The Essentially Nameless

2013-12-31_00020We all know the end of the year is a time for a reflection, but it’s also an excuse for bloggers to make lists. This is sort of like that, but different, because I don’t really feel inclined to tell you what you already know. I’d rather celebrate some of the more minor things that deserve their own day in the sun, and I suppose it’s fitting that day happens to be the last one.

After all, while many have lauded the actors who voice their favorite characters, it’s also important to point out the people that have voiced the smaller, bit parts. Voicing a nameless farmer, bandit, or sellsword is often a thankless job, but when done right it can add a lot of depth and humor to a quest. And with that, here are some of my favorite scenes featuring nameless or minor NPCs:

Brother and Keeper – He’s the Boss

This pair of scenes actually may require multiple playthroughs to see them both. The bandits turn aggressive as soon as the first scene ends, which could cause the next scene to never fire. If you quickly make it inside the ship, however, you’ll see the mercs turn on the officer when you leave. Robert Ducat voices a merc and the guardsman, while Jay33721 does the Wood Elf.

While it’s not something everyone will see, I love how this little exchange provides a little levity to an otherwise serious quest.

The Sleeping Giant – A Giant’s Bane

David Bodtcher provides the voice for Jonas Giant-Bane, a slight bit of misdirection in the quest, The Sleeping Giant.  Obviously, Jonas isn’t technically nameless, because the name itself is part of the gag. You see, I imagine most Nords get their clan names by achieving some great feat, but it occurred to me that their kin would inherit these names without doing anything of the sort. Jonas’ ancestor likely slew a Giant to get his name, but poor Jonas is stuck with a destiny he can’t fulfill.

Daedra in the Dark – A Wholesome Girl

Unlike Jonas, this guy never really required a name. I’m still not exactly sure why he has one. In any case, it’s safe to say everyone knows someone like Parellius. In fact, many of us have at one time or another been that person (there’s a reason why strip clubs stay in business). But I have to say the best part of this video is how meta the vanilla-voiced Elise is. I didn’t have to make her shallow. That’s how they come out of the box.

Daedra in the Dark – Sixteen Babies

This is probably my favorite vanilla-edited scene. The dialogue is pretty straight forward, and not at all original, but the arrangement of it is just a mind blower in general. It has NPCs flirting with each other, marriage dialogue that’s typically reserved for the player, and a male fucking wench.

The Paper Mirror – Any Questions?

Jay33721 (Male Bandit) and Lila Paws (Female Bandit) join Randy Westbrook (Theron) for this exchange before entering Redoran’s Retreat. Provided it hasn’t been cleared, the bandits in Redoran’s Retreat do indeed own a dog, so the male bandit’s comment is actually rather prescient. I also like how Theron tries to simplify it at the end, but throws out the number four again in the process.

A Rose Without Thorns – Knights of the Eight

Lastly, here is Lila Paws (Female Bandit) again with Trent Martin (Bandit and Hiram) voicing the Knights of the Eight. This really shows Trent’s range as he’s essentially talking to himself. As with the Brother and Keeper mercs, this scene never fails to make me smile. Not just because it’s a nice change of pace from all the gravitas, but it’s genuinely funny.

In addition to the above listed actors, Anna Castiglioni, Christine Slagman, Zaf, Matt Dixon, Corey Hall, Giramor, J.T. Decker and many others have provided voicework where others would have scoffed. As much as we love the stars of the mod, these smaller parts are a healthy dollop of frosting on our metaphorical quest cake.

If we break the mod down into years, 2012 was the beginning. We introduced a lot of NPCs and a lot of backstories. This year and going forward to 2014, the focus has been more on quests. And when I reflect on the year that was and think about all the contributions people have made, I’d be remiss if I neglected the folks above. Their NPCs may not have the tag, but they’ve been every bit as essential as the named ones.

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