Skyrim: Week of Madness, Day 4: Yet There Is Method In It, And Also Cheese

Richard Cobbett

Every day this week, we'll be visiting a version of Skyrim unlike any you've ever seen before – a world thrown into anarchy and chaos by Sheogorath, God of Madness, and the assistance of over 200 blindly-installed mods. In our fourth part, it's time to put aside the altered and search for the new. What unseen wonders does Skyrim now hide for our brave heroes adventurers to discover?

Catch up on the adventure: Day 1 , Day 2 , Day 3

At least, that was the plan - and the number of new points of interest both on the Skyrim map, and hinted at in the Whiterun area suggested that it wasn't going to be too tricky to find cool new places to check out. Unfortunately, and not to take anything away from the modders' no doubt hard work, struggling through the dinosaurs and lions and constant wandering enemies to check them out usually ended up less a thrilling new adventure as something a bit more disappointingly like this.

Destination 1: Tristram

AKA That Town From Diablo Where Nothing Good Ever Seems To Happen...

Huh. Shouldn't there be some demons, or some dungeons or something here, or at least some nerds whining about DRM? These doors are painted on and there's a rogue here called Rouge. If she gets in a fight, it'll be a mascara.

Greetings, traveller! I am Deckard Ca-

You see a turtle lying on its back. It is boiling in the sun. You don't help it. Why?

I don't-

Wrong! The answer is 'Woo! Turtle soup! Free dish!' You ARE a Replicant. Glad we finally cleared that one up. Were you saying something?

Uh. "Stay awhile and listen". It's my thing, you see.

What will I get out of this, exactly?

Unncessary amounts of lore, I suppose. The warmth of knowing you humoured a lonely old man in his time of direst need. A sense of-

Pass.

Destination 2: The Shire

Where hobbits live, or are supposed to at least...

Just another empty house. A nice one, but...

Who keeps building these things and then abandoning them? Is it because they keep realising they forgot to put in a toilet? Don't they know you can just barge into other peoples' homes and use their stuff without permission?

No, I think that's just you, my Thane. And, well, about that...

Quiet. What's next? People paying real world money to buy land and build houses in this frozen country? No, who needs to go adventuring and enjoy life when you can have a greenhouse and adopt some soulless brats?

Now you're just being silly.

Destination 3: Neiheleim

The land of floating islands, like in that Avatar film - the boring one with the blue people, not the horrific one based on the amazing cartoon. You know, that was such a disappointment - M. Night Shyamalan utterly missed the point, butchered the chara- sorry, I'm drifting.

Bah, I walked backwards all the way here because someone said it was cool, and what do I see? NOTHING! To hell with this. Adventuring is cancelled for the day! Let's just go get some dinner at that new soup restaurant in Whiterun.

Soup restaurant?

Oh. Oh, I see. You don't know what a 'brothel' is, do you, my Thane?

Someone should tell these imbeciles. Every time I ask for a bowl of their finest broth, all they offer is 'beefcake'. Honestly, I don't know why anyone comes here.

...I'm not touching that with an Ebony Greatsword.

You called?

It is, in short, quite a disappointing day for finding new things in Skyrim - save for two discoveries. First, that someone out there, at some point, looked at a mudcrab and thought "You know what would make this perfect? Lips, googly eyes, and both a bikini and something to fill it..."

Shudder. And second, the single greatest moment in the history of Skyrim modding...

So, what to do? For want of inspiration, and to see if it would continue the trend of most stuff around happening near Whiterun, I finally take the Jarl up on his offer to buy Breezehome. I have the cash. Unfortunately, I can't actually get to the door because Whiterun is still an insane waterpark. To avoid any bugs and potential map trouble there, I leave Lydia somewhere safe and warp across.

I'm going home. You'll be fine spending the night in this luxury suite full of food, booze, music and an army of hot naked guys catering to your every wish, right?

For you, my Thane, I shall endure.

Don't get used to it. COC WHITERUNBREEZEHOME!

Oooh, sorry, he only works Morndas to Middas.

Arriving in Breezehome, it's dark and crappy, and impossible to see anything even at mid-day. Truly, the Jarl was generous when he let me buy what I believe estate agents refer to as a blower-upper property in his town. I quickly realise though that I'm not alone. Worse, the stranger is...

Great. My new house, infested with vermin.

I'm not vermin, my Thane! I'm a bard! I'm here in my full motley to protect you from misery - to be your personal gaudy-bard, if you will! I will be proud to fill your days with song and music, and your world with glorious light!

Excellent. Let's start with that one.

Bards. If you're still alive in there, be useful for once and start toasting these marshmallows on yourself. By the way, not sure whether that's screaming or singing I hear but stop it, I'm off for a nap and don't want to be disturbed.

Leaving the smouldering carcass where it fell, it's time to head upstairs to bed. About ten hours sleep should suffice, after which it'll be a new day, and a new opportunity to find adventure.

Zzzzzzzzz. Zzzz. Zzzzzzzzz...

Zzzzzzzz- huh?

Where... am I? What is this place? Last I knew, I was in bed, and then there was blackness and now all I know is I'm really glad I've slept in full armour ever since The Longest Journey...

Yes, in an amazing stroke of luck, I accidentally wander into an interesting, fully voiced quest called Descent Into Madness - one which starts by transporting you from your bed in Breezehome to the split realm of Madness and Dementia. Both sides have their own little village - Madness a mess of crystals, while Dementia keeps things low key with an icy lake area - and have started fighting after lots of essentially getting on fine. Both decide that you've been sent by Sheogorath to help break the stalemate, and waste no time trying to recruit the Dovahkiin. But who are these crazy characters?

I'm Nimbly! And I'm Trixie! I have a split personality you will find endearing and wacky, because I'm from Madness and we're just CRAZY! I also have boobs, and armour that lets you see said boobs and like sex and quote Serenity!

And I'm Captain Jack. From Dementia I hail, and not really that movie. My wacky thing is I have a talking mudcrab I will argue with for your entertainment, and if it'll sweeten the pot, just mebbe I'll let you see me arsecrack.

I don't know, you're both quite annoying. But I don't see a door back home anywhere, so how about I just flip a coin - heads you win, tails I probably end up decapitating you. Nimbly, you... sigh... you win.

Yay! Trixie says yay too!

Also, wasn't your half of Shivering Isles called Mania?

Waaah! You're mean!

It's a fun quest, with heavy amounts of scripting (voice and otherwise). On the Madness side, you start by travelling to the village through caves and a couple of Dementia ambushes, with Madness using robot spiders as troops and Dementia favouring zombies. Once there, an epic battle breaks out amongst big swirling shields, and the Jarl - busy painting - decides the only rational solution is to discuss peace. But given where this is, an assassination mission is chosen instead - quite possibly because the Jarl of Dementia has a seriously awful voice actress and such things must be Punished with Fire.

To get to Dementia though, you have to complete three trials. In the first, only the penitent adventurer may pass through a tunnel, meaning you have to keep your... head... down. Hmm. In the second, you have to bravely put your trust in something greater and take a leap of... faith...

I'm having a serious case of deja-vu here.

Cynic! You're a cynicy-poo! Jump in the pit already, come on!

Shut up for science. FUS!

Okay, fine. But if the next room is full of cups, I'm going straight for the wooden one - even if that's historically questionable at best .

Actually, that doesn't work - not really. The platforms only spring into existence when you jump down, which is better than the movie's rather weird version. Still, we're two familiar traps down out of three. What are the odds the third is going to be anything with a little novelty to it?

Okay. Credit where it's due, was not expecting that.

Mental illness is funny and awesome!

If it's not obvious from the video, the way this works is that the ghosts are incredibly tough and the apples are instant-kill death. You have to wait until the path is clear first, or you die. There's also a chest which you can't get to, unless you cheat. It contains such incredible wonders, spoiling them would simply be rude. Anyway, after this section, there's only one more challenge to go.

DOVAHKIIN! I CHALLENGE YOU TO A TEST OF SKILL OR OF WITS! DEFEAT ME IN THE MENTAL ARENA OR PREPARE TO BE-

For your sake, this had better not involve some ancient, generic riddles you found on a back of a cereal box this morning.

I AM ALMOST POSITIVE IT WILL NOT!

Fine, go. Whatever.

IT IS GREATER THAN GOD, MORE EVIL THAN THE DEVIL, THE POOR HAVE IT, THE RICH NEED IT, AND IF YOU EAT- Ow! That was my only spleen!

You were warned. Now stop wasting my time and open that door before I get cross.

As for Dementia itself, there's not a lot to it beyond killing its leader, Jarl Danni. Yes, Danni. Not too tough, and there's nothing wacky in the fight. The only question left to ponder is whether or not it's appropriate for a hero to take sides in this kind of conflict without knowing the stakes, the players, or what the long-term implications of allowing a hero of prophecy to take direct action will-

Never mind then.

Finally then, the reward for all this madness - loot! Most of the time, Skyrim quests are fairly poor when it comes to rewards. Either it won't be useful, or it won't be much better than you've already got, or it'll be a handful of gold for your trouble. This was quite a long quest, but was it worth the effort?

I may just weep openly.

Every. Bit. Of. Enchanted. Armour. In. The. Game. All in a box, and nobody to tell you that you can only take one thing, like some kind of game-balance Nazi. Having gathered your fill, a door then leads back to Breezehome - and it's even a two-way one in case you want to check back on Madness any time in the future. For now though, the path lies elsewhere. Possibly even to glory...

...and so I gave her the "protect you with my life" and all that, and meant it of course, don't get me wrong. But when I said "I am sworn to carry your burdens" it just came out... sarcastic. I think she may have taken that badly. I'm not sure.

HOUSECARL! What time do you call this?

My Thane? It's... it's just after 2AM.

Wrong.

It's time to save the world!

Tomorrow! The epic finale! Compass and Lydia go to war! Bandits face their ultimate challenge! Dragons! Bards! How could anything possibly go wrong?

Skyrim: Week Of Madness

The insanity continues... come along for the ride...

Day 1: The World According To Sheogorath

Day 2: Quest For Dignity - The Housecarl Chronicles

Day 3: The Dovahkiin Riften Deserves, Not The Hero It Needs

Day 4: Yet There Is Method In It, And Also Cheese

Day 5: The Life And Deaths Of Compass Meridian

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