The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim truly is an amazing game. Whether you adventure through this fantastic world on your Xbox 360, PS3, or PC, you come as close as you possibly can to a traditional tabletop roleplaying game experience. Every RPG aspect from character creation to leveling rings true, and brings untold hours of exploration and enjoyment. With that said, journeying through Skyrim is a solitary experience, and unlike tabletop RPG gaming, can be somewhat lonely. This lack of multiplayer capability will soon change in Tamriel with the formal release of the Elder Scrolls Online, but until this happens, your best bet for a multiplayer team-up is to take advantage of Skyrim’s AI and adventure with one of the many Followers the game allows.
Tired of exploring lost ruins or hitting the inns solo? There are several different types of Skyrim Followers you can team-up with — Housecarls, guildmates, and animal companions aplenty. One of the easiest ways to have a Follower join your cause is to simply hire one. For a flat fee of 500 gold, you can obtain the services of a skilled Hireling (there are six possible Hirelings you can choose from). These mercenaries each have their own unique fighting style, and will stick with you through thick and thin and will help carry the excess loot you seize from dungeon diving. You want to make certain that you spend your 500 gold wisely though, so pick a Hireling that compliments your unique playing style:
[table caption=”Skyrim Hirelings” width=”500″ colwidth=”20|20|20″ colalign=”left|left|left|left|left”]
Name,Location,Skill 1,Skill 2,Skill 3,Skill 4
Belrand,Solitude,one-handed,destruction magic,restoration magic,light armor
*Erik the Slayer,Rorikstead,two-handed,archery,block,light armor
Marcurio,Riften,destruction magic,restoration magic,alteration magic,conjuration magic
* Erik the Slayer only becomes available for hire after completing the Erik the Slayer Miscellaneous Objective
Belrand is a Nord spellsword who can be found in the Winking Skeever in Solitude. He fights well with staffs and one-handed weapons, plus he can cast both Destruction and Restoration magic. His use of weapons and magic make Belrand a well-rounded Hireling. Bonus: Belrand is a potential marriage candidate and can be a Steward in the Hearthfire DLC addon.
Erik The Slayer
Erik is a Nord barbarian who can be found in Rorkstead’s Frostfruit Inn. He is the son of the innkeeper and works as a farmer when you first meet him. After completing the Erik the Slayer Miscellaneous Objective, he becomes available for hire. Erik’s specialty is two-handed, archery, and light armor. He cannot cast spells. Bonus: Erik is given more unique dialogue than any other Hireling.
Jenassa is a Dark Elf who can be found in White Run’s Drunken Huntsman. She is a fierce fighter who takes pleasure in killing enemies and isn’t afraid to attack even Hold guards. She prefers to dual-wield weapons in combat and was voted as the most popular Hireling in a prior Skyrim Fansite poll. Bonus: Janessa is a potential marriage candidate.
Marcurio is an Imperial mage who can be found in Riften’s Bee and Barb. He is the most powerful spell-caster out of all the Hirelings and is gifted in Destruction magic. He likes to use Chain Lightning in battle, but be forewarned — you will take damage if caught within the spell’s area of effect. Bonus: Marcurio is a potential marriage candidate.
Stenvar is a Nord warrior who can be found in Windhelm’s Candlehearth Hall (second floor). He is skilled in Two-Handed attacks and Heavy Armor. He is an aggressive fighter, but be cautious — his headstrong nature often times puts him at the forefront of the battle where he can get in your way (especially if you are using spells and ranged attacks). Bonus: Stenvar is a potential marriage candidate.
Vorstag is a Nord warrior who can be found in Markarth’s Silver-Blood Inn. He is a capable fighter specializing in One-Handed attacks and Heavy Armor. Like Stenvar, he is an aggressive fighter who won’t shy away from combat. Bonus: Vorstag is a potential marriage candidate.
- All Hirelings start with a base level of 10 and can increase all the way up to level 40. They can be valuable additions in combat — especially if equipped with better weapons and armor. In most instances a Hireling will utilize the most powerful items in their inventory. Enchanted weapons, staffs, and armor will be used throughout the game with great effect.
- In combat, be cautious of Hirelings getting in your way. A Hireling can prove a nuisance in some combat situations, especially when you’re casting spells. In some situations it may advantageous to order a Hireling to stay put, rather than having them rush headlong into combat.
- Hirelings make excellent pack mules. Don’t be afraid to make them earn their 500 gold by carrying excess treasure, weapons, and armor.
- Most Hirelings are marriage candidates if you feel the itch to get hitched.
- The best Hireling is one who compliments your playing style. For example, if you like to use Sneak and ranged attacks, an aggressive warrior such as Stenvar may not be your best choice. On the other hand, if you need someone to distract foes and soak up damage, Stenvar may be your man. Experiment with different Hirelings to find one that you like best.