Archive for the ‘Let’s Play Morrowind’ Category

A Very Cahmel Christmas, Part 1

21 Dec

EDIT: Due in part to its length, and in part to showstopper glitches with the game, the next Cahmel Christmas will be up ASAP, probably tomorrow-like.

Cahmel the Red-Handed Raider

Cahmel the shiftless vagrant

Left his thieving asshat bros

Their economic model—

You would even say it blows

All of the other bagmen

Made him jump through lots of hoops

Just so they’d let poor Cahmel

In their inbred Thieves’ Guild loop

Then one fed-up afternoon

Cahmel came to say

“You know, you guys just ain’t that bright

I’m gonna go and pick a fight.

“I’m fed up with all you losers,

And how you make me prove my worth

I’m finding a new career path

Off your stupid Waterfront turf!”

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Previous/Next Functionality Added

20 Jul

I usually save this sort of thing for State of the Skarn posts, but this is a fairly significant announcement, so I’ll just come out with it. I’ve crowbared in a previous/next function, as seen on Twenty Sided–series navigation no longer requires hours of time, special tools, and the assistance of friendly natives.

If I were, for example, to post a link to the first ever Let’s Play Morrowind post–and if I were to have spent half an hour going back, locating, and manually editing each of the 50+ Cahmel posts to all fit into a single Let’s Play Morrowind category–you would be able to use that link as a starting point to effortlessly read the entire series, start to finish. Well, you’d still have to read it. Or get somebody to read it to you, I suppose. I won’t judge you that much.

Anyway, this was requested feature #1, and now you’ve got it. I’m guessing feature number two is going to be more pictures of naked people; I’ll get to work on that as soon as my webcam is set up.


EDIT: Now that I look at it, the category displayed on those is still Let’s Play, not Let’s Play Morrowind. It will still work, but there’ll be some Kahdzbar posts mixed in that you can easily skip past. Still, I’ll probably go back and remove the redundant categories anyway.


In a Hostile Country: The Saga of Cahmel (Epilogue, Part 2)

20 Jul

This post is 4,300 words long, so buckle up.

The air in Hlaalu’s fabulous Vivec Canton stank of suits and money, both freshly laundered. I recognized it instantly. For the skin of a moment, I remembered all of the good times I’d had in places like this; for about a minute and a half, I remembered all of the really, really awful ones. My resolve was not flapped. I stepped through a set of familiar doors, brushing past the gawking bureaucrats to Crassius’s lobby.

A woman was standing on call there—a receptionist? With Crassius, you could never be sure. To be on the safe side, I approached her and said, “Hello, I’m here to—“

She’d glanced up from her notebook, taken one look at me, and choked off a scream.

“Oh,” I said quickly, raising my hands. “I know. The expulsion, right? Hey, look, that was all just a wacky misunderstanding—“

“Dark Brotherhood!” she whispered, pushing herself backwards against the wall. “If you take another step, I’ll scream for the guards!”

“What? Oh, the uniform. Right. Yeah, funny story—one of ‘em came into my room at night to try to kill me, but I managed to skewer him and strip the still-warm armor from his bloodied—well, not funny ha-ha, but like…”

“Do you expect me to believe that? Why would you don the ceremonial armor of the most feared and hated assassin’s cabal in the realm?”

“Slightly thicker than my bug suit.”


“Plus, chicks dig the goggles. Look, I just need to–”

The receptionist slowly drew herself away from the wall, muscles stiffening, spine straightening. Her expression grew tough and cold, and I remembered then that Hlaalu employees are required to put in a certain amount of combat hours before they’re ever handed a pen. This woman had been through whatever I had been through—perhaps worse. When she spoke, the fear was purged from her voice.

“Listen to me, you lying, treacherous snake. Perhaps you thought we would fear you, but we do not. Hlaalu officials are not so easily cowed. I don’t know why you have come here, but whatever sinister deeds you were planning, forget it. If you don’t turn around and leave this instant, I will call the guards on you, and you will spend the last instants of your worthless life surrounded, on your knees, and screaming. Do you understand me?”

“Look, I just want to see Crassius—“

“Down the stairs, first door on your right, he should be in right now. I’ll cancel his appointments for the next hour.” She swept smoothly back into her chair.

“Thanks,” I said, pushing open the stairwell door.

“Tell him Lovecrumpet sent you.”

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In a Hostile Country: The Saga of Cahmel (Epilogue, Part 1)

17 Jul

When we last left our patient, virtuous, gracious, long-suffering hero…

It was six hours after I found the book; that’s fifteen minutes to cut the squealing down to acceptable thresholds, four minutes to decide whether or not to abort my current mission, one minute to consider the ethics of ditching a quest to go pawn a religious text I’d stolen from a woman I’d murdered, two minutes to stop snickering, and then five hours and fifty-three minutes to get back to the nearest place where I could rent a ride going to a place where I could rent a ride to get back to the outskirts of decent civilization. And then I was lounging in the luxurious South Wall Cornerclub, nursing a mug of the least bug-derived beverage in the house and planning my next move.

I had a real score, that’s for sure. The book I had with me was worth more than everything I’d earned so far put together, all of the drakes I’d scraped up from pinching flatware and dissecting wildlife and leading my friends to their deaths. I’m not counting my profits from working with Hlaalu, but that’s only because my net gain on an average mission was something like negative 50 bones. Point is, this thing I’d just dredged up could make me rich beyond my reasonably wildish dreams.

The first question was, how do I sell it? That was a difficult question, and one that I immediately discarded in favor of: what am I going to do with the money once I’ve sold it for its full value and instantly fixed all of my problems?

And really, that was the only important question, whether or not I ever managed to fence this book. My grandmother always said that what a man does with a vast sum of illegitimately-acquired blood money is what there are as a person. My decision right now would define everything—what I stood for, what I strived for, and the legacy I intended to leave behind after I went. It was, of course, entirely fitting that I make this decision while steaming drunk.

Despite a steady stream of drinks consumption, I made little progress. I toyed briefly with the idea of forming my own charity (The Endangered Cliff Racers Fund, with which I would employ a staff working around the clock to ensure these majestic creatures would become endangered as quickly as possible,) but decided that I’d never be able to look myself in the mirror if I squandered this kind of money on the public good. My other idea was to buy a ticket out of this godforsaken country, but I’d never seen a transport that took passengers besides the one going to Solstheim (which promised all of the fun of wandering a feral wasteland mixed with the exotic thrill of freezing to death). Hours dragged on, and every idea I added to the list was scratched off almost instantly.

Gradually, I realized what the problem was. Up to this point, I’d always had the vague idea that I worked for subsistence. Sure, I was never low on food money and only rarely low on booze money, but I was never more than a couple of really stiff bribes away from being flat broke, and that knowledge meant I was always looking for the next job. It kept me moving in the face of stupid objectives, jerk questgivers, impossible odds, and what may have actually been the worst working conditions outside of an early textile mill. It sucked, but it was what I did for a living, so I did it—I subsided. But now that I had a payout of 50,000 sitting in my backpack, resting snugly between the scrib jerky and the loose animal body parts, subsistence was essentially out of the picture. I was not likely to go hungry anytime soon; with this kind of money, I could hire a full-time team to go hungry for me.

So, now that what I needed was no longer an issue, what did I want?

That was a damn good question. For one thing, I wanted another drink, which—somewhat unfortunately, as this was so far a very troubling scenario—did not cost 50,000.

Well…respect, I guess. I’ve always wanted to be respected by my peers. Can money buy respect? I forget how that works. I guess I could go around bribing people, since that seems to be the primary tool of social mobility out here. Then again, all bribing does is raise the other person’s disposition, and I’ve proven conclusively that disposition and respect are not connected. Case in point: most of my employers have been crazy about me so far, but from the orders they’ve given me, you’d think I was an untrained slack-jawed intern who needs a winch to pull his pants on in the morning. Also, that I’d performed unspeakable acts on their morning oatmeal. They’re right on both accounts, but that doesn’t make it any less hurtful.

You know, now that I think of it, what have I done that even would engender respect in someone? I’ve spent my time losing fights, dodging obligations, doing people’s grunt work, streaking for business and pleasure, and acting as a companion to the pathetic and a tour guide to the mentally disabled. My career has been a breathtaking journey from embarrassment to embarrassment.

I thought of my lowest moments. I thought of my weeks of kowtowing to the Hlaalu—and eventually failing out of their order after being given a quest I was unable to complete. I thought of my inability to deal with the Brotherhood despite brazen, repeated attempts on my life. I thought of my rousing, crowd-pleasing defeat at the hands of Gaenor, scrambling down a Mournhold street while Ordinators watched and laughed. I stirred these memories, stewing them in alcohol as fires of humiliation burned in my gut.

So many indignities, and I had nobody to blame but myself. I had swaggered into all of these situations with the cocksure arrogance of a god; my long history of failure was nothing but the fruits of that hubris. I could see that so clearly now.

Yes, I knew now what I needed to do. Somehow, I had to use this 50,000 to better myself. Take classes, maybe. Learn how to do something besides fight, because I was never much good at it and I usually only ended up face-down in the dirt. I ought to put down my sword and learn a simple, honest trade, and never strut about the place like I was above an honest day’s work—like I was somehow better than the potters and smithies who made up this island’s rich cultural tapestry. Maybe in time I’d learn to stop pretending I was a victim of fate, and maybe then I could spend the rest of my days in quiet, peaceful psyche, I’m totally blaming everybody else. I’m going to spend the 50,000 learning how to kill them.

Well, okay, I’m a pragmatist. I can’t kill everybody who’s ever reduced me to a human punchline; I’m going to want someone lying around to high-five afterwards. I’m going to need a narrower spectrum of scapegoats.

This 50,000 is enough to buy a king-hell dose of training and equipment upgrades—I’ve got at least one enchantment I’ve had my eye on. After those are in hand, it’s just a matter of figuring out who I want to bring the hammer down on.

With much difficulty, I narrow my list of enemies down to the following five.

I can't make this thing show up the right size, so just click for the full version, would you kindly.

I’m glad I took the time to work through these issues. What better way to celebrate than a shopping spree, followed by premeditated, hot-blooded murder?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a single damn thing.



Important Announcement/Teaser/Outrage Fodder

16 Jul

All good things must come to an end. So, apparently, does this.

That’s right, after 50 regular posts, I’m bringing my longest-running Let’s Play into a landing sequence. There will be two more plus-sized posts, an epilogue, and then it’s over.

This is a difficult thing to do. I mean, I’ve kept it going for 50 entries. It’s one of the more popular series on the site, and, as my probably-weighted Google search would have it, the first Morrowind LP that comes up. And though I feel in my gut like the series has run its course, I’m pretty sure I’ll get some flak for never finishing any of the quest lines or checking out Bloodmoon.

The thing is, though, this was never about taking anything to completion. For chrissakes, I never even touched the main quest after delivering the package, and I’ve flitted from job to job and personal mission to personal mission like a gadfly with a liberal arts degree. I’m a tourist–I’m sampling a wide range of content with the understanding that little of it will ever get finished. Honestly, to me, that’s part of what Morrowind was about. Morrowind wasn’t something to be finished, it was a world to inhabit and explore at my leisure. It’s not a coincidence that I stopped playing years ago when my first character had gotten to the end of every questline and maxed out every skill–I had gotten damn near close to “beating” Morrowind then, and it killed the experience for me. While I’d never get to that level within the confines of this LP, my point is that I’m comfortable concluding this series without becoming House Leader or Head Fighter or Iron Chef or whatever.

As for Bloodmoon: wasn’t gonna happen. Sorry, that place is lethal, and most of the interesting quests (of a variety I’ve yet to explore) are way out of my league. I’d have to gain another half-dozen levels at least, and that would require probably another dozen episodes. Besides, Cahmel hocked his warm clothing for repairs money.

So, what does that leave for the last two episodes? Hehe. You’ll see.

Oh, and obviously, there’s gonna be a series replacing this one. Yes, it’s a text-based LP. I don’t want to blab what it is; let’s just say it’s what makes tying this series up sting a little less on my end.

Right, I’ll save the getting misty part for the actual epilogue. I don’t know when the last entry will go up, but the penultimate one should be up by the end of the week. See you there.

Oh, and I have the footage for Dark Messiah, but it’s going wonky when I put it into Windows Movie Maker. It might be I downloaded the wrong version; if it ends up being a serious problem, I’ll just re-record or something.


In a Hostile Country: The Saga of Cahmel (Let’s Play Morrowind, Part 50)

01 Jul

Oh-kay, I figured out what was wrong with the headset. Initially, I’d thought it was a driver issue that’d take forever to hunt down and sort out.  Thankfully, that’s not the case–experimentation has demonstrated that the headset’s just plain broke. So, I’ll figure that out, I guess. In the meantime, here’s a nice full-length Cahmel to tide you over.

When we last left our crusading hero, he was stuck dredging the crappiest pub in Sandytown for directions—and what kickawesome directions they turned out to be, by the way. Really, it’s wrong to call them directions–it’s just direction, full stop, and that direction is north. Wander out that way, start combing the badlands, and see if the cliff racers kill you before you work up the courage to do the job yourself.

People threw a hissy fit when Beth threw a quest compass into Oblivion, claiming that it removed the sense of exploration and independence from the game. That would be a legitimate complaint if the quest directions in Morrowind weren’t so invariably godawful—as it is, complaining about Bethesda putting in a quest compass because it dumbs down the game is like complaining that they put out a house fire because now it’s too cold. Speaking in my official capacity as a long-time devotee of Morrowind: less of this rubbish can only be a good thing. Of course, it’d be really nice if Bethesda just started making quest directions make sense, but if I’m being frank, I don’t credit them with a lot of finesse. A hack solution’s better than no solution.

Anyway, luckily, I’ve done the whole systematic-sweep-of-the-island thing about a hundred times before. That won’t make the process less time-consuming, but it does mean I won’t try to reflexively bludgeon myself unconscious around hour fifteen. I’m also making good progress on the sobbing around hour six, and I’m progressing slowly but confidently in phasing out the hour eight pants-wetting. In the process, I did accidentally train myself to go fetal whenever anyone gives me directions, but I’m pretty sure freshman orientation was going to be awkward anyway.

Where was I? Oh yeah, hopelessly lost. I ended up taking a few modes of fast travel to get to the general area indicated, which, thankfully, wasn’t actually that big. It was a sort of archipelago north of the mainland, a good hike/swim away from the nearest town and loaded with all kinds of crazy caves and junk. It wouldn’t even be that tricky to search, except for a few things:

1.)    The islandettes are surrounded by irritating cliff racers, slaughterfish, and dreugh.

2.)    The place is hilly as heck, and not only is it difficult to see what’s ahead of you, it’s sometimes difficult to walk ten feet in a straight line. This means you go around the hills, which usually means taking a little swim, which means another exciting journey into the magical realm of nautical manslaughter.

3.)    There are about a thousand different nooks in this place, and they all look the same—it’s actually possible to fly by the place you’re looking for because you mistakenly believe it’s another tomb you just passed, which makes you think you’re going in circles, which just perpetuates the rather pathetic cycle.


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In a Hostile Country: The Saga of Cahmel (Let’s Play Morrowind, Part 49)

29 Jun

In Ald-Ruhn, the wind doesn't blow, it--wait, it does that like all of the time. It's windy like a champ up in there.

When we last left our brave hero, he was finally getting what he wanted out of life: actual quantifiable success. Some say the best reward is knowing that you’ve done your job well, and so far, I’d have to agree. I mean, in theory, adequate financial compensation would be nice, but since I typically get paid barely above travel expenses to do all of this freelance murdering that’s not really on the table. My reward is that lovely warm feeling you get when you successfully complete a job (parameters for success include: the whiny NPC has stopped whining, the violent NPC is now dead, the jerkass NPC is now giving you money).

But yeah, in case you were wondering what the going rate on finding godforsaken ruins and battling necromancers singlehandedly is: two hundred and fifty drakes. The wages on getting released from prison are almost a third of that, and I’d probably make more money if I nicked all of the knickknacks in the waiting room and flogged them down the street. As a bonus, this option would not require taking two modes of fast travel and slogging my way across the countryside on foot, then hacking apart an army of skeletons at the behest of some buoyant Dunmer redneck (blueneck?), then slogging back and taking the bug-based commute from hell again. Actually, did I even make back all of my travel expenses on this job? Maybe, but when you factor in getting my sword repaired and the 31 incidental briberies that are part and parcel of every quest in this game, I probably just about broke even. Marvelous. I don’t suppose the tavern is hiring? I think I could probably handle that, as long as the customers didn’t shout and they didn’t make me clean rats out of the basement.

Whatever, let’s move on to the next job. Some Redoran dude went rogue—oh, I’m killing rogue Redoran this time, what a lovely change of pace—and now he’s heading up some highwaymen in the north. For only the sixtieth time since I started this game, I have to go into a cave and then kill some bandits inside the cave. Luckily, they’ve pinpointed the exact location of the bandits: they’re located in Sargon, which is precisely somewhere kind of north of Maar Gan, I don’t know, like, ask around or something. Translation: I want you to get out of my personal space, then stay out for as long as possible. If you being stranded out in the bitter ash-blown wastelands amidst an entire continent of violent fauna means I don’t have to smell and/or pay you for an extra week, I will do anything to make this happen.

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In a Hostile Country: The Saga of Cahmel (Let’s Play Morrowind, Part 48)

25 Jun

(Sorry, misplaced this post–that’s why it took so long to get up. Oh well, no harm done.)

When we last left our daring hero, he was working his way through a Necromancer’s lair that was slightly less dangerous than Disney’s Haunted Mansion. I was ostensibly working as support for a Buoyant Armiger, and indeed, we ended up splitting the workload more or less evenly. I handled all of the tasks involving:

*Killing the undead
*Securing the area
*Protecting us
*Vanquishing evil
*Taking damage
*Scouting ahead
*Flanking the enemy
*Drawing my weapon

Whereas she leapt on any situation that required:

*Spitting out one of three combat taunts
*Getting stuck on doorways
*Baring biceps
*Possessing a can-do attitude

Together, we made a good team, and an even better me-doing-everything-while-she-sort-of-shuffles-behind-me-and-talks-a-good-fight. We were like Aragorn and the gaffer, Sergeant Angel and his peace lily, La Femme Nikita and her grocery checkout boyfriend, Bruno and Vatsy—a badass duo, in that I was Bad and she was just plain Ass.

It didn’t take me long to get to the end of the tomb, a sort plush apartment space at the top of a couple staircases. There waited Whatsisface, Dunmer necromancer, apparent evil dude, and the guy whose shenanigans necessitated this mission. I’m still not sure what he was actually doing—it’s possible my ally would have informed me, if I’d expressed even the faintest smidgen of interest. It’s also possible he would have given me the pitch himself, if I hadn’t hacked him into peppersteak the instant I moved within melee range of his corpus.
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In a Hostile Country: The Saga of Cahmel (Let’s Play Morrowind, Part 47)

14 Jun

When we last left our punctual hero…wait, what was he doing again?

In the exotic sugar-sweet smoke of the South Wall Corner Club, life was beginning to sink into a delightfully simple routine. Each morning, I would carefully pencil in an itinerary that consisted of the kind of violently irresponsible, premeditated binge-drinking only someone in my position was really capable of.

I was the perfect storm, you see. I was embarrassingly wealthy, due the sheer volume of high-risk mediocre-pay jobs I’d undertaken in the past few months, and yet was coming off a streak of soul-crushing failures potent enough to make a hyena write introspective poetry. I’d managed to line my pockets by repeatedly shaming myself, getting drubbed, and putting the lives of my nonhuman and technically-human companions on the line (then running away from that line, hiding in a closet, and sucking my thumb quietly). All these gave me both the means and the warrant to start drinking alcoholic beverages like they were healing potions and my ass was on fire.

I've also got this house. Not gonna lie, I kinda lost interest in it when I discovered it wouldn't ferment.

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In a Hostile Country: The Saga of Cahmel (Let’s Play Morrowind, Part 46)

11 May

Yeah, for some reason, I don’t seem to have any screenshots for the last chunk of Morrowind playthrough. Rather than just do the post sans-shot, like last time, I figure I’ll just go through today and laboriously re-take all of them. It’s probably my fault, anyway–either I was pressing the wrong button, or I didn’t have enough room, or maybe I was just an idiot and wasn’t running FRAPS. Whatever the case, I’ll be back with screenshots from last session, screenshots from this one, and a full-length post on top of them.

I’ll probably put the post in this space, just for the sake of housekeeping. I know it’s not like I’m wasting actual paper, but for some reason, I always get antsy when filler posts and announcements. Maybe I just like the post count to accurately reflect the amount of content on the site, or maybe I’m just bent. Well, certainly both–it’s a matter of degrees, I suppose.

Tonight’s post is the last part of the open letter, to be found below. Yes, I’m going to actually send it.

Right, time for the actual post. I’ve got some good news and bad news.

The bad news is, I can’t find my CD. Well, okay, no, I know perfectly well where the CD is, I just can’t get it at the moment. The good news is, I’ve already done the necessary legwork…and as far as visual aids go, I’ve made do with what I had. To wit: a tablet, some free time, and a sketching addiction.

Pictured: Cahmel, wearing his class-specific hat on top of his helment.

Now, introduction’s over. Let’s dive right into tonight’s post.

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