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Belathor died in a vampire attack and I no longer have a save where he is still alive. Thanks to the Unofficial Skyrim Patch Ysolda is successfully able to take over the store. I want Belathor to still run the store so I've revived him and reset his factions. Specifically I've added him to the following factions using console commands.

Belethor's Goods
Whiterun Belethor's General Goods Faction
JobMerchantFaction
JobMiscFaction

and he seems to be back to normal, moving and selling on a normal schedule.

Ysolda, however, I cannot get to leave the general goods store even though I've used console commands to strip her of her ownership. I've explicitly removed her from the above factions and added her back to the

WhiterunMarketShoppers

faction. She no longer has merchant dialog and does not sell items anymore, but her schedule still remains as a shopkeeper and stands behind the store counter for most of the day. I've tried outright recycling her actor but it doesn't seem to be working as she still remembers I completed her mammoth tusk quest, so I must be missing an obvious console command about resetting her whole character.

It does not seem to be a game faction that is controlling her schedule as there are very few that affect both of the NPCs, although I have read there may be a bug with Ysolda's Bannered Mare faction affiliation I still need to look into. edit: Ysolda was not yet part of the Bannered Mare faction

It seems most likely there's some hidden quest or inheritance that I'm not aware of & not knowledgeable of how to adjust. Any insight of how to get Ysolda to return to being a normal, unemployed citizen would be great.

I'm playing on Skyrim Special Edition on Xbox One so only Creation Kit mods are available to me to execute console commands, but I'm OK with answers applying to the standard PC edition.

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  • What if you kill and revive her?
    – pinckerman
    Commented Apr 3 at 21:14
  • I killed Ysolda with console and revived her with RecycleNPC command. She continues to stand inside the store, which is now locked as the game thinks there is no owner. Belathor accuses me of trespassing the “vacant” store.
    – PausePause
    Commented Apr 3 at 21:54
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    I spawned a new Ysolda NPC and disabled the original, which seems to have worked. I am sure this is going or cause stability/quest problems later, but this is good enough for now
    – PausePause
    Commented Apr 3 at 22:17
  • I’ll post this as a full answer later, unless anyone has a way for me to do this without replacing the NPC, as that will be better for stability.
    – PausePause
    Commented Apr 3 at 22:17
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    Yes, she does, so there is some quest data retained. But it's working now, which is good enough for me
    – PausePause
    Commented Apr 4 at 17:45

2 Answers 2

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After toying with several solutions I ended up disabling the Ysolda NPC stuck working at the general goods store and spawning a replacement Ysolda NPC. This has reset her revised schedule to its original state, and she is now operating as a normal Whiterun Market shopper. Thankfully, her other quest progress - such as the mammoth tusk retrieval quest - was preserved.

Using console commands to kill and replace her did not work. Because Belathor was resurrected the game still seems to assign ownership of the store to Ysolda. Meaning if she's killed the game believes there is no one alive to operate the general goods store and the building becomes locked, and it becomes a crime to trespass inside.

I suspect if this replacement Ysolda NPC I spawned also dies the store will become locked again.

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  • Fair warning: This solution will break all quests involving Ysolda. It should only be done as a last resort. As a workaround, you can temporarily re-enable the original Ysolda and interact with her on a quest-by-quest basis, and that will probably(!) work for most or all of the affected quests.
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 5 at 0:02
  • What console commands did you use? I'm assuming placeatme is involved. A heads-up on placeatme: Using that command will summon a copy of an object or NPC at your position. Not recommended for named objects or NPCs. That command creates a new copy of an object/actor in the world; using it with named objects/NPCs can result in duplicates, which could cause glitches and other unwanted game behavior. Commented Apr 5 at 1:48
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There is no reasonable, general way to fix this sort of problem, short of using a dedicated mod specifically designed for fixing that exact NPC's death (such mods mostly don't exist). I could open it up in xEdit and tell you the precise details, but they don't really matter. The gist of it is as follows:

  • Each NPC's schedule is controlled by AI packages. Ysolda has a package that is telling her to go to the shop every day during certain (working) hours.
  • AI packages are (mostly) assigned by quests. Most NPCs also have an emergency backup "just in case there's no applicable quest" package, but this is not typically used in normal gameplay.
  • All dialog is also assigned by quests. Yes, all dialog. Every single thing that an NPC ever says, no matter how trivial or generic, is ultimately controlled by some quest. This is also the case for all of the dialog options that can be selected by the player.
  • Most of these quests are not what the average person thinks of as "a quest" (i.e. a task for the player to do). Rather, they are technical quests that exist as containers for dialog and other AI behaviors. At any given time (in normal gameplay), there are hundreds of these quests running, even if your journal is completely empty.
  • Most of these quests are not designed to advance at all, and almost(?) none of them are designed to be reset to an earlier stage.
    • Some quests can be safely restarted, but this must be explicitly configured in the Creation Kit. In practice, this is usually only enabled for radiant quests that are intended to be repeatable. It would be quite unusual to enable it for a dialog or AI management quest.
  • There is a ResetQuest console command. Do not use it. It does not do what you want.
    • I have experimented with the Papyrus equivalent of this command in the past. In my experience, it causes some parts of the quest machinery to stop working for that quest. I know by trial and error that it can prevent the radiant system from correctly (re)filling the quest's aliases in at least some cases, which is enough to render most vanilla quests irretrievably broken.
    • For quests designed to be repeatable, you can use StopQuest followed by manually re-triggering the quest by whatever means you triggered it the first time, or for some quests, by using StartQuest (this is exactly what the vanilla quests do when they want to repeat, except they use Papyrus instead of console commands). This does not work if the quest does not allow repeated stages or is configured to "run once," as most AI and dialog quests are. In fact, using StopQuest on a "run once" quest will stop it permanently, and you will never be able to start it again (so don't do that).
  • It is possible that Belethor's death is triggering a second quest to start, which gives Ysolda the merchant dialog and schedule (AI packages are designed to allow this sort of per-quest override to work harmoniously with the rest of the NPC's schedule). If this is the case (I haven't checked), then in principle, you could identify and StopQuest that secondary quest, leaving Ysolda with her original AI packages. But I am not going to recommend doing that, because:
    • As mentioned above, this is probably an irrevocable change, and it will permanently stop Ysolda from inheriting Belethor's shop if he ever dies in the future.
    • You mention Belethor accusing you of trespassing if Ysolda is dead. This suggests that he no longer owns the shop and/or that the shop has been marked as private (or else his original schedule would cause him to open it like normal). It is possible, even likely, that some script made lots of other little changes to the state of your game when Belethor died, and manually finding and undoing all of them is probably somewhat impractical.
    • It is possible that whatever quest was controlling Belethor has already been stopped (by some script when he died). If that happened, it's unfixable.
    • More generally, stopping these quests manually is almost never a good idea, and I don't want to suggest to readers that it is an appropriate solution.
  • You mention spawning a new Ysolda. It is important to emphasize that spawning a new copy of any given NPC will inevitably break any quests specifically involving that NPC, because the radiant system attaches to NPCs by reference (i.e. it thinks your clone is a completely different actor). Generic dialog will still work correctly, and even some basic per-character dialog may work, but everything else will be broken. Ysolda will (probably) no longer argue with Nazeem, for example, because that is an AI scene and AI scenes depend on the radiant system to identify the actors involved. Ysolda also has a number of sidequests which will all probably break (some of their dialog might still work, because dialog doesn't always depend on the exact actor, and in some cases, you might even be able to complete a quest by doing that).
    • You can temporarily enable the original Ysolda and interact with her, on a per-quest basis, and in most cases that will probably work. But the clone will never correctly interact with any of Ysolda's quests, except possibly for basic dialog interactions.
  • The "proper" modded fix is to replace the vanilla quests with new quests that are designed to be reversible. This would have to be done for every NPC who can die, which is quite a lot of work if you want full game coverage. I'm not aware of anyone having done this, either in general or for Belethor in particular.
  • An ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure. The mod Protect Your People is highly effective at stopping unwanted NPC deaths, but it cannot bring back NPCs who have already died. The existence of this mod is probably one of the major reasons that nobody has developed a death-reversal mod - it is much easier to just never let the NPC die in the first place.

TL;DR: The console is not magic pixie dust. Skyrim is a complicated game with a lot of elaborate moving parts. When a major NPC dies, many of those parts reconfigure themselves in complicated ways, and undoing it is extraordinarily difficult. In the future, you would probably be better served by making manual saves (i.e. not autosaves or quicksaves) every so often, and keeping them indefinitely.

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