I’ve been meaning to mention that some of these side quests – not for the guilds – are interesting. For instance, there was the vampire hunter, the man who vanished from a locked room, the brothers who wanted their farm back (that was a two-parter, which netted me a couple of good items), and the woman who bought a cursed staff, among others.

Good things can come from daedra shrine quests, too. Thieves should certainly track down the Nocturnal shrine. The reward is the Skeleton Key, an unbreakable lockpick that also adds +40 to lockpicking skill.

From Meridia, I received a nifty ring that gave me +10 speed and 35% chameleon (something like invisibility) as constant effects. Of course, there are also daedra who want you to do things that aren’t good. I’ve avoided those.

That chameleon ring gave me a bad moment. The first fight after equipping it, I drew my sword and couldn’t see it. I wasn’t sure if it was out or not. Finally ended up using spells to kill off the critter. Then I tried sheathing and unsheathing the weapon.

Of course, it was night and that didn’t help. I restored back a few saves, and in daylight noticed the sword, but it was almost completely transparent. I was just thinking something had gone wrong with the graphics, when I remembered the ring. Unequipped it, and sure enough, the sword was solid again. Whew!

I also took time, a fair amount of it, to build up sneak skill. It’s up over 80 now (100 max naturally; can go higher with magic), and between that and the chameleon, I can sneak up on almost anything, dead or undead. That’s really powerful, because you do 6 times damage when you hit. Ouch!

And it doesn’t necessarily “wear off” when you strike, especially if the target is facing a wall. I’ve chopped enemies from behind that way and never came out of sneak. You can also snipe from a distance and not be detected, sometimes. I should have built this skill up much sooner.

So after taking a “vacation” from all those gate closings, I went back to the main line. Had to pick up two artifacts (one at a time, of course). Being able to sneak around made those easier than expected, but still no picnic.

There is one more item to pick up, and that one is likely to be troublesome. I’ll have to go through a “great gate” for a special sigil stone, the last item needed to get me to the guy who has the amulet (hey, do you remember the amulet? You know, the one to light the dragonfires).

It looks like the end may be in sight. Stay tuned, sports fans!