Taking a quick break from the Dark Brotherhood quest-line on my newer character. I always enjoyed the DB quests from Oblivion. Skyrim’s DB was pretty good as well but it didn’t have the same fun factor that Oblivion’s DB quests had. Obviously, Morrowind did not have DB instead you had the Morag Tong. I always find it hilariously and equally odd how the Morag Tong was sanctioned under the Morrowind government, making all the murders legal as long you had the writ of execution to prove it. I just completely went off-topic.
Red Rose Manor is a player-owned home, with an extremely short quest to gain ownership. It has a fairy-tale like element to the whole back story of the manor and the family who used to live in the manor. It reminds me of the story of Snow White, since the stories are very similar to each other. Perhaps the back-story for the manor was inspired by the fairy tale of Snow White.
The quest begins once you load your game, where you remember hearing an old story about the manor and decide to find out whether there is any truth to the supposed fairy tale. You can only get more information by going to the Skingrad Mages Guild and speaking to one of the female mages. I am rather curious as to the thinking process behind the idea that only the female mages have more information regarding to the Red Rose Manor. Not saying it is a bad idea since it is not a terrible idea. It is just an unusual idea that seems to really work well for the mod. Anyway, you will get further back-story to the manor’s tragic history and the starting point to gain the (in)famous Red Rose Manor as your own. I find the mage giving you the location of the key’s resting place and the other item you will need, to be far too easy. Well, too easy for my liking. I would had preferred the challenge of figuring out which cave it would be, based on the clues given by the conversation you had with the mage. As for the other item, I suppose there is a good explanation why you were given the item early, that way you would not have to travel back to Skingrad.Once you have the key, a journal update will appear telling you head over to the manor. To check if the key fits. I don’t really see the need for this journal update, or at least change the wording. You were told the specific location where the key was hidden and it was the only key that had the name for the manor, so I just figured it was a no-brainer that you found the long-lost key for the manor. So needing to check to see if it is the actual key was rather pointless in my opinion. Although, I suppose you would need to check if the key still fits since it has been over a century since the key was last used on the doors. Therefore, it would make sense to check to see if the key still fits. I suppose my main problem with that journal update is the wording, or I am just really weirdly programmed in my head that I find things like that to be bothersome. I am going to have to think on that.
I find it particularly odd how when you are dealing with the guardians of the manor, that they will suddenly disappear. They just simply disappeared into thin air after two hits with a sword and you can clearly see the ghosts aren’t dead. Maybe it was a script thing or the ghosts just decided they did not want to deal with a psychopath who just burst through the doors and began swinging their sword around. Perhaps they were like: Oh snap, there’s a crazy person attacking us. Screw protecting the manor, I’m out of here! See you later jerks! Y’all can deal with that on your own!
The manor has a lot of features for the player to explore. Most of it revolves the crafting aspect, similar to Skyrim. You can create statues of one of the Nine Divines or the Daedric Princes if you prefer, make your own clothes, craft jewelry and so forth. I enjoyed how there was two different statue crafting stations, both stations using different materials. You can even buy some sheep for the manor, to provide wool for the yarn production. You get the idea. I particularly liked the idea of how time will actually pass in-game while you craft items. For example, if you decide to make a statue which takes you about six hours to create. Six hours in-game will actually pass. I found that really neat. I also enjoyed the little additions of interaction you can have with the items around the manor: such as putting fires out with their watering can or get yourself a drink from a wine keg or beer.
There is a little hidden quest, although it is not necessarily a quest. I view it as a hidden or unmarked quest since if you want to use a certain feature in the manor, you need to find a missing object which is needed for the item to work. If you can find it, you will then be able to teleport to any of the major cities in Cyrodiil. Although, I do not think the teleporting feature is compatible with the Better Cities, since I tried the teleportation and I crashed. Then again, I always crash trying to use a teleportation device (e.g Ancient Towers). However, I did manage to successfully teleport to major cities using the Ancient Towers’ Cyrodiil map. Maybe my laptop just does not like dealing with the teleporting aspect while Better Cities is active.
The manor itself, is amazingly beautiful. It had a fantastic medieval design, that did not seem out-of-place from the world. I just fell in love with how amazing the interior of the manor was. Everything just seemed to be placed perfectly within the interior, the basement reminded me of Skyrim, especially the forge area. My favorite areas was the underground pool, the little study corner in the bedroom and the mage lab in the corner of the attic. The flowers, the red roses in particular were just amazing to look at. The little things that were added to the exterior as well, I was particularly fond of the sun dial near the manor entrance. Something about the sun dial’s model/design was just so pleasing to look at. Not entirely sure why you would want to place the outdoor privy near the animal pen (or stable depending how you want to look at it).
There are a lot of beds in the manor, therefore it is companion friendly. There are even companion keys and amulets that you can give to your companions (if you have any), which gives them additional features specific to the manor. You can tell them to go for a walk outside the manor or do some chores around the house. If any are you using Vilja as your companion, there is an addon so the two mods will be compatible with each other. I do not use companions, therefore obviously do not have Vilja as a companion either. I understand that the addon will give new dialogue specific to the manor to Vilja, as well she will do certain actions within the manor only. Such as painting for an example, which if she manages to complete the painting can then be used to decorate the manor. If you happen to be doing the quest to gain ownership of the manor, she will also have dialogue relating to the quest.
Red Rose Manor had great custom textures and meshes used, even if it was taken from a resource pack. The custom models for the flowers seen around the house was a lovely addition. There is a small story to give a back-story to the manor although the quest ends rather awkwardly. However the mod focuses more on the manor itself, rather than the whole story aspect. I am not aware of any potential conflicts, unless there is a mod that will edit the area to the west of the Ayleid ruin of Fanacasecul and the interior of Haynote Cave. The scripts used for the crafting had no issues. There are a lot of neat custom features that were scripted such as the bread making, jewelry making and smelting silver ingots.