Day in Life of an Elven Huntress

So I have been playing a lot of Skyrim lately. I already wrote a rather lengthy post about my initial impressions, so if you would like to know that I think about the stupid interface, and bugs go there. You can also follow me on twitter, to see all my Skyrim centric updates. I usually tweet stuff via the Steam Browser while I play.

I really like this game, but I’m not far enough into any of the quest lines to talk about the plot. I haven’t seen enough of the game world to talk about the setting and how it stacks up against Oblivion/Morrowind. So I figured I’ll do something different. I figured I will show you how I waste time in the game making my own adventures in a comic book form.

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One thing I hate about houses in Skyrim is that they start as absolute shit-holes and you have to spend money to upgrade them. In Oblivion I bought a shack in Bravil, and it came equipped with all kinds of essentials: tables, chairs, weapon racks, chests, etc. It was ready to go. In Morrowind I always just kill Dura gra Bol and take over her house, which comes fully furnished. In Skyrim I have spent 5,000 gold to buy a mansion in Whiterun and it came equipped with a wide assortment of spiderwebs, and raggedy-as bed. The only furnished part of the damn place is the cubbyhole where my Housecarl took residence. A cubbyhole directly adjacent to my bedroom. A cubbyhole without a door. Sometimes I wake up in the morning, and see that fully armored woman standing at the foot of my bed, just staring. What is up with that?

Also, I am addicted to the Whirlwind Sprint. I abuse it all the time when I’m in towns, up to the point where the guards pester me to stop. But I never will. It’s just too much fun.

When I was gathering screenshots for this comic, I figured I would just go outside Whiterun and look for picturesque locations. Then a wild deer crossed my path, so I decided this will be all about hunting.

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I have absolutely no clue why Bethesda never bothered to add horse combat. That feature was rumored to have been removed from Oblivion because they did not have enough time to test it. People bitched and moaned about it then, and the number of mods that added horseback combat was in triple digits. And yet, here we are – years later, and I still have to get off the horse to shoot a deer. Or to swat away an annoying wolf nipping at my feet. It’s positively silly.

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I really like the Giants. They just walk around, mind their own business and chill like complete bros. Gotta respect that. One time I was chased by four brown bears that I have somehow aggroed on my trip, so I rote past a giant. He fucked all of them up for me. I wanted to high-five him, but Giants just don’t give a shit. They are cool like that.

Dragons on the other hand are complete assholes. When you are low on hit points, or you are on a quest and just want to get from point A to point B they seem to be hiding behind every hill. You will be riding your horse minding your own business, and they drop from the sky like the mighty hammer of Thor, and ruin your day. But when you have shouts to unlock it’s like they know. Then they stay the fuck away from you. They will circle above your head, just trolling but they will never aggro. Always too far to shoot at, but too close to ignore. Fuck dragons.

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Initially I was intimidated by them, but I have quickly learned that they are not as scary as one would think. What really hurts you is their bite. Their breath attacks on the other hand can be withstood with some liberal use of health potions. If you have a good bow, and a good poison, and you keep them at breath attack distance you can pretty effectively needle them to oblivion with your arrows. The main problem is finding them, and getting them to fight you.

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Quite amazingly, by the time I tracked down and killed this damn dragon the in-game day was over. So I decided that what my screenshot driven post would be. A day in life of a huntress.

Note that I haven’t turned in a single quest, I have not advanced the plot, I have accomplished nothing, and yet I still had a blast. This is one of the great strengths of Bethesda sandbox games – they allow you to wander around aimlessly and make your own adventures. In fact, they purposefully build their locations in a way that facilitates this game play. As you explore, you inadvertently stumble upon things to do.

What are your favorite Skyrim sandbox adventures so far? What is the craziest thing that has happened to you? Let me know in the comments. Please try to keep it spoiler free for those of us who might not be as far into the game as you are.

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8 Responses to Day in Life of an Elven Huntress

  1. Mart SINGAPORE Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    So if you had to go live in cave with only 1 game, would it be Morrowind or Skyrim?

    ;)

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  2. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Mart:

    This is an unfair question because I’m playing Skyrim right now and really enjoying it. That said Morrowind has a better setting. Plus there are still some things in that game that I have not done. Like rolling a mage and doing the full House Telvanni quest line, complete with getting my own mushroom fortress.

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  3. Sameer NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    They will circle above your head, just trolling but they will never aggro. Always too far to shoot at, but too close to ignore. Fuck dragons.

    This just came to mind when I read that ;)

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  4. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    For me (and remember that I began playing the game later, due to delays in the order I had made), the nicest adventure so far is the Temple of Kynareth one. It is a typical Bethesda one, in the way that there is no bad guys or good guys, just a problem to solve and no good way of doing it. The classic “does the end justifies the means” quandary, although I do not want to spoil it if you haven’t played it. Let’s just say that you have to revive the dead tree in the centre of Whiterun, and the means to do so are explained by the Priestess in the temple. She very clearly states that it is going to be ugly. Well, the first part of the quest is simple enough and involves blasting very bad girls… But the second part gets seriously ugly (try it for yourself). I still have a very bad feeling about it, like I defaced something pure.

    Another little adventure I did was also quite amusing, in a way. I was wandering around with my housecarl Lydia and my horse, trying to find the place for the quest above. Then I found this old castle called Valmor. Nothing really special about it and it is not related to the main quest (as far as I can tell). But the cool thing is that it was occupied by Dark mages. In principle, dark mages tend to attack you on sight, so I have no problem blasting them to smithereens. But in this case they just shouted me warnings to get the hell away and leave them alone. Which I would normally do, unless I had an interest in the place. I didn’t, but then I noticed that there were charred corpses and dead Nord bodies all over the place. So I realized that these guys had just genocided the hell out of the locals. Me being the typical good guys (kind of), I went medieval on the mages and cleaned the place neatly. Later I came back to Valmor. To my great surprise, it had been occupied by the Stormcloaks, who had even installed their own equipment on site… That is the kind of touch that I find awesome in this game.

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  5. Morghan Safari Linux says:

    It seems like I kill a dragon every time I go for a ride, up close and personal with an epic daedric long sword in one hand and healing spell in the other, and I still haven’t unlocked more than two shouts even though I’ve found quite a few words.

    I’m playing with the thieves guild, brotherhood and companions so there’s plenty of killing to go around. I almost feel cheated for playing all the earlier games as the paladin type hero. Killing the evil orphanage matron was fun, especially since it picked that moment to crit and she died a bloody and horrible death by decapitation.

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  6. axnbeer Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Quite frankly, I’ve never even thought about hunting from horseback. The idea alone seems surreal, considering how much noise a horse makes as it runs. To me hunting means a man on foot, with his rifle, or a bow in this case. But I can understand the frustration of not being able to do combat from horseback.

    However, I happen to like how the animals run the fuck away as soon as they see or hear you in Skyrim. In fact, my gripe is that most animals move too slow in Skyrim. The running speed itself is ok, but the turning speed and acceleration are too low (I hope that makes sense). Just watch how a real deer bolts off when it’s frightened.

    Now, the dragons. It might annoy you that the dragon just circles and circles above you. Give it a moment or two and make sure there is actually enough flat space where it can land its huge ass. A decent fight with a dragon takes 5-10 minutes, starting from the moment you see the dragon. It may seem like forever, and it will likely test anyone’s patience, after one has bested 20 dragons. Either stand still and keep an eye on the dragon, or just keep moving onward until you hear it land or it flies away. Here’s an idea: next time you see a dragon, lure it to a nearby settlement, Forsworn or otherwise, go behind cover out of sight, quaff an invisibility potion, enter sneak mode and watch the show.

    I remember the mild exhilaration as I killed my first dragon, which later turned into weariness, after I had killed a dozen of them. I felt cursed. It was like every dragon in Skyrim was after me. But then I realised the awesomeness, the poetry of that feeling the game had created. I wasn’t hunting the dragons anymore, THEY are essentially hunting ME, and it was getting to me. But what can a man do but to carve another notch on his axe, and wait for the next dragon to show up.

    Anyway, next time you see a dragon circling, be the giant. Ignore the dragon until you actually take damage. Carve the phrase “And not a single fuck was given that day” on your bow. In Elvish.

    As for my adventures, I got furious about some corrupt city guards, so I killed a bunch of them. Now I’m a wanted man in one area, and I still have no clue if I can redeem the situation without paying the massive bounty on my head. They were the ones that drew the first blood, so to speak. They hit me first, after I basically had told them to go fuck themselves. I barely got out of the city alive, so now I have to avoid that area until I’ve leveled up. A lot. Luckily, I now have non-lethal ways to shake a guard off my tail, so hopefully the bounty won’t get any bigger (due to killing city guards).

    Earlier in that same city (I think), I was given a quest to clear a mine. So I go to the mine and start killing the opposition, but then I notice it’s a gold mine! Sweeet! I’m going to be rich! But then I got to thinking, are they just going to let me walk out with all that gold? I bet there’s a welcoming committee waiting for me outside as soon as I leave the mine, demanding to get back whatever gold ore I had dug up. The paranoia I felt was exquisite. So I hid the all ore in one of the barrels, thinking “Let them search my inventory, I’ll come back for the ore little later, assuming they don’t search the place”. I’m not telling how the whole thing turned out, however. The moment of paranoia and suspicion was rewarding enough.

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  7. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Just one point for those who like to abuse the game (and you guys most likely know that already): there is a spell called Transmutation that you can learn for free in a small poacher’s mine North-West of Whiterun. For 80 magica, you can transmute Iron ore into silver and silver ore into gold… Then go smith some jewelry and sell it. You get rich really really fast that way.

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