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.


  1. Awesome post! I just saw the video of his arrival to the Imperial City!

  2. Amazing. Hope to see another real soon!

  3. Nondrock is the music of the future.

  4. Another awesome post, keep ’em up, I love reading these. :D

  5. Awesome blog. Been checking every day for updates…

    You should know, by the way, that I’m out £150 as a result of Nondrick (£20 for Oblivion and another £130 for a graphics card to get it above 10fps). Not to mention every hour of my free time being eaten :)

    Anyway, looks like everything’s coming up Nondrick.

    He even has his own Faithful wolf-bait…er Steed. (though he might want to think about investing in a “heal target” spell unless he wants to become a pedestrian again after a few bandit/creature encounters).

    Hope the weather turns so he can do some sightseeing. The Imperial palace has a wide selection of publicly accessible corridors and guards telling you to keep the noise down.

    The Shack might not be the best choice of home for him though – without fast travel it’s a hell of a commute across town to get back to the stables and go ingredient hunting, unless he wants to swim to work. Plus there’s three more cities for him to be sarcastic about before settling down.

  6. jackrabbit says:

    money money money! every things coming up Nondrick!

  7. Hey, this stuff is great. I check every hour or so to see if there are updates. You really should consider updating it more often. I am going on vacation so you can have a break for two weeks.

    Cheers, Andy

  8. DON’T buy the hovel. Seriously, at the very LEAST, get the smallest, cheapest place you can afford that has walls that are more than just planks. If you don’t, you’ll regret it come winter-time!

  9. It seems fitting that a significant milestone in Nondrick’s life (entering the city for the first time) occurs on the 25th day of his life, so I think he should start planning a really spectacular party for his 50th. Arguably that sounds a little bit like a quest, but as quests go, planning your own party is about as justifiable as can be.

  10. Emo.Eats.The.Sky says:

    I actually quite like Bruma. And theres a great, cheap house….
    Anyway, DONT get that peice-o-shit shack in the Imperial City.
    Cheydinhal is always nice.

  11. Martijn says:

    Great entry :) It gets better and better for ol’ Nondrick :p Keep up the good work and you can count on me to read it ;)

  12. Another great milestone in the exciting adventures of Nondrick’s life. Brilliant stuff, Chris, thanks a lot! :)

  13. “It’s breaking one rule — NPCs, except for Imperial Legion Soldiers, don’t have horses.”

    The Black Horse Couriers have horses, too (the ones that run between cities, that is).

  14. One of the royalties rides a horse I believe as she travels from town to town.

  15. Great entry. I, too, have clicked aghast as I concocted yet another unaccountably valuable flask of Grapey Cheese Glop.

  16. an i right in thinking that the last update before this was called “close calls and waterfalls”? because it jumped from day 18 to 25 for me =

    anyway, great post.

  17. Von Dozier says:

    I’ve definitely seen a few NPCs along the roads who travel on horses.

  18. A blog about Oblivion? Awesome. I have bought the expansion pack and it rocks!

  19. Alexander says:

    Yes! Perfect idea! Let’s live next door to the assassins! XD

  20. nancymarie says:

    My $0.02 about the Imperial City shack: it looks like total shit, but it’s the house most used for my games. IC has it all and storing everything in the shack makes it damn convenient for buying/selling goods when you don’t have a high strength. And think of all the alchemical ingredients nearby!

    Don’t feel too guilty about buying and using a horse. Girls prefer a man with his own ride. ;)

  21. Alexander says:

    I say the shack is for poor people. But then again, Nondrick ain’t exactly Mr. Moneybags…
    Well, when he’s a great ingredianteerer, he’ll get Rosethorn Hall, just you wait!
    You can afford the shack now, but have you thought of furniture?

  22. Jaded Empath says:

    Okay, my wife (just above) said it quite well; think on it like this: you made A THOUSAND SEPTIMS in ONE DAY, and I’m not sure you emptied out ALL the ingredients in *just* the Market district’s shops (don’t forget Three Brothers Trading…).

    Also, there IS the issue of “No Fast-Travel” – that lovely manor in Anvil is *very* out-of-the-way (wasn’t it three days worth of travel from Anvil to ImpCit?)

    And then the biggest argument for the Waterfront Hovel is the lack of ‘quest accomplishment’ prerequisites; I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure every other house can only be purchased AFTER one has ‘completed some helpful errands’ for the Count/Countess as well as needing *fame* to qualify; it’s going to be difficult for Nondrick to ‘get his foot in the door’ for any of those houses.

    And finally, I find once you get the wall hangings and other appointments, the shack is quite cozy! :)

  23. Walternat0r says:

    I think Nondrick should go for the hovel, as Jaded said he needs to do something notable and slightly heroic to buy any others. Besides, it’s ever NPC’s dream to live in Imperial City!

    Love the Nondrick tales by the way, have been reading since about day 4 but never been arsed to post :-) Keep up the good work!

  24. another cool entry. I am, though, kinda confused with the furniture part. Apparently, this shack that I will never afford does not come with furniture. So how would you get furniture???

  25. nancymarie says:

    @Jordon – The furnishings are available to buy from Sergius Verus, who works at the Three Brothers Trade Goods, or you can steal 3 of the furnishing upgrades from other people around the Imperial City.

  26. Alexander says:

    Just for clarification, I’m not Jaded Empath’s wife, I assume he meant nancymarie…

    Just thought I’d clear that up that I am NOT gay…

    (to avoid a retort) Not that there is anything wrong with that

  27. jackrabbit says:

    HEY! prejudice against gays! *re reads post* oh… sorry. (not gay- have a friend that is, not a bad thing)

  28. Everything’s coming up Milhouse! I mean Nondrick!

  29. Loving the blog, even though I’ve never played Oblivion or it’s sequels before. It’s absolute hilarity. I find that listening to unsuitably EPIC music like, say, Ghost Love Score by Nightwish while reading the blog heightens the non-adventure experience. And the hilarity.

  30. I adore this blog. It was a few weeks ago that I stumbled across it and have been checking it almost daily so far. For some reason it makes Oblivion so much more appealing.

    It even inspired me to try out my own alchemist character. I didn’t start as an NPC but now I’m tempted to start over again and try it out…

    <3 Nondrick.

  31. Soliloquy says:

    I cannot believe the angst you went through deciding on whether to buy a horse or not.

    After seeing how much you spent on bread, apples, pears, cheese, grapes, carrots, lettuce, and other general groceries I wonder if you realise they are available in the boxes all around you for nothing…

  32. Buy the house! Buy the house!

  33. Your decision to buy a horse is entirely justifiable within the NPC rules, there are several who travel around on horse apart from the obvious Legion/Black Horse Courier types. One of the Countesses commutes between cities and there’s a cat race woman who you can find on the ring road. I don’t think she’s involved in any quest at all, but within several of the quests NPC’s will take to horseback as well. Though if unhorsed for some reason they sometimes suffer amnesia and leave the horse standing around and walk the rest of the way.

  34. Though it’s kinda a middle ground and also could be considered cheating:

    You already have a few mods installed. There is at least one that will make the imperial city have a halfway decent house for living in. That way you get the location without the crappiness that comes with living in a shack.

  35. Knimoax says:

    Why must our protagonist settle for a shack? I say, if its a decent and non expensive house you seek then Leyawiin is your best bet. No quests involved!

  36. lemmingman says:

    What Vintus said! What Vintus said!

  37. Not sure how I feel about Nondrick buying that shack… but it would be a pretty centrally located house….

    I vote for Cheydenhall too, if it must be an in game house… or maybe use the first version of my haven?

    With the mesh for the second version the interior is much larger =s= can send the nif if you want it =s=

    Also that is a nicer area.. but I do love the waterfront … =argh= =lol=

  38. great! i love that. keep it up, man

    i liked taht you named the horse beaker, and that the weather was so bad, even after all the way you did to come there

  39. jackrabbit says:

    hey is fast-traveling a cheat in game or has it finally become an option?
    when i bought morrowind i could not be stuffed traveling the distance just to finish a quest and often fast traveled. is it allowed in oblivion?

  40. Alexander says:

    Fast traveling is available if you are outdoors with no enemies around. To keep the realism though, he walks the way. NPCs don’t use fast travel…Or maybe they do! We could never tell I guess!

  41. Alexander says:

    Also, Leyawiin is waaaay to far fo Nondrick. The next 9 days of posts will be walking to Leyawiin and trying to avoid all the quests on the way… Though being close to Black Marsh means it has a ton of ingrediants. Maybe it’s worth the walk. Imperial City’s outskirts are kind of bear of any ingrediants.

  42. Soliloquy says:

    Imperial City’s outskirts are kind of bear of any ingrediants.

    apart from all the boxes…

  43. jackrabbit says:

    thanks. only a complete lack of funds and a unimpressive computer stops me from killing daedra

  44. It occurs to me that your approach to playing Nondrick is exactly how I like to play all crpgs. Not as npcs as such, and not avoiding the quests, but trying to make an actual life in the world provided to me by the game. Immersion. That’s what turns me on the most. So in that sense, reading your blog has allowed me to experience Oblivion without all the bother of buying, installing and slogging through it. Thanks!

  45. I do have to imagine that Ham Watermelon surprise DOES taste worse then Corny Pear juice.

    Keep up the great work man. This is (almost) as good as Concerned in my opinion

    *RIP* Frohman

  46. Alexander says:

    Maybe Chris will do another comic with Frohman some day :D


    *User was slain, “Who am I kidding?”*

  47. Alexander says:

    Also, I just noticed how it was raining hard as you crossed the bridge and it was suddenly sunny when you were in the city…

  48. Elblanco says:

    Great work on all of the entries for this so far. I love how you have touched on all the spots where Oblivion is far from fantasy realism.

    I would also like to say there is a Kvatch rebuilt mod no tes nexus at

  49. concrete_d says:

    I just read through all the entries, and this has quickly become one of my favorite blogs.

  50. Ooo ooo! Nondrick needs to think ahead to small business ownership:

    Surely the mark of an Oblivion NPC is to park their keester on a stool all day and then wander aimlessly about the town square in the evening? Besides, who wants to wander about the countryside? There are quests out there just waiting to knock you over the head and direct you with their obnoxious red arrows.

  51. I just read this, it is awesome, I just can’t come up with a good comment at the moment and keep this up because I can’t get enough of it, thanks

  52. Awesome work yet again… This blog has “forced” me to buy a GeForce 7300 (yeah, it sucks..) and the game, and I have to say that it’s awesome! Well worth the $60 I spent. Anyway, don’t buy the shack. Just don’t. Buy any other house but that. Also, I hope you remember that the house doesn’t just cost 2000 gold. Nondrick deserves better.

  53. Hey! There’s nothing wrong with living next to assassins! My character was leader of the Dark Brotherehood, and she was very picky about keeping Cheydenhall nice.
    I even got in a huff when the Oblivion gates opened around the city. I kind of got attached to the town =P
    I spent way too much time on Oblivion again when i started reading this blog.

  54. haha.. u inspire me to play oblivion again

  55. Alexander says:

    Don’t you think it would be a little hard living near assassins though? Every night, all that stomping at night around from the vampires and warewolves in the Brotherhood! And that’s not even mentioning what would happen if you piss off those neighbors…

  56. Great post! =)


    You’ll definately regret it. After all, even NPCs travel around: you definately hear talk of “merchant routes” if you discuss rumors.

    On another note, a reliable source of income is betting on arena matches. They always have a predictable pattern, like Yellow, Yellow, Blue, Blue, Yellow, Yellow, Blue…

  58. jackrabbit says:

    yea but that could be considered cheating and would ruin Nondrick’s chance at making it big as an alchemist

  59. Genseric says:

    10 Dollars a pop? a typo perhaps?

  60. Isnt galloping on a horse cheating? :P

  61. Alexander says:

    That’s true, gaurds riding horses only trot. Though, the Black Horse Couriors run, they run on foot too (When you kill thier horse)

  62. Alexander says:

    And I just noticed what you said.

    It’s not a console CHEAT. It’s just a console COMMAND.

  63. Killa-Ewok says:

    I wonder what happens if vampires attack poor, poor Nondrick. Nothing good, I think.

  64. Alexander says:

    That would be terrible! If he wanted to cure it, he’d have to *gulp* do a quest!!!

    NPC vampires don’t feed, so how would he be able to?!

  65. Shadow Addict says:


    Vintus, is that you?

  66. Emo,Guy.Eats.The.Sky. says:

    @ Alexander
    I’m sorry,i must of missed that in the weeks of mt gameplay…

    Oh, and since i hear your gay, what you doing tonight???

  67. Sky Stryke says:

    just to clarify the only houses that require being famous are skingrad and chorrol and the only house that requires a quest is anvil everything else is based on disposition and Gold

  68. The modification that Nondrick is using is part of Modular Oblivion Enhanced, in which there are werewolves wandering some areas. Nondrick has most likely disabled that particular part of the modification. My favorite part though, is becoming a Lich.

  69. Alexander says:

    Only problem with Lichdom is it cures Vampirism and Lycanthropy. On the bright side, Vampirism is easy to get and you can re-install the addon for Lycanthropy.

    Also, who the hell is Vintus?

  70. aNewFan says:

    OMG i never knew this blog existed! Thanks to the guy who linked it in KOTAKU!

    Wow, Start at post 1!

    Lol, LOOVE IT!

  71. Waffles says:

    Chris, you’re a genius. I’ve read all of Living in Oblivion so far and laughed all the way. I check for updates twice every day (it rhymes!).

    As for Nonny, if I were him, I’d make some money, get a facelift from the Mages guild, then buy the Bravil house. Sure, Bravil doesn’t have the nicest count and the best environment, but it’s cheap and there’s lots of ingredients around it. 7,900 including upgrades for the house. I’d say that’s nice for Nondrick.

  72. Alexander says:

    By now, I’m almost afraid what’ll happen if Nonny gets a fully upgraded house…

    He might just take all the ingrediants sitting everywhere and ruin the decoration :(

  73. james aka hybridfan on TESNEXUS says:


  74. Please add still more to mix.

    Thank you

    (quietly praying that every Team Fortress server on Planet Earth goes down this evening)

  75. Alexander says:

    Better hurry, we’re running out of things to criticize in this post

  76. Killa-Ewok says:

    Quite right, we just have to tell Chris what to do from now on.

    Have Nondrick eating a Poisoned Apple. NPCs do it too.

  77. Please keep updating this, and as an idea; why don’t you upload the save every once in a while? So people can use Nondrick as a character!

  78. Soliloquy says:

    Chaps face facts, with stained fingers dear ole’ Nonny has been arrested and it’s probably quite tricky getting messages out of jail, when you only have veggies to trade with

    p.s. his 2k was probably confiscated by some not to trustworthy guards…

  79. ChillaGorilla says:

    I NEED MORE! ^^

  80. Alexander says:

    Let’s see.
    3 game days = 72 game hours
    1 game minute = 2 real seconds
    1 game hour = 60 game minutes
    2 seconds * 60 seconds/minute (1 in game hour) = 120 seconds
    120 seconds * 72 hours = 8640 seconds

    So 3 game days is 8,640 real seconds, 144 minutes, or 2 hours and 24 minutes. Going down that mountain on foot would have been tedious.

  81. TheCheat says:

    When is the next one coming out? I know it hasn’t been long, but it feels like FOREVER!

  82. I love this blog. It’s very well writing, and highly entertaining. I hope to see more updates in the future, keep up the great work!

  83. Killa-Ewok says:


  84. Alexander says:

    Don’t worry, he just updated 1fort like 8 times, so he’s sure to do this soon, right…?


  85. Congratulations on your new mare, “Beaker”! I hope she does well for you! :-)
    By the way, NPC’s do fast travel. But only in certain situations. If they are your partner for certain quest trips. (It’s irritating how Admiring Fan looses any improvements you give him!) If you do the quests with the twins and the Benirus guy, sure they walk, but if you Fast Travel, they arrive at the same time you do, so you don’t have to wait for them. Walking with them as an escort though, gives you more melee chances. Some people seem to think of “Fast Travel” as being like teleportation. But to me, it’s always seemed to be more Indiana Jones/Bundy Family like, when a map scene is used to depict the mostly uneventful trip. Oh, would doing “Raid on Greyland” break a rule? You get a free house then if you do it. He could always claim that lonely house near the Nine’s HQ. It doesn’t show on maps, so no Fast Travel can happen with it.

  86. Magickz horsey?

  87. Teleporting is a balancing act for us. ,

  88. The recipe names you listed were the best.

    Also, a great expression could be, “Even if you don’t get a house tomorrow, you got a horse today.”


  1. […] 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, […] […]