It's early 2012 and I'm playing The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Why? Because I (finally) can. Join me on my path to glory and the stabilization of the status quo in almost-Tolkien-land.
I leave the city on the wrong side, of course. Having to circle around I run into the first hostile wildlife in the form of two wolves which, while quickly dispatched, worry me. There are no guards visible upon the wall or around them and these predators coming so close to the city... Not as worrying as the fact that this medieval city apparently has no farm-belt around it. How does this population get fed? I'll never know as most of Oblivions world appears to be either city or wilderness, with the occasional farm that farms like five stalks of corn sprinkled throughout the landscape. I guess they have some DnD-like economy-destabilizing food-creation-spells at the ready. After circling around the city and the oh-so-terrible port next to it I get to the bridge connecting the city-island to the actual mainland. Why aren't the walls along the shore? Why isn't the island pacified? I'll never know. Beyond the bridge there is a small inn. I go inside and take note of the fact that rooming here costs half as much as within the city walls. Also, the innkeeper is a collector of wine and asks me to get six bottles of an extremely rare wine sometimes found in fortress-ruins scattered across the landscape. Is this a fetch-quest or one of these achievements the kids these days need to feel good about themselves? I don't know but I tell her I'll keep my eyes open and leave.
Not a hundred meters from the inn is a ruined fortress. As we are still in sight of the Imperial capital I figure it's safe and some sort of day-trip destination for families from the city to picnic there. Then I remember the fact that this society is dwindling and falling apart, with weeds growing among the buildings of the Imperial city and also that there are no families in this world as there are no children. That in mind I ready my weapons and enter the surprisingly intact wooden door. It's a dungeon-crawl and I won't write it down in its entirety. As I cannot rest down there I wait for my magick to regrow and use healing-spells periodically and just stand in a room I have secured. It feels like the magic is losing potency and I have noticed an icon depicting I should sleep so I get worried Martor might pass out if I don't. A mistake, as I find out later but for now I am fighting my way through goblins living in these chambers, dropping them like flies and wondering wether if there were children in this world half of them would be small and terrified of this interloper coming into their dwelling and slaughtering them. I find none of the special wine and after killing every goblin and looting all boxes I get back out. I head back for the tavern as I felt afraid of the sleep-now-symbol on my screen.
The sleep-symbol wasn't a reminder that Martor needed to sleep or he would pass out. Martor, as I know now that I write this down some hours after the fact, doesn't need to sleep. Up to this point I had thought that leveling up was something happening gradually, as the game informed from time to time whilst using an ability, such as running or jumping or hitting things with a blade that said skill had grown. So I assumed that using a skill was training it and my character was getting better at things gradually. That was only half the truth as the sleep-now indicator meant that I had actually leveled up and needed to sleep in order to give me an opportunity to place some attribute-points. So skills grow by actually using them (a game mechanic I really like) while attributes are actually borne from the players choice after getting a certain amount of experience points. The game actually tells you about the leveling-up mechanic, as I'd notice later upon reaching the next level, and tells you that you learned new things and should sleep to let it all set in. I must have missed that prompt in-game.