Do you chat with everyone you see on the public transit? Make inquiries into the name and profession of whoever you meet on the street? Why is it that almost every unique NPC in Skyrim is willing to stop everything they are doing just to waste precious time answering the Dragonborn's stupid questions when they probably have better things to do and more important places to be. For that matter, where are all the people in Skyrim? Why does the entire country have less population than your local pub on a Saturday night?
'Inconsequential NPCs' aims to add more NPCs to Skyrim in unintrusive ways that will allow them to blend immersively into the social fabric of the land. Most of the 'Inconsequential NPCs' do not care if your character is the Dragonborn. They don't really want to talk to you (but they are all voiced), so most of them won't have much to say to you (and those that do, will generally not have nice things to say). They won't ask you to 'deliver this...' or 'fetch that...', and they won't tell you their life stories because they just don't want to get to know you. There is no way for you to improve your relationship with them, because you are as inconsequential to them as they are to you. They are not going to drop everything they are doing to become your followers (...at least, not for free). They are so unimpressed by you that the thought of marriage is completely ridiculous to them. All they want is to go about their business and cope with the daily grind.
But these are not just completely 'random' NPCs. They are all 'unique' and are intended to fill 'gaps' in the the various social environments of Skyrim. How often have you entered a particular location in Skyrim, expecting to find certain 'types' of people loitering in that area, only to be greeted by merely a couple of NPCs or an empty room? Just as lighting mods aim to subtly enhance the 'visual ambiance' of the game, 'Inconsequential NPCs' aims to enhance the 'social ambiance.' Permit me to explain by way of examples....
Did you ever wonder how the carriages can move across Skyrim unmolested? The countryside is littered with bandits and dangerous wildlife. How does a slow moving carriage with just one barely armed carriage driver manage to consistently out-run and survive against these critters? Wonder no more! Now each carriage has a seasoned guard drawn from the ranks of retired soldiers, veteran mercenaries, and reformed criminals, who are (..or, at least, look) tough enough to make a small group of bandits think twice about raiding the carriages (the Markarth carriage has two guards, because of the threat of the Forsworn).
Did someone tell you that Riften was a 'den of vices'? Well it isn't. There's no gambling, there's no brothel (unless you count Healga's Bunkhouse...), and the nearest Skooma den is half way to Ivarstead. The only skooma dealer in Riften in the base game can be encountered when you are trying to end his operations—that's just silly. 'Inconsequential NPCs' remedies at least two of the three missing components. If you look hard enough in the seediest section of the city after nightfall, you will find some impoverished souls selling...'flowers' to anyone who can meet their price. Yes, you can partake of their...'flowers', but don't expect perfumed women adorned with expensive jewelries and exotic fashions, catering to your every whim for hours on end. These 'ladies of the night' are not courtesans to the nobility—they are desperate 'street-walkers' who need to quickly move from one client to another in order to make enough gold to feed their skooma addiction or to pay off their pimp. So what you will find isn't going to be 'quality service', but more of a...'quick romp'.....
Speaking of 'vices', 'Inconsequential NPCs' also adds some skooma dealers to the game, who will sell skooma at absurdly marked-up prices. Currently, they can only be found in Markarth and Riften, the two cities with the most corrupt guards, the most impoverished and exploited population, and people who are most in need of escape from the dreary grind of their daily existence.
As Ulfric never ceases to lament, many of Skyrim's inhabitants left the country to fight in the war against the Aldermri Dominion. Some of those men and women did not return, and the civil war has only exacerbated the damage done to the social infrastructure of Skyrim. Yet, there are only a handful of orphans in Skyrim, almost all of whom are incarcerated in the orphanage in Riften. Is there a 'Skyrim Child Welfare Services', with armies of childcare workers scouring Skyrim for orphans to bring to the orphanage? The Riften orphanage isn't capable of housing all of them, in any event. With 'Inconsequential NPCs', in some cities, you will encounter homeless street children. Newcomers to these cities should keep a hand on their coin purses should they wish to approach these urchins--you have been warned...
The royal court of the High King in Skyrim is the heart of the central government for the country and also a symbol of authority, even if that authority has been undermined in light of the civil war. There should be petitioners and dignitaries seeking council from the ruling body, requesting arbitration of disputes, courting favours, negotiating treaties, and generally imposing all sorts of mundane 'courtly matters' that occasionally makes the Dragonborn glad that s/he can't become the High King because being a political leader isn't always what it's cracked up to be. But where the hell is everybody? 'Inconsequential NPCs' adds some life to the royal court of Skyrim. There are now foreign envoys in the Blue Palace, who will occasionally pester the Jarl with 'envoy matters' and snub their noses at the Dragonborn, because being 'dragon born' is no substitute for being 'noble born'....
Skyrim is in the midst of a civil war. Sell-swords should flock to the country like bees to honey. The base game provides some capable hirelings you can recruit, but it's inconceivable that mercenaries of such caliber would have trouble finding employment given the current state of the country, let alone squander their days away downing in watered-down drinks in second-rate taverns, until a disreputable ex-convict like the Dragonborn comes along to recruit them to go on suicidal ventures like 'dragon hunting.' 'Inconsequential NPCs' adds some additional 'swords-for-hire'—but they are not your 'typical' hirelings. These mercenaries are more like the....'left overs' after the pool of talent has been picked clean. They are not 'essential' or 'protected', so they can die (unless you are using a follower overhaul mod), they are not particularly tough, they are not particularly brave (but not overtly cowardly), nor do they particularly like you, so they won't be particularly loyal (and you'll have to pay them every time you want to re-hire them). They will, however, be perfectly useful if you need someone to 'look tough' and intimidate peasants (...although, actually, some of them may not even look particularly tough...), or want someone to spank the hide off of skeevers. In any event, you probably shouldn't take them dragon hunting, or....maybe you should, because these hirelings' job is not to defeat your enemies, but to make -you- look good!
Maven is basically the 'Under-Jarl' of Riften. She walks around the city flaunting her stature and bullies everyone she sees. Every time I talk to her, I just want to bash her head in. She may be well connected and have the Riften Guards in her pockets, but her death would create such a vacuum of power for the city that any ambitious individuals or organization could exploit the opportunity to advance themselves. Are we to believe that no attempts have been made on her life by her rivals or even her own underlings or associates? Maul is suppose to be her 'right hand' but she sends him to guard a warehouse outside of the city? Surely, someone as important as her would not dare to walk about Riften unescorted and behave so obnoxiously? With this mod, she has a personal bodyguard who follows her everywhere and intimidates anyone who is more annoyed than intimidated by her, except when she goes to Mistveil Keep for her daily chit-chat with the Jarl, where the bodyguard will wait outside like a good hound until she's done, for obvious reasons.
Some users requested male 'prostitutes', others suggested that the cities in Skyrim should have more beggars. I decided to shoot two birds with one stone. During the day, in the seediest section of Riften, you will find skooma addicts--desperate men who will do almost anything to get their next 'fix.' You can toss them a septim for the sake of charity, or take advantage of their desperation and attempt to procure other....'services' from them (once every 6 hours, so they can....rejuvenate...). Either way, you'll be enabling their addiction.
It sucks to be a freshman. You can end up taking a lot of abuse from people higher up on the social ladder. So for some people, if their rank and status become even slightly elevated, they will start to reproduce the very abuses they were subjected to when they began their climb, in order to maintain the hierarchy that grants them what few privileges they now have. 'Inconsequential NPCs' adds 'senior' mage apprentices to the Winterhold College, a 'clique' that will never cease to remind the Dragonborn that they are her/his academic -seniors- once the Dragonborn joins the College--unless the Dragonborn becomes the Arch-Mage, of course. Then their tone will change...considerably.
Some users suggested that Winterhold could benefit from more NPCs. I thought that would be a bit 'un-lore-ish' because Winterhold is supposed to have become a 'ghost town' since the 'Great Collapse', a disaster in which most of the city fell into the Sea of Ghosts. But then I started thinking....maybe we are all correct....'Inconsequential NPCs' adds some 'lost souls' to Winterhold, trapped in a place where the living do not frequent. They are a bit...'addled', oblivious to their own post-life existence and that of any living ones around them. Like memory imprints upon the scarred landscape of a once thriving city, they repeat routines comprised of the only remaining acts and words they can recall from the traumatic moments before their deaths.
Did you ever think it was odd that Skyrim has more nobles than servants? History has taught us that all socio-political hierarchies are shaped like pyramids--there are always more servants than nobles, more nobles than Jarls, and more Jarls than High Kings. Did you also get the impression that the Thieves Guild must be thoroughly incompetent, to be so poor when it's so easy to simply walk into a noble's house and steal anything that isn't nailed down? 'Inconsequential NPCs' adds a servant to the noble houses of Skyrim if there were no servant-type NPCs in those residences to begin with, and some of these servants will also occasionally accompany their employers when they go to places like the town market. Moreover, when a guest enters the residence (for example, a certain dis-reputable escaped prisoner from Helgan Keep), if the servants are not otherwise preoccupied, they will 'attend' to the 'guest' and make sure s/he doesn't steal anything. Would-be thieves are hereby advised to plan their 'bedlam' missions more carefully, by 'scoping' their targets to learn the residents' routines, or actually waiting until late at night, when everyone is asleep/resting. Oh, and the Winterhold College now has a groundskeeper (no, he won't follow you around to make sure you don't steal anything).
In the vanilla game, there were moments when my character would enter an inn or tavern, and hear the bard straining to belt out a ballad, only to see no spectators or patrons around. This might be expected from wayside inns frequented only by the occasional travelers and adventurers, or taverns in small towns and rural communities not expected to be busy until the local inhabitants have retired from toiling in the field for the night. But when this happens in an inn or tavern located in a major city, it just seems rather ridiculous. Cities exist to be the nexus of trade and commerce, places that attract people from all over. 'Inconsequential NPCs' adds 'patrons' to the inns and taverns in the major holds (and only the major holds). They won't be particularly interested in sharing a drink with you, for while they have shady deals and business to conduct, their business is not with the Dragonborn. Instead, some of them will occasionally busy themselves in the town market or various shops during the day, where they can be 'patrons' there as well.
Are you annoyed that the Thieves Guild seems to have a monopoly on the trafficking of stolen goods? Are we to believe that all of the thieves, pickpockets, and burglars in Skyrim are organized into a single criminal syndicate headquartered in the sewage disposal tunnels of Riften? 'Inconsequential NPCs' adds a freelance fence to each city in Skyrim, except Riften (for obvious reasons). These fences are not affiliated with the Thieves Guild, so your status and relations with the Guild will have no impact on their prices, the amount of gold they have, or whether they are willing to buy your ill-gotten goods. And because they are freelancers, not an organized network or a syndicate, their primary interest is not to 'launder your plunder', but to quickly liquidate the stolen goods they have already accumulated. They won't have tons of gold to buy your stuff, and their stock of items will reflect a haul appropriate to those collected from petty criminals operating in their locality. These fences are not as dumb as the Thieves Guild. They don't wear uniforms to flag themselves to the guards and they don't live in the sewers like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They actually try to blend into the local population as 'upstanding citizens', so you will have to keep your eyes peeled if you wish to utilize their services...
Cities exist for the purpose of secure trade and commerce, but the number and variety of merchants in the vanilla game does not reflect that. So I added some vendors in the most non-intrusive fashion possible—I specifically looked for areas in the vanilla game that already seemed as if a merchant was intended....tables or carts with goods, fish racks and stalls, but which had no NPCs assigned to 'vendor' those areas. Then I simply added InconNPC merchants to these locations that fit into the existing environment, without having to place a ton of objects to decorate the areas (thus maximizing 'compatibility'). Currently, there is a furrier outside of the Fletcher in Solitude and a Fish Monger at the Windhelm Docks. Additional 'unobtrusive merchants' will be added as I encounter other appropriate locales.
In my quest to mitigate the overpopulation of useless nobles in Skyrim, I have added workers and labourers to all the major cities in Skyrim. who will toil non-stop to help support the urban social infrastructure. During the day, they will perform the menial labour required to sustain an inhabited settlement....repairing windows, fetching water, chopping wood, carrying logs, and so on. At night, they will retire to the taverns and inns to help make those places more 'lively.' Some of the downtrodden belong to the masses of the 'faithfuls' and will 'attend temple', so the priests are not always preaching to themselves.
Skyrim is a harsh country in the midst of a civil war, but the population demographics reflect more of a land that's just been ravaged by the plague. How many farmers have you met in your travels who literally lives alone? Where are the elderly and the young? If many adults have joined the civil war, shouldn't there be -more- children and elderly folks in Skyrim, not less? 'Inconsequential NPCs' adds kinsfolk to some households in the major cities, the surrounding farmsteads, and nearby saw mills, if these households were lacking in family members with no clear reasons (e.g. not potential marriage candidates or involved in quests). The added family members are given names in order to blend into the family units. All of the them have one or more dialogue 'scene' with the vanilla game NPCs they are now 'family with' to help convey these relationships. And while the Dragonborn is inconsequential to them, their kinsfolk are not. So if any of the family members should die (whether vanilla NPCs or InconNPCs), the dialogue of the surviving family members (whether vanilla or InconNPC) will change to reflect their loss.
The mages in the Winterhold College must really hate the Dragonborn. They specifically sent Faralda, a teaching faculty, to the entrance of the college just to stop him/her and no one else, since the college entrance is left wide open after the Dragonborn is admitted onto the college grounds. Apparently, no matter how much Jarl Korir and the local inhabitants might blame the mages for the 'Great Collapse' that almost destroyed the entire city, no one other than the Dragonborn would ever think of doing any harm to the college, right? No. The Winterhold College now has a college 'watchman', who is a shinning example of what one can accomplish when one does not meet the qualifications to be a real guard. The watchman's job is to keep watch on the entrance and the college grounds, and alert the mages in case of any real trouble. He's not all that tough, but he will -act like it-. In between snitching on students who miss their curfew and deterring Ranmir or any local drunks from vandalizing the bridge, he will scold the Dragonborn every time you cross the bridge as if -he- is the Arch-Mage—until the Dragonborn becomes the Arch-Mage, of course. And because watching the entrance of the college can actually get dangerous as you progress along the Winterhold College quests, the watchman is flagged as 'protected.'
Solitude serves as both the capital of Skyrim and the heart of the Empire's colonial administration in Skyrim. Prior to the death of High King Torygg, all laws governing the country were first enacted in Solitude before the population in the other holds become informed of them. As the capital, the city must thus receive more travelers and visitors from foreign lands and other parts of Skyrim than any other city in the country, who not only bring word from these places, but communicate information from the capital to their home settlements. Inconsequential NPCs adds a town crier to Solitude, who is responsible for disseminating various proclamations, news, and dispatches to the local residents and visitors. The crier currently has a total of 12 sets of announcements, some of which are 'quest-specific' and will be updated or replaced by other announcements as Skyrim's civil war progresses. And no, he doesn't much care for the Dragonborn either.
Ulfric gives some truly long-winded speeches when he is 'playing Jarl' in the Palace of the Kings, which is funny because the only people who are usually there to listen to him are Jorleif and Galmar. You have to wonder just exactly who he is working so hard to impress when there is barely an audience in his court while he is -holding court-. 'Inconsequential NPCs' adds a couple of thanes to Ulfric's throne room, privileged noblemen of sufficient influence that they need not actually risk their lives by fighting alongside the Stormcloak grunts in the field, but who will never-the-less lecture everyone--including Uifric--on what the 'true Nords' are really fighting for. They are full of bluster, which makes less room for courage, so don't expect them to necessarily lay down their lives to defend Ulfric should you side with the Empire and assault Windhelm. But should they survive the ordeal, they will take refugee within the city, and berate the Dragonborn for her/his role in the dispossession of their status and titles.
The empty Thalmor Headquarters in Solitude is now occupied by Thalmor agents and sentries. Like all Justiciars, their mission is to intimidate the population of Skyrim and to weed out Talos worship. But 'fear', not 'violence', is the weapon of choice for these agents. The Justiciars do not wear Thalmor uniforms that will flag them as obvious targets to the discontent locals. Instead, they infiltrate the city in 'plain guise' to put the population under indefinite surveillance. If you are attentive, you may catch glimpses of exchanges between the Justiciars and their informants. And if you have assisted Ondolemar in Markarth, they will have heard of your deed and may be less...'discourteous' in their demeanor towards the Dragonborn. If Solitude is under the control of the Stormcloaks, the Thalmor agents and their sentries will barricade themselves inside the Thalmor Headquarters. You can either leave them be, or...
None of the priests of Arkay in the cities have assistants or acolytes. Is the Hall of the Dead really a place where you would want to work alone? I decided to add some young acolytes to the Hall of the Dead in the major holds, and while I was at it, I also added apprentices to some shops that did not have them to begin with. In the absence of a public education system, apprenticeships and other forms of patronage in professional trades and the clergy are highly sought after positions and respectable 'career paths' relative to the land toiling peasantry. The apprentices have also been set up as legacy vendor and will operate their masters' shops should their masters encounter an untimely demise.
Under the rule of Ulfric Stormcloak, Argonians and Khajiits are prohibited inside the walls of Windhelm. But apparently, the guards don't give a crap, they would rather hunt you down like a skeever for killing a farm animal. With 'Inconsequential NPCs', there is now a guard at each of Windhelm's gates who will actually enforce the law. You will be harassed by the gate guard upon entry to the city. If you are an Argonian or Khajiit, you will be promptly informed of the law, and the gate guard will attempt to escort you outside of the city. Everyone else will be given a race-specific warning to let you know just how much the Stormcloaks appreciate the presence of foreigners in Windhelm--except Nords, who will be able to come and go freely. This is not madness--this is Windhelm!
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