The following is an excerpt from The Most Dangerous Fantasy Game, a staple in the imaginary short story canon:
For a moment the general did not reply; he was smiling his curious red-lipped smile. Then he said slowly, "No. You are wrong, sir. The Giant Mudcrab is not the most dangerous big game." He sipped his mead. "Here in my preserve on this island," he said in the same slow tone, "I hunt more dangerous game."
“Oh, so dragons.”
“Yes! Dragons! I was going to fake you out and say 'Man' but you caught on. Well done. Weird.”
The dragon in the mirror
Short fiction in the Elder Scrolls universe would likely reflect less of man’s existential concern with the self, and more of man’s existential concern with being incinerated by an ancient, winged lizard-beast.
Through hours and hours of leveling up, finding gear, and building relationships, you can even the odds, somewhat. But, gosh dang, I am sick of dragons. They’re always getting into my garden, pulverizing my cabbages (and also my house). It’s time for an open season.
So, let’s go dragon hunting! First, though, you’ll need a gun. Spells and arrows won’t do here.
Lock and load
Check out Project Flintlock, a mod that adds a few guns to Skyrim. Install is fairly simple. Just extract the meshes, textures, and sound folders, plus the Project Flintlock.esp file to your Skyrim/data install directory. After that, you just need to make sure the mod is checked in the Skyrim launcher under Data Files.
The total feature set includes:
- authentic flintlock rifle, blunderbuss, and grenade launcher, animated and rigid
- ammo with different damage values
- three different bayonets (short, long, sword) for the flintlock rifle
- new location with new models and items
- custom sounds and new effects for each weapon type
- the weapons are craftable, enchantable, upgradeable, follower friendly
- an optional ammo add-on with 15 new bullet types
The animations aren’t perfect, and it becomes fairly obvious that they’re just reskinned, stat-modified bows and arrows, but I’m willing to suspend my disbelief for the sake of dragon population control. Here’s a quick look at all three:
Dragons for dinner
Alright, it's time to head out. Bring your jacket? License? Good, good. First, we’ll need to find some kind of evidence that a dragon has been nearby. You see, the key to dragon hunting is—
Let’s see how it takes to the musket.
Well, shoot, for lack of a better term. That's not much damage at all. The big dog hardly flinched. And I got breathed on by cold stuff! And it smelled really bad, not like those gum commercials would make you think. Caught a whiff of dead goat, corrupt jarl, and—what's that? Cabbages! It's time to end this.
Let's not waste any more time.
Oh god. What have I done?
Save the dragons
Ah, dang. I'm reflecting on my actions, feeling consequence, guilt, and all that jazz. I thought this was about extrinsic danger, but now I’m all worried about ‘who I am’ and ‘becoming a monster’. I mean, the dragons are sentient, yeah? And when I was just using the powers and gear I earned, we were sort of duking it out on fair terms. Turns out Skyrim might also have its fair share of folks thinking about how messed up humanity might be, looking in the mirror, gaunt-eyed, crying and whatnot. Going to liberal arts schools. Can’t escape short fiction in Skyrim. So, without further adieu, the revelation:
Maybe dragons aren’t the most dangerous game.
Maybe, we’re the most dangerous game.
Or maybe, Project Flintlock is just dumb fun, especially in a game that you might have already explored, head to toe.