The Prince of potions. And potatoes.

So it's been a busy holiday break so far. I've been working on my next book, I've been reading a tonne of graphic novels (thanks local library!), I've been road testing some tasty beers and at night I've turned into a sneaky cat burglar with an obsession to become a mad scientist...

In case that last point has become a bit confusing, I'm talking about the video game Skyrim that I started ages ago, forgot all about it and then resurrected recently. With my dangerous Dark Elf character I've barely scratched the surface of what's possible in this game but one thing I'm thoroughly enjoying at the moment is ignoring most of the main quests in this fantasy role playing game and just traipsing around the areas, sniping my bow at everything that moves and hunting high and low for my next big hit...of alchemy reagents.

Sure I could hack and slash my way across the universe to try and save the world (which I tried for a time), unlocking the secrets of the land and becoming a nigh on deal dealing war machine (working my way to that too) but at the moment I'm more than happy using my considerable skills to become the prince of potions.

Yes you can mix potions to your hearts content in Skyrim and through tonnes of practise I've got my process of hunting, gathering and mixing down pat.

1. Walk everywhere, kill anything that gets in my way (or looks twice at me), loot them for gold and or food and keep well trained eyes out for ingredients.

2. When I find one and I know nothing about them, I shove them in my mouth for a bit of a chew and quickly discover one of the four possible effects it has. Yes there is a chance it could damage or poison me. I have damaged myself plenty of times in the name of alchemy and in some cases popped some really unsavoury things down my throat in the name of research.
Giants toe and ectoplasm anyone?


3. Once I have quite a few tasty (and occasionally poisonous) ingredients on board I hot foot it to the nearest alchemy bench to mix up a storm and learn from the process. Usually they come out piss weak and fairly useless but I'll happily sell them to the nearest healer/chemist and use the money in turn to buy my next set of reagents.

4. Of course if I haven't sampled one of my new purchases yet, I'll stand in front of the healer/chemist/sellers and munch away. They look so impressed when a deranged dark elf walks in, orders a batch of fire salts and promptly pops them in his mouth before they can issue the warning 'Look, these might be hot..'

5. Since they're not paying top dollar for my shitty potions (yet) and charging like a wounded troll for the ingredients I haven't eaten yet, it doesn't take long before I run out of coin. It's at this point in time when I roam the darkened streets of the nearest village, picking pockets of passerby's and stealing their hard keys. Yes I knock off their keys and during the day when they're down by the fountain talking about Greybeards or arrows or some deranged dark elf who loves a big bite of giants toe, I let myself in and ransack their joint right down to the last potato. Yes even the potatoes. There's nothing like having next to no life after a battle with the undead and healing 1 health point with a stolen spud.

The risks are high...

(Last night I came across a house in the middle of nowhere. 'They'll have some reagents surely' I thought to myself. So I walked in and slightly miffed at an unwelcome guest at that time of night, the git who owned the place lobbed fireballs at my head. He accidentally tripped on my axe...quite a few times and while he was enjoying the lovely workmanship of his stone floors I had a look around for a few ingredients, munching on a tasty butterfly wing I found on the shelf..)

Hunt, eat, mix, learn from the experience, become a better alchemist, sell, repeat. Until the one day when I can learn no more and I become master of the random brew. Then I might focus my attention on becoming a lock picking master and help myself to your house when you're not looking, filling up each room with a combination of piss weak potions and potatoes from your next door neighbour..


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