Are you sick of riding on the cart to Helgen at the start of Skyrim? Sure it’s a great story setting, and Bethesda was even kind enough to not kill off celebrity voice actor Michael Hogan aka Colonel Saul Tigh like they did with Patrick Stewart in the first five minutes of Oblivion. After you’ve done it a few times though, it looses some luster, and you’ve probably found yourself wanting to just skip to whatever adventure you have planned for that character.
With Hearthfire now out for the PC as well I thought it would be the time to go back and playthrough again, and found myself exactly in that predicament. Fortunately the Steam Workshop has a few modders that have taken the skip Helgen request to a bit of an extreme, completely new starting stories and locations!
First up is a mod known as Alternate Start – Live Another Life. This mod sets you up in a little cabin where you make all the character choices before leaving you to the mercy of your small, inescapable room with a bed, skeleton, desk, and a Statue of Mara. Speaking with the statue will yield several options on where your character can begin their story.
My first try I chose to be a property owner in a Hold, and picked Solitude. I appeared in Proudspire Manor, fully decorated, with some nice clothing. A quick search revealed plenty of supplies I would need for adventuring including weapons and potions. Clearly the statue had made my character a well off noble or something, but left everything else up to me.
The next time I chose to be a necromancer in a hidden laboratory. My character was sent to Sinderion’s Field Laboratory in Blackreach. While it’s a nice location for alchemy and was well supplied with basic mage gear and ingredients, I found escaping the depths to be extremely difficult, no wonder Sinderion died inside his little home, those Dwemer monstrosities don’t go easy on a level one.
My favorite was an option that let me be a bandit in a mountain hideout. I got to start with a basic iron armor and weapons kit, the best part was that in my little hideout were several other bandits as well. While they didn’t have any other dialogue than a greeting, and couldn’t be followers, I liked the idea of having my own little gang there as I robbed travelers on the roads and fought other bandit groups nearby.
There were plenty more options to go back and start again with as well, like ones to place you in the starting role for any of the guilds, or a shipwreck victim. There’s even a surprise me option. While it can be a bit buggy getting you to Helgen to start the main quest, it does a great job of setting you up for a new adventure with a bit of ready made backstory.
On the other hand there’s also Random Alternate Start, which true to it’s name will plop you down in one of over 300 randomly selected starting locations along with a small kit of supplies. This one is a bit more polished and will give you a choice of starting kits that meshes with the author’s other mods which bring back the Oblivion-style class and birthsign choices.
Once you’ve selected which sort of equipment you like, the game dumps you into a random starting area with a quest that will eventually lead you to Helgen for the main quest. There’s tons and tons of start locations, just to name a few I’ve seen were various inns and shantys across Skyrim. The mod leaves it to you to come up with your own backstory if you want to once you arrive.
The starting equipment you get will be very basic, usually the lowest tier armor and a weapon or shield along with a spell or two for mages. As I meant before, it’s really meant as a tie-in for the author’s Character Creation Overhaul mod, with you choosing the kit based for the class you chose as well, but it works just fine without.
Both are a great way to not only skip the intro, but give your character a bit of a different spin as well. Now if you feel like role-playing a bit, you don’t have to get caught by the Imperial Army and sent to Helgen, you have a few options. Try them out and enjoy the new DLC on the PC – while Hearthfire isn’t much, the orphans are far too cute to pass up.