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My devious lady


cat013

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Selling flowers for profit and pleasure*

*pleasure contingent on your liking this kind of treatment

 

Long time ago there was a thread about supposed “weak girl” play style. It had lots of good modding suggestions, but the problem as usual is that everyone seems to have a different idea as to what “weak girl” even means. Some people apparently want a sort of misery simulator or one way trip into depravity.

 

I personally understand “weak girl” concept as a valid way to play the game (Skyrim that is) by non-traditional means. A character that is too weak to take the dragons, civil war and stuff head on, but fully capable of dispatching them via hired swords (who may or may not be devious followers), backstabbing, theft, etc.

 

I particularly like the idea of disabling the standard way of levelling and replacing it with money as a substitute to generic XP typical for other RPGs, which allows you to hire mercenaries to fight for you or to boost your own skills before engaging into otherwise suicidal combat. But this in turn means that we need a sustainable way to earn money that preferably does not boil down to low impact grind of 40 gp at a time.

 

Let’s see if we can make meaningful controllable risk / proportional reward gameplay out of something as mundane as peddling the most basic of goods.

 

Step 1. Collect flowers. Vanilla game has dozen or so plants that qualify as flowers. Throw in DCL/FMEA/bandits as you see fit, but generally Helgen to Riverwood run should not be a death march.

Step 2. Approach an NPC. We classify them as Paupers (non-customers), Commoners, Bourgeoisie and Nobility. For this job you need to look decent: clean, no weapons or armor in sight, no slut clothes, no humiliating DDs, definitely no parasites, cum or signs of substance abuse on your face. High-class customers have additional requirements (more expensive clothes etc).

3. Step 3. Bouquet making minigame. The NPC has 3 flowers and some small number X (not necessarily greater than 3) on their mind. You offer some of the flowers in your inventory, one of each kind. If you overshoot X – you’re busted and in trouble. Otherwise you sell your flowers at base price + markup defined by your customer’s class. There is also exponential premium for each flower that you guessed right, and also if you offer exactly X flowers. Depth of you trouble if you bust also depends on customer’s class. Regardless of the result, the NPC goes into cooldown for 20 hours.

 

It is always safe to sell one flower, but most of the time it only yields chum change. If you’re willing to take risks however you can make hundreds on a single customer.

 

Casino-like minigame will only get you so far, so let’s expand on that. We can add some Speech-based minigame that allows you to get some insight as to what X or bingo flowers are. But that one itself is risky because nobody likes inquisitive flower girls. We can also throw in some lore considerations. E.g. if you’re selling near a temple flowers related to that deity are more likely to bingo. That is the stuff you’re supposed to learn within the game.

 

Now, how do we tie this basic game mechanics into the larger game? Think: as a stereotypical weak girl, what do you miss the most? Poisons, of course - THE feminine weapon of choice since the ancient times. Lace drinks in a tavern, kill NPC via pickpocket and so on. Obviously we need real shit, not the underwhelming vanilla nonsense. And it needs to be obtained in a way than circumvents the vanilla alchemy so as to keep FMEA away - but still require the player to pick flowers.

 

So, meet our devious mistress: Angeline Morrard. Why Solitude? Well, it does not have the insane script load of heavily modded Whiterun, but has abundant flowers in and right next to it (important for the early game) and big enough market, including the Blue Palace crowd. In order to sell flowers you need to be formally employed.

 

Mechanically she is a sort of devious non-follower, if you will. The goal is to both satiate her greed (meet daily quotas and whatnot) and to earn her trust. Expect completely unjustified (you were not scamming on the nice lady, were you?) feats of paranoia, punishment if the customers complain, possible indenture if you underperform. But if you get on her good side she will teach you the ropes, including poison making.

 

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On a slight tangent, what about "traveling apothecary"? I think the Reacher lady who runs the Hag's Cure in Markarth fills this niche explicitly (except for the traveling part).

 

You approach various people and ask them if they have any ailments that need curing. They tell you their ailment/problem, and you try to make them a potion that solves their problem. So like someone might say "I've been feeling rather tired lately and I can't focus", and you can make them a restore stamina potion or a restore magicka potion for an okay payment, or make them a restore stamina+magicka potion for full payment. Might be something more specific like "I want to improve my accuracy with a bow" or something nefarious like "I want a poison that saps the strength of my enemy". Unintended effects lessen payment and/or increase the risk that the person will report you for trying to poison them.

 

It is less overtly feminine than "flower girl" but I think it fills the same harvester, non-combatant gameplay niche.

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These potions - is PC expected to prepare them via vanilla alchemy? In some game setups (FMEA in particular) this may not be an option until very late in the game.

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A while ago I made a travelling merchant with the Trade Routes mod (on Nexus). Combined with an in-game journal mod to keep track of prices in different holds and a mod to allow NPCs to craft items/enchantments (such as Honed Metal) it made for a very "chill" yet challenging playstyle. Keeping a devious follower happy and geared required some... deals... every now and then. Used community Uncapper to limit all stats except speech and alchemy. 

 

One way to play the game as a "weak character", and one I actually enjoyed. 

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On 5/6/2020 at 11:31 PM, cat013 said:

These potions - is PC expected to prepare them via vanilla alchemy? In some game setups (FMEA in particular) this may not be an option until very late in the game.

Yeah, in that case this solution would probably be incompatible with setups that use FMEA. I could also see using something like Harvesting Overhaul to counteract FMEA's failure chances with sheer volume of available ingredients.

 

In vanilla-like setups I've found that the alchemist playstyle is an interesting, somewhat viable variant of the "weak girl" playstyle. Going out in the wild is risky but necessary to gather ingredients. But with stamina and health potions you can run away from most bandits and creatures. Then you return to town and focus on crafting high-value potions to sell. But the part in town always seemed to me a bit unsatisfying - there is a lack of interaction with most NPCs, and then there's the question of why alchemists like Angeline Morrard are buying some other alchemist's potions instead of just using the ingredients they have on hand to make their own for a fraction of the price.

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I would still advise against potions - too many variables to worry about. Just match a set of roots and mushrooms against a set of symptoms that are not necessarily reliable (because everybody lies, you know the drill).

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