He’s Level 35 In Skyrim. He Makes Villagers Kill His Dragons.

He’s Level 35 In Skyrim. He Makes Villagers Kill His Dragons.

Some pacifists are nice people who wouldn’t harm an elf. Others would cast a spell on a town full of people and have the crowd beat the elf to a pulp.

The second kind of pacifist isn’t really a pacifist, of course. She’s a manipulative monster who keeps her hands clean. That’s who gamer Ian Jones is playing as he reached level 35 of the mammoth role-playing game Skyrim without recording a single killing blow.

He even makes dragons dead, without laying a sword or spell on them.

“My primary method of tackling dragons is to try and kite them to a nearby town or fort full of friendly [non-player characters] (or on one occasion two Giants) which I buff with spells like Courage and heal them while they do the work for me,” Jones told me over e-mail. “It takes a while and sometimes the NPCs die too fast; but for about half of the dragons I encounter I can take them down with this method.

Jones is playing his third character in Skyrim, his first as a non-killer. “I see my character as a type of mentalist or minstrel: inspiring strife or discord to manipulate the odds in her favour while not actual being the one with blood on her hands.” She is a very different kind of non-killer than Felix the Monk, the gentle pacifist we’ve covered here on Kotaku previously. That pacifist was nice. That pacifist was also Level 9 in Skyrim. Jones says he’s ranked his heroine to Level 35, reaching the Alduin’s Wall part of the main quest and otherwise just screwing around in the massive game.


These are the stats for Ian Jones’ no-kill master-manipulator.

“I imagine I could likely get up to the final face-off with Alduin before I hit my wall and am unable to go any further without directly killing him,” Jones told me. “When it comes to side quests I’ve dipped my fingers in just about every quest I’ve come across. I’ve gotten up to the Labyrinthian quest in the Winterhold College questline — I’m still theorycrafting how to go about getting past the Dragon Priest at the end of that one.”

Jones’ playing style seems unpleasant. He advises those who get frustrated easily to avoid copying him. “There have been several times where I’ve had to reload entire dungeons, because I couldn’t get past a certain area without direct confrontation and losing my pacifist goal.”

It may be frustrating to play as a master-manipulator, but it’s also downright clever. Consider how Jones handled getting into the murderous Dark Brotherhood… without murdering anyone himself: “Well, the first Dark Brotherhood quest involves killing a cruel orphanage headmaster — luckily enough for me there is also another adult present in the orphanage. I simply used Frenzy on the other nursery maid and let her kill Grelod for me. After this quest is a quest that requires you to murder a victim in front of the guild master Astrid. I frenzied Astrid into killing the victims for me, which completed the quest. Oddly enough neither of these tactics counted as a kill in my statistics which allowed me to technically still be a pacifist.”

And here’s how he got through the game’s first main quest, one that pits the player one-on-one against a single enemy. What does a character who makes others do the killing for him or her do with a situation like that? Jones: “My biggest challenges are one-on-one faceoffs. For example: The Draugr at the end of Bleak Falls Barrow (the first real quest dungeon in the game) where you must kill him to get a Dragonstone for the main questline. I had to kite him all of the way back to a hallway with a swinging axe trap and run him through it about 10 times before he died and I was able to loot the quest item off of him. There have been other scenarios like that where I’m forced to use other tools available to me in order to work with my 0 kills goal.”

Jones calls this playing style “contrived.” It’s also amazing. Poor dragons, they thought they had an easy mark.


  • You have text going over your image of his stats.

    After reading this though, I’m definitely buying this game for myself for christmas. Seems hilariously open.

  • It really is an amazing game (as if all the coverage over the last 2-3 months didn’t tell you that) but stories like this really amplify exactly how amazing, and how individual you can make your playing time.

  • It’s intimidating sometimes. I’m level 35. I know exactly what my ideal character will be, with all the perks and gear… But it may take me another 35 to achieve it. That’s, like, another hundred and fifty hours, I’d imagine.

    Such an amazing game 🙂

  • I am doing a very similar thing, i have a wood elf that avoids dealing direct damage himself, he is a support character. he basically relies on followers and summoned minions to do all of the work for him. He took down a pair of spriggans on master difficulty using nothing but lydia and a pile of fresh-killed bandits

  • Well, hell. They darn well got it right! I’ve been playing the game as I think it should be played, but my son has put on the TGM cheat and is still having an awesome time!

    Now he’s ahead of me in the quest line and is telling me that my weapons will barely make a scratch on the higher level critters. I’m warrior based.

    He strongly suggests switching over to mainly magic based combat…

    How’s that for a game that lets you do as you please?

    • That’s simply not true. I’ve played the game for about 70 hours, and there was NO combat situation in which I couldn’t kill a foe with my physical weapons. Though, I prefer a mixed setup with destruction and restoration magic plus sword (Chillrend or Dawnbreaker) and shield (currently the Spellbreaker)

      Maybe he messed up his own character by using the godmode cheat? 😉

      • Well.. I’d have to say he’s dead wrong. My warrior is 32 with dual wielding war axes and heavy armor… His axes combined have 416 damage plus their over 30 fire and ice enchants. With an armor rating just barely off of 900. I play on master all dai er’day.
        Just sayin.

    • Actualy Anderi, i have a melee character that i stopped playing the game set on master difficulty level once i hit lvl 38 with him (two handed sword, heavy armour, armourer spec) because the game became far to easy.
      I restarted as a rogue dual weapon spec and am finding it insanely hard in comparison, yet i have friends that found it MUCH easier then warrior spec.
      Point is, play the game as you want to… you will be fine.

  • Pretty cool. What I dont understand is why would you want to do this? Wouldn’t it be better to just stick to pencil and paper RPG like in the old days, if you want to do this sort of heavy roleplaying stuff?

  • SOOOooooo, with this article, Kotaku_US must be level eleventybillion in irrelevant Skyrim article over the last 4 leeks, no?

    • No!
      … it must be twelvtybillion by now surely.

      If you haven’t got this game yet think about it. They are starting to iron out some of the bugs and it’s quite playable. True.

  • You can also hire followers at your local Tavern for around 500 septims. Bring them along and buff them/ heal them while they do the dirty work. Do Summoned creatures that kill for you effect your “O kills” Stat?

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