Tuesday, July 3, 2018

SkyrimVR Tourism

People lollygag in Skyrim for hundreds of hours for very different reasons. I made this list to figure out how to introduce friends to SkyrimVR in less than 2 hours to give them the highlights of Skyrim.
(Don't forget to toggle combat(tcai) for your tourist if they don't want to be constantly attacked.)

Cities Tour

Places anyone can go via fast travel or lore friendly carriage:
  • Markarth - nothing beats that epic dwemer fantasy feel of a visit to the westernmost corner of Skyrim after the rather humble Nord settlements.  Since this is a vertical city with a lot of staircase jumping- let visitors know they should move rather slowly or risk getting motion sick.  The interior buildings are a bit ho-hum so this is a city best enjoyed from the outside with the exception of  Nchuand-Zel Excavation Site accessible from Understone Keep.   Also don't be afraid to jump in the water to gather alchemy supplies (but don't let anyone queasy see the dead body in a cage). Also walking out of the city gates and heading north following the river is a pretty jaunt.  Note you may get attacked by the fierce Forsworn who at best have some cool looking skull laden gear to loot.  Warning, stone beds at the Silver-Blood Inn definitely are not that comfortable.  Dwemer Museum is a total let down.
  • Riften -  After the drab grey hues of Skyrim, the warm yellow aspens of Riften give you such a cosy feel of a  pretty fishing village.  Casual tourists need not be burdened with the dark side of Riften though the doings of the mead mafia family or the Thieves Guild in the Ratway may be of interest. Be careful tourists don't inadvertently enter Honorhall Orphanage if you didn't finish the Innocence Lost quest.   Honeyside is my first home base and favorite livable city despite it's seamy corrupt underside.  Riften skies at night is a special treat.  
  • Whiterun - I remember being quite impressed by the grand hall of Dragonsreach after emerging from the provincial backwaters of Helgen and Riverwood.  I first got the LOTR horse lords of Rohan vibe here from the architecture. Also one could get rid of Heimskr for a more peaceful visit. But the real charm of Whiterun is being insulted by Nazeem or Braith for which you only need to hang out in the markets.  No one does annoying NPCs better than Bethesda.   
I find Solitude and Windhelm rather uninteresting even with extensive mods. I parked the airship Dev Aveza behind the Blue Palace via Legacy of the Dragonborn that makes it somewhat worthwhile for a visit and a fantastic place to defend from a dragon attack.  Also as a Khajiit I find Windhelm's racist guards too tiresome.

Takes some work but open to fast travel after unlock:
  • Raven Rock- Access to the island of Solstheim is only available after starting the Dragonborn quest after fetching the Horn of the Jurgen Windcaller after meeting up with the Greybeards in High Hrothgar and then a randomly generated attack by cultists.  I don't play the main story line but I did just enough to unlock Solstheim.  Dunmer architecture is so weirdly different from rest of Skyrim, it feels like another planet.  Raven Rock is the most sci fi locale in Skyrim.  For some Solstheim may not be a refreshing visit due to the black vog constantly ejecting from the volcano and oppressive ashen landscape. A visit back to cool green wooded mountains such as those of Falkreath Hold surrounding Lake Ilinalta is recommended to offset the dry dusty feels of Solstheim.

Blackreach & Dwemer Ruins

Blackreach is undoubtedly the most fantastical hidden underground world in Skyrim.  The city of giant glowing mushrooms is a total head trip.  In hindsight I could have just materialized via console command, but I dutifully slogged through endless halls of mechanical spiders and creepy Falmer starting at Alfthand with a party of 3 followers to help me.  You have to first get the attunement sphere from Septimus Signus maker north of Winterhold.  Sadly by the time I finally reached Blackreach, I was way too tuckered out to appreciate it and had to go back the next day.

(Blackreach alone is rather vast to explore. When friends don't have time, the compact cavern of the mod Tel Nalta II gives a condensed flavor or Blackreach.)

The Wilds Tour

The real joy for me is to wander around Skyrim with my furry friend Meeko.  I have not been disappointed anytime I've randomly just chosen a spot on the map or just walk out from a city. The few locations of note:
  • Sulfurous Hot Springs of Eastmarch near dragon mount (near Darkwater Crossing/Kynareth)
  • Anywhere on the Rift
  • Throat of the World

Grottos/Open Caverns

Dungeons are a bit too claustrophobic for me and I prefer grottos or open caverns with trees in them.

The Houses Tour

The vanilla homes are rather ho-hum but these player home mods are worth showing off to friends:
  • Tel Nalta II - an entire mushroom village.  The Tower Cavern with a giant dwemer spider is a great place to start the tour
  • Shalidor's Staff - a portable home inside a magical staff
  • Antennaria 
  • Island Hobbit Home - for Tolkien fans
  • Windpath - Located overlooking a waterfall, you can hike up north to get to a troll cave.

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