It's likely not that difficult to believe that even after eight years of exploring Skyrim, players can boot the game up and still find something new. There's always an out of the way dungeon that has managed to elude you, a quest you'd never bothered with, or, as would happen to be the case today, a random encounter that you've never seen before finally foisted upon you by the fickle divine entity we know as the RNG.
Skyrim's random encounters come in many shapes and sizes. Some require certain conditions to be filled, particular quests to be finished, or simply pop up by pure coincidence at some point in your travels. But while they've all got something to contribute to the player's experience, some are more rare or interesting than others. Below are ten of the coolest, weirdest, and rarest encounters that you probably missed over the course of your last playthrough.
10 Snack Time
Fancy a bite to eat? This encounter involves a certain fellow named Sigar, a member of the cannibalistic cult of Namira that the Dovahkiin will have dealings with over the course of the quest The Taste of Death. After finishing it up, the player might encounter him looming over a fresh corpse on the side of the road.
Needless to say, he's a bit difficult to miss. How the encounter plays out, however, will depend on how the player resolved the aforementioned quest. If the Dovahkiin elected to wipe the cult out, he'll be hostile. If the cult's been left on good terms, then he'll offer the Dragonborn a bite of his "dinner." Gross.
9 Learning To Fly
Fans of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind should find themselves totally delighted by this Easter egg. When wandering the historic island of Solstheim during the Dragonborn DLC, players might experience a chance encounter with this wildly deluded wizard.
Upon being approached, the wizard will cast a spell that gives him the power of flight! It's a little too temporary, however, and his initial elation quickly gives way to horror as he plummets from the sky and falls to his death. This is a reference to a similar encounter that plays out in Morrowind, with a wizard by the name of Tarhiel.
8 Imperial Impostors
The civil war in Skyrim makes for hard times all around, even for soldiers of the Empire. The player might find themselves accosted by this small group of troopers on one of Skyrim's many thoroughfares, and they want a toll if you're looking to go about your business. But something about them seems a little... off.
Though they wear Imperial armor, it's woefully mismatched, and they really don't seem to certain of their own authority in the matter. If the player has cast their lot with the Empire, they can actually call them out on their ruse, revealing them as common bandits. They won't take too kindly to the player demonstrating their keen powers of observation, however.
7 Balbus & The Gourmet
Balbus is a simple man with complex tastes. He's a student of the culinary arts and he's endlessly inspired by the enigmatic chef known only as "the Gourmet." Having heard that his personal hero is passing through Skyrim, Balbus has taken to the road to find them.
If the player has already completed the quest Recipe for Disaster, in which they murder the Gourmet and assume their identity, they can continue the charade with Balbus. Awestruck, Balbus will practically burst with excitement, gifting you a few choice ingredients, and... his personal fork. It's totally useless, but it's the thought that counts, right?
6 A Good Death
If you've ever wondered why orcs don't have nursing homes or retirement communities, then this encounter should sate your curiosity. While traveling Skyrim, the player might happen upon an NPC known simply as the Old Orc.
When asked what it is he's doing out and about, he'll inform the player that orcs don't like to grow old. Rather than live past their usefulness, they head out alone to seek what they call a "good death" in battle. Judging by the nearby corpses of several savage beasts, he's having a hard time finding it. At this point, the player can leave him be, or they can attempt to provide him with what he's looking for themselves.
5 Attempted Highway Robbery
The roads of Skyrim are absolutely plagued with would-be thieves, brigands, and bandits, all looking for an easy pile of coins to pry out of the hands of unsuspecting travelers. They generally get right to work and don't like to ask questions or make demands. This one, however, is a little different. Just how different depends on whether or not the player's gotten in with the Thieves' Guild.
While navigating towards their next destination, a thief wearing guild armor will appear and demand that the player hands over their coin. If the player's a member of the Thieves' Guild, they can alert their impolite new friend that they share employ, and be left alone for it. If the player has risen through the ranks and is wearing the Nightingale armor, the thief won't demand their money, but will, in fact, offer the player some of their own!
4 The Fugitive
If you're just out minding your own business and a perfect stranger runs up to you in a panic, demands that you hold something for them, and then disappears into the wilderness, chances are that you're going to be equal parts confused and concerned. Skyrim's no different in this regard, as this encounter demonstrates beautifully.
After this fugitive has forced his presumably ill-gotten gain into your possession, a hunter will happen upon you and ask if you've seen anything fishy. At this point, the player's presented with a minor moral quandary as they decide whether to lie, fess up, keep the item for themselves, or return it to the hunter.
3 Vampire's Bite
As a rule of thumb, being accosted by flailing, panicking lunatics is generally a prelude to uncomfortable situations that you'd be better off avoiding. In this case, however, the flailing and panicking are well warranted. After all, this person has just been gnawed on by a vampire. Chances are you wouldn't be faring much better.
Indeed, this unfortunate hunter has had a toothy encounter with the most egregious of the undead, and they really could use a bit of a hand. If you happen to have a cure disease potion on hand, you can remedy the immediate woes. And regardless, you can press them for information about the vampire's lair to prevent it from taking a bite out of anyone else.
2 The Painted Cow
While the giants of Skyrim can be incredibly dangerous if approached. But they generally keep to themselves, and in some cases, there exists a tenuous peace between giants and men. Apparently, this peace is maintained by way of smearing blue paint all over a cow and giving it to the big guys. Who knew?
On not one, but two occasions this practice can be seen in action. The first involves a farmer walking his painted cow to a nearby giant camp, and he provides a neat little summary of the arrangement if asked. The other shows that the giants do indeed possess a fondness for blue-stained bovines, as a passive, relatively friendly giant can be seen walking one back to the nearest camp.
1 Babette's Dinner
Babette can be a pretty disturbing character, as things tend to go with childlike, three-hundred-year-old vampire assassins, anyway. But just in case anyone missed the memo, this rare encounter will really drive the point home if the player is running the Dawnguard expansion.
It's possible to catch Babette randomly enjoying a meal by the roadside. And by "meal," we mean a fresh kill from which she's about to take in her daily quota of fresh blood. She nonchalantly explains that while Nazir cooks well enough, her palate is just a little more refined than he can provide for. Fair enough, Babette.