Sunday, May 6, 2012

Genjo, the Detective, Takes the Case

I woke up in Silent Moons Camp and started my day looting the place. I took all the food I could find as my own supplies were running thin. I only took coins and arrows from the fallen, but left everything else they carried out of respect for the dead. I didn't find much else of note until I began to explore the forge. I found a small journal of compiled notes about the place that I assume were written by the bandit mage I'd encountered yesterday. From his notes, I learned this place was called the Lunar Forge and was used to craft weapons that were enhanced by the power of the moons. I gathered up all of the enchanted weapons and headed out of the camp to sell all this stuff in Whiterun.

Exhibit A: Overlooking the Battle at Silent Moons Camp
As I was making my way out of the camp, passing all the mysteriously slaughtered bandits (and a mudcrab) I noticed something I hadn't seen yesterday. There appeared to be a trail of arrows that had missed their mark leaving a scattered trail out of the camp. I decided to follow the arrows, picking them up one by one and adding them to my own. After a short walk, I found another dead bandit - this one appeared to be a hunter or scout. What could have done all this carnage? I knew Skyrim was not a safe place, but something about this slaughter unnerved me. I saw no evidence of dragons, and I'm apparently the resident expert on dragons in Skyrim. Judging by all the arrows stuck into the ground, I assumed it was something closer to the ground - shorter than a man perhaps. This felt like the work of a fierce sabre cat.

I surveyed the surroundings and found a dead fox. It had no arrows in it so it so I assumed the sabre cat had gotten this little fellow as well. It appeared that the cat must have been interrupted, probably by that bandit scout, and a chase ensued all the way back to Silent Moons Camp. It was all starting to come together in my mind, but where was the cat? I didn't see it west of the camp near where I found the fox, so I decided to give up the search and head back to Whiterun with all the looted items I had recently acquired.

Exhibit C: Dead Fox
Passing southeast of Silent Moons Camp, I caught sight of an deer and managed to lodge an arrow into its neck which caused it to bolt straight into the water where mudcrabs managed to bring it down for me. These mudcrabs apparently make better hunting companions than my wolf. Well, they would be if they were friendly, anyway. I had to kill two of them just to get to my fallen prey and it was there another unusual scene unfurled. I found the bandit mage who had been working the Lunar Forge. He was surrounded by dead mudcrabs and was either a victim of mudcrabs (the thought still makes me laugh) or the sabre cat had passed this way in a foul mood.

Exhibit D: The Dead Bandit Mage among Dead Mudcrabs
Solving the disappearance of the bandit-mage was a comfort, but I now had the problem of where was this man-eating cat? I dug out a silver vein near the fallen mage. I took his coins and the potions he was carrying. I picked the deer clean as well for I would need the leather to continue to work on my own armor. Between the fox and the deer hide, I envisioned a nice pair of leather bracers in my future.

I continued back to Whiterun keeping an eye out for this murderous animal and it wasn't long before I spotted it napping in the sun. I was actually surprised to see it was a sabre cat, considering I had no real knowledge of the beasts and was just making some educated guesses about what had transpired. Perhaps I could find work as an investigator - if they have those up here in Skyrim. Well, now that I'd solved the mystery of Silent Moons Camp, there was just one final task - bringing the creature to justice. I looked at all the junk I was carrying and decided I wasn't ready. I rushed back to Whiterun as quickly as I could.

The Murder Weapon Cat Napping
 I sold a lot of my collection to a Khajit caravan outside the city walls then went in and spent the next couple hours moving my wares around the city. I took an hour to reinforce my leather armor and piece together a set of leather bracers. I sold everything I wasn't using anymore - weapons to the Warmaiden, all my extra leather, fur and hide to the Drunken Huntsman, and all my potions to Arcadia's Cauldron. Then I marched up to Dragonsreach and found Lydia because I felt I could use the backup hunting Skyrim's great cat. She was eager to get out of the city and fight alongside me, and so we set out to bring the beast to justice.

By the time we got out of Whiterun the Khajit had broken camp and moved on. I had warned them of the cat, but I was worried about their safety so Lydia and I broke into a jog out to where I had last seen the cat. Fortunately for the Khajit, it was still napping and so Lydia and I set to work. I fired the first shot, which woke it. It was not pleased. Lydia launched a flanking attack while I summoned the wolf quickly. Lydia backed off and the wolf tore into the cat, but it was no match for the great hunter of the Skyrim plains. The cat then set its sights on me and I fumbled to summon a blade to my hands as well as pull the wolf back into reality. Lydia, the wolf, and I made a final surge attack on the sabre cat and it fell before us. It was no dragon, but a great fight and worthy opponent.

Surprisingly, I live through this!
 We took what we needed from the sabre cat. I did a count of my money and realized that I was still short about a thousand septims from buying the house for sale in Whiterun. I didn't have enough leather to craft anymore weapons or armor and I knew where I could make some good money - Gerdur's Mill in Riverwood. I decided to part ways with Lydia after thanking her for accompanying me on the hunt and she headed back to Whiterun. I continued on to Riverwood.

Case Closed on the Mystery of Silent Moons Camp
A thunderstorm blew into the valley as I approached the bridge over the river, so I hustled to the Sleeping Giant Inn where I was fortunate enough to have a quiet dinner with Camilla. I hope Faendal doesn't mind. I'm sure I'll see him tomorrow at the mill where I'll be working until I can afford the house in Whiterun. It feels good to be back in Riverwood, though.

Quiet Dinner with Camilla

- Genjo, the Dragonslayer
24th of Last Seed, 4E 201

The OOC Corner - Reader's Poll & Author's Notes

Genjo proves himself to be an effective Stealth-Conjurer. Stealth and Conjuration continue to get the most votes and I think from now on I'll default to either Stealth or Conjuration when the option is available to add perks to those two areas of expertise. It's a strange combination, but it's the polls don't lie and they're the most requested. This will free up the poll to focus on more "choose your own adventure" questions rather than choose your skills - though when in doubt I may ask more about skills, especially if Conjuration and Stealth are not options or have branching paths (such as Necromancy). 

Mods I'm running:
  • Arrowsmith v3b
  • Dynamic Merchants
  • Im's More Complex Needs
  • Camping
  • Realistic Lighting
  • Fixed Followers Lite
  • Realistic Thunder

I haven't changed anything here.

Now on to the poll!

Genjo is currently saving up to buy his home in Whiterun.
You decide where life takes him after he purchases Breezehome.

Should Genjo join the Companions (Warrior's Guild) in Whiterun?
Should Genjo study Conjuration at the College in Winterhold?
Should Genjo study Dragon Shouts with the Greybeards of High Hrothgar?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Mystery of Silent Moons Camp

I’m unexpectedly writing tonight from Silent Moons Camp. I started the day unsure of what to do. Yesterday I killed a dragon and rumors are flying around Whiterun that I’m some kind of Dragonborn. These sages called Greybeards summoned me to High Hrothgar which is several days journey to the top of the highest peak in Skyrim. It honestly seems too daunting. I had originally come to Whiterun to deliver a message and run errands, but the dragon’s attack really interrupted my plans of a simple trip to the city. Anyway, I decided I’d stick around Whiterun and try to understand my role as Thane a bit more. I needed to confer with my appointed housecarl, Lydia.

Breakfast with the Housecarl
The thought of having such a servant makes me slightly uncomfortable, but Lydia seems honest and loyal to Whiterun and thus to me as her thane. We spoke this morning for a long time and she offered to accompany me on my errands. I reluctantly accepted, but she came in handy. We spoke with Proventus about purchasing a home in Whiterun, which I felt would be proper for a thane, but the price tag on property was much too high. This provided me a proper goal. I asked Proventus if the city had any paying work I could do and he let me know there were bandits holing up in some ruins known as Silent Moons Camp. So my quest for septims is what brought me out here.

Business Over Breakfast
I’ve never considered myself a bounty hunter or a mercenary, but my experiences in Skyrim are proving that if I set my mind to it, I’m capable of these feats. I tucked the bounty note Proventus had given me in with my belongings - which were quite heavy and overflowing my satchels, I might add - and headed into the city to see if I could take care of some of those errands I had come to do originally. As I was leaving Dragonsreach, however, the Court Wizard, Farengar, caught my eye and I decided he and I should speak.

He was condescending as usual, but offered me some advice on studying magic in Winterhold at the College there. I told him I was most interested in my ability to conjure a spirit wolf companion and he pointed me to some books in his collection. There was a spellbook detailing the summoning of a spectral, magical blade to battle with and another to raise the dead. I stared at the second book for a long time, and Farengar assured me that necromancy was only one side of conjuration. Still, it felt wrong. I bought the book on binding a blade as well as one called Candlelight which would light up dark rooms - something I sought earlier last week. As I was leaving his office, Farengar asked me if I would deliver some salts to the town alchemist, Arcadia. I agreed since I was curious about alchemy.

Lydia and I stopped for lunch on our way to Arcadia’s apothecary where I spent a long time reading through the spellbooks and getting a fundamental understanding of how to cast the two spells. I wanted to test them out, but the center of town was not really the time or place. After getting the basics of the spells down, we delviered the salts. I stopped in at the the local merchant, the local blacksmith - who asked me to deliver something up to her father Proventus - and the local hunt shop where I unloaded quite a bit of merchandise I’d been collecting. I still only had 2000 of the 5000 septims I needed to buy a house in Whiterun. Silent Moons Camp was still calling.

Crafting in Whiterun

I sent Lydia to deliver the sword to Proventus while I worked a few hours on the smelter, turning all that ore I’d dug up around Riverwood into ingots that I could later work into weapons and armor. I decided to see if I could craft myself a better pair of boots before heading out for adventure. Even though my hide boots were dear to me after so many days in those blasted footwraps, I replaced them with actual leather. I thought about working on some other weapons or armor to trade away since I had so much raw iron, but I needed more leather for the bindings. Since I couldn’t make any thing else, I was ready to investigate the bandit’s camp and maybe do some hunting en route. Defeating bandits was becoming a regular part of my life in Skyrim, and Skyrim never seemed to have a lack of bandits.

I spot my first mammoth!
I slay dragons, but I'm scared of mammoths.

It was somewhere around 3pm when I set out from Whtierun for Silver Moons Camp. I tested out my new spells with excellent results and summoned my wolf companion to help me hunt. Unfortunately, the first elk I came across the wolf just stood there while the elk ran off. He’s not much of a hunting companion, but at least he’s a good distraction in a fight. It wasn’t too long before Silent Moons Camp came into sight and I began my approach. The camp itself appeared to be dug into a decent sized hill, so I decided once again to take the high road. I came in over the crest of the hill looking down into the camp expecting to see bandits going about their business. That’s when things got unusual.

There was nothing stirring in Silent Moons Camp. I couldn’t find a single person. I thought perhaps they were out on a raid, but I could see smoke rising off their cooking fire on the north edge of the camp. Someone must have been here not too long ago. I edged around the camp, and climbed up on some rocks. It’s there I spotted a dead body lying down in the center of the camp. From where I was standing I couldn’t tell if it was a bandit or some hostage they had dragged in here, but I had a suspicion it was one of the bandits. I started to edge closer to the body to get a better look when I was distracted by the sounds of metal striking metal - rhythmically. Someone was using a forge nearby.

The Mysterious Corpse at Silent Moon Camp
I turned my attention to the crest of the hill, where the largest structure was built into the ground. The sounds were coming from there, so abandoning the mysterious dead body, I headed up into the rocks to see if I could get a better look at the ironworker. I carefully, silently made my way up the rocks and saw the domed ceiling of the rock building built into the hill. I hoped that the top was open to the sky as it was clearly where the forge was located, and so I climbed up carefully onto the roof and edged my way closer to the peak. I was right. It was open. I could see the man inside working on a sword. He didn’t see me or hear me over his loud work. Was this the bandit leader I’d been sent after? I was so unsure. I didn’t want to kill an innocent man.

The Roof of the Lunar Forge

I edged around the open circle to get a better look at the man and that’s when things took a turn for the worse. I accidentally knocked some rubble loose and my hiding spot was discovered. The man immediately shouted at me and lightning streaked from his fingers and knocked me backward. I nearly fell from the roof, but I readied myself for my attack. I summoned my wolf, who dove into the forge area and began attacking the wizard-blacksmith. I fired arrows that all missed and the wizard disappeared into the ruins after dispelling my magic wolf. I watched and waited, but the wizard did not return to the forge. I thought he may try to get me up on the roof so I began to watch the perimeter for his flanking attack. He didn’t come.

I went to the edge of the roof to look down and find the wizard ready to shock me again - it’s an odd sensation that I didn’t wish to relive quite so soon. After the pain subsided, I sent arrows after the wizard, but he just ran down the stone steps into the camp. I assumed he’d wake his allies to come to his defense but no such attack came.

I cautiously dropped down to the stone steps and wandered into the camp armed with my bow. I proceeded slowly, because I was afraid I was walking into some kind of ambush. No attack came. I saw there were a lot more dead bodies in the camp than I had seen previously. They were all bandits - and one mudcrab. I laughed briefly at the thought of one mudcrab killing all six bandits before the wizard himself had to come down and stop its rampage. It was not likely, but I could see no other explanation. I found no traces of bears or giants or mammoths rampaging through the camp. The only other explanation I could venture was that another bounty hunter had come before me - or the wizard himself was a bounty hunter. I did not know.

The Remains of the Bandits at Silent Moons Camp
I saw a door leading into a stone structure and thought the wizard had hidden himself away inside. I summoned my wolf back to my side and entered the dwelling. As I entered I was nervous because I heard talking. I thought the wizard had fled inside, but the voices did not sound right - they weren’t discussing me. They seemed oblivious to the carnage outside. They either didn’t know, or had done it themselves and thus weren’t concerned. I wasn’t sure how to proceed. I pushed toward the hallway where the voices were coming and was spotted. The fight ensued and I met one squarely. My magical blade summoned instantly to my hand, I plunged it through the bandit’s chest - my wolf quickly defeated the bandit’s ally. Then we were alone.

Summoned Sword Saves Our Skins
I scoured the entire camp and found no trace of the wizard I fought in the forge. He has long fled. I did find that the forge is known as the Lunar Forge and the wizard was likely trying to make Lunar Weapons - an enchanted weapon that draws its strength from the moon. It was an interesting prospect and one I may pursue in the future in order to make money, but tonight I just needed a place to sleep. I don’t know what I will tell Proventus of this adventure. I defeated a single bandit, but I certainly did not find the organizer. I suspect it was the wizard and he’s beyond my reach now. Tomorrow I’ll have to carry all I can from this camp back to town in order to sell it - and hopefully find or buy some leather so I can start producing more weapons and armors to sell in Whiterun.

Cozy, isn't it? 

- Genjo, the Breton
23rd of Last Seed, 4E 201

The OOC Corner - Reader's Poll & Author's Notes

I apologize for the month-long hiatus to any loyal readers/followers. Hopefully, I will be more consistent and able to update shortly after the polls end from here on out. Please forgive me! Last adventure's poll ended in a 3-way tie. It really derailed my creative process, and then this blog just slipped to the side-lines for a bit. I decided to go my own way and make my own goal of buying the home in Whiterun before having any grander adventures.

Mods I'm running:
  • Arrowsmith v3b
  • Dynamic Merchants
  • Im's More Complex Needs
  • Camping
  • Realistic Lighting
  • Fixed Followers Lite
  • Realistic Thunder

I haven't changed anything here. I added a "Fishing" mod but it's not running for Genjo (yet) as I see no real need for him to fish. It would have been handy for his poor-man's life in Riverwood, but now that he's moderately successful, I don't see him taking any fishing trips in the near future.

Now on to the poll!

Should Genjo work on his archery? 
Should Genjo learn to smith steel weapons and armor?
Should Genjo work on his conjuration?
Should Genjo work on his stealth?