Among my many neglected hobbies is playing video games. Most of the time I’m playing on the Xbox. I have a bad habit of taking forever to finish a game so I’m still plugging through older titles like Mass Effect 2 and Skyrim.
Skyrim’s what I wanted to talk about today. More specifically, how user error ruined my life.
Faendal was my main character’s first follower. He taught her archery over and over. She’d pay him in gold, which he graciously returned to her over and over. Your character starts as a nameless prisoner about to be executed. After that rough beginning (and narrow escape from a dragon), my character came across Faendal and felt he was the first person to be nice to her.
The two roamed Skyrim, knocking out side quests and leveling up. It was a wonderful life.
Until the troll.
It was a tough battle. Luckily my character was a fire mage, and trolls hate fire. Healing spells and potions kept us just on the right side of life. I noticed Faendal fall as the battle ended. I wasn’t worried. One of the pluses of followers is that they don’t die permanently except for one special use case.
I killed the troll, wrapped up a minor quest in the zone, looted and felt good. Until I noticed that Faendal wasn’t at my back. He should have come back by now. Unless … crap. That special use case is if you – the player – kill the follower, even accidentally. One of my fire spells must have caught Faendal in its wake. I burned him alive!
And my last save with a living Faendal was too far back. As much as I loved him (and I had faint romantic futures planned for my character with him), I could bear the thought of working through all those quests and battles again. I just couldn’t do it.
I mourned his loss. I stared at the screen for a few minutes, trying to rationalize going back so far in the game. Then I climbed back to the troll’s cave and looted Faendal’s body.
What else was I supposed to do?