Dragonborn and born again.
It’s been a few weeks since I picked up the Skyrim Special Edition for my XBox One. I’ve mentioned before that Skyrim is probably my favorite video game of all time, though it’s neck-and-neck with the Mass Effect trilogy and Dragon Age: Inquisition, and playing through again has reminded me why it’s at the top of my list. I thought I had gotten everything I wanted from Skyrim when I finally put it down a few years ago. I was wrong. I’m still finding enjoyment in creating my own adventures in this wide-open world… though my current explorations, while predominantly enjoyable, are turning up some things I should have left undiscovered.
When I first bought the special edition I decided to play a dedicated Imperial soldier who wore nothing but (heavy) imperial armor throughout the game because he’s a soldier of the Empire first. That was thrilling as I put down Ulfric Stormcloak’s racist-as-hell rebellion and skewered dragons in the dressings of the imperial army. But the thrill of being simply a sword-and-shield guy faded fast for me, so I took a new direction. I became a werewolf. That was fun for a while, and it made for some accidentally funny gameplay, but even then the lure of being a lycanthrope faded for me. I was missing some magic. So after defeating Alduin, I rolled up a new, more magical character.
I love both magic and archery in Skyrim, so I combined the two into an Argonian arcane archer. Now I was having fun. When I found the Bound Bow spell, my magical sharpshooting took on a whole new level of cool and I found myself in a real groove with this character. In an effort to keep myself freshly entertained with a game I’d already poured countless hours into, I decided to take this groove into places I’d never gone before. For all my hours playing Skyrim, there were several Daedric quests I never had the nerve to do, and I never joined the Dark Brotherhood. It was time to do what I’d never done before… and man, do I regret my decision.
I’m not a particularly dark person, despite my love of cinematic gore and splatter in monster movies. I fancy myself one of the good guys in my escapist fantasies. So trying out a Daedric quest where you sacrifice a priest to a cannibal cult in order to gain a flesh-eating ring did not sit too well with me. I don’t think that “get all the Daedric artifacts” achievement is worth it after all.
I won’t be taking the vampires’ side in Dawnguard, either. I tried that years ago and never finished the quest line. I’m a vampire hunter at heart (no pun intended).
I’ve been told there are aspects of the Dark Brotherhood quest line that are, well, equally dark but not so demonic in nature. A band of assassins is not going to be a bunch of misfits with hearts of gold, after all. However, unlike the darker Daedric quests, I’ve enjoyed the various faction quest lines in Skyrim (the Companions, the Thieves Guild, the College of Winterhold) so exploring what the Dark Brotherhood has to offer should be interesting… even if I’ll probably feel a little dirty by the end of it.