Nicole the Traveling Merchant – part 2: Practice

I wrote about my inspiration for a traveling merchant character within Skyrim in my character article Nicole the Traveling Merchant – part 1: Inspiration. In today’s article I’m talking about the development of my character Nicole, and the process I went through in defining her playstyle.

Nicole enjoys the night sky as she waits for the dawn to enter Whiterun and sell her wares
The dangers of picking flowers

As I ventured out into the wilderness with Nicole it became clear that there was much to the world I had missed by simply sprinting in and out of dungeons to gain loot, and in and out of towns to sell loot.  I found immense enjoyment in actually stopping to pick the flowers I encountered along the road as I walked at a leisurely pace from town to town, city to city.

However, the roads weren’t as serene as they seemed at first.  After all, the world had not changed simply because my playstyle had, it was still filled with all manner of beast and bandit, seeking to do harm to Nicole.

I learned this early on when  Nicole ended up huddled behind some trees along a mountain face; hiding from some wolves that had relentlessly chased her through a forest. This was an interesting application of the sneak mechanic and one I had never used before.  Sneak being primarily for nefarious reasons such as assassination attacks or to steal objects, here it was being utilized to avoid detection from aggressive units and to continue along the path of peace.

Nicole hides behind a tree to avoid the detection of a pack of wolves

With Nicole’s focus on being a trader and staying out of the conflict of the civil war in Skyrim, I decided to maintain that her goods would not include weapons, armor, or poisons.  Instead opting for focusing on the trade of potions, food, clothing, and other goods such as books, tableware, silverware, gems, and jewelry.

Nicole gets her first chance to practice her speech craft at the Riverwood Trader
Nicole’s playstyle is one of trade and exploring the lands of Skyrim.  She focuses on sneaking through combat zones, collecting ingredients to craft with and goods to sell in the cities she visits. I am now focusing Nicole on the following skills:

  • Sneak: to allow Nicole to navigate battlefields and forests alike without having to engage in combat.
  • Speech: to increase the income earned from purchasing and selling items, and to be able to interact with more conversation focused gameplay found when interacting with NPCs in general, and in cities in particular.
  • Alchemy: to focus on the crafting of potions and food to contribute the trade of goods focused on aid.

This is the second installment in my character series titled Nicole the Traveling Merchant, if you enjoyed it please feel free to read through the other articles within the series: Part 1. I welcome discussion on this topic and if you have experiences of your own you wish to share please do so in the comments below, or write in to

Andrew Mantilla is a ludologist and video game journalist for Play Professor.  You can check out more of his content on FacebookTwitterInstagramand Youtube.

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