Shackles - how every Elder Scrolls game begins! :P
Inspired by the challenge section of the Skyrim Blog, I made this for Skyrim fans such as myself who wanted another adventure to run, either out of fandom, boredom or just more roleplaying story material. It can be done by anyone, but is more geared towards people who have already finished the civil war and Alduin storylines. Since the difficulty level is more or less self-imposed, feel free to tailor and adjust it to your play style. After all, there's no point in slugging it out with this just to be hardcore if you're not having fun. You can also post copies of it elsewhere as long as you are nice enough to give a link back to here! :)
After completing a task or visiting a friend in the Reach, you decide to spend the night in the mountain side city of Markarth. It is a restless sleep, plagued by strange nightmares and you awake with a cold sweat and a minor headache. Somehow you feel weaker and can sense the lingering taste of magicka all around you. Deciding to investigate you grab your gear but suddenly let go with a small yelp. Almost all your items now burn you when you touch them... except those made of iron, cloth, hide and leather. The same goes for any enchanted equipment of any kind, and when you uncork a healing potion to remedy your burn the mere smell of it makes you dizzy and nauseus - as if it was poison! You try to curse out loud but all you can manage is a soft whisper.
Setup (do all of this first):
You'll need a standard six-sided dice (1d6).
Make a Clean Save - one you won't overwrite so you can undo everything here if need be.
Probably want to make a subset of saves while doing this.
The No Essential NPCs mod will make this more fun, but not necessary.
Get a follower, preferably one you met later in the game who matches your build - ie. mages get a mage, fighters get a fighter etc.
Test off a save to make sure that if you punch them enough, they will aggro and fight you.
*In some follower mods they never fight back
Give this follower ALL your current/best stuff and dismiss them. Remember who they are and where they stay though as you'll need them again later.
Anything they cannot carry, just store in your house.
You cannot use this follower for the duration of this quest arc until specified, at which point they MUST be used.
Fast Travel to Markarth to begin.
Rules (for the duration of this Scenario):
Must start naked at either the inn or your house with no gear in your pack (some quest stuff will be stuck in there, ignore those).
You can only use weapons (and arrows) made of wood or iron. Crossbows have steel, so you cannot use those either.
You cannot use any magically enchanted items regardless of base material.
You cannot consume any type of potion. Food is ok.
You cannot use Dragon Shouts. Racial abilities and other powers are ok (even the ones that require vocalisasion, somehow :P).
You cannot wear any anything on your head (the sickness makes it too hot).
Being weakened, you can only use Hide shields, no other type.
You can only carry three "weapons" (arrows excluded) at a time, with a shield counting as one.
Being weakened, you can only wear one armor part made of iron. The rest -have- to be hide, fur, non-studded leather or clothes.
Studded-leather counts as being partly iron (of which you can only wear one armor part).
You cannot wear Banded-Iron (despite the name) because it is made with a non Iron Ingot.
To keep it simple, you cannot wear/use faction, falmer or forsworn items either (alternatively use best judgement).
The idea is to keep you stuck with basic gear so dragonbone, glass, ancient nord stuff etc is out of bounds.
Assume horse shoes and saddle parts have steel. You must be on foot.
Carraiges also have steel. No fast travelling (by carraige or by auto-map)
You cannot use any spells from your best 3 schools of magic.
From your worst 2 schools you can only use Novice level spells.
If all your magic schools are even, assign each a number and roll the dice to determine which two you can use.
Don't prepare any "usable" stuff or buy any before beginning, there's enough lying about.
You are deathly allergic to gold too. Don't carry any (no shopping).
You cannot pick up any ore/ingots or jewelry other than Iron.
Use of followers is up to you. If they are also affected by the spell is your choice. May need to "console" gear off them though.
You must do the Objectives in order.
In parts of this quest you need to find specific people based on clues. How this works is easy. Everytime you begin dialouge with someone (who is not a child or your "contact") roll the dice. If you roll equal or below the number of clues you have for that city, then that is the person you were looking for. If you roll above, then it is either not the person or you failed to recognize them and must continue the search. Try not to talk to the same person continously though.
Mainly used for Finding People (above). You start with 0 clues (no clue whatsoever, you clueless fool :P).
You gain +1 clue (once) for talking to someone in a bar or tavern.
Once you have, cannot gain further clues from anyone else in that particular bar or tavern.
You gain +1 clue (once) for talking to kids in the city.
Once you have, you cannot gain further clues from talking to any other kids in that city.
You can also gain clues from Objectives and they will be noted.
Objective 1: Cross-Country Trek
It is clear that this is no ordinary sickness so who best to determine how to nullify your condition than the people at the Mages College at Winterhold? Make your way there and talk to Tolfdir (or whoever you want your contact to be).
Objective 2: Chasing a Shadow
Your contact is intrigued to hear of your predicament. While they look into a cure, they tell you that someone has also been messing with the library a few days ago in the section of banned magicka, yet somehow they have managed to remain undetected by spells. Your task is to ask around and figure out who was snooping about. Given that no one has come nor gone your contact hopes this thief is still in town, hiding in plain sight. Fortunately your contact has given you some idea of who it might be (+1 Clue).
Once you find this person (see "Finding People") above, you are to confront them and they let slip that they are guilty of stealing something from the library. You must either kill or beat this person down (to kneeling) to make them spill the beans. Once this is done, return to your contact to hand over a coded letter you found on that person. Also reset your clues to 0.
Objective 3: Agents of the Thalmor
Your contact is surprised to hear of this turn of events and after decoding the letter informs you that the person you beat/killed is working for the Thalmor! It seems the Thalmor have taken a direct interest in you, Dragonborn. Having an individual with such powers that surpass even the non-threatening Greybeards, (even if you are a thalmor supporter) isn't in the Dominion's greater interests and as such have sent agents to weaken this abomination of nature (that's you) and more firmly take the rebellious region into their elvish grasp.
It seems there are more "agents" around and each of them participated in the ritual that has weakened you. Based on the note it sounds like they are hiding in each of the main cities in the realm. If you want the spell to be broken, you must find them all and either eliminate their life force (kill them) or break their will (beat them down). These spies could be anyone (though due to the game, kids are safetly ruled out). Remember, each time you reach a new city/region reset your clues to 0.
Just to confirm, the cities you need to visit are:
Riften, Solitude, Whiterun, Windhelm, Dawnstar, Falkreath, Morthal, Markarth
You can visit the cities in any order BUT you must leave Markarth for LAST.
You already beat/killed the person in Winterhold. :P
Objective 4: Forsaken Climb
After escaping from Markarth you'll receive a letter from your contact at the Mage's College. While they have had no luck with a cure, they've found that the spell cast upon you has a maximum range and requires high altitude. Given that you were cursed at Markarth the most logical place that the Thalmor agents could have cast the spell is at Dead Crone Rock (since they weren't in the city itself - too obvious). Your task is to get up to the Word-wall there to look for anything they left behind.
Objective 5: The Hunter's Way
Once you've reached the chest at the word-wall you find a heavy tome, one obviously belonging to the Mages Library. You manage to find the curse placed on you and though you don't quite understand it, you can tell that you will need the same ingredients they used to cast it in the first place. Roll the dice three times to determine what you need to find and collect them in any order! :)
1-2 Frostbite Venom
3-4 Sabrecat Eye
5-6 Bear Claws
1-2 Falmer Ear
3-4 Vampire Dust
5-6 Spriggan Taproot
1-2 Mammoth Tusk
3-4 Giant's Toe
5-6 Dragon Bone (yeah not sure why you can't wear the armor if you're picking up their bones? Design flaw! :P)
Just 1 of each will do. Once you have all three of them, proceed to Objective 6.
Objective 6: Spell-Jammer
With all the ingredients collected and heavy tome in hand, you are now ready to return to Winterhold - however you receive a letter from your follower who has all your gear (from the setup section). Apparently they have information about another Thalmor agent still at large. You need to go to wherever they are and pick them up. Once you do, they are very apologetic about interrupting your trip to Winterhold and insist you do that first before tracking down their lead. May want to save it here to revert your next action.
Turns out your follower -is- the last Thalmor agent / hired merc. At any location you see fit where it's just the two of you, they turn on you. You need to dismiss them and then punch them a bit until they aggro you. Once they pull out their weapons you can begin your duel properly. This should mean you are basically fighting your doppleganger who has all your good gear. You must either kill them, or beat them down (then surrender - stupid AI) to win. If they are at Winterhold itself, just fight in the courtyard or on the roof.
With that out of the way, continue back to your contact at Winterhold who tells you the ritual to cure yourself is actually pretty easy since you are dragonborn. Just head to the roof, eat the edible reagents and drop all the remaining ones on the floor and then use any Dragon shout. Once you've done that - the curse is broken! Congratulations and hope you had fun! :)