Bag Space in WoW

When you first start playing the game of World of Warcraft, one of first things you discover that you have to manage is your spells, most likely. As you level, you gain experience and learn new spells and then you start to explore the world around you, until you get the message “Inventory is full!” or “I can’t carry anymore!”. When that time comes, we now learn that we have limited bag space.

Silken Fields, where the moths and the silk worms play…

We all start out with a 16 slot backpack, which with all other bags is totally invisible. In Skyrim there’s actually a mod that lets you craft bags and equip them, which not only increases your carry capacity but also give you to appearance of actually carrying pouches on your belt or over your shoulder. A pretty nifty addon that I use and am loathe to give up considering all the riches I plunder in Skyrim’s hidden reaches.

In World of Warcraft you can craft bags too. Mostly, the tailoring profession has this covered. Any player who chooses the tailoring profession can craft new bags that start small (6 slots) and gradually work their way up to the larger ones that a lot of people consider worth paying for.

By the way, the absolute smallest bag in WoW is called the Penny Pouch, and you can get this tiny ONE SLOT BAG during the Hallow’s End event inside the treat bags. Talk to the innkeepers for a trick or treat and good luck, although better things have been known to drop. ^-^

Now most recently, as of Cataclysm actually, you can talk to your faction quartermasters and get a tabard. Like, let’s say you’re a Troll Shaman, and you get a tabard for the Blood Elf faction. When you equip it and do some dungeons, you gain reputation with that faction. Once you hit revered you can visit that quartermaster again and buy a 16 slot bag from them, but you can only have one from each faction as they are unique. So that could be one way a low-level character can get larger bags if they don’t have a tailor.

But at the end game scheme of things, 16 slots won’t cut it. Taliors eventually craft even larger bags, and the most recent ones are as follows. In Cataclysm, the Embersilk bag (22 slots) is craftable from 15 bolts of embersilk cloth and 15 Hypnotic dust. Since it takes 5 cloth to make one bolt, this means you’d need 75 Embersilk Cloths to make.

The next up is a little more tricky. The 26-slot bag, Illusionary bag, takes 8 Dreamcloth to make. Dreamcloth is made from 8 bolts of Embersilk, and other ingredients. The problem is there are 6 recipes to make this cloth, 5 of which have a one week cooldown. The 5 in question require 30 of each of the volatile elements. Volatile air, water, earth, fire, and life. So if you were to make Dream of Hyjal, you’d need 8 bolts of Embersilk cloth and 30 Volatile Life. Once made, it has a 7 day cooldown. The only recipe to make dreamcloth without the cooldown is the one that takes 8 bolts of cloth and 4 chaos orbs, which drop from bosses in cataclysm dungeons. Quite a lot of work for a 26 slot bag.

And now I’m happy to say it’s better (or worse depending on your point of view). In Pandaria, tailors learn how to make Imperial Silk. The good news is all it takes to make this type of cloth is just 8 bolts of Windwool cloth (and as usual, it’s five cloths per bolt, so 40 cloths per Imperial Silk). The bad news (if you can call it that) is that this delicate cloth can only be crafted while standing anywhere in the Silken Fields, and it has a one day cooldown. Although, there are two recipes to make it this time around, which makes it a lot easier for tailors to keep track of cooldowns and not have to farm for so many ingredients. Back during cataclysm, I was transmuting Volatile Life all over Azeroth like crazy. Now it’s a little more personal.

8 bolts of Windwool Cloth makes one Imperial Silk per day, or you can make as many as you like with 5 bolts of Windwool Cloth and 3 Spirits of Harmony each.

The new element, the new Volatile Life and new Motes are called Motes of HarmonyThese nifty little thingies drop off any mob in Pandaria, and are bound on pickup, which means you won’t be finding these on the Auction House anytime soon. And the most interesting thing is they’re supposed to drop for people who have the professions to use them. The downside is we can’t farm them on one toon and send them to another, but if they made it account bound that would be great. The upside is that you won’t find any on the auction house and therefore lose a lot of gold to people who farm the harmony but never use them. Either you use it or your don’t this time around.

For the tailors, there are a few recipes the require the Imperial Silk, and while one recipe to make this cloth can be done once a day, there is another recipe that lets you craft it as many times a day as you wish, provided you have the materials. It takes 10 Motes of Harmony to make one Spirit of Harmony, both of which are soulbound. The no-limit recipe for Imperial Silk is 5 bolts of Windwool Cloth and 3 Spirits of Harmony.

In the past week since I got my tailor to max level, I’ve been able to make 4 of these. It required sending a lot of cloth and green items to my Worgen mage, Nethermind, for crafting and disenchanting. Hopefully I can at least keep up with the making of Imperial Silk every day, and maybe get enough motes to save up for an extra cloth.

And it will take 12 Imperial Silks to make one bag, the Royal Satchel, which is a 28 slot bag. So about 12 days of cloth conversion to make one bag, and a total of 480 cloths if made in the daily grind, less if done with the harmony. Either way, when this bag gets to the auction house, it’s sure to be very expensive, as this is the newest largest bag in the entire game.

All these recipes… all these larger bags…

That is one big moth!

And we still can’t replace that crummy old 16-slot backpack that all players start out with. Thank Blizzard for all the cool trinkets like the turnip paint gun and the puntable marmot, and lets ask them for a new tailor recipe – a pouch patch, which can be used to upgrade that old 16 slot bag into a larger slot bag. “Sew into your Backpack to give it extra pocket space!” How about that idea Blizzard?

What about the bank space too? When will we be able to expand that. My void storage is full, which I only use for gear I don’t with to sell. With the farmers market in Half Hill nowadays I have so many food ingredients that my bags are starting to smell. Since we have so many ingredients, why not come up with a grocery bag that can be equipped like regular bags and can hold cooking ingredients and materials, like the chef hat.

Well I’m done making my Imperial Silk for today. That took only two seconds. I’m off to my farm to harvest berries… and I don’t even play Farmville.

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The More They Change, The More They Stay The Same

A lot of us are so used to the way vehicles work nowadays in World of Warcraft. Take the tanks and demolishers in battlegrounds for pvp. The first time I ever encountered one was in Wintergrasp back in the days of Wrath of the Lich King. On my server we were winning Wintergrasp a lot more, so at the time I played it and learned to love it. I don’t like to lose.

….

And I just lost the game. Sorry.

Anyway, in those battlegrounds, whenever you hop into a tank, your action bar changes whether you like it or not, but it’s a good thing since that tank has options you can use. You can use the battering ram ability to smash down walls, you could hop into the gun seat and fire off the cannon, if you were in the demolishers in Ulduar, you could launch yourself forward right into a set of mobs and kill yourself.

If you start playing as a Worgen, you encounter the Night Elves who bring in Glaive Throwers, which you can hop into and control. As a Goblin in their starting zone, you get a vehicle of your own. Not only do you get to run over other goblins who swear they’ll sue you over it, but you can also blow the horn or play the radio. And I bet if you haven’t played them yet, you will now just to try it out. Deathnights have to go and face a challenge and when they win, they get to ride on the deathcharger. Once they have control of this steed, their action bar changes to show two options, one to make the horse run faster, and the other to call out to the quest giver for bragging rights. After that quest, the horse is yours and it behaves like a regular mount from there on.

If you’ve played in the Deadmines, either normal or heroic, you know about the cannons. You can hop in, and you get to blow stuff up. Of course it’s not a one-shot kill, but it’s great fun and twice as much since you can turn the guns right back to those pesky pirates. And for those of you who quested in Vash’jir, not only do you have wrinkled fingers, but you also got the Abyssal Seahorse, which you had to lasso and ride upon through the depths of the sea. The action bar changed and whenever the seahorse tried to throw you off, you have buttons to press to hold on tightly and prevail.

So as you can see, Blizzard had a great idea when it came to the vehicles. Whether for questing or adventuring in other ways, the vehicle came with it’s own action bar, and you didn’t have to go looking for the new spells and change up your own personal action bar in any way.

But some things never change. Brewfest is here again, and when I went to ride on the racing ram in preparation for the keg runs, I was worried when the action bar did not change! I looked all over my interface, and then instinct made me check my inventory. Sure enough there they were! The good ol’ racing reigns for the Brewfest ram! I laugh to myself for the nostalgia of it, then put the reigns onto my action bar and started clicking to get my ram into a canter.

I guess Blizzard spoiled me with their vehicle action bars. It’s awesome, don’t get me wrong, but after all that I’m so used to it, so when I hopped onto my ram, I had no idea what to do because I saw all my regular spells on my action bar. I had to put the item to use there myself. And then there’s the apple barrels. Sometimes when you run right past it, or jump over it, it won’t give you the buff necessary to restore your Ram’s stamina. When that happens, your ram suffered from fatigue and moves slower than a snail in a tar pit. After all these years I think the rams can use a vehicle bar too. Maybe they can implement this idea for next year, when the Pandarens also come to Brewfest with their own kegs this time.

The idea I have is simple. When the action bar comes up, you have a few options. The first button is to crack the reigns and make the ram go faster, and the second button is going to be for the sack of apples. This makes your character animate as if they’re throwing something, and the ram would appear to eat it, though the rider won’t see this probably since they’ll be focused on racing, but passersby might catch a glimpse! The sack of apples should function in a way that it restores the ram’s stamina, but has a five or ten-second cooldown, just long enough to keep the player from spamming it, but just in the nick of time so they can hit the button before their ram suffers from fatigue (and if they miss dues to lack of attention or lag, tough!). The apple barrels could remain in the field either for decoration, or as a replenishing spot for the apples when the user runs out (if Blizzard decides there should be a limit on how many apples are in the bag).

So speculating: The user could use the reigns like normal, but now they can carry a small sack of apples to constantly replenish their mount’s stamina and avoid fatigue, but the apples themselves are limited and the only way to keep a constant supply of them is to run by the barrels of apples. In this way it will keep the player on their toes. They’ll have to keep one eye on their action bar to see how many more “charges” of apples they have left, and the other eye on the road as they veer around rocks and trees. Hopefully this will give players more sense of control when it comes to the apple barrels and fighting the ram’s fatigue, and it will add an extra challenge for when they deliver kegs.

Other buttons of course would be to dismount the ram and forfeit the ram racing for the day. Another option would probably be something like, “WHOAAAA!” where you reign in the ram very hard, forcing it to come to a complete stop. I’m thinking this can be useful in two quests. The first is when you start learning to ride the ram. When you return to the quest giver, you have to make the ram come to a complete stop. Then another button would be “Bark for Brew”  which is faded all the time. The only way to Bark for the Brew would be to use the stop ram function. So let’s say you’re doing the daily quest where you ride through Ironforge. With this function, you press 3 to bring your ram to a halt. The ram animates where it looks like it’s digging it’s hooves in and leaving a cloud of dust behind it. Then your ram is fully stopped and standing still. Now you can press 4 to “Bark for Brew.” Now your ram rears up impressively, as the rider (player) shouts out to the locals to come to Brewfest and sample the beers made by Thunderbrew and Barleybrew, whichever you favor! Then you can turn about if need be, crack those reigns and take off! Also, being at a full stop restores the ram’s stamina much quicker than a walk, or maybe at the same speed whichever Blizzard feels best!

And I just thought of this: All these changes, adding a vehicle bar for the Brewfest rams for questing and daily runs during Brewfest, sounds like it’d be a great idea, and I have the perfect way to implement it lore-wise. Have the Pandarens train them! YEAH! The Pandarens were here for this Brewfest, but the only notable changes I’ve seen (aside from updated loot for the holiday boss) is the Pandaren Brewpack that you can buy for 100 Brewfest Tokens. This lovely item lets you summon a Brewfest keg upon your back and it lets you throw Pandaren Brew to other players. And guess what? It uses the vehicle bar! HAHAHA! I love it! It lets me act as the Brew Maiden trinket! Just be sure your friends are drinking theirs before you throw them another. I love this item and plan to use it often, along with my Brewfest Pony Keg and my Brewfest Keg Pony.

But I think that after this year, the Pandarens will be curious about those rams and will take some home to train them up for next year. Next year the rams will be as strong as the yaks and will be able to carry a sack of apples that the player can refill as they go, so players can feed the yaks apples as they run along, and the apple barrels can remain by the roadsides for a player to run past and scoop up.

Now I don’t know about the timer thing, where when you return a keg it adds more time to your clock for the quest, but what if players had the choice? What if after the quest is done, “Say, can I use that ram again?”; “Tell ya what, I shouldn’t be doin’ this, but I’ll lease this ram out to ya for as long as the festival lasts!” and then players can “Borrow” a Brewfest ram to quest with! The only difference is the apples are limited and there will be no apple barrels all over the world, so players would have to go to a fruit vendor to get a surplus supply if they want to crack those whips all week! And the apples you get from the vendors will not work when you’re on the daily quests. Of course this is just an idea. All the other stuff are better ideas, and I can only hope that Blizzard will see this and go, “Hey. Why didn’t we think of this before!?”

The only reward I could think of for this idea would be to put me into the game. Just a night elven moonkin sitting not too far from the Brewfest area. You’ll see a bunch of empty brew mugs strewn about, and the moonkin would have bubbles floating about her head. When you click on her, some dialogue would follow:

“Hmm? Wha? Oh, hi there you two… hic! I’m jusht here, away from the festivitiesh for a bit. Headache. Can’t shtand the noise… hic!”

(player): “I thought night elves didn’t like alcohol?”

“Well… hic! Yearsh ago, before Deathwing and the Cataclysm and all that, when I wash a young druid, I encountered a gnome by the name of Wizbang Cranktoggle… or wash it Crankbang Togglewiz? Anyway, this gnome had me go out and gather thingsh to repair his buzzboxes, and it turned out the itemsh I got were really ingredientsh, and those buzzboxes were not only communicators, but also liquor distillers. Ash a final reward, he gave some of his special brew. I tried shome…”

(player): “….and?”

(Here the moonkin can do a laughing animation): “And… I’ve been there ever since!” (this would be a reference to Blazing Saddles where the Waco Kid tells his story)

(now the player has an option to offer the moonkin a drink, who says thanksh.)

And then maybe they can participate in a pet battle. The pets this Moonkin would use would have to be the Wolpertinger, the pink Elekk, and a moonkin hatchling. Maybe make it a unique quest so that only players with high enough leveled pets can hope to win and a victory would earn them a stack of 5 Wizbang’s Special Brew. Again just an idea. It would also be an achievement since you can only battle this pet trainer once a year. Once completed, the moonkin could vanish after 24 hours, and send a letter to the player saying that once Brewfest is over they’ll go back to exploring and questing through Azeroth and “Maybe we’ll have a rematch next time we meet!” Signed “Owl”

… Okay, so maybe I got carried away, but the vehicle action bars and the Brewfest racing must be united, don’t you think? ^,^

–Owlaf

Yikes! I found the Yak Vendor!

(writing in the point of view of Owlaf, a level 89 Night Elf Druid, Realm: Feathermoon)

I finally managed to stumble upon a yak salesman. Yeah you heard me! Yaks! And they aren’t even yakety! I want a yakety yak!

And the salesman, Uncle Bigpocket told me, “Don’t talk back!”

Welcome to Courvelle Toyota! Would you like to test ride the 2012 gray riding Yak, on sale now, all patch 5.0’s must go!

Anyway, he sells three yaks for now. Two of them are just under three thousand gold pieces to me. One blonde (that’s a new mount color I’ve seen) and the other is gray. They seem to be small, but I’m betting what they lack in size they make up for in strength.

And that is certainly proven with the most expensive mount Uncle Bigpocket has for sale: the Grand Expedition Yak! A whooping 108,000 gold pieces, I know the moment I buy this one, I’ll have nothing but moths left in my pocket. This yak seems bigger than the others, and that’s a good thing since this one is carrying something on his back. A large series of luggage is crammed together and tied up on the Yak’s back, and hanging on either side of it are seats, and each one has someone sitting in it already. One seems to be a vendor, but what’s that other one? An arcane reforger? Wow! No wonder the price is so high. This would be much more useful than the Travelers Tundra Mammoth I have… Similar, but it doesn’t have the reforger. There also seems to be an umbrella on top of the packages… Guess it’s there to keep it all from getting wet!

I bet I’d look silly as a moonkin on this, but silly is my middle name… Owlaf-silly-moonkin. That’s me…. well, not really.

So now I know where to find the yak seller, up in the Kun-Lai Summit at the Grummle Bazaar… or is that bizarre…. no that’s strange… Anyway, 3k and 110k for these. Start saving those coppers and silvers! ^,^

Sha of Anger

That is one big boss.

Brewfest is here!

At level 88 I left Pandaria and flew up from Stormwind to Ironforge, or at least to the snowy clearing outside of Ironforge. Funny, four expansions after the game’s initial release, the city still forges iron. Just kidding, I’m sure iron is very useful, especially ghost iron. But there is one other thing that the city is renowned for, and that is Brewfest.

Brewfest is a festival that occurs once a year in the fall, where the dwarves celebrate by bringing in all their beer, and some cheese and pretzels and sausages. (It’s based on the Bavarian Oktoberfest.) During this event, brewmasters from across azeroth come around to let people sample their brew for free (if you have a stein of your own, you can tap the kegs that are near their stalls for a drink). First there’s the Barelybrew, which is a family of dwarves that make their own ale, and are rivals of Thunderbrew, which owns and runs the distillery, which is also a tavern in the dwarven town of Kharanos. These two have been trying to pilfer each other’s beer in order to learn what the rival is using, and sometimes planting their own brew in the rival’s storage in an attempt to get people interesting in the other’s brew. Been at this kind of thing for years. Almost like the chocolate factory where they send spies in to steal candy making secrets from Willy Wonka… only the player is usually the spy!

But a third kind of brew is available as well, and from a surprising source: an ogre! Apparently the ogres from the Gordunni tribe forget their enemies for a while and decide to share their powerful brew with the rest of Azeroth. Next year I’m hoping for the Pandarens to offer their wares to the fest. They’ve only been part of the alliance and horde for a few days and only just now discovered the festivities. I’m hoping that Chen Stormstout will bring his brew to Brewfest next year so we can all sample some of Pandaren’s finest.

And yet there is another faction that brew beer but is not welcome at the brewfest, and that would be the Dark Iron Dwarves. They make their home in blackrock mountain, and every so often (every half hour actually) they use their mole machines to tunnel through and pop up out of the ground at brewfest and try to steal our brew! When the Dark Iron Dwarves appear, you can’t attack them in the normal sense, and if you get too close to them, they send you flying back by about twenty feet! They appear, walk over to the nearest keg, sit down, and drink it till it’s dry. If all three kegs are broken open and drained, they return to Blackrock Mountain to celebrate.

What Darnassus looks like to a drunk druid… hic!

The only way to stop them is the drink from the complimentary mugs of beer that are on the tables and then throw the empty mug at the dwarf in question. It’s automatic really, just pick up the brew and put it on your actionbar, then when you click on it, you drink and throw automatically. Just be sure to face the nearest dwarf you can see. Good news is the nearby stalls will throw you another beer for you to drink, so you can just spam your button to drink/throw your mug at the Dark Iron Dwarves. The bad news (if you wanna call it that) is that this fight goes on for five minutes if you manage to keep the dwarves off the kegs long enough, you get totally smashed. Tanked. Drunk as a skunk. You name it. The your shpeech becomesh blurred, and you occasionally have the hiccupsh…. hic! Of course you only notice thish when you chat with your friendsh, even in whispersh or in guild chat… hic! And where did those wild wolpertingers and pink elekks come from?

Not kidding! There are pink elekks and strange animalsh that look like rabbitsh, but with antlers and wingsh…hic!

Anyway, after five minutes of the brew-brawl, the Dark Iron Dwarves should run back to their mountain. Either way, when they leave they let you know how many you’ve knocked out with your mugs. Usually the unconsciousness toll will be in the 100-200 range, maybe even going as high as 300. Of course we can always take the fight to the dwarves themselves by going to take out Coren Direbrew, the leader of this revolt. I won’t be so hard core in it this year, since they updated it for level 90 players. I’ll only go for my toons to get their trinkets, from pickled eggs to coasters. As for the rewards in the kegs that you get once a day, I already have the mounts, the swift brewfest Ram and the Kodo, so I won’t be farming this one every day this year. Gives me a chance to level my toons to 90 so I can get the trinkets.

Other events that go on at the festival are the barking runs. I’ve mentioned before how the Barelybrews and Thunderbrews are rivals. Well they’ll hire you to go ride on a racing ram through the city of Ironforge to “bark for brews”. Basically you ride the ram up into the city and race around it, shouting out to civilians to come to brewfest and sample the beer, especially the brew you’re sponsoring. I usually go with Thunderbrew. No real reason. Guess I like it better.

And the festival is constantly needing more brew, whether to replenish the stock stolen from the Dark Iron dwarves or to refill the customer’s mugs. Most of the kegs are in storage at Kharanos, so all you have to do is ride on a racing ram to that village, and a dwarf throws you a keg and you carry it back to the festival. The more kegs you can deliver the more tokens you can earn, which in turn you can use to purchase the rewards.

The rewards are sold by a vendor at the festival, and the prizes range from pets and costumes to kegs and a membership to the brew of the month club. More on this later, as well as on those brewfest racing rams ^-^

Owl’s Green Thumb

I can grow cabbages and scallions in the virtual world, but I can’t save an orchid or have a tomato plant thrive. -,-

The garden. Four Scallions growing in the field.

At Half Hill, I met a Pandaren who needed some help, and being the kind and thoughtful druid I am, I decide to lend a hand. Or paw… or hoof… depends on what form I’ve shapeshifted into. This Pandaren’s name is Yoon, and he had inherited his farm from his grandfather, who passed away recently and left the farm to him. Now Farmer Yoon feels dedicated to growing his own farm and becoming part of the Tillers, which is a farming faction of Pandaren. After growing some cabbage, I start growing some Scallions. One I had to pull up in the ground a little to help it grow, one was dry and needed water, and two others were infested with insects. I managed to solve all those problems easily.

Now I get to wait until tomorrow to harvest the things. I don’t think I’ve ever even had scallions… I don’t even know what they are. Yet I seem to be growing these better in the game than in real life. I’ve killed orchids and my tomato plant kept suffering from insects and made only tiny little tomatos that were not all that good. -,- My spider plants are looking great though!

Owlaf’s Adventures in Pandaria

Well, it’s been a few days since the launch of Mists of Pandaria. Owlaf has had her plate quite full with adventures. The short version is, we have new allies, new enemies, and new things to do.

Before landing on the misty island of Pandaria, the Horde attacked and destroyed Theramore, an Alliance base that has been in Kalimdor for a long while. It seems Garrosh Hellscream is getting paranoid, trying to claim all of  Kalimdor for the horde. What he’s forgetting is that the orcs never owned it in the first place; they came from another world entirely. The Night Elves have always been in Kalimdor even before it was sundered. The orcs are the invaders. Hopefully we can do something about this. Obviously, going back to what’s left of Draenor is not a good idea, but there has to be a way the Horde and Alliance can co-exist peacefully. Night elves are generally peaceful, but tear down our forests and destroy our land, and our wrath has no bounds!

Riding on the Jade Serpent

In other news, the mists surrounding Pandaria has lifted, and at last we can see it and explore it. It’s amazing. It looks as though Deathwing was oblivious to it’s existence, and yet HE was the aspect of Earth… he should have known it existed. Still, I shrug my shoulders and go into battle. The Horde are trying to take over Pandaria for themselves, or so I’ve believe after what I’ve seen in Theramore and Ashenvale. I went to see what I could do to stop them.

The Horde were quick to ally themseves with some monkeys… figures. So we ally ourselves with the fish people calling themselves Jinyu… Some might think they’re related to the murlocs, but these guys speak common. After doing a few quests for them I get to be exaulted and for all my efforts, I got a pet fish. What a wonderful faction. I wonder if the Horde equivalent is a banana? ^-^

The Farmer’s Market I presume?

Then I headed west into the Valley of the Four Winds. A wide area of green hills, many small farms dot the landscape. Some grow carrots and turnips, one had silkworms where they create their fabulous silk cloths, and in the very center of these plains is a town called Half Hill. Here I discovered that the Pandaren have many unique ways of cooking food. I was used to just cooking over a basic campfire, and I still do, but there are various dishes that can be made in a number of ways. I’ve learned how to cook quite a few foods already, but the one thing I was excited to learn was my alchemy.

Turns out Pandaria is a paradise for green tea leaves. I’ve plucked several hundred of the versatile plants and brewed them into fabulous healing potions for the guild. Eventually, I discovered how to make all the flasks, elixirs, and even learn some transmutes. I can transmute ten Ghost Iron bars into one Trilium Bar, and then six of the Trillium bars into Living Steel.

I explored the Jade forest, trying to find Prince Anduin, but he keeps insisting on getting to the Vale… whatever or wherever that is. Meanwhile I help the Pandarens out as I travel. Doing things like trimming hedges, painting, killing crocolisks, tricking Vermin into eating a carrot which is really a turnip painted orange, and searching high and low for herbs to use for my alchemy. I’ve seen serpents that fly through the air without wings, and I’ve taken on one world boss so far and came out of it with an achievement and a sack of gold… I was hoping to get something more than that. Curse you, Random Number Generator!

All that, amidst lag spikes and bugs galore. Although, this new land I am exploring is very beautiful. I can only hope we can prevent the Horde from destroying it like they did Theramore.

Throat of the World

I took a trip to one mountaintop where a dragon was sitting around and killed it, and I saw a Dragon Priest, a long dead mage of sorts that revered the dragons back when he was alive. Now undead he pops out of his coffin and tries to kill me. I wind up killing him and getting a mask, a staff and three words off the wall. That’s right, three. Zul Mey Gut, which translates as Voice Fool Far. This shout is really whispered, and in the distance the Thu’um is heard, thus confusing the enemy. While they’re busy trying to find the source of the shout, I could slip in behind them or pass them up entirely, and they’d never see me at all. Being a thief I know this will come in handy.

In other events, I had traveled with the two surviving members of The Blades up near Karthspire, fighting the forsworn so we can get access into Sky Haven Temple, which has Alduin’s wall inside. After discovering that a shout was used to battle with Alduin, I’m asked if I know of any shout. Since I don’t I head over to the Greybeards at High Hrothgar. The monks up there don’t know of the shout, but they point me to their master Paarthurnax.

Paarthurnax is actually a dragon who has lived for thousands of years, and his age is clearly visible in his wings and scales and one of his broken horns. He does teach me the last word for the Fire Breath shout, which makes it more powerful. It was just the word I was looking for, but not the one used to defeat Alduin. Paarthurnax tells me of what happened when Alduin was last in Skyrim. It turns out that Alduin was trying to dominate all the races off the world and three Nord heroes stopped him. It was an epic battle, but it looked as if Alduin might not be slain. At the last moment, an Elder Scroll was used to cast Alduin out of the world, where he became lost in the currents of time itself. When that happened, time was shattered there on that mountain peak, up on the Throat of the World. So if I can bring an Elder Scroll back to the peak, then I might be able to learn the shout I need to defeat Alduin. I might bring along a follower for this one though… If three Nords couldn’t bring low Alduin, how could one Khajiit solo him?

So I leave Paarthurnax and head back to the Greybeards to tell them what I know. They never messed around with Elder Scrolls, but point me to the mage’s college in Winterhold. I have never been there since I don’t mess with magic so much, but now I have a reason to visit the campus – to gain access to their library… and maybe I can boost my magic skills while I’m at it.

For the meanwhile I head back down to Whiterun. It’s dusk, and a few people are walking around, preparing to head home for the night, and I decide to mess with them. I try to shout Zul Mey Gut, but instead it comes out as Yol Tor Shul! Thankfully I only shouted the first two words, so it wasn’t too powerful, but I nearly roasted Belethor alive!

He drops down to one knee, scorched, and yells, “I YIELD! I YIELD!”

My eyes widen in shock and I earn myself a 40 gold price over my head in Whiterun. There ya go, my first official offense. I sheathe my bow quickly and a guard behind me tries to arrest me.

At this point I had many options. I could use my right as Thane and order them to unhand me and thus dismiss my criminal record. I also could bribe the guard by giving him about 400 gold pieces, but that doesn’t clear the charge permanently and other guards will still say, “Wait… I know you!” and if they press me they’ll say, “You’re a wanted criminal!” and try to arrest me all over again. Then again I could also say that I’m with the thieves guild and give him 20 gold pieces to clear my bounty instead of 40 gold. The other options are the normal ones, like pay off my bounty fully, the whole 40 gold; or I could go to jail and serve my time; or I could fight my way clear and forever be a wanted criminal.

So pay my bounty or serve my time… for shouting? Whatever happened to freedom of speech? I shrug my shoulders and pay 20 gold. I was lucky my shout didn’t incinerate Belethor, because then it would have been a thousand gold, and I’d have lost another vendor. I already lost Adrianne a while back due to a vampire attack.

Speaking of vendors, I’ve been able to invest 500 gold into each salesperson I could in Whiterun and in various other holds besides. I’ve been able to make expensive potions that I was able to sell off for quite a profit. The end result, I had over 100,000 gold pieces. (and I was worried about a 40 gold price on my head? BAH!)

I blew most of it buying a house in Solitude, but I can make it up pretty quickly, what with being a member of the thieves guild and all. But hands down, potion making is my profession for sure. Way better than Brynjolf’s fake concoctions in Riften. 😉

All this time, I’ve been putting off the civil war. I think I better meet up with Galmar Stone-fist before he freezes out there. We’re on a mission to retrieve the Jagged Crown for Jarl Ulfric before we being the war in earnest. I think I’d like to get this war over and done with before I go hunting for Elder Scrolls.

One Crazy Week

(Told from the Khajiit’s point of view, my character Amaki’Dar, in Skyrim)

The forgemaster is dead, long live Amaki’Dar, Forgemaster of the Aetherium Forge! I claim this place in the name of moonsugar!

Well, I managed to get to the last Aetherium shard and I found out where the forge was. It was hidden deep underground, far deeper than any place I had been to yet, and the forge itself had several defense systems in store. The moment I arrived there was steam everywhere, and I had to turn two wheels to shut that down. That triggered the machinery. Mechanical spiders and the like came out, and I had to cut them down. Then the largest of them all, a centurion, came out of the lava, much to my amazement, but I managed to make that one fall to pieces.

At last we shut down the steam and got to work on the forge. It meant destroying the key I had with me, and all those Aetherium shards I had collected, but now that the forge was opened, there was no need for it, and the Aetherium itself was very rare indeed. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find any more of it. So I had the option of forging one of three items. One was a head piece that would let me have two standing stone blessings at once. It sounds nice, but it would mean giving up my helmet and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that (in order for the two standing stone blessings to work you have to have this head piece on). The other was a shield that could turn enemies ethereal for 15 seconds when they are bashed so they cannot harm me and I cannot harm them. Sounds like a nice tactic but I’m an archer, and I sometimes wield daggers or swords in close combat. Shields is a bit harder to do. So I passed on that. The last thing is a staff that would summon a Dwemer Spider or Sphere for 60 seconds. Sounds like fun! I go ahead and make that.

And I still haven’t used it.

In between the last shard and the forge however, I made a visit to a new city, or old one anyway. Riften has a sinister reputation, from what I’ve heard. It’s supposed to be home to the thieves guild. Being a grave robber and tomb raider myself, I figured, what difference would it make? As I approach, the city guard tells me to I have to pay the visitor’s tax, which I didn’t pay as I told the guard this had to be a shakedown. He told me to keep my voice down and he let me inside the city with no charge.

I walk past some locals who say they had a run-in with the thieves guild, and I pass one guy who looks like a bouncer for a bar and I manage to bribe him to get more information. Turns out a family called the Black-Briars have Riften in their pocket, and they run the thieves guild and have good contacts with the Dark Brotherhood (which is a group of assassins). 

I go into the inn, and a man named Brynjolf, who owned a potions stand in the marketplace. Turns out he was one of the higher members of the thieves guild looking for new members. He asks me to steal a silver ring and plant it on another person, and I do so easily without getting caught. Brynjolf thinks this looks promising and  decides to extend membership to the guild. Once I got in good with them, I went to Goldenglow estate to clear out the safe and burn down three (out of six) bee hives. Turns out there was a bill of sale in the safe along with a  little gold, and I bring it to Brynjolf. This doesn’t look good, and then I go see Maven Black-Briar, who sends me to Whiterun to help take over Honningbrew Meadery. Short version of that story is it’s now being converted to the Black-Briar Meadery West. And yet before I did the Honningbrew Meadery job, I met a man named Sam who challenged me to a drinking contest. I won, but woke up in Markarth after a night I couldn’t remember. I ended up traveling all across Skyrim following a trail of clues to find Sam, because he owed me a staff for winning that drinking contest. Eventually I found him, and it turns out Sam is Sanguine, the Deadric Prince of Debauchery. Knowing I was dealing with an immortal and very powerful being, I didn’t dare insult him or get angry with him. He wound up giving me the staff I had been looking for, and then sending me back to the tavern in Whiterun! “Now… where was I? Oh yeah, Honningbrew… right.”

Along the way I take on small jobs to pick locked safes in shops and change the numbers in their record books, all of which profits the thieves guild. I found a golden honeybee statue in Goldenglow estate, and a golden beehive stature in Honningbrew. Both of these items are on display that the thieves guild HQ, though I wish they were still mine and that I could have a trophy curio cabinet to put them in. Oh well. I got good gold for those items anyway.

Pardon me. Do you have any Gray Poupon?

I took the jump off the Bard’s Leap and lived to see a ghost congratulate me. I also spot the Headless Horseman… this is the third time I’ve seen him actually, which is sort of creepy. He’s pretty easy to spot in the distance, and up close you can plainly see that he head is gone. He never stops or says anything. Maybe one night if I see him again I might try to chase him. But it’s hard to do that on foot. over 10,000 gold pieces and I don’t have a horse. My feet are killin’ me!

At one point I had to go to Solitude to do several things. Firstly I had to speak to an Argonian who had ties to the thieves guild, and see if he can tell us the person who’s been buying our customers. I manage to persuade him to tell me as much as he can but he won’t give me the name of the buyer. He eventually leaves, and I tail him all the way down into the warehouse for a big trading company. He winds up going down into a series of caverns where I discover bandits that are smuggling goods out of the company… So… turns out our Argonian friend is a very naughty lizard. I manage to get to him and he comes clean, telling me that the buy was Karliah. I then learn that she used to be in the thieves guild, but had killed the previous guild master and was on the run. Now armed with that info, and a vague clue of where she currently is, I return to solitude to do another job.

The second job I had to do was talk to a wood elf, who would smuggle my things into the Thalmor Embassy for me. Meanwhile I’d go into the Embassy through the front door as a party guest. I came face-to-face with Elenwen, who seems to be the leader of the high elven group. I manage to avoid giving her my name and I seek out a patron to chat with. One person is Maven Black-Briar, but I avoid her. No need to let people know we’re connected via the Thieves Guild, but I do wonder what she’s doing here. I shrugged my shoulders and moved on. I saw that the Jarl Idgrod Ravencrone was there, and I’m Thane of Hjaalmarch, so I ask her to cause a distraction, which she agrees to, saying “an old woman can get away with anything!” I wish I could stay and listen/watch what goes on during the distraction, but I had a job to do. If I could, I’d have started a food fight. Instead I slip into the kitchens and head through the backdoor and start to infiltrate the embassy. My job: to find out what the Thalmor know about the dragons returning.

Turns out they knew nothing at all. Then I looked into some of their info-books, and I saw they had books on Ulfric Stormcloak and on Delphine. They don’t knwo where Delphine is, and as far as Ulfric is concerned, it seems the Thalmor would prefer that the civil war remains the way it is now. They don’t want an imperial victory, but a rebel victory is also to be avoided. Hmmm! So the Thalmor don’t care who wins in Skyrim, as long as the war remains stagnate. Maybe I’ll go kill that ice wraith and join up with the Stormcloaks. I’d rather join them instead of the Imperials any day, considering that the Imperials planned to chop of my head on day one!

I go down into the dungeons and find that the Thalmor were torturing a prisoner for information, and it was a member of the thieves guild. The Thalmor now know there is a Blades agent in the Ratway, the underground area of Riften. I save the thief, being one myself, and rescue him. The wood elf who helped smuggle my things in is caught, and i saved him as well. Now the Thalmor will be after him for the rest of his life. Well… now’s a great time to travel the world, always be on the move! Haha.

I tell Delphine about Esbern, the other Blades agent in the ratway, and I go and save him. Once these two are reunited, they tell me about Alduin’s Wall, which is a wall carving that contains history and prophesy. It showed that Alduin was defeated once before, and that the warriors who brought him down used a shout. I don’t know which shout it is yet, but I’m hoping I’ll find it.

Before I return to the Greybeards though, I join up with the Companions. I’m a werewolf now. A Khajiit werewolf. A cat that turns into a dog. Go figure!

So yeah… lots of stuff going on. Whew!

Lockpicking and Pickpocketing 101/Solving a mystery in Windhelm

Once I left Whiterun, I traveled north and veered to the east, following a trail through some mountains until I found some Dwemer ruins. Several bandits were inside, but I didn’t deal with them at all. Being the silent Khajiit that I am, I keep to the shadows and sneak past most of them, only stopping to pickpocket one or two along the way. Once I’m past the bandits, I start to encounter metallic beasts that resemble spiders with too few legs. A single shot from my bow tends to render them useless and motionless, and upon further examination, their innards tend to be made of metal parts that I cannot use to any end, but some things like gemstones and soul gems I take for my own uses later. They also have some sort of liquid substance that’s black as pitch and seems as gooey as tree sap though not sticky. Pretty slick stuff actually. I take as much dwarven oil as I can and keep going. Eventually I start to encounter larger automatons that guard the Dwemer ruins – spheres that open up to reveal a warrior with blades for arms, but a few strikes from my arrows causes them to fall to pieces for my perusal.

I spend ten minutes picking this locked chest, and when I get it open I find a potion to enhance lock picking by 40% for 30 seconds. Grr. Argh.

I will say that at one point during my exploring of these ancient Dwemer ruins, I came upon a chest that had a very wickedly complicated lock. It seemed to be one that only a master could pick and I broke a dozen or two lock picks trying to open it. After five minutes or more of work and I finally open it with a satisfying click. Looking inside, you won’t believe it. First thing I laid eyes upon was a philter of lockpicking. I almost smashed it against the floor in frustration. Instead I rolled my eyes and asked, “Why weren’t you in my pocket before I picked the lock!?”

I soon come upon a large chamber with gears that seem to be struggling to turn, and upon closer inspection I find that they’re clogged with a variety of things. Everything from Dwemer scrap metal to bones and skulls. I pry them loose and the gears turn normally, and upon the press of a button, the drawbridge lowers and reveals a gargantuan machine. It made me think that if the Dwemer tried to replicate a giant with their machinery, this would be close. Rather than wait to see if he’s smash me to pieces, I aim carefully and try to lodge as many parts of it loose. It falls apart after several hits and topples into the water. I cross the bridge and enter the chamber the large machine was blocking and find the third piece of Aetherium I had been looking for. Once I make my way out of the ruins, and back into the cold mountain air with a sigh of relief, I set off to the east. The city I arrive at is Windhelm, the main headquarters of the Stormcloaks and home of their leader, Jarl Ulfric.

A vampire is at the scene of the attack and they need an investigation to be done? Seriously?!

When I first enter the city, two Nords are arguing with a Dunmer (dark elf), but shortly afterwards, cries of help sound from somewhere in the city nearby and people start to panic. I draw my bow and run towards the sounds. In the town cemetery was a whole crowd of people surrounding a dead body that was naked and slashed horribly and left lying over one of the graves, and a man dressed in black starts attacking everyone in sight, and it is soon realized that he is a vampire! Two hell hounds are also there and are snapping at people’s ankles. I managed to get one arrow at the vampire, but several guards put an end to the ruckus right away.

Then most of the guards go back to their patrols and most of the people leave, except for three civilians and one guard. Turns out that the vampire was new in town and had nothing to do with this particular murder and was just out for a bite to eat perhaps. As for the dead woman with the horrible slashes and wounds, it’s the latest victim in a string of murders to be plaguing the city. It’s the work of “The Butcher” and nobody knows what to do about it. A beggar heard the screams and came running but didn’t see anything, a shop keeper named Calixto said he thought he saw someone running from the scene but didn’t get a good look at him, and the last witness also didn’t see anything happen. The last one is a woman who is also a priestess who later takes the body to prepare it for burial. When I asked her for more information, she mentions that the wounds seemed to be made from the same tools that the ancient Nords used to embalm their dead.

Leading from the crime scene is a trail of blood that leads into an empty house. After I pick the lock successfully (without using the stinking potion), I go inside, following the trail of blood all over the place. I found multiple notes that warned of “The Butcher” and a strange amulet, and two wardrobes. One had a few clothes and a piece of parchment in it, and the other was totally empty. The empty one I got suspicious of. After all, Delphine in Riverwood has a secret passageway in her home, hidden by a wardrobe. I check this one out and sure enough, the back panel slid to one side to reveal a secret room, which was full of bones, embalming tools, and some sort of necromantic alter. I wrinkle my nose and leave the house. PHEW! Now I REALLY could use some fresh mountain air!

I go to Calixto, after hearing that he deals in strange and unusual artifacts and might be able to tell me what this amulet is. But when I arrive at his house I got curious. He offered a tour for two septims, and I thought to myself, Why not? and gave him the gold coins.

First he shows me some embalming tools that the ancient Nords used to use when embalming their dead, and a little voice echoed in my mind, the voice of the priestess who prepared the dead for the city of Windhelm, that the wounds on the body seemed to be made from tools like the ones Calixto was showing me now. Interesting! My eyes narrowed, but I merely nodded at Calixto thoughtfully and we continued the tour. Next he showed me something called the Book of Fate. Apparently, it’s contents varied from person to person. Some people might read one thing about their fate and another person would have something entirely different, and yet most people only saw blank pages. If it was the case of blank pages it was speculated that the reader would die shortly. While Calixto moves on to the next thing on the tour, I peek into the book. Nothing is in it. Now I started to wonder if this was all just a hoax.

Sure enough the next item on his shelf… are you ready for this? It was Ysgramor’s Soup Spoon. Looking down at it, I see that it is actually a fork, and Calixto (probably reading my whiskers) says, “I know, I know, it’s a fork and not a spoon, and you can’t eat soup with a fork, but then you didn’t know Ysgramor!” I blinked at that one, and was about to retort, “Well neither did you, ya knucklehead! He lived in the first era and this is the fourth era! Moron!” But I said nothing and let my tail fluff up as I thought up of other retorts in my mind. Then Calixto showed me a flute that was supposed to make people dance uncontrollably. Thankfully he didn’t say the words that triggered the effect. I swear that if he did, and if it actually worked, I’d have gouged his eyes out with my claws.

Once the tour was over I showed him the amulet, and he claimed that it belonged to the court wizard. When I asked is he should have the, Calixto claimed the wizard never wore it much and wouldn’t miss it, and he’d prefer to have it in his own private collection. So he pays me five hundred septims for it, and after one last good look at it, I had it over and leave with my gold. As I walk up to the castle I knew I had enough evidence to blame the court wizard, but I had suspicions. I decided to go see the wizard myself. Up in the wizard’s quarters I take a good look around, and I saw no signs of necromancy. No tools for embalming, nothing. I described the amulet I sold and the Wizard said he never owned one, but ruled out that if the deaths of the young women were in fact done for necromancy, then it would be possible to tell when the next murder would take place. He then tells me to go to the stone quarter and that the killer would strike there next.

I get to the market place and noticed Calixto arrive, and I hissed to myself. I probably could be stealing his spoon right now while he was here. Instead, I watch as he draws a knife and tries to kill a young woman in the marketplace, right there in broad daylight! I shoot one arrow into him, and it strikes him, though not hard enough to kill him. He staggered backward, then turns and runs inside a store called The White Phial. I scoff and run after him. He tries running upstairs, but I got him in the end. Now when I shot him the first time, people started to scream and run in panic on the streets. When I come back outside now that Calixto is dead, everyone is back to business. What a strange society. I shrug my shoulders and report to the local authorities that Calixto “The Butcher” is dead and I get rewarded for my efforts. Then I speak to Jarl Ulfric about joining the Stormcloaks, and Galmar sends me out to kill an Ice Wraith. I accept his challenge and leave the city. The strange thing is when I first arrived it was night time and I was planning to rent a room at the inn for the night, and instead I went on a caper to deal with the Butcher for the remainder of the night and through most of the next day! I got a room and slept for a while, then got up and left the city at last.

((Players note: While there, I leveled my pickpocket skill to 75 in a matter of minutes. Having the perk that allows you to pick gold more easily is a bonus. First you pay the beggar to level up your pickpocket skill by one. Just one. Then with her back turned to you and no guards looking your way, crouch down and pick her pockets and get your money back. The best way to do this is to Quick save the game before you pick pocket her. This way if you get caught, you can just quick load and try again. The more gold you pickpocket, the better the bonus to your skill will be, but also the harder it becomes. Once you reach 75, the beggar cannot teach you anymore, so get your gold back from her pockets and skedaddle.

Step 1: Pay beggar to learn one skill level of pickpocket and end the conversation.
Step 2: Quick Save the game! ALWAYS!
Step 3: Pickpocket the beggar and get your gold back. If you get caught go to step 4. If you are successful go to step 5.
Step 4: Quick load and repeat step 3.
Step 5: Laugh.
Step 6: Go to step 1 and repeat until you reach 75 Skill in Pickpocket. Once skill level is reached, laugh again, and proceed to step 7.
Step 7: When you can’t learn anything else from the beggar, pickpocket her gold (if any) and anything else the strikes your fancy.
Step 8: Skedaddle.

Now you might thing this is cheating, but no mods were used to alter the pickpocket skill or stealth detection, to technically speaking, it was perfectly normal within the game’s parameters.  Us this if you like, I thought it was pretty nice being able to purchase training and get my money back for it. Same thing with alchemy. Buy training, sell potions to get money back. Easy Peasy!))

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