When I put out a call for what mods were recommended for a modded Skyrim run, one of the strongest recs I got was for one called The Forgotten City. This thing got a Writer’s Guild award for the strength of its plot, and the team that created it went pro and turned the overall plot structure into a standalone game, even.
I can now say that I’ve run this mod in Harrow’s run, and I enjoyed it immensely. I had a couple of small quibbles with it, but these were minor quibbles indeed. So if you’re in a position to run mods on Skyrim, I do highly recommend you consider checking this out.
I’ll be going into depth about my experiences with the mod in Harrow’s next full post. But by definition, that post will be chock full of spoilers. If you think you might want to run this mod at all, you might want to skip that post until you do.
In this post, I will limit myself to spoiler-free commentary, just enough to offer up a few tidbits and let you decide if you think the mod sounds like fun to you.
Deets (again, spoiler-free) behind the fold.
The main thing I want to say out of the gate about this mod is that it’s a time loop plot. I’m going to say that straight out, because if you don’t enjoy time loop plots, you will not enjoy this mod.
If you do enjoy time loop plots, you should expect certain tropes of that kind of plot to be in play here, particularly if you’re familiar with how time loop plots typically work in Star Trek and other SF properties. You will especially want to keep the idea of “character trying to break out of a time loop manages to relay knowledge about their decisions to the next iteration of the loop” in mind. I won’t get more specific than that, again because spoilers.
Other points of interest:
- It’s set in its own little corner of Skyrim, in a previously unknown but still functional Dwemer city
- Access to the city is set up in such a way as to explain why the NPCs showed up there and could not get out again
- Events in the mod will be impacted by your character choices, both prior to and during the plot; for this reason, the mod creators encourage you to run this as a higher-level character just to have time for your Dragonborn to develop enough of a history to give flavor to how this plot treats you
- There are apparently multiple ways to play out this plot and it can have multiple endings, depending on what choices you make as you play through the quest
Main things I liked about it:
- Quality vocal performances for all the NPCs
- A bunch of interesting NPCs in general, with good backstories
- Well-designed quest area in general
- Nice contrast between the creepy bits and the less overtly creepy bits
- I did very much like that the plot progression was impacted by my choices, and that a certain major character was even aware of my past history as Dovahkiin
A few minor quibbles I had:
- The story explicitly wanted me to take a certain action I normally would not want to do as a player, but which I had to do in order to further the plot, because I could find no other way to do that thing
- One area I had to explore felt too damned large and complicated for no particularly good reason; there was apparently additional plot to be found in there but I didn’t find where that plot was
- There is one part of the area I mention in item 2 of this list where I had to explicitly do a lot of jumping, and I’m not terribly good at that, so I found that a little tedious
- You get the letter that gives you the quest prompt at level 5, which IMO is way too early, but someone has written a patch mod that fixes this and delays it to level 25 instead; you might want to consider installing that patch as well if you want to run the quest
- It’s meant to be run solo but if you’re running custom followers you may get unpredictable results, I had this happen with running Inigo and Lucien; you may need to consider temporarily dismissing followers or making them hang out at camp or in town to wait for you to avoid this problem
All in all though, very glad I spent time checking this mod out. I did not hit all of the various side details available. And since there are multiple endings possible, I’ll be curious to try this again and see if I can hit one of the alternate endings in a future playthrough!
Stand by for Harrowhark’s next post, where I will go over my experiences running this mod in depth!