Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day 25: Adding to the Mix

As I stand outside the gates of Bruma in the early morning light, I let out a big, gusty sigh. Not Nondrick, but me, Chris, the guy behind the keyboard.

Here’s the thing — I’m really not looking forward to the long boring walk back down that road. It’s slow, it’s tedious, the few ingredients I found on the way up probably won’t have regenerated yet, and I probably won’t even get attacked because I killed all the wolves on the way up. It took three game-days to get up here, it’ll probably take close to that to get back. That translates to, I dunno, an half-hour or so real-time? Forty-five minutes? An hour? I don’t know, but I do know I just don’t feel like doing it.

I set a rule when I started — no fast-traveling. I’m not totally against breaking my own rules, and this seems like a fair cheat to skip what is certain to be a boring trip, but I’m afraid if I let myself do it once I’ll do it again later, and then again, and then it’ll be a regular thing.

Another option is to run instead of walk, but that’s sort of another rule of mine. You really don’t see NPCs sprinting around unless they’re being pursued or in pursuit, and it’s another habit I don’t want to slip into.

Of course, there’s a third option, and I’m standing right in front of it.

Could I buy Nondrick a horse? It’s breaking one rule — NPCs, except for Imperial Legion Soldiers, don’t have horses. Then again, the stable owner has horses, even if she doesn’t ride them around, and the stable owner is an NPC. And I plan to buy a house someday, which NPCs don’t do, though most of them already own houses. So, on some level it seems like buying a horse is fair enough. That’s one sort of shaky way to justify it.

The potentially bigger issue is that the cheapest horse costs 500 gold, non-negotiable. That’s more than a third of the money I’ve spent the last twenty or so days accumulating. That’s a big purchase for something that I don’t have complete control over. Horses can die — they can be killed by bandits or monsters or other animals. They can fall off cliffs. They can get just plain lost if you don’t stable them — I think they eventually wander back to where they were bought, which would mean another long slow walk up to Bruma to retrieve it. It’s definitely risky.

But the idea is in my head now. I really want to avoid that walk, and it would be cool for Nondrick, always the loner, to have sort of a pet. A pal. Plus, I won’t take him with me everywhere. If I’m out scouring for ingredients or exploring, I’ll leave him in the stable, but there are going to be times when I want to travel between cities quickly. Like right now.

Ah, why the hell not? I plunk down my cash and wander out to the stable to retrieve my horse, whose name is apparently “My Paint Horse.” Really rolls off the tongue. I use the console cheat “setactorfullname” and rename my new companion. I’m an alchemist, so what’s the first name that pops into my head?

Yeah. Beaker and I are totally BFF now.

It’s a completely uneventful ride down from the Jerall Mountains. The dead wolves are still lying in the road, so new ones haven’t spawned to replace them and we travel unmolested. While Beaker isn’t going to break any speed records, it’s much, much faster than walking and we read the bridge to Imperial City before noon.

The weather has soured quite a bit, and it’s gray and rainy as we make our glorious, thrilling… well, honestly, it’s just a really crummy ride to the gates of Imperial City [YouTube] Stupid weather! It couldn’t have been sunny? For this? Shouldn’t the game know when I’m reaching its crown jewel for the first time and make the weather nice for the occasion? No. Guess not.

But hey, I’m here! I made it. Imperial City. No shit.

I park Beaker in the stable outside the gates, and step into the city, triumphant. Then I immediately dash back out to the stables, to make sure the game didn’t teleport my horse back to Bruma or anything stupid like that. Yup, Beaker is still there, safe and sound.

I step back into the city again, slightly less triumphant than I was a moment ago, but still very, very triumphant. At least 96% as triumphant. I have a triumphant look around Talos Plaza.

I find my way to a hotel, the Tiber Septim. It’s huge, classy, and 40gp for a room. I decline to make a reservation, but I chat with the woman behind the counter, Augusta Calidia, then buy all her groceries, smoosh them into paste, and sell them back. I end up with 1062 septims after our transaction, so even after buying Beaker, I’m back in four figures again.

I head to the palace, and have a look around for famous spire that I’ve been getting tantalizing glimpses of since I got off the boat in Anvil. I’m sure it’s around here somewhere…

I wouldn’t mind taking some time to go sightseeing, but with the weather so crummy it doesn’t seem worth it right now. Maybe I should get down to business first. So, I pick some mushrooms in the graveyard, then head into the Market District.

There are all sort of shops here. Magic shops, potion shops, armor & weapons suppliers, bookstores, a store that just sells shields, a jewelry store, plus several inns and pubs. I head to a general store called The Copius Coinpurse, where I buy all the cheap ingredients they’ve got. Instead of mixing them up, though, I head over to an alchemy store called The Gilded Carafe. Again, I’m just stockpiling, and I buy everything worth 2gp and under. I wander over to an inn called The Feedbag, and buy all the cheap stuff there, too.

I’m down to about 600 gold now, but I’ve got sacks full of corn, bread, apples, pears, cheese, grapes, carrots, lettuce, and other general groceries. Time to mix. I whip up some two-ingredient potions, like Corny Pear Juice, Grapey Cheese Glop, Tomato Radish Squeezin’s, Blackberry Onion Slush, Potato Rice Stew, and Ham Watermelon Surprise (the surprise is that it tastes even more disgusting than Corny Pear Juice).

It all amounts to 86 Restore Fatigue potions, which the proprietor of the Feed Bag is willing to buy for 10 dollars a pop. When I’m done, I’m back up to 1543 gold. I can pay off Beaker.

I find another alchemy shop, The Main Ingredient, and buy them out of rice and pears, selling back the potions for another couple hundred bucks. I also buy some of the more exotic (yet still inexpensive) ingredients, and make some more interesting brews, like five Burden potions (they sell for 60 gold), Resist Paralysis (12 gold), and Restore Intelligence (also 12). I’m close to 1800 bucks, now.

I stroll over to the Merchant’s Inn, as I am more or less a merchant, where I find rooms that go for 20 gp per night. I also find yet another treasure trove of groceries, and when I’m done mixing and selling them, two things have happened.

There’s that, which will make my potioncrafting much more versatile. And, there’s this:

I made over a thousand bucks today, all by visiting a handful of shops. I wasn’t in any danger, I didn’t have to explore caves or ruins, I didn’t even have to brutally slaughter any women. All I had to do was buy and sell. Amazing.

I hang around the Inn for a bit, people watching, then head up to my room. In the morning, I’ll be visiting the Office of Imperial Commerce, right here in the Market District. Something tells me there might be a house for sale around here I can afford. Okay, I happen to know there’s a house around here I can afford, because I’ve played the game like five times before.

I also happen to know it’s a real dump. So, like I had with Beaker earlier, I have another dilemma approaching. I can buy Nondrock a house, a real house, just like I’ve wanted to do since I started. But is the hovel in Imperial City the house I really want to buy him? Should I wait and find something nicer, even though it’ll be much more expensive?

I’ll sleep on it, I guess, and decide in the morning. And even if I don’t wind up with a house tomorrow, at least I got a horse today.

Living in Oblivion

Day 24: Made for Bruma

So. I developed a bit of a bad attitude on the hike to Bruma, but I’m determined to be a bit more positive today. After all, despite the dreary, uneventful trip through the mountains, I’m in a new city, with new people to meet, new places to explore, and, potentially, new women to ogle.

After a quick breakfast of corn and oranges purchased from Olav, I strike out into the city. Bruma is a frosty place: even the buildings seem huddled together for warmth. I find my way to the Jerall View Inn, a pleasantly roomy tavern, where I talk to the innkeeper, Hafid Hollowleg. I’m rewarded for joking with him by my Speechcraft odometer turning over. My ascension to Level Four is suddenly imminent.

I’m a fool, all right! A level-gainin’ fool! I won’t gain my next level until I sleep tonight, but I think my new positive outlook is already working for me.

I proceed to buy up everything Hafid has in stock, squeeze the resulting glop into bottles, and sell them back to him, winding up with a nice 1320 septims when I’m done.

When I step outside again, it’s begun to snow. How pretty. I stare dumbly at the peaceful beauty for a bit, then I poke my head into a shop called Novaroma, and see what they’ve got for sale.


I have nothing to add to that.

I also pop into a shop called Nord Winds to sell my wolf pelts and a few other odds and ends and get my armor and weapons repaired. I take a look at some of the clothing they have for sale, and consider some heavier steel armor, but it’s a bit expensive. When I’m done there I’m sitting pretty at 1475 gold. Next, I head over to the Mage’s Guild where I find a fetching woman behind the desk.

Mushroom Daiquiri, please! Shaken, not stirred. I follow my usual pattern — leer, chat, buy, mix, sell — and wind up with over 1500 septims at the end. Hey, I’m getting pretty wealthy. Maybe it’s time to price some real estate.

I stroll over to the Castle Bruma to see if I can get the skinny on houses for sale. Bowing low before the Countess (okay, I’m crouching, but it’s the best I can do), I find the usual obstacles in place: she doesn’t know me well enough to talk housing.

Well, that can quickly be solved by telling a few jokes, bragging about my awesome abs, admiring the way she sits there all day doing nothing, and threatening her life. Bingo, now we’re fast friends, and she informs me she’s got a place for sale.

The price tag: 10,000 gold.

Now, that’s pretty pricey. I’ve been playing for over three game-weeks and I’m nowhere near that. Still, the way I’ve been working the alchemy grind lately, it doesn’t really feel so out of reach. I’m getting more persuasive, I’m a better salesman, and my potion skills are slowly increasing. Buying a house, for the first time, feels within the realm of possibility. That’s kind of exciting.

Of course, even if I were loaded down with gold, would I just buy a house, sight unseen? Shouldn’t I have a look at it first? While they won’t let me poke around inside the house that’s for sale, maybe I can get some idea of what the houses are like in Bruma by simply walking into people’s homes unannounced.

So, I’m off to barge into people’s houses and stare at their stuff like some kinda creep. On the way out of the castle I run into Gan Luseph, the castle mage and healer.

So. I get the third degree before the countess will reveal the city’s real estate listings, but she lets this pervert wander around casting spells and hitting on tourists? Nice.

I wander around Bruma for a while, trying to get into people’s houses. No luck. I encounter locked door after locked door. I thought people in the north didn’t lock their doors? Finally, I get inside one, the home of Lyra Rosentia. It’s quite a nice place. The furnishings are pleasant, it’s very cozy, and the breasts are fantastic. I talk to Lyra a bit, and not only is she pretty, she doesn’t seem to mind that some weirdo has wandered into her bedroom. I check out her home while she walks from place to place, stopping every now and then to stare at a wall. Everyone needs a hobby.

I find another unlocked door, that of Arnora Auria. She is… not so pleasant. She glares at me with real anger, though it’s hard to see her glare over the glare of the enormous gigantic jewel hung around her neck. Still, her house looks very nice, even though the atmosphere is a bit chilly.

I continue my tour of Bruma, walking into another home. Whoops. Did I come at a bad time?

A little CSI: Bruma, huh? Despite the brutally murdered dead man lying on the bed a few feet away, I can’t help but wonder if this house might be for sale shortly.

The sunlight is petering away. I head to the church for a quick prayer and blessing, then wander back through the falling snow to the Jerall View. There I’m happy to once again see the lovely Lyra Rosentia. I wouldn’t have made her for a barfly, but knowing she hangs around taverns alone late at night certainly does nothing to lessen her appeal.

The Oblivion wiki has this to say about her:

Lyra Rosentia is a completely generic female Imperial Commoner living in Bruma.

Commoner? Generic?

Ain’t nothin’ generic or common about that caboose, baby! Nondrick likey!

Unfortunately, her conversation is a bit generic, and we quickly run out of things to say to each other. So, I spring for a room at the Jerall (25 gold) and settle in for the night. Which means it’s time to level.

Okay, after this I’ve really got to put some points into strength and endurance. But for now, I’m going to gamble another level on helping me become a better salesman, alchemist, and all-around charming bastard.

Well, except for one angry woman and an apparent murderer on the loose, Bruma seems like a nice enough place. The houses I wandered into without permission are cozy and I could see living here myself. The biggest downside to living in Bruma is that it would mean I’m living in Bruma — not the most convenient place to reach and a poor center of operations for a slowly wandering alchemist. There’s not a whole lot of ingredients to pick nearby, and it’s ages from anywhere else of interest.

Still, it’s on the maybe list. It’s the first town I’ve found that will let me buy a home without being a famous adventurer, and the price is high but not completely out of reach. We’ll see.

Tomorrow, though, I’m out of here. Bruma is small and I think I covered most of it today, except for all those jerks who keep their doors locked for some reason. In the morning, I’ll be on my way.

And this time, I mean it: I’m heading for Imperial City and nothing — nothing — is going to stop me. Not even me.