Skyrim: The Adventures of Elfman the Man-Elf

By Shamus
on Nov 28, 2011
Filed under:
Video Games
In response to the constant public demand for more fan-fiction, I’ve crafted a bit of lore to be added to the Elder Scrolls world and mythos. This story is centered around Elfman the Wood Elf, in the lands of Skyrim. Think of this as The Elder Scrolls: Expanded Universe.

I have all the notes here on Elfman’s origins and how he fits into the world. I’ve rough-drafted a good bit of his genealogy and personal history, but I’m still researching and proofing those parts. For now, I thought I’d share just a small slice of his adventures. These events take place during the period that will eventually comprise Book 4 of his story. (Still untitled.)

The gloom hangs off the dank dungeon walls like hanging moss, which is also hanging from the dungeon walls. This place has every indication of being a Nord burial ground. For example: There are Nords buried here.

I slide the lid off the bathtub-sized urn and grope around until I find the treasure inside: four gold pieces. I can’t imagine the size of the containers they would have built if anyone had been buried with enough gold to buy a single mug of watered-down mead.

I come to the end of the passage and find myself on the edge of a large-ish chamber. A couple of guys are standing around on the other side of the room. Bandits. At least, I’m pretty sure they’re bandits. I mean, they’re armed and they’re between me and the loot, so I hope they’re bandits. I could check, but it’s probably safer to kill them now and then feel guilty later if I discover they’re really just merchants who don’t understand the importance of location.

I decide to move in a bit closer. I’m within bowshot, but I’d prefer to use my knife for a job like this. When I get about ten paces away, I clumsily step on a pressure plate and release a fire trap. It occurs to me now that the long-dead Nords might have been able to send their departed off to Sovngarde with more than four coins if they hadn’t spent so much money on hazardous pyrotechnics.

The plume of flame lights up the entire chamber. Luckily, my screams are mostly drowned out by the roaring fire. I could dash over to the nearby basin to douse myself, but I don’t want to give up my tactical sneak attack advantage. So instead I huddle in the corner and wait for the flames to burn themselves out while I occasionally let out little cries of pain.

The bandits finish up their conversation and begin pacing. Once I stop burning I move in a little closer and draw out my Elven dagger. I creep up behind the first bandit and ready my attack. Drawing my arm all the way behind me, I lunge forward with a mighty battlecry, my dagger-point aimed between his bandit-y shoulder blades.

Unfortunately, he begins walking away just as I strike. I swing through the empty air, clanging my blade off the stony floor. Thankfully, I didn’t blunder into the light, so the bandits are still unaware of my presence. I inch up behind my victim and try again. This time my blade finds its mark, and the man falls with a gratifying squeal of pain.

I relieve him of his weapons, his food, the note he wrote to himself about how much he hates his bandit-boss and how he’s hidden a stash of personal loot that he hopes the others never discover, and all of his clothes.

“What was that?” says the other guy, suddenly drawing his sword. He heard his companion die a second ago, and now he’s coming this way to investigate.

I retreat into the shadows again, holding my breath and praying he doesn’t notice me. It’s only now that I realize that this guy must be the bandit chief. I have to be careful, here. According to the three-page note I got done reading in the middle of stripping the first bandit down to his loincloth, this guy is bad news. He’s so dangerous that he’s regarded as unreasonably violent and unfair, even by other bandits. I assume this also means he’s proportionally tougher, or else someone would have just done away with him by now and found a leader with more robust people skills.

“Hmm. I guess it was just my imagination,” the chief says at last. He returns to his grim pacing. I breathe a sigh of relief. He seems to have concluded that his friend stripped down and stabbed himself in the back with his own knife, which he no longer owns.

It would be suicide for me to try to backstab this guy. It would just piss him off.I withdraw to the far side of the room and pull out my bow. I loose an arrow, and it strikes him firmly in the ear. I’m not pretending to be a doctor, but I would say this injury has inconvenienced him. Mildly. Furious, he charges off into the dark, looking for me.

He searches for me in the same corner of the room for nearly half a minute before he concludes that he’s simply hearing things, and returns to his patrol with my arrow still waggling from one side of his head. Once he’s back into his groove, I zing him again.

We keep this game up for a few minutes. By now he’s bristling with arrow shafts. He looks like some sort of wereporcupine.

Finally he succumbs to my arrow assault and his own attention deficit disorder, and dies. I slink over, strip him down to his unmentionable, and move on.

I catch a glint in the darkness as I leave. I sprint over and investigate. The nearby desk (the bandits seem to have furnished this place and begun meticulous bookkeeping) has a flawless sapphire! I swipe it and stagger away under my heavy load.

Stumbling and breathing hard, I lean against the wall and have a look in my satchel. I’ve got four full sets of fur armor, three longswords, a set of banded mail armor, a longbow, a hundred iron arrows, a battleaxe, and a couple of daggers. I do a bit of math in my head and throw down one of the sets of fur gloves. Thus relieved of the worst of my burden, I proceed further into the tomb.

The guy in town said there were legends that the depths of this tomb was filled with shambling undead, but he also assured me that these legends were preposterous and that I should ignore them. Looking back, I’m sort of wondering why he brought them up in the first place. Ah well, I’m sure he’s right. There’s just no way this tomb could be haunted just like every other tomb in Skyrim always is.

Onward!

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A Hundred!20202020I bet you won't even read all 180 comments before leaving your own.

From the Archives:

  1. SolkaTruesilver says:

    +1 Skyrim to you Shamus..

    You perfectly seized and realised the essence of what is Elder Scrolls V. There can be no greater achievement.

    One has to bow down to such perfect comprehension of the game.

    /bow

    • CTrees says:

      And yet, I’m still ninety hours into the game, despite all the ridiculousness.

      I can’t wait for when our hero gets into a tougher fight and spends two minute trying to saw through a skeleton priest with a dagger, while eating thirty servings of grilled leaks, ten salmon steaks, fifty potatoes, one raw mammoth trunk, and (accidentally) two portions of human flesh. Maybe this is why he never poops…

      • SolkaTruesilver says:

        That’s Fallout 3 man. Food is very inneficient in Skyrim, AFAIK. Better go with 20 minor health potions.

        • CTrees says:

          It’s inefficient, but it’s also 1) light and 2) everywhere. Thus, I pick it up as I go along, and eat it by the bushel in fights or when my load gets too heavy. It’s just like how I pick up every ingredient I ever find – absolute worst case (I’ve got too much weight and can’t find a convenient alchemy station) I start eating. On the food, there’s no reason not to pick up at least the cooked stuff; it takes me effectively no more time to eat a dozen boiled creme treats than it does to chug a couple potions, and I don’t feel bad about consuming them at a whim.

          tl;dr – it’s not “food is inefficient,” it’s “food is free hp with no drawback.”

          • SolkaTruesilver says:

            The carried weight is quite a drawback for me… the HP/pound is simply risible..

            • Peter H. Coffin says:

              Every pound of unencumbered weight unused is essentially wasted.

              • Dys says:

                Every pound of unencumbered weight unused is another few gemstones I can pick up without having to search through my inventory for something to dump on the ground.

                Food is a waste of time. Almost all the time I will either be killed in one hit or able to ignore incoming damage. Should an enemy fall into the narrow range in which I care about them hitting me, I can Heal, or use one of the hundreds of potions I pick up ‘just in case’.

                Even weapons and armour are in almost all cases not worth the trouble. Ebony I will pick up, and anything enchanted. Beyond that, I find gems and jewellery or crafting materials are the only things worth carrying.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Its way easier to just equip heal in one hand,and some offensive spell in the other,and them press both mouse buttons at the same time.Who needs consumables when you can cast magic?

  2. Scott (Duneyrr) says:

    I was giggling throughout. Thank you, Shamus.

  3. Dev Null says:

    *sigh*

    So stealth is broken again, is what you’re saying? Pardon me, I’m just going to have a sob in the corner while re-loading Thief 2…

    (Ludicrous inventories no longer have the power to phase me. I once calculated that the volume and mass of arrows one of my characters was carrying was approximately identical to a Toyota half-ton pickup truck. Don’t remember what game that was; does it matter?)

    • SolkaTruesilver says:

      If I ever get into modding, I am SO putting a gravitational physic modelisation into this game. If you gather too much mass into a single location (your backpack), you will start having a gravitational pull toward other objects, eventually leading to a gravitational Singularity.

    • Falco Rusticula says:

      It may possibly have been World of Warcraft, in which (before they eliminated quivers and ammo from the Hunter class) it was not uncommon for high-end hunters to be carrying some twenty thousand battle-grade arrows.

      • Joshua says:

        And this is why it simply makes more sense to allow unlimited ammunition in RPG games like these. If you’re going to have frequent combat, and need to shoot a decent number of arrows just to kill one guy, you either hand wave away the ammunition or you get the equally(or more) ridiculous situation where someone’s carting around thousands of arrows. Ignoring weight, it would just be way too awkward to carry around that many arrows.

      • swenson says:

        …I just worked it out, and that’s at LEAST 1100 pounds. Of arrows alone. My word.

    • Simon says:

      The underlying system for stealth seems a lot more robust now than in previous games. It’s no longer a simple binary detected/hidden, it’s more of a range. Alerted enemies who can’t see you will search for you at your last known location, or where they hear a noise (this can be used to your advantage by firing an arrow into a corner to cause enemies to go look there).

      I think that if you could just tweak some of the variables it could be a lot more realistic. Primarily setting the “return to idling” time to near infinite after someone’s been attacked, and increasing the search radius. I’ll definitely have a look when the CS is released.

      • And yet at 100 sneak skill and a few enchantments I can backstab sneak attack people from the front and become hidden just by crouching down in front of a guy I want to pickpocket

        • Kyte says:

          100 at a skill is like Epic level skills in D&D. According to lore, there’d been only one person in the entirety of Nirn that had managed double enchant stuff, and it was that person’s life work and magnum opus. IIRC, he died having completed his life’s ambition.

          And you just need to reach enchanting 100 and buy a perk.

          From that perspective, is it really that weird to think that a Sneak 100 character is so good, it reaches into the supernatural?

          • Simon says:

            Indeed. Don’t forget that this is a part stat-based RPG, and your character’s skills weigh in as much as your own. Think of it like when a Rogue in a traditional top-down RPG stealths and just becomes transparent. It symbolizes the character doing sneaky stuff, which aren’t explicitly shown. When it looks like you’re crouching right on top of a guard’s toes with 100 sneak, maybe your character is really hanging from the ceiling?

          • Eric says:

            Bethesda games have always had a terrible discontinuity between gameplay and lore.

            Besides, the entire game is centered around making the player feel Awesome, with a capital A, so it’s only right that the Chosen One of Ultimate Dragonness is also a demigod at everything with absolutely no effort put into it whatsoever. Everyone knows that games with difficult and complex mechanics aren’t fun.

            • Avpix says:

              If complex games are no fun, then the market would be ruled by generic action videogames centered around simple weapons, like guns.

            • acronix says:

              Not only the Chosen One of Ultimate Dragon-ness is destined to kill the dragons that will destroy the world, but s/he will also stop an incredible ammount of other supernatural entities that want to destroy it. And let´s not forget that s/he ill be chosen as champion by every daedric lord out there.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              No effort?But you have to raise the skill to that level,and that does take time.Even the easiest one,like illusion,still requires you to cast illusions for a loooong time.And while mechanics in skyrim is simpler than in numerous other rpgs,it still has some complexity to it.

      • zootie says:

        wow. That reminds me of the game I’m playing now. I am tasked with engaging a number of goblins in such a way that I can enter their outpost and read their flags to identify the clans. There are always too many for me to fight outright, but as a ranger, I’m using stealth ambush + run away and hide tactics. So the goblins come running to my last known position and search for me for awhile, then turn and slowly retreat to guarding their outpost again. They can retreat at different intervals, so sometimes I get to ambush another one, or they can succeed in their Spot checks and attack me, forcing me to retreat and try again.

        Based on this post, it appears that Bethesda has managed to improve their AI to somewhere around the level of Neverwinter Nights 2 + TonyK’s AI mod. Good on them :)

    • Ateius says:

      “Goes back to Thief 2”? Um … “Guard investigates dead body, goes on alert, searches for perpetrator, eventually gives up and goes back to regular patrol” is exactly how the NPCs in Thief worked, at least in my experience. Add in some “alerts nearby friends”, which the NPCs in Skyrim also do, and it’s a bang-on facsimile. Right down to being completely invisible in shadows even if there’s literally nothing between you and the guard two feet away staring directly at you.

      • Soylent Dave says:

        There are very few games that treat ‘alerting the guards’ very differently – and the ones which do are generally the ‘do it again, stupid’ sort of game that Shamus spends a lot of his time bemoaning.

        Of course, most of those games just jump ahead to ‘if you get spotted, you lose’ – but if you’re trying to sneak into somewhere and the guards react *realistically*, then you probably HAVE lost by getting spotted (they aren’t going to stop searching for you any time soon, and even when/if they do ease back they’ll have beefed up the security)

        So if the genuinely realistic option would be unsatisfying / frustrating to play (hours of waiting every time you set the alarm off, followed by the game getting tougher when you make a mistake…), then we’re left with a choice between two unrealistic alternatives (the guards search for a bit and then go back to normal, or you get a non-standard game over and have to start again every time you cock something up) – neither of which is particularly satisfying either.

        • Ateius says:

          That’s an excellent summary of why stealth mechanics tend to work the way they do. Also cue me realizing that I replied in the wrong place originally (the Thief reference being waaay up near the top).

        • delve says:

          Why not mix the two. Guards go back to patrol in short order but any alerted guards remain in the nearby area as ‘extra patrols.’ Wouldn’t work for Thief, where you often had multiple routes, but TES games the dungeons are largely linear. In the overworld you hand wave the wilderness away since it’s purely free roam, but in a civilized region you can simply spawn extra generic guards to fill any gaps left by probing or deliberate misdirection.

          You put a premium on subtlety without sacrificing so much realism. Of course, any system that seriously discourages mistakes equally encourages the reload god-power, but I can’t solve everything.

        • Rheylix says:

          Everyone is over-thinking this way too much. The answer is obvious:
          Thieves. Are. Jedis!

          “Hey! Hey you in the shadows! You killed my friend!”

          *waves hand* “I did not kill your friend. I’m not even here.”

          “No one’s here. Hmm.. Must’ve been the wind.”

      • decius says:

        If you can find a way to determine which silhouettes are visible to each character without a huge amount of processing power, go right ahead. I’d actually like it if Thief 5 made me worry about things like that.

        And “Calls in major reinforcements if a body is ever found” is probably the best concept. Have a significant police force arrive as soon as a murder is found, and they don’t stop searching for a day or two.

    • Scott (Duneyrr) says:

      Arrows? Really? I’m more concerned about the several hundred thousand pieces of GOLD I’m lugging around. Seriously, those things are huge!

  4. siliconscout says:

    Bravo and well done. My chapeau is off to you sir.

    And I am giggling my buttocks off.

  5. Meredith says:

    Oh stealth sections, always so absurd. I haven’t played Skyrim, but this was very funny.

  6. RandomGamer says:

    Heh. Very nice. Passed this off to a co-worker who also plays the game (but hasn’t read you before) and she giggled her butt off

  7. mololabo says:

    Even though I know that game only of what a friend of mine told me (and all that stuff, that floats around in the internet), i kept laughing.

    Thanks a lot for the laugh! :)

  8. krellen says:

    You know, in most games, attacking ends stealth.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      It does,if you have low stealth.Dont know about high stealth(never used it that much).But seeing how with 100 pickpocket enables you to strip people to their underwear while crouching in front of them,nothing would surprise me.

      • Rosseloh says:

        I don’t know about attacking, but I DO know that high sneak indeed breaks the game. I was able to move across a brightly lit room 3 feet away from people looking in my direction because of my sneak skill, put a dagger in one of their backs (x30 sneak attack damage, heh), then circle back around and get the other. Mind you these were supposedly vampires and according to the quest giver, a troublesome fight.

        • theLameBrain says:

          Is it possible to “break” a single player game?

          I mean sure, having a high sneak and being able to kill just about anyone makes the game easier, but you are the Dovahkiin! It makes sense that you are the best, brightest, and most powerful person in Skyrim!

          (Note to Bethseda: never, never, NEVER make Elder Scrolls multiplayer!)

          • Hitch says:

            Didn’t really need high sneak in Oblivion. Just the ability to enchant an item with 20% Chameleon and 5 wearable items to enchant.

          • Brightest is right if I happen to be holding a flame spell, several enchanted items and a gleaming glass dagger in the torchlight, but apparantly that’s still not noticable enough once you max out sneak

          • Jordi says:

            > Is it possible to “break” a single player game?

            I believe so. I’ve heard your argument before, and it usually boils down to: you don’t have to use it if you don’t like it, because you can play exactly the way you like in a SP game.

            And there is a grain of truth to that. However, what this means is that if you want a challenge, after a certain point you cannot use the sneak skill anymore. You won’t have a competitive disadvantage if you stop using it altogether, and that’s completely your own choice, but what if you like stealth and challenge? Other games prove that it’s possible to have both.

            So I think that you could say that after a certain point, stealth is broken because it basically removes either challenge or the stealth skill from the game (you get to choose which, but it’s far from ideal).

            • silver Harloe says:

              So to inoculate against this effect, would it be “sufficient” to say “stop improving my sneak past 60, no matter how much I use it” (alternatively, “I know my sneak skill is 90, but please, game, treat it as “60”) ?

        • Kel'Thuzad says:

          Let’s be honest here; most of the skills at high levels break the game. Enchanting? Smithing? Someone’s already brought up pickpocketing. You’re going to be godly in at least a few areas.

          • Scott (Duneyrr) says:

            Enchant four pieces of apparel (ring, necklace, clothing and hat) with reduce Destruction/Restoration/Illusion/etc. magic cost by 25% (or more). Now you can cast all the magic from those schools you like at 0 cost! Enchanting rocks!

  9. Mark says:

    Well, what did you expect?

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Funniest moment for me was when I plundered 2 giants and two mammoths Ive just killed,only to get encumbered seconds later mid-jump when I caught a butterfly.You simply cannot love such ridiculous game mechanics.

    So,will you do another image-sprinkled fanfics of Shamus plays?Those are always a treat.After all there are so many NO ORDINARY STORMS you can encounter in skyrim.

    • anna says:

      I hope you mean “can’t not love”. Because I love them dearly.

    • Raygereio says:

      Funniest moment for me was when I plundered 2 giants and two mammoths Ive just killed,only to get encumbered seconds later mid-jump when I caught a butterfly.You simply cannot love such ridiculous game mechanics.

      Oh, I love them.
      In a PnP RPG game with full blown encumberance rules, I once had a NPC run up to my players and hand them each a couple of gold coins.
      This was enough to move their encumberance past a certain threshold and made them move slower next combat.
      After said combat all players decided to take a vow of poverty and from then on looked at each NPC that wanted to pay their mercenaries PCs with money with an expression of abject horror.
      *grin*

    • swenson says:

      Sounds like Nethack. I’ll be wandering around carrying a half-dozen extra weapons, an extra set of armor, and a statue in addition to my regular weapons and armor and dozen unidentified potions without any problem, but heaven forbid I pick up a scroll or a dart off the floor!

      However, I will say Nethack is vaguely better about it than a lot of games. Everything has some kind of weight, so even if you can carry around a ludicrous amount of stuff, it’s usually better than other games. At the very least, you can’t carry around twenty thousand arrows!

  11. “I’m sworn to carry your burdens.”

    (And laugh hysterically when you pick up one too many tomatoes.)

    Leslee

  12. Corpital says:

    Rough-Sailin’ Louis, the stealth mage, bows to your mastery of humour and blades. Well, he would bow if he hadn’t found out the hard way, that you cannot cut the throats of people sitting in front of you.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      You cant?Aww,why not?It would be great if you could pickpocket someones knife from their hand,and shove it back into their throat.

      • CTrees says:

        Um… several times my character has been crouching in stealth in front of someone, and when I went to attack with a dagger teleported behind the poor sap to slit his throat. Seems like a bug, but yes, you CAN slit someone’s throat from the front, sort of. Also, I think it was just draugr, but I’ve had my character grab the enemy and just stab deep into their neck while in front, so there’s that.

        • acronix says:

          He meant people that are sitting. NPCs that are sitting on chairs, benches or anything else won´t play the “slit throat” animation. Instead, they will get killed by your character shoving the dagger clumsily at their general direction.

  13. rrgg says:

    I have yet to successfully assassinate anyone who wasn’t innocent with a knife. I don’t know if I’m just bad at sneaking or if I use the bow too much.

    • Robert Maguire says:

      At low stealth, and if you don’t have certain guild equipment that muffles footsteps, it’s easiest to lie in wait along the enemy’s patrol route. Also, keep in mind that arrows are a cheap distraction technique. Hitting a wall with an arrow will draw their attention and make them search away from you. It’s very easy to get them facing a corner of the room for several seconds this way; stabby time ensues.

      Armor, even light armor, reduces the effectiveness of your sneak skill considerably. If you are trying to sneak up on someone, consider wearing clothes instead (you can switch back at any time, so there’s no downside). DON’T go naked, there’s a bug where people will sometimes turn towards you to tell you to put on clothes, even though they can’t see you.

      Without a very high-level Illusion perk, spells create both light and sound. If you use invisibility, cast it far away from enemies, preferably from behind a corner.

      Consider investing in the Smithing tree. Even if you don’t, improve your weapons at a grindstone anyway. The damage gains might not seem like much at first, but if it makes the difference between killing in one hit and killing in two, you’ve just prevented an alert from going out and blowing your stealth.

      Also, if you find yourself missing with sneak attacks often (as Shamus mentioned in his post), as long as you have the backstab perk, you don’t need to do power attacks when sneaking. Backstab outdamages everything else in the game to a ridiculous degree (my level 23 archer does 90 damage with a bow while hiding, but 630 with a dagger), so you’ll probably get the throat slit animation regardless.

      I love the stealth in Skyrim, personally. It’s such a massive step up from Oblivion. Mostly because areas were actually designed with it in mind, so enemies have patrol routes and rarely block chokepoints – every area is designed like the Thieves Guild missions from Oblivion, and it’s awesome.

  14. lurkey says:

    What, proceed further with only a pair of gloves’ weight short of encumbrance? Sir Elfman must be an impostor then, because a real hero would go back to the entrance, fast-travel to the nearest convenient merchant or own warehouse, dump the loot and only then keep proceeding further, all fresh and light and airy and light.

  15. noahpocalypse says:

    No tags? Fanfiction, Skyrim, Let’s Play?

  16. MichaelG says:

    Oh, fine! You want a realistic game?

    Lone hero walks towards enemy compound. He’s immediately spotted by sentries. A dozen armed men emerge from the barracks and shoot him. He dies.

    Play again?

  17. burningdragoon says:

    This is one of those posts where I have to stop reading partway through (multiple times) to keep myself from bursting out laughing.

  18. Ravens Cry says:

    Heh, the wereporcupine comment reminds me of how in the N64 game ‘Perfect Dark’, there was a training area with a technician outside. Normally, the door in would close, but if you were fast you could hold it it open and fire at the techie with the games crossbow weapon.
    Bolts would also persist once struck and quickly things got humorous.
    Ah well, the more things change . . .

    • Blake says:

      If you threw a knife into the guy he started doing the poisoned head lull animation too.
      I don’t know how many bolts and knives I put into the guy, seemed like a good idea at the time.

  19. Hitch says:

    Okay, Shamus, everything you said is entirely accurate. Skyrim, just like Oblivion, is exactly as silly when you think about it as you describe. But there’s no denying that we love it. We spend way too many hours wallowing in that lunacy, and loving every minute of it.

    Now I want to read about Elfman’s trip to town to sell off his loot.

    • SolkaTruesilver says:

      I’d rather we had a progressive slow down based on carried weight. like, at 33% of carriable weight, you have a -10% reduced speed. etc.. etc…

      If the dichotomy isn’t exactly “fastest possible”/”extremely slow crawl”, it would be more a matter of compromise of speed rather than becoming impotent over a single gram.

      • Rosseloh says:

        That’s kinda what Morrowind had, and honestly as unrealistic as it would be, I prefer Oblivion/Skyrim’s version. As Rutskarn’s LP of Morrowind showed, the whole “slower with higher encumbrance” thing basically means you’re going to be running around naked all the time, or at the least getting annoyed near the end of every dungeon you’re looting.

        • Alan says:

          Running around nearly naked and making lots and lots of trips to and from town to sell loot? That’s pretty much Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl.

        • Syal says:

          Or getting the Boots of Blinding Speed and never worrying about it again.

          (But I liked it too; it gave you a reason to not pick up everything.)

        • Chargone says:

          … i always made the skill that had to do with running and the one that was to do with jumping class skills so, you know, running around and bouncing randomly got me levels. going slower doesn’t really change that :D (actually, i’m not up on the morrowind numbers, but that might have actually resulted in me getting more XP per trip, depending if it was based on steps taken or actual distance traveled. it was only when sprinting though, i believe.)

        • decius says:

          Morrowind had that until you found a mortar and pestle. Then you just had to make potions of intelligence and follow up with potions of feather.

      • Tizzy says:

        That sounds so complicated! You would need some crazy computing machine to pull off such a feat! ;-)

    • Shamus says:

      “We spend way too many hours wallowing in that lunacy, and loving every minute of it.”

      Agreed.

    • Phoenix says:

      A shame that nobody screamed “I yeld”. They always fake it. They cower, they scream, then they come back. That’s sad I wouldn’t kill a surrendering bandit.

      • Hitch says:

        I kinda wish Bandits would genuinely surrender. After the first few hours I tend to leave their generic armor and weapons on the corpses anyway. I’d let them keep that and live if they just turned over any gold, gems, potions, and books they happened to be carrying. (Okay, Tamriel is not over-burdened with literate Bandits, but I’m a compulsive book collector. My favorite new feature in TESV? Bookshelves.)

  20. Cybron says:

    Loved it, Shamus.

  21. Jokerman89 says:

    Rutscarn will get worried when he reads this

  22. I CALL SHENANIGANS!

    If you’re at a high ’nuff level to wield an elven dagger, you’re high ’nuff to have the ‘no trip traps’ perk!

    • SolkaTruesilver says:

      Meh. He is a skilled ennough player to NOT need that useless perk.

      If you need the game to avoid traps for you, you spend perks into the stealth tree :-P

      • Adam P says:

        But if you don’t take that perk, then you can’t get the roll or combat reset perks!

        • That’s the annoying thing about these perk trees – you always have to get the useless ones first. Like if I want the bonus loot drops I have to get lockpicking difficulty to a certain level and lockpicking in this game is absurdly easy anyway so there’s never any reason to do so.

          • Dys says:

            Agreed. Also, the weird thing about the lockpicking perks is, if you have the skill to get them, you probably don’t need them. The only thing the main branch of that tree does is make lockpicking quicker, and less annoying.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Really?I got one before I hit level 10.

      • evileeyore says:

        I had 4 full sets of Elven armor, elven bows, swords, and arrows within 5 minutes of leaving Helgen…

        I encountered two Thalmora Inquisitor patrols on the way to Riverwood, both of which were down to their last Thalmoran Inquisitor after fighting Stormcloaks.

        It’s all random when you meet your first Elf. Okay, semi random. Most people will meet Feandol pretty quickly. Unlike a friend of mine who went the wrong direction and ended in Whiterun before ever getting to Riverwood…

    • dovius says:

      Depends, really.
      You can get Elven stuff remarkably quickly if you’ve got a bit of luck.

  23. Joe says:

    Even better: Ebony mail. IT’s a pretty decent piece of heavy armor (full ebony plate-type thing) that fortifies your stealth and damages enemies near you. It’s fantastic.

    Although I think it only applies the damage to people who attack you, so it doesn’t proc unless you actually fail at stealth. But hey, you can be sneaking around dressed like the bloody Black Knight. And that’s worth it.

  24. Audacity says:

    Hehe, that was good. From the title, I initially assumed this story would be about a bard traveling the province of Skyrim composing music for an epic Nord opera. Maybe about Sheogorath’s attempts to select an heir for his magic chocolate kingdom from amongst a group of steel fingered, holiday obsessed, conjured skeletons.

  25. Amstrad says:

    Dropping loot? Never!
    Me, I incant the following holy prayer to the gods: player.modav carryweight 1000

  26. Phoenix says:

    Despite the fact that enemies don’t pay attention to dead bodies it’s possible to move objects & bodies by keeping pressed E and moving around.

    This game it’s so full of these funny things that makes it really special. Hey, there’s a dead dragon body moving like crazy stuck in the hallway of winterhold! Hey, a dragon is attacking the town! And it doesn’t kill anybody! Children roams free, even the chicken isn’t really scared! :)

    Also I’ve got this bug of a looping fire effect and must write sexchange 2 times every time I load a game :) It’s funny.

    • Alphadrop says:

      That’s a great way to get rid of arrows stuck in faces as well.

    • acronix says:

      Curious. In my playthrough, a dragon attacked a town and killed the blacksmith without much prejudice.

      Beyond that one, I think named NPCs run to their homes when dragons attack their towns, or at least I remember they doing so in Windhelm.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        He was talking about a dead dragon,or more precisely his bones.The engine is wonky,so when you kill a dragon,it is possible for it to bounce away somewhere else.I had it creep slowly to whiterun,being ever so closer each time Ive returned to the town,eventually even going over the walls and just laying there in the market for everyone to ignore.

        • Phoenix says:

          Not the bones. It’s a bug, you’ll find the dragon dead that looks like when you don’t take its soul. But you took it (and he’s actually empty because you looted it a long time ago). And it bounces like mad. It’s kind of scary sometimes. :)

      • Phoenix says:

        For me a dragon killed the elf npc that can join you in the first village. But not the chicken. Not the dog. Not the children. Also, flames everywhere… but buildings obviously don’t burn. Dragons in Skyrim means really what this game is… an immense amount of quests & exploration, intended to feel like a living world but despite not being really one, it’s kind of living in an ironic way that’s not what could seem at the first glance.

        IE dragons are useless and can’t damage towns, are stupid (they kamikaze, they could fly away) many people are immortals for quest sake, also if you work as a woodcutter you earn so much that in a fed days you can build a home. Plus people go around really doing nothing. Children are so funny running around doing anything all the day. That sounds like real children but isn’t really like that, they just run in circles all day long. And so on. It still works, despite and thanks to these “features” that makes it ironic and fool, perhaps wasn’t intended that way. But I know that a game so huge, made really sandbox, with true freedom and a true living world, would be something spectacular, and this game makes me think of that.

  27. Robyrt says:

    Skyrim, like all other video game worlds, is populated by:
    20% citizens
    20% guards
    60% bandits, necromancers and malcontents

    And you wonder why everyone drinks so much…

  28. Jonathan says:

    I am glad I was not planning to purchase this game.

  29. andy_k says:

    Brilliant!

    This game is like some kind of distilled opiate to me. But it’s been cut with drano. No less adictive, just all the impurities make the whole experience less pleasant than I expected.

    I mean, like the initial hit was great, but then 10 minutes in I was all managing inventory and perks and swore I would never go back. Eventually I tried it again, possibly as a result of peer pressure, and again it left me feeling washed out and drained with broken stealth and NPCs ignoring me as I jumped *in* their dinner while they were eating. But the seeds of addiction have been well and truly planted. I can see that I will be investing a large amount of time in this. Now, despite my distinct lack of sleep and a million more pressing things I can’t seem to stop.

    Doesn’t help that I hate dragons. Swooping around all… swoopy. Something burns in my Stout Breton chest (under my bespoke leather armour crafted from a noble deer I pursued through the wilderness) and makes me want to kill them all to death.

    FOR THE EMPORER! Or whoever we are fighting for. Certainly not the dragons.

  30. Reet says:

    What can you say? It’s a Bethesda RPG through and through.

  31. Dys says:

    Now on my third character, I have recently discovered the joys of pairing Calm with a dagger at 30x backstab.

    I have been charged by a trio of bandits any one of whom can likely kill me in two hits. Quickly firing off three Calm spells, I drop out of combat and they start wandering back to their campfire. Whereupon I slit their throats, one by one. They don’t object. Calm seems to make everyone pretty easy going. In my hands it’s turned into a death sentence.

  32. Even says:

    I feel like these kind of games really deserve their own genre title (Suggestions open!). After 119 hours clocked and finally finishing the main-quest line after a ton of dicking around, I just feel that to call this game a Role-Playing Game feels like an absolute travesty. At least it failed in almost every aspect to get me actually engaging with the story and the world or any of the characters. It’s a shame too, when towards end of the main quest line things actually started to get interesting and characters were introduced that I gained some respect for. First time in the whole game. Then it all abruptly ends.. and then those two Blade assholes want me to go kill the one and only character I actually have managed to like so far, and I can’t do anything about it thanks to the fantastic nonsensical railroading inherent to this game. (It’s not even the only quest with this problem) I can’t kill the quest-givers because they’re still essential for whatever reason and so now the quest is now stuck forever in my quest log haunting and taunting at me.

    So yeah.. Guess it’s lessons learned then, since this was actually my first TES game I’ve ever played. For all its failings, Fallout 3 still managed to be a lot more fun for me. I’m just wondering now if playing through the older games is worth it.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      He’s only invincible up until the fight with Alduin. After that you can kill him.

      It’s worth it. The Greybeards won’t deal with you anymore, but they don’t have anything to offer over the Blades by this point, anyway.

    • CTrees says:

      Well, you can actually tell the… intended victims that the other people want you to betray them, and further tell them not to worry, you won’t do it. Doesn’t remove the quest, I believe, but given the Radiant Quest System and bugs, you’ll likely always have something in your log.

      For instance, I got the bug where you return a dragon scale and dragon bone to Esbern, and the potion does nothing and the quest stays in your log. Also, if you’ve finished the Dark Brotherhood storyline and let “Dark Brotherhood Forever” activate, I don’t believe it’s possible to ever get an instance of it out of your log. So yeah.

      • Even says:

        It’s not really just the quest remaining in log but the fact that the game clearly wants me to take action when the two imbeciles still expect me to go on with the quest even after talking to the Greybeards and the “guy” and there’s no option to decline or convince them otherwise. I did finally figure I’d just try to murder the two and be done with it, but no, THEY’RE BOTH GODDAMN ESSENTIAL HRGHMBL!

        It annoys me because the game won’t let me proceed with the quest or the story involved but through the set rails. The irony is that when I tried doing the quest to see what happens, it bugged out and I couldn’t kill it.

        It’s the same with the Dark Brotherhood and the Thieves’ Guild. I haven’t felt very inclined to do their quests, but ended up joining them both by half-accident anyway. Now I’m at the point where I effectively can’t back out of the storylines and only way forward is through the quests. Trying to massacre everybody results with the same, with all the quest givers blessed by plot armor. I know I don’t HAVE to do them, but I resent the fact that there’s no option to deal with them otherwise.

    • Zagzag says:

      If you’re talking about what I think you are then I managed to get through my first playthrough without ever having to do this. Calling it railroading is a bit harsh.

  33. Johan says:

    It makes no sense for pressure plates rigged to flamethrowers, or sections of floor that will try to crush you if you stand on them, or blades that swing back and forth forever without losing momentum, to still be working so long after they were installed. On the other hand I’d be pissed if I decided to look an ancestrial tomb only to find someone had beaten me to it.

    • Even says:

      It’s curious as well that how some of the Frostbite Spider colonies actually survive inside some of the caves and tombs where they’re effectively sealed off from the surface. Do they eat the draugr?

      • MintSkittle says:

        Obviously, the spiders are much more intelligent than most would think. They subsist entirely on adventurers. After they have caught their next meal, they remove whatever valuables said adventurer may have picked up, return them to their rightful resting places, and reset the traps so future adventurers believe the tomb/cave haven’t yet been plundered.

    • Hitch says:

      Just tell yourself that all of Tamriel is just a giant game of Dungeon Keeper being played by some Daedric Prince and you’re just the unfortunate adventurer who’s wandered into the dungeon he’s spent all day setting up.

    • acronix says:

      We can handwave it with soulgems: there´s one tomb somewhere where a couple of soulgems rest on top of pedestals. When you aproach, they throw firebolts at you.
      Not only that, but there´s also the dwemer machines that seem to work only because of soulgems. So it shouldn´t be hard to handwave it with “A Grand Soulgem Did It”.

  34. Syal says:

    These events take place during the period that will eventually comprise Book 4 of his story. (Still untitled.)

    I recommend the title “Further Adventures in Dunderland”.

  35. Shrikezero says:

    The desk thing always makes me giggle. There are desks in almost every cave/dungeon. Are the Draugr Ancient Nord mortgage brokers condemned to an unliving hell? How about bandits that are wearing armor and weapons slightly better than a loincloth and a cracked stick, but they’ve got a hardwood desk (and shelves, and a wardrobe) for their one little gemstone treasure?

    I bet the ancient Nords stole all of the desks from the Thalmor. That was the trigger for the great war. All the rest of the mythology is just because everyone involved is too embarrassed to admit they were fighting over desks. I bet there’s a Daedric Tome of Desks somewhere that tells the whole sordid tale (and gives you a +10 to home assembly)

    2016’s Game of the Year
    Elder Scrolls VI: Ikea

  36. Etra Kurdaj says:

    In my journeys, I collect a lot of gems and shinies. Things like that gold Dibella statue draw my eye.

    And while I’m not a fan of crafting, I am a fan of hording. So I made a plan to collect all the most ornate bowls I can find and in one of my player houses, stack all the shelves and counters with bowls filled with fine jewels.

    However, what I find is that when I leave and return, the bowls will be smashed over and the jewels spilled all over the floor. I can’t get the house to stop from wigging out and wrecking itself.

    Any ideas on how to stop this?

    • Phoenix says:

      I managed to put single objects in places with enough space, like a book or a helm over some forniture. Also I put a dynamo core on a plate. But certain things always falls when you return like if you place a wand over the wall… or those claw keys in a little table near the wall in whiterun, that also falls every time. It seems the engine can’t manage.

  37. Torolf says:

    Etra:

    I have used those dagger display cases to store jewels. You can drop the jewels right in and then close the lid of the case. If the item is too large, though, the case will spit it out across the room when the lid closes.

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