It’s about this time last year I have finished my first play through or Skyrim, so 12 months on and 1000’s of mods later I am returning to the land of the Nords. I have installed 240+ various mods, mostly at random off the Top Collections on Steam Workshop. Looking through, most are graphical upgrades or enhancements, gameplay and npc tweaks, new quests and mobs etc. So I start a new game, with the new random beginning mod, seen as I have been through the normal beginning a fair few times before.
I awake in a cave, it’s black as all hell and I can’t see a thing, a quick check of the map shows an exit not far. The only light is the occasional ghost mushroom cluster. I find the exit slowly groping my way through the cave. No mobs so far, thank the 7, as I can’t see shit. I emerge into the beautiful land of Skyrim and OMG! Skyrim was beautiful before, but with the multitude of graphical, flora and fauna enhancements its now f***ing gorgeous. I remember to check my inventory. I have 1 small iron dagger and roughspun clothes. Great! I’m a walking meal waiting to happen.
White writing pops up “A rumour of dragons has emerged, head to Helgen to find out if the rumours are true.” I check the map I’m not that far away. Its bright and sunny and lovely looking, I start my journey, picking lots of flowers along the way. This walk to Helgen is rather uneventful. wolves are easily avoided as they howl as you get close, sneaking and skirting around them works. Its getting late now, shadows are longer. I reach Helgen and a very large Dragon flies over. More white words. “Head to Jarl Balgruff and tell him of that the rumours are true.” Okies I’ve done this trek before, easy enough.
It’s getting towards dusk now and I don’t consider this an issue and head out. I easily dispatch some spiderlings along the way thanks to a baby creature mod, and again avoid most of the wolves I come across, things are going well. Then I notice its getting dark, really, really dark. Crap! I’m not even to Riverun and it’s now pitch black. I can’t see the road or the foliage at the sides. Somewhere along the way I lose the road. I check the map and head towards the river. Riverrun is on the river so I deduce heading north west along the river will get me to Riverrun eventually.
Then there is a growl, Shit! Sounds like a bear, but seen as I can’t see anything now, I have no idea where it is or how close. I edge towards the river. Another growl, Yup definitely a bear. I can say for definite as I hear it come charging, I turn as I see a 500 lb ball of fur and death come at me from behind full speed, a bear paw swipes my face and my lovely 100% health bar gets squished to about 5% I turn and flee towards the river than I can hear but can’t see.
I wade in praying to Talos that it dosn’t follow. Thankfully it dosn’t. I remain facing it as i back up deeper into the river. That rushing sound is loud. I turn away from the furball of doom and can just about make out spray and mist, a yawning abyss of a waterfall. I can’t see how deep it is or how far it is in front of me. But I can hear it. I try and wade towards the opposite river side, but I’m blind. I find a small rock to perch on. I’m cold, wet and mostly dead. The rock I’m on backs onto what I think its more rock. I can’t see it and nor can I move off my rock. The ball of claws and teeth is still growling from the other side. Bugger, I’m now perched on a rock in the middle of a river on the edge of a waterfall and still can’t see anything, just hear the sounds of my death on the other side awaiting me.
Then remember I’m half mage. I resto up and wait for magika to return and swap to duel flames. Yey! light. not much but enough to see the rocks behind me and I scramble up them to reach the other side of the river. I AM INVINCIBLE! It is at this point a Giant Frostbite spider spits and lunges at me. I experience my first and probably least grisly death in the this new deadly world of Skyrim.
The mods have essentially made Skyrim, Dragons Dogma. Mobs are now utterly lethal, dark means dark, night means that if you have no torch, you literally can’t see. It’s suicide to start a journey at night as this is when creatures of the night hunt. Going into a dungeon without a torch means you are blind unless there are braziers and torches already down there. Believe me there is nothing quite as scary as hearing a restless drauger awake and all you can see are two orbs of blue light in the absolute black.....I love it!! 7 help me if I come across a dragon in the night.
Luckily for my Nord newb I quick saved when I escaped death at the paws of the bear. So now I’m back perched on my small rock looking at the very pretty modded milky-way night sky, cold, wet, in the all consuming darkness, knowing that a giant spider waits above and a devil spawn cave bear awaits me on the other side. …....
I sit and wait for dawn.
This is my first half an hour in my all new modded Skyrim and its amazingly brutal, scary as shit and just what I wanted for my next proper play through.