Exploring the Rim of the Sky

Lately I’ve been playing a lot of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a game that has been around for something like a couple of years and the main story line of which I’ve completed a couple of times already.  This time around, however, I’ve allowed myself to become completely immersed in the story of the adventures of “the Dragonborn” and his adventures in Tamriel’s northern province, the home of the Nords.

The Nords are a Nordic race in the overreaching mythology of The Elder Scrolls, they’re essentially Vikings, usually fair- skinned with light hair and blue eyes. Of course the game allows you to play as any of the familiar races from the series’ mythology (lizard-like Argonians, feline Kajhit, the Imperials [the WASPs of The Elder Scrolls, esentially], Breton, Redguard, monstrous Orcs, Dark Elves [small and sneaky,they tend to make the best thieves], High Elves [awesome mages], and probably a few others that I’m forgetting.  This time through the game I’m playing as a Nord, the race native to Skyrim. Just as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion seemed best played as an Imperial (you’re primarily in The Imperial City in that game, after all), Skyrim just feels right when played as a Nord.

It’s a troll. And you thought they were all cute and shit.

So, why play a game that I’ve already completed multiple times?  Because it’s huge. Skyrim‘s main questline is really just a tiny fraction of the content available in the game. Bethesda Softworks, for example, hosts a competition internally to see who can complete the main story the quickest.  The last developer to win this finished with a time that was something like two hours. So it is possible to complete Skyrim‘s main quest in an afternoon, but to actually experience all the game has to offer (even before taking into account the Dawnguard, Dragonborn, and Hearthfire DLC) will take an estimated 400-some hours.  Some side quests (like the Companions, the Thieves’ Guild, and the Dark Brotherhood – one of my personal favorites) will generate random quests as long as you keep looking for them. So really, the game can be played infinitely, I suppose. Huzzah.

The mythology behind the Elder Scrolls games is rich and detailed and lends itself easily to the creation of fan fiction. This is why I was interested to see what Lisa is going to come up with when she announced to me her intention to write some.  She’s been paying attention as I play aned seems to mostly enjoy the family aspects that were added to the game with the Hearthrfire DLC. The expansion allows you to purchase land, build houses, and adopt children. Combined with the marriage feature the game originally offered and it becomes kind of like The Elder Scrolls meets The Sims. I suspect this is the aspect of the game that Lisa is most interested in. She always seems to perk up a little when she hears my character return “home” and one of my daughters (I have adopted two in my current game) will greet me, saying, “Papa! You’re back! What did you bring me!?” Usually I try to have a sweet roll or a dolly for them. Like I said, I’m immersed. So is Lisa, really, but she cares not6 for my adventures fighting against the dragons or carrying out Dark Brotherhood assassinations. She will regularly ask how my girls are doing though. I suspect her fan fiction will revolve around this part of the game. Whatever she writes will be just for me, of course, as I doubt she knows enough about the world of The Elder Scrolls to convincingly create characters (the various races follow fairly strict naming conventions, for example), locations, and references to lore. That’s okay. I’m sure it will still be adorable.  So what if she has an Orc named Joe Smith instead of Groluk Gor-Ragnuck? We shall see what she does.



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