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. So far I've fought boredom, wolves and dragons, what else lies ahead?
Sundas, 24th of Last Seed
Today marks a week since I’ve been in Skyrim as an NPC. I’ve battled wolves, ran away from dragons, ran away from trolls and ran away from responsibility. As I enter the gates of Solitude (after another day on the farm cutting wood) it seems fitting that Skyrim throw adventure at me once more, in an attempt to get me to do literally anything other than take up being a lumberjack.
There’s an execution happening in the main square. Something about a gate, a man and a high king. I walk straight past it, though. Curious people get spoken to and get quests forced on them. I make a beeline straight for the Bard’s College, ready to accept my destiny as a man in tight pants playing the lute all across Skyrim.
I’m welcomed warmly by everyone into a cavernous building full of food, silverware and eligible women to marry. Things are on the up! I’m introduced to the College by the head bard, who then says that to join I need to get a songsheet from a dungeon.
A dungeon. Full of draugr, probably. A fetch quest. Another bloody fetch quest. I storm out as best I can: tabbing out of the conversation, knocking over an urn and jumping over a table to the door.
What do I do now? I made an awful perilous journey to Solitude to join the bloody College, now I have make another one!? I run around the city gathering herbs and flowers to calm down and make myself a few potions to sell. Then I craft some more iron daggers. Then I have a sulk for a bit.
Realisation dawns on me after a few moments. The only profession in Skyrim that can offer me both lucrative business and hefty protection is being a blacksmith. But there are so few well-equipped blacksmiths with mines nearby for the materials. Perhaps it’s time for another walk.
I step into a clothes shop to get some new finery and stumble into a quest by mistake. The two owners want me to wear a fancy shirt, show it to the Jarl and then come back. It seems fairly reasonable so I do it, enjoying the fact that I look fancy for once. When I get back the two sister say that I get to keep the shirt, then even hand over a little extra gold for my trouble: now this is my kind of quest! After briefly considering asking one (or both) to marry me I buy myself a hood and some new shoes and head to the inn for the night.
Mondas, 25th of Last Seed
My first steps in becoming a blacksmith are buying food and ale. I head to the trader’s house to sell my daggers and buy some food and am quite perturbed when she appears to have a human skull in her inventory. Her husband, she tells me, is the town’s blacksmith… had he heard of my vocational choices and decided to send this grim warning as a way of getting me away from his customers? I sell up quickly and back away slowly.
Deciding that it’s definitely time I leave this guard-executing, fetch-quest peddling, skull-selling city, I gather up my things and make for the gate. With my trusty axe, my new bow and arrow (crafted myself, thank you very much) and with fancy new trousers stuffed with ale and carrots, I step out onto the road once more. Goodbye Solitude, you dream-crushing hellscape. Hello, open road!
I spend some time out in the wilderness failing to hunt game with my bow and arrow. I stick two arrows in a deer that looks straight at me, with what seems like light frustration, before cantering off. I consider giving chase but remember the overly high wolf population in Skyrim and decide to stick to the roads.
Not long after that I find an abandoned shack by the road. There’s a man inside who’s perfectly pleasant, though not that talkative. Mainly because he’s dead. I read his journal and discover that he died of a disease. Within seconds of this disgusting revelation I drop the book in the still-burning fire to stop the germs.
It’s then that I hear a barking noise. The dead man’s dog, apparently named Meeko, has decided to follow me. Having a furry companion isn’t too bad of an idea – his barks add colour to the bland and bleak landscape of Skyrim. Not long after our meeting he runs off and straight up murders a few giant spiders. I think we’ll be firm friends.
Just as night begins to descend I arrive in Morthal. A local house has burnt down, the man who survived has immediately moved in with a new lover and, so they say, they’re wondering wh-OH NO, NO MORE QUESTS! I tab out of the conversation, head off to make some potions and set up at the inn for the night. I haven’t found the city’s blacksmith yet but when I do he’s going to be sold a tonne of iron daggers he doesn’t need.
An Orc with a harp taunts me from the corner of the inn, mocking my non-entry into the Bard’s College. I bet they didn’t ask you to fetch an ancient tome from a trap-covered hole, did they? Bloody Orcs. With Meeko’s incessant barking ringing in my ears I settle down for the night.