The Let's Play Archive

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

by Lizard Wizard

Part 70: The Elder Updates LXIX - Hist 101

Hist 101

Right! Having mopped up all the gruntwork in the Fighters Guild, it seems we're needed for PLOT in Chorrol.

Absolutely. I'm in.

So yes, we're off to raid a cave they've decided to occupy so as to...expand their influence, I guess? I'm not really sure how that works.

Our main objective here is to capture one of their higher-ups. Much like the Blackwood Company themselves, don't ask me why he's in this cave.

And, many times can I say it? It's a cave!

Daedric Armor is in full effect thanks to level scaling, and that's about the only notable thing about this venture.

A lot of them are wearing enchanted pieces that I have no real interest in, but eventually I find a full set!

Lots and lots of crap, including my old armor, is dumped into a chest, and...

There we go, lookin' nice and grimdark now! ...whoops, no greaves yet.

That's better.

Holy crap, this is turning out to be a pretty worthwhile dungeon actually.

We inevitably make it to the high-ranking lizardman, who's smart enough to come quietly.

We level up on the way out, too! Could've done with a better strength bonus, but we're certainly not hurting for carrying capacity thanks to our shiny new boots.

Aaaand stage two vampirism decided to be a thing. Good.

Thankfully the cave's pretty close to Chorrol, so it's not really an issue.

Interrogation time! We can either rough him up or butter him up here. I think you can guess which one we're doing.

How large is the Blackwood Company?
We are over one hundred strong now. We grow by the day!
Who is your leader?
No! I will not betray him! I will not tell you!

Ajum-Kajin is uncooperative, but more importantly look at this dialog option. We have had NO REASON to believe the Blackwood Company has a dark, horrible secret. They've just been portrayed as ruthless and well-equipped up until this point, so...why are we asking this? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say "bad writing".

A few punches later, he's willing to divulge who leads the Blackwood Company.

When pressed about the source of their power again, however, he chooses suicide by magic ring. Clever use of game mechanics, Bethesda!

For our trouble, we get the Amulet of Interrogation, which buffs our speechcraft and hand-to-hand skills by six levels each. It's a leveled item, and for some reason we got the middling version instead of the best version. To get the best version, you have to be level 10-19. This is the case for EVERY leveled quest reward in the Fighters Guild, stupidly enough.

Oblivion's Not That Bad Points: ((-40E + - + (3 * ))/) + SUMMON THE BRETHREN)^

Our next mission? Literally waltz right into the Blackwood Company and pretend to join them.

We bluff our way in by saying there's no work to be had in the Fighters Guild, which techincally isn't a lie at this point, really.

Damn, that was fast.

And this is pretty ceremonious.

Armor quality's kind of all over the map in this organization, huh?

Take this. It will increase your skills in battle. We use it often. It is a good, good thing.
What IS it?
This? Why, it is a gift from the swamps of Argonia. Sap of the Hist. A present from my homeland. The Hist are generous to our. So generous.
You smuggle...whatever this is?
Don't be stupid. We have returned with the Hist itself. One beautiful Hist, who gives her gifts to all the Company. smuggled a tree, then?
The clever mages made it possible. Magic and iron. But this is not the time to talk. You drink your gift and go with your new brothers. Well, khajiit has eaten stranger things!


Whoa okay. This is the first time the game's straight-up teleported me, to my recollection.

Khajiit can do this. Simple.

Hmm...where are the residents?

Perhaps they have fled. All the simpler. All the easier. Good.

Simple, simple, simple!

NOTHING simpler!

...what happened?
That's what I was getting ready to ask you. You were found unconscious on the streets of Leyawiin.
I was?
Some of your Guild brothers found you and brought you to me. Good to see some of them think like we do. Now, what happened out there?
We...drank Hist Sap extracted from their private tree, and then found ourselves fighting goblins at Water's Edge. ...I think.
They're using Hist Sap? And they claim to have brought a tree into Cyrodiil? Amazing. I can't imagine what the sap might d to non-Argonians.
Khajiit believes the answer is "fuck up", friend.
I'm not suprirsed you were found the way you were. I imagine those men have built up a tolerance to the stuff.

Sensible enough!



...urgh. I...I have to tell Modryn!

They're dead...all of them. We only SAW goblins...
No. the entire town...I realize you must be disgusted with yourself. I'm sorry for that. It was the Hist Sap, though, not you.
We now know the threat this group poses. Perhaps better than they themselves know it. We must take decisive action now.

This tree is the source of our problems. It is an abomination of nature, and it must be destroyed.
I agree wholeheartedly.
As long as the Blackwood Company has access to the sap, we are all in danger. I fear they no longer know what they do.

And NOW we have our final mission.

It's a very, very fighty affair, as you might imagine. We end up getting a key to the basement off of one of the corpses, but before we deal with the tree, we're gonna do some glitchy nonsense.

If you have more than one of a scroll, equip it.

Then highlight, but don't equip, an item you have less of than you have of the scroll that you just equipped.

Some simple division happens, and in this case 2 Alluring Gaze scroll / 1 Aquatic Evolution scroll = 2 Aquatic Evolution scrolls!

So I spend some time accumulating a good stack of scrolls in this fashion.

And in so doing, I reach even greater and greater denominations of multiplication...


...and can rectify the fact that the game has not made nearly enough non-steel arrows available to me.

See this? This isn't an arrow.

It's a fuckload of arrows occupying the exact same space so hard that the game didn't even know what to do about it and fucked up the texture.

THAT should be enough for a while.

Now, let's kill us a fucked up lizard tree!

First we have to dispatch the mages minding the thing, which is easy enough.

But then you have to know to grab these loose pipes.

And THEN you have to figure out that these Sap Pumps, which don't respond to you if you touch them normally, not even with a text box...


No compass marker to point you to the pipes, no text box to suggest that you need to find items in the room to complete your objective BY INTERACTING WITH THE WORLD IN A WAY THE PLAYER HAS NEVER HAD TO. You could argue that it only requires a simple action on the part of the player, but my counterpoint would be that it was so non-transparent I had to look it up.

Oblivion's Not That Bad Points: ((-45E + - + (3 * ))/) + SUMMON THE BRETHREN)^

Oh hey it's Maglir. Fuck off, Maglir.

As you might expect, after this we get promoted to Master of the Fighters Guild and congratulated for our brave actions. All that good stuff. Rather than bore you with the details of that, however, I should like to point out that I completed the Dark Brotherhood in the same play session.

This is also something I won't be covering, because it was THE FUCKING WORST. Remember when we got that letter out of a rock telling us to go kill a dude? Well, we did that, and then went to whatever crate or cubbyhole or tree stump all the way across the map that the letter told us to go to when we were done with the assassination. Inside? 500 gold and another letter. Invariably.

One quest in particular was ALMOST interesting and had us tracking down a woman's sons, who were scattered across Cyrodiil. She believed us to be a courier service specializing in buying and delivering gifts, and consequently gave us, get this, A LETTER WITH THE LOCATIONS OF HER CHILDREN ON IT.

This proceeded as normal but HO HO DEAR READER, there was a shitty twist! Some traitor in the ranks was messing with the notes and making us kill OTHER DARK BROTHERHOOD MEMBERS. Lucien Lachance died an offscreen death, we exposed the traitor and the Night Mother declared us a super-good assassin of destiny and shit and proceeded to make us the Big Kahuna.

So at the end of the day? Sure, there may have been some plotholes, there may have been some shitty quests, but I think the Fighters Guild was better. Why? The writers actually gave a shit. For as little as they did with it, the Hist was actually a pretty goddamn intriguing story element. And their late game didn't involve replacing voiced NPC dialog with dry written instructions, it involved fucking Lord Rugdumph. It didn't have a ham-fistedly sinister story with some babbling journal entry and the grimdark ghost mistress of the dark murder guild.

Also look at this shitty painting Oreyn did of himself torturing an Argonian oh my god.

Oblivion's Not That Bad Points: ((-40E + - + (3 * ))/) + SUMMON THE BRETHREN)^