"The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" (2011): I Love Vilja
Vilja is a really old custom follower that's been a part of the Elder Scrolls modding community for several years now. It is an incredibly popular mod and for good reason: Vilja makes Skyrim ten times the fun.
Of course, there are just as many people who hate Vilja as there are people who love her. We won't focus on them. For now, I'm going to tell you why I love Vilja.
Personally, I've never been big on custom follower mods. The vanilla followers were always enough for me. So long as they carried my loot and didn't die easily in combat, I was happy. I didn't believe I needed anything else.
Then, in the year of 2017, out of both boredom and curiosity, I downloaded and installed the follower mods Vilja and Inigo . . . and I never looked back.
I absolutely adore Vilja. It's true that she has her flaws, but I think that's what makes her realistic and even likeable. She's flawed but still tries to be a good person, open and accepting of everyone.
Here is what I love about Vilja.
Her Voice Is Amazing
One of the main reasons many people hate Vilja is her voice -- which I find insane because I think her voice is amazing. The mod author (Emma) actually voices her and has a cute little Swedish (?) accent.
On top of that, her singing voice is utterly beautiful. I remember the first time I completed Vilja's bard quest and unlocked her ability to sing songs for me. I would travel to an inn, have Vilja sit on my lap, and then ask her to sing.
Because my character was in love with Vilja, it made this custom interaction all the sweeter. Once they got married and moved into the Falkreath house, they would sit on that bench down by the lake and Vilja would sing to my character.
It was all so very sweet. How could you not love that?
She Is A Lush
If you give Vilja alcoholic beverages, she will eventually get drunk and start dancing on tables. This is especially entertaining if you are romancing her and also have Inigo in your party, as he will make comments.
There is nothing so hilarious as a drunk Vilja wobbling around and stumbling into things. Also, if she has a crush on you but hasn't confessed it yet, she will blurt out her feelings while drunk and will forget about it later.
Vilja can interact with a shit-ton of characters, both vanilla and custom. She can sing duets with Lydia, talk to Janessa, and argue with Erik the Slayer.
She can also interact with your adopted children, which is really adorable.
If you use Inigo as a follower, she has an endless amount of cute dialogues with him. Having the two of them together is honestly a blast. I love taking them with me in my adventures, and the only thing I regret about it is not using them years ago.
She Loves Khajiit
Having mentioned her friendship with Inigo, it's obvious that Vilja -- unlike the typical Nord -- holds no prejudices against khajiit or non-Nords. I was very pleased by this because I usually play a female khajiit and I wanted Vilja to like me! Ha ha.
I was very surprised that Vilja more than liked me. I've romanced her across different races, and I find her romance to be played out best when you're playing a khajiit. She says something really steamy about running her fingers through your fur.
Bonus points that she will romance a woman. I was very happy about that, even though Emma broke my heart when she said she wrote the lesbian romance with male players in mind . . . sigh.
She Doesn't Care If You're A Werewolf
I actually love playing a werewolf in Skyrim. I find it ten times more fun than being a vampire (sorry vamp fans). The downside, however, is that your followers will leave you if you suddenly burst into a giant snarling beast while traveling with them.
Vilja doesn't mind that you're a werewolf. In fact, her initial reaction always makes me laugh,
"By the Divines! You're a werewolf!"
Vilja has other cute lines where she assures you that she isn't afraid or you shouldn't be embarrassed. Eventually, she gets comfortable enough to keep commenting about wanting to bathe you.
If you have Inigo in your party as a werewolf, it's even funnier to hear his comments combined with Vilja's. The other day my character changed, and Inigo sighed as he said, "There she goes again . . ."
She Will Make You Rich
Vilja has a feature that allows her to carry a crapton of loot. She will then sell that loot at the store, and you will get exactly what it's worth, regardless of how much money the merchant actually has.
It feels a bit like cheating, but I absolutely love it. I also love sending Vilja off to shop while I go and do things, then meeting up with her later. I see it as a cute little feature.
"Vilja, could you go and buy me some potions? Thanks."
Yes. That's actually a feature and it's awesome.
She Has Her Own Horse
Vilja has her own horse named Bruse, so you don't have to buy her one. Also, it never dies and can't get lost.
What's even cooler? You can go for long rides with Vilja. Summon your own horse, and then the two of you can slowly ride along while Vilja sings and talks to you.
You can also ask Vilja to walk at your side, which is really cute. Or you can ask her to take the lead, allowing her to take you on adventures for once.
That's another cool thing about Vilja -- she isn't just a pixel robot. She is written to have her own opinions and desires. Sometimes she wants to lead. Or sometimes she doesn't want to do something you ask.
She also has her own mind and her own values. Though she isn't really prejudiced, she still holds to traditional Nord values -- meaning she is wary of magick, while holding honor and bravery above all else.
For this reason, it's probably ideal to romance her as a warrior rather than a thief, mage, or assassin. Vilja will love you regardless, but your relationship will be a little (understandably) rocky if your values don't align with hers.
You Get A Free Dog
I actually like the dog companions in Skyrim. I think it's cool that you can walk up to a stray dog, for instance, and it will just start following you.
You get a dog named Leifur when you complete Vilja's bottle quest. If I recall correctly, the dog can't die and is pretty useful. I think you can also tell it to stop barking, so it isn't annoying like vanilla dogs.
I actually like the quests in this mod. I find them amusing, and while the voice acting isn't perfect, I still really enjoy it -- especially the voices of the big Nord and the wood elf from the first quest. People complain that the plot is mostly fetch quests, but you might as well complain that Skyrim is mostly fetch quests.
You Get An Actual Wedding
Before I played the Vilja mod, I never thought about how fun it would be to have an actual wedding in Skyrim. For me, marriage was about game mechanics -- sleep bonuses and someone to give me free meals. Once I romanced Vilja, however, I never looked at Skyrim marriage the same way again.
Vilja's entire romance is so utterly sweet, it makes the mod worth playing multiple times. I loved having to compete with her horrible fiancee, Halvdan. Beating his ass in a duel and seeing him cry is priceless. I also loved meeting her cute family, all of whom are awed to meet the Dragonborn and are so happy that their daughter is marrying you.
At Vilja's wedding, you can sing, dance with the family, and watch Vilja get drunk. What's more, the mod fixes it so that no one in Riften can be a dick to you on your wedding day. Instead, everyone in the inn is really nice and congratulates you -- even people who hate the Dragonborn put aside their bitterness for this day.
When the wedding is over, you go home and consummate with Vilja in a fade-to-black scene. And it gets better because sex is not the ultimate goal of a relationship! Got that, Bioware?
After the culmination scene, Vilja has even more quests with the Dragonborn involving her family and your married life. Most of the quests are really cute.
I've yet to do the Solstheim quests because I suffer from start-over-acitis and I rarely if ever do the DLC because of that. Whenever I do finally do Vilja's Solstheim content, I'll be back with an update.
Anyway, that's why I love Vilja (and Vilja loves me).
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© 2019 Ash