I decided to do a straightforward bounty mission in Skyrim: go kill a collection of bandits at Silent Moons Camp. Fortunately I saved just before attempting the mission, and so it came to pass that Save 348 is now my favourite save of all time.
Stealth would be the name of the game here; kitted out in light armour, my silent sneaky boots and a shedload of invisibility potions I had this all mapped out. I'd head out just before evening with Lydia and my horse along for the ride, keeping them at a safe distance in case I needed to mix it up a little.
That was the plan.
Then this happened.
Oh dear, Lydia is being attacked by a sabre cat. Well, no worries - the entrance to the camp is on the other side of that big wall down a rather steep slope, so we can polish this guy off then make our way around. I'll just get off the horse and help her out with-
...oh look, a huge bear has appeared and is running at my face with his teeth out. At this point, Lydia has just about killed the sabre cat, but a second bear has appeared on the rocks above and has distracted my horse from rescuing me from bear number one. The happy chap above is clawing me from behind while I take this shot:
Well okay, three wild animal attacks in the space of twenty seconds. No worries, because I'm all about the thinking on my feet or whatever. "I'll circle this guy, jump on the horse and charge to the bandit camp and use them as bait for the two bears. Easy as pie."
Imagine my dismay when I discovered the pie had now turned into a Frost Dragon - smack bang in the middle of the camp fighting it out with the bandits and myself, the horse, Lydia and the two bears. You know, this isn't exactly how I imagined my stealth plan panning out. I get off the horse and it does a 180, racing off back to where we came from. Lydia gets stuck on some rocks while hitting a bandit over the head with a large axe and with big frosty explosions everywhere one of the bears sails off into the distance.
One down, at least eight to twelve enemies to go.
My energy dropping like lead, I look around for Lydia who has heroically untangled herself from a three foot rock and has resorted to using a magical weapon which fires what I can only describe as fifteen foot high fireballs in every direction. I wonder if that will get the attention of the dragon?
Hey Lydia, little help over he-
Never mind, I'll inform your next of kin.
Wait, why is the ground sort of rumbling? What's happening? I better spin around and take a quick look...
Uh, did Lydia let off a stray arrow that accidentally hit a mammoth from about a mile away which is now set on a collision course with my face?
Lydia? Oh wait, you're dead. Well this won't hurt at all-
As you may have guessed from the blurry vision and flecks of blood, being bumrushed by a mammoth is actually rather painful.
Well, this is the best stealth raid ever. Lydia may be drinking in Valhalla, but my horse is still alive. Can he rescue me from the endless throng of bandits, dragons and mammoths?
Oh. Right. You went back to fight with the bear. Super.
By this point, I have absolutely no idea what's going on. A pack of wolves charge after the mammoth and take down one of the bandits, the bandits respond in kind by killing two of them before another guy is wiped out by the dragon. Then there's a mammoth / dragon / me showdown, which goes about as well as you'd expect.
The dragon gets a lucky shot in - well, someone did - and a mammoth bites the dust. There's still a bunch of bandits running around, although my horse has taken care of the bear and is now kicking people in the face. Notice in the below screenshot that one of the dead bandits has no clothes on, because if you're going to get naked this is as good a time as any.
I don't know if Lydia dropped the insane fireball staff of doom or if the game glitched out or what, but one of the bandits now has her staff and is dropping the contents of the Sun onto my head as mammoth and dragon go for broke. Energy almost depleted, I decide to abandon my horse, racing off around the corner to safety and the chance to fight another d-
Suddenly escape by horse seems like a smart move, but one failed backpedal later and my horse decides he's some sort of VTOL aeroplane, launching into space because his home planet needs him. Also a giant.
At this point, everybody involved seems to think it would be a jolly good idea to play "chase the idiot" and stomp me into sludge.
Come at me, olden times bro. I'll just duck into the small building to the right and pick everybody off from afar - the bandits are stupid, the dragon can't harm me in there and the giant can't get in.
I'd like to think my last words were "Skyrim belongs to the Nooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh" as my character cartwheeled into space, joining his horse on his newfound career as an astronaut. if you need me, I'll be waiting on a call from the League of Assassins...