized that there were NO GUARDS around. Is stabbing citizenry wrong if a guard doesn’t see? Apparently not.

    Dark Messiah is a Half-life mod and uses havok physics, so you can pick up corpses. I started dragging her into the room with the fire when the door opened and a guard walked out. Oh noes! Except… he didn’t really mind that I was dragging a body. So, I threw her onto the fire and she actually burned. Nice.

    Guards, and citizens, also don’t seem to mind someone dragging around a burnt body. They do get all pissy if you actually throw the corpse at them though. I even dragged it with me through the gates to the castle where they were having a feast for me! Somehow she got lost before the cutscene of the feast actually played though. In the morning she was gone…

    Anyway, I like trying to figure out the weird rules of games like this. When can I steal, when can I stab, when can I just rough someone up a little, how good of a memory do the guards/police have, how fast does word of my exploits spread, etc.

  7. ascagnel says:

    @stitched: there already is one. Two, actually. They were posted before the adventure started, and checking through the archive should find what you’re looking for.

    They’re EXACTly like the ones HERE and HERE. ;)

  8. Serondal says:

    I never knew you could wait until that guy was drunk to get the key. I thought the game was broken becasue every time I tried to rob him he’d see me so I had to end up killing him ; P

  9. CakeAddict says:

    Ha! I can remember the first time I did the artifact job took me a long time to find the chest and of course I was very annoyed when I did find it, for it was right next to the guy. (well, close anyway)

    I don’t think I ever did the drug slave quest though.. hmmm..

  10. Hukimato says:

    I love reading these kind of diaries (and would love to do one some day). Can anyone point me out to others worth reading? Like Alice and Kev or Bannable Offenses.
    Thanks in advance.

  11. Geoff says:

    I’ll second the “Oblivion side quests better than main quest” sentiment. I loved Oblivion while I was playing it. I think I poured about 100 hours into it, and while doing so felt it was really something special, not deserving of all the hate that gets thrown its way.

    But barely half-way into the main quest, I had become the grand high leader of the Thieves’ Guild, Fighters’ Guild, Mages’ Guild, and Dark Brotherhood. Oh and Arena Champion. And Crusader of the Nine or something like that. And Madgod. It seemed ludicrous that I could be all these things. I loved that the game let me do *anything*… but perhaps it shouldn’t let me do *everything*?

    And at that point, the “main quest” just seemed to hold no interest any longer, and with a bit of sadness, I just stopped playing.

  12. Pemptus says:

    Great, you did it – I’m reinstalling Morrowind. Mainly because of the inspiring thiefy bits, I’m a sucker for thiefy bits in a game. Thank you, RPS, for the potential hundreds of hours of perfectly good life drained away… provided I don’t bounce back from the game again.

    Anyway, I’m looking for a mod that balances the broken levelling system and eliminates the tedious flow-breaking math. RPS readers with Morrowind experience, I ask you: is one any good? It’s been recommended a few times here and there.

  13. Pemptus says:

    I royally suck at using tags. Sigh.

  14. superking208 says:

    “…physically carving a thoroughfare through a… child.”

    He’s like Stephen King in his own whimsical English right.

  15. Clockwork Harlequin says:

    Enjoying the series more now that it’s a bit more somber. Will you succumb to the temptation of silliness tomorrow, though?

  16. wheres_my_gun says:

    enjoying these a lot, and will probably end up reinstalling for another playthrough

  17. Alec Meer says:

    Clockwork – the tone will change from piece to piece. I want to keep ‘em varied so youse and I both don’t get bored.

  18. Stitched says:

    @ascagnel – Thanks.

    The Morrowind Code Patch doesn’t seem to like the Steam executable at all.

    Also, not all of us have Gamespy accounts and want to register. It’s a shame most of the mods listed are all hosted on that site.

  19. Owen says:

    These continue to be a really great read. Nice one Alec. I’m really looking forward to getting hold of Morrowind myself shortly.

  20. Evernight says:

    I have to stop reading these articles… I feel the urges… so long locked away….. the exploration, the mods, the Skooma…. The voices whisper in my head – “Reinstall… just play a few hours” – But I know if I reinstall my life will be over – 100+ hours in at least 3 characters.. I can’t do that again…..

  21. Funky Badger says:

    Big Jobs? Nice.

    Spread the Word.

  22. Kieron Gillen says:

    I’m pleased someone gets it.

    RPS Warriors (Walker=Hammerstein, Me=Ro-Jaws, Jim=Joe Pineapples, Alec=Deadlock)

    KG

  23. Funky Badger says:

    Nice double-cross.

    It would have been a triple if I’d had time… etc

    (And are you saying Jim’s a closet cross dresser?)

  24. Funky Badger says:

    Also: *fears Alec*

  25. MrBejeebus says:

    Bravo, this gets better and better!

    I want to hear about these celebrations though

  26. Alec Meer says:

    Gillen is totally Mek-Quake.

  27. Finn says:

    Can we have an Oblivion one after this? Please Mr. Meer?

  28. Funky Badger says:

    I find thinking (or saying if you’re brave) “Big Jobs” at the end of the Transformers trailer makes the whole experience so much better.

    On-Topic: Morrowind, fuck yeah.

  29. Ed says:

    @Clovus : Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is pretty underrated IMO, I’m in the middle of a second playthrough just now – it’s pretty decent in it’s own right.
    I’m not surprised the guards didn’t respond to you dragging a burnt corpse around though…

    Oh, I should probably install Morrowind at some point, but my first and only attempt to play it involved me getting killed by a wormy thing outside the first town and uninstalling it in a fit of shame and rage.

  30. Gerard says:

    This series is really entertaining and has actually made me reinstall Morrowind, create a new character that is a complete pacifist to see what is possible (not too bad actually) and write about it myself.

    Thanks a bunch for the inspiration and the good reading

  31. DoomMunky says:

    Yeah, this has inspired my own new adventures into Morrowind. Thanks for the unique take on gaming!

  32. Antistar says:

    Nice – I really liked Day 5′s entry.

    But… oh no, I can’t help myself – the lore compels me:

    THEY’RE DWEMER ARTIFACTS, NOT MERMAN ARTIFACTS!

    Phew – I feel better now. Sorry about that.

  33. malkav11 says:

    Huh. I don’t remember the drug mule or the Argonian mission at all. And I definitely did do the thief guild missions (with my warrior – alas for thiefy types, anything you needed for thief guild missions was easy enough to take care of with magic and/or enchanted objects.). Still, it’s an enormous game so I suppose I’m not surprised.

  34. Junior says:

    That last line brought a smile to my face, I’ve felt like that a few times roleplaying as a douche.

  35. Roberto says:

    @Ed What you need to do is spend some time in the first small village you are dropped off in, there is plenty of opporchancity to make some gold there to get some good armour and weapons. For instance in the first room where you choose your class, once you get full control of your character back, walk over to the back shelves, there is a gold platter with a value of 600 gold. Pick it up and quickly drop it on the floor, the guard will run over and reprimand you for theft but says he will let you off with a warning and take any stolen items you are carrying. Once he walks away, pick up the platter you dropped on the floor and no one will say anything. You can sell this off at the local shop for a good chunk of change.

  36. Roberto says:

    @malkav11 I didn’t know about the drug mule mission until yesterday. I found the slaver under the shop when I was exploring yesterday but I didn’t take him up on it. I am intrigued as to how it plays out, I may have to return to that cavern at some point in the future but I don’t know if the shopkeepers will be too happy to see me.

  37. Guernican says:

    “This was a good day”

    And it appears that you didn’t even have to use your AK.

  38. dhex says:

    “But I have the same problem every time with Morrowind and Oblivion. I get too caught up in the side quests and never finish the main story arc.”

    is that really a problem, though?

  39. B Rad says:

    I look forward to this every day

  40. CrazedPenguin says:

    @ Stiched: I had the same problem with not having a Gamespy account, so I just Googled each mod name. While doing that I cam across this little article.
    Very useful in general, but I’m afraid a lot of the links are for Filefront (needs subscription). I still got them all together, but you’ll have to google the mod’s titles to download.

  41. wcaypahwat says:

    I feel like im missing out on so much fun.

    I’ve been meaning to install morrowind for a while now. I’ve just been putting it off, because I know what a huge job it will be. I haven’t reinstalled fallout 3 for the same reason…. well, I do have thursday off…

  42. Stitched says:

    I installed the “Children of Morrowind” mod and the game threw me tons of errors saying it was missing a ton of NIF files. Searching the folders, I couldn’t find them so wondered why the archive didn’t contain those files. Removing it from the Data list, of course, fixes the problem. Anyone else have this problem?

  43. exor6st says:

    damnit, your the reason i bought this off steam… and with your log of events burning in my head, the reason im laughing as i play this. I think i might slow down on the game to keep pace with you though :)

  44. Bags says:

    Curse you Alec already tried to install the mods on a windows 7 machine and it threw a fit, need to dig out my old xp disks, this may take some time ;-)

    I’ve got nearly 70 hours done in Fallout 3 and need another rpg fix as I feel it could be finished soon.

  45. Tom Davies says:

    Hello, this is great. Inspired me to start a thief character last night, great fun! Keep up the diary.

  46. John says:

    this is so funny

  47. John says:

    this is so funny, a great series how many are there