Part 71: The Elder Updates LXX - ObliviendObliviend
Before we get started here, I'd like to mention something that got lost in the shuffle last update. At some point while I was busy sucking down the bland nutrient slurry that was the Dead Drop quests, I did Peyrite's quest.
I touched the ghosts of some trapped guys or some shit, and for so doing got a shield with a nice Reflect Spell enchantment. Nothing too important in the grand scheme of things, but that's why my shield looks different now.
In any event, though, it's off to the north to wrap up the main questline.
Just one more important magic thing to get, first! The idea here is that we're going to let the Mythic Dawn open that Great Gate - y'know, the thing we found out about when we hunted down those spies earlier in the questline - and bust in there to get our stone.
So we go double-check with the Countess of Bruma to make sure it's okay with her, get some pomp and circumstance, and march out of the city.
Aaaand we have to defend Martin while the three gates open, which will allow the Great Gate to open.
While we're here, I should point out that is where the dreadful pattern of Oblivion's endgame begins to form. There's a lot of things that don't make sense from here on out, and it's all in the name of serving the plot. For example, here we're relying on the enemy to try and do exactly this, which is bad enough on its own. But it's entirely unnecessary. We have the Mysterium Xarxes. We literally have the book on opening Oblivion Gates. We could be doing this ourselves, on our own terms, and it would be fucking awesome because we'd be subverting the enemy's technology and invading them but nope, same shit as we've done twice before in the main questline! There's an Oblivion gate go stop it!
Also, Martin can die from here on out, which is the only failure state for the game other than the player dying.
Eventually the Great Gate'll pop into existance, and it's...well...a big Oblivion Gate.
Oh wait, no, I'm sorry, it's a big Oblivion Gate with a time limit.
Y'know what would be fun? Fighting the giant demonic siege engine.
Being able to interact with it at all? No? Just me? Okay.
Having your high-stakes endgame dungeon amount to more than juking past a gate and - ooh, hello Absorb Magicka spell effect, nice to meet you - touching a goddamn fel demonstone to save the day? Literally anything other than this thing the player's done a thousand times already.
And...the siege engine makes its way through the gate anyway, only to die and drop a Sigil Stone, which is odd to say the least. Not to get too grognardy, but this is the only time in the series that they're used as anything but an item to keep an Oblivion Gate open, and it strikes me as a bit of an asspull in retrospect. And it's all because they were afraid not to give the player a Sigil Stone. Also, please note that we're basically looking at the business end of the siege crawler, presumably chopped off by the gate closing. That's kinda neat.
In any case, that's done and we can now report to Cloud Ruler Temple to go kick down the door to Paradise.
...okay, this is wrong as shit. First of all, this is conflating an Oblivion Gate with a plane of Oblivion, the latter of which is what Paradise is. An Oblivion Gate is what connects a plane of Oblivion to Tamriel, what allows things to pass through, and is what is being held open by the Sigil Stone. It's almost like it's a fucking gate. To Oblivion. Now, given that there is NOT a gate to Paradise being constantly held open - which is abundantly clear because here the fuck we are having to make our own - Mankar Camoran is absolutely not serving the same function as a Sigil Stone. It's absolute bullshit, basically.
That's...is that how a Sigil Stone works? Or is that just how Paradise works?
Okay stop. Let's just stop. Is Mankar Camoran a Sigil Stone, have we been destroying entire planes of Oblivion every time we touch a Sigil Stone, is the Daedric Plane of Destruction a plane or a bunch of planes, did anyone think about whether or not this jives with lore or even if the player, not knowing shit about lore, would be able to make sense of this?
Y'know what? Fuck it. There's the portal, let's do this.
...well, I guess it IS called Paradise.
Oh fuck off Camoran.
So this guy drones on a whole bunch and I don't feel like covering the whole place, so lemme break it down for you. This is Paradise, Mankar Camoran made it, the place is populated with his followers and some daedra.
And ho ho ho dear player your previous enemy is now humanized, how is that for a twist, mm? He's got a magic item that we need to get into the next part of the dungeon Idunno. We're given the option of taking his quest or just straight up killing him, which is nice.
I choose the option that lets me abuse the Staff of Paralysis.
There's also some shit where you're supposed to feel sorry for the members of the Mythic Dawn who did horrible things and now can never die which makes them similar to Daedra now? I mean, sure, interesting idea, but there's no way the player will ever know the Mythic Dawn as anything but horrible people anyway, so...eh!
So now with the Bands of the Chosen, which is literally what they're called, we can go into the Forbidden Grotto, which is literally what it's called, and be armchair-philosophized at by Mankar Camoran.
And now, read all of it. Know what I had to go through. Read it.
Not pictured: teaming up with a Mythic Dawn guy who wants to help us because he's tired of Mankar Camoran's shit and the bands are cursed apparently.
Bonus Video: All Mankar Camoran ambient dialog
Before long, we're back outside, and while you can't see it in this screenshot, we're coming up on his "palace". One neat little thing about this area is it's the only place, except for Frostcrag Spire, where you can find Mana Blooms, which are filled with literal nectar and ambrosia, good for magicka and health potions respectively. Nice little detail.
It should also be pointed out that Camoran's children are also here. Raven usually isn't wearing bound armor, but that's because I'm going out of my way to fight him. There is a reason for this.
God I love Paralysis.
As long as the player character is level 22 or higher, Raven will ALWAYS have the Mundane Ring. It is a very, very good ring, and the game outright stops you from equipping more than one at a time, which is perfectly fair for two reasons. First off, the obvious reason: 100% magic resistance would be broken as all hell. Second, remember that gal earlier who talked about everyone in Paradise being reborn if they die? Every humanoid in Paradise respawns, including Raven. If you had a mind to, it would be laughably easy to farm an infinite number of Mundane Rings, much less two.
That having been said, the 50% reduction to spell damage alone means this ring is sweet as hell and won't be leaving Sterv's finger any time soon.
So we're escorted into the boss chamber, which is actually very pretty. Nice to see what an intact Ayleid building looks like, even if it is an intact Ayleid building straight out of the imagination of the villain.
Camoran himself is in a throne at the back. He's gonna say a few words we don't really give a shit about. Something something can't stop Lord Dagon who cares.
And then we fight.
Now, I want you to notice how he's shining purple here. This means he's resisting a magical effect. Out of curiosity, I decided to look up just how much resistance he has, and, well...
Mankar Camoran, you are BULLSHIT.
It's nothing you can't brute force given enough time and potions, but JESUS. It's worth pointing out that, as you fight him, you've also got his children to deal with, so it can go south pretty quickly.
His staff is...well, it kinda sucks. Ten points of Disintegrate Armor and a piddly amount of shock damage to go with it. It's kind insulting considering it's literal endgame loot, but given the shitton of charges, I'll take it.
And the robe...well, it's salable.
Having slain Camoran and taken the amulet, Paradise begins to fall apart.
...as I scramble to loot things, including a much better staff.
And with that, we're off to the Imperial City to coronate Martin and light the Dragonfires.
So let's go already!
...and shit starts going down immediately.
Our goal is simple enough: get to the Temple of the One with Martin intact.
However, Mehrunes Dagon himself has Kool-Aid Man'd through the weakened barrier between Oblivion and Tamriel. Or maybe there's no barrier anymore. It's not really clear.
And on top of everything else, relighting the Dragonfires won't do anything, or would be futile anyway because Dagon's already here, I guess?
But Martin has an idea, and we're just gonna slip past Mehrunes Dagon.
It's pitifully easy, as it turns out.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, the ending, which I'm sure as hell not transcribing.
No, really, scroll back up and watch the ending. THEN I'll talk about it.
Now, let's recap. Martin shattered the amulet in order to turn into an avatar of Akatosh, wrestled Mehrunes Dagon back into Oblivion and reestablished the barrier between Tamriel and Oblivion, this time for good, then turned himself to stone. I'm of two minds about this ending. The plot reasoning here is actually pretty slick. Akatosh is a god of permanence and the barrier between Oblivion and Tamriel is sustained by a pact involving his blood and the blood of a Septim. Martin is a man who has a history of fucking with godly artifacts, so...actually, sure! It works!
From a gameplay perspective, however it's...kinda bad! A side character gets to resolve the conflict, and it's not even in a way that could be comparble to anything the player, or any NPC is capable of doing, leaving it as a bit of a head-scratcher - though an impressive spectacle. And I know, I've heard the argument that no no no, it's fine because you're not SUPPOSED to be the hero, it's Martin. And to that, all I have to say is why?
Why should the player not be the hero? Why couldn't Bethesda at least patronize the player by giving them a role beyond "Martin's bodyguard"? I don't think it's the worst possible ending, but it could've been better.
It's...it's over. It's finally over!
Oblivion's Not That Bad Points: ((-40E + - + (3 * ))/) + SUMMON THE BRETHREN)^ +