Skyrim, the latest game in the Elder Scrolls series, came out last Friday and I’ve spent most of the last few days playing it (to the detriment of my NaNoWriMo output). I feel like I’ve barely put a dent in the game world but already I can tell this game is going to solidly in my top games of all time and may even knock Morrowind off the top of the pile.
In best Elder Scrolls tradition, you start Skyrim as a prisoner. It is 200 years after the Oblivion crisis (the plot of the previous game) and the Cryrodillic Empire is falling apart. The northern province of Skyrim has entered open rebellion against the Empire and the Imperial Legion has just captured the leader of the rebellion, one Ulfric Stormcloak. Unfortunately you were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were captured by the Legion.
One Legionnaire realizes your innocence and protests but his commander orders that you be sent to the headsman along with the rest of the prisoners. Fortunately (for you anyway), just as you find yourself on the chopping block a dragon appears and attacks the town. You and the other prisoners escape as chaos breaks out.
As you make your way through the burning village you can join up with either a fellow prisoner (one of the rebels known as the Stormcloaks) or the one Imperial Legionnaire who defended you. (Quick, who wants to tag along with the people who just tried to kill you for no reason? Yeah, me neither.) Either way, you wind up escaping from the town of Helgen.
Your new companion announces that they are going to the nearby town of Riverwood and you can follow them or not. If you do, they introduce you to one of the citizens of the town and quickly bring you up to speed on the rebellion. Both realize that the appearance of a dragon is a new danger greater than the ongoing rebellion and want you to go to the local capital of Whiterun and warn the Jarl (basically the king or governor of the region) of its appearance.
In my case, I decided that I couldn’t figure out why a member of the Imperial Legion or the Stormcloak army would need a random passerby to deliver that message for them. (Especially the Legionnaire… isn’t that part of your job?) So I just found the local merchant and sold off the loot I had picked up during my escape from Helgen.
The merchant told me that he had had a recent theft; a golden claw artifact had been stolen from his store. The thief had been seen heading towards some nearby ruins. Did I think I could recover it for him?
“Sure.” I told him as I left the store and headed for the ruins. Forget saving the world, I’m having an adventure.