The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an action role-playing game, playable from either a first or third-person perspective.
The player may freely roam over the land of Skyrim, which is an open world environment consisting of wilderness expanses, dungeons, cities, towns, fortresses and villages. Players may navigate the game world more quickly by riding horses, or by utilizing a fast-travel system which allows them to warp to previously discovered locations.
The game’s main quest can be completed or ignored at the player’s preference after the first stage of the quest is finished. However, some quests rely on the main storyline being at least partially completed.
Non-player characters (NPCs) populate the world and can be interacted with in a number of ways; the player may engage them in conversation, marry an eligible NPC, kill them, or engage in a nonlethal brawl. As in previous The Elder Scrolls games, killing certain NPCs can make some quests or items unobtainable. Some NPCs cannot be killed. If witnessed, crimes like murder and theft accrue the player a bounty, which is tracked independently in each of Skyrim’s nine holds. Should the player be stopped by a guard, they may wipe their bounty with gold or jail time, or may resist arrest which will trigger an aggressive pursuit.
NPCs may allocate the player additional side-quests, and some side-quests have parameters adjusted based on nearby dungeons which the player has yet to explore. Some NPCs who are befriended or hired by the player may act as companions, who will accompany the player and aid them in combat. The player may choose to join factions, which are organized groups of NPCs—for example, the Dark Brotherhood, a band of assassins. Each of the factions has an associated quest path to progress through.
Each city and town in the game world has jobs that the player can engage in, such as farming.
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