I hate NPC’s. Really. They’re supposed to help, but most of the time, I find them getting in my way. But let’s pick up the thread first.

Our boy Martin, heir to the throne, wanted a Daedra artifact. I already had Azura’s Star, but NO WAY was I giving that up. So I had to find another Daedra shrine, do a job for the Daedra Lord, and receive a reward.

I did a quest for Malacath, whose shrine happened to be on my map. That netted me a very nice 2-handed axe, but since I use swords, it was no hardship to give that up. So Martin had his artifact.

While I waited to learn what he needed next, the Blades leader tells me Bruma, the nearby town, has trouble. An Oblivion gate showed up there and he wants me to close it. Only I don’t go in alone. The Captain of the guard and two of his men enter with me.

While they let me lead them around the place, there was no controlling them otherwise. And NPC’s can detect monsters long before you do. They were always running off to fight, usually leaving me behind, as they could move faster than I could.

Once in awhile I was far enough in front to get off a couple of spells. Then my companions would close in. Often, there wasn’t room enough for me to even do melee combat. For the most part, they did the fighting, and I was healing them up afterward. It was too much like the fight in Kvatch, and that was annoying enough.

Anyway, we closed the gate and all made it out alive. This was just a stopgap, however. Bruma needs more help, so the next thing on my list is to beg some soldiers from the other towns. And after that is the next artifact for Martin.

Wouldn’t you know, every other town has a gate outside. Until those gates are closed, no one’s about to give any aid to Bruma. This is where the game becomes tedious.

Go to a town, find the gate, enter, get to the tower, and grab the sigil stone. While there are some variations in these Hell planes, the towers themselves have much the same design. After you’ve done one or two, you have the pattern, which is mainly keep going up.

That’s a good thing, because clearing the gates is overall a monotonous task. I get the feeling the designers couldn’t come up with anything better so they’re using this to pad out the game.

The last one was the worst. Not only did I have to close the gate, I had to rescue the Count’s annoying, idiot son. Yep, NPC’s again. Fortunately, I managed to keep him alive, and received a nifty item from the Count: a sword that disintegrates 60 points of armor on hit. This is likely to come in handy.

So now all the other towns have agreed to help Bruma. Whoopee. I think I’ll switch off to a few side quests. I can use the variety.