Narrative Design
The Forgotten City features a non-linear, 35,000 word script - the first mod script in history to win a national Writers' Guild award.

The premise is established in two sequential trailers:
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You, the player, discover the entrance to an ancient underground city. Taking a leap of faith down a deep vertical shaft, you enter the city only to find it in ruins; it is dimly lit, and its streets are littered with burnt corpses. You find yourself lured into a Lakehouse where you find a mysterious portal created by the city’s deceased Jarl. After a blinding flash of light, the city transforms around you and is suddenly well-lit and idyllic, and thriving with a community of people going about their business. You discover you have travelled back in time.

You tell the Jarl what you have seen in the future, and upon learning of the city’s imminent destruction, he explains that the city’s inhabitants live in fear of a mysterious and draconian law: “the Dwarves’ Law”. According to inscriptions, if a single person steals from or hurts another, everyone in the city will be put to death. To make matters worse, there is no apparent means of escape. The Jarl tasks you with identifying the person most likely to break the law, and preventing the city’s destruction.

You investigate and explore the city, which comprises winding roads lined with ancient statues, stone houses, a tavern, a vast citadel, a palace, underground tunnels, a farm, a lake, a cave and a quarry. You speak with the city’s 30 inhabitants and obtain information either by helping them, resorting to bribery and intimidation, or entering their homes and reading their private journals and letters. You must assess who is the greatest threat to stability in the city, including: the husband of a woman who is missing and presumed dead; a downtrodden farmer with a bad temper and history of violence; the writer of anonymous hate-mail to a gay shopkeeper; a recluse who is suspected to be a professional assassin; an aggressive and paranoid mercenary; a dishonest shop-keeper attempting to swindle the city’s inhabitants; and an abrasive noble with his eyes on the throne.

Once you inform the Jarl of your suspect, he directs you to assassinate that person in a way that he believes will not break the Dwarves’ Law. You carry out his orders, and immediately, the entire city shakes and darkens, there is a deafening rumble, and ancient statues spring to life, purging the city with fire. You realise that the person who broke the Dwarves’ Law was you.

The Jarl runs to the Lakehouse and once again creates a portal that will take you back in time, giving you another chance to save the city. You return to the past and the city is restored, only you have retained all of the items and knowledge you collected, opening up new options. However, you soon discover that you are trapped in an endless time loop, and must puzzle your way out of it while trying to save the city and its inhabitants…

Accolades for the story:

Winner, Australian Writers’ Guild Awards 2016, Interactive Media category

Winner, Best Quest Mod, Zero Period’s Top Mods of 2015

What critics said about the story:

"The story here is, no doubt, the best of any Skyrim mod. It's so good, that it really reminds me of Blockbuster movies like Inception, Interstellar, and especially Edge of Tomorrow, and it's so cinematic as well, especially the custom composed soundtrack… What’s amazing is how much freedom you have here to go about your investigation in your own way. It’s not a questline like the vanilla game, where you follow quest objectives one to another until you find the answer. This is completely non-linear. I literally have never felt such a sense of freedom in what I wanted to do."  Skyrim Mods Weekly

"Amazing... it's a super dynamic story... one of the most thrilling quests we've ever played."  Brodual

"I cannot over-emphasise how much I love this mod. By far my favourite of any I’ve played, the story is gripping, intelligent, and forces you to challenge your morals."  Gamesradar

"Finishing the game was a bittersweet moment... brought true joy to my heart. I’ll even go as far as saying I teared up a bit."  Giga Geek Magazine

What users said about the story:

"AN ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE!!!! After the first 6 hours I knew I wouldn't be getting any sleep that night... All in all this mod is a masterful work of suspense, intrigue, and the costs and rewards of a perceived perfect society.”  Head213, Skyrim Nexus

“This wonderful city gave me the most heart-warming, exciting and honestly a truly beautiful experience from beginning to end. My son and I played your city for six hours and are still astonished at how it has filled our hearts with joy, anxiety, laughter, thrills and how it just left us in awe. I thank you from the depth of my soul... This mod IS FLAWLESS!”  Tzarbaby000, Skyrim Nexus

"I've never been so emotionally moved by anything from the world of Skyrim. I didn't want it to end."  Quinn McCoy, Youtube
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