A Letter…Not Sure Who From

Welcome to another edition of our weekly mailbag. Again, all the letters below come from real spammers delivered via courier in the game Skyrim. Well, usually. We actually have five real real questions this week, which is two more than last. I feel like this is a turning point in the quest for an authentic mailbag. That, or a high water mark. One of those things.

If you would like to send a question, PM me here or email them to kristakahashi@gmail.com. Just make sure to let me know this is for the mailbag and that you want your name public, or else I will attribute your question to spammers.

On to the questions:

bupropion asks:

I have a theory that adding a “Y” to the end of a name makes you faster. Bill sounds like an old construction worker. Billy sounds like a seventh degree black belt/fitness instructor.

I think you are on to something. Randy definitely sounds like the name of an athlete, as opposed to Rand, which is the name of a United States Senator.

I would take it a step further and say it probably applies to inanimate objects as well. A Jimmy is a flexible piece of latex. It is fun at parties and promotes safety. A Jim, on the other hand, is a lifeless stick of jerky made of questionable meat.

young old porn asks:

I think I’ve found another phrase that doesn’t make much sense. “Rich as a motherfucker.” Since when does sleeping with your mom make you rich? I suppose it could be referring to one’s inheritance, but it’s not something I would be bragging about to my mates. English is weird.

Yet it somehow makes sense. In fact, I’ve found the mind adapts fairly quickly to new words and rules. When people started saying “That feel when” instead of “that feeling when,” at first it hurt my brain. It hurt like a motherfucker. The headaches were bad enough that I wanted to Kickstart a program that copy-pasted ING onto every feel post on the internet.

Fast forward to now, and “That feel” feels grammatically correct. Why, I have no idea. The rules of grammar haven’t changed. The only thing that’s changed is me.

Megaptera asks:

Is Amalee’s focus on natural beauty and purity unusual among Dibellans? Is it a sub-sect or was she just really sheltered up until now? Or is the reputation of Dibellan priestesses and followers as harlots an unjustified stereotype?

It’s not unusual for religions to have multiple sects, especially given the Aedra are mostly hands off. I do believe, however, that Dibella’s realm goes beyond the pleasures of the flesh. In Oblivion, for instance, a Dibellan artifact is used to paint a forest, and at no point in the quest are you asked to fuck the painting.

Of course, for the mod, pretty much everything is about the character as opposed to their belief system. When Zarlak talks about how violence is a tool to be wielded by the wise, what he’s really telling you is how frayed his relationship is with Arngeir and how he failed to properly raise his fuckwit son.

With Amalee, she’s caught in this gentle tug of war between duty/tradition and youth/rebellion. While the most obvious example would be her relationship with her parents, the same rebellious attitude can be found in her relationship with the Dibellan priestesses. She grew up around it, was influenced by it, but in the end she took that information and turned it on its head.

Raynes says outright to Griffith that constantly being on the road isn’t appropriate for a child, and that Morrigan needs a structured life. For all his harsh exterior, it makes sense that if he hates lawbreakers he would value and want to protect innocence. Is there anything you can tell us about his own childhood?

I forget how much of Raynes’ backstory is explicitly stated outside of his Khajiit blood, and even that could be psychosomatic because Khajiit can’t reproduce with Dunmer. But regardless, his disgust for lawbreakers is rooted in a subconscious self-loathing (because Khajiit are known to be thieves) which is why he shaves his head. He’s scared there might be fur.

So based on that knowledge and his psychopathic tendencies, it’s safe to say Raynes had a rough childhood, one that probably involved a criminal guardian and heavy abuse. Now, by abuse I don’t necessarily mean something physical. Perhaps it was neglect or irresponsible behavior. Even getting jailed for being a thief is bad parenting, especially if your kid is orphaned and has to fend for himself. That could be why he says Morrigan needs structure, but I don’t think I ever stated something as being specifically canon.

Who would end up on the floor first in a drinking contest, Arghus or Erevan?”

Tough question. On the one hand, Arghus is old and lacks the constitution. Erevan, however, is the sort of choir boy who’d probably get plastered drinking Zimas. I’d say given he’s a scryer, I don’t see Arghus making that bet unless there was a pretty good chance he’d win. So the mere existence of a contest would mean the old man is your winner.

Mouse asks:

I’m working on my own script for a follower/companion, but I’ve never written something like this before, and I would really like to make interacting with a voice actor as smooth and engaging as possible. Do have any advice to offer?

I have a list actually, which may or may not be cribbed from dating advice on eHarmony.com.

  • Plan it. Have an answer for when and where the date VOICE ACTING will occur. While movie dates COMPANIONS are popular, they’re not great for first dates roles because you don’t want to stare at a screen the whole time may want to get a feel for the actor’s range, reliability, and sound quality.
  • Pay for the date nothing. You are not making money from this mod, so make this clear up front, or else there will be awkwardness and possibly poverty.
  • Be confident. They already said yes. They want to be there VOICE ACT.
  • Dress to impress.
  • Be on time. And be gracious if they’re THEIR LINES ARE fashionably late.
  • Be attentive. Ask great questions. Listen. Smile.
  • Use compliments appropriately. They likely put some effort into their look VOICE ACTING for you, so offer them a compliment or two.
  • Prove that chivalry is not dead. Sure, they’re an independent woman ACTOR. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t open the door for her MAKE A TRAILER VIDEO.
  • Say goodnight. Don’t let the evening end with a fizzle. Be intentional about saying goodbye, and initiate one of the following: a handshake, hug, or kiss (DO NOT TRY TO HUG AND KISS YOUR ACTOR THAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT).
  • Follow up. Ignore those three-day rules. If you had a great time MAKING YOUR MOD, let them know the next day.

Cato asks:



… Just kidding.

Hello, question time!

Clocking in at over 2GB, 3DNPC takes up quite a chunk of my mod load time, however I could never do without it. When you first started the project did you ever have a clearly defined end size or character limit? Or did things just evolve out of control? :P

Also when the day finally comes when they announce TESVI (2017/2018?) how will you react? Would you immediately sharpen your mod tools or just savour the game for yourself for a while?

I personally cannot wait.

In life and in modding I tend to wing it, but with Interesting NPCs I didn’t have much choice regarding its development. When I first started the project, there were five gray-faced NPCs that stood in place and required passing a speed reading seminar to talk to them. A year into the mod I was completely out of ideas and ready to quit when I decided to learn some basic scripting. So the development of the mod differs from most projects where people already have a skillset and now they just have to apply it.

That’s why you have so many prerequisites, because the NPCs were built first as standalone storybooks. Once quests were added, you had to go through the existing content (meeting and interacting with these characters) for the stories to make sense. While it’s not a coincidence that most of these backstories have loose ends, there was never any expectation that a quest would be made to resolve them. In fact, I always assumed I would need a separate programmer to handle the scripting. You see, I am not a computer guy. Ask me what operating system I use and I will tell you it is a “Dell Google” before resetting my router without prompting.

As for TESVI, shit, I can’t even believe we’re even talking about it. On the other hand, Skyrim’s going to be 4 years old in November. Fuck, that’s a long time. Time flies like an arrow, flesh flies like a Breton.