Traveler’s Pub (Oblivion mod)…

Traveler’s Pub (Oblivion mod) review after the break…

Traveler’s Pub (Oblivion mod)…

The video games “Fallout 3” & “Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion” could be considered half-brothers or half-sisters, depending on how you want to view their genders. They share the same game engine but their intellectual property was derived from two different companies. They share enough of the same qualities to know that they are related & yet, playing both of them back-to-back is sort of like drinking a glass of orange juice right after drinking a glass of milk. Same glass, different colored liquid & definitely a different taste.

After slogging through a series of mostly unfinished Fallout 3 mods (some of which I may not even bother to post – Yes, that’s how bad a few of them were), I wanted to see if nostalgia had blinded me with the misperception that Oblivion mods were somehow better constructed & more complete.

“Traveler’s Pub” is an Oblivion mod created by “shadow56.” There were actually two versions of this mod when I downloaded it – The original (which contained just a pub) & an updated version that also contained a merchant. I downloaded the one with both & that’s the one that I’m reviewing.

Like with practically all Oblivion mods, this mod came as a manual install. That means that you have to swap files back & forth from directories in order to “install” the mod into the game. Having tired of that practice long ago, I decided that I would press my luck & convert the mod myself into an OMOD. Even though the swapping would’ve been minimized, why work when you don’t have to?

Mod authors should convert their mods into OMODS or FOMODS, respectively. It’s easy to do & you should do it to make it more convenient for users to play with the mods.

“Traveler’s Pub” is located on the road to the town of Cheydinhal, between Cheydinhal & the Imperial City. There’s no “Fast Travel” icon to it when the mod is first installed so, unless you know where it is, you’re lost. The README file for this updated version of the mod (at least the mod had a README file) didn’t express that. Enjoy going back to TesNexus to figure out where it is.

When you do find the pub, you’ll discover that the mod is actually 4 structures: The pub, the store, a free-standing manger & a well. There were no gardens to speak of so, I’m guessing, they must hike up to Cheydinhal (on foot because there were no horses) for their groceries.

Converting mods into OMODs is not a perfect science; Some mods need more care to successfully convert them into an OMOD then others. When I converted this mod into an OMOD, I discovered that a mesh or texture was missing from in front of the pub, highlighted by the usual large “Exclamation point” on a yellow square. Since I have no desire to install the mod manually, I have no idea if this missing component is a result of the mod itself or it’s conversion into an OMOD. Consider yourselves warned.

The pub has three levels – Ground floor, upstairs & a basement. Both the ground floor & the upstairs have their own bartender. Who cooks the food that the ground floor serves? Either the town of Cheydinhal delivers or the hired help was away for the day. Neither bartender is chatty – There are no unique dialog options. It’s either buy something or get out of the establishment.

The pub, architecturally, was more then sufficient. Although I experienced some lag while walking around, a heftier machine would probably not suffer. The layout of the pub was fine enough & everything was in their appropriate places. Oddly enough, our owners of the pub must not be intimate with one another, with two single beds down in the basement. Are they brother-sister? Cousins? Merely business partners?

One of my main pet peeves with reviewing mods is that the majority of mod authors forget that they must match the outside appearance of a building with the inside. For instance, if there are three windows on the outside of the building, it would only make sense to have three windows on the INSIDE of the building as well. This attention to detail is often lacking in most mods & it greatly takes one out of mod.

I am happy to report that both buildings in this mod have matching insides & outsides. I do have one quibble – In the pub, there is only one fireplace opening on one of the sides on the second floor. That makes the outside look a little inefficient, having a fireplace that extends all the way to the foundation of the building. Perhaps, in a future version, a fireplace on that side could be added to the basement which would explain the necessity of extending that chimney all the way to the ground. A basement fireplace could also serve as both heat for the sleeping pub owners as well as the place where they prepare the food on their menu.

The store next door is run by a merchant named “Shifty.” With a name like “Shifty,” you know he’s an honest businessman, right?

Just like our pub owners, Shifty is rather tight-lipped in terms of dialog or anything else to describe him. His shop hits a few uncomfortable cliches that mod authors tend to include. Amongst them:

  • Extravagant Merchandise – I should never see Master Alchemy equipment except for a few rare times in the entire game. However, Shifty not only has that but also top-line soul gems & flawless (the best kind) gems in general. Wow. Now, being on a main road to a major city ought to afford you some luxury but all of that? Stores that specialize in oneĀ  field should provide some level of quality in that field not common with general stores but Shifty seems to have a lot of good merchandise all under one roof. It might be a bit unbalancing in terms of gameplay, if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • Skooma Dealer – Skooma in the world of Elder Scrolls is the same as crack cocaine in this one… Illegal. Shifty is a brave merchant, not only selling Skooma to just anyone (I walked in, sight unseen, & was offered it in his menu of items) but he even displays actual Skooma bottles in his store… In the open! With armed soldiers on horseback patrolling the road, isn’t it a matter of time before they notice? Here’s where having an unique book might explain it away, “Paid off patrol this month – 50 septims.” Perhaps pass a speech check before he offers such an item?
  • Small Opening, Big Boxes – The trap door to the basement of the store is puzzling; The trap door’s opening is smaller then a lot of the boxes & furniture that is down in the basement. Just how did that stuff get down there? Wouldn’t it have been easier (and made more sense) to have some stairs instead? Does he turn over inventory that quickly where he doesn’t need to store a lot of merchandise in the basement?

“Traveler’s Pub” is actually quite small in size when you remove the custom signs from the mod, betraying the overall “quality” of the mod. There isn’t a lot here for it’s size & a few additional touches would definitely benefit the mod rather then detract from it. My advice?

  • Fix the bar downstairs (You can see “through” the bar from where the bartender is standing).
  • Fix the “floating candle” upstairs in the bar.
  • Add a basement fireplace on the side with the 2nd floor fireplace.
  • Add a backstory to explain the double beds or just scrap them for one queen-sized bed.
  • Build a staircase entrance for the store rather then the illogical trap door.
  • Fix the missing mesh outside the pub (Optional – This might be my own doing when converting it into an OMOD).
  • Get some patrons for the pub.
  • Add a back story explaining how the merchant in the store can be so brazen by selling Skooma so openly.

All in all, it’s tough for me to keep a mod like this simply because it really doesn’t “add” a lot to the world. However, the mod felt mostly complete &, quite frankly, does not disprove my notion that Oblivion mods are thrust into the world more complete then Fallout 3 mods.

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