In video games, there are always NPCs we interact with. There’s NPCs that give us quests and reward us for completing them, those we can start a relationship, with or choices we make will affect their the outcome of their survival.
But, one group of NPCs that isn’t mentioned a lot is merchants. Any sort of vendor in a video game provides relief in our travels. Say you just finished exploring some ancient tomb and you found a lot of treasures to sell, merchants will take them off our hands for that much-needed gold, souls, lei, etc. we need for whatever we want to spend it on that they have in their wares.
But there are some traders that I just love to see the most in my games and here I’m going to share my favourites in this post.
What would you ask of this humble merchant? The demon Vulgrim has always been a staple character in the Darksiders series who offers the Horsemen weapon upgrades, or new abilities.
He has always been a scheming demon who never picks sides in the endless conflict between Heaven and Hell and simply chooses to make a profit out of souls from any being of creation slain. But sometimes, he may also trick the Horsemen into committing deeds that they normally wouldn’t do, in exchange for nonexpendable rewards.
In the first game, you can trade souls with him to purchase new attacks and wrath abilities for War, including consumables which I often saved only for boss fights. In the second game, the currency is replaced with coins of some type where Death can buy these different types of mystery boxes of different levels, each containing a random item. The more expensive the pack is, the higher the chance of receiving something rare. I didn’t use this often though.
In the third game, the currency of souls returns but every time I used them to buy items, the price would increase, and I could also feed the souls directly to Vulgrim to increase Fury’s level which I would do very often. Finally in Genesis, it’s almost the same as the first but with Boatman’s coins to add to the cost of things.
Vulgrim’s way of doing business with the Horsemen is always changing but his personality is always the way I remember it, sinister and snarky but always willing to assist the Horsemen. He’s just a cool-looking character and I knew I was going to like him when he got excited to see Tiamat’s heart before letting War use the Serpent Hole for the first time!
The Duke (Resident Evil Village)
The oversized merchant in the village is a mystery. Some theories suggest that he is from a fifth noble house. The Duke was always welcoming to Ethan Winters even if the latter didn’t trust him. He doesn’t get involved in Miranda and the Lords’ affairs but he definitely does business with them from time to time. With Lei, the Duke sells additional ammo, first aid, more powerful weapons, as well as parts to customize them.
He conveniently also offers upgrades to increase power, damage, and capacity for them and food can be given to him to cook fancy meals to increase things like base health and blocking so he’s got a lot to offer.
I would always find him stationed somewhere in the village, or in some corner room of Lady Dimitrescu’s castle or in the center of Heisenberg’s factory, he would always be a relief to see after being stalked or braving booby traps! I wish I didn’t have to keep selling or rebuying weapons from him to make space in my inventory! That’s the one thing I miss, the usage of those storage boxes from RE7, but aside from that, I always brought back lots of treasures for the Duke to sell, especially after a boss fight and his cheery personality always gave me a warm welcome back from a dangerous task.
Harrot (Mass Effect)
Enthusiastically. What vendor in ME is more memorable than one that is an elcor? Informatively. Harrot sets up his shop on Omega. With slight disappointment. He doesn’t keep much in stock. With generosity. I still buy everything from his shop nonetheless. Affectionately. I want to support his small business and I like the elcor as a race.
Informatively. He returns in the third game and asks you to find Aria’s couch. With motivation. I always find it because Aria needs her couch when she reclaims the station. With passion. Any elcor character that I can help out I will do so. With sincere honesty. Who doesn’t love the elcor anyway?
The Guardian of Metal (Brutal Legend)
How could I not love a merchant in a game who looks like Ozzy and is voiced by Ozzy himself? Finding motor forges in this game grants access to this guy where I can buy upgrades to the Deuce, paint jobs, back patches, weapons, abilities, etc. Just about everything a Metalhead needs to save the world!
What makes Ozzy great in this game is he’s got a personality that matches him just as he is in real life and he just wants to do his own thing instead of helping Eddie in his demon-fighting. I love his one-liners every time I visit him in the game and when I leave too, he wants me to go fucking crazy, as he said!
There are lots of traders in Skyrim and plenty that I return to all the time to sell things after clearing a dungeon, but if possible, one I love to do business with is the Khajiit Ri’Saad who is part of a travelling caravan. The Khajiit are one of my favourite races in the Elder Scrolls universe because of their feline appearance and their smooth-sounding voices and I just like talking to them.
He doesn’t have much for sale, but anything essential I will gladly buy from him. I recently found out that you have to kill one of his colleagues as part of the Dark Brotherhood questline so I reluctantly did so with an arrow and slipped away into the shadows. Once I finish that questline, I doubt I’ll do it again!
Cornifer the Cartographer (Hollow Knight)
There are so many wonderful NPCs and vendors in Hollow Knight but the one I always am eager to see is none other than Cornifer. When I’m exploring a new area, be it the dreary City of Tears, or ashes of Kingdom’s Edge, I know Cornifer is nearby when I spot paper littered on the ground, and eventually, hear him humming to himself.
I think his humming is my favourite thing about him. I could listen to him hum for hours and sometimes when I’m working, I hum his tune. He is definitely a relief to see, even in Deepnest when he was hiding from the beasts. I buy his maps in a heartbeat and want him to stay safe. He’ll make it back home to his wife Iselda safely.
And now for some honourable mentions:
Charm Lover Salubra (Hollow Knight)
Another Hollow Knight merchant, Salubra sells charms and notches that allow me to equip more charms. She is one of the most cheerful NPCs I’ve met in this game (other than Mato), she’s always giggling to herself and I buy all her charms and notches whenever I can.
Receiving her blessing later on is by one kiss, and my soul replenishes at a bench. I just think she’s adorable for a slug.
Whiterun was always my home base city in Skyrim after doing quests or clearing dungeons, especially when Breezehome is the first house I buy until I build my own. It’s the most convenient location so I go to Belethor to sell all the treasures I’ve accumulated.
If he doesn’t have enough gold to buy them all, I’ll go to another trader, especially if I have dragon bones and scales to sell!
And those are my favourite video game merchants I love to do business with during my travels. What are yours?