Character Profile – Eldar


Let’s say you own a home. A modest one, but a valuable commodity nonetheless. Now, if I offered you a million forks for it, you would probably reply with laughter, then derision, followed by more laughter combined with hurtful pointing, and when you were finished laughing and chiding and posting videos of me to YouTube you would pick up the phone and promptly call the authorities. It wouldn’t matter that the cumulative value of the forks exceeds the value of your place. It’s like trading 101 pennies for a dollar. At some point, the math doesn’t apply. I’m not selling forks. I’m selling junk.

Now imagine the same scenario, only the homeowner happens to run a successful dinnerware business. She not only owns the stores to sell the forks, but has the distribution infrastructure to deliver them to shelves across the country. For her, I’m not selling forks. I’m selling treasure.

You might say the success of Eldar‘s business plan depends on a variety of factors. The location is important, as are the overencumbered adventurers who stock his wares. However, the hoarding of items isn’t nearly as critical as Belethor’s ability to move them. And move them he can. Every 48 hours he will spin brooms into gold and be back for more. In fact, no matter what you throw at the old Breton, he will not only purchase it, but he will boast about his ability to sell it. For him, none of it is ever, ever junk.

Some might say this is a gameplay device, and like the 7000 steps to High Hrothgar, not something you take literally. Others will contend the dialogue for Belethor, where he repeatedly talks about the value of trash, is there specifically to imply the goods are being moved. And whether you believe one or the other will dictate whether Eldar thrives, or starves.

In this sense, the economics of the world are often determined by player choices. If you are the kind of person who chooses to play realistically, you might withhold selling Belethor piles of junk, effectively turning him into an ordinary merchant. However, if you take advantage of the loopholes in the gameplay, raising your speechcraft and stocking his store every week with hundreds of dirty bowls and brooms, then you are essentially creating a world where Belethor has the ability to sell them. A world where he is more than happy to sell his home for twice the value in junk.

Eldar talks about playing the market, and how it can affect what kind of junk Belethor is willing to buy. What Eldar doesn’t realize is the market, for all its whims and vagaries, is ultimately determined by one person, and one person alone. You.

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9 thoughts on “Character Profile – Eldar

  1. Hm. Yeah… I think I still don’t understand… O.o What has Belethor to do with Eldar‘s success or non-success? Is it the idea that the player takes junk from Eldar and sells it to Belethor? Say every 48 hours? And then the commission of 20% gets somehow deducted and Eldar will have more and more gold and be able to start buying actual value items/loot from the player ?

    Maybe I’m just not intelligent enough to grasp it… The whole Eldar backstory leaves me pretty confused at this stage…

    1. 1. Adventurer raids cave, hoards items. However, he finds himself over-encumbered. At first, he tries to walk back, but eventually he realizes it’s better to get rid of some of his less valuable stuff. Eldar is positioned conveniently at this point, right after the adventurers climb a hill.

      2. Adventurer sees Eldar, who offers to take his junk, for a price of 20 gold. Fee for trash disposal, basically. As the walk to Whiterun is quite far, and bandits, wolves and the like are in the adventurer’s way, it seems like a fair deal. Adventurer unloads junk.

      3. Eldar sells junk to Belethor in bulk.

      It’s actually not that different from a homeless guy collecting empty soda cans for the recycling value.

      EDIT: Also, the character profile here doesn’t discuss Eldar’s business plan, it sort of assumes you know it. What it’s talking about is the validity of moving items in bulk. As in, is there someone out there really willing to pay the actual cash value of a million forks? Is it realistic to assume Belethor would? And whether you believe that or not will tell you if his plan succeeds or fails.

  2. Ok Kris, thank you for your patience. Sorry to sound like a dimwit. Right…

    Now, will Eldar eventually actually go and sell this stuff to Belethor? Is there a chance that we see Eldar in Whiterun some day when he is on a sales trip?

    About Eldar’s fee: One could think about deducting 20 gold each time the player accesses the chest, either to dump some stuff and/or see whether there is anything useful to take in there.

    If Eldar going to Whiterun is not yet fleshed out (I just don’t know) and you would ever get to adress that, here are some simple ideas that you may like:

    On 4 random days in a month, or 1 random day each week, the chest will be empty and Eldar is not around. Instead he is in Whiterun in the market district or inside Belethors shop. Then in the evening of that day he’s having a drink in the Bannered Mare or something. If the player meets Eldar on this day in Whiterun, there could be specific dialogue e.g. How is the business going? Did Belethor get what he wanted? ->that could serve as the start of some fetching quest (maybe suited to a thief player character?). I think such could flesh out Eldar’s story in a positive way.

    Well, I’m sure you have enough good days of your own. Probably more than available time on your hands. :-) Again many thanks for all these wonderful NPC’s.

    1. Eldar does have a schedule, and you can catch him at Belethor’s in the morning and the Huntsman at night. Talking to him outside of his store will slightly alter the dialogue and remove his “barter” response.

      As for new dialogue, I’d have to flag down the actor. I generally don’t want to imply either way whether his business plan succeeds though, as that depends on the player’s view of how the shop mechanics work. It’s similar to the 7000 steps quest if you’ve played it. Some would say it’s a gameplay mechanic and not lore friendly that Belethor buys everything. Others may point out that his dialogue implies just that. I like the idea that it can be either, and whether Eldar succeeds or fails depends on your opinion of how Skyrim works.

      Yeah, adding the script to the chest is a good idea, will add it, with a check to make sure Eldar is nearby. No gold lost if he’s not there to charge you.

  3. Alright, excellent! :-)
    Looking forward to meeting Eldar in Whiterun then. :-) I personally roleplay-think that Belethor buys everything. He’d even buy my relatives, so… hahaa!

    And yes, I’ve played the 7000 steps, unfortunately resulting in the poor fella’s suicide… :-(

    1. ha, well, there’s not much that changes in his regular dialogue – more like stuff is omitted and hellos like “meet me at whitewatch tower” but there is a scene with another NPC at the huntsman.

      Eldar was made in the early days when it was a miracle I could condition for anything.

      yeah, with 7000 steps, it’s another thing where gameplay scales the steps a lot shorter than they would be in real life. But of course, the point of that quest is that he wants you to tell him “7000 steps” regardless of how many steps there actually are, so there I didn’t really factor in whether the number was accurate.

  4. I’ve heard rumors that Whiterun Hold is planning to introduce heavy fines for littering. Already now littering weapons is not advised when a guard is around.

    Besides, for the 20 gold and access to the chest the adventurer can browse the chest and maybe find a few items he can actually use, like a hide or some clothing. So dump something, but take up something else in return.

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