A Fool In Morrowind, Day 7 – Powerhat

By Alec Meer on July 3rd, 2009 at 4:51 pm.

Let me tell you about my hat.

  • It is the first thing in I’ve paid for in this land, bar some skill training and a few lockpicks.
  • It cost me 1500 gold pieces, which is more than most shopkeepers even carry. Easily obtained and replaced by a man of my stealthy means, frankly.
  • It’s around a foot and a half tall, made of what appears to be brass, and masks my features entirely with a cold, machine-like visage. Yes, it does appear as though I’m wearing a giant, metal vegetable on my face, but I like the look.
  • It’s of Dwemer (that’s Tamriel’s mysteriously-vanished race of dwarves) origin, which is why it so closely resembles the faces of the Dwemer Centurions, the clockwork guards I encountered yesterday.
  • That it fits me, a lanky Dunmer, so very snugly suggests the widely-held belief that the Dwemer were short of stature is perhaps a myth. Dwarves = tall. Goddit?
  • A purple haze of otherworldly magicks crackles across its surface. In other words, I shimmer, daaaaahling.
  • I can wear my Dark Brotherhood mouth-mask on top of it. This looks agreeably ridiculous, like an grumpy robot doctor.

  • Whilst wearing my hat, I can breathe underwater indefinitely. It doesn’t appear to rust, either.
  • Whilst wearing it, I am completely invisible. Upon performing any action, I turn visible again – but unless it involved attacking someone, no-one will have caught me performing said action.
  • If I remove the hat then put it back on again, my invisibility will immediately be restored.
  • This means I can instantly escape from any fight that’s not going my way.
  • This also means I can steal anything, entirely undetected. I can even lockpick in plain sight whilst wearing it.
  • This hat has changed my life.
  • This hat has made me into a complete and utter bastard.

I give you… Powerhat! Powerhat’s power does, unfortunately come at a price.

First up, for every second I wear it, my reserves of magicka drip away. If I leave it on for a couple of minutes, I’ll be all out of the blue stuff, and unable to cast any spells until I go for a kip and quaff a tonic or two. I can’t say I care. While I respect what magic can achieve, it’s not really my style. I’m good with a shortsword, and I’ve amassed a large collection of trinkets with handy mystical tricks for all occasions. I’m also carrying something in the region of 60 potions on me. Magic? I don’t need no stinkin’ magic.

More annoyingly, it reduces my agility by around 15%. This means I need to remember to take it off whenever I wind up fighting someone, or I’m significantly more likely to ineptly swipe at thin air rather than stick my sword into their ear. It’s scarely a deal-breaker, but having to change hats in the middle of a sword fight doesn’t make me feel like the epic hero I’m surely destined to be. I want the minstrels to sing tales of the Master Thief, the expert swordsman – not “that guy with all the hats.”

It has been a revelation, however. I’ve used it to rob smugglers’ caves bare under their very noses, to miraculously escape from a Daedra Lord I ran into whilst exploring a sinister ruin, and to pick off a pack of corrupt imperial guards who were otherwise dramatically stronger than me, one-by-one.

Most of all, I used it to break into a heavily-guarded vault in the water-bound capital city of Vivec. It contained, along with generous piles of cash, a repository of supremely powerful items accrued by one of the six great houses, of vast value and vast ability. There was more than I could carry, and certainly more than I could use, but I grabbed as much as I could and ran out laughing.

I sold what I didn’t need, and spent the proceeds on training up every skill I could. I also bought a ridiculous number of spells I’ll never use (largely because Powerhat means I’ve got no magicka). Finally, I splashed out almost 10000g on enchanting the best shortsword in my haul with a horrifyingly damage fire attack. I named it Optimus Slice, and it makes me nigh-on unstoppable.

Or so I suspect. I’m just off to test out this theory…

PS – I met a unicorn!

PPS – No, of course I didn’t kill it. What do you think I am? I did have a chat with it, though.

, .

66 Comments »

  1. pepper says:

    Ooooh a Unicorn and a fire sword. Has it become your companion of evil?

  2. Wacky says:

    Should’ve killed the unicorn,it’s blood would’ve let you to live forever!

  3. Herpers says:

    “#
    # That it fits me, a lanky Dunmer, so very snugly suggests the widely-held belief that the Dwemer were short of stature is perhaps a myth. Dwarves = tall. Goddit?”
    Actually, Dwemer armour isn’t armour that the dwarves wore, it’s armour fashioned from destroyed dwemer automotons. That’s why it’s pretty mediocre armour, You gotta assume that armour made by the dwarves would be a bit better than ebony armour made by human hands.

  4. Rob says:

    Shame you didn’t go with enchanting as a major skill. It’s great being able to steal creatures’ souls and make awesome weapons out of them. You probably could have made a more ridiculous looking hat with even more ridiculous powers.

  5. Dislexsick says:

    So, where did you get said hat?

  6. MrBejeebus says:

    I want that hat!

    Also, unicorn horns are magical and will make you win!

  7. CakeAddict says:

    A few of your mods really seem to make the game even more unbalanced with that weird invisible spell and all, but whatever.

    I also tend to NOT rob any of those vaults, you simply get to much gold doing so especially if you do it early in the game of course.

    And how high is your level at the moment?
    Cause it seems a bit to early to go to snowy place yet.. but then again some proper gear can easily fix that.. but still I tend to avoid that place for a while.

  8. KBKarma says:

    I managed to rob that vault through sheer gall, luck, and clipping issues. Also, a sneak in the 90s and a security in similar came in handy. The Skeleton Key helped as well. :D

  9. KBKarma says:

    Took me a few trips to get everything.

    And I STILL didn’t make as much as my accidental haul of nearly one million in gems from one cave. 50 diamonds, 60 emeralds, and nearly 70 Dwemer cogs. Took me nearly an hour to sell all of it.

  10. cliffski says:

    You would have to PAY me to wear a hat like that. Let alone coughing up gold pieces for it.
    It sounds like the same people who tried to charge me £1,200 to fix my car are in the virtual hat trade too…

  11. Jon says:

    So, should I play Morrowind?

  12. Quirk says:

    Make the game even more unbalanced…? Compared to the insane mess of balance you can make with high-level soul gems, a helm of invisibility with drawbacks has a pretty minor impact. My last game had me flying around invisible at breakneck speed (thank the Boots of Blinding Speed and Breton magic resistance for that last one). Occasionally something I came across would need to die, so I’d stop in mid-air, summon something horrible to attack it and pour arrows into it until it stopped moving. It felt rather like I was exploring in God Mode…

  13. teo says:

    Yeah, just make potions to make you better at making potions for a while and then make anything you want. I had over a million heath in like an hour or something. The game wasn’t fun

  14. Alexander Norris says:

    Dwemer are a subterranean subrace of the elves and not dwarves, by the way. :P

    I’m finding these enjoyable. I might start some sort of Empire: Total War game journal one day soon, just to experience the joys of pretending that my avatar has a personality.

  15. ACESandElGHTS says:

    Nice lid, but you must lose that hat. It’s like The One Ring. It has corrupted you. You chatted with the unicorn but you really wanted to drink its blood from a chalice formed from its skull. You were *this* close to doing just that with a dull Swiss army blade too, and you know it.

    Excellent entry. Reminds me of a radio show
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=178
    about the eternal question:
    Would you rather be able to fly, or be invisible?

  16. CakeAddict says:

    @ Teo

    That’s simply exploiting things I doubt they meant to be like that. (This is also fixed by one of alec’s mod I think)

    @ Quirk

    Yeah, they should have made the enchanting weaker but I wasn’t talking about the helm alone Alec’s invisibility spell seems to have been altered to something more powerful usually it’s only useful sneaking things by or escaping (still powerful mind you), when you usually steal something while invisible in front of a npc you get busted.

    But it might just be me I do have mods that fix a lot of the exploits and balance the game more.
    But using over powerful enchants is really your own choice, yes they shouldn’t be there in the first place but it’ still your choice to use them or not.

  17. teo says:

    @CakeAddict my problem was that the game was quite hard from the outset, so I used alchemy to make it easier, but how much easier should I make it? The fact that there was a built in ‘win’ button just ruined it for me because I didn’t want to use it and I didn’t want to not use it.

    It’s like a cheat button in Braid. If it’s built in you’ll probably press it but then you’ll regret it.

  18. Magnus says:

    All this is reminding me why Morrowind was leagues better than its sequel. I wish my copy hadn’t been lost in the post (don’t ask). May have to pay for a new one.

    @ACESandEIGHTS: Invisibility is so much better than flying. After all, with invisibility you could sneak onto a jumbo jet if you wanted to travel.

  19. GC says:

    I’ve always found the magical glow ugly and modded it away.

  20. Xercies says:

    Where did you get that hat? that would look lovely on my thief.

  21. DMJ says:

    I want a Powerhat in real life.

    Only if it has the same effects though. Naturally.

  22. Elyscape says:

    @Magnus: Yeah, but then you’d need to hide in the bathroom or something.

  23. Mike says:

    Where did you get that? That looks exactly like the sort of thing I pined for in Morrowind. :(

  24. Jazmeister says:

    The first thing I used the TES3 construction set for was to make an epic fucking sword. I embedded it at the bottom of the river in Balmora. I actually forgot about it :/

  25. Tei says:

    Wtf is that? dog-pet-blades?

  26. Frank Snow says:

    Optimus Slice is a great name for an enchanted sword.

    Naming enchanted items was one of my favourite pastimes in Oblivion. My best weapon was a glass sword that dealt vicious fire damage. I called it “Pyroclastic Fantastic”.

  27. Jockie says:

    I had special enchanted Pauldrons, one of which unlocked doors and the other made me fly, which is quite impressive for a piece of shoulder armour.

  28. SlappyBag says:

    Do you like my hat? Like my hat? Made from real vampire bat!

    I am really enjoying this series – keep it up!

  29. Heliocentric says:

    I was always very functional about how i named items, stealth pants, haste hat, shoes of regeneration.

    Read like a d&d item manual, made finding things easy though.

    My cursed items were always more creative names, i’d sell them or pick pocket them onto people who would wear them for some advantage, killing them, making them a bad trader etc.

  30. Jeremy says:

    I’m pretty certain this play through isn’t about balance. I enjoy reading these diaries, it seems like this is kinda how a real thief / rogue, etc. might actually live in this world. What thief would worry about balance and making sure the game(life) is hard enough to present a challenge? I certainly wouldn’t drop money and weapons to make sure my enemies have a chance.

  31. ACESandElGHTS says:

    Those are baaaaadass items, Helio, stealth pants sound freakin’ awesome, considering the sound like the invisible pants that I wear all the time at home.

    Speaking of enchanted swords, what’s the legendary master thief in Oblivion? Gray Fox? I swear to you when I first met that guy, I pickpocketed his fancy sword, and then kicked myself when I forgot to save, because I was NEVER able to do it again.
    True story.

  32. ACESandElGHTS says:

    Magnus: Everyone, deep down, would choose invisible. Except Heath Ledger. He chose to fly. Fly free, sweet prince!

    On the serious tip, y’all, is the Talk-O-Tron 3000 fucked up right now?

  33. Degor says:

    I really enjoy reading your adventures. I played morrowind a lot and I really love it. After reading this I assembled the mods from your list (my old pc has a whole database of mods) and I’m going to install it on my newest pc now.

  34. Morph says:

    Unlimited power gets a bit boring though, right? Right?

  35. leeder_krenon says:

    i played a whole lot of morrowind but i never saw such a hat before!

  36. Raven185 says:

    Looks like a Eldar helmet.

  37. Wulf says:

    On the topic of mods…

    This is why mods have to be carefully picked in order to play Morrowind, Oblivion, and Fallout 3 properly, this is a lesson I’ve learned well over time, and this is also a lesson that most professionally compiled mod compilations (such as PoopMods) will tell you too.

    The lesson: Bethesda games frequently have broken balance, you need to pick mods that balance them more, rather than screwing up the balance further, either in your favour or against.

    This means you need to be careful of mods that give you too many powerful things early on, you need to wisely pick mods that repair the balancing throughout the levels without doing anything insane, and you need to avoid realism mods which can just screw up things further (none of these games has ever been about realism) and make everything distinctly anti-fun: i.e., painful and boring.

    There’s a delicate balance that must be observed, and if you can maintain that balance whilst adding new content, so be it, and you need to be careful as you add content mods that they don’t destroy your prior work, this is the task that every mod list builder goes about when either setting up their own list, or building one for others (PoopMods).

    I’ve been playing Fallout 3 modded lately, and I went through all of this. With every megamod I used, I read the readme over everything it added, and all the mods it might have integrated, and decided one at a time whether I wanted that in my game, and the I continued with that system, keeping a list of everything I had (including all integrated mods) and making sure that nothing clashed or would create an imbalance.

    Because there are far too many crappy mods that will totally screw up the game and make it either far too easy (in Alec’s case) or far too hard.

    I kind of had a feeling that this would happen though and that Alec was perhaps not the most skilled with mod juggling when I saw those temperate zone trees in Morrowind, when I create a mod pack I tend to pick things that really fit Morrowind, because Morrowind has such a beautiful setting and I would not want to ruin that. It seems criminal to do so.

    Also, as far as the potion problem is concerned, the Unofficial Patch for Morrowind fixes that. Morrowind, Oblivion, and Falloutu 3 all have unofficial patches, because Bethesda are lazy and the community are sharp. They are a necessity for whenever the game is played, even if it’s the only mod one chooses to use, it doesn’t affect the feeling of vanilla Morrowind at all, it just fixes all the bugs that will have terrible things happening to you and it stops you from cheating.

    Bonuses all around!

    Mods for Morrowind, Oblivion, and Fallout 3 are fantastic things but only if handled properly, because mods are like people; there are some incredibly fantastic and bloody terrible ones out there, and you need to learn to be a good judge and be able to know what to avoid.

  38. sbs says:

    Let me tell you about my boat.

  39. S says:

    I believe that hat comes with the water life mod, so that you can observe the fish without disturbing them. Like our hero, I put it to…less savory uses when I found it in a dungeon.

    One thing I did explore a few of the endgame dungeons way early, which was cool. On the other hand, all the sneaking around and avoiding enemies made my actual killing-things skills much lower than they should have been. Couple that with doing Bloodmoon before the other two “main quests” (what can I say, I wanted to be a werewolf), and I had to shoot one boss for a hilariously long time before he dropped. I even had to spawn more arrows in the console! Remember, kids, keep your murder skills up, even if you think you’ll never need them again.

  40. KRS says:

    Damn… Some of the mods won’t work for me…
    Anyway, congratulations on the hat, that one reminds me of The Boots of Blinding Speed.
    Was that hat in a original TESIII or is it in one of the mods?

  41. leederkrenon says:

    my perspective was always that the balance in morrowind is up to the player. break it if you want, but you don’t have to.

  42. Warren says:

    I am really enjoying your adventures in The Elder Scrolls: Who Needs Pants, It’s All About The Hat

  43. Alec Meer says:

    sbs wins one hundred internets.

  44. hun23 says:

    @sbs
    Was that from a Upright Citizen’s Brigade episode?
    Either way, these articles and the mod list inspired me to get my copy of the game to finally work (GotY edition, with a broken first disc). I have a level 20 thief who has acrobatics maxed out.

  45. MC says:

    Hahah, sweet hat. I also like the rakish single glass pauldron. Lookin’ fine.

  46. tballi says:

    @Heliocentric
    Pocketing enchanted items onto others!?! I never thought of that – brilliant!

  47. Jacques says:

    That’s almost as awesome as the staff I enchanted yesterday, soul trap, paralyze and lots of frost damage on hit, thank god for that idiot Galbedir in the Mage’s Guild leaving her expensive soul gems lying around, my Telvanni overlords are happy with my progress.

  48. Jacques says:

    Also, Dwemer helms don’t look half as awesome as the Telvanni cephalopod helm, glass is by far the fugliest.

  49. Bob says:

    I wish I understood all the magic stuff in morrowind, I just run around nicking everything and beating everyone with my sword when I need to :-(

  50. Melupom says:

    Aaargh! I saw this helm in a shop the other day and I didn’t buy it! And now I’ve been looking for hours and can’t find it again… anyone know what it’s called? or its ID?