Nondrick managed to reproduce. Who would've thought?
July 3, 2012 7:52 PM   Subscribe

Remember Nondrick from Livin' in Oblivion? Chris Livingston documents his descendent's non-adventures as a non-player character in Skyrim in PC Gamer's The Elder Strolls. posted by Ritchie (22 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

I fecking loved nondrick. He should've allowed a one time get out of being devoured card.
posted by The Whelk at 8:00 PM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thank you so much for collecting these! I had seen the first chapter, didn't want to subscribe to another gaming RSS feed, and promptly forgot all about it. Can't wait to dig in!
posted by yellowbinder at 8:01 PM on July 3, 2012

I have to admit this series made me cry. With laughter.
posted by Ritchie at 8:11 PM on July 3, 2012

It's the greatest thing. I'm just etching it in stone, right here, for posterity. The man is a treasure.
posted by cortex at 8:39 PM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Alas, poor Nordrick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.
posted by axiom at 8:46 PM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

This makes me happier than I care to admit.
posted by bowmaniac at 8:51 PM on July 3, 2012

Chris (or Chris Gordon Frohman as he's known 'round MefightClub) is also responsible for the hilarious Concerned, the Half Life 2 comic. He's apparently got yet another new catchall personal site, where Concerned is now hosted. We wish he'd visit us more often at MFC.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:53 PM on July 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

This makes me so happy. I've missed Nondrick.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:00 PM on July 3, 2012

"Living in Oblivion" was my favorite thing a few years back, love that he's done a new one, even if I haven't gotten to try Skyrim yet.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:49 PM on July 3, 2012

First of all, I loved the adventures of both Nondrick and Nordrick. But that's not what I want to talk about.

Basically, I want to say fuck mining in adventure games.

When I first started playing Ultima Online, I was playing on dial-up, which meant that about 60% of the time, any encounter with a hostile creature or player would result in insta-death. Usually, my encounters would go like this:

1) I hear the encounter music.
2) Screen freezes.
3) Screen unfreezes and I am a ghost.

I wanted to improve my fighting ability for the times when my connection was decent and make some money. I heard that mining was a lucrative skill to learn and so my character, Rock of Minoc, became a miner, eventually a grand master miner.

Now, I was very familiar with the tedium of mining thanks to Peter Cook. Ultima Online managed to capture the tedium perfectly. Well, truth be told, when you're mining for real, there's a chance that something deadly and awful will happen. UO captured this, too.

Miners - especially miners like me who "leap frogged" ore - were a juicy target for the PKs in those days. You could somewhat protect yourself from murder and corpse looting by developing your hiding skill. You'd move, hide, mine a spot until it was mined out, make a pile of ore and then move to another spot and repeat the process. If a couple PKs stumbled across you (or were looking for you, since they knew where miners were likely to hang out) it would often become a waiting game of "will I get bored of sitting here hiding before they get bored of sitting there waiting to murder me and loot my corpse."

If you had a pile of ore, they'd frequently pick it up. They couldn't steal it if you were "leap frogging" because it would be far too heavy and then you'd be actually able to kill one of them. They would get frustrated with you for not submitting to murder, you would get frustrated with them for making the impossibly dull task of mining even duller and harsh words would often be exchanged.

Furthermore, the more lucrative ores only became available as you approached Grand Master status and only existed in like five spots in the entire world, so you'd have to raise your magic skill at least high enough to be able to teleport to certain locations where the fucking blue ore was available and hope that some other miner hadn't recently mined it, since that would mean waiting.

And then, when you went to smelt the ore, frequently you would smelt away ore without making any ingots, which meant that you'd make no money on the ingots.

Even at Grand Master level, making 100 of the fucking blue ingots was hours of work.

So, in the end, Rock of Minoc had maxed out his mining and hiding skills, dedicated another significant chunk of skill points to magic skills but was really not much more ready for life as an adventurer when I finally got a DSL hook-up than when I started.

Even once I started trying to raise his fighting skills, I couldn't stop mining. Everywhere I went, I had a small stack of pick axes and shovels (which always broke) so I could test new walls for ore types. I never had room in my pack for loot because it was dedicated to ore and mining tools.

When I started playing Skyrim I was all like "thank goodness, I don't have to mine to play this game." But, just like in every other game I've played since UO with mining ability, I can't stop myself. Every chance I have to mine, I mine. It slows the game down, fills up my pack and otherwise is a tedious and dreadful waste of time, but I can't stop myself.

So, yeah, I enjoyed Nordrick's non-adventures, but the mining parts made me cringe in virtual OCD agony.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:06 PM on July 3, 2012 [11 favorites]

Every chance I have to mine, I mine.

Yeah, this. I managed to force myself to stop picking Every. Single. Alchemical. Ingredient but I have to mine. I have to. If I see a mineshaft indicator on the HUD, I have to find it. If it's a mineshaft I've already explored, I have to go back to see if the ore veins have recharged. I've tried throwing my pickaxes into the sea, but they're lying around in every mine.

I heard it's possible to get followers to mine for you, but the ones I've had so far have flat-out refused: 'Sorry. Can't do that." Even Roggi Knot-Beard, who is a fucking miner, refuses. How many pickaxes to I have to give him?
posted by Ritchie at 11:19 PM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

If I see a mineshaft indicator on the HUD, I have to find it.

Replace "a mineshaft indicator" with "any indicator" and you'll have a taste of my world - I must find everything on a map. It nearly killed me in Skyrim and is currently doing so in Just Cause 2 - I don't have to clear every map point (yet) - I just have to find it.

Also, are you Skyrim miners familiar with power mining? You're welcome. <evilgrin />
posted by sysinfo at 11:47 PM on July 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

I hate you and I love you, sysinfo.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:01 AM on July 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

That was a really unsatisfying conclusion: after all that time avoiding any adventure, there was no good reason to go running after the bandits- he could have just run away and lived happily ever after (and I think the animals would catch up). I get the sense he wanted the unhappy ending.
posted by hincandenza at 2:11 AM on July 4, 2012

I had to sympathize, because every time I've been to the Valtheim Towers (from part 10), some horrible catastrophe has ensued. Yes, Lydia has shoved me off that bridge in her eagerness to catch a few more arrows in her face. Yes, I've nearly died at the hands of that gigantic orc with the warhammer. Yes, a dragon once attacked while I was butchering bandits in werewolf form (and thus without a ranged attack).
posted by Ritchie at 2:41 AM on July 4, 2012

I spent an entire day at work reading this last week, then went home and loaded up Skyrim for the first time in 6 months. Nondrick and Nordrick are my heroes (also: Felix).
posted by Acey at 5:13 AM on July 4, 2012

Sad ending, and I'm with The Whelk on wishing he had a one-time reload rule. He says that NPCs don't get to reload from a previous save, but right in this series he documents how bandits respawn and *spoiler!* even the bloody bones in his shack reset themselves every few days. NPCs totally get to reload, Nordrick should get at least a second chance. Although I could imagine that allowing yourself a second chance might let you get a little careless with the first, playing differently than you otherwise would. Hmm.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:10 AM on July 4, 2012

Plus we'd get more story. This series was part of the reason i finally ponied up the cash to buy Skyrim -- a game that allows for so many variations in gameplay, even a chance to really REALLY roleplay the character... why not?

As it stands, I've put in nearly 80 hours in less than three weeks of owning Skyrim. And I am NOT the gamer type who does that. It really is a special game.
posted by Edison Carter at 6:56 AM on July 5, 2012

BTW, I don't think I'll ever get tired of Skyrim FPPs.
posted by Edison Carter at 7:04 AM on July 5, 2012

I used to post Skyrim FPPs like you... until I got a callout in the MeTa.
posted by hincandenza at 6:28 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hallo. I'm the guy what wrote these. Thanks for the links/words.

To be honest, the 10th entry was probably going to be the last either way: if Nordrick had made it back to his new home and found his new wife, I couldn't really think of what else he'd do. Those were my goals when I started writing, and I felt like he'd just about reached them.

Still, it would have been nice if he'd survived, because I was looking forward to continuing to play Skyrim as him (even if I ended the blog), but alas. I haven't actually played Skyrim since he died. Not out of grief or anything, but because I just really enjoyed playing the game in that fashion: having such simple goals and restrictions makes it a much more personal experience than playing as some world-saving hero (YMMV).
posted by notmydesk at 1:30 PM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

I was wondering what would have happened to the series if Nordrick had made it back safely for that very reason. Nordrick wouldn't have anything to do, what with Ysolda opening a shop (100 gold per day!), and providing meals to boot. Still, it would have been nice to have that final screenshot of Nordrick and Ysolda sitting at a table staring blankly at each other.
posted by Ritchie at 8:55 PM on July 6, 2012

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