Year of the RPG: Skyrim

Two games in to the Year of the RPG, and we’re taking on another “best game ever”: Skyrim, developed by Bethesda and published in 2011 as the fifth installment of The Elder Scrolls series. In a sort of RPG backlash, we are going from the somewhat scripted story of Chrono Trigger to one of the open-world games that launched the open-world over-saturation we are in the midst of now. With a much looser story and endless possibilities for exploration and building your own fortune, Skyrim offers fantastic opportunities for people to build their own characters and seek their own unique destinies.

Special Companions

The wonderful people over at Later Levels are participating in a charity stream for Special Effects, which is a UK-based charity dedicated to making video games accessible to people of all physical abilities. And what better way to celebrate opening up the world of gaming than by partaking in an open-world adventure in virtual reality?

Join the Later Levels crew on March 3rd, 2018, at 8:00am GMT for their 24-hour marathon, during which they will be playing Skyrim in virtual reality!

And even more importantly, if you haven’t done so already, please send them a few dollars if you’re able, to help more people be able to access the new and exciting worlds that games provide. I’ve already made my donation and am looking forward to joining Later Levels for their stream on Twitch, too!

Let’s help ensure that games are accessible and fun for everyone!

The Adventurer

Unfortunately, my character this time around is not so generous, although I would hope that a desire to help people with disabilities would melt even the most frozen of hearts.

Name: Ra’zirr

*resists urge to sing “Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats”*

Species/class: Khajiit, sword and board/thief

Alignment: Lawful evil

Backstory: Ra’zirr learned at an early age that the best way to gain power was by operating just within the limits of the law. Plausible deniability sows enough doubt to avoid being called guilty, after all. He prides himself on being a self-made khajiit, but recently fell on hard times and found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and lost what little he had gained for himself.

He believes in survival of the fittest, and anyone who tries to better society or help someone out of pure altruism is deluded and going against the natural order of things. He has a strict code of behavior that he will punish anyone for breaking, particularly when it comes to promises. His word is good, and so he seldom makes promises as to break his word would be one of the most disgraceful things he could do, beside being caught breaking a law outright. His friends, of which there are few, are held to the same standards he holds himself. Loyalty is rewarded with loyalty, disloyalty is punished by death.

For instance, not many friends would patiently wait for him to figure out if boats are a possible means of transportation. Lydia seems okay.

Ra’zirr doesn’t kill for the sake of killing. It is a means to an end, and a consequence of breaking his code for orderliness, including the laws of the land. While his ultimate goal is to become the most powerful man in Skyrim and set the laws to which all others will adhere, Ra’zirr has no problem working within the law and for the organizations in power if he perceives them as deserving respect. He therefore will work with or for government bodies and religious organizations, although he has no strong personal ties to either. He will not purposefully hurt children, and tolerates (read: doesn’t kill) the deluded altruists he comes across as long as they don’t stand in the way of his goals.

Nice guys finish last, after all. Those that finish last are not worthy of anyone’s time, pity, help, or concern. Unless they can be manipulated to better his position.

His actions are always driven by a desire for his own gain; no quest is undertaken without a clear indication of how he would benefit: money, power, and prestige are the currencies Ra’zirr deals in.

This sounds promising; special powers means special privileges…

Usually courteous, but just as usually direct, Ra’zirr only pulls out his sharp temper when he thinks he has been used, or the reward he was due has been forgotten (or will be forgotten). In his mind, it is Ra’zirr first, and all else second.

Off He Goes to Make His Fortune

Holy Maker, what have I unleashed on Skyrim??

I’m not going to lie, I’m actually pretty excited to play this character. I’ve never played any sort of “evil” aligned character before, and so this is a nice introduction as he’s a principled evil person. If I ever roll “chaotic evil,” that will be an interesting time.

And away we go! Mailboxes are open, and I have a little trained dragonling bringing my mail to me every day.If you’re on an adventure in Skyrim, drop me a line! Or, if you’re off adventuring in another RPG land, I’d love to hear from you, as well.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
~ Athena

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      1. I think the other thing is that most games tend to push you to do good things, so when you play an evil character, it makes their morality borderline incomprehensible. It’s to the point where if a game does feature an evil ending, it usually comes across as a non-standard game over. If nothing else, I just don’t find playing an evil character fun, and I’ve never understood the appeal.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I think my biggest problem with most evil options is that they’re just dumb and make no sense. Like, the typical evil option to me would just be something self-serving, whereas in video games with morality meters, the scale goes from being just a better than average bloke as a high point to being a devil worshipping kitten eater at the low. The evil options are usually waaaay out there.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. That’s precisely why I give games that do it well a lot of credit. From what I’ve heard, there are some people genuinely afraid of doing an evil run of Planescape: Torment because it can entail seriously messed up deeds (including psychological manipulation) rather than just going around killing random people while cackling like a Saturday morning cartoon villain. It’s also one of the few games that completely justifies a character being evil just as much as it does the same character being good; after all, he’s a blank slate, and it’s up to you to act as his personality. In some games such as Fallout 3 and Baldur’s Gate, the main character being evil really doesn’t make any sense. Then of course, there’s that certain indie title from 2015…

            Liked by 3 people

        1. You know, I had been rolling dice to see which alignment I would be for each game, but playing as each alignment is a very interesting idea….

          Regarding playing a full nine games… I’ll have to see how time works out. I have other RPGs I want to play, but I’m not sure if I can squeeze another into this year….. hm…. that’s an interesting idea, though. I will definitely think about that!

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve been wanting to return to Skyrim for a while now but haven’t had the time. I can though take it with me on the Switch as I bought that version last year to just… have.

    While I’m not currently playing Skyrim, I am playing Kingdom Come: Deliverance which is kind of like Skyrim (and all the Elder Scrolls games) but without magic and a worse save system.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A good start and a fun intro for your first time in Skyrim! I’ll set up a post with character details this weekend for my adventurer. For now, I’ll post my first letter here. Should I also be putting this on my page or will you be featuring them here? Thanks a ton!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To The Keeper,

    My name is Khalim and I am the son of Adil-Aamir, a merchant from Hammerfell and I believe a friend to you. Before my father died, he made you known to me and told me that I should write you if I ever needed help. Well, friend of my father, I am in dire need of help. Please, help me find my sister.

    Najwa was taken from me by a red-haired assassin of the Dark Brotherhood. Last I saw her, she was still alive and I believe the assassin wishes to recruit her into their number. I followed their trail to the border between Hammerfell and Skyrim but that is where trouble found me.

    The redheaded assassin who stole my sister is clever and quick. I found many signs of their passage and blindly followed the trail through a bandit’s path across the border into Skyrim. What I found waiting for me on the other side was an ambush of Imperial Guards. There were too many to fight and they were not interested in my pleas. I was labeled a rebel and knocked out, then chained and thrown into the back of a cart.

    I awoke some time later and found myself surrounded by Nords who were chained as I was and dressed mostly in rags and old armor. There was one though who was dressed regally, but sat more tightly bound than the others with a gag around his mouth. I learned that this man was Ulfric Stormcloak, a rebel leader and slayer of kings.
    None of the prisoners dared speak to me, for fear of the guards that drove the wagon. They took us to a town in the south, just before the mountains, called Helgen for trial and execution. When we arrived, a prisoner attempted to escape but was shot down. I could not believe that this was the end, that I had not only failed my father and mother but my sister as well.

    I prayed for a chance, an opportunity to break free and try once more but even as the words left my lips I was led to the headsman’s block. Before the axe could fall though a roar like thunder shook the very ground and a great beast, terrible and mighty, landed inside the town. It laid waste with fire and claws and as the town burned, I ran.

    This a strange and dangerous land. I have taken refuge in a small village called Riverwood, at the Inn called the Sleeping Giant. The local Nords are kind but do not hide their suspicion of me well and I fear further trouble with these rebels and their war. Where do I go from here, friend of my father? I must find these assassin’s and save my sister. I will await your reply here for as long as I am able.

    May the blessings of Leki reign upon you.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Khalim,

      It seems like you have a lot on your plate right now. The Dark Brotherhood indeed seems like a lawless bunch, and to take an innocent woman from her family is a grave offense, indeed. Although I don’t usually council the shedding of blood, I cannot find fault with such devotion to family, and I am glad you received the second chance you sought.

      Best of luck to you on your adventures, and I wish you good fortune in the search for your sister.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ra’zirr has some sense of honor at least, haha. I hate being evil in games…. I felt awful during my evil playthrough of Fallout 3 and Infamous, but I needed those Platinum Trophies, dammit. 😦

    Alas, Skyrim is one of those games I want to play, but will likely never have time for. So much BioWare and Final Fantasy still needs to happen in my life. I’m looking forward to reading more about how you and Ra’zirr handle things though! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He does! I’ve found it sort of difficult to figure out the line between Lawful Good and Lawful Evil, other than intention and general brown-nose-ness (that’s totally a word). But it’s at least more palatable than a Chaotic Evil character, who just wants to watch the world burn. Usually I hate evil playthroughs, but this one might not be so bad…

      That’s alright. I fully endorse BioWare all the time! And Final Fantasy, too, I suppose 😛

      Thanks! I’m looking forward to his adventure!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ra’zirr sounds like a honourable thief, all things considered. He has a code, so he is not a complete degenerate. 😜

    I think this is an interesting game to test alignments, because sometimes you will be put in a situation where you have to do bad things for a good cause or even good things for a bad person (or Daedra).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, he’s not like those Orlesian nobles, after all……… haha

      It’s very interesting… It’s pretty flexible, but it seems like the Lawful Evil alignment has to do with intentions behind actions, and.. I’m sort of not doing a bunch of sidequests because they just seem like the PC is “being nice.” Maybe once I finish the game I can go back and do some of them just to see what happens. I’m interested to see how the story itself unfolds, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It has been some time since I have played Skyrim, but yes, the sidequests can be a bit much if you are on a schedule. I think that Skyrim cured me from being a completist.

        Sidenote: It also cured me of always defaulting my character as a wannabe paladin (regardless of class, heh). As soon as I saw all the stuff you could steal and the not-entirely-evil mischief you could cause I became a different person. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I like how you started out by saying ” this time around”. Great simple build. I am working on my own Cherokee build. Focusing on a Wood Elf Archer that whips out the War Axe when a bow will not do. So far its the most badass build I’ve made yet. I just gave up on my Mage, too powerful. It wasn’t that much fun. I am also building on a Paladin Vampire Hunter as well. A bit more fun but much weaker than I ever expected.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah.. my Chrono Trigger character was a pretty law-abiding citizen… but yes, Skyrim certainly has a lot of opportunities for all sorts of builds!

      Your characters sound very interesting! Your wood elf definitely sounds like a force to be reckoned with… I had heard that mages are overpowered in this game, and that’s too bad. So far, what would you say your favorite build is?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitley the Wood Elf ” Apache- esque” build. I recently rewatched the last of the Mohicans and was inspired. I just reached level 20 and can still count on one hand how many times I’ve died. A few are due to my own stupidity. Tip: Jumping down a cliff is not always a good shortcut.

        Liked by 1 person

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