This week I had to play Skyrim for a morning, which is not unusual. What was unusual was that I had to do it on Edwin's save, with Edwin's character, for the purposes of writing our Hearthfire DLC review.
The prospect of playing as somebody else worried me; it seemed mildly transgressive. Not full-on peeping-Tom transgression, but something a bit seedy, like wearing a pair of shoes that someone spent over 60 hours lovingly hand-crafting - something that doesn't fit properly and you're afraid you're going to ruin. In the interests of science I compiled an up-to-the-minute diary of my experience of being Edwin - or rather, Edwin's 68-hour-old High Elf mage, Sophia. It didn't go brilliantly, I'll be honest.
0h 01m: Booted up the game. Edwin came in to ask me to be careful with Sophia. There was laughter in his voice, but steel in his thousand-yard stare. Here is a man ready to deal out swift vengeance if I ruin his save. Have resolved to try and be careful.
0h 05m: Well, that didn't last. Edwin has mapped abilities to hotkeys; I've no idea what these are, but decided that working it out by pausing and looking over his selections would be far too much trouble. Instead I've been spamming buttons to see what happens. A few errant fireballs and ice shards later and some angry farmers have arrived to ask why I've ruined what was otherwise a good day for cabbage picking. Unfortunately, had totally forgotten that Edwin installed Dawnguard and was extremely surprised when I pressed RB and turned into a hideous Vampire Lord. It didn't do much to improve the farmers' temperament either.
0h 10m: Have been enjoying the ability to poof into a cloud of bats.
0h 11m: Realised I am going about this all wrong. Have reloaded to pre-Vampire Lord Incident and then saved again in a new slot, creating a parallel universe where I can do anything I want - or "Doing a Back to the Future", as I prefer to call it.
0h 12m: Have been looking through Sophia's inventory. It turns out that Edwin is a hoarder, like off of those TV programmes. Do not like to speculate on the state of his home in real life, but it's probably full of newspapers from 1993. An inventory full of potions and scrolls is allowed for a spell caster, but Edwin also has Sophia hauling around loads of volumes of poetry and historical lore. I begin to suspect he has been hardcore role-playing her as an adventuring librarian. The hoarding also manifests as a huge number of uncompleted quests. Is collecting objectives even a thing? Remember to look into this in case he needs help.
0h 14m: My task is to road test the Hearthfire DLC by building Edwin a house. It turns out I need to get to Falkreath to do this, but despite almost 70 hours of play time Edwin hasn't discovered Falkreath yet. I went to pick up Sophia's horse from the stable but found out she doesn't have one. No doubt it was lost in battle whilst adventuring or, more likely, died of exhaustion after being loaded with far too many books. Will have to buy a new steed instead.
0h 25m: Despite assuring me that Sophia had "loads of money" that I could freely spend, Edwin does not have enough to buy a horse. I would have got a cart ride to Falkreath, but buying a plot of land costs 5000 gold so I decided it would be judicious to save every penny. Managed to get to Falkreath via a combination of walking and turning into an icky Vampire Lord and flying. The Jarl in Falkreath has sent me to kill some bandits before I am allowed to buy any land. Turns out they're also miles away. Sophia, Mighty Wielder of the Dewey Decimal System, clearly has nothing to fear from the rising obesity epidemic.