Thursday, November 8 2012

Moral clarity in Skyrim

While sitting at home being sick and miserable, I loaded up Skyrim and tried playing a more magic-oriented character (short version: mages are very squishy in the universe of the Elder Scrolls). Along the way, I picked up a quest that I didn’t do on my previous run through the game, The Break of Dawn.

In this quest, the goddess-like being Meridia commands you to become her champion and reclaim her temple from the undead forces of the necromancer Malkoran. This is a pretty typical dungeon crawl, and that’s the problem. SOP in a dungeon crawl is to steal anything that isn’t nailed down: spellbooks, potions, chests of gold and gems, offerings, divine relics, contents of burial urns, and of course, everything carried by your vanquished foes.

Except this time you’re looting the temple of the goddess who not only gave you the job, but also lifted you thousands of feet into the air to ensure you felt properly motivated. And in addition to all the usual things to loot, the place is full of the Desecrated Corpses of her worshippers, and they were all loaded with cash, easily ten times as much as the undead monsters you have to wipe out. There are so many of them that in some places you have to kick the emptied husks aside to reach the next batch.

As soon as you finish the job, before you can stagger off to the nearest NPC vendor, she lifts you high into the air again, and thanks you for cleaning her the place out.