The non – adventures of Honest Joe!

The Non – Adventures of Honest Joe – The Skyrim Underachiever

*This is not my idea. I took it from Christopher Livingston’s “Livin’ in Oblivion” and “The Elder Scrolls” blogs, and did it myself because my monkey brain can’t come up with anything original*

Hi there. I am Honest Joe, an incredibly average Nord. I’m just an average civilian wanting to scrape a living out of the vast universe of Tamriel and live my life in peace. The problem? I don’t know how to use any weapons. The skills of magic still elude me. I am aging and pretty weak. And I just stepped foot into Skyrim…fuck.

The rules:

  • No questing, unless it is completely mundane (you see travellers delivering stuff or people in cities doing a job for somebody else, right?)
  • No glitching or cheating, this ruins everything and doesn’t feel the same, even if I boost just a little bit
  • Master difficulty only, this will help encourage me to avoid fights
  • No fast travelling, and using carriages feels like cheating so I won’t use them either. I think this makes the game a lot better than fast travelling everywhere, as I will get a greater sense of adventure
  • I’ll try to get money in a variety of ways. It is likely I’ll find an occupation where the bulk of my profit will come from though
  • I’ll start the game in Riverwood, pretending the unbound quest never happened like a newb. I start with 17 gold and an apple
  • No restarts. If I die, I die, and it will be the end of this blog
  • There may be some uses of profanity and offensive material because I am just an immature schoolboy. Take nothing I say seriously, even outside this blog 😉
  • I’ll try not to give away spoilers, but I might reference something later on in the story, so watch out if you haven’t played the game the whole way through

Part 1 – Day 1 and 2: Honest Joe, the walk to Whiterun, farming and cheating at hide and seek

Day 1: I say hello to my new character, I call him honest Joe. He is in possession of a cramped up face, some puffy sideburns and some prison clothes. He is going to scrape a living, like a normal NPC would. So let’s get started. I Arrive in Riverwood. Talk to some civilians. Eat a cabbage I find in a cart (it didn’t count as stealing) and craft a pretty snazzy iron axe which I use to slaughter a bunny after a 5 minute chase. It kept swimming, dammit! I hit the pillow at a nearby lodge at 8PM for 10 gold. Bargain! Big day tomorrow.

Day 2: Wake up at 8 in the morning. Decide to try to get to Whiterun. I eat a leak for breakfast, and then I have my first proper fight on the way there against an angry wolf. He doesn’t even look hungry, just angry. He damn near kills me and ends my game. I continue on my stroll to Riverwood. As I near a meadery I just found, I see some defenceless Stormcloaks being held prisoner by some Imperials. They basically tell me to piss of, so I walk up to one of the prisoners and see three options. These are:

Release

Leave

Release and share items.

I free him. Wait, what am I doing? I’m no adventurer, and I’m definitely not confident enough to face multiple soldiers in scary armour! I’d just crawl up in a ball like a friggin’ armadillo and let them slash at my facial area. I give him an iron dagger, so he is effectively a human distraction. He doesn’t use it though, he starts beating at the imperials with his fists and he lasts about 0.6 seconds. HAH! THE WEAK SHALL PERISH! He gives me a good laugh at his expense, but then I notice the imperial soldiers are running at me. Oh shit! Three armed trained soldiers against me, a level 1 with no armour and an iron dagger as his best defence, on the highest difficulty. I don’t fancy my chances. I gather enough confidence to run as fast as my weedy legs can carry me.

Phew, that was close, the only blows I ended up taking were a couple of blows from arrows in the back and in the ass. I manage to outpace them using my epic (default) stamina and I catch my breath. Then I notice some ugly people giving blows to a giant (not in that way, get your mind out of the gutter bro). An adventurer might try to help them. But that’s just not Joe. They seem fine anyway. As soon as they kill the giant I jump onto it and attempt to snatch away the giants toe before they can. But they’re too fast. This woman then walks up to me and tells me that I’m a bit of an asshole for out helping out, and then invites me to join their guild. Joe thinks the guild is “a waste of time” and says it, then walks off, leaving the girl next to the dead giant. To Whiterun we go!

I find myself a farm, and pick about 50 cabbages and sell them to a dude who spends all day digging one out. Ujelly? I get 76 gold for cabbages and 17 for the potatoes. I’m rolling in money now, almost into triple figures! I eat a cabbage for lunch (I’m beginning to think Joe has some sort of cabbage fetish) and pick some flowers like a true Nord. I talk to a few Kajiits outside the city with weird names. Joe has a soft spot for Kajiits. I make some leather strips for no reason and proceeds to the Whiterun gates. Here, I am greeted with a decision: do I bribe, intimidate or persuade him to let me into the city?  Joe is not the intimidating type with his spindly arms and prison rags. He can barely afford a bribe. So he persuades the guard. He lets me in, but he has an “eye on me”. As soon as I walk into the city, interrogation starts: a Nord walk up to me, and hits me with the question: ”Grey Mane or Battle–Born?” Joe says Grey Mane, failing to notice the dude’s name is Ldolof Battle-Born. I get shunned instantly by him. Hey, don’t judge me! A guy asks me what brings me to Whiterun. Am I seeking my fortune here or just passing through? I’m definitely not here to help. I think I will spend a lot of time in this city. Because this city has everything: Blacksmiths, shops and alchemy, plus farms within walking distance. I am here to seek my fortune, sir. I ask him where I can find work; he says that the fighter’s guild would be a good place. Hm, you think that I would be a good fighter? The way I helped to kill that giant, and how I’ve killed more bunnies than anything else? No, not my thing.

At this point I’m thinking I need a bit of armour, or at least some slightly snazzier clothes than these rags. But everything costs way too much. Looks like I’m forging some myself! I just need some leather to get started. It’s nearing night time and Joey is getting hungry, so I give him his self – hunted raw rabbit leg. Yum. I play some hide and seek with some children (I don’t think this should count as a quest XD), and cheat every time I’m it. That’s the height of low in Skyrim, cheating in games of hide and seek against people 50 years younger than you. She nearly finds me standing in the middle of the road, but I squat which seems to blow her mind and make me impossible to see. It’s getting late (the children are still playing intense games of hide and seek) so I buy a bed, failing to notice all of the children are still searching for me outside. Ahh well.

Part 2 – Day 3 and 4: Rip-offs, tough elks and bad killcams

Day 3: Wake up in the morning, quite unsure of where to go from here. I can’t afford a bow and arrows to go hunting don’t have the resources to make stuff, and I don’t have enough ingredients to do alchemy. I eat an apple for breakfast. I think of selling some more crops, but that will only make me 50 or so gold. That will get me into triple figures but I still can’t do much with it. Also, I can’t find the person who buys cabbages. I could sell them to a random merchant, but those cheapskates pay me half as much as the farmers. The cabbages haven’t respawned yet either.

Luckily, I find some more farms on the outside of the city. After an ingame hour of picking, I roll in Whiterun crops! I also find a place where I can chop wood but I can’t find a wood axe, and I still need to find somebody on these deserted farms who will actually give me money for my crops! I search for a few hours and eventually find somebody. I throw wheat, leeks and guards at them and make a sum of around 80 gold. Now I have over 200 gold, which I think is enough to buy a bow or something! Time to head back to Whiterun and get prepared!

I start off at the general goods store, and begin my search for a woodcutter’s axe and some hunting stuff. I saw Belethor’s assistant use one, but no luck. I buy a hunting bow and as many arrows as I can afford, which puts me on basically zero gold. Hope this pays off!

I step outside the gates, and see my first prey: an elk. I see it and instantly crouch. I sneak around to try and get a good angle on it. It’s all lined up perfectly. Just need to take the shot…

And I miss and he runs away. Damn. Stupid Joe and his stupid aim. This might have been a bad gamble to take.

I spot a second deer. I sneak up on it like an assassin and point my bow at him. I load an arrow. He is standing perfectly still, side to me. He won’t feel a thing; he’ll be dead before he knows it. I line up the shot. I fire. And… it takes off about 5% of his health. REALLY BETHESDA? You make me burn my hard earned profits on a bow which doesn’t work and some arrows that may as well have been made by rubber? I take down the deer in the end, but only by charging at it and burning it’s brains out. Even after the fire spell sucks up all of my magica, it still lives but I finish it off with my bow. Wow, deer are tough to kill. Overall, the whole deer is worth 16 gold, which means I’ll probably be able to ship it all for 2 gold. I feel thoroughly depressed.

I go to my bed, pissed off. I spent all of my money on useless items. And there are no jobs in Whiterun left. Maybe I should head back to Riverwood and give there another chance.

Day 4: I head back to Riverwood. I don’t know what I can do there, but I need to spend some time in a place before stuff respawns and Riverwood was nearby. I cut through the woods: it’s only a small distance so I don’t expect any encounters. I don’t get any, apart from 2 wolves that nearly kill me. Small things.

Sure enough, in Riverwood, I find a woodcutter’s axe and a wood block. Time to cut some wood! I cut apart logs with my weedy arms for hours, only stopping to eat a leek in one bite and a bottle of wine in one guzzle, and sell it to a dude that is too lazy to do his own work. Joe is out of debt!

That is, if I can find a guy to sell it to. Humph. I am carrying hundreds of pieces of firewood on my aching back, so I’m staggering along at snail’s pace. My body just wants to collapse, but I find I can do other stuff still, just slower. I meet this woman on the way to the firewood man. She says I can take any of her stuff, how cute 😀 But my spidey senses detect that this might be a trap. The game is trying to corrupt me by giving me free stuff! It feels like cheating to take it but it feels rude to not take anything, so I take a healing potion (they come in handy) and a carrot, then tell her to go away. I ignored the super powerful ring she offered me, because I don’t want to get corrupted by ultimate power. However, I find firewood man and shift my firewood for 360 gold. YEEEEEAHHH! Now my total gold is on 361. I eat an apple for an early dinner and continue to stroll around the town. I find a blacksmith, and he teaches me how to smith stuff. I’m not sure if I want to be a blacksmith but he gives me free stuff so it’s ok! I finish the tutorial and from it I get to keep an improved iron dagger (I have steel so I’ll sell it) and my first piece of armour on a helmet. I look like a twat in it with my prison clothes but I need all of the protection I can get! I’ll try to get hold of the rest of the hide set so I can look ok in it and be protected from angry wolves.

I have 4 or 5 hours to burn before night time, so I decide to take a stroll around and maybe go hunting again. I find a magical horse, stuck on some stairs and not moving, which I can jump straight through and walk straight through. Nice. Maybe it’s Alvor the blacksmith’s horse.

I don’t have a vastly productive or exciting hunting session. I kill a magical swimming rabbit, catch two salmons then fall down a waterfall, and have a fight with a wolf which has the most boring and anticlimactic slow motion killcam you will ever see. It literally just shows me shooting fire at it for five seconds and it’s dead corpse falling to the ground slowly. It made me laugh though. I find myself back in Whiterun, and think I’ll have my dinner at the inn with some beer to wash it down. I go to the bar, sit down and order a delicious, juicy salmon steak with tomatoes, leeks and carrots, and a sweet, gooey apple pie for pudding, and I wash it down with some refreshing alto wine. Hey, I’m roleplaying here! However, as I eat my whole dinner and drink my drink in 0.05 seconds I notice two things: one, the scary person in armour opposite me on the table is staring at me, and secondly there’s an exceptionally irritating redguard woman constantly asking me if I need anything. The person opposite me is called Uthgerd the Unbroken. I begin to talk to her, and her conversation starter is “think you can take me, you’d be dead in six seconds”. Charming. She then challenges me to a brawl. What should I do here? If I was on my other save, I’d go for it. But he’s a level 60 badass playing on adept difficulty, and I’m a weedy old man with spindly arms and an aching back from dragging all of that firewood. I decline like a massive pussy, and she proceeds to call me a massive pussy. Stay classy, Uthgerd. What kind of name is that? Anyway, I should get some sleep now. Joey has a massive headache from that wine, being the weak person he is. But he’s still my hero. If Tesco sold them for less than a fiver, I’d buy a fan t-shirt for him. Anyway, I get led up to my bed and sleep. Goodnight!

Part 3 – Day 5 and 6: The journey to Solitude, getting robbed and lack of good conversation

Day 5: Good morning. I step outside, take a glorious breath of fresh air, and the first person I meet is a penis called Nazeem. “Have you been to the cloud district… oh wait, no, of course you haven’t”, he sneers. He’ll be sorry when I have more money than him because firewood man is such a nice guy. Ha. So what should I do today? I was thinking that I should go travelling. Go for a travel around the Skyrim world, find a new city and settle down. What about Solitude, the biggest town in Skyrim? It’s far up north west, but I think I’ll be able to make it in under 3 days. So what am I waiting for? Ill hunt stuff on the way, pick flowers, and maybe find a cosy abandoned house where I can live my life in luxury forever (Joe has a simple taste)? Yeas, let’s do It. I’ll buy some armour, have an apple for breakfast and leave today. Goodbye Whiterun, hello Solitude!

So I have just enough money to get the armour I need, so I’m skint again. But I don’t care, no restarts means I need all of the protection I can get. Anyway, now I look mildly threatening. Actually, that’s a lie. My armour looks mildly threatening. I still look as retardedly weak as ever. But I’m as ready as I will get. Ready for the journey.

And I nearly get killed 1v1 by a mud crab. I had to use my healing potion and my once – a – day power to survive. So much for mildly threatening. I take down wolves with no problem, but mudcrabs… they are badasses. I also run into my buddy Talsgar the Wanderer, somebody who walks around getting mauled by wolves with no protective gear on, yet he comes out fine. Humph. He also tries to charge me to sing. Bitch please, 25 gold is a complete rip off. Then the road I’m on just… ends, and I’m left climbing snowy mountains in the cold wild, where there will be even more wild animals like wolves, but also other humans like necromancers who go into the wild to perform their forbidden and strange rituals. So I proceed cautiously. But I don’t notice the conjurer to my left until it starts blasting me with lightening. Fuck. These people a friggin’ powerful. I try to run, but the conjurer continues chasing me, blasting me with lightening in my already sore back. I start crippling and my health is decreasing rapidly. Where do I run to? I can’t see anywhere to hide. Another lightening blast in my back. My health is as low as a game in Call of Duty now and I begin to panic. What do I do now?

The conjurer politely waits for me to browse me inventory, and I find two minor healing potions. I drink them both in two gulps. I also eat 7 apples and a venison chop (I was feeling hungry) so my health is back to a considerable amount again. I am determined not to die to this lonely novice mage, but if I get on low health now I have no defence. My blocking skill is not high enough to deflect magic, so I switch to my flames with one hand and an axe in the other, and try to swipe and roast the conjurer. He nearly kills me again and puts me back onto minuscule health. This staff he is using is pretty damn powerful! He is kind to wait patiently again while I devour 5 tomatoes and 13 leeks in a matter of seconds, which somehow heals me back up. I charge at him, then realise that he is using a frost staff, which reduced my stamina and slows me to a crawl. I start swiping at the air, then decide it’s hopeless and use my fire spell on him. It is a very close shave but I come out of it with a tiny mark of health. That was the closest I’ve been to this game ending so far. I gotta say, no restarts sure make fights more exciting! The problem now is, however, that I have no   potions or food to last me the rest of the journey. Why am I even leaving for Solitude anyway, I wonder? It’s a long way away, and I have a feeling I might encounter another enemy. No. I’ll stop off at a nearby village or city. Both Morthal and Dawnstar are near me, so which one do I go to? I have heard of mines in Dawnstar, but not much else, but nothing in Morthal.  However, I think I will stop at Morthal anyway because it is slightly nearer and mostly downhill. This city must have an inn somewhere, so I will scrape a living out of the minuscule things at Morthal and pray for no enemy encounters. I heal. However, then I search the conjurer’s inventory. He has loads of stuff! Some gold, a valuable potion for resisting magic, and an extremely powerful fire storm scroll, which does 75 damage. Sweet! I give his naked corpse a healthy dose of teabagging and continue. Before I do though, I see a chest with a burial urn next to it, with loads of precious stones around it!

But wait a second. These items aren’t marked as stolen but this feels wrong. Is stealing from the dead still stealing? Inside the chest I find a steel war axe, some gold and an iron helmet with a powerful enchantment on it, which fortifies conjuring. Joe isn’t a conjurer (he’s way to simple for that) but this looks like it will fetch a nice price in the market. I drop the gems found in the burial inn, and put them back into their original places because gems feel like grave robbing. However, I keep the axe and the helmet.

I proceed, and find a mine on my map. I slide down a slippery, icy cliff with precision.  I go into squatting mode and proceed with caution. What if it’s an evil mine filled with adventurer – friendly enemies? Or some dead people lying around which will make the Skyrim gods possess poor Joe and force him to write it into his journal? But I see a guy that seems pretty nice, so I approach him. He basically just talks about how shit his life is. He could be the next Eminem! He tries to force a quest on me to deliver something, but Joe would probably nearly kill himself giving something to somebody 10 feet away from him, so I tell him “maybe some other time”. And by that, I mean never. I enter the mine and have a chat to the other workers, who actually have a decent amount to say. I pick up a pickaxe and hit rocks with it, which actually gets me quite a bit of gold, around 60, for digging iron ore up, plus a few ingots and precious stones. Easy money! It’s nearly night time but not yet, but I don’t think I’ll make it to Morthal tonight, and anyway there is a conveniently placed bed near to me. I’ll come back to this mine in a few hours. I get my first stealth kill on a mudcrab, who was just chilling. He wasn’t even hostile. But yay, ingredients! I take back my previous statement that I wouldn’t make it to Morthal tonight; I make it just as night falls. First impressions say that there is not much going on in here, and the people here back it up. Damn. However, there is somebody at an inn that throws a quest at me before I can stop her. No! Now I have a quest! Oh well, as long as Joe doesn’t complete it he will be fine. I hit the pillow at 9PM, after finding my second nirnroot, in a double bed which cost me 10 gold. It doesn’t even have a door!

Day 6: Wow, nearly a week has gone past since the birth of Honest Joe and he is still a level 1. I wake up, get some fresh air and catch four or so people talking about some stuff about how they don’t feel safe. Well, deal with it. I decide to talk to some civilians, and the first one I talk to is Benor. This guy thinks he’s the biggest badass in town. Well you title is to be stripped away by me sir! Ok, that was a lie. I think about brawling with him for gags, and decide to because he doesn’t look nearly as threatening as the girl in Whiterun. So I make the bet, and instantly regret it, because he begins kicking my ass within seconds. I shit myself and just run away, and he says he’ll let me live. How sweet and forgiving! He lets me live over a friendly little fistfight. How cute. Then I check my gold. WHAAA? He didn’t give it back even after my surrender! I take a look in his pockets (just checking is all ok, right?) and apparently he has eaten it. You SUCK, Benor. Stealing from the poor so you can afford another gem to put on your necklace. Pathetic. You greedy asswipe. This has been a bad first impression of Morthal, to be honest. Know that you ruined my whole day, you greasy, monotone – voiced asswipe!

However, I see another wood chopping block. Lumberjack beastmode engaged! It’s 11am now, so I’ll stop at 6PM to get a big dinner to award my efforts and to celebrate my arrival in Morthal. Ready to chop some wood!

7 hours later, I heave my heavy bones to the nearest person who will buy firewood. For all my efforts I earn… almost 1000 gold! That more than I’ve had so far. I could just stay to being a lumberjack for life, but Joe is far too weak to do anything like that regularly. He is completely burning after 7 hours of chopping, like I am in real life after 7 seconds of push – ups. Plus, Joe gets bored very easily and wood chopping isn’t the most interesting thing. At least adventurers chat with other NPCs, but whenever I talk to one the just give me a generic put down like saying “yes?” or “need something?”, yet not offering me any conversation. At least they get to have decent conversations with each other, like talking about stuff really loudly and attempting to try to inject some adventure into dull Joe’s boring life. In Oblivion, the random conversations were even better. I can remember a few of the ones that enlightened me the most, such as:

Guard 1 – “Hello.”

Guard 2 – “Greetings!”

Guard 1 – *coughs*

Guard 2 – “I’m done talking with you”

Guard 1 – “See you later”

Or sometimes a paranoid guard will have an outburst:

Guard 1 – “Hello!”

Guard 2 – “Nooooo!”

But that’s enough with Oblivion, though feel free to mention any funny or interesting conversations you have heard in the comments section!

So, back to Joe. Right now, I am proud of my new wealth. I might be able to afford some luxury clothing, a new battleaxe, or for a few hours. Or some shiny things. I wander around the city, half – searching for a merchant, but I’m in no rush. Then I see a NPC child and his NPC dad (I don’t know if he was actually his dad, but he was standing very close to him while they were talking, so I think he’s either his dad or Morthal’s local NPC paedophile. Either way, it doesn’t matter.) However, as soon as he sees me, he start running at me with his axe drawn, shouting “never should have come here!” In a threatening voice. Ok, he’s definitely a paedophile. The child runs away, “why are they hurting each other?” He runs at me, swings his axe and…

Hits the unseen mudcrab behind me and kills it in one blow. Thanks paedophile, you might have just saved my life, we all know mudcrab stealth attacks are deadly. Especially if they have lots of points in the stealth tree, which that one clearly did to sneak around such a silent manner. Congratulations to Jorgan the bearded paedophile.

I find a merchant that is selling potions at vastly overinflated prices, but I can afford them. I observe that minor healing potions are better value than plentiful ones, so I stock up on them. I have a feeling they will come in handy at some point. I also see an alchemy table. I want to get permission before I use it, but there is no option to ask the people in the shop if I can. Stupid Skyrim limitations! So I help myself to it, as I have a lot of ingredients. I like to see what effects each ingredient has by sampling them beforehand, so that is what I do. I lose a bunch of HP, but they will hopefully regenerate whilst I’m doing alchemy. I spam loads of healing potions, which means that I am even more prepared! I can now regenerate around an estimated 250 HP from potions, not bad! It’s around 7PM. I declare dinner time, and award Joe for his efforts by feeding him some chicken breast, beef, a variety of cheeses and a leak, potato and tomato, washed down with some Nord mead to satisfy my Nord self. Even after my pricey potion shopping and my luxury dinner, I’m still rolling in loot of 470 gold. Wealthy businessmen Joe!

I have another wander around this small city, in the search for more shops to sell all my junk to. I stumble across the Jarl of Morthal’s palace and I realise that the game is still trying to force adventure down poor Joe’s throat. I have a talk to the Jarl, and I have a look at the conversation options. There are four. One of them asking what side on the war she is on, which she gives no straight answer to, and three damn others all asking the same thing about trouble in Morthal. Every person I talk about in this city is talking about the Jarl. I am being suffocated with local Jarl gossip, and the game is slyly attempting to lure Joe into the quest by mentioning things like “visions” and other scary stuff. But Joe has too strong a willpower to give up on his “quest” to not participate in adventure. Then a guy next to me tells me to get out of the Jarl’s bedroom so she can go back to sleep after I rudely woke her up. Sorry about that. Then I pick up a quest… from talking to a person. He said “hi” and nothing else and I got a quest. That’s it. Tomorrow I leave this puny city and leave for Solitude. Maybe, I will actually be able to buy and sell stuff there, and have conversations with people about stuff other than an attention – seeking Jarl. I go back to my inn an get some more rest. Tomorrow I travel. But inside the inn, I find a women who flirts with me as I approach her general direction! Joe is such a ladies man. And guess what the conversation options are? “Hroggar burned down his house”… fuuuuuu!

Part 4 – day 7 and 8: Solitude, a white horse and a scary mask

Day 7: A week has passed since the birth of Joe, and the infamous PS3 lag is starting to occur. Nothing game breaking, but it’s annoying. I chase an deer straight next to a Nordic ruin, but luckily there are no angry dragur chilling on the outside. I continue to chase down the deer. It’s too fast, and I only get a few swings in with my axe before it runs away. Deer have ridiculously high health on master, try hunting them yourself! However, I get a lucky headshot on the deer to finish it off and get some good loot from it. I chase   and kill a fox, and complete my first level! I’m still a feeble old Nord, but now I’m an experienced feeble old Nord! Then I notice a lot of red dots on my radar. It is scary initially, but I see they are just a bunch of frostbite spiders, and there is also a stray horse taking them on. I help him to finish them off, but then I realise that the horse isn’t a stray at all, and riding it counts as stealing. Where is the owner of the horse? He should be taking better care of him; I’m reporting him to the Skyrim RSPCA! I also notice that the horse also took down a bandit before I got there, which was wearing some fur shoes and fur armour. It’s a slight upgrade from my hide so I take it, and it goes well with my hide helmet and gauntlets. This horse is very strong… and there is no owner for it. Is it really stealing if the owner is exposing an innocent horse to spiders and bandits? It would be more saving the horse then stealing it. But no, I decide not to take it. That threatening big red word “steal” puts me off. It just doesn’t feel right. What if the owner is frantically searching for the horse right now, worried for it and wishing he didn’t let it run off? I leave the horse in the middle of nowhere and continue on my journey to Solitude.

I go to the levelling up screen, and choose to advance in stamina so I can run away from enemies for longer. Now, what perk should I choose? There are so many. It’s a pity there is no firewood – chopping skill tree. I’ll decide later.

I approach the wonderful city of Solitude. THIS is a city – not a small hamlet with an attention seeking Jarl. I heard it’s run mainly by imperials, but I’m not an official Stormcloak, so I think I’ll be fine. I see a stables and pick some crops, and ask, out of interest, how much a horse costs. He says 1000 gold. Hey, that’s cheaper than I expected! If I can sell a lot in this city, I might be able to afford that! Then, I would be able to gallop around at a much greater pace, and have a friend to take out creatures and bandits by my side. The stablemaster seems like quite a nice guy as well, so he might be a good person to buy from.  Just 463 gold is needed, and I’m excited! I estimate that my loot will sell for over 500 gold, so I just need to find a good merchant. I pick some more crops, for another 40 gold.

But as I approach the city gates, I hear a guard say something. As I stroll past him, he says:

“If your here to join the legion, fine. If not… then just keep your nose clean or you’ll end up like Roggvir.”

That sounds like a warning. I do not intend to join the Imperial Legion. What happened to Roggvir? I enquire to the guard, and he tells me that he helped the high king to escape, and is going to be executed. This sends a shiver down my spine. Joe is not the most cautious of people, and one mistake could lead to arrest. I will have to be careful in this city. I open the gates and slip inside.

I come in, and just as the guards said, there is a Nord, who looks exactly like me, wearing the same clothes as I started with, standing next to a chopping block with his hands handcuffed. Oh. The citizens of Solitude appear to have mixed opinions of this event, some saying to get on with it, while some others begging for the guards to forgive him. I watch, silently. I want to run up to him, roundhouse the executioner in the face Chuck Norris style and free him, but I am just one simpleton, who only recently brought his first pair of shoes and levelled up past the standard of plankton. I can do nothing as the axe swiftly moves into contact with his neck, and his head is removed from his shoulders. RIP, Roggvir, as somebody that looks like me you deserved better.

Most of the people in Solitude seem really nice, actually. It has a lot of shops, and a nice inn to spend the night. I find a shop called bits and pieces, which is a general store. I decide to put my perk into speech so I can sell my junk for more.

Well, you know I said earlier that I could sell a bit of my stuff for over 500 gold? Probably about 600 or 700? Well, I was wrong. I got under 400 gold for ALL of my stuff I was willing to sell, so I am stuck on 880 gold after buying some more arrows and a bedtime story for tonight. I need to find a way to make some more! To put it in numbers, I had an enchanted helmet worth just over 300 gold. It sold for just over 100 gold. That’s under 33% gold I get for what it’s worth per item sold. Smiting is out of the question then, How will I make a profit when all the ingots cost 50 gold each? And I can only sell my hand – crafted deadric armour that is forged in the fires of mount doom for small change? Firewood might be the only way to go. And picking crops. But these are not skills. I might try alchemy. I head over to the nearest alchemy shop to see if my future could be here.

I create and sell a few potions, and finally break 1000 gold! It is a great day! Next time I want to change cities I will do it with speed. It’s getting late, but I can’t find the inn, Solitude Y U no easy to navigate? I find I eventually though, and hit the pillow at midnight.

I wake am woken up by the sound of a person in the inn singing “the dragonborn comes”. Now I’m going to be tired all day with only 7 hours of sleep. So I sleep for another 3. And she’s still singing. Some people just have no respect for the sleeping patterns of people who are sleeping above them, and feel the need to sing at the top of their lungs lyrics to a song that doesn’t make sense (the dragonborn? Who even is that?) .  As I sit down to have my breakfast, a greasy man (literally, he looks like somebody has freshly poured a bucket of grease on his head. He wants 500 gold to fight by my side. No thanks sir, I only need a bit more gold for my horse. I sell some cabbages to the local merchants, and head down to some more shops. I find a clothing shop, which is run by a few high elves. I don’t really like high elves, but they give me a completely mundane quest to talk to the Jarl about my outfit that they gave my for free.  However, quests have a way of derailing into dangerous stuff… but I take my chances and get the confidence to talk to the Jarl. She says that she will be placing some orders in at Radiant Raiment soon. Wow this is a boring quest. I tell the high elves at the shop. Yay. But, for this boring and mundane quest, she gives me 250 gold! Yay! Now I have enough money to comfortably buy a horse and have some money spare. I also have some city clothes now, mission success! However, the problem with Solitude is that all the businesses are already owned, and there’s not a whole lot of farming or labour to be done here, so I am struggling for gold.  Then I realise a horrible thing. My heart sinks to the floor.

While I was talking to the Jarl, I still had my stupid hide hat on. Now the whole city must think I’m an idiot. Ok, that’s enough of Solitude. But before I go, I find myself in a small room filled with silver and food, which doesn’t count as stealing to take! I take only some of it, because it doesn’t feel right, but I leave with my pockets filled with silver plates and cups.

I enter the wilderness of Skyrim, and look for the stables. However, I come across a ship on the way. Now this could be a normal ship, with merchants in it, or it could be a pirate ship full of psychopaths wanting to murder me so they can take my valuable horse money off my body. My sneak skill increases about 2000 times as I approach it slowly. I get closer. Then I see the curved swords they are carrying. Curved. Swords. Oh god. Then the eye on my sneak opens.

I run away, the pirates slashing my heels as I run. But I am getting away slowly: that extra stamina I invested in is really helping. I dive into the safety of the city walls. I am never heading in that direction again. This day has gone quickly, but I need my sleep. I go to the winking skeever, and rest.

Day 8: I wake up early, 8 in the morning. Again, that irritating female bard is playing her songs at her top volume. What is wrong with Solitude people? Anyway, I sprint down (even NPCs can get excited) to the farm and kiss goodbye to 1000 septums, and exchange them for a horse. Success! Now I can actually get to places with speed, instead of walking around getting assaulted by mudcrabs.

Now, I have heard of the next patch giving mounted combat to the PS3.  However, the patch has apparently been delayed. Damn.

Okay, a week later, the patch has been released and I decide to continue Honest Joe’s adventure. I decide to go for a gallop around out into the coast to test out the new mounted combat.

Later down this road, I come across a wolf. Now, this would be OK, normally, but as I’m shooting arrows at the wolf from my horse, I notice to more have begun their process of nibbling at my back. I panic and begin the execution of a painfully lengthy dismount, by which time the wolves have got me down to half health. Shhheeeiiit! I turn around and use the famous Honest Joe stamina to try to evade them. But when I turn around to see how close they are, my unnamed horse is kicking their faces in. respect horse! And for some reason, the name “Wolfie” comes into my head. What a great name for a horse, I think. So, because my horse kicked in the face of two wolves, he is going to be scarred for life with the name Wolfie. I’m proud of myself now.

I come across a little house, and hope to find a place to spend a bit of time and then sleep. But as I approach the hut, I hear the distinctive voices of angry bandits. Run, Wolfie, run! He outpaces the bandits easily, but this shows that any place away from civilization seems to be riddled with bandits and other scary things. Maybe at the end of this road I will find a town. I hope so.

I have an eventful journey. It starts off by me talking to some traveling Stormcloaks until they attack me, then Wolfie galloping me away. It’s getting later and later, and in this cold, snowy region of Skyrim I can see no civilization. And there are massive cliffs everywhere, and Joe is no mountain climber, and I heard Skyrim wasn’t big on safety equipment. I take the road around the mountain, and it’s getting later and later. The hours are passed galloping around. Then, something glorious happens. I see, at the edge of my map’s range, a town. And a town means people who don’t all want to kill me, unless the town happens to secretly be a bandit infested piece of wasteland disguised as a town. I remove the thought from my head. Then, I come across a strangely shaped rock. As I come closer, I can make out that there are some glowy, blue words on it. But as I edge even closer to it, the screen goes crazy and fills with blue. I try to run away, but it’s too late. My TV plays dramatic music and the words “WORD OF POWER UNLOCKED” appear in big letters on my screen.

And when I turn around, I see something slowly arise from a coffin behind me. He wears a scary mask, and wields a huge, wooden staff. And he floats above the air and looks down on me, and if his mask has any emotions, I’d say he looks mildly upset.

And his staff turns blue and frost rushes out of it in the deadly form of a spike.

Part 5- Day 8 continued, 9, and 10: Ice, fish and dogs

I get onto Wolfie and gallop away as fast as I can, but it’s not fast enough. As the spike pierced Wolfe’s skin, he loses all his speed and lets out a painful groan, but continues moving. The guy with the scary mask has not followed up with a different spell, which probably means he only has one staff, and he uses his other hand for something else (shut up). However, the way the ice spell nearly stops me in my tracks scares me, and I wonder how much damage the spell does, and how many hitpoints Wolfie has. I conclude that I don’t know, but this is not the type of beast Bethesda should be giving level 2’s. But there’s nothing I can do about it but run. There is a steep hill next to us, and we begin carefully sprinting down it if that makes sense.

And at the bottom of the mountains, I can just about make out a town.

I don’t know how we get away, but the music calms down and we stop hearing spells being thrown at us. Maybe he was just asking impolitely if we want to leave his territory. Maybe he died from falling down the hill. Or maybe he was just too much of a pussy to try going down the hill. We escape down a waterfall ad we are at the city. Either way we live. Or at least I live. RIP Wolfie. I would give you a proper funeral, but you lasted about 30 minutes before dying. I do better than that most of the time: I still have Shadowmere in Oblivion and my other Skyrim Dragonborn, and my gold horse which I have become pretty attached to in Red Dead Redemption. I just see his death as an epic waste of money. Oh well, I see a firewood block in the corner of my eye.

This town is Dragon Bridge. It’s a small village, with a mill, a wood chopping block, and a lot of guards. Looming over the village, there is a bridge which the town is named after. When going through the bridge, a giant statue of a dragon head can be seen in the middle (hence the name.) From there, Solitude is visible as towers in the distance.

I find an inn, eat, and sleep.

Day 9: I’m thinking Joe needs a rest today, a more gentle day without much danger. I get up early so I can strip and jump straight off the top of Dragon Bridge, do a 360, and land in the cool waters of the Karth River. An early morning skinny dip. Isn’t that a normal NPC thing to do?

I do some fishing. There is actually quite a lot of variety in the fish I can get here: river betty, salmon, silverside perch, cyrodilic spadetail etc; that sell for a pretty good price. Slaughterfish get annoying because I can’t find a way to kill them, but they don’t do much damage. As it gets later, I come across a pack of wolves and two bandits, but I can handle them by now. I get a bit of wood chopping done for around 200 – 300 gold, and get some sleep. A lazy day indeed.

Day 10: I level up, and choose my first perk. I spent 5 minutes deciding which one to choose, and then choose two handed by mistake. I don’t even use two handed weapons! Ah well. I do another dive off Dragon Bridge, and search for fish again.

As I am exploring the wild again, I come across a small cabin called “Meeko’s shack”. I pick some flowers outside of it, and walk in through the door that doesn’t exist. It’s a small place, containing only one room with a few storage areas and some vegetables lay out on a table (it looks like they’ve been there for a long time so I don’t eat them). Inside, the owner appears to be sleeping, so I back outside and search for any flowers I missed. An hour later I come back, but he still hasn’t moved. At one in the afternoon. I approach him cautiously, as I don’t want to wake him if he is sleeping.

But I don’t think he will be sleeping.

Sure enough, when I jump and teabag on his body and it doesn’t move. He is dead. I take his hat (it was a pretty cool hat) and leave the shack. The two things occur to me. Firstly, this house is clearly no longer owned. Surely an owner would have moved the dead Nord on the bed out?

Does that mean… that I can live here?

And the second thing is that I am still naked after my skinny – dipping session.  Joe, you sick bastard. Teabagging a dead body naked? What is your problem? You disgust me.

But if I am going to live here… I need to give this bloke a proper Nord funeral. I run down to the nearest mill, put some clothes on, and begin chopping firewood. I am carrying way too much to run, but the cabin is not too far away, so I walk there slower than how I normally would. But when I continue towards the shack, I see a wolf. However, instead of becoming hostile, the wolf runs inside the shack. I walk in after it, and notice that it is not a wolf, but in fact a domestic dog. And he is sitting by his former owner, and mourning him. I walk up do the dog and try to get into some dialogue with him, but he keeps barking. Eventually, however, I manage to persuade him in doggy language to follow me. So now I have a dog and a horse as companions. I pick up Meeko’s owner, and begin dragging him towards the river. I plan to cover him in firewood, burn him and send him floating down the river, a proper Nord funeral for a proper Nord. I mean, I don’t even know who this guy was, but with the name “Nord” he must be as Nordish as they get. But as I carry his body to a suitable spot, a necromancer decides to attack me. And the first thing he does is make Nord into a zombie. Oh god. I make short work of the necromancer (Meeko is great at taking blows for me) but the damage has been done. Nord has been burnt to ashes by a necromancer. At least the “burning” bit turned out. We stand there for a minute in silence, me thinking about how much time I wasted chopping firewood only for a friendly necromancer (he was only trying to help) to burn him for me, and Meeko thinking about barking and why his new owner has retrieved his previous owners pile and changed into them. Hey, they go with the hat. I head off.

I come across a highwaywoman (what’s the feminine version of highwayman?) I give her the money she wants, and then slaughter her. Ha ha ha. I do a spot of fishing; head back to Meeko’s cabin and get some sleep. The cabin still stinks of dead body, but the smell will go away over time. Plus, Meeko sleeps easier with the stench of his previous owner around. G’night.

Day 11 and 12: Dreams, doors and extreme tiredness

I wake up, after possibly one of the least comfortable nights I have has ever had. It’s hard to sleep over the stench of dead body that has been rotting for months if not years, and I forgot to make my own bed after all the days in inns. I groggily walk around a bit, feeling like I’ve been drinking all night (maybe I have, but I have just forgotten it) and somehow myself back in Solitude. I’ve discovered a lot of the surrounding area, and have found some useful places: the small but kind town of Dragon Bridge, and a free place to sleep which has come bundled with a dog. But the Solitude area is getting a bit boring for me now. I feel too relaxed here: I’m a hardy Nord; I’m supposed to be working hard in a snowy region, not relaxing and occasionally taking a swim in the river and fishing. I also hear of some mines in Dawnstar, and last time I went mining it was very profitable, so I leave for Dawnstar.

At 7PM, I have nearly reached my destination. I have come near to death more than once, and embarrassingly, mostly to mudcrabs. You see, the problem I am having is that I find it hard to see from a distance how big the mudcrab is, and that is how you see how strong a mudcrab is. However, I still live. One thing I have noticed, however, is how useful Meeko is. I’m thinking that I am so low a level that Meeko is higher than both me and the opponents I come across. This means that he has significantly higher health and damage then the opposition I come across. So that sort of makes up for the constant yapping in my ear. I have a lot to sell to merchants once I reach Dawnstar: I actually fill up my inventory with weapons, silverware and armour. I don’t see much of interest on my journey, apart from a locked house near Solitude with blood splatters on the front, with the name “abandoned house”. Interesting.  An adventurer might want to check that out.

I jump over a small hill and boom, I’m in Dawnstar. The first person I talk too, who looks like a mine worker, complains about the bad dreams he has been having. A walk past a Dawnstar guard. Another comment on his dreams. Oh no. It’s back. I thought it had gone when I left Morthal. But no, it continues to haunt me, maybe for the rest of my life.

The bad dialogue.

I talk to merchants; they refuse to buy my stuff, choosing instead to ramble on about how tired they are. DEAL WITH IT. Do I look like an adventurer?

Actually, yes I do. I strip my iron armour off that makes me look like that guy from the Bethesda Skyrim adverts and endure a merchant’s ramblings so I can buy some mining clothes. If any traveller entered this city now, they would not look at me twice. But these people are persistent. I think I’ll just refrain from talking. Or sleeping.

I go to the town’s inn, and the owner says that the bad dreams do not seem to be happening to travellers, but I’m not convinced What if he is just trying to fool me into buying a room? But the dreams don’t come, and I get some quality sleep in a good bed.

Day 12: I wake up, and take a morning stroll around the outskirts of Dawnstar. But as I approach a location that looks like a house on my compass, I notice that this isn’t a house at all, but instead a big, black door with a red skull carved onto it. It’s pretty nicely done: I should try to find the builder in Dawnstar in the near future to see if he can fix me up with a door like that. Then it speaks to me, and asks me for a password, so I panic and stutter in my ‘LA Noire easy level pokerface voice’ something about dreams, because dreams seem relevant. Then the door crudely throws some insult at me in his tryhard scary voice. Douchebag Door! I turn away in disgust. The owner of the house just missed the chance to talk to an awesome NPC like me.

I continue out to the wild, and find I have gone further out then I thought. I kill a ton of horkers and wolves, and find a new stone (the tower stone) which I take.  I am straying further and further away from the repetitive dialogue of Dawnstar. Then my game freezes. Fuuuuu…

I mimic my actions as much as possible. Damn PS3…

Anyway, it’s late by the time I’m out in the middle of nowhere. 11PM. I stifle a yawn and look at my map, and see I am nearer to Winterhold then Dawnster, but near the middle of both of them. I curse, and head off to Winterhold because it is closer. Although it is closer, my past experiences with Winterhold have not been good. There are enemies everywhere. And at night time, it is not the safest place to be. I try to get to Winterhold as fast as my tired legs can carry me, but there are wolves to kill everywhere. There are still people talking as I get there at midnight, but every word is a blur. I go to the nearest inn and slur out my need for a bed. There is somebody sitting next to my bed in a chair, watching me as I go in it, but I’m too tired to care. I walk up to the bed and collapse. Lie in tonight I think.

Days 13 and 14: Snow, ice and snow

Sorry, sorry. I’ve not been being updating this blog as much as I feel I should over the last few weeks. I’ve been playing other games like Battlefield and I’ve also been busy with school. I’ll try to start updating regularly again.

I like Winterhold. I don’t know why, because it seems least like home as it gets, it’s freezing, everything is white, there’s nothing to see, I keep coming nail – bitingly close to death from sliding off icy cliffs and there are walrus attacks round every corner. There is also a complete lack of fish in the water, but I enjoy listening to his asthma attacks when he leaves the water after being underwater for a few seconds, so I continue diving in the water from the cold cliffs of Winterhold. I think what I love about it is how eerie it is: because there is nobody here, it all feels deserted. That and the fact I can jump on icebergs on the edge of the map, which entertains me for some reason.  Simple taste I guess. I even find myself a new stone, which lets me paralyse targets, which sounds fun. I wonder though, how do birthsigns work in Tamriel? You can change the date of your birth whenever you want. It is convenient though, so I’m not complaining. Not much happens today, apart from walrus after walrus after walrus. This must be Robbaz’s dream land. Damn, I hope nobody has told him about being able to adopt children with Hearthfire.

Hearthfire is another thing I wanted to talk about. You’ve probably heard enough anger from PS3 users, moaning about how they can’t yet have the option to play as a vampire lord, while on Xbox they are already building houses and locking their adopted children in wardrobes. But what is annoying is how much people complained about the buggy and laggy PS3 version of Skyrim in its early days. Every Skyrim related post was a moan about Bethesda releasing an unfinished game. And now, when Bethesda has said that there has been a delay in the PS3 DLC, everybody gets mad. That said, though, I’m still pretty annoyed: I have a hard time believing that the PS3 is somehow at fault or Sony is. Every other game can have DLC for the PS3 and run well but Skyrim seems doomed on the PS3, but magically fine on xbox. Talk about getting screwed. Bethesda has had a lot of trouble with the PS3 versions of all of its games. Anybody remember Fallout 3?

Anyway, I’ll stop with the PS3–fanboy–butthurt thing now. While I am wondering, I come across a chilly, mysterious little cave filled with some strange Dwemer things (what was the word I was looking for) and a man fully dressed with some yellow robes, a hood and a name which is just not worth remembering. I start a conversation with him, and then back out because every conversation option was offering help and my tryhard characters already now this is a quest, so I quite rudely run away from the conversation. I continue jumping on floating chunks of ice because they’re awesome until dusk.

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5 thoughts on “The non – adventures of Honest Joe!

  1. JoeJoe275

    First comment! I am proud of that. I can finally read it without seeing !~’$&* halfway through words and sent%^&^%£@. < LOL Bookmarked this page to my tabs.

    Reply

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