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Blog / Living in Oblivion

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Screw you, game that's packed with literally hundreds of hours of adventure! I ain't havin' any!

Living in Oblivion is a blog started by Christopher C Livingston (creator of the Half-Life-themed Web Comic Concerned) following the non-adventures of fish faced Non-Action Guy Nondrick through the world of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Oblivion. Nondrick's goal is simply to live the life of a civilian: Get a job, eat, sleep and stay well clear of the hundreds of opportunities for thrilling adventure that the world throws at him. And, most importantly, not get himself horribly and brutally killed by wandering, cutlery-swallowing fauna.

The original aim of the episodic travelogue was to see how viable life would be like as an Non-Player Character in the game world of Oblivion and to this purpose, Chris plays the game with a number of restrictions placed on his protagonist. Firstly, Nondrick must rest and eat on a regular basis, as the NPCs in the game do. Secondly, as tedious as it might seem, he walks everywhere he goes, with absolutely no fast travelling and running only when he really has to. He later gets a horse to speed things up a little. Thirdly, there are no reloads! If Nondrick dies, he is Killed Off for Real.


Nondrick doesn't partake in any quests the game has to offer (except when they are cruelly forced upon him) and tries to make a living by other means. He ultimately decides to become an alchemist, collecting ingredients in the countryside and selling the potions he makes to vendors. When he later contracts a nasty illness from a wolf, he makes it his personal quest to find the necessary ingredients for a cure, with mixed success and many a moral dilemma to boot so far.

The basic format is primarily text-based, with Chris narrating Nondrick's travels in the first person and a bunch of screenshots to illustrate them. Chris also uploaded a number of short videos to YouTube to serve as supplementary material. The blog underwent a year-long hiatus from January 2009. Its update on the 18th February 2010 was hoped to have indicated a reversal of its vastly increasing Schedule Slip, but no such luck. On June 10th, 2011 Chris said that he hoped to bring it some kind of conclusion by the time The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released, and the first proper installment in 16 months was subsequently published on 16th June. Two more updates followed in the summer of 2011, after which the story seemingly dried up for good.


The good news for fans is that there is now a Sequel Series to Nondrick's epic tale in the shape of The Elder Strolls, a weekly feature of PC Gamer magazine featuring Nondrick's descendant Nordrick wandering the world of Skyrim. The bad news: Nordrick has died thus ending the series.

No relation to the 1995 film starring Steve Buscemi.

Living in Oblivion provides examples of:

  • Dead Fic: Probably, sadly, albeit with a new sponsored sequel series in the world of Skyrim, which is set to update weekly. We may yet learn Nondrick's eventual fate. Apparently he got at least as far as having children.
  • Disaster Scavengers: The people in the comment section. Still going, throughout the whole "hiatus".
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Despite the bizarre and mystical world around him and the strange situations he finds himself in, Nondrick simply refuses to believe the Thieves Guild could exist (which it totally doesn't).
  • Full-Frontal Assault (sort of): Nondrick is attacked by an imp while bathing in a pool. He fights it off in his underwear.
  • Genre Savvy: Nondrick knows what things to avoid like the plague. Daedra and midnight masses in creepy backwoods villages are both among them. He should have thought twice before inspecting a rotting shipwreck, though!
  • Impossible Item Drop: The tendency for local wildlife to carry around loose items for no obvious reason is heavily Lampshaded. Nondrick notes the disturbing number of wolves carrying forks around with them.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The blog serves to illuminate many downright bizarre elements of the game world in Oblivion.
  • Literal-Minded: Nondrick declares that he eats mudcrabs for breakfast, before clarifying that it's not a boast, as he actually ate the mudcrab he killed.
  • Killed Off for Real: Word of God says that as part of the rules of the experiment, if Nondrick dies he dies for good. No reloads or resurrections, he just dies. This makes a lot of the issues Nondrick faces that much more dramatic, since he's actually in danger of dying. This ended up happening to his Spiritual Successor Nordrick in Skyrim, bringing the sequel series to an sudden end, but thanks to this basically being a Dead Fic Nondrick managed to avoid meeting a nasty demise in his non-adventure.
  • Non-Action Guy: Nondrick. Although he does put up a good fight when the occasion calls for it, especially in the later episodes.
  • NPC Amnesia: several instances get pointed out.
    • Toutius Sextius: "Perhaps you should seek out a priest. Perhaps a beggar. Or guardsman. You and I, we have nothing in common. What could we possibly talk about?" Well, I dunno. We could probably chat about that wizard you pimp-slapped to death last night in the course of saving my life? Guess not.
  • Nice Hat: Nondrick's dorky fur helmet. Neglecting to remove it causes him more than one case of minor embarrassment. Especially the time he goes out wearing ONLY his hat.
  • Ninja Looting: Nondrick has a habit of stripping the corpses of any enemies that other people defeat for him. Not that anyone would be using the loot anyway.
  • Off the Rails: The whole point of the blog is that Nondrick is choosing to just live a normal life rather than go off on the grand adventure planned out for him. Disturbingly, the game seems to start trying to force or manipulate him into doing quests as the blog goes on. At one point Nondrick is just flat out forced against his will to take an errand job.
  • Railroading: As Nondrick goes about he notices that the game seems to often try to railroad him on to quests. Sometimes they're flat-out forced on him through cruel methods.
  • Refusal of the Call: What this blog is all about. And Fridge Logic makes Nondrick a hero by this very act. By not even beginning the main storyline, he has essentially averted the whole Oblivion Crisis in the first place.
  • Schedule Slip: The blog suffered from this considerably, with updates getting less regular as time went by, albeit with several periods of multiple updates. As of December 2011, Nondrick has made way for his descendent Nordrick, who fulfills a similar function in the world of Skyrim.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Nondrick has avoided the main quest with success, but adventure has caught up with him on occasion. He has money forced into his hand to do an errand job and spending a night on the Bloated Float gave him a band of pirates to fight by himself. Also, inspecting the wreck of the Emma May was one of his less advisable ventures.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Nondrick has his moments. Probably most notable is him stealing a bouquet of flowers... from the grave of the Count Of Cheydinhal's wife. While the Count was standing barely two feet away. This Violation of Common Sense didn't stop him from getting invited into the Thieves Guild (which totally doesn't exist) for his dramatic heist.
  • Took a Level in Badass: On board the Bloated Float. Not that Nondrick had much choice.
  • Villainous Rescue: A bandit rescues the hapless Nondrick from a wolf and decides that the plug-ugly Nord is not worth the trouble robbing. Next day, however, he seems to have changed his mind and attacks him. This time, it is an Imperial Legion soldier who comes to Nondrick's aid.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Mudcrabs appear to be every NPC's favourite topic of conversation everywhere except in Skingrad (where the topic is grapes).
  • With Catlike Tread: For a guy who is most certainly not a member of the Thieves' Guild (which doesn't exist anyway, by the way), Ongarr the World Weary is not the most subtle when it comes to sneaking around and picking people's pockets in plain view.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Nondrick notes how killing female bandits has worked wonders for his abs.