Observations on Skyrim

I have been enjoying Skyrim very much. My character is level 14 and is slowly progressing through the story missions and other quests. He has joined the Companions and completed their ritual (no spoilers, but if you’ve gone through it, you know what I mean), bought a house in Whiterun, and has started wide exploration of the world. He has been concentrating on one-handed weapons as well as destruction magic, though has recently learned the advantage of conjuration magic (try calling your familiar into being over a trap/ward – it kills the poor spirit wolf, but prevents the player from taking damage). Last night, he started with the mage school and had a nice time in the mountains. He has completed his shout training with the Graybeards, and has even discovered a few other shouts by himself.

I have picked up a few companion offers along the way, and have adventured with 2 of them: a woman who fought me in a bar in Whiterun and my “housecarl” Lydia, also from Whiterun. My problem with these companions is that they can die. Most of the time, they fall in combat and get up when the player has resolved the situation, but sometimes they are killed. Since I don’t want to have them die, I reload and try the fight again.

Another problem with companions is that they often get lost (or choose not to take the same path the player does). Most of the time, I can just fast-wait for an hour and they will magically appear. Sometimes not. There should be an indicator on the compass showing where your companion is.

I also bought a horse so I could get around faster. Horses are more expensive than in Oblivion, but apparently smarter and hardier. It was a common occurrence in Oblivion to leave your horse outside a cave only to come out and find it had been killed by something. So far, that hasn’t happened in Skyrim. Horses often run from fights, which is good, though sometimes they will join in. I fought a dragon last night when the horse was nearby and even though the dragon attacked it sometimes, it survived. The problem with horses (other than the fact that they aren’t that fast and look funny when you’re riding them) is that you can’t get rid of them! Whenever you fast travel, there’s the horse. Even if you are going into a dangerous place, it comes with you. At least with companions, you can tell them to go home or wait somewhere. There doesn’t seem to be an option or sell your horse or keep it in the stable.

Because of the problems keeping my companions alive, I’ve stopped using them for the moment. I don’t know what to do with the horse. I don’t want it to be killed, but I don’t always want it with me when I’m out exploring. I’ll have to look for a “mod” solution.

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