Skyrim EP21: Ricki vs. Jenny

 By Shamus Apr 4, 2014 75 comments


Link (YouTube)

At the seven minute mark when the dragon body teleports back up the hill: I have to think this is like one of those moments in a D&D game when players are screwing around, shouting random crap and the line between “wouldn’t it be funny if I did” and “I am actually” gets kind of blurry. After a couple of minutes the DM just ignores the mayhem and resumes the game as if nothing happened.

If you’re confused about WHAT HAPPENED in this episode, here is the best I can figure out:

Josh cast frenzy on a horse. This caused the horse to go hostile. Jenny then jumped in to his defense. Since the horse is a member of the Imperial Legion faction, This caused the whole camp to go hostile to Jenny. Once the horse was dead, Jenny looked for the next acceptable target and chose Ricki. So then Jenny and Ricki (both of whom are immortal) fought, with Ricki prevailing. Once Jenny was down, Ricky attacked the player. I’m not sure if this was because of the fight with Jenny or because Josh frenzied the horse.

After Josh ran away, he waited (standing in the same spot of the snowy wastes for several days) during which time the game spawned a bunch of thugs, who were ostensibly hired by Anise to punish the player for the crime of looting her cabinThese thugs are a scripted event, created when the player robs somebody. If you never steal, they never show up.. Since we looted it after we killed her, I’m not sure when this job was commissioned.

The three day wait apparently didn’t do anything to calm Ricki, who was still out for blood. The only way to placate her was to attempt to murder her, and after her defeat she went back to pretending nothing happened.

Also, while this is a great big pile of nonsense, I need to defend the game by pointing out that half the crazy came from Josh, who was behaving just as random as the AI.


2020201575 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.


  1. Ofermod says:

    I’m still disappointed that the Spoiler Warning crew didn’t play Goat Simulator for April Fools, in the fine tradition of Trainz. Or I guess that one matching game set in Japan or whatever?

    But seriously. Goat Simulator special episode. Pretty please. With sugar on top.

  2. Theminimanx says:

    A random thought just came to me when you were discussing goat simulator.
    So it’s a game where you do all kinds of silly things and completely break the game. Now who do we know that does the exact same thing?
    Josh Simulator. Amirite? Amirite?

    Slightly more on topic: The civil war quest line drags on forever. If you feel the commentary becoming boring because we keep doing the same thing, don’t be afraid to stop and continue with the main quest. I’d rather not see the end-game fatigue start before we’ve even begon playing the main quest.

    • I’d love a mod that made the more of the characters in the civil war questline non-essential as time wears on. The quest chain is mostly designed to see how much crap you’ll put up with before murdering everyone, throwing the crown in the ocean, and then shouting more tableware across the room.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        While we’re talking fun with physics as much as shouting things around is fun I liked entering a room with a lot of clutter and using the final spell in the, I think, ice tree (blizzard? snowstorm?). Sadly I don’t think it works on people (and probably neither on heavier objects) but its still nice to see books and cutlery spinning around the room within a tornado. The bad news is that while Fus is readily available that spell will requires all but maxing out destruction school.

    • Thomas says:

      I second this. You guys have done a great job of making this fun so far, but I imagine the crazy shenanigans would have lost their allure by episode 50.

  3. Much like when the Van Graff’s weren’t scripted to notice they were being sold weapons when all weapons were confiscated at the door, I think the Bethesda Devs just don’t take all possible behaviors into account.

    That kind of strikes me as odd, since the handful of QA testers they actually employ have to be so punch-drunk sleep-deprived and over-caffeinated, I find it hard to believe they wouldn’t play like Josh, but with more maniacal laughter.

    • Raygereio says:

      I think the Bethesda Devs just don’t take all possible behaviors into account.

      It’s more accurate to say that it’s impossible for Bethesda – or any developers for that matter – to take every possible thing the player does into account and script apropriate NPC and world reactions to it, so they don’t bother.
      That is, impossible until we get to the point where we have actual AIs in our videogames that can generate the reactions on the fly, but that’s annother topic.

      And while it’s funny to ridicule Skyrim for the sillyness we can create within it, I’d instead give it some praise for allowing the player to do stuff like that. Other games don’t react properly to everything the player does either, but they hide that by not giving the player any freedom to mess around like Josh is doing.

    • James says:

      they could just save time and money and hire josh to find all the nonsense, and then obviously leave it in cus

      ” we only fix game breaking bugs “

      • Doomcat says:

        Thing is; imagine skyrim without these bugs, is the game better?

        I honestly think, for me at least, the bugs are the reason TO play this game, its hilarious when the AI has a bit of a dumb moment…or a bit of a dumb hour…or life I guess. *Shrug*

        • James says:

          thats why you leave in anything thats isnt too severe, like game crashing save breaking CPU melting severe

          • Alexander The 1st says:

            Eh, there are two major problems with leaving in anything that isn’t severe:

            1.) You get a reputation for being really buggy. Consider a game that has potentially game breaking bugs and can wipe your save file if you do certain things – Pokemon Red. And that’s just regarding catching, say, Missigno. It also has some really wonky move actions (There’s a move that does the opposite of what it says it does, for example), and some hilariously broken AI scripting that can allow for some solutions to battles that wouldn’t work unless the AI was as bad as it was. Yet most people aren’t going to encounter these bugs, they’re edge cases, and you pretty much have to try to trigger them. So if you ask anyone if Nintendo has buggy games, they’re going to need examples – the bugs are not just not critical failures most of the time, they’re also hidden. Which is definitely good for perception when you consider Bethesda and Obsidian are both pretty much known for games with bugs.

            2.) Non-game breaking bugs are often either a result of a symptom of a bug that can break the game, or the cause of a game breaking bug. For example, that Pokemon Red has no encounter data for the edge of Cinnabar Island may not be a problem in and out of itself…until it becomes the reason Missigno is able to be encountered at all.

            If you’re going to leave buggy things in because you can’t remove it, it’s best to do what you can to wall it off if you’re not going to track down what it can effect.

    • Michael says:

      Funny you should use that exact example… because New Vegas wasn’t Bethesda, it was Obsidian. Bethesda (Zenimax technically) was the publisher, and they controlled the QA budget. Reportedly the QA budget got slashed at the last minute. Obsidian had been offered a bonus contingent on New Vegas clearing a metascore of 85… and the game got an 84, in large part due to bugs.

      But, yeah, New Vegas isn’t a Bethesda game, guys.

      • Yes, I’m aware. However, I’d say the way the game engine (not just the graphical one) is structured lends itself to that kind of oversight.

        In the NV example, the Van Graff merchant was flagged as any other trader in the game, rather than “merchant but any attempts to sell weapons causes hostility.” Perhaps that was so the player could sell back things they’d purchased if they wanted to before leaving, but I’d bet it was a case of not thinking the going ballistic if-then part was needed as one’s weapons were confiscated at the door.

        The same goes for a lot of oddball NPC behavior. It wasn’t thought that the player would shout the guy giving the inspirational speech over the battlements, so no provision in the scripts was made. It’s a bit “Star Trek,” in a way, finding out how the robots work and then having fun with them trying to deal with human foibles (or violent chaos).

        Having Ricki go non-hostile after taking a knee was probably a similar phenomenon. I presume going to a knee for an essential NPC is the same as “dying” for others, which likely removes any hostility they had to who/what was killing them.

        • guy says:

          I think wiping hostility on taking a knee is intended behavior. Otherwise, you could get stuck fighting an immortal and be unable to progress. If they aren’t the only one fighting you, they would become hostile again when they stand up. It’s just that in this case something about allegiance flags got messed up.

  4. Mathias says:

    Having skis in Skyrim would actually make Skyrim’s Nords more appropriate to the culture Bethesda’s nicking the aesthetic from. Obviously they aren’t in the game.

    I mean, there were no less than *two* deities associated with skiing. How can you just skimp on that?

  5. Dev Null says:

    Artificial Insanity loses out to the real deal, every time.

  6. Aerik says:

    Oh, man. Here’s me, doin’ vocabulary.

    “The Pale is one of the nine Holds of Skyrim.”

    http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/The_Pale

    Even generically, it makes perfect sense:

    pale n. [...] b: a territory or district within certain bounds or under a particular jurisdiction

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pale

    Y’know, like, “beyond the pale?”

  7. Lavitt says:

    I’m pretty sure this has been said on the show already, but if I were a bandit/assassin/thug/thing, I would stop attacking someone around the time they sling me half way across the country with their voice. I don’t care how much I’m getting paid.

    • Indy says:

      I’d prefer a system where you could actually overawe or intimidate them so they give up. Cut a couple heads off? The rest give up. Summon demons and zombies? They realise you’re not meant to be messed with. A guy goes to fight you and discovers that everyone else in the room is already dead? He gives up. Essentially, I’d like the mooks in Skyrim to behave a bit more like the grunts from Halo.

  8. Destrustor says:

    Yeah, actually, no the resting does not go any faster on the console. If anything, it’s even slower.
    It takes about two or three seconds before the first hour even decides to pass, and then the rest go by at about the same rate as here.

  9. Phantos says:

    Josh, I can confirm the Wait load times are NOT faster on the console. The first thing I noticed watching this season is how it doesn’t take 1-2 minutes just to fast-travel.

    I don’t know about the Playstation, but the load times on the Xbox version are excruciating. In my 100 hour playthrough, at least a fifth of that is spent waiting for the game to even start the wait process, or to load up a town, building or dungeon.

    • Hitch says:

      By “the console” Josh does not mean an Xbox or Playstation. He means hitting the “~” key on a PC and bringing up the developer console where you can input text commands for things like advancing time.

      • Phantos says:

        What I wouldn’t give for that option on the console game version.

        Or mods for that matter.

        As much as I knock on this game, I do lament I’ll never get to fight a Macho Man Randy Savage dragon. D:

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          The whole game with all DLCs is 60. You don’t need the most modern PC to run it if you’re willing to accept the right graphics settings.

          • Phantos says:

            Alas, my computer cannot run any 3D games that aren’t Gone Home. And even that chugged along. Games like Stanley Parable can’t even load up the visuals.

            It does everything else I need it to, and it can emulate the 16-bit and 32-bit era games just fine. But I’m not convinced this thing could run Morrowind, let alone Skyrim on its’ minimum requirements.

  10. imtoolazy says:

    Wondering, do any of the SW crew have Goat Simulator? Any thoughts or impressions they’d be willing to share?

  11. swenson says:

    Gotta love the “thugs hired by a dead guy” bug. It’s one of my favorites because it’s so obvious. Shouldn’t you check whether or not the sender is still alive before they send thugs?

    I suppose there could be the case where you steal from someone, time passes, and only then do they die, in which case they hypothetically could’ve hired the thugs in the interim. But how often would that even happen?

    The other fun thing is when literally no one saw you and somehow the thugs still know to come after you. Honestly, that whole event should’ve just been left out, it pretty much never makes sense.

    • Tizzy says:

      I guess they really dont care about realism. The thugs are not there to tell part of ge tory, they’re here pirely as a mechanic to punish the player who stole.

      I find this a bit bizarre: the devs give the player the freedom to steal, but punish the players who make use of it effectively (i.e. without being caught).

      I’m really not sure what I would recommend. I like the freedom offered,( even though I regret that there isn’t much incentive to use it except to revel in the freedom, the objects that can be stolen are seldom worth the effort). But the mechanics that deal with the consequences feel stupidly moralizing, like a bad DM, rather than interesting consequences. For instance, the thugs are just a minor bump in the road to be steamrolled. Not a challenge, yet more loot, not what I’d call a punishment.

      I’d lose the thugs altogether, but I still really don’t know how this can be substantially improved.

      • Eldiran says:

        Yeah, I wouldn’t call them punishment at all. I think the idea is that it gives the player the impression of reactivity (something the game sorely lacks most of the time). So I think it’s definitely a good thing… although they really ought to only be summoned by living people.

        • Tizzy says:

          I think you’re mostly right, but that doesn’t mean that the thugs cannot serve more than one purpose at once.

          And I should clarify: by punishment, I really meant game balance. Stealing means allowing the player to access items and wealth beyond what the designers intended, and so there has to be some mechanical cost to that.

          I can’t say for sure that this is really part of the devs’ thinking. But if it is, then (1) it doesn’t really work as the consequences are really a mere distraction (2) even if it is not quite the intent, it’s hard not to feel judged by the devs for playing the “wrong” way. This may be slightly unfair to them, but true…

          • BeardedDork says:

            I’m not sure about this, to me its just a few underpowered mooks delivering a few more pieces of armor and weapons that I can sell. So not really an incentive to stop coveting all the things.

      • Ciennas says:

        Guys, it’s totally obvious how dead people can hire thugs.

        Their ghost hires them.

        Oblivion was lousy with ghosts- I’m surprised it doesn’t come up more in… well, any of the games.

        • If that were the actual mechanic, that would be awesome. Some town should have a store marked “Vengeance Upon The Living.” Each named NPC the player kills would be there, in line, waiting their turn to hire thugs.

          Catbert’s line would be out the door and past the main gates, of course.

          But imagine having vengeful spirits. Maybe you could put them to rest by burning their corpses or keeping them from attacking you while you slept with an amulet of some kind. Oooh! There should be an end-game castle or dungeon populated by the ghosts of those you’ve killed, but you can’t get there ’till about halfway through the game at least. The more dudes you murder, the more ghost-dudes are waiting to get their ectoplasmic claws in you.

          I wish I could write that mod. :(

          • IFS says:

            Sounds a bit like the Sorrow boss fight from MGS3, with snake wading through a river filled with the spirits of those he’d killed. Even previous bosses showed up briefly, and some of the spirits looked or acted differently depending on how you killed them. It was a really cool and well done part of the game, and I at least think it would be interesting to see such a thing in more games.

          • Tizzy says:

            … Or, you might have to pay some sort of reparations to keep the spirits at peace… It could ork, and be an incentive not to murder.

            • If they made the ghosts somehow killable, most players would think, “Oooh! Double XP!”

              • Ciennas says:

                ‘And a steady source of ectoplasm!’

                but, they could just make them unkillable- or they respawn, scarier and more inhuman each time, until you wish you’d just apologized.

                Ya know, just throwing those out there.

                (Hmm. a world of the dead- you could make a whole game with this concept. Sovngarde, Soul Cairn… a heaven and a hell, kinda thing… but with more nuance. more places to explore.)

  12. cavalier says:

    Anise is like Burke in Fallout 3: you can kill him minutes after you meet him but he still manages to hire Talon Company to kill you.

  13. djshire says:

    The snowberries taste like snowberries!

  14. Skyrim and Fallout 3 have the same greatness/flaw. Their greatness is in the world they present to you to play around with, explore, and (in some cases), destroy. The (biggest) flaw is always the main quest.

    I’ve been tempted to install either Fallout 3 or New Vegas again, and I must say I’m torn between New Vegas not seeming like it was scripted by morons or enjoying F3′s more atmospheric locales. Then I remember I have actual crap to do and just reload the relevant seasons of Spoiler Warning.

    • SyrusRayne says:

      You want Tale of Two Wastelands, then. It’s a comination mod for New Vegas that basically combines the two games. You can travel between the Mojave and Capitol Wastelands, do the various quests, all that stuff.

      Apart from longer load times, I haven’t noticed any serious bugs, either!

      Keep in mind you’ll need Fallout 3 and New Vegas both in their complete forms; All DLC, except for (I think) Courier’s Stash.

      • I like the concept, though it does highlight something for me I wish F3/FNV had more of: A ticking clock.

        It’s no fault of the mod or anything, but it looks like I could travel for months on a train across the wasteland and (if they ever make a return portal to the Capital Wasteland) then return, having left Dad working on the purifier with no visible progress in spite of having months, if not years, to work at it.

        This is one of my gripes with Point Lookout, too. I leave for a month-long boat trip and DC wasteland goes into stasis. :)

  15. noahpocalypse says:

    Wait, what’s this about a Dwemer in Dragonborn? I know of no such thing. I must KNOW.

  16. guy says:

    Did we just have a loyalty cascade? Have we stumbled into Dwarf Fortress?

    This is probably the best week of the best season of Spoiler Warning. I can only assume Josh’s computer has been taking LSD.

    EDIT: Yes, we did have a loyalty cascade, from the looks of it. How it works in Dwarf Fortress and apparently here is that something gets flagged as being hostile to a faction but doesn’t get unflagged as being a member of that faction, so when it gets killed the attacker gets flagged as hostile to the faction.

    • evileeyore says:

      It wasn’t quite a ‘cascade’… this more like a Loyalty Brawl as it didn’t escalate (granted that’s because neither Ricki nor Jenny can die).

      • guy says:

        It probably has something to do with where hostility is flagged and how it resets on kneeling. Or maybe Rikke and the horse had a different faction from the rest of the camp because they move between holds.

  17. Indy says:

    Those horses sure are frenzied beasts but imagine how much more dangerous they’d be with horse armour… They could stamp out the Rebellion single-handedly!

  18. Ilseroth says:

    Alright well, ask and ye shall receive.

    I <3 Traps Shirt

    I made it intentionally crummy, mostly because it was a 5 minute project, but also because, honestly, I think the shirt *should* look crummy.

    The mod sets this as lydia’s starting clothes, instead of the steel armor. It was the only way to get her to wear it, as trading it to her, it was considered worse then her un-removable set of armor so she wouldn’t wear it.

    There is also a second copy of the shirt in the second room in Sleeping Dragon Inn (on the chest at the end of the bed, you will have to steal it >.>)

  19. Neil W says:

    “I can’t sleep in a burning bed.”

    If only there was a song about that.

    [Political Commentary On Specific First World Problem This Song Addresses Left Out]

  20. Jason-L says:

    Like the part where you’ve just killed the dragon, and a Imperial solider has to say “Keep an eye out for trouble. It’s only a matter of time.” That’s a solider who’s earning his pay.

    Of course, he wasn’t wrong. A few moments later, and Catbert’s gone and frenzied a horse and made a mess of things.

  21. Anon says:

    Josh, to wait really fast type “tfc” into the console, then wait like normal, then enter “tfc” again to put the camera back to normal.

  22. Dragmire says:

    Didn’t Josh steal from Anise before he killed her? I recall him looting a note that said she was a vampire or something which made her hostile.

    Then he planted her head in the dirt.

  23. RTBones says:

    “…half the crazy….”

    I’m glad you added this. I was going to defend the game via comment, but that nod sums it up. Josh at one point even said that he didn’t know what he was supposed to be doing because he wasn’t paying attention. We all expect a certain amount of hilarious antics (and admittedly, they were quite funny) from Josh’s play style, but to me – it just got tiresome in this episode (no offense intended, Josh, just my opinion). Josh wasn’t so much playing the game as he was playing in game space. Its hard to legitimately criticize and deconstruct a game that way – particularly a game that is as good – and as flawed – as Skyrim.

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