{Procrastination Post} Modding Skyrim: Custom Male Followers Get A Custom NPCs House and Still No Quest

In my pre­vi­ous pro­cras­ti­na­tion post I intro­duced my cus­tom male fol­low­ers I cre­at­ed for my own amuse­ment for the fab­u­lous game of Skyrim. They were sand­box­ing in High Hroth­gar and had their own small sto­ry. All I want­ed to add was a sim­ple quest to get them as fol­low­ers. After study­ing tuto­ri­als I still don’t quite fol­low the whole quest cre­ation pro­ce­dure, but I will get there even­tu­al­ly. I’m per­sis­tent. It takes me longer to mas­ter stuff, but when I do, I’m thor­ough­ly anal with it. And since there is a lot to learn here — espe­cial­ly when it will come to script­ing, I’m set up for some por­tion of my procrastinator’s life.

The rea­son I got into mod­ding at all was that I need­ed a new hob­by. I got bored with every­thing I do out­side writ­ing (and maybe even with writ­ing itself as it was!) and now I can feel the spark I thought I had lost a long time ago. It is quite rein­vig­o­rat­ing for me.

So, all this aside, I sat down and wrote my first quest. I still don’t know how to imple­ment it, but now I will need to rewrite it, since my in-game con­di­tions changed.

While the char­ac­ters were placed in high Hroth­gar, this was what I had in store for them. It’s noth­ing spe­cial and I tried to be lore-friend­ly. But it still came out quite sil­ly. 😀

STARTED: APPRENTICE TONGUES

I’ve noticed two young Nord men in High Hroth­gar who seem to be study­ing with the Grey­beards. They appear qui­et and reclu­sive, like the rest of the monks. I want to learn more about these two.

» Objec­tive 5: Talk to any of the Sil­ver-Eye broth­ers

DRENNAN BRANCH
Play­er: Hi there. Who are you?
Dren­nan: I’m Dren­nan. And the skin­ny guy over there is my lit­tle broth­er Verod. So, Mas­ter Arngeir thinks you are Drag­onborn?
Play­er: Yes, it seems so.
Dren­nan: Amaz­ing! I bet you had your fair share of adven­tures with that des­tiny already. I wouldn’t mind hav­ing a dose of those, but Mas­ter Arngeir will prob­a­bly be against any war­mon­ger­ing on my part… (Sigh) and my broth­er and I have errands to run. Per­haps some oth­er time, friend.

VEROD BRANCH
Play­er: Hel­lo. Who are you?
Verod: I’m Verod, and there’s my elder broth­er Dren­nan. Are you real­ly Drag­onborn?
Play­er: Yes, it seems so.
Verod: Inter­est­ing! I wouldn’t mind shar­ing the fun of bat­tle and trea­sure hunt­ing, but Mas­ter Arngeir has some tasks for me and my broth­er to com­plete. Per­haps some oth­er time, eh?

» Objec­tive 10: Talk to Arngeir

Play­er: I though there were only five of you. (This dia­logue appears after the play­er asked Arngeir how many of them were in High Hroth­gar and if the play­er had talked to any of the two poten­tial fol­low­ers, the event which starts the quest APPRENTICE TONGUES).

Arngeir: Yes, as I’ve said it before. The oth­er two young men you’ve seen here are our appren­tice Tongues.

Play­er: They look strong.

Arngeir: (Sighs) Fool­hardy some­times. Tal­ent­ed as they are, the Sil­ver-Eye broth­ers have been mas­ter­ing to use the Voice since very young age and hope­ful­ly one day will become Grey­beards them­selves. Not yet, though. They have much to learn.

Play­er: I think I’m start­ing to under­stand why you’re being too cau­tious with me.

Arngeir: True. Per­haps, a bit over­cau­tious. Mis­takes with entrust­ing this kind of pow­er can have dire con­se­quences. Both broth­ers are capa­ble war­riors and good men, and they have thirst for knowl­edge and peace in their hearts, yet they are still full of adven­tur­ous fire and curios­i­ty. As they are now, the Throat of the World is a lit­tle bit con­fin­ing for the two. You should speak to them, Drag­onborn. Know­ing both, I have no doubt they would agree to aid you on your jour­neys.

» Objec­tive 20: Talk to Dren­nan

Play­er: It seems Arngeir doesn’t mind if you two go out into the world. Are you still inter­est­ed to join my trav­els?

Dren­nan: Real­ly? Maybe because it’s you, Drag­onborn. Sure, why not. How­ev­er, I don’t want to leave the lit­tle one behind. Verod won’t show it, but me going with­out him will make the guy sad. We’ve been togeth­er since for­ev­er, though we have dif­fer­ent moth­ers.

Play­er: Ah, that’s how it is. One can’t tell you are relat­ed just by look­ing at you two.

Dren­nan: We may not look alike, but our blood­line has been around for a long time. We trace our ances­try to one of the ear­ly Dovah-Son­aak… a drag­on priest of Atmo­ra of old. We are not of Drag­onblood like you, but we still proud­ly car­ry the pow­er of our Nordic fore­fa­thers, bestowed upon mor­tal men by Kyne her­self. The drag­on cult is long gone, but here we are.

Play­er: Descen­dants of a drag­on priest, eh. I’m intrigued. Maybe it is tru­ly our fate­ful meet­ing. So, are you versed in drag­on lan­guage?

Dren­nan: Geh, Dovahki­in. Of course.

Play­er: I’ve encoun­tered a few word walls. They made me curi­ous and I was look­ing for some­one who could help me trans­late the writ­ings. Or at least teach me the basics. Between the drau­gr-punch­ing, or some­thing.

Dren­nan: Ah, yes. The walls that har­bor words of pow­er. They are all over Skyrim’s hid­den, dan­ger­ous places. A bridge between the realm of the ancient Nords, and our own. Drag­onborn, I would be hon­ored to help you with your lin­guis­tic pur­suits. But you should speak to my broth­er. He is also able to help you… with lan­guage… in some dark tomb.

» Objec­tive 30: Talk to Verod

Verod: I heard your con­ver­sa­tion and I won’t mind if you two leave me here. Dren­nan is a beast in bat­tle. How­ev­er, if you have room for one more sword-or-spell-arm for your adven­tures, or you pre­fer a bat­tlemage, Drag­onborn, I’ll glad­ly jump into my trav­el­ing gear.

Play­er: Sure, I’d love to have you both. (Play­er has mul­ti­ple fol­low­er mod installed and likes both char­ac­ters.)
Play­er: Sor­ry, I don’t like crowds. I need some­one for close com­bat. So I would have to ask your broth­er Dren­nan to come along instead.
Play­er: Sor­ry, I don’t like crowds. But I’d like you to come with me. I need a good Mage in com­bat.
Play­er: Not now. I’ve decid­ed I’ll go solo for a lit­tle longer.

» Objec­tive 40: Talk to Dren­nan

Dren­nan: I see you made up your mind. Very well then. For the future ref­er­ence, if you change your mind, you know where to look for any of us.

Play­er: Yeah. It’s time we get going.
Play­er: Yeah, thanks, I got to go now.

» Objec­tive 200: Quest Com­plet­ed. Reward: Pos­si­ble Free Fol­low­ers (Dren­nan and Verod)

QUEST LOG: After I learned more about the two Grey­beards-in-train­ing and they got acquaint­ed with me bet­ter, the broth­ers agreed to pro­vide sup­port on my future adven­tures, when­ev­er that might be.

If this made you cringe — hey, I tried. 😀

How­ev­er, after a few fresh playthroughs I got annoyed with how long I had to play before I could get them to fol­low me. I need­ed to trav­el to High Hroth­gar and com­plete my train­ing as Drag­onborn before I could even talk to them. The plea­sure of cus­tom fol­low­ers is that you can get them ASAP.

Besides, with one of my mods (Eager NPCs) which made drag­on pow­ers some sort of porn stuff and mak­ing peo­ple aroused — every­one in High Hroth­gar is sex-mad! — things got awk­ward pret­ty soon. So I decid­ed to make them their own house. The house is not intend­ed for play­er and is owned by the NPCs. So if you tres­pass or steal from them, they will bru­tal­ly kick your ass. 🙂

Fight­ing them is not advised, since they are essen­tial and have mas­sive amounts of life. Unless you cheat in game, you’ll end up dead. At the begin­ning of the game you are a nobody and they are lev­el 150 + bonus­es.

The sto­ry behind their house idea was pret­ty sim­ple: their father died and they had to return home from High Hroth­gar to bury him. And even­tu­al­ly they remained in Whiterun until they met Drag­onborn. Why didn’t they help the fine folk of Whiterun when the drag­on attacked? They can’t kill a drag­on per­ma­nent­ly — they are no Drag­onborn — and they don’t want to show their pow­er and mag­ic, oth­er­wise they will have trou­ble with the locals. Nords don’t like mag­ic peo­ple and those two are damn hot mag­i­cal Nords.

So, the house. I took me 3 attempts to fin­ish what I had start­ed.

The first attempt end­ed bad­ly since I placed the house in Whiterun (between Olava’s and Ysolda’s hous­es, there is a rock patch). Placed is not a good word. Squeezed into the place is bet­ter. And even­tu­al­ly I fucked up the Whiterun cell navmesh. So I had to scrap that one.

fail
This how a fail­ure looks like.

The sec­ond house I made was good. I made a beau­ti­ful inner cell. Only to real­ize that I edit­ed a vanil­la cell I had copied from BY MISTAKE. So I had to return to the basics of this mod and build every­thing from scratch again…

But then I final­ly suc­ceed­ed.

All was left to do is to fix the damn navmesh in the out­er cell. Now, I’m not real­ly good with this thing yet. But I was lucky I didn’t place my house on the cell inter­sec­tion and I had an object I removed ear­li­er from the map — a log — that left me with the edges of the navmesh to work with. LUCKY!

It took me sev­er­al attempts to make the navmesh com­ply with what I want­ed it to look like. When I was done, my NPCs could leave and enter the house and walk around as they nor­mal­ly would. THE JOY! 😀

working

drennansilver-eye1
Dren­nan Sil­ver-Eye
verodsilver-eye1
Verod Sil­ver-Eye

So all was left to do was to give them basic AI pack­ages so they would inter­act with their house and even go for a drink to Ban­nered Mare in the evening.

headingtodrink
Head­ing out for a drink.

drink1

The house is near Whiterun — close to the inter­sec­tion where the Drag­onborn first hears the call of the Grey­beards after he kills his first drag­on at the watch­tow­er. It’s a good place. Whiterun is over­crowd­ed any­way, with Drag­onborn buy­ing the last avail­able house. 😀

location

The inte­ri­or is pret­ty sim­ple. A cou­ple of com­mon beds, a wardrobe, a cou­ple of book cas­es, an arcane enchanter and an alche­my lab, some rare and valu­able books, a table to eat and few chairs to sit, and a cook­ing area. Good enough for the two tough Nords. 😀

books01
Some books on Dae­dra
books02
Drag­ons, drau­gr, lusty argon­ian maid and some skooma. 😀
interiors02
Cook­ing area
interiors01
Cook­ing area and the din­ing hall
interiors04
Drennan’s cor­ner
interiors03
Verod’s cor­ner

Now that I’m done here, I’ll focus on the quest (or pos­si­bly a quest line). Writ­ing a good one takes time. How­ev­er, I have no voice actors for the job, so the mod will use Fuz Ro D’oh, which in turn requires SKSE (installed via Steam). Option­al require­ments: Amaz­ing Fol­low­er Tweaks (sup­ports up to 5 fol­low­ers) with Fol­low­ers Wan­der.

EDITED NOV 20 2016

After some mus­ing I placed Dibella’s shrine in the house and dropped Amulets of Dibel­la into char­ac­ter inven­to­ries. They are not par­tic­u­lar­ly reli­gious, but they are tak­ing part in Skyrim’s sex cult. 😀

dibellasfaithful
Dibella’s Faith­ful

After some tweak­ing of AI pack­ages, they are now fol­low­ing a sched­ule:

Sleep 01.00 — 08.00, the house door is locked;
Break­fast 08.00 — 10.00, the play­er can enter the house;
Work out­side 10.00 — 12.00, the house door is locked;
Sit on the bench out­side 12.00 — 13.00, the house door is locked;
Din­ner 13.00 — 15.00, the play­er can enter the house;
Work out­side 15.00 — 18.00, the house door is locked;
Work inside 18.00 — 21.00, the play­er can enter the house;
Head­ing to Ban­nered Mare for food and drink at 21.00 and stay there until 01.00.
Then the cycle con­tin­ues.

bench1
Chill­in’ out­side. Go on, ask them to fol­low you. 🙂

{Procrastination Post} Modding Skyrim: Custom Male Followers Mod and a Possible Quest

The last time I did one of these pro­cras­ti­na­tion posts, I made a book cov­er for a friend. Before I start­ed to pro­cras­ti­nate pro­fes­sion­al­ly again on my cur­rent project, I hit 75+ K words on part 1 until I sailed into dead waters and I’m still not in the mood to fin­ish the job. I like doing so with a bang, any­thing else is just under­whelm­ing. It’s not like I have any hard dead­lines with the book–I may spend years on it. I began work­ing on it years before I wrote my pre­vi­ous works, after all. I have the sto­ry out­lined until the very end, even the final scene planned, but my brain is not ready to see in pret­ty pic­tures yet. So what a girl to do for months? Cre­ate oth­er things until every­thing works as she envi­sions it.

So, Skyrim. Before I set out to try the Cre­ation Kit myself, I played hun­dreds of hours in vanil­la, then I mod­ded the hell out of my game (as much as my machine allowed this) dur­ing the last few months. Now, I don’t have a very pow­er­ful rig. I have a Dell Insp­iron 15 3542 note­book which is rather mediocre at best (I get to run Skyrim Spe­cial Edi­tion at Very Low qual­i­ty and it sucks, so I won’t be mod­ding this one). Cur­rent­ly my stats say I have 85 active mods and those do not include any graph­ics mods (bet­ter light­ing, water, etc.), because I have no inter­est in them. I’m more items-quests-NPCs-ori­ent­ed in this regard. I col­lect things and I like good sto­ries, even if they are short.

So, Skyrim mods. My favorite mods so far are Konahriik’s Accou­ter­ments (and every­thing that comes along with it) and Eager NPCs (for sex lab, duh) because there is so much to do with it. 😀 Amorous Adven­tures gets a spe­cial men­tion, because more quests is always good. And sud­den­ly Skyrim is more round­ed and full of life that is miss­ing from vanil­la game due to nature of con­tent. All that is left is to bring more fun char­ac­ters into game. There wasn’t a good choice of mar­riage part­ners in vanil­la game, so nat­u­ral­ly peo­ple would start mak­ing some. But I nev­er mar­ry in-game any­way. I have a won­der­ful hub IRL and Skyrim is my out­let for hav­ing a reverse harem. Besides killing drag­ons, that is. 😀

And cas­tles. Don’t for­get cas­tles. This is my reg­u­lar play­er home. Big thanks to the cre­ator of this mod.

So, final­ly I decid­ed to make some­thing of my own as well. Whether I’ll share it with the mass­es, I don’t know yet. But I’m work­ing to make some­thing good out of it. 

My mod so far includes two male fol­low­ers, but I real­ly want to learn how to make quests, so I can write one for them. (Writer’s habit, I guess.) I like vanil­la Skyrim char­ac­ter faces and the only mod I use to design them is Race­Menu. Because I total­ly loathe beau­ti­fi­ca­tion of Skyrim. These are sup­posed to be stur­dy peo­ple, not super­mod­els. My mod will use what­ev­er body replac­er you use (I have SoS + its body, so it works with Shch­longs too) and total­ly works in vanil­la Skyrim. WYSIWYG. That was the goal.

followers
I’m not the only one who makes ugly char­ac­ters, so deal with it. Per­son­al­ly, I think they are cute. Because.

So, a lit­tle back­ground for these two.

Dren­nan and Verod Sil­ver-Eye are Nord half-broth­ers shar­ing the same father and direct descen­dants of a Drag­on Priest.

So, the quest I’m think­ing about will involve the drag­on cult and all that lore.

Both are set at lev­el 150 regard­less of when you meet them. They can be found sand­box­ing in High Hroth­gar, study­ing the Way of the Voice. Both know a few Drag­on Shouts; Dren­nan already mas­tered four — Unre­lent­ing Force, Ice Form, Fire Breath and Dis­arm. His broth­er Verod knows Unre­lent­ing Force, Ice Form, and Dis­arm.

Dren­nan, the old­er and big­ger of the two, is also skilled in Con­ju­ra­tion and can sum­mon a Drag­on Priest or a Dremo­ra Lord, but his main strength is in his sword arm; he is a dou­ble wield­er and prefers to fight with two swords.

drennansilvereye
Dren­nan Sil­ver-Eye

His broth­er Verod is skilled in Destruc­tion and can eas­i­ly bring a Leg­endary Drag­on down to the ground with his shock spells. If the sit­u­a­tion demands it, he will also dou­ble wield his swords and slash his ene­mies good.

verodsilvereye
Verod Sil­ver-Eye

Both broth­ers are expe­ri­enced archers and have high sneak skills. Their pref­er­ence is light armor. Both also have perks that ben­e­fit weapons with fire, frost or shock enchant­ments. Their moral­i­ty allows any crime.

Both Dren­nan and Verod are fierce­ly pro­tec­tive of their friends and allies and will not run away from any bat­tle. Both are mar­riage­able.

To take them both on an adven­ture you’d need a mod like Amaz­ing Fol­low­er Tweaks or some­thing. Oth­er­wise one at a time. 

I admit I need to make Verod more bal­anced and I’m still tweak­ing his abil­i­ties. He just tries to kill every­thing with his Light­ning Storm spell… Dren­nan is awe­some in com­bat (he has his own style, just like his lit­tle broth­er). Both oblit­er­ate every­thing they get their hands on and it’s nice to see a bat­tlemage fol­low­er who doesn’t scream “help!”. 😀

I might switch to lev­el­ing with the char­ac­ter mode, but I test­ed them on a high lev­el char­ac­ter (I’m cur­rent­ly lev­el 265), so I skipped that part.

Now all is left is to write the quest to get them as fol­low­ers, or maybe I’ll have some­thing else for them in store. 🙂

Between Inspired Writing and Hard Work

I’m nat­u­ral­ly lazy. I admit it and I’m not ashamed of it. I can get shit done when I need to, but I won’t be busy with it until, well, the need aris­es. Or inspi­ra­tion. So I have to admit that doing 70k words with­out inspi­ra­tion is a fuck­ing chore. There’s no fun in it, even if there was a spark of bril­liance here and there. The book in progress — Rjg — is good. Bet­ter than any­thing I’ve done before. It is full of won­der­ful char­ac­ters, with vibrant set­ting and twist­ed plot. Yet when writ­ing becomes a chore it is not some­thing I’m thrilled to do, so I had to stop. For a month, for two months, and look back at where did I go wrong. Why some­thing I loved so much became a liv­ing hell. It’s not my first book by all means. I’ve suc­cess­ful­ly fin­ished projects before. I’m not burned out, am I? No, not real­ly. Depres­sion is some­thing I’ve lived and worked with before, and I was doing well enough. But it’s not just the book. I can no longer pro­duce even my world­build­ing arti­cles, which I had been cre­at­ing for fun.

There’s some­thing I for­got the mean­ing of: inspired writ­ing. Now it feels like walk­ing into an emp­ty room and par­ty­ing alone. There is some­thing in my brain that is not right. It doesn’t tick. And I’m well aware of it. And from cre­ative stand­point it is ter­ri­fy­ing. Because in all hon­esty I don’t know how to fix it. Excite­ment doesn’t spark even when I’m read­ing, read­ing things I would nor­mal­ly love, be enter­tained with. 

Nope.

Silence.

The world is still col­or­ful. It is full of mean­ing. Noth­ing is dif­fer­ent out­side. But it is no longer inspir­ing.

It is depres­sion. Some­how it got worse.

I will prob­a­bly con­tin­ue to write things, through hard work alone. But I don’t know what will come out of this empti­ness. Maybe I could use it to cre­ate some­how. That’s the only thing I can think of right now.

Wrestling With Scrivener

After near­ly two decades of being a MS Word pow­er user I final­ly decid­ed to invest into Scriven­er. I have to say I’m actu­al­ly hor­ri­fied at the amount of things I have to learn (accord­ing to the man­u­al) to become pro­lif­ic in this thing, but oh well, shiny coin already spent. I don’t know if I’m going to regret my deci­sion, because I didn’t do it before I start­ed my new book. I don’t find the expe­ri­ence of mov­ing to a new soft­ware fun and not because I hate learn­ing new things. Even this sim­ple task of import­ing text threw me out of my com­fort zone. 😀 Any­way, here I am, in the mid­dle of trans­fer­ring my man­u­script. Good it is only some 70k. I’m actu­al­ly think­ing of doing the same with my pre­vi­ous books, just to keep them all in one place. 

I feel like a damn newb. >_<
I feel like a damn newb.

This whole affair will def­i­nite­ly slow me down from my writ­ing, but no more than 800 hours of play­ing Skyrim did. And this game intro­duced me to the hell of a sim­u­la­tion sick­ness before my suf­fer­ing was mit­i­gat­ed enough and I could enjoy it. 😀

SkyrimScreen

So, yeah, Scriven­er, chal­lenge accept­ed.