I have returned to work after it took me a week and a half to recover from my latest episode of atrial fibrillation, which somehow made it difficult for me to breathe. I’m writing this at the office. I’m not well: I remain very tired, I’m dealing with a pretty overwhelming mind-fog, and I feel that at any moment, as if as switch had been flipped, I’ll suffer heart problems again. It’s just a matter of when. I’m probably in shock to whatever extent.
I have yet to start ordering my notes for the next chapter of my novel. The notes alone are 3,100 words long, which is bad enough: it’s taking me a week and a half to write two thousand words-long chapters due to the obsessively fastidious way I work. I haven’t touched the notes at all in the last couple of days, and I’m already feeling the psychological effects of wandering away from writing for about 48 hours; writing for me is psychological masturbation, necessary to release the build-up of tension and general insanity due to the way my fucked up neurological make-up works, and if I don’t release that tension daily to a certain extent, I feel like I’m rolling down the slope of despair towards obliteration. I’m an unhinged human being, barely able to keep it together on a day-to-day basis, unable to hold down any kind of complex relationship with any person, because I can barely deal with myself.
I spent plenty of hours yesterday, to distract myself from the general panic of knowing that I had to return to work today, playing Morrowind, a twenty-year-old game that remains the best Bethesda-y game (I don’t know what else to call the Morrowind, Skyrim and Bethesda’s Fallout games’ genre) that has been made. The video game industry is in decline in general because of the same reasons that the movie industry is: they have become dominated by morons that are more interested in cult behavior than in creating good things. We can’t expect the next GTA to be good (the people responsible for those great titles, as well as Red Dead Redemption 2, have left the company), and Bethesda itself has a lot to prove with Starfield after their disastrous Fallout 76.
Anyway, an amazing team of modders have been working hard these last few years developing an engine from scratch that runs Morrowind using Bethesda’s assets. It’s called OpenMW. They have improved the original game in many ways, supporting “modern” capabilities such as normal mapping, shaders, etc., not to mention that the game is far more stable now. And fortunately they are now working in a way of de-hardcoding the original sound effects so modders can replace them with sensible ones. Here’s a video of the current state of their project:
I gathered about 400 mods for the game, following a Total Overhaul guide, and two days ago I started playing the game from zero. I used to love the game as a teen, although I understood little of it (I understood very little of anything as a teen, as I existed in a semi-constant state of psychosis); I only remembered hanging out in Seyda Neen, walking around Balmora, and getting pestered by cliff racers.
For one, cliff racers no longer assault you as if they were suffering from late-stage rabies; the mods have made it so that animals are trying to survive instead of attacking you for no reason. Through the experiences I had in the game during the hours I played these last couple of days, I got reminded of how much fun it can be to escape reality through one of these all-encompassing RPGs.
I played as Leire, the protagonist of my current novel; I pictured her getting sent to a fantasy world through some sort of isekai situation. Made her a mage with reality-altering abilities through Mysticism and Alteration, and enough skill to bonk people over the head with staves (a huge deal in Morrowind; your chance of hitting enemies in that game depends on your skill and how fatigued you are. It doesn’t matter if the 3D model of your weapon is passing through your enemy).
Anyway, the most interesting chain of events so far was exploring the outskirts of Seyda Neen and coming across a shipyard, where a shady Dunmer called me out from his hiding place and tried to convince me to drive the shipyard’s guard away so the Dunmer could threaten the owner of the place into selling it to a pawn of House Hlaalu. Typical Dunmer anti-occupation stuff; plenty of them are very rabid against Imperials. The Dunmer gave me a couple of scrolls that would make the guard invisible, silent, and pliable enough that he would follow me out of his post.
I was playing as a Breton, I’m generally on the Imperials’ side, and I dislike gray-skinned people, so instead of obeying the Dunmer, I talked with the owner, who hired me to guard the place. I told the other guard that I had seen a shady individual on the other side of the shipyard. When we walked over there, the Dunmer killed the guard, and I found myself having to flee from the guy while he kept calling me a racial slur. Fortunately I had come across a ring that shoots lightning; after about ten minutes of taking potshots at the Dunmer, he finally fell dead. I looted a nice glass dagger from him, and then I disposed of his body. The owner of the shipyard fired me because he no longer needed a guard.
My travels led me to Balmora. After I met a bare-chested skooma addict who enlisted me into his organization, I visited the nearby Imperial fort because some guy there was looking for me. Turns out they were having trouble rooting out corruption in the city because a local gang, called the Camonna Tong, were bribing the local governor to pardon all kinds of crimes. I visited the hangout of this gang to talk to them and figure out if they were that bad; they were very open about the fact that they intended to murder every foreigner in their sleep the moment the local Imperial governance seemed weak enough.
The Imperial officer wanted me to murder five of these gang members. A very tough job for an early-level character, made more difficult because those gang members never leave their hideout. But turns out that the Dunmer from the aforementioned shipyard-related misadventure never took back his scrolls. I used them to render a couple of those gang members silent, invisible and pliable. One by one, I drove them to the outskirts of Balmora, and on the deserted stretch of road between the city and Fort Moonmoth, a conjured ancestor ghost and I fought the two gang members to their demise. Don’t know how I’ll deal with the remaining three, though, now that I’m out of date-rape scrolls. I’ll probably have to figure out who can teach me the Command spell, then I’ll visit the local Mages Guild quarter to create three semi-equivalent scrolls.
Anyway, this afternoon after work I’ll focus on writing. It’s better to use unproductive stuff such as gaming as a reward for hard work, which is what I’ll do tonight for an hour and a half or so.