Finding the ugliest NPC in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

A quest to find the least attractive person in Cyrodiil goes a little off the rails.

I've had Oblivion on the brain the past few weeks. Mostly because with the release of Skyrim Special Edition, I've been playing a bunch of Skyrim, and as much as I enjoy me some Skyrim, it always makes me think of the things about Oblivion I liked better (which I wrote about recently).

It was suggested in a meeting that I stop gushing about Oblivion and actually play some of it, and while I was in there, would I mind locating and writing about the ugliest NPC in the game? Sure. Happy to. I'm always up for a good sidequest.

Things got off to a bad start, however, because my first thought as I ran around Oblivion's cites, rudely peering into everyone's faces, was: "Wait. This isn't so bad. These NPCs aren't ugly at all!" And it's true, there are actually some very nice-looking faces for an unmodded, ten-year-old game. Check out the gallery below for some of the perfectly attractive folks I met.

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What a nice looking group of people! Heck, even the dead guy in the last slide is perfectly attractive. I'm not sure why he's dead—presumably I killed him at some point in the past, but I can't recall why. I'm sure it made sense at the time, and it's sort of nice that he's still lying there dead all these years (and several different PCs) later. Thanks, cloud saves!

The point is, the NPCs in Oblivion aren't looking so ugly after all, so I start thinking that maybe this isn't a fair assignment. Until...

I came across this fellow, Jorck the Outcast, living in Bravil. And, yikes. I mean, wow. I almost physically recoil. He has a weird, tiny fish-mouth that's too far from his giant nose, and no chin despite an expansive upper-head area. When he speaks his whole faces stretches weirdly like it's made of fleshy salt-water taffy. Guh-ross. After I finish gazing in baffled disgust at Jorck, I start finding more uglies on my travels. A lot more. Peer in horror at them below.

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Yes, the ugly stick had made the rounds and done quite a bit of battering. You'll notice I'm not including any Argonians, Khajiit, or Orsimers in there, because cat people and lizard people are always cool looking and orcs are all equally as ugly as each other.

Even as I find more unpleasant specimens in the various cities, inns, and towns, I'm still thinking Jorck might take the prize. I continue hunting, finding a mix of attractive, average, and unpleasant looking characters. Then, in the Temple District of Imperial City, I meet Salomon Geonette.

I know he doesn't look terribly ugly, and pound-for-pound I'd say Jorck has him beat in just about every category. But I sort of instantly and instinctively don't like Salomon at all. Something about him just bugs me, and while I continue running around looking at people, I keep hustling back and staring at Salomon again and again, even finding his house, walking into his living room, and staring at him in there for a while.

Whatever it is I don't like about him is difficult to capture in a screenshot. So, here's a gif.

Do you see what I see? His face just sort of annoys me. He's got those shiny, darting eyes as if he's nervous about the Champion of Cyrodiil entering his house and staring silently into his face for long minutes. Plus, he's a musician. And there's nothing wrong with musicians, obviously, but he's a medieval musician, and medieval music sucks. He just looks like he makes terrible, uninspired music that probably leans too heavily on lutes. Also, his complaint is that he was composing a symphony for Uriel Septim, and now that Septim is dead he doesn't know what to do. Yes, sorry the brutal assassination of the Emperor and the world falling to chaos has slightly disrupted your cushy job.

I'm afraid I don't like him much.

The next day, while he's out being ugly, I enter his house again (once I remember how the Oblivion lock-picking minigame works) because I want to nose around in his stuff. He has a dog, a nice one, and that briefly makes Salomon less ugly to me, but then I start snooping around and there's just ugliness everywhere. In his bedroom, I find a wine rack—but every bottle is labeled 'Cheap Wine'. Don't get me wrong, I drink cheap wine myself, but at least one bottle should be something relatively nice, in case company calls and you want to pretend you're not a uncultured slob. At the foot of his bed I find a chest containing only chainmail greaves. So, he bought armor, but only to protect his legs. Smart. I find a barrel that only contains an empty jug. Do you see the sort of bland, boring, awful ugliness I'm dealing with?

I find a locked chest containing a bowl, a paint brush, and a shovel. Those are the items, with a combined value of zero, that this dope thought important enough to lock up. Plus, I'm when I put the shovel on the floor next to the chest I'm fairly doubtful it would even fit in there. Not only is he senselessly locking up common, worthless items, he's breaking the laws of nature to do so.

In his basement, I find a real treasure chest, consisting of 7 gold, a lion pelt, and a silver urn, so at least he does have a few valuables, or at least he did until a moment ago when they became mine. I'm interrupted from my investigation as a guard suddenly arrests me—I think the dog saw me pick a lock—but I return after paying a fine (and turning over the items I just stole) and break back in that night.

Yeah, so, now I'm crouching on his bed watching him sleep. He's married, but his wife isn't in bed with him, which tells me she finds him just as unappealing as I do. I know every NPC sleeps in their clothes on top of the covers just like this, but I'm finding it especially irksome tonight.

I steal the gold and house key he's got in his pockets. I steal some clothes from his cabinet, put them on, and wake him up, just to see what he says about finding a man in his house dressed in his clothes. He only tells me I shouldn't be in there, so I leave and stand outside his house for the next 13 straight days.

The reason being, I looked at his wiki page and he takes a trip to Bruma on the eighth of every month, and I want to follow him there because I am now sort of obsessed with his life. So, I wait until the eighth, then begin trailing him as he walks irritatingly slowly to his destination. He's not far from Imperial City when he's attacked by a wolf, and seeing as he carries no weapons (a bad idea) and didn't even bother putting on his leg armor, he has a bad time of it. He gets in a few punches, but after becoming stuck inside the wolf's body, he flees. 

Rather than sticking to the path, which is patrolled by Imperial Guards who could easily finish off the wolf, he runs into the hills like an idiot. The wolf ignores me completely, because let's face it, who are you going to attack, a dangerous high-level champion or an unarmed musician? It doesn't take long to finish off the composer, and the wolf doesn't even deem him worth eating. It killed him just because.

So. What was this article about again? Oh, the ugliest NPC in Oblivion. Well, I'd have to say that's Jorck, in Bruma. If you're looking for the deadest musician in Oblivion, though, check the bushes north of Imperial City.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The first PC game Chris owned was Choplifter in 1982, and since then our staff writer has played at least three other games. He has a love/hate relationship with Early Access survival games and an odd fascination with the lives of NPCs.
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