I’ve just made a brand new Skyrim character the other day to celebrate (very nearly) 4 years of play (has it been that long?).
I’ve made almost every character type under the sun in that time, except one: a noncombatant.
Hence, my new character is just such a woman. Enter, Tiraali Ralvedren of Mournhold.
Tiraali is a doctor. A woman of medicine and mending. She’s not the fighting sort.
She is also exceedingly difficult to play.
As a Dunmer Alchemist and Restoration mage, she has very weak offensive abilities, but she CAN sneak around slipping people fatal poisons when she needs to do damage, or more often sics a follower on what’s attacking her and while she heals her allies from behind.
Or she just runs.
Even on the easiest difficulty, she is the most challenging character I’ve ever played on this game.
It’s interesting playing a non combat character who honestly NEEDS a bodyguard. She ventures out to collect alchemical ingredients, not for adventure or glory. She’d rather stay home, reading her books and brewing medicines. She’s a doctor — she lives to help people, not hurt them.
Almost everyone in this game is out for themselves or their clan — and here’s my character who utterly has no ego in this equation. She’s just trying to help as many people as she can.
I loved slipping into her thought processes almost as soon as the game began. Confusion at being arrested, terror at her impending execution, wondering “why me? What did I do to these people?”
Hiding behind Ralof every step of the way during her escape, too scared to fight (and rubbish at it), she probably couldn’t stop whimpering and asking “why me?”; and when she sees the torture chambers under Helgen, she’s overcome with absolute disgust as torture and the prolonging of suffering is the absolute antithesis of everything she stands for.
At first, she’s eager to join the Stormcloaks after seeing these Imperial atrocities, only to find the Stormcloaks are no better (and in her specific case as a Dark Elf, arguably worse). She breaks down a little inside because Ralof was so kind to her but his comrades couldn’t be more horrible to her, before eventually discovering the College of Winterhold and finding a place where she truly feels like she belongs.
While there, she beefed up on her Alteration and lllusion schools of magic so she’d be less defenseless when on her own, but she won’t harm any creature if she can help it. She still sticks close to other travelers she meets on the road for as long as she can for protection, only parting ways when they divert from the road to her destination. And she invariably keeps either a close friend better suited to combat or a hired mercenary for additional protection.
All in all, it’s a very different take on Skyrim. There’s a lot of stuff she passes up because it’s too dangerous, or it doesn’t agree with her moral code. She’s not very wealthy because she’s not willing to do illegal or unsavory things to pad her funds, and if she accidentally commits a crime, she submits without struggle.
Part of what fascinates me is that she’s essentially the kind of average NPC bystander that you walk past all the time in this game — the ones peddling their wares for whatever they can get, the ones who flee as quickly as they can when a dragon turns up.
Tiraali isn’t some grand mystic hero — she’s one of the helpless terrorized rabble of Skyrim that get trodden upon by everything that’s stronger than they are (which is quite a lot of things).
In essence, I am playing as the little guys that “real heroes” seem to either ignore or dump all the crap they find in the field on, leaving us without a single septim to spend.
Destiny calls to her, and Tiraali answers back “Destiny sounds REALLY DANGEROUS. I think I’ll just stay here. Indoors. Brewing my potions and medicines– oh crap I’m out of ingredients again and Arcadia doesn’t get her next shipment in for a couple of days. Um… Mercurio, we’re going out –much as I hate doing that– to get some ingredients. Let’s avoid all conflict and/or run-ins with Destiny, shall we? Sound good? Awesome. Please keep me from dying.“