“It Was This Big”

After Kotaku’s highlighting of Age of Conan’s Best NPC Of All Time (above) I was reminded to ask Tom Francis at PC Gamer UK to post his account of what is probably the Second Best NPC Of All Time, Thedret The Exaggerator. Possibly my favourite story of an in-game bug, ever.

I love my Thedret because no-one else has one. It took Valve six years to make Alyx a likeable aide, but this piece of sloppy code has made Oblivion’s Thedret far more important to me.

If I could have anything, I would have a Thedret like Tom. Anyone have any other nominations for what I will now call “The RPS Inadvertant Best NPC Awards 2008”?


  1. Paul Moloney says:

    Oh, I got the same “problem” when I did a quick save just as Thedret was about to give his speech. Except, not only was he stuck in that pose, he and the rest of the Knights were stock-still.

    My favourite NPC from Oblivion was the wannabe orc knight; I found that side-story kinda touching.


  2. Freelancepolice says:

    After reinstalling oblivion a few weeks ago I decided to augment it beyond familiarity.

    One of the mods I nonchalantly installed was the “Micheal Jackson Companion” mod. Bear in mind I installed so many that I didn’t give this a seconds thought.

    So I march through the beginning of the game with my Frankenstein of a game, following the king and his guards who have thankfully decided to allow me to follow them through the underground tunnels.

    Terror! We’re ambushed and we barely scrape through alive. Eventually the guards are seperated from the King and I. My liege is slain and as I hold him (who now incidentally looks like Patrick Stewart) dying in my arms I’m given the gem. Explaining what happened to the over zealous guard, he decides to trust me and offers a key to the secret door. “It’s been out of use for decades but watch out for rats and goblins”

    So I slowly unlock the creeky door and make my way through, the silence is broken by a loading screen and my Dvd drive whirring into life.

    BAM I’m greeted face to fucking face with a ghostly apparition of Michael Jackson (post thriller) smiling sweetly. I shrieked inhumanely and pushed my chair away from the keyboard, quit out uninstalled the game completely.

    A few hours later I quietly reinstalled the game with a single colour world map mod…. a shallow husk of a man after that experience.

  3. Nick says:

    Everquest had a fishing NPC called Bait Masterson.

    Much better than Cock Handler tbh.


    “My favourite NPC from Oblivion was the wannabe orc knight; I found that side-story kinda touching.”

    Yes, I liked that, shame about the horrible, horrible voice acting for her.

  4. Ryan says:

    Looks like Rocky. Oblivion was great. So was KOTOR.

    lessons in brevity: http://www.mofata.com

  5. BobJustBob says:

    Done quite advertently, but Zombie Lin from Saints Row has to be way up the list.

  6. Citizen Parker says:

    Playing through Baldur’s Gate way back when, there was a mine that had a group of abused miners towards the entrance. 9 times out of 10 they’d groan “I’m so tired…” when you clicked upon them.

    I always loved frantically clicking upon groups of them just to hear the miners shout in near-unison about how tired they were.

    They remain the only NPCs I can clearly recall from my Balduring days.

  7. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    The radiant ‘AI’ in Oblivion made for some amusing NPC behaviours. In particularly I remember a particularly grumpy soul proceeding through a crowd (well three or four) of cheery NPCs, each of them trying to strike up a conversation with a good natured “Hello!” only to rebuffed with a surly “I don’t know you, and I don’t care to know you”. That each of the cheery NPCs remained utterly unphased and responded with a jovial “Well, good day then!” topped the whole thing off.

  8. drunkymonkey says:

    “Have you heard about the recent situation in Kvatch?”

  9. KindredPhantom says:

    I hearby nominate Gwen the sweet little NPC girl from the first Guild Wars campaign.
    Read her touching story here.
    Nomination also because of her involvement in the end celebrations of one of the Guild Wars beta end events.

  10. Xander77 says:

    My favorite bit of NPC/bug(?) abuse comes from Baldur’s Gate 1. It involves mounting a 30 person assault on the big bad at the end of the game. I can just imagine his face…

  11. Mman says:

    Every single NPC from the Shenmue series.

  12. theleif says:

    I’ll Say Doctor Nine from Psychonauts or Olivia Ofrenda in Grim Fandango. And i’ll give a collective nomination to all my minions in Overlord.
    “For the Overlord!

  13. Bierberg says:

    Yet another Oblivion story. This one about sneaking :)

    I was lurking in the gutted mine of the vampire people (though they looked quite ordinary to me… exept they said they thirsted for my blood..)

    i am an assasin and a damn good one at that. so here i was, sneaking up on an unsuspecting mark. Her back turned when i drew back the string on my bow, aiming at her head when suddently she says “anybody there?! … hm must be my imagination playiing tricks on me… damn rats” half a second later i let loose my arrow, sending her in a violent forward sommersault while she’s screaming “AAAAAARRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!”

    something about an arrow through the back of the skull, penetrating out through your forehead with such a force that you get liftet from the ground and thrown several meters away… and still able to yell something that would have been better uttered if struck on your thumb with a hammer…

  14. Inglorion says:

    There are so many good ones, but Ebben Creakknees from PS:T is one that comes to mind. He made me feel at home in Sigil, to the extent that is possible.

  15. Philip says:

    I’ve only been playing Oblivion for a week or so (thanks to PC Gamer and their link to Living in Oblivion), but I’ve run into a few slight odd moments with the AI already.

    One that comes to mind is where I entered the central tower in the Imperial City (Parliament? Elder’s Circle?), and was informed by one guard, in quiet, hushed tones, that civilians should show their respect for the people in the building by keeping their voices down.

    This was followed by a bellow from his compatriot on the other side of the door that you were welcome in the first two floors of the building but no further…

    It’s perhaps a testament to the AI in Oblivion that this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often…

  16. Morph says:

    People often complain about the way the NPCs talk in Oblivion, but I thought the randomness of the conversations was at times hilarious.

    The guards from Thief were often comedy legends as well.

  17. Ian says:

    There I was, riding along the road in Oblivion on my Assassin’s Guild horse and generally looking for some monsters to heroically slay or somebody’s troubles to solve, when I see a farm set back from the road. On the front there is a small fenced-off field with a few sheep and farmer diligently raking away.

    So I decided to go and pay him a visit. I was likely preparing some sort of internal witticism (“Working hard or hardly working, eh buddy? Hahaha. So how ’bout them Daedra?”) to really set the scene. It was sunny and cheery both in the game and outside and I was generally in a pretty good mood. So just as I jump off my horse, a bear comes barrelling past me and through the gate. I stand in utter shock as it slays the farmer and then sets about killing the sheep. The only thing I could think to do was close the gate and then pick him off with arrows as he finished off the sheep.

    It turns out later when I’m recounting the story that had I spoken to the farmer before the enraged bear got him that he’d have asked me to perform a quest that involved killing bears which had been causing his little farm trouble.

    I also liked smacking a guard in the face with a sword while wearing the Gray Cowl, then pulling it off so they’d run up to me, weapon drawn, and menace me with…


  18. sinister agent says:

    One from Saints Row for me. After a quick gunfight during a robbery gone wrong, I leapt into my car, accelerated just in time for a police car to narrowly miss ramming my car and turned to speed away while looking over my shoulder. I was almost immediately propelled through my windscreen as another police car hit me from the other direction, while a previously burning car near the shop’s entrance exploded, taking out the first police car a second later. I crunched into a wall right next to a nearby civilian. As I stood up to dust myself off and pick glass and mortar out of my face, instead of screaming and/or running for his life he remarked, with genuine awe, “holy shit, that was cool!”

    Also an anonymous grunt of the sort you can pick up and have tag along in your car. I happened to have one with me when I started a mission involving a race where you’re instructed to get ahead of the other cars so that they use their booby-trapped nitro boosters and blow themselves up. My nameless mate listened to the instructions, and as we reached the starting line said “Fuck what she said. Get me close to them and I’ll do the rest.”

    I got close to them, and he shot the living bejesus out of two rival drivers before I’d reached the second corner. The third boosted and detonated instantly. Best sidekick ever. I pounded ten kinds of hell out of the man who later killed him, the swine.

    Then there’s Leo in Deus Ex 2 – (SPOILERS) – right at the end, after you get instructions from the three competing factions who want you to pretty much be their bitch yet again, he shows up essentially naked in frozen wasteland with a machine gun and gets in touch to say “screw this. Let’s just kill the whole bloody lot of them. Let me know when you’re ready to roll.”

    Gotta love the no-nonsense approach.

    Finally, one from the brilliant Rune – a hacky slashy viking third-person-shooter-but-with-swords from a few years back. After butchering hundreds of zombies and goblins and soldiers, there’s a bit where you step inside a short tower-like building set within a wall. A totally nameless bloke appears in a mini-cut scene on the floor above and howls “Come out.. and FACE ME, BOY!” It’s totally out of nowhere and he has nothing personal in this at all, and you never even learn his name. He’s just another bloke. I don’t even think that he has more strength or anything, and by this point you’re pretty confident in your bloke-killing power, but I swear that growled challenge gives him power beyond stats, because he tore me about eight new orifices, then lopped off an arm and my head without breaking a sweat. Nutter.

  19. PoC says:

    The one NPC interaction I’ll always remember from Oblivion was the time I was witness to a psychotic breakdown. I was buying something in Chorrol, from the town merchant/lizard person, and after I finished talking to her, she starts moving and leaves the house. I follow, somewhat bemused. As her trip around town prolongs itself, I start to get a little excited. Is this the level of NPC interaction I was originally promised? Characters interacting with the world beyond my presence?
    Deaf to my musings, the lizard merchant heads into the town smithy, and stops in front of the smith. I prepared myself for a typical in-game conversation about things I had heard many, many times before. Instead, the merchant attacks the smith, and kills her. The innocent smith offered no resistance. Why would she? She wasn’t some racist, fearing the presence of a lizard person she knew for years. She had no idea her neighbor had finally snapped.
    It was so sudden, I didn’t react either, until it was all over. And then the guilt started. I wasn’t just an innocent bystander. I had followed the lizard woman every step of the way. I could have stopped her at any time, but I was just curious, until it was too late. Oh, I could avenge the smith’s death–but I didn’t. After all, I had already lost one unique character, why should I give up another? Merchants were a nonrenewable resource. It was the rational decision, but every return trip to Chorrol for the rest of the game carried with it a sense of dread. I didn’t know which was worse: the accusing emptiness of the town forge, or the cold, dead stare of the lizard merchant.

    Well, there’s that, and the pirate on the docks who accuses me of being a “fancypants” in the most flamboyant manner possible. I love that guy.