by adam mathes
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Stealth of the Ninja

I don’t understand role-playing games.

I bought Elder Scrolls IV: OBLIVION because it got really great reviews and the notion of such an interactive, immersive world seemed like it might be worth exploring briefly. And I also bought it because I’m an idiot and antisocial.

The problem is that even with a nice first-person game engine, and highly interactive environments, it’s still Dungeons and Dragons.

And D&D is always stupid. And the one nerd line I draw, really, is D&D RPG crap.

So I start in jail, which seems a bit unfair. And then some emperor dies. Am I supposed to care? (I mean, I kind of cared because he’s voiced by Jean Luc Picard.)

As I’m running through some dungeon, I tried to pick up a shield and the game wouldn’t let me because I was “encumbered.” Really? I just picked up 12 skulls and 38 bones and I’m carrying those around with me, but the shield? That hooks on my arm? That would be too much? How am I carrying all the skulls?

Why am I carrying skulls anyway?! What am I going to do with those?

So Picard dies, and gives me an amulet that I can’t wear, and the dumbass guard who should probably be falling on his sword for doing something stupid like letting me guard the emperor says that I’ll be fine fighting giant rats in the sewers on my way out because it’s obvious I’m a really talented bard.


Am I going to fucking recite poetry to the giant rats and bore them to death?

A bard?

“Punch him in the nuts” wasn’t a response I could give, already leading me to believe that this “fully free” environment thing as a lie.

I told him I was a ninja.

And then he took my katana, which I had previously “liberated” from a dead guy.

I tried to look for the “slice his fucking arm off with the katana as he tries to take it” option but that also wasn’t here.

Things were off to a bad start.

After I got out of the sewers, I made my way to a house. Some guy was sleeping there, even though it was midday. Being a super stealthy ninja, I pickpocketed him.

And in the process woke him up. Apparently Elder Scrolls didn’t understand what I meant by ninja.

I decided it was probably best to drop a smoke bomb and leave, but I didn’t have any smoke bombs, so I just left as the guy was screaming at me.

Then, shockingly, a medieval cop actually showed up and tried to get me to pay a fine. Just for trying to steal from someone in broad daylight in their own home!

Like any good ninja would, I told him to fuck off. So he drew a sword and tried to kill me.

Being a ninja I assumed this would be easy, but since this is D&D crap, I died in about 3 seconds since I haven’t wasted my life making my character level up by killing giant sewer rats for hours.

Luckily, modern games are set up to avoid actual defeat and challenge by auto-saving, so I was offered the helpful option to restore my game.

So the cop could kill me again.

And then again.

But eventually, because I’m a super-ninja, I killed him.

I decided to celebrate by stealing a horse.

Before I got out of the stables with my newly liberated horse, half a dozen guys showed up to stop me and apparently you can’t run people over with a horse, or jump a fence with a horse, which is pretty much bullshit (especially given that I’m a NINJA.)

So I died again.

At this point I decided I was done for a while.

I don’t think the game designers understand that I’m trying to play NINJA GRAND THEFT HORSE here. They are not helping. Then want me to play GIANT RENAISSANCE FAIRE D&D STATS BUILDER and I want them to take their 12 sided dice and shut the hell up.

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