The Story Behind the Oblivion Mod Terry Pratchett Worked On

The late Sir Terry Pratchett, famous for his Discworld novels, was an avid video game enthusiast with a fondness for Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls series. And at one point he, together with a pair of experienced modders, even worked on a series of mods for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and then used that experience as an inspiration for one of his novels. And if you'd like to learn a bit about that unlikely collaboration, you should check out this Eurogamer article. A few sample paragraphs:

"The first letter from Terry arrived in March 2010, only three months after the original release," Emma told Eurogamer. In this message, Pratchett mentioned how enamoured he had become with Vilja, specifically mentioning his appreciation for the way in which she would acknowledge small gifts such as strawberries. "He also praised the modding community as a whole, mentioning how impressed he was by the effort put into mods, and how much he enjoyed using them."

Emma didn't know if this was the real Terry Pratchett, but she responded anyway and the two struck up a regular correspondence. Pratchett gradually started to make small suggestions of his own based on his experience with Vilja. "He described how he had been exploring goblin caves with Vilja, and how he wished that he could study the goblins without having to kill them," Emma said. "The day after, I made him a 'goblin peace amulet' to make the goblins non-hostile and allow him to explore their dungeons without having to kill anyone." As it turns out, the reason Pratchett was fascinated with goblins in the first place was due to research he was conducting for his 2011 novel, Snuff.

The pair's continued correspondence inspired Emma to work on more mods linked to Vilja. After Pratchett expressed his desire to give Vilja a flower for saving his character's life, Emma started to work on the "Give a gift" function. "Terry actually named most of the 'special items' that you could give away," Emma said. "He even managed to put in a bunch of easter eggs for Snuff."

Eventually, Pratchett even started to write dialogue for Vilja based on his exploration of the goblin dungeons of Oblivion. This led to a regular contribution of voice lines for Vilja from Pratchett, to the extent that the majority of Vilja's Thieves Guild dialogue can be attributed to him.