Hi all! I was playing through the start of the Dark Brotherhood again, and an idea came to me. We're all familiar with that creepy, run-down cabin that Astrid whisks us away to, where she 'forces' us to kill one (or more) of the bound abductees before us. I was left wondering what happens to the victims that are spared- and, more interestingly, what it would be like to be in their shoes. I think this would be an interesting alternate start to the game, but I sadly lack the modding experience to make it.
Upon start, the screen will be in first person, and dark enough to barely see- maybe a burlap-like texture overlay? Movement disallowed and hands bound, just like the other victims. The player will be able to hear Astrid and the Brotherhood inductee carrying through the typical dialogue for the situation. The inductee speaks to each prisoner, "Who are you" "Why would someone want you dead?", they give their answers. They're of course killed- each time you hear the weapon landing and their last words, or screams, or yells. The NPCs that are prisoners will be unique, added by the mod to not interfere with the players own initiation should they choose to join the Dark Brotherhood.
When the inductee gets to the player, we are given consequential dialogue options. Depending on how the responses sit with Mr.Assassin, you will either be left to release yourself somehow (that will give its own options) or he will cut the bindings before leaving.
His first question, "Who are you?" prompts character creation. The UI overlay 'burlap sack' is temporarily removed. Upon completion, overlay is added back and returns to dialogue sequence.
The options for his "Why would someone want you dead option" are not set in stone, as it depends on the modder who decides to pick this up (if any). But, I think it'd minimally be something like this;
"Why would someone want you dead?" A1: "I don't know.. Please, let me go!" A2: "Same as you. I'm a threat."
*Suppose that A1 doesn't sit well with him, he'll leave you to fend for yourself.
-He will state that you're too pitiful to even bother killing, or something similar
-When Astrid and Mr.Assassin leave, the door will open and close signaling that it is now safe to escape.
Movement will be returned to PC, who can now explore the cabin.
Going to the door and using it will "Call for help". This option will prompt a 'nearby' hunter to investigate. Dialogue for this path is up in the air.
The rescuer will cut the player loose and remove the burlap sack, take the player out of the cabin and offer refuge at his camp. Probably a chest and a barrel with useful survival items there.
The player may A: Go with him. B: Refuse and start adventuring.
*Should the player choose the A2 path, the assassin's interest will be piqued. He will laugh to himself slightly, and cut the bindings. Right before he opens the door to leave, the player removes the burlap sack themselves and watches the assassin leave.
-From here, the player may easily leave the cabin and do whatever they want. To start the main scenario, just head to Whiterun gates. The guard will already know about the dragon attack on Helgen, because it will be assumed that all of that mayhem went down without you. Instead of denying entry, he will suggest getting behind the city walls quickly in case the threat is real and still in the area.
*Regardless of the paths chosen in the start, the PC may join the Dark Brotherhood as usual.
**This part may be a separate follower mod**
The assassin (In my head he's based on one of my favorite characters from an old save, Lann. Imperial, dual swords but prefers sniping with a scoped bow. Wears the Dark Brotherhood cloth hood, and penitus oculatus armor as a taunt to them) is present at the Sanctuary. His presence in the Sanctuary (Falkreath and Dawnstar) is inconsequential to the Brotherhood story line.
Lann should remember the player based on the interactions from the alternate start (If applicable) A1 chosen path, his greeting will be similar to "Oh, would you look at that. You're not such a miserable excuse after all!" or, for A2, "And now our family is twice as threatening." Any interactions further from this will be more generic, unless someone would like to go more in-depth with him as a follower. Tagging him as eligible for marriage (male and female) would be a nice perk as well.
Thank you to anyone having taken the time to read through this or consider bringing it to fruition.