In this series I attempt to live life in Skyrim like an NPC - I have to eat, drink, and make money and I’m not allowed to go on adventures, murder or steal. My one objective is to eke out a living in the hostile world, and hopefully settle down with a house and wife.
Turdas, 21st of Last Seed
It seems that Skyrim doesn’t like you trying your best not to have an adventure. If you stop adventuring for too long it sends some adventure out to find you. After another successful stint in the quicksilver mine (sorry Betild, I’ll still marry you if you want), I return to the surface to find a massive scaly lizard staring me directly in the face.
Well, not in the face, really, but in my general direction. While airborne. Still it’s a rather disconcerting thing to run into on only your third day in the game, especially when your character is still level one.
Now, I’d like to say that I drew my axe and charged the beast, like any real citizen of Skyrim would. I didn’t. I ran into a house and cowered until the dragon was dead. It took almost all of Dawnstar’s guard population to subdue the beast, which fell dead on the city’s outskirts, almost flattening the Khajit camp that had sprung up there.
Now I’d like to say that I buried the bodies of the guards respectfully and went back to my job as a humble miner. I didn’t. I stripped and sold everything they had on them. Hey, it’s not stealing if they’re dead, right? With my new ill-gotten gains, I buy up some more crafting tools and make some more metal armour. Rustleif, the blacksmith, looks on approvingly, apparently happy that I’ve left naked corpses across his town to fuel my greed. With my life getting more and more dangerous by the second I decide to keep one of the swords I craft for protection.
After selling my crafted items, I head out of town and look for some deer to hunt - I need their precious leather to create more piles of iron daggers. I instead run into a pack of wolves. Now dual-wielding a woodcutter’s axe and an iron sword, Flod makes short work of the creatures, stripping their pelts before their bodies are cold. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelette, they say, so breaking a few wolves to make some leather seems fine to me. I round the corner, heading toward the icy beaches, and run face-first into a frost troll.
So apparently Skyrim REALLY doesn’t like it if you avoid adventure. I do the sensible thing and leg it back to Dawnstar, where a populace that has only just recovered from a dragon attack rushes to my aid. Abelone, the serving girl who works at the inn, flings herself at the troll and is immediately flung straight back dead, limbs spinning in a tragically hilarious windmill. The Khajit camped out on the outskirts of the city attack too, and are only saved due to their status as necessary NPCs. The troll, health regenerating and rage increasing, starts to chase Flod again.
I remember seeing a heavily-armoured Imperial bloke in the city, so rush to where he’s often patrolling. Sure enough he’s there and the troll catches his attention. Unfortunately that also means I’ve brought it into the heart of town and, apparently, everyone wants to take out their insomnia-based frustration on an eight-foot tall slab of angry frozen muscle.
An NPC who matters so little to the game that his name is “tattered survivor” starts punching the troll in the back only to be crushed to a pulp a heartbeat later. Karita the bard piles into the fight only to be piled into the ground. The blacksmith and his wife succumb to the monster too before it finally collapses and dies.
As I emerge from the shrubbery I had been hiding in, I survey the scene: it isn’t pretty. The last of Dawnstar’s guards, covered in blood and with a sliver of health left, spots me, wanders over and tells me to stop lollygagging. As impressed as I am by her dedication to policing loitering, I feel a pang of guilt when I remember Rustleif talking about how his wife was pregnant with their child. I’ve been in Dawnstar three days and it’s been a massacre; I think it’s time to leave. I get some shuteye in the blacksmith’s empty house and prepare to set out.
Fredas, 22nd of Last Seed
Fredas, Fredas, gotta get down on Fredas. Leaving Dawnstar behind, I decide to head to that Bard’s College I was told about earlier in the week. Everyone loves college – I can drink, sleep and sing all within the confines of Solitude’s VERY big walls. No trolls, dragons or wolves there! There are, however, quite a lot of wolves on the way…
After dispatching a group of the furry bastards I stop for a spot of flower-picking, stuffing them into my mouth with the excuse that it’s all for alchemical purposes. Apparently in order to understand if troll fat will make you ill you have to gulp it down like it’s freshly cooked chicken. Later I find a curved sword next to a boat and piss off the mudcrabs living under it in the process. As I carve the crustaceans into little pieces I realise that this non-adventure is certainly starting to rack up a body count.
I meet a Stormcloak soldier further down the beach. He’s a bit far from their territory and he looks a bit cold. As he gets closer to me, he suddenly turns and starts running in the opposite direction. Thinking that it’s a signal of some kind I follow him… right up to the point where we’re ambushed by spiders.
The Stormcloak, being the finest that Skyrim’s rebels have to offer, dies instantly, leaving me to dispatch the arachnids and then loot his corpse. I spy a huge burial mound nearby and skirt around it, making sure not to overdo the adventure for one day.
Soon the looming shape of Solitude comes into focus. To celebrate my achievement I catch some salmon with my bare hands and eat some grass (again for alchemy, I promise). After a quick cold swim across a river, I arrive dripping wet and shivering at a mill near the city. The owner tells me he was just about to close up for the day, but I can help him pick his crops. Apparently he went through all the trouble of planting and growing them but now can’t be arsed to collect them. I do it anyway for the extra gold and chop some wood to calm myself down after yet another dangerous excursion across Skyrim.
Tomorrow is another day, and with it will bring my attempt to enrol in the Bard’s College. Maybe Flod will have himself a fine vocation to see out his days? You can’t survive on wood cutting and mining alone, it seems, especially when Skyrim seems determined to throw trolls, dragons and hordes of wolves at you. As a final insult before bedtime I’m attacked by a slaughterfish as I paddle in the river. Bloody typical.