(I’ve noticed that a number of people have come by looking for enchanting tips. If that’s what you want, Click here for Enchanting Tips)
Y’know, I’d forgotten to mention how dangerous it is to talk to people in Elder Scrolls games. Anyone at all. You never know when another quest will pop up on your list.

I decided to try one or two of the optional quests on my “to-do” list. They have this set up rather well now. There are three “menus”: one is a list of completed quests, one is for the “to-do” stuff, and the third is the “active quest”, the one you’re currently working on.

You can switch quests from “to-do” to “active” at any time. This has benefits. Let’s say someone told you about “Horrid Monster Cave” to the southwest. That puts it on the map. In addition, a marker for that place appears on your compass.

So besides having the cave on the world map, you now can navigate to it more or less easily (depending on terrain and monsters) by watching your compass. You even get a notice that you have found “Horrid Monster Cave” or whatever place it is. This lets you fast travel to it in the future, if you want to.

Anyway, I’d chosen the “Forlorn Watchman” job, which had something to do with this mysterious ghost that shows up every night in a certain area. Went to speak with the guy who has more information. So he spots the place on my map for me.

Then, out of the kindness of his heart, he mentions this woman whose husband is missing, and someone who has something prowling around his house. Gee thanks, two more quests, just like that. Like I said, talking to people is dangerous.

Anyway, I went on with the Watchman. Ended up cleaning out a shipwreck and receiving a treasure map. Unfortunately, the treasure wasn’t so hot.

Just like the monsters, goodies are leveled, too. So the higher level you are, the better stuff you find. Being only level 7 at the time, I didn’t find much to write home about.

On the other hand, I took time out to get one of the best items in the game, which isn’t level-dependent: Azura’s Star. Not that this was easy.

First I had to get her shrine on the map, and have something for an offering. Luckily I came across a book with the right info. Then I had to trek up there and wait for the right time. Then I had to do her a little favor, which involved killing several vampires.

You don’t want to get near vampires; one hit, and you’ve got the disease. I was diseased many times, although only the first one really counts. Fortunately, you don’t turn vampire all at once, so I had plenty of time to return and get my reward. And right after that, it was off to a chapel to be cleansed.

But it’s worth the effort if you want to enchant items. Enchanting requires three things: a spell, an object, and a soul. Any spell-type you know can be used, although not all spells can be used on all items. The object, unlike in Morrowind, can be of any quality. And then there’s the soul part.

It’s the soul that powers the magic. You can buy soulstones with a soul already inside, but the usual way is to cast Soultrap on an enemy and kill it before the spell ends, while having an empty soulstone handy. The soul then goes into the stone.

What makes Azura’s Star so wonderful is that it can hold a soul of any power, and can be used over and over. Regular soulstones are one use only; they disappear when an item is enchanted.

The first thing I did after obtaining the Star was to enchant a steel longsword with the Soultrap spell. Only lasts a second, but anything killed with the sword will have its soul sucked into the stone. I can use spells to soften up an opponent and use the sword to finish it off. Of course, I have other weapons, too; there’s no point in using the Soul Eater unless I want to fill the Star.

There are two other changes from the last game. Clothing, armor or jewelry enchanted automatically have the “constant” effect, meaning it’s always on. Last time, you needed a special soul type for that to be possible. The other change isn’t so good. These items can have only one effect placed on them, however powerful the soul. Foo!

After enchanting my sword, I found the missing husband (tough job), went on a hunt for some special gems (not too bad), and then broke up a gang of female thieves. That last one was cute. They went for married men, offering them a “good time” in a secluded area, then robbed them. Not any more. Heh.

I’ve experienced my first slowdown. Hadn’t been playing all that long, but I did do a lot of bopping around from one location to another. After awhile, I noticed that new loads were coming in slowly. So I think it’s a good idea to quit once in awhile if you’re doing a lot of rapid travelling from one place to another.

And now, I think it’s time to return to the main story. Stay tuned, sports fans.