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The Spooky introduction to The Dark Brotherhood in Oblivion

Published: 4th of January 2022

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Most video games that attempt to inject spookiness or horror elements into themselves appear cringey, rather than the sense of horror the developers wanted the player to experience. My guess is that this cringiness comes from the downfall of artistic skills that has come about from game developers no longer having to work around hardware limitations.

To see a good example of a game that gets this right, we need to look back to 2006. That year saw the release of a game many people consider being the best game in the Elder Scrolls series, Oblivion.

In particular, I will go over the players’ introduction to the Dark Brotherhood (Oblivion’s version of it).

To murder an “innocent” NPC.

Sneaking behind a rock with bow, ready to kill Oblivion in-game NPC

Joining the Dark Brotherhood in Oblivion is a big different to joining other factions in the game. In order to join this faction, they require you to murder an “innocent” NPC. Once this is done, “forces unknown has observed” message will appear on screen.

Innocent, of course, being in quote marks, as Oblivion as a strange ideal of what innocent means. You will probably have triggered the above message by accident. Either by killing some NPCs who attack you first or even killing an NPC who was trying to kill your horse.

A Broken Sleep

Lucien Lachance, dressed in black clothing. Talking to the player, ‘You sleep rather soundly for a murderer. That’t good. You’ll need a clear conscience for what i’m about to propose.’ “

After seeing the message about the killing being “observed by forces unknown”, it’s time to find a bed and go to sleep (in game, not real life). The easiest way to find a non-owned bed (you can’t sleep in beds considered as owned by a NPC) would be to find the nearest inn and paying 10 to 40 Septims to rent a room for the night.

The Dark Brotherhood assassin will wake you up an hour into your sleep; Lucien Lachance. He will comment on how well you sleep “for a murderer” before saying that you need a clear conscience to carry out the task he requests you do to join the Dark Brotherhood.

A murder in the creepy basement of an inn.

Lucien Lachance will give you a quest to go to the Inn of Ill Omen and assassinate Rufio. Once you have arrived at the Inn, you will speak to the innkeeper; Manheim Maulhand who will tell you that Rufio is in the basement.

Once you enter the hatch down to the basement, you will find yourself inside a creepy hallway. Once there, walk into the last room (on your left). You will probably find him sleeping in his bed as he sleeps for 20 hours a day.

You are meant to use the Blade of Woe, which was handed to you to carry out the assassination. Though there is nothing stopping you from using a different weapon or finding a more creative way of killing Rufio.

Killing Rufio completes joining the Dark Brotherhood.

To the creepy house

A door with a skull curned into it, located in within a tunnel with blood-soacked steps leading to the door, lit by red lighting.

The last part of the induction takes place at the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary in Cheydinhal.

When you enter Cheydinhal (a deceptively nice-looking town), you need to look for the abandoned house (near the church). Once inside that house, enter the basement. You will see a hole in the wall and you will find yourself in the spooky entrance to the Dark Brotherhood. An entrance that glows blood-red, with blood-soaked stone slabs acting as steps to the entrance door. Walk up to that door and start a conversation. You will be asked for a password to enter the sanctuary, that was given to you after killing Rufio. After entering, the higher-ups of the Dark Brotherhood will welcome you into the guild and give you the next assassination job.

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