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I'm aware that there are some merchants who will have successors take over their shops in the case of their death or other untimely circumstances which draw them away. Does this apply to all of them? Is there a list of these somewhere?

This particularly came up because I recently had a dragon raid Riverwood and, along with several guards and Faendel, kill Alvor.

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For me, Balimund, the blacksmith in Riften somehow died, I think during a vampire attack (I could not find his body), amd his adopted son Arnbjorn took over his shop. –  user53980 Aug 19 '13 at 16:15
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Not all merchants have replacements. Anoriath in the Whiterun market certainly does not, if you're looking for a specific counterexample.

There are a number of other merchants in Whiterun who don't appear to have "understudies," such as Arcadia, Eorlund, Elrindir, and the other market merchants.

Ysolda will take over The Bannered Mare if Hulda is killed.

I don't know of any way (other than experimentation) to determine which vendors will be replaced.

I don't believe Alvor has a replacement if he is killed. When he was killed by a dragon attack in my game, I resurrected him in the console (though I haven't used him since).

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Sadly, resurrect isn't an option for me. I'm on PS3. I can only hope that his wife or someone else will take over for him, if I want to use that shop again. –  Iszi Jan 5 '12 at 17:48
    
Also, Belethor from Whiterun has a chance to die when you do the companions questline and get turned into a werewolf, and he has no replacement (Sigurd just continues chopping and retrieving wood). –  George Stocker Jan 5 '12 at 17:54
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@Iszi I also lost Alvor during a dragon attack. As of yet, no one else has taken over his shop. –  George Stocker Jan 5 '12 at 17:55
    
Okay, what's the deal with Alvor?! Started up a new game on the Xbox so I could finally get the DLCs, and he got killed again in another dragon attack! –  Iszi Feb 20 '13 at 14:44
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