Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day 27: Trouble by the Boatload

I’m interrogated the moment I step out of my bedroom on the Bloated Float, by a large Nord named Lynch, who cleverly determines that I don’t look like a professional outlaw.

I tell him I’m just a passenger, hoping he’ll leave me alone or not feel threatened. My other choice was to tell him to mind his own business, which I somehow think wouldn’t defuse the situation.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t accept this answer. Two things, only two, come to mind: I could tell him I’m with the City Watch, or tell him I’m in his gang. Unfortunately, there’s no option to explain that I’m a humble radish-picker who took a nap in the wrong floating hotel.

I tell him I’m in his gang, despite the fact that he’s already surmised I am not. This does not feel right to me. I should be able to beg for my life or offer him some money or something in exchange for not killing me, right? Apparently, the game has not caught on that I am a cowardly silverware collector. Hasn’t it been paying attention?

He says something menacing that I forget to take a screenshot of, and then draws a gleaming sword that looks like it’s about twice my height. Ah, fuck.

I’m not even wearing armor. Sure, I could pause the game by bringing up my inventory screen and put on every piece of armor I’ve got, but I’m trying to roleplay here. I’m trying to roleplay a very stupid peasant in a very dangerous situation. There’s nowhere to run. There’s nowhere to hide. A short sword and some humble merchants clothing are all that stand between me and the hereafter. Between me and the end of this blog.

We square off. I hold up my blade defensively, waiting for him to make the first move. Cripes, lookit that thing he’s holding. If he misses he could sink the ship.

He takes a swing, I block, and then fling a fireball at him. I miss, despite being about an inch away. Stupid third-person perspective. I fling another and hit, and he lights up like a Christmas tree that’s had a fireball flung at it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to do much damage. Gonna have to use my blade to win this one, I think.

Our weapons clang off one another in the narrow hallway as we hack at each other. He’s thrown off balance when I block one of his blows, and that’s when I strike, then get back into defensive posture again, always keeping my guard up. I throw in a fireball or two, which hit but again don’t do much damage. He lands a couple blows and my health drops to about half.

I back up and throw some more flares his way. My kingdom for a Backburner! Still, I think I have him on the ropes. One more good slash with my substandard blade and he flops dead against the door.

Lynch doesn’t have much on him. A measly 4 gold, the key, and a set of leather armor. He’s also carrying a note.

Guess Lynch doesn’t read so well. I put on his armor and take his silver longsword. I have to admit, I look kinda badass.

At least until I put on my stupid fur helmet. Kinda ruins the look, but I need all the protection I can get. I heal myself a few times, then free the bouncer, an orc, who’s been locked in a closet. He tells me he can steer the hotel back to land, but he won’t go up to the deck until it’s safe. Looks like I’m not out of this yet.

I eat some food I find in the storage room, heal myself back to full health, and creep upstairs.

At the top of the steps I spy another brigand. I think about attacking her before she sees me, but I’m just not that kinda guy. Maybe I can talk my way out of the rest of this quest.

I tell her I’m in the gang, and that Lynch sent me up to help her. I guess I’m as poor a reader as Lynch was — his note specifically stated not to bother her, and she knows I’m lying. Oops.

This time, I’m much better prepared. I’ve got armor, a shield, a dead animal protecting my head, and a sword that does three times the damage my old one did. She’s a pushover. She also doesn’t have much loot on her, except 5 gold, her armor, a steel sword, and a key to the top deck.

I definitely can’t swim home from here.

I head aft, and wind up directly behind a hulking Nord henchman named Wrath. He doesn’t see me. I decide to poison my sword this time, to hopefully avoid any extended combat. The only potion I can mix up is a Burden (which could potentially root him in place), so I soak my blade in it, then talk to him.

I feed him some lines about how I’m in the gang, which doesn’t work for the 3rd time in a row. Jeez! Why are these outlaws so suspicious of a complete stranger in their midst?

We fight. He dies. Man, I’m lovin’ this new sword. I’m keepin‘ this new sword. I take his armor and steel sword and the handful of change he’s got in his pocket. And yet another key, this one to the cabin of the hotel owner.

The wussy orc bouncer tells me he won’t turn the ship around until he knows his boss is safe, so I’m going to have to rescue him from his cabin. I heal myself again, then prepare my ace-in-the-hole: my frost damage spell. It does 50 points of damage, but I have to be close enough to touch someone to use it, and I can only use it once per day. Still, it’s gotta be better than my wimpy flare, which doesn’t seem to hurt anyone but mudcrabs.

I enter the cabin. There I’m faced by a very attractive woman, Selene, the apparent leader of this gang. Behind her is the proprietor of the hotel.

I tell her I’m the ship’s cook. She doesn’t believe me. I’m getting a little TIRED of these distrustful BRIGANDS.

She’s fast, and cuts into me with her sword, which is apparently magic as it starts draining my fatigue. Not good. The lower my fatigue, the less damage my attacks will do. I run right up to her and cast my frost spell right on her, well, bosoms, let’s say. Immediately her health drops to almost nothing. Score! Thank you, Nordic heritage! I block her next attack with my shield and make a big swing with my sword while she’s off balance. Whammo. She’s down for the count. Whew.

Ormil, the guy who’s hotel she stole and who she was holding captive, the guy I just saved from certain death, turns and walk right past me, leaving the cabin without a word of thanks or even a look in my direction.

Fine. Nice gratitude, asshole. I look around his cabin, and see a table with some food on it. I decide to take some, just for his rudeness. I’m totally stealing your carrots, jerk. And I DO. I STEAL HIS CARROTS. I take an apple, too. Let no one tell you Nondrick doesn’t have a dark side.

I strip the dead brigand of her belongings, another set of armor, and her magic sword, the Blackwater Blade, which absorbs fatigue. That’s pretty cool, a magic sword, but honestly, my new silver sword does more damage, and I think I’m gonna stick with it. If I get a magic sword, I gotta recharge it when it runs out of juice, which means paying mages for their magic, and then they always try to get you to buy the extended warranty, and it’s just a big hassle.

With all the junk I’ve picked up, I’m over-encumbered and can’t move. I drop some of my old fur armor on the floor until I’m light enough to walk, then head back into the bar.

There, Ormil finally shows me some gratitude for saving both his life and his stupid hotelboat. He explains that to boost his floating hotel business, he made up a story about some treasure he had on board, and that’s what the four brigands were after, and what they died for. Good job!

We get back to the city, and Ormil gives me a reward: 75 gold. Wow, thanks. He then rifles through my pockets without my consent, removing all the keys I’d collected. Don’t worry, I won’t be back. And I’m not returning your produce. And, with that, I’ve completed my first, and hopefully last, genuine quest.

I do, however, have a personal quest to attend to. This adventure on the boat, while unwanted and unwelcome and, frankly, very un-Nondrick, has at least made up my mind about something.

I went to the Bloated Float because it was late and I needed a place to sleep. And I did that because I didn’t have a place of my own to sleep. I didn’t have a safe haven. I didn’t have a home. I’m rectifying that right now.

I walk to the Office of Imperial Commerce and buy that shithole in the Waterfront District for 2,000 gold.

There. Done. Did it. Done did it. I’ve got Nondrick a home.

Now I can end the blog.

Just kidding.

My new home, um. It ain’t much. Just a bed, a fireplace, and a table. Not even a friggin’ chair.

Still, four walls, a roof, and it’s mine. Besides, I can cozy it up a bit, right? I start going through my pockets and putting my carefully collected items around the room.

On my bedpost, I put my hourglass. You know, so I don’t oversleep. I also put out my crystal ball, so every morning I can see what kind of day I’ve got planned. And, I put the folded cloth I stole from the hotel in Anvil, my first hotel, down at the foot of the bed. I also put a pot on the floor. Fer, y’know.

On my table, I (awkwardly) lay out the silverware I’ve found inside dead, filthy animals. A couple forks, a knife, and a spoon. I also put out the stone pitcher and mug, and a couple pots. Guess I’ll have to buy a plate at some point, or maybe find one inside a dead rat.

Well, it certainly ain’t much, but it’s home. And hey, there’s my very own bed. I think I’ll give it a test drive.

Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day 26: Gambling Man

I’m standing in the Office of Imperial Commerce in the Market District of Imperial City, listening to a catcher’s mitt tell me that she’s got a house for sale.

A hovel, eh? I’ve worked hard for my money. I’ve picked weeds, I’ve killed wolves and women, and I’ve mushed up questionable potions for over three weeks. Do I really want to blow my wad on a hovel? A dump, maybe. A shack, perhaps. But a hovel?

I decide I’ll think about it a bit. It’s not like I can sell it later if I change my mind.

Part of the reason I’m hesitant is that the waterfront isn’t the most convenient place to live. It’s surrounded by a lake on three sides. I don’t fancy Nondrick much of a swimmer, so anytime he wants to go a-gatherin’, he’ll have to walk all the way up to the bridge and cross it to reach the outside world. And that only gives him access to the area west of the city — if I want to explore to the east I have to circle around the entire city, which takes a while. Most cities have at least two exits, but here there’s only one real way in or out.

I’ll think about it. In the meantime, let’s take some time to explore the city and see what it has to offer a guy with a full changepurse.

Like, say, gambling. Here in the arena district, you can bet money on the fights (or just watch them for fun). Two combatants, one from the BLU team and one from the RED — er, wait. One from the Blue Team and one from the Yellow Team will square off and fight until one of them is dead. I place 100 bucks on the Yellow Team (representing my own cowardice) and enter the arena.

With Nondrick watching from the balcony seats, the two combatants square off. For Yellow, a female with a two-handed axe. Blue’s champion is a guy weilding a mace. Neither have shields, so they just pummel each other’s faces with their weapons until finally, happily, the Yellow warrior fells the Blue. Nondrick won!

I rush back down to the bookie who gives me 200 gold. I doubled my investment and all it took was a man’s life being brutally and irrevocably taken! I think I’ll make another bet.

This time I bet on Blue, and I’m glad. As the combatants rush each other, I notice the Yellow warrior, a woman again, has no weapon. She’s just using her fists and her complete lack of intelligence in this fight.

[By the way, If you’re wondering how I’m watching from the arena floor while Nondrick is watching from the balcony, there’s a console command, “tfc”, that lets you leave your character and fly your camera around, noclip-like. Wish I’d known this from the beginning.]

Not surprisingly, Blue wins the round easily. I win again, and I’m up 200 gold! Clearly, I have a gift for gambling. I plunk another 100 bucks on Blue.

Immediately, I realize I’ve bet on the wrong horse. They’re both armed with one-handed axes, but the female Yellow gladiator has a shield, and the male Blue does not. Dumbass! Why don’t you have a shield with you? Borrow one from a friend if you have to, your life is on the line! I wish we could see the contestants before the fight, like you can do with racehorses. But then, I also wish racehorses would fight to the death. It’d be the best of both worlds.

The Yellow fighter strides away without even looking back, vanishing like my money just did. Dang it! Gotta win back my money! I don’t have a gambling problem, I swear.

I run back outside and bet on Blue again. This time, I think it’s a good bet. My guy has a huge two-handed hammer, and the Yellow chick has only a one-handed axe and no shield.

Wow! Blue immediately clobbers Yellow so hard she drops her weapon. Boink! While she bends down to pick it back up, he’s got a clear shot at her head! He doesn’t take it, however, perhaps being too much of a gentlemen. It doesn’t matter in the end, though, she ain’t got much game and it only takes a few more swings of his hammer to viciously pound her to death. Then he walks off, stepping on her face in the process.

So, I guess he’s not a gentleman after all. But who cares, he’s my personal hero because I just won another 100 gold! I’m three for four today! And I’ve never even put points into my Luck attribute!

One more match and then I gotta go. I swear. This is the last time I bet on people murdering each other today. I do not have a gambling problem.

I put my money on Yellow this time, feeling they’re due for a win. You can watch the entire fight here on YouTube, including some thoughtful reactions from Nondrick in the booth after the match. I won’t spoil it, but once again, someone thought it would be a good idea to show up without a weapon. Though this same someone appears to teleport during the match, a clever move, the outcome is never truly in doubt.

Okay, that’s all the bloodshed I want to see today (this is a lie: I want to stay and keep gambling). That hovel on the Waterfront seems more appealing now, being so close to the Arena. That was fun. Reminds me of that To The Death feature some guy used to do on some website.

Even outside the Arena, people are getting in on the action, and I watch a lizard and a lady wearing a bra spar for a bit. They tell me they’re busy training. I’d like to suggest they try training with weapons, because fists just aren’t the way to go. I’ve just seen the proof.

I head over to the city’s Arboretum, which is quite lovely [YouTube]. Along with all the lovely statues, trees, plants, and other foliage, I notice a sewer grate in the ground, leading to the tunnels under the city. I decide to take a look. You know, I don’t want to just visit the cheesy tourist traps like the Arboretum, I want to really experience this city! I want to see the grit and the grime, the filth and the stink, the shadowy underworld of this gleaming city. Otherwise It’d be like going to New York and not checking out the subway, or going to San Francisco and not checking out Oakland.

Immediately, I’m attacked by a giant rat. So it is like the New York subway.

Wow, swanky city indeed, even the rats are born with silver spoons in their intestines. It’s so damn classy down here.

I find some other junk in a couple rotting crates — a hand scythe, a couple covered pots, a stone pitcher, a pickaxe… someday these will adorn my home. Possibly some day very soon, if I decide to buy the hovel.

I come across some mudcrabs and dispatch them with fireballs. I come to a door that informs me it leads to Bloodworks, which is directly under the arena. Maybe I could meet some of the gladiators, and thank them for killing people so that I may make fill my pockets with gold.

Or, maybe I should get the hell out of here. One corpse dangles from the ceiling, another appears to be nailed to a wall. In an adjacent room, I hear the creaking of bones and see a skeleton pacing slowly about.

Time to creep back out the way I came.

It’s getting late as I finally make it to the waterfront to check out the hovel firsthand. It doesn’t look like much, but the view is nice.

I’m still not sure if I should buy it. In the meantime, I need to find a place to rest for the night. I stroll along the Waterfront, where some pirates sing to me and rudely insinuate that my pants are, as they put it, “fancy.” A few minutes later I find an inn, called the Bloated Float. It’s actually a boat anchored to the dock that’s been converted to a restaurant and inn. How novel! I’m a tourist after all, I guess.

The rooms are 10 gold for the night, so after a quick meal and a drink, I head down to my bunk for some sleep. In the morning, this message greets me, appearing before my eyes.

Ah, crap. Is this game still trying to make me do quests? Haven’t I made it clear that’s not my scene? Sigh. I’ll just do what I always do, ignore it and carry on with my day.

Then this guy greets me, appearing outside my door. A big ass dude with a big ass sword, wearing some impressive-looking armor. He’s… not going to be easy to ignore.

It looks like adventure finally found me. It looks like my luck’s run out.


Interlude with a Vampire

This is your character.

This is your character on porphyric hemophilia.

Any questions?

My main character in Oblivion (who you can see in the first link above) was named Murderin’ Jim. I created a custom class for him called “Murderer”. He was, as you might imagine, not the nicest guy. I put him through the Thieves Guild missions and the Assassins Guild missions, and by the time he was finished he was not only not nice, but was extremely powerful. He was also a vampire for a while.

It’s fun being a vampire in the game, and I encourage everyone to try it, even for just a few levels. At first, it seems like a hassle: you take sun damage, you have to be extremely careful about fast-traveling, and if you don’t feed for a few days you really start looking ghoulish (see the second link above), which makes people refuse to talk to you or even attack you. It makes it hard to do business or get new quests.

It does come with a number of perks, though, in the form of increased strength, invisibility, night-vision and life-detect, charm spells, etc.

I was thinking it might be interesting for Nondrick to become a vampire. There are some pretty big hurdles, though. First off, there are only a couple ways to become a vampire. First, if you play the assassin’s guild missions, you are offered the opportunity, but there’s no way Nondrick will be sneaking around killing people. Or even sneaking around being nice to people. It’s not really his thing.

You can also become a vampire though combat — if a vampire attacks you, there’s a small chance you’ll contract the disease. You can cure it easily enough at the outset — getting blessed at an altar will cure all your ills — but if you don’t, in a few days you’ll become a vampire.

Curing the disease after you’ve become a vampire is a huge headache due to the quest attached to it, and Nondrick doesn’t do quests. Not that it matters, since there’s relatively little chance that Nondrick will ever come in contact with vampires anyway, because he doesn’t do caverns and forts, either.

So, just for kicks, I thought I’d save a new game and enter in the cheat codes to give him vampirism, just to see how he’d look as the disease progressed.

And here is the result. Not a good look for a guy who is already not a good-looker.

Living in Oblivion

Sorry For the Delays

Hey. Sorry I haven’t updated in a while, but I just haven’t had a good stretch of time to play Oblivion and very little time to write. I should be able to get on it this weekend and have some new entries start rolling in early next week. I appreciate the patience!