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Lake Arrius Caverns, with Training Cattle and Lovers Slave Trade

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There doesn't seem to be much activity on the Oblivion sub-forums, so (since I've been playing the game again), I thought I'd recount a fun session I played through recently.


My character is a male Breton mage ("Rex Monday") and I'm playing with Training Cattle, Lovers Slave Trade among others. In between subverting the city guards (Colourwheel's Overhaul, needless to say) and the Mages' Guild I've been playing the main quest. This is what happened when I visited Lake Arrius Caverns.


It all started normally enough. Met the doorkeeper, gave the password and met Harrow. Handed over all my gear (not without some trepidation - my guy is a bit low level) and waited to be led into the shrine. Nothing happened. So I wandered around trying to remember where I was supposed to go. Then I noticed - Harrow was following me!


What had happened was that I was carrying my full kit when I arrived. Now Training Cattle gives you a halter that you can reverse pickpocket onto a target so that they'll follow you and let you drink their blood. (Makes it a bit easy, but I'm playing for fun here, not for a challenge). Anyway, Harrow took all my gear, so the halter ended up in his inventory. So he's now following me, and should let me train him. So I try it, give it the old "What a nice neck" routine, take a taste ... and Harrow collapses.


OK, this can happen. There's a hefty fatigue drain that goes with TC bites, at least in the early stages, and it's not uncommon for trainee cattle to pass out. Sometimes for quite a long time. Harrow seems to be out longer than most. In fact, I'm not sure he's breathing. So I try nudging him with my boot (or grabbing him with the Z key to see if I can drag him). Sure enough, he's dead as a doornail. Well, luckily no-one seems to have noticed. So I grab my stuff back, hide the body and proceed into the shrine.


Inside, I really can't remember how this works. I seem to recall that they'll want me up on stage to sacrifice the Argonian on the altar and that things get a bit hairy after that. In a spirit of experimentation I save the game and then release him. All hell breaks loose as a dozen or so Mythic Dawn types chase one terrified Argonian round the shrine before killing him. Then they do the same to me. Oops.


So reload and rethink. Still experimenting, I try reverse pickpocketing the halter onto Ruma Camoran. That seems to work and she follows me off to a quiet corner of the cave. Up on the stage, Mankar is doing his portal-to-paradise thing and the party seems to be breaking up. I have to deal with one hostile Dawner, but otherwise I'm left in peace to train Ruma. So I take sips of blood conditioning her to be dependent on the questionable pleasures of being fed on by a vampire. At one point she passes out, so I hit her with the LST enslavement spell while she's out. Eventually she asks to be a cow, so I strip her, slap the cattle irons on her and hit her with the Vampire Arrogance spell - job done. Then purely for the form of it, I follow up with some LST training. She breaks the first time - you never can tell with these Altmer chicks.


Right. Time to see about getting out of here. I sneak up to the stage. I'm trying to remember the ways of rescuing Snakey McSnakeFace from the altar ... when I realise he's dead. They must have killed him once they realised I'd nabbed Ruma. I consider reloading and decide against - I'll live with the consequences of my actions (which is more than can be said for Snakey, alas). I grab the Mysterium Xarxes, dodge the falling statue bits and sneak on back to Ruma.


Now my usual methodology at this point is to kill all the males and enslave the women. (Actually that's my usual methodology in any game that supports it, but anyway...) In support of this I have a six second invisibility spell (courtesy of Bast in Apachii Goddess Store) and a custom destruction spell that does 20 points each of heat and shock damage over two seconds. So I disappear, sneak up to the top and realise my mistake. Usually when I do this, I try and pick off the cultists on the top gallery one-by-one. But having taken the book, they've all left and I now can't get the ones in the shrine antechamber. In fact there's just me Ruma and a dead Argonian.


I park Ruma outside the door to the living quarters and head on through, sneaking along with six second invisibility. That's an odd spell in some ways. If your will power is strong enough, you can sneak indefinitely by recasting it. I've cleared entire dungeons while muttering "one, two, three and CAST! One two, three and CAST!" So this is what I'm doing when I find the first guard: "one, two, three and cast! Squeeze past her and cast! One, two three and reverse pickpocket". Then with the Halter in place, I lead my newest acquisition back to where I left Ruma and repeat the en-cowing and enslaving process.


And so it goes. Next encounter is a guy sitting at a table and facing the wall. I take him out with my Heatshock spell (which is a clever name because it does both heat and shock damage and, and ... oh, never mind!). Then back to invisible and scout out the next one.


It actually gets a bit busy around here for a bit. There's two problems with the six-second invisibility approach. Firstly, if you bump into anyone, they know you're there. Second, if you'd trying to squeeze and dodge past multiple guards (like the ones coming to see why their best bud has just been arc-welded to his seat) then it's easy to fluff the timing, or just forget that your supposed to be counting. So I ended up stopping a few lightning bolts before I could clear the next area, even though I vanished and retreated down the corridor. I'd forgotten about the Mythics habit of blasting empty corridors "just in case" when you turned invisible.


There was one woman in particular took forever to stop hunting along those corridors. That was a pain because while she was hunting I couldn't pickpocket her, and as long as she was there I couldn't really take out any of the Dawners further into the complex. Plus I didn't want her exploring further along and discovering my beginning Cow Collection near the entrance. Eventually she lost interest however and very shortly after that she was standing with the rest of them, naked and murmuring "please drink deeply, master" whenever I drew near.


It got a bit easier after that. Partly because I remembered I had a Hunter's Sight combo Night Vision and Detect Life power, but mainly because they thin out after that point. Also I finally found a bed so I could rest and claim the level that the constant convalescence and invisibility casts had given me. Also I could get the unenslaved cows to sleep so I could enslave them and give them a quick token training. I don't think anyone else was as keen to have her legs spread as Ruma had been, but at least they all knew what would be expected of them.


By the time I reached the exit, I had eight naked ex-mythic dawn vampire cows following me. Which promptly went down to four when I left, because large numbers of cows are rubbish at doors, and which went down again to just one by the time I got to Sky Ruler Temple. Not quite sure where the others went, but only Ruma emerged from fast travel. And she got killed by Jauffrie as soon as he saw her. Oh well, easy come easy go. I was worried about how the game would cope when she was supposed to come back from the dead in Paradise, so maybe it's for the best.


It's not like I don't have plenty more back at home base, after all :)

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The blades got no sense of humor. Such a shame that Jauffre has killed Ruma in cold blood. It wouldve been a priceless scene to watch Ruma in the paradise, facing her former self, pleading her former master to violate her....

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