Punch a unicorn! Fighting nature in Oblivion

Robert Hathorne


The Elder Scrolls IV-Oblivion

A four-year-old game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion continues to draw thousands thanks to a hallmark of PC gaming--freedom. The game raises you from a rutty hole in the ground, and with a "go-on, git!" and kick, you're in a world were just about anything is possible. Today, I'm an orc. My mission: Kick. Nature's. Ass.

Arrows in the back are Orc for acupuncture.

Arty is an orc of humble machinations. As a pup, he witnessed the slaughter of his parents by a huge swarm of sewer rats. His mother placed him in the hollow of a log while they tried to fend off the attack, but the rodents were too much. Arty was found lying in a pool of his parents' blood and didn't speak for another two years, but when he finally did, he was surprisingly well-adjusted. Unfortunately, the ridicule he received in high school for his striking blue hair was more than enough to push poor Arty over the edge. Try as he might, Arty can't help but venture into the forest every so often to punch the snot out of woodland critters.

With a back story in place, I'm ready to take to wilds. In the past I've been a necromancer and a gladiator and even a librarian, but a recent run-in with a raccoon has found me ravenous for retribution. I start small, maybe a fish will satiate my temper.

Fish punching is all the rage in Cyrodiil this time of year.

Nope, not even close. I'm going to have to take Arty out for some real game. Let's see, I buck perhaps?


Still no. There's still ripped trash bags from the raccoon, the buck got away, and Arty's hair is still blue. Arty and I will have to think even bigger if we're ever going to rest easy again.

Okay, maybe too far.
Why punch a man when you can punch a bear?

After Artry pummels a bear, two imps, and a boar, neither of us are satisfied. I begin to question if I should just go collect nirnroots or court a Dark Seducer instead, but alas, I remember just the creature to still our urges. In the Nibany Valley just north-west of Bravil lies the Harcane Grove , and therein, the most mythical of mythical beasts...


The downside of punching a unicorn, however, is as everyone knows, unicorns are always guarded by a minimum of three minotaurs.

"Yiuungh! Brothers, protect the unicorn!"

After a hard day of nature punching, I feel good about all I've accomplished. I love Oblivion because right about now, there's nary a creature big or small in the wood without some form of contusion. Every time I boot the game up, there's something new to do or see. I've donated over a thousand hours of my life to it, and there are still caves I haven't plumbed and NPCs I haven't incinerated, and with a huge modding community , there's always a steady stream of content to make Oblivion feel like the first time, every time--and really, that's what life's all about.

Sweet dreams you crazy bastard.

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