Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day Six: Hungry Like the Wolf

A new day! To the south, adventure beckons! So, Nondrick heads north. You know how he is about adventure.

A quick stop at the Wayshrine of Arkay buffs my health, and, tiring of the usual breakfast of beef and berries, I attempt to take down a deer, at range, with a fireball. I score a hit but it flees into the woods before I can do any more damage.

Ah, well! I’m optimistic that the day will yield an impressive crop of ingredients to sell. Just look at this fertile land!

Unfortunately, dead grass doesn’t fetch a high price on the market.

A long stroll more or less directly north leads me to a small farm on a large estate, and the eerily accurate voice in my head tells me it’s Lord Drad’s Estate, near the enticingly named Bleak Mine. I don’t see anyone around, not even in the worker’s quarters, and it’s tempting to start plucking vegetables out of the ground all willy-nilly since I haven’t found much of anything to sell yet today.

But I’m not playing Grand Theft Onion. Nay, this is Oblivion, and I want to make my way by harvesting the unclaimed wilderness and occasionally stealing the clothing off fresh corpses. It’s an honest, simple living, and I’m an honest, simple NPC. No stealing!

From Drad’s pad, I head east for a bit, still finding little to sell. It’s already past noon, and my stomach is growling. Or maybe the growling is coming from the wolf that charges out of the dead grass directly ahead of me.

This time, it looks like no one is going to leap to my rescue. Luckily, I’ve got a shield and sword for just such an eventuality! I block as the wolf lunges a few times, then swing at it wildly when it leans back on its haunches. My blows don’t do a whole lot of damage, and it manages to take a couples bites out of me, but the outcome is never in doubt. Triumphant, I skin the beast of it’s valuable pelt. Finally, something I can bank on.

Another long stroll leads me to Brittlerock Cave, and, thinking I might find some ‘shrooms within, I hesitantly step into the darkness.

Inside the door I find a small stool and a sack, which contains some clothing and a torch. I light the torch and move slowly down into the cave.

Further down, I find a chest. Inside: twenty gold pieces. And there’s still no one around. Twenty gold, to me, is a small fortune, especially with the day I’m having. It’s two nights of lodging at the Brina Cross Inn. It’s a new cuirass or an iron bow. It’s an obscene amount of ham.

No! I will resist. Damn this world, always throwing opportunities for thievery at me.

I creep a bit deeper into the cave, finally spotting one of its occupants skulking around in the gloom. A small, bent figure paces about just beyond the light of my torch. A daedra.

Okay, the picture sucks, but I’m not getting any closer just to get a clear shot. Trust me, it’s a scary oogy monster that I don’t want to mess with.

As I head back out the way I came, I stop again near the chest. Stealing is wrong, but what about… stealing from evil enchanted monsters? What the hell is a Scamp gonna do with twenty bucks, anyway? Stroll into First Edition and buy a copy of The Lusty Argonian Maid?

What the hell. I pocket the loot, ensuring the day hasn’t been an entire waste while simultaneously striking a blow against the evils of the realm by seizing their ill-gotten assets. Who says one NPC can’t make a difference?

I also try on the clothing I found in the sack. It’s a shirt with suspenders.

Mm, yeah. I don’t think the exposed midriff is Nondrick’s look.

I’ve wandered pretty far north and east today, and it’s nearly nighttime, so I make my way back to the Inn. Another wolf leaps out of the bushes and I manage to kill it without much difficulty. This one, in addition to its pelt, is carrying two gold pieces. Crabs with lockpicks and now wolves with pocket change. The mysteries of nature.
Most of my spoils for the day are wolf pelts and stolen coins, though I mix up some ingredients, including some mushrooms I picked in the cave, and manage to sell the resulting restorative potions to Christophe for a profit of 10 gold. All together, I’ve got 72 gold at the end of the day.

That’s not bad, it really isn’t, but I’m troubled. So little of my earnings today came from gathering ingredients and selling potions. I can’t count on robbing evil imps and slaying weathy wolves every day. My luck just won’t hold out very long if I have to explore caves and get into brawls.

As much as I like the Brina Cross, my career is going nowhere here. I’m gonna have to move on.

I decide. Come morning, I’m leaving. I’m going to Skingrad.

Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day Five, Cont’d: Mixing It Up

I reach Anvil without incident, and head to Morvayn’s Peacekeepers, a weapon and armor shop near the north gate. I chat with Varel Morvayn for a bit, hoping to get a discount by boosting his disposition towards me. It turns out, he loves being coerced. This guy owns a store fill of deadly weapons and it just makes him all kinds of happy to get threatened by a fish-faced weakling! Ah, well, it takes all kinds. I sell him my three axes and buy myself a short sword. I give him 3 gold to repair my rusty dagger and my new fur boots and cuirass. I also buy a fur sheild to complete the rugged, furry adventurer look.

Look out, wolves and crabs! Nondrick is armed and dangerous! Don’t mess with me or… or… or someone else will probably show up and kill you!

I swing by the Count’s Arms to sell my ingredients, of which I have a great many after yesterday. After buying some cheese and an orange to go with my supply of crab meat, I’m at 101 gold pieces! Triple digits! A far cry from just a couple days ago.

Now, watch this clever shit. I head to the Mage’s Guild and buy a novice Mortar & Pestle (42 gp). I also buy an apple and a loaf of bread (2 gold each), knowing they both have fatigue restoring properties. I grind the apple and bread with my mortar and pestle, creating — no, no, not mushy apple-bread porridge — but a potion of Restore Fatigue! That’s right. I’m an alchemist now. Helllllls yeah.� And with those 4 gp worth of ingredients, I have created a magical potion that is worth… wait for it…

potion price

Uh. 3 gp? Hm. That… that definitely didn’t work like I thought it would. I guess I need to be a better alchemist to make expensive potions. Crap, I really thought that would pay off. In fact, I have to sell it for only 2 gp because these guys are cheapskates.

Ah, well! I needed a mortar and pestle anyway, and I’ve still got 57 gold left. Lesson learned. I briefly consider buying a bow and some arrows, but I decide to hold off for now.

I head back to the Brina Cross Inn, exploring a bit on my way back. I find a cave without even seeing it — I mean, I suddenly know it’s there but actually have to search around to find the entrance.  I’m very insightful. I psychically deduce its name (Hrota Cave) and poke around in it, hoping to find some mushrooms. I don’t find much except signs that someone lives in this cave: a barrel with torches in it (I take one), a chest with a few pieces of gold (I leave them), and a bedroll near a campfire. Yep, definitely someone’s pad — I’d better bail. Only an adventurer would poke around in a cave knowing there are bandits or marauders living in it.

I get back to the Inn around sundown — have some food, stare at Arielle, even though we have nothing new to talk about, and have a bottle of ale. Whoah! The inebriation mod kicks in, big time:

Man, a single bottle of ale hits me harder than a two-handed axe. Either Arielle slipped me a mickey, or that mod might need some tweaking. Perhaps taking pity on the poor, drunken, amazingly ugly traveler, Christophe doesn’t even seem interested in charging me for the room. I do buy some beef, bread, and cheese from him for the next day’s travels, then watch drunkenly as the ladies discuss mudcrabs and how much they don’t like them. Par-tay.

Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day Five: Reversal of Fortune

A lovely night of free sleep at Atrene Camp, and I’m ready to start Day Five. I’ve got lots of ingredients and two axes to sell, so I think I’ll head into Anvil. Maybe I’ll have enough cash afterwards to pick up more than lunch.

As I head toward the main road, I see my Khajiit buddy loping up the road toward me! Maybe he finally wants to talk to me?

Yeah, he does. “Your money or your life,” he says. Wait, haven’t we been through this once already?

Well, it worked last time: I tell him I have no money. Now, he’ll wander off and our strange relationship will continue, right? Ha ha! Good times.

Kill You For Free

Ruh-roh. What the hell, man? I thought we had an agreement! You were the gruff criminal with the heart of gold, and I was the fish-faced putz in the vest! We were a great team!

Hacked by Axe

I guess he doesn’t feel that way. He attacks with his ginormous axe, and I backpedal, trying to ready one of the axes I got from the skeletons. I attempt to yeild, hoping for a truce, but he’s not having any. Mere feet from the corpse of the wolf he saved me from, he slams his great axe into me, drawing blood and blurring my vision.

Axe Fight

Okay. If it’s gonna be a fight, then it’s gonna be a fight. No one to save me this time except me. That’s life in Cyrodiil, baby. Quite often you wind up going toe-to-toe with the people you know best.
Suddenly, something huge and iron fills my field of vision — and it’s not the highwayman’s axe. It’s the Imperial Legion soldier I’ve seen patrolling the main road from time to time! He’s come sprinting out of the undergrowth, rushing right past me and swinging his huge honkin’ sword at the Khajiit! Unbelievable. He circles around and slams his weapon into the highwayman’s back.

The Khajiit, foolishly, continues to target me, instead of defending himself against the much larger, pointier threat. And in a just a few moments, it’s over. The highwayman is dead, and the soldier sheaths his sword, gives me a look, then marches back off into the trees to find his horse.

Well, that’s that. Too bad. I’d sort of gotten used to seeing the gruff Khajiit skulking around every time I passed. He was merciful to me, once, and even saved me from a wolf. It’s a shame, and it’s sad, how things ended up for him.

On the other hand…

One man’s misunderstood life and violent, tragic death is another man’s free fur armor and giant honkin’ battle-axe! Awww yeah! That’s life in Cyrodiil, baby! One minute you’re mugging travelers, the next, a bald twerp is leaving your naked body next to the road and heading into town to sell your belongings.

Turns out, the soldier who saved me is headed back to Anvil, so I walk along with him. Funny. The Khajiit saved me from the wolf, and the soldier saved me from the Khajiit. Who knows? Someday I might need saving from the soldier.

That’s life in Cyrodiil, baby.

Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day Four: Go Northwest Young Man

Since I scoured the area south of the Brina Cross Inn yesterday, today I’m going to head north and west. I figure if the ingredient gathering doesn’t go well, at least I can come back down the coastline and maybe liberate some crab of their meat to make up for it.

Atrene Camp

After a breakfast of ham and strawberries (breakfast of Champions of Cyrodiil), I take the main road west and then take the path forking to the north, where the Khajiit highwayman is still skulking around. He still doesn’t want to talk to me. A few minutes later I stumble upon a camp. There are a few bedrolls and a tent, but no one around — maybe this is where the Khajiit hangs out when he’s not holding people up. Inside the tent is a locked chest. I brush the crab-flecks off my lockpick, and pick the lock. Inside, there are 10 gold pieces, a silver urn, and a repair hammer.

I hesitate to steal the contents. First off, it probably belongs to that highwayman who was nice enough to not kill me. Second, they probably used to belong to whoever he robbed. It just doesn’t feel right. I do try to borrow the repair hammer to fix my rusty dagger, which took some abuse during my crab fight. I fix my dagger but break the repair hammer — oops. I had intended to put it back. Maybe I can buy one later and stick it back in the chest. Or, maybe I can just run away before anyone spots me here.

crowhaven map

I head west again, spotting a few more deer, but none close enough to sling a fireball at or chase down with my knife. Ahead of me, up an incline, squats the crumbling remains of a fort. I creep up to investigate — I haven’t been finding a ton of ingredients, but they do seem to grow more around large rocks or walls. I catch a glimpse of something walking around just inside the wall of the fortress. I creep a bit closer as it walks by in the other direction. It’s a skeleton!

Wow, an actual member of the undead! Maybe Crowhaven is a hideout for necromancers or vampires or something. It doesn’t see me as it shambles back and forth, and I wonder if it’s a skeleton archer. If so, and if I could defeat it somehow, I’d have a bow without having to buy one in a shop. As I peer at it, though, I see that it seems to be carrying an axe and not a bow.

That’s when another axe hits me right in the face.

skeleton attack

It catches me completely off guard, as axes to the face often do. I was so intent on watching the one skeleton I didn’t notice the other one charging me. They’re using velociraptor tactics! Clever girl… I run backwards down the hill, causing the original skeleton to spot me as well, so now I’ve got two angry piles of bones after me. Run away!

Skeleton attack

Wait! I’m an NPC, not a… not a… running away… thing. I’ve seen plenty of NPCs fight foolishly to their own deaths! I should be no different. So, after running away for a while, I turn and stand my ground.

The skeletons are pretty slow, and have a big wind up before they swing their axes, so I manage to get some slashes in without taking any big hits. I use a combination of my Flare spell (a wimpy fireball) and dagger attacks to take one down, and cast Blessed Word (my birthsign’s Turn Undead spell) to repulse the other. As it flees I repeatedly stab it in the backbone until it flops into pieces. My health slid down to about half, so I cast a heal spell on myself a couple times, and then pick up the two axes. One is iron, the other steel, and together they’re worth maybe 20 or so gold resale.

I’ve survived my first real fight but I don’t want to push my luck by checking out Crowhaven. Instead, I continue west until I reach the ocean. There, I find something else: an ancient Ayleid ruin called Garlas Malatar.

Garlas Malatar

The Ayleids were an ancient race who inhabited Tamriel long, long ago. Also known as Heartland High Elves, they were tribal, and their downfall is often attributed to OH HOLY CRAP! JACKPOT! THERE’S ALL SORTS OF INGREDIENTS TO PICK AROUND HERE!

I paddle excitedly into the water and start stuffing sacred lotus seeds and water hyacinth nectar into my pants as fast as I can. A couple mudcrabs clack over when I climb back onto land, and are dispatched from a safe distance with my Flare spell. Suckas! I head south along the coastline, finding new clusters of herbs and crabs every couple hundred feet. I think this will prove to be a pretty lucrative day. And hey! At long, long last, the sun makes an appearance.

Just in time for it to set. I’ve wandered pretty far south, actually, and I’m almost back in Anvil again. I don’t want to shell out for a room, so I decide to down some crab meat for energy and double-time it back to Atrene camp. It’s closer than the Brina Cross and I’ll be able to save ten gold. Provided, of course, no other bandits are using the camp when I get there.

It’s full dark when I make it back to the road, zip past the highwayman again (guess he’s working the night shift). As I get close to the camp, though, something springs out of the bushes right at me. A wolf! The first live one I’ve seen. I backpedal madly. I’ve been running the whole way from the coast, so my fatigue is very low (thanks to a mod for that) and I won’t be doing much damage with my dagger (or axe) if I connect.

As it turns out, I don’t have to connect at all, because another growling bundle of fur meets the wolf head-on. The Khajiit highwayman, swinging his mighty, two-handed axe, makes short work of the wolf! My hero!

See, he’s all gruff on the exterior, but I knew he liked me! He spared my life once and just saved it again. Even if he won’t talk to me, he sure seems to care. To show my appreciation, I skin the wolf and take the pelt so I can sell it in his honor. It’s the least I can do.

Wolf with lockpick

Hey, this wolf is carrying a lockpick, just like that crab was. What the hell? Who the heck is going around trying to pick these animals?!?

Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day Three: On The Road

Map of Brina Cross

I’m up at 4am on Day Three, ready to leave Anvil behind. Look, there are plenty of nice NPCs in town. I’ve gotten to know some of them. I’ve joked with them. I’ve admired them. I’ve boasted to them. Heck, I’ve even coerced them. I don’t even dislike the actual, physical town. It has a nice statue, a lovely lighthouse, some charming buildings, some lunatics, a chapel filled with slaughtered clergy… everything a town should have.

But I can’t live here. A single, over-priced inn, and not enough employment opportunities… it’s not the place for an NPC just starting out. I’ve got to move on before I wind up blowing Penniless Olvus to get my gold piece back.

Anvil exterior

Thus, the road I shall hit! Hopefully, there’s somewhere nearby I can live on the cheap, and just commute to Anvil when I need to sell my loot or go shopping. I buy some ham (2gp) from the guy in the lobby, then head out of Anvil, north, along the darkened road.

Soldier On Horse

I pass a heavily armored Legion soldier on horseback, which is sort of reassuring. I don’t know what dangers these roads hold, so even a slow-moving cop on horseback is comforting.

A little further up the road, and around a bend, I see a small stone wall and what looks like a diverging path to the northwest. Suddenly, out of the rain dashes a Khajiit armed with an enormous battle axe. He has an interesting proposition for me:

Hmmm. I mull it over. If I choose to give him my life, he’ll probably take my money anyway. On the other hand, I have no money. I decide to tell him that. To my surprise, he mutters something about how times are so bad even an honest highwayman can’t make a living, and wanders away.

Huh. I’m sort of shocked. I thought for sure he’d gut me like a crab and pull a lockpick from my corpse, but he just turns his back and stalks off into the rain. Weird. If I were, say, an adventurer, I’d probably never have tried that approach.

I try to engage him in conversation, but he just tells me, more or less, to piss off. Around then, an actual adventurer, clad in armor and hauling his own giant axe, strolls down the road heading for Anvil. The highwayman doesn’t try to rob him; instead, they just start chit-chatting. Maybe because that Legion soldier is approaching at the same time.

This is about as close as it gets to rush hour in Cyrodiil. I leave the bustling crowd and stay on the main road until I come to a small, fenced in farmhouse with a stable and small garden. My spidey-sense tells me it’s the Brina Cross Inn, which is confirmed by a sign.

Brina Cross

I’ll be happy to get out of the rain (I’m starting to think the Gods hate me or my weather mod is broken), but if they don’t have an affordable room, I really won’t be able to stay. But, as it happens, they only charge 10 gold a night for a room! I’m saved! The owner of the inn, Christophe Marane, is even nice enough to buy the few odds and ends I’ve collected on my long, slow walk up the road. I’m back up to 17 gold, my exact starting amount. Hopefully, the ingredient gathering will be a bit more fruitful up here, and with any luck, in a few days I’ll be able to head back into Anvil for some gear.

I head right back out in the pissy weather with a new lease on life. I can make this work! I’m sure of it.

I scour the countryside to the south of the inn, not finding an overwhelming amount of fine pickables, but doing a little better than I have lately. I also find a spot with a nice view of Anvil from up on high. Again, too bad the weather is so gloomy or it’d make a nice picture. Er. A nice memory. I circle back around and hit up the fields to the north of the inn. I spot a deer, but it spots me as well, and dashes off into the undergrowth. Someday I’ll own a bow and at least one arrow. This I so swear!

As I turn my head to watch the deer flee I realize I can see, in the distance, the city of Kvatch. Ah, Kvatch! Long may she stand. I’m sure nothing terrible will ever happen there.

I head back to the inn. On the road, I see the Legion soldier again, dismounted this time. He’s killed a wolf, it seems, and so I hurry over like the pathetic bottom-feeder I am, and skin the carcass. Then it’s back to the inn, where I sell my haul to Christophe. Deduct the price of the room, and I’m still up 32 gp at the end of the day. Not a bad rebound. I eat some bread, cheese, and grapes, then have a chat with an inn resident, the lovely and alluring Arielle Jurard.

Arielle is hot

Frankly, I can’t remember what we talked about. I’m sure I joked as much as I boasted, and admired as many times as I coerced. But she coerced my heart.

Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day Two: Taking a Dive

(Note: From here on, some pictures are clickable for larger versions.)

Time to start Day Two, and I start it by stealing stuff. I don’t loot the entire hotel room, but I do help myself to the folded cloth on the dresser.

Cloth

Look, it’s a hotel. They expect you to take the folded cloth. I also snag a sweet roll off a table in the hallway before heading downstairs to the somewhat crowded lobby. I’m still a little peeved at the cost of the room and I’m determined to make up for it.

It’s cloudy and partly drizzly when I leave the hotel and head for the docks to begin what will hopefully be a more lucrative line of work: diving for pearls.

Anvil Docks

Now, I’m no Argonian, but I should be able to swim well enough to collect my weight in pearls, and Cyrodiil is known for its high percentage of pearl-bearing clams. I head out past the lighthouse, carefully navigate down the cliffs to the ocean, and stroll into the surf.

And, after paddling around in the water for a couple hours, it becomes apparent that there are no clams in the waters of Anvil. I don’t find Clam One. There’s nothin’ but rocks and sand and water. There aren’t even any slaughterfish!

I hate this freakin’ town. As I glumy crawl out of the water, while it’s still freakin’ raining, no less, I run into some of Anvil’s surlier natives.

A mudcrab! And two more close by. Well, luckily, I’m feeling good and stabby. This rusty old dagger isn’t ornamental! I dodge in and out of range, slashing and slicing away with my trusted dagger that I’ve never used before. Moments later, it’s over.

dead crabs against rainy sky

Who’s ya daddy? That’s right, Ugly Clown-Face Trout-Lipped Guy’s ya daddy!

crab lock

Well, that’s weird. I plunder the crab for their presumably delicious meat, and one crab has a little surprise in it. Which raises the question: exactly who was trying to pick a crab? And why?

I soon find another Nirnroot, but no clams or other ingredients. I even find another of those weird stone formations, but no pickable herbs around it. It’s already lunchtime and all I’ve collected is 3 gold pieces worth of crab meat. And it’s still raining! Is this Anvil or Seattle? I grouchily eat my stolen sweet roll and an apple for lunch, and decide I could use a pick-me-up. I head over to the lighthouse to see if I can reach the top and maybe — despite the lousy weather — see the distant spire of Imperial City’s White Gold Tower. Maybe that’ll inspire me.

Anvil Lighthouse View

I have a chat with Ulfgar Fog-Eye, the lighthouse keeper, who seems to be making a damn comfortable living by lighting a fire once a day. Nice digs, and he doesn’t seem to mind that I just walked into his house and started nosing around in his stuff. Too bad he doesn’t need an assistant; it’d be nice to earn enough money to buy a sword or maybe some sleeves. I climb the steps to the top of the lighthouse and, while I have a nice view of Anvil, I can’t see the Tower in the distance. It’s just too darn overcast.

Astoundingly, the day is about over. I head into The Flowing Bowl, and buy a loaf of bread and a wheel of cheese (4gp total) from Maenlorn, who I notice is selling my wolf pelt for 18 gp. I sold it to him for 5. Nice mark-up, jerk.

Out of curiosity, I wander into the local Magic-Mart, or as they prefer to call it, the Mage’s Guild. I’m curious to see how much a mortar and pestle costs — I could use one to combine ingredients and make potions, which often fetch a higher price than their raw components. They’re going for 43 gp here… and I only have 38 gold anyway. Plus, I don’t have any ingredients besides crab. So, a pointless exercise.

Glum, I head back to the Count’s Arms hotel, and rent a room for the night. Minus that 25 gold, I’m now down to 9. Nine friggin’gold pieces. I got here with 17, so I’m now officially operating at a loss.

When I get to the room it hasn’t even been restocked with food! The plates are empty! And no fresh folded cloth! That tears it. I’m done with Anvil. Screw this lousy burg! Tomorrow, I’m getting up early and hitting the road.

Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day One, Cont'd: Greedy for Ingredients

As Nondrick, I don’t have a whole lot of job options. I can’t start a shop — no one would ever buy anything. However, I can find things to sell to existing shops. There are some that’ll buy clothing, weapons, armor, jewels, and all sorts of other items, magic or otherwise. And, some will buy food and alchemical ingredients.

Ingredients are my best bet for making a living. I don’t have to steal or kill to get them — they grow in the wild, on farms, and even in cities. It can be dangerous wandering around in the wilderness, but hey, I’ve got a dagger. Today, I’ll explore the area northwest of Anvil and see what I can find.

Nondrick Sets Out

The sun comes out briefly as I stroll off into the waist-high grass, snagging a couple usable portions of arrowroot and aloe vera leaves from beside the road. I say “stroll” and I mean it — caps lock is off. I won’t be running everywhere like your fearless adventurers tend to, I’ll be walking like your average NPC does. It’s uh… it’s a change of pace. It’s… really incredibly slow. But hey, I figure moving slowly might give me a new appreciation for the game and I’ll see some things I’d have missed if I were sprinting through the landscape full speed.

So, I stroll. My spirits are high but are quickly dampened by 1) the rain that immediately starts falling again, and 2) the first thing I find on my expedition: the skeleton of a dead NPC.

You okay, buddy?

I’m no pessimist, but I’m definitely not taking that as a good sign. The bones are within a stones throw of the city and the unlucky wanderer is carrying one gold piece. I also manage to scrape up some bonemeal from his dead sorry ass (hey, it’s an ingredient).

Wayshrine of Mara

After some more milling around in the rain, finding jack shit, I spot a shrine in the distance and wander over (turns out to be the Wayshrine of Mara), pray (ie: click on the altar), and get a blessing from Mara (a poof of light) that reinforces my willpower. (I guess if I wanted to diet or something, Mara would help me stick to it. Also a help: I’m broke.)

I also spot some unusual rune-covered rocks with a cluster of ingredients around the base, and start gathering — some fennel seeds, white seed pods, lady’s mantle leaves, and a few others — a nice haul compared to what I’ve got so far. I have to admit, I thought there’d be more to find out here. For all the rain Anvil seems to get, the grass is all dead and yellow and barren of herbs. I decide to head back and try the other side of the road.

On the road again, I spot a wolf!. My first creature encounter! (Unless you count the skeleton.) I quickly duck into a crouch (or crouch into a duck). By slightly bending my knees I am instantly much sneakier and harder to see, despite still being smack dab in the center of the road. It doesn’t matter anyway, the wolf is dead. I can’t tell why — a city guard may have killed it, or a passing adventurer, or perhaps it choked on a bone from the dead guy I found earlier. Either way, I skin it and take the pelt — I can sell that too. Rummaging around in corpses is paying off today!

Buxom Babe ISO Mace

As I cross the road I spot a farm house, and I psychically deduce that it is called Whitmond Farm. There I run into an angry woman named Maeva the Buxom, who bitches to me about her husband, Bjalfi the Contemptible, who has run off to a fort with an heirloom of hers, a mace called Rockshatter. I sympathize, really, but I’m not going to chase down a guy with a nickname like “The Contemptible” who has a mace with a knack for shattering rocks.

Dahhhhhhh hi

Come on. Look at my face. It’s a face that screams “Please hit me as hard as you can with a magical mace.”

Instead, I wander along the outer wall of Anvil. No ingredients or plants of any kind out here. I don’t feel right robbing Whitmond Farm of its produce, but I’m genuinely starting to worry. Anvil seems like a rotten place to live already. Only one expensive inn and barely any ingredients. I can’t just hope to find stacks of dead wolves every day. What am I going to do?

What's all this then

I spot a weird plant I’ve never seen before… I can tell immediately it has no general resale value and that it’s called a Nirnroot. I certainly am insightful. I also spot a guard patrolling the shallow water outside Castle Anvil. Maybe a mudcrab gang has been causing trouble. I poke around inside the castle for a few minutes, then head back into town. I briefly wonder if I can sleep inside the Chapel, but it sure doesn’t look like a good place to rest.

Hey, you okay?

I wouldn’t sleep there, would you?

Outside, I see some weird preacher guy ranting about something or other, but he’s clearly nuts so I don’t bother listening. I also meet a guy with an interesting hobby.

Okay gotta go

S’cool. S’cool. Everyone gots ta make a livin’. Hey, man, I ain’t judgin’. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to run away very fast.

Out of curiosity, I go see if I can sleep in the beggar’s bedroll, but I can’t because it’s “owned.” Same with a bedroll I spotted out behind the stables. I guess if I really want to sleep, I’ve only got one choice in Anvil. First, though, I cash out — I sell all my collected ingredients (and wolf pelt) to the friendly gay elf in The Flowing Bowl, then head to the Count’s Arms.

After sales, I’ve got 63 gold. Minus 25 for the room at the Arms, I’ve got 38, so my day’s profit stands at 21 gp. Not terrible, but not great either. At least I have enough for an overpriced room tomorrow night.

no free HBO?

And, at least the overpriced room is sorta nice. I quickly snatch up the food on the table — a potato, a leek, and apple, some grapes, strawberries, and a bottle of cheap wine. I eat my earlier beef purchase, one of my apples, and drink the entire bottle of wine in a gulp.

Night Night

Dang, that was a long day. I scoured a pretty large area for ingredients today, and those few I found won’t grow back for a while. I might have to try something different tomorrow, because I can already tell the ingredient plan just isn’t going to work in Anvil.

Nondrick's Non-adventure

Day One: Fresh Off The Boat

Huzzah! I arrive in Anvil at around 1:30 in the morning, ready to begin my ordinary life of non-adventure and menial toil!

Anvil is a small harbor city. Docks, a lighthouse, a few homes, presumably shops and inns, and a castle. It’s dark, foggy, rainy, and mostly silent when I walk off the boat to have a look around. The first thing I need to do is scout out a place to live — maybe find a cheap room at an inn — not for right now, but so I don’t have to search later tonight. I’m clothed only in a vest, pants, and moccasins, and my only possessions are a dagger, an apple, and 17 gold pieces. It’s gonna be a rough start.

I spot a small cluster of my fellow NPCs on the dock. An Argonian and Wood Elf are punching each other, an Orc and a human woman are chatting about someone named Velwyn Benirus, who is apparently trying to sell his mansion. See, I’m in town for all of five minutes and the game is already hurling quests at me. Screw you, game that’s packed with literally hundreds of hours of adventure! I ain’t havin’ any!
Orc And Slut

I talk to the Orc, Krognak gro-Brok, who informs me bluntly that Mirabelle Monet, owner of a local boarding house, is a something of a slutbag. Seems a bit rude of him, since she’s the woman standing right there, listening, but when I talk to her she cheerily confirms it: she loves them sailors, all right. She won’t even rent a room to you if you’re not a sailor. I chat briefly with the two guys punching each other, too. The Argonian is a sailor named Hauls-Ropes-Faster, and the Wood Elf is batshit insane, babbling some nonsense about how he has slugs on his back and how his clothing scares the fish. Too many punches to the head, I guess.

I poke around in Miss Monet’s boarding house, The Fo’c's’le, for a few minutes, then head for an establishment she recommended, The Flowing Bowl. I’m greeted at the bar by Maenlorn, a short, pleasant, clearly homosexual Wood Elf, who informs me he runs the place with his twin brother. I look over his prices and buy myself some beef (two gold pieces) in case I get hungry later. Oddly, despite lots of booze around the place, he won’t sell me any, nor will he rent me a room. Great. I’ve already found two inns, but neither with a room for rent, unless you’re a seaman crawling with venereal disease.

Maenlorn, and the others I talk to, all tell me about a supposed gang of female thieves who prey on the married men in town. Luckily, I’m single, so hopefully they’ll leave me alone! A few NPCs also mention that joining the Fighter’s Guild is a good way to make money, but that sounds a little too dangerous for my tastes.

So, I’ve got beef but still no bed. I head into Anvil proper, and find my way to a place called The Count’s Arms, which has rooms available… for 25 gold a night! What a rip! There’s gotta be a cheaper place to rest in this city, I can’t afford that.

Near the north gate, I spy a bedroll and some other personal belongings, next to the person they belong to: a beggar named Penniless Olvus. We chat about the female gang, as one does with beggars, and then I decide to give him a coin. Not because I can spare it (I’m down to 14 gp now) but because, frankly, I need the karma. I note that even though Olvus is no longer penniless, he doesn’t change his name to One-Penny Olvus — I guess then he’d have to change all his business cards and stationary.

A few city guards I talk to suggest I join the Fighter’s Guild as well — and I’m starting to sense an agenda here. The Guild wants fresh arrow fodder, so they force the local inns to charge outlandish prices for rooms, which drives the poor, sleepy masses to the Guild to find employment. Nice racket. I spot a supposedly abandoned house, but my hopes are dashed when I find someone named “The Stranger” is already living there — plus, the place doesn’t have a bed anyway.

He’s a stranger, all right. I’d try to get to know him, but hey, dawn is nearly here. Finding a cheap bed will have to wait until tonight– today, I’ve got to make a living.