Oblivion: Fun with hard mode

No, vanilla. I have frostcrag reborn in my mod installer, but for this run through I disabled all the quest plugins except for Midas.

Hey look, joining the Mages Guild finally got me some useful equipment.

I don’t have enough cash to afford any custom spells other than ~400 lbs of Feather.

Going through the rest of the DLC:

I can’t do the Orrery yet, because it requires head-on assaults on bandit camps with 5 enemies. I can’t do that until I get 50 Illusion, which unlocks Invisibility.
I don’t want to do Mehrune’s Razor yet, because it’s an enormous dungeon crawl.
Knights of the Nine is a long dedicated expansion pack.
So is Shivering Isles.

I can at least start the class strongholds, though. The journals in them giving the backstory are surprisingly well written.

The Thieves Den has a nice Goonies vibe to it.

The Vile Lair looks like an abandoned college student’s basement apartment. Except for this little bit.

Battlehorn Castle has an amusing Legacy of Kain sidequest.

ok, great. now you have done it and made me buy the GOTY edition. Thanks! Haven´t even finished DA Awackening yet… sigh

I run a few more dungeons and pile up 6k in cash. I’m tempted to buy the fast horse, but more realistically I need to enchant some armor.

Annoyingly I don’t have enough speechcraft or personality to convince the leader to tell me what I need to summon her. A trip to the spellmaker for a +100 personality for 5 seconds trick fixes that.

I then use the console to give myself the glow dust because, you know, hunting specific monsters on the map is goddamn boring.

I manage to drop the vampires for the quest. Warhammer-wielding enemies are brutal though; my zombies swing slow so they can drop them before they get in too much damage.

I head back to the IC. Hey guys, let’s have a SOUL GEM PARTY.

I summon two headless zombies, slap one 4 times to make him come after me, drop a soul trap, and then the entire Arcane University helps to kill him.

92%! That should make spells actually survivable.

I head to Veyond Cave, which is a pain in the ass - half underwater and nothing but Argonians. Luckily, I have a custom Frenzy area of effect spell, so I get drunk and start some Argonian Bumfights. They were naked when I got there.

A spell tome drops:

That would have been handy earlier! I just go 50 illusion and can go buy a longer duration version anyway. Oh well.

Now that I have invisibility, I go do the Orrery quest for the greater power.

Firing off an area-of-effect Frenzy spell from maximum range and watching them butcher each other never gets old.

Do de do ridin’ into the sun, lookin’ for murder

The Orrery is very, very impressive looking. The screenshots don’t do the animation of the interlocking gears justice. The greater power is WTF though - +10 to 1 statistic for 60 seconds, -10 to another?

WTB Headless Zombie PLS. Where can I buy that spell, Jason? I am using your mod pack, and (coincidentally) had rolled a conjuror. I’m currently sporting dual scamps.

UESP is your friend. For some reason not all the seller names are linked; cross-reference with this.

The Supreme Magicka spell mods adds a few also and rebalances the costs up and down for a few; check the readme for it.

I hit 75 conjuration and go pick up Frost Atronach. She’s too big to fit through lots of doorways, but WHO CARES?

The random adventurers that spawn in dungeons are an amusing mechanic; if you’re lucky they’ll suicidally clear out half the dungeon for you with no intervention on your part. This Orc Shaman is the only survivor of a party of 5 that gave their lives so I could pick my toenails instead of fighting trolls.

Random adventurers? That’s a neat idea. Keep these coming :D

I’m getting filthy rich now, averaging about 6k a dungeon.

So I buy the fastest horse, which turns out to look completely awful with Elven Armor.

I’ve filled out my custom spell list. I’m held back on the really cheesy spells around using Fortify by my crap 40 Restoration. I need to get that up, but I’m taking 1 or 2 hit deaths now from the occasional times the enemies hit me instead of my summons. My 85 Shield spell only lasts for 20 seconds; I need to get alteration up first.

I’m doing my best to resist the urge to play this game.

Yeah, jesus, me too.

It’s SO tempting to install it again, but then I remember all the little parts of it that bug me.

I bet this thread and the other one are gonna inspire an Oblivion renaissance, though… :)

Yeah. It’s definitely reminding me that I never finished Shivering Isles.

Not that I didn’t want to; I just didn’t have the time.

Ooh, my Bethesda forum account is still there. Cool. Over ten years old now, too.

My mod pack fixes them all! Well, mostly.

Around level 18, I really started needing Charm Creature. Specific enemies are really hard to take down for certain summons - for example, Storm Atronach.

Also around this point my poor horse bit it. Past 15 or so your horse is dead meat, unless you’re using Shadowmere.

Here I am UNDER THE SEA training alteration.

Soooo much money now. Fully upgraded Battlehorn Castle.

Starting to free up some enchantment space for a full Shield effect, thanks to some good ring drops.

Really hard enemies have started spawning. Liches are such a pain.

Level 23, finally maxed Conjuration.

At this point, I’ve decided my exploring the countryside for dungeons idea is pointless. They simply aren’t THAT unique, and there’s a million of them. Seriously:

55 Ayleid Ruins.

91 caves.

57 forts.

Up to 60 Oblivion Gates.

I’ve done maybe 30 of all those, total!

I’m probably going to clear our the Mehrune’s Razor plug-in, the expansion, and call it a day. I’ll have to see if I can think of any other theme playthroughs; “psychotic who murders everyone and never talks to a merchant” might be an idea.

Debating what to do, if anything, on another play through. Let’s categorize the skills!


Utility - not fun, not really boring though
Light Armor
Heavy Armor


Game-breaking easy
Restoration (Fortify skill and attributes at least)

Largely Useless
Hand to Hand