Below, is my narration of this Entry. Hope you enjoy.
Feeling a little queasy from being on the boat too long, I stand relieved that my voyage is behind me, and take just a moment to gaze in the distance . Being new to Skyrim, I’m not sure what to expect, but it can’t be any worse than the life I left behind. A life that only left me with the clothes on my back, my axe, 24 gold pieces, and a potato to my name. And that name is Grawnk. I’m an Orc, I’m skinny, and it’s my dream to become a bard. Deal with it.
In the spirit of The Elder Strolls I have decided to ignore all of the adventure and conquest that Skyrim has to offer, and instead, live life as a humble NPC. I am no writer, and this is my first blog, but I love playing Skyrim, and now seek to experience it from a (much) different perspective.
If you are familiar with The Elder Strolls already, I will be following many of those same guidelines, and even the same starting point: the coastal town of Dawnstar. NPCs lead boring lives, and now, so must I. When I first realized I wanted to start my own NPC play-through of Skyrim, I groaned at the prospect of walking everywhere due to the abnormally slow walking speed in the game. Luckily, I found a mod that increases walking speed enough to make this feasible.
Besides walking everywhere, I must adhere to several other guiding principles:
- As an NPC, I need to eat, drink, and sleep at regular intervals, and thanks to another mod, I will be receiving reminders and consequences if I don’t do any/all of these routinely.
- When playing Skyrim, you do not see named NPCs taking on quests, clearing out dungeons, or hacking at a giant’s kneecaps. They avoid adventure and excitement, and so too will Grawnk…for the most part.
- Grawnk is no thief. Stealing is absolutely off the table. He is, however, an opportunist. If something is too good to pass up that isn’t considered stealing, he might just help himself.
- You thought fighting dragons was hard? Try making a living in Skyrim as an NPC. Things to do: Find a suitable trade/job, make money from it, find a place to live, and maybe even get married.
- Dead is dead. I have no ethereal black and white interface to reincarnate past versions of Grawnk. If Skyrim wants Grawnk dead, then that is what Skyrim gets: a dead Orc. NO RELOADS.
Now I think it’s time for me (and Grawnk) to start this non-adventure. Wish us luck!
It’s already mid-afternoon, and I have no prospects for work or any idea where I’ll be laying my bald green head for the night. I think I need to poke around this town and see what it has to offer, other than wind and snow. As I’m leaving the boat, I walk past one of the ship-hands who tells me that he thinks he can “run this ship better than that boy who calls himself a captain.” Which, is pretty rude considering that the captain is less than three feet away from us. The captain doesn’t seem to care though. He just keeps munching on his bread, so I continue on.
I stroll over to the blacksmith’s and try to make idle conversation with a guy named Rustleif. I inquire if he’s in charge of the forge, even though he clearly is. He’s wearing a Blacksmith’s Apron after all. He tells me that he and his wife run the forge together, and something about her being with child, so he has to run the forge by himself now. I tune the rest out because Orcs have mad ADD, but I snap back to attention when he asks me out of the blue if I will try to find a book for his wife for him. Really? Who asks a complete stranger to go fetch a book for them? I don’t even answer him. I turn on my heel (footwraps) and leave. I’m only here a few minutes and already I’m being propositioned by strangers to do their dirty work for them, but that ain’t gonna happen. Ya’ hear me, Dawnstar? Ya’ hear me, Skyrim?! I am nobody’s errand Orc!
Luckily the cold weather cools my hot head, and I’m off to the Windpeak Inn to see if there are any leads on work, or at the least, a bed. As I’m about to go in, I can’t help but notice that Abelone, presumably an employee of the Windpeak Inn, seems to be trying her damnedest to walk around a pile of firewood. I try to tell her to just move to the right a little but her only reply is that I should visit the Windpeak Inn. Welp, can’t fix stupid. I walk in.
As soon as I walk through the door, I notice several of the local villagers are crowded around the town magician. I decide to be a bit nosy and listen in. Apparently, the whole town has been suffering from terrible nightmares without any evident cause, although it is suggested a witch’s curse may be the culprit. There’s definitely something going on here, but I’m not even slightly interested in finding out what it is. I’m curious, not adventurous. Best to leave the inevitable fighting and dying for braver folks. As the group disbands, I catch the attention of a pretty Nord woman by the name of Karita. After chatting her up for a bit, I find out that she’s a bard! Maybe I judged Dawnstar too soon. It seems there is at least one person here worth associating with. I ask her where she learned her craft from, and she tells me it was from her mother, who attended the Bard’s College in Solitude. Karita goes on to say that they accept most people who apply, if I’m ever interested. Oh, I’m definitely interested. I’m so happy I could kiss Karita, although I’m pretty sure I’m the last person she’d ever want to kiss, and not to mention, she’d probably sick the guards on me. It’s my first day in Skyrim, and I already have a lead on my dream of becoming a bard. I can almost forgive Rustleif for accosting me with a quest now. Almost. Looks like my course is set though. Hopefully in the next day or two, I can earn enough money to make the journey to Solitude to begin a quest I actually want to pursue.
I thank Karita for the information not by kissing her, but by requesting a song. Perhaps that was a mistake. Karita may be beautiful, but her song about a Dragonborn was less than inspirational. Forgetting why I even walked in to begin with, I briskly exit so as to escape that awkward performance. Oh right! Look for work. That’s why I went in. Well, there didn’t appear to be any work at the inn, but I’ve heard enough people telling me about the mines in Dawnstar, so that seems like a good enough place to start for me. I walk down the road a little ways till I am staring at the entrance to Quicksilver Mine.
I ask the owner of the mine, Leigelf, about work, not really listening to what he has to say, then walk into the mine. It’s ill-lit, dusty, and dirty. Pretty much what I was expecting.
[ As I come to a table with a pickaxe lying on it, I find myself unsure of how to proceed. If i were to take the pickaxe, as far as the game is concerned, it would not be considered stealing. However, it does look as if it belongs to somebody, although all the miners within the mine all have pickaxes already, so it appears to be a spare. *sigh* As much as I am trying to rationalize that taking the pickaxe won’t be stealing, and that it’s just Grawnk being opportunistic, I can’t do it. It feels wrong in my gut, as it does in Grawnk’s, so just like in The Elder Strolls, this pickaxe will also be borrowed. That was much more complicated than I thought it would be. ]
Having no desire to mine ore the slow and proper way, I swing my pickaxe sporadically at the rocks, much like, a mudcrab on skooma, cutting the quicksilver ore to pieces, plus, unearthing a few gemstones in the process. Having exhausted the mine’s supply of ore, I head back towards the entrance, my mind set on investigating the iron mine as well. Still conflicted about the pickaxe, I reluctantly place it back on the table I found it on, and head out, passing the other miners still picking away at the now empty rocks. “Uh, guys? You know there’s no more ore, right?” No response. “Whatever.”
After more hours of diligent, if not erratic mining, the iron mine left me with a great haul: 18 pieces of iron ore. Also, there were so many pickaxes that were carelessly left lying around the mine, that I had no battle with my conscience this time. I am now the proud owner of a pickaxe. Two last things I got from the mine: thirsty and hungry (my realism mod kicking in). To try and sate my hunger a little, I eat the only piece of food I have on me: my raw potato. The hunger goes away a little but then I get sick and start throwing up (Thanks again, realism mod. I guess I’ll know next time to cook my raw food). Wiping my mouth of potato, I decide it’s time to smelt all this ore into more valuable ingots, and then see about a proper meal, not to mention a bed.
I walk back up to the inn, not knowing how I’m supposed to pay for something to eat and drink, AND get a room with only 24 gold. Turns out my suspicions were accurate. The cheapest drink alone costs 16 gold, and the room they are offering is 10. That leaves me with 3 gold left; not enough to get something to eat too. I sell off the 5 snowberries I picked around town today, hoping that will give me enough, but it’s still too little. I decide to look for Rustleif to pawn off some of my ingots. I still don’t like the guy, but now is not the time to be picky. I walk down to his house, but he’s no longer at the forge. I guess it is already after 9:00. Now it’s time for me to be rude. I open his front door and interrupt him and his wife having supper. Talking to him reveals he is no longer buying or selling for the night. Damn.
Out of options, I leave them to their supper. I’m just about to return to the inn when I remember something Leigelf, the owner of Quicksilver Mine, said. I had tuned him out, but I’m glad I was able to remember that he had offered to pay for any quicksilver ore I managed to acquire, and as luck would have it, I have one leftover from my smelting process. I find his house, barge in there as well, and demand that he buy my ore from me. He does for 25 gold. Wow. That’s what I needed, and then some.
With 54 gold total, I buy an ale (16 gold), a venison chop (16 gold), and rent a room for 10 gold, leaving me with a grand total of 12 gold. I polish off my dinner, and go to check out my room. It’s nice…if you’re into the whole hunter chic. Me? I don’t care one way or another. One of the benefits of being an Orc is not having to care about style or decoration. What I do care about is getting some sleep. The voyage on the boat, plus all the mining has left me rather tired. As I lay down and slowly begin to fall asleep, (no help from Karita, who is in the middle of another horrible sounding rendition) I think about becoming a bard and how much better I will be than Karita, and I fall asleep feeling good about my decision to come to Skyrim.
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