A Brotherhood Renewed

Alright, this entire post is possibly a spoiler, so if you've not yet done the Dark Brotherhood quest line or you've for some bizarre and strange reason not even played Oblivion yet, you may not want to read much farther :)

At the end of the Dark Brotherhood quest line, once all of the other members have been killed and it's just you, Arquen, and some random assassin, I always felt things just got left hanging there. You go to Bravil once a week to talk to the Night Mother, then back to Arquen to deliver the message. Woopie. How utterly unexciting. Wouldn't it make more sense to turn your focus back on to rebuilding the guild? Haven't you been told one way or another than there was once a sanctuary in every city? Well shouldn't Arquen know all this? Why not have her prompt you into doing something about it! You can of course continue to go about collecting your measly pittance of a sum of money each week, but surely it might be a bit more interesting to pile that into a Brotherhood account and have it spent on rebuilding your guild's former glory. So that's more or less the plan. You, Arquen, and random assassin guy are going to rebuild your guild.

Each sanctuary will exist the whole time during the game but will not be populated with anything but junk until after it's been officially reclaimed. If at all possible the existence of them will be concealed until Arquen reveals their former locations as needed. Each one should be doable individually, or in parallel, doesn't matter. Restoring them will mean finding them at first, making sure they've been cleared of nasties, the Sithis altars consecrated, and then recruiting some assassins to handle the day to day in each one. Each one will have the standard living quarters, training areas, and altar to Sithis type stuff. Vampires welcome in locations reasonably able to support them, such as below the IC - there will be a couple of new vamps roaming the sewers.

The locations chosen so far:

1. Sideways Cave. That place is awesome and would be a perfect base for an IC location. And a good excuse to mix DB with the always cool Ayleid ruin set :)
The new sanctuary will be connected to the bottom level of Sideways Cave on one side, and to the Arena Bloodworks sewers on the other. Both of these are sufficiently removed from civilization that it's reasonable to say nobody remembers the place is down there. The sewer side will be inaccessible until the sanctuary is reclaimed, the gate can be opened from the back side. Sideways Cave provides a cool ready-made dungeon crawl protecting the back entrance, and the player will have to complete most of the crawl to find the sanctuary.

2. Leyawiin. An abandoned sanctuary lies under the Greyland Estate house. The drug dealers who moved in have no idea it even exists and have therefore not disturbed it. They've apparently been too busy producing Skooma. If the player has already gotten rid of them, then this part will be fairly quick. The now abandoned house provides cover as we presume the city guards won't allow anyone near the place. If the player has not yet removed the drug dealers, Arquen will prompt him to do so so the sanctuary can be reclaimed. She'll even go so far as to suggest speaking with the legion guard who handles it, since you may as well get paid for the effort.

Special case: If you spared the Argonian Shadowscale, Scar-Tail, you will be able to recruit him to head this sanctuary once it's reclaimed. The game does not kill him off if he's spared, but he could die from incidental exposure to spawns in the area.

3. Bravil. Always seems stupid that the citizens openly display the Night Mother and that the current listener lives there, but there's no sanctuary? I think that tavern on the south side of town serves as good cover for a DB base underground. This one can operate more openly and won't require killing people in town, and won't be infested with monsters. It will however have been hidden and the door not activated until the player is officially on the quest to restore this one. Simulates the populace not wanting to give it away, etc.

4. Anvil. There's a perfectly good abandoned house there already. So what if the Thieves Guild uses it for the forgery quest? The place is likely to be used by all sorts of criminal elements and I doubt the TG is going to risk their own exposure just to get rid of DB living below, once the sanctuary has been reclaimed. Of course, one must remove the infestation of pirates and bandits down there first.

One might notice these are being built with avoiding direct access to the city cells. It's easier to deal with compatibility issues when you're not having to fiddle with rock method hacks. Also, there will be an attempt to tie in with the mod Whispered Warning. If that mod is in use and the player chose to leave any of the previous sanctuary people alive, they will be the prime choices to run the reclaimed sanctuaries. It seems only fitting if you went out of your way to warn them that you'd probably trust them with such duties. Since these people are dead otherwise, well, they won't be available. Have to find someone else.

There may or may not be more built. I figured 4 was enough of a burden to go on for now. I am also fully aware that other people have made sanctuary mods but they don't fit what I wanted and are usually openly available despite the obvious fact that the DB is in very serious trouble in the game.

I'm willing to accept a sanctuary built by someone else as well, provided it follows the same conditions of being concealed within another building, dungeon, cave, hole, whatever. No touching the city worldspaces directly. Would be highly preferable to not touch anything on the surface land at all even. Also, bending lore is ok, but I'd really rather anyone who wants to provide a spot not utterly break it with things that don't fit. Preferable to stick with vanilla content, and restrict use of 3rd party meshes and textures to a minimum. The only custom model+texture it would be nice to have is something to use as an altar of Sithis since we can't gank the one from Vile Lair without raising copyright issues.

Undecided as to whether SI content would be acceptable or not. Lots of people have SI these days, and SI surely has some neat stuff that could be incorporated. it just tends to limit the audience too much for some reason, despite SI's penetration lately.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Jul 31, 2009 5:42 pm by Samson in: | 253 comment(s) [Closed]
Just as an FYI followup, the Sideways Cave location is partially done already. I was working on that when the nagging urge to build Vergayun struck and progress toward getting that location completed ground to a halt. The cell is built and partially cluttered, but hasn't had its bandit infestation placed yet. Also sort of got annoyed by the lack of suitable stuff to make a Sithis altar with.

It's been a very long time since I said anything about this here, so why not. This mod has come a lot closer to completion of late, with some really nice stuff going on. Roughly speaking, here's the breakdown:

* Tentatively naming this "A Brotherhood Renewed"
* Sanctuaries for the Imperial City, Anvil, Bravil, and Chorrol have all been completed as of this posting. Thanks to Cliffworms for providing the sanctuary in Anvil, in both its defiled and reclaimed forms, and to Dwip for the one in Chorrol.
* Still waiting on sanctuaries in Leyawiin (mostly done AFAIK), Bruma, and Skingrad.
* The main controlling quest that organizes the entire mod is done, as much as it can be with the stuff I have so far.

Even if it doesn't end up being an epic Cyrodiil spanning quest, I think it will at least provide a proper ending to the saga of the Dark Brotherhood. And since we're not cutting up the Cheydinhal sanctuary into tiny little pieces, there shouldn't be any compatibility issues with other DB related quests or improvement mods. Unless of course some evil bastard got rid of Arquen. Then we'd have to settle this with fire.

This looks very exciting!

I just recently dusted off my Oblivion disc and rediscovered my love for the game. It's probably been a year or two since I've played (once I finished most of the quests, including SI and KOTN, it just got stale). I'm not sure what it was but something drew me here to this site and seeing your love (and Dwips) for the game prompted me to start looking more closely at mods. I'd never tried them before, the whole process was intimidating for a simple gamer like me, but thanks to Dwip and his very easy to understand walkthrough of all the programs needed I am now about to immerse myself into the world of Cyrodiil once again.

I am currently exploring your Faregyl mod. It's very nice (and huge!). I seem to have hit on dead ends in the cave though, but I'll figure it out eventually. The fact that it's not run in-kill boss-take loot-done makes it very interesting, so thank you for that. I'll also be dl'ing Vergayn and Dwips Weye mod soon, plus some others you've both recommended.

I hope you don't mind me reviving this post, I just wanted to say it sounds fantastic and can't wait to try it. Is it almost done?

Hanaisse, Samson has a long standing history of creativity and programming excellence (in fact, if you had any doubts about that, just check out his projects link at the top of the page), so you've found a great place to fuel your budding addiction. In short, welcome to the fold! ;)

No, don't mind at all that the post is revived. That's why I set the software here up to leave posts open for registered members. :)

This mod is moving along nicely, though temporarily stalled while I wait for the person who is doing the Leyawiin sanctuary to come up with something. Though if they don't deliver a progress report or something soon I'll just do that one myself so that I can go about testing everything to make sure it all works the way it's supposed to. I think once I have all the parts, testing won't take long.

Just for a quick status update, here's where each city I'm expecting stands:

Chorrol: Done. Dwip contributed this one and it looks great.
Leyawiin: the-manta - As I look over at the TES Alliance page, I note he has in fact returned so I'll see what he's got.
Anvil: Done. Cliffworms contributed an awesome pair of sanctuaries, one for the run down broken state, the other for the reclaimed state.
Imperial City: Done. Me. Dark Brotherhood in an Ayleid ruin? What more could you ask for :)
Bravil: Done. Me as well. Just a basement under the tavern, nothing special.
Bruma + Skingrad: Manni. Haven't seen anything on these two, but I'm not holding a release if I don't either. They weren't part of the original plan.

Woudln't worry too much if the names aren't familiar. They're all members of the TES Alliance (except Dwip). If you're looking to learn more about the creation side of mods, that's a great place to start.

Glad you're enjoying Faregyl, I definitely had fun building it, and am slowly working on getting it's major upgrade done. One other mod you might want to play with in the meantime is Feldscar, which was just released at the end of December. It didn't get mentioned in the previous postings because I wasn't done with it yet.

Firefox can't find the file at http://www.iguanadons.net/downloads/Feldscar-51 :(

I did finally finish Faregyl by having to do what I didn't want to do but it worked out easier than I thought (I won't spoil it for anyone). As I said earlier, very good, 5 stars!

I've also finished the Weye mod, that was well done too, another 5 stars for Dwip!

I want to do Kvatch Rebuilt next. I was always sad that you could never go back there.

(Thanks for the welcomes :) )

Edited by Samson on Mar 22, 2010 5:25 pm
Heh. I'm happy somebody got some use out of that walkthrough. :)

...you did all of AFK_Weye in a day? Not bad. Not bad at all.

KR was pretty good, although it lost some points because I'm a writing snob. Be aware that the arena there is hella bugged, too. Nothing serious, but can be kind of annoying. Still a great mod though.

Er. Oops. I really should look into better ways of serving files, but for now, had to bump the PHP memory limit up. You should be able to download it now.

You'd think PHP could have a toggle or something to only enforce the memory limit on uploads, or to ignore it altogether.. assuming the admin of that particular box felt they had sufficient ram to not be worried about it anyway. As it is, do you know if there's a limit to how high you can set that so that it won't interfere with downloads? I though I'd read that you couldn't set it higher than 32MB... nvm, just found this article which says you can set it to 64MB or potentially higher or even disable it altogether by setting it to -1. Good to know, eh? :)

As for the status update on your mod list, that sounds pretty impressive given that it looks like they're all either done already or just waiting on input from others. So, once Leyawiin is done and tested, have you already got plans for your next project?

Dwip: Heh, I *thought* I finished it but looking at the walkthrough it appears there's more there than I first thought. I didn't realize some quests were time delayed, so really looking forward to them :)

Samson: I was able to dl and install Feldscar with no problem. I took the trip up the road to go find it, and when I reach the very last road sign, with Feldscar visible in the distance, and try to continue I get the "Turn back, you cannot go that way" message. I've looked for any possible way to reach the town but am blocked. Any suggestions?

@Conner: PHP does have a way you can change the memory limit on the fly, but being the box admin I prefer to change that globally. Other people may hit the same wall at some point. Sadly it seems it's something that has to be lived with since PHP hasn't got any really decent ways to handle file downloads that you can keep track of. The -1 thing is interesting, but opens you up to having your memory overrun by a rogue script.

Yep, soon as I have Leyawiin in hand to see what needs to be fleshed out, it'll be on to testing. I've already got other projects that are being worked on. The update for Faregyl, the Open Cities Reborn project (which I should post about here), I've scouted two more spots for new villages that miraculously still seem available even with a lot of mods.

@Hanaisse: I wasn't aware the whole village was past the game borders, but I guess it is. You'll need to disable the borders, which is easy to do:

Open your Oblivion.ini file, usually found in My Documents\My Games\Oblivion, find the line in there called bBorderRegionsEnabled and change the value following it from a 1 to a 0.

Once you do that, you'll be able to access it. That change is global, so any other mods you might download that need the borders disabled will work with that. Don't ever install a "border removal mod" because those cause compatibility problems.

That's true, the -1 thing is nice to know about as an option, but it does sort of present a security risk that's probably not worth exposing yourself to. I'll have to look into dynamic limits for PHP then as I thought you could only set it globally or via .htaccess file and only statically (or disable it altogether).

So two more full villages for you to construct from scratch? Sounds great, can't wait to hear more about those. :)

Hmm, if you can create villages and such outside the game borders, doesn't that essentially open endless possibilities for you?

To an extent, yes. Going beyond the borders opens up quite a bit. You'd have to do more landscape work than usual though if you need a road since Bethesda's roads don't cross the borders. But you'll have almost complete freedom to do as you please, assuming someone else doesn't use the same space :)

Best example of going beyond the borders is Elsweyr Anequina. The game had the basics of the area needed for this region already in place, so there's now an entire playable province that lies beyond the normal borders. Disable them, and you can walk right in to Elsweyr. Iliana and the others have all done a great job at making it feel like a natural extension of the original game.

A similar effort was done with the playable area of Valenwood but last I checked that wasn't as far along as Elsweyr and if you try and run both together you'll end up with Valenwood eating into half of Elsweyr's space. So there's some coordination needed between the two in order to get things patched up.

Nice thing about that is there should be room enough for a village or two in Elsweyr once we all know how much of the region Iliana intends to use. A second team is already working on adding Rimmen to the map.

Interesting. You'd think someone over at TES Nexus would've thought by now to create a map of some sort for developers to use to designate where their new areas are so other developers can keep things coordinated and so mod users will know which new areas are going to conflict with the ones they've already got or are going to be unreachable without which other areas also installed.

Actually that idea has been floated before and shot down as completely impractical. You may as well take a map of Cyrodiil and mark it all in red or something because by some estimations every last cell in the world has been occupied with something in a mod.

Also, just because I put a tree in a cell doesn't mean you can't come by later and add a rock. The game is pretty tolerant of lots of minor edits, and even major edits, provided you don't start editing landscape or path grids. So you can have cells in the game where a dozen mods mess with things and no strangeness results.

The reason Elsweyr and Valenwood have problems is because both make extensive changes to landscape. Whichever mod loads last in your load order is the one whose changes you'll see, and where they meet you'll see visual tearing of land on the screen along the cell border. Resolving things like that requires the creation of a 3rd plugin to patch the two together along those kinds of tears, which we affectionately call "land tears".

That sort of thing is one reason why I wanted all of the cells for this DB mod to be interiors that aren't attached to cities or the exterior worldspace. No landscape edits will be necessary this way. The main reason though is because these sanctuaries are supposed to be well hidden, and entry points out in the open wouldn't make a lot of sense.

Yay, I got Feldscar working. Those wolves are adorable :D

Would love to hear more about your new projects.

Hmm, well, I wasn't really thinking in terms of coloring in the map as areas get used, but rather drawing boundaries of the areas in use and labeling them according to which area/mod is using it. But I can see your point, I was just thinking that, even if areas/mods overlap each other, as long as each of those areas/mods was labeled and had its individual boundaries delineated, it'd still be a pretty useful map. If it were being done on paper, I'd say just use different colors for areas that overlap from one another.

Agreed, regarding the new projects. :)

Ok, I know this isn't a forum and I shouldn't hijack comment posts, but I'm confused and have a small question :) It's only slightly off topic. Conner may also benefit from this.

I've dl'd Really Almost Everything Visible When Distant (RAEVWD v1.6). I also found another file called RAEVWD QTP3 Texture Pack v1.3. The question is, do I need the full QTP3 Redim before I install the texture pack, or is what I need included in that?

Conner: this is probably about as good as it ever got, which isn't all that great. Too big a project, as the man says. In practice from the mod maker's perspective, you pretty much need to keep track of which UL and big popular mods you might conflict with, and deal with others as they come up.

Hanaisse: The RAEVWD QTP3 texture pack is meant to be used with one of the various flavors of QTP3. You could probably use it alone, but your LOD textures are going to look pretty strange in comparison to your closeup textures. Should use either all vanilla textures and straight RAEVWD, or QTP3 and the RAEVWD QTP3 textures. Ditto for whatever the name of the SI texture pack is.

Since I've done a lot of juggling with RAEVWD and FPS lately, a couple of notes:

- The IC option is pretty painful on the FPS. It's worth doing some juggling with the various RAEVWD optional packages to see what looks good and doesn't bog your system down.
In my case, QTP3R + RAEVWD without the IC stuff is about enough.

- Oblivion Stutter Remover has been a help in the short time I've used it. Read the instructions, but pretty much you can just throw it in, run your game once, quit, and go change the iHeapMode setting to 1 in the ini, and go. That said, our host has a lot more experience with this than I do.

Clearly, we need a sit around and BS about Oblivion topic.

Samson's, InsanitySorrow's, & Phoenix1213's are pretty nifty and very much what I was thinking of, but as Samson points out, it would have to be able to be done in layers (preferably semi-transparent colored layers) to account for overlappage... but Iliana's was downright pretty, if a bit huge...

In any event, I can understand the problems involved. Personally, I imagine the primary problem is just that there's too many cooks, so to speak. If one person (I'm certainly not volunteering since I suck at graphics and definitely wouldn't be interested in a task of this magnitude..) were to create a single map that they maintained which included all the grids used by each mod out there that affects real estate... frankly, it'd be a mammoth project but would only have to take into account mods that affect real estate at least ...then each modder creating a new mod that affected real estate could reference the master map (sort of like a zoning map in real life) to see what's already in use and submit their new mod to the nexus where this person could then update the map to reflect the additional changes from that new mod. Of course, like in real life, the person running the map maintenance would have to essentially issue building permits to be able to track it all, I suppose. *shrug*

Well, that seems straight-forward enough, if it's got a second set of initials it's the version for use with that texture package, if not it's the version for an otherwise stock configuration.

*LOL* I like that idea. :)
Hey Samson, how about a new post regarding Oblivion stuff in general so we can have our own "semi-private" Oblivion BS forum? ;)
(No, I won't ask if we can take all the oblivion posts/comments and move them into one thread either. ;) )

I'll 3rd the motion for a new Oblivion BS topic :)

So far, I've loaded the RAEVWD and wow, what a difference. Conner, if you don't have it already, get it. It might just be me but everything close and distant looks sharper and clearer. Is it worth the trouble to go register at the QTP3 site and get that too? I'm pretty happy with how it looks now.

Random rant: DAMMIT, I just became a vampire. I blame you, Dwip (your Weye quest), and I'm coming to get you. (/rant)

Oh, and btw, what does LOD mean?

Not sure what LOD means precisely, but it's the lower quality distant land/whatever meshes/textures. Distant things, basically. And yeah, the difference between a RAEVWD setup and a non-RAEVWD setup really is like night and day.

The comprehensive vanilla vs QTP3 vs QTP3 redim vs QTP3 reduced discussion is here, and the short answer is, as long as your video card isn't mired in the dark ages of 2004, you probably want to pick up QTP3 redimized from one or another of the sites that host it (of which there should be some that don't require registration). All of Samson's screenshots in the gallery feature QTP3 redim textures, and again, it's totally worth it. I'm not really in SI enough to tell you how great Bomret's SI textures are, but again, probably totally worth it.

And well, I guess I know which part of the Weye quests you're on. :P

LOD means Level Of Detail. Wiki may not be very reliable in general, but it's awfully convenient sometimes. ;)

Hmm, well, between you guys' reviews, maybe I will have to check out the RAEVWD mod...

Btw, if you're not opposed to cheating, I happened to notice a mod to cure that vampirism via potion over at The Oblivion Mod Wiki the other day.. in fact, there were several there: Vampire Cure, Vampirism Cure Potions, LD - Cure Vampirism.. and those are just the obvious ones, the site lists quite a collection of mod information, most with links to the mod itself. ;)

LOD = Level Of Detail. I don't know how that ended up being attached to low detail distant viewables, but it did.

QTP3 Redimized is the way to go. You should be able to find it available on PES. It's not on Nexus because the thing is just so huge and their bandwidth capping would cripple the download.

You only need the RAEVWD-QTP3 package if you're using some variety of QTP3 so that the colors on things will match. Definitely be aware of the performance hit with the Imperial City if you installed that ESP file. It can be pretty steep and even I stopped using that part because it just bogs things down too much and you can't see the buildings most of the time anyway. The next package update on that I'm going to separate the IC architecture from the rest of the cities so that you won't even have the meshes installed if you don't want them. Except for the one whole one they made for the city, which is staying in the Core folder.

Oblivion Stutter Remover is pretty much a godsend. It may seem counter-intuitive to install a plugin file that will deliberately cap your frame rates, but the experience is more than worth it. Oblivion's engine has a terrible time of juggling between AI and graphics rendering. So OSR is setup to restrain the rendering and give those cycles over to AI and disk I/O. The result is nothing short of amazing. The game runs smoother, and in most cases the overload caused by unrestrained rendering makes the game far more stable. Just the other day while out testing, I got bored and went for a wander. Randomly all over the map. When the game finally did crash, I realized I'd been bumbling around aimlessly for nearly 5 hours. Heavily modded games usually explode after 1 because of the strain. OSR is that good. I think it even helps with memory leaks but that's only speculation.

You want to read up on its heap modes though in the official thread. Which one you use is influenced by your operating system. On XP, if things work out, heap mode 1 is best, but not everyone's system can deal with it. So you have to poke around. Vista and 7 may get better results with a different heap mode.

BTW, on the vampirism thing, there's a quest in-game already to get a cure if using a mod to undo it isn't desirable.

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