My second official actual Oblivion post, several days after the fact, but hey, that’s what taking notes is for! So I can make blog posts later and remember what I actually did!
Main action of what I played here: exploring the lay of the land, and reaching Weynon Priory and getting help in the search for the dead Emperor’s son. But also getting a few basic mods installed, and getting controller support working on the Steam Deck!
Play by play
- Play date: 1/20, 1/22/2022
- Session number in this run: 2-3
- Did a little installing of bugfix mods now that I have Vortex set up to talk to Oblivion
- Picked up just outside the sewer
- Explored Vilverin; not much there, at least not outside; fought one bandit
- Started heading west to try to find the priory
- Found Sideways Cave and explored it a bit
- Got in and killed a few imps, but eventually taken out by one of them
- Thrown back to the entrance, and a conjurer spawned there and took me out
- Thrown back to entrance one more time; killed the conjurer
- Decided not to bother with this place, felt like a bit too much trouble
- Proceeded west
- Killed assorted mudcrabs and wolves, and one archer bandit when I got near a camp
- Eventually made it to a river and crossed a bridge
- Could see the Imperial city off to the south at that point, but I elected to keep going
- Figuring I still had on a wrist iron and I did just escape from prison and the emperor did want me to deliver the amulet, so that is by gods what Imma do
- Started getting light again
- Got overloaded a couple of times so burned through ingredients with my mortar and pestle
- Found a road and followed it to Fort Ash
- Just past Fort Ash, got mugged by a highwayman er uh highwaycat? He was a Khajiit
- Had no time for his bullshit so picked a fight with him, which was a pretty decent fight, blew through a bunch of my healing potions
- Proceeded onward and found Odill Farm
- Then reached the priory
- Went in to present myself to Jauffre and gave him the amulet
- He believed my story and offered assistance
- So I got better weapons and armor out of his chest and left behind other stuff by way of trade and also to keep from getting overburdened
- Got some mods and controller support installed
- Experimenting with this gave me an opportunity to get assistance from a couple of the other brothers of the priory, including a free horse and a couple of repair hammers
- Set back out from the priory on my shiny new horse
- Got back to Fort Ash and left off there until I decide what to do next
Setting up Oblivion with some mods and controller support
This post is in theory a double session post. In actual practice, most of the actual play was done on the 20th. The 22nd mostly went to getting mods installed, and trying to get controller support working correctly on the Steam Deck for this game. So let me talk about that part first before I get to actual in-game stuff.
With Skyrim, I had no ability to mod on my first several playthroughs because they were on the Switch. With Morrowind, I have opted to not try to mod that playthrough on the grounds that I was advised trying to throw mods into a Morrowind playthrough in progress is a recipe for breaking it.
But with Oblivion, I decided I wanted to do what I did in Shenner’s playthrough in Skyrim: run it with mods, but only the barest minimum mods, just enough for critical bug fixes and a couple of quality-of-life things to make the gameplay nicer. I didn’t want to change anything about the plot, characters, locations, quests, etc.
Here’s the list of mods I settled on:
- Unofficial Oblivion patch
- Unofficial Oblivion DLC patch
- Shivering Isles Patch
- Northern UI
- Northern UI Oblivion Style (because I like the color scheme)
- Northern UI Glossy Buttons
- Oblivion Upscaled Textures
- Engine Bug Fixes
- Oblivion Script Extender
Most of these are bug fixes. Oblivion Script Extender is Oblivion’s version of the SKSE for Skyrim, and SkyBSA makes Oblivion treat BSA files the same way Skyrim does, which apparently solves problems for modern mods? I needed to install SkyBSA to make NorthernUI work.
And I wanted NorthernUI for two reasons:
- Proper controller support, Oblivion was not built originally for that, and NorthernUI adds it in
- It’s also a Skyrim-like UI
Mind you, in general principle I think I do like Oblivion’s vanilla UI… to a point. I find its default fonts hard to read, though, particularly on my Deck’s small screen. And NorthernUI gives me a much cleaner, easier to read UI. So far I’m extremely happy with it.
Getting all this set up though took a little time, as I documented in posts earlier this week. This post described the main initial issue I had with NorthernUI not actually showing me controller button prompts on my screen, and this post later that same day described the solution: having to set up a proper controller profile for the game, one that sends controller inputs, rather than one that sends keyboard inputs.
Which means now I can play Oblivion without having to worry about mapping my various Deck buttons to keyboard buttons, for the most part. (With a couple of critical exceptions, like F5 for QuickSave, F9 for QuickLoad, etc.) So it’s kind of a nice cross between what I have set up for Morrowind, and the more recent functionality of Skyrim.
And now that all of this is in place, I can focus on the actual game!
Finding my way to the priory, and Ganniwer’s mindset
I went more or less straight to Weynon Priory, but first stopped to explore a couple of places on the way. Vilverin didn’t take long. The wiki says this is actually a large ruin, but I only explored the outdoor parts. I couldn’t find any actual entrance. And there wasn’t much to see outside, anyway.
Sideways Cave was a bigger deal, and bigger inside than I expected. But a bit frustrating to run, though. I got fairly far in before I was killed the first time, and then was killed once more in at the very door of the place by the conjurer that spawned there. (Who, I note, did not spawn the first time I came in, so WTF, game?)
That second encounter with the conjurer, though, put me off wanting to explore the place yet again. Partly because I found it too large and too dark to maneuver through easily–and this was a situation where the cross between Morrowind and Skyrim worked against the game. Sideways Cave had the Morrowind problem of being too monotonous for me to really enjoy exploring, while also having the Skyrim On the Switch problem of being too damned dark. And I didn’t have that many torches on me; I didn’t want to blow them all in my first serious cave exploration.
Besides, I also kind of felt like Ganniwer was feeling the pressure to go find the priory, in character. The Emperor’s last wish was, after all, very very clear.
So let’s imagine here that Ganniwer stomped off trying to find her way to the priory, probably all the way kicking herself for not seizing the chance to ask the emperor about her sister. Her train of thought probably went something like this:
“Idiot. Why didn’t you ask him about Tembriel when you had the chance? He was right there! Everything you’ve fought for the last six years would have been vindicated!”
“The man was in danger of being assassinated and being smuggled out of the palace by his own guards. Right then was not the time.”
“Right then was absolutely the goddamn time! When the hell else were you going to get within speaking range of the Emperor? Two simple questions! How hard could it have been?”
“Yeah, and the Blades were about to shoot or stab me where I stood if I even looked at the Emperor funny. Never mind asking suspicious questions like ‘so, Your Majesty, did you have me arrested’ or ‘did you actually send my sister to Morrowind’ or ‘was she really the Nerevarine’ or ‘and while we’re on the topic, did you even think for an instant that she might have had, hypothetically speaking, a little sister who had her heart fucking broken by your ripping her out of her life?’ Not that I’m bitter or anything.”
“You are absolutely bitter. Also, for the record, he was totally looking at you funny. He knew something. He said so. He dreamed about you.”
“And that wasn’t a I dreamed about you because I was feeling guilty about having you arrested thing, was it. He knew something.”
“He knew he was about to die.”
“Yeah, but he also knew something about me.”
A pause, while Ganniwer fidgets with her pocket and pulls out the Amulet of Kings. She stares at it, absorbing the richness of its red jewel, and feeling the weight of it on her palm.
“Something about my being involved in… this. Whatever’s going on. Something that made him ask me to take this amulet to the priory. And not Baurus or any of his other men.”
“Goddammit, Tembriel! I miss you! Did it happen like this for you? What did you do? Are you okay? Will I ever see you again?”
“Is this a good time to cut into the guilt and point out that if the Emperor just got killed and asked you to help find his one remaining son, there’s a very strong chance that you might not live long enough to find her?”
So yeah! Big tangled mess of guilt and fear. What a delightful place for Ganniwer to start off the game in! She is not okay!
Getting to the priory and back out again
All that said, I did eventually make it to the priory without too much trouble. And I found Jauffre and filled him in on what had happened. By the power of Because I Am the Player Character (and I did also give him the actual Amulet of Kings), he accepted my story and gave me access to an equipment chest.
Talking to a couple of the other brothers in the place, on the advice of the wiki, led me to get a horse and also a couple of repair hammers.
Not much else to the priory besides that, though it was interesting to learn that the place is staffed by former Blades. Just men, though, no women. This may be because the men there are all specifically monks?
I learned from the wiki that if I talked to all available NPCs there, I could get assistance from each, not just Jauffre. Most notably, this would let me get that horse. Since I’ve grown fond of having a horse in Skyrim, I wanted to see what having one in Oblivion would be like.
However, I am not sure I’m fond of the horse yet. When I got to the point of leaving the priory, I spend a little time just practicing riding. I was able to tell pretty quickly that it’s not as smooth an experience as it is in Skyrim or ESO. The main reason for this: I can only move that horse with the left stick. If I use the right stick, that just swings the camera. And that’s contradictory to how I’m used to it working in Skyrim, where the sticks work the same way as they do when I’m not mounted. So I’ll have to get used to that.
Also, movement speed while mounted doesn’t seem as smooth. It’s either “very poky” or “flat out gallop” depending on how far I move the left stick. I need to practice with this some more.
Still yet to determine: whether Oblivion horses have the same problem vanilla Skyrim horses do, and fall over and die if I ride too near a bear. ;P
Not sure yet? Next thing I’m supposed to do in the Main Quest is go to Kvatch and find Martin, but I want to find out if it’s a good idea to do that while I’m still level 2. Or if there are other low-level things I should consider doing first.