Dragonborn,  Merawen Playthrough

In Which Merawen Goes to Nchardak

As this was a weeknight session it wasn’t as long and involved as my weekend ones. So the main goal here was to clear Nchardak, and, time permitting, get to the Black Book there and move the plot far enough along to be at the point where I have to go back and talk to the Skaal.

This was successful. Which means I’m also now a fair ways in on the main Dragonborn plot, and that I’ll need to put that on hold for a bit while I do side things on Solstheim!


  • Session number in this run: 58
  • Began going through Nchardak with Neloth and Jenassa; fought reavers outside the place
  • Took a while to do Nchardak; I had to look up reminders as to how to find the various control cubes
  • Fought lots of Dwemer automata
  • Got assorted loot, including a Kagrumez Resonance Gem
  • Reached the Black Book and read it, which automatically concluded the Path of Knowledge quest and launched Gardener of Men
  • Made it through the Black Book level this time completely, without being killed—though it was close a couple of times as I realized I had left all my healing potions at Severin Manor
  • Interestingly, the Seekers that attacked me showed up in trios this time, not duos as I saw before; I knew Seekers could clone themselves, but I hadn’t seen ones make multiple clones of themselves before
  • Got back outside; Dragon Krosulhah showed up outside and was a short fight
  • Escorted Neloth back to Tel Mithryn, not because he really needed it per se, but more because it seemed polite to do in-character, and because I wanted to see if he did anything interesting; I got a line out of him I hadn’t gotten before, about it being nice to not have his people running off to the Sun Stone every night, and supposing he had me to thank for that
  • Encountered and dispatched one ash spawn en route to Tel Mithryn
  • Talvas was still studying his book outside
  • Tried to visit the apothecary to see if she had any netch jelly for Milore, but her door never unlocked
  • Headed back towards Raven Rock; paused to speak with Revas Sarvani about Dusty the silt strider; bought things from him, including another Resonance Gem
  • Fought and dispatched three more ash spawn
  • Another round of pyromancer vs. cryomancer, but I think I found the leftover pyromancer and cryomancer from the previous encounter, because I also found a madman lying dead near them and I think that’s the same one Jenassa killed?
  • Also fought and dispatched burnt spriggans
  • New random hostile encounter: female Dark Elf warrior in ebony armor
  • Got overloaded after I looted the Dark Elf, but I was short on potions so had to just tromp on into Raven Rock
  • Looted the dead Redoran Guard by the farm to get his weapons and gold
  • Sold stuff to Glover
  • Dropped off materials at Severin Manor
  • Fast traveled to Windhelm and then the mage college, to get training for level 62
  • Got training from all mage trainers, but also sold several of them some of the jewelry I’d made; also bought new Illusion spellbooks from Drevis, including Invisibility, Pacify, and Rout
  • Surprisingly, no dragon in the courtyard this time
  • Fast traveled back to Solstheim
  • Returned folio to Cindiri
  • Crafting break at Severin Manor before saving for the night


Not too much new ground here; the Nchardak run played out more or less how it did for Alarrah. Though I ran into snags just trying to remember how to get to all the various control cubes, and making sense of the instructions on my usual reference sources.

Neither of the wikis I usually refer to are entirely clear on where a few critical things are in this dungeon, so I had to search further and finally found a forum post with explicit instructions on how to finish the level.

One notable difference with this playthrough, though, was that when I finally got to the Black Book, I was able to run that level in one go this time without getting killed. It was kind of close a couple of times, because I only discovered at this point that I’d neglected to bring my stock of healing potions from Severin Manor. Oops.

I did, however, have the White Phial. And that thing’s set to be a healing potion, so that did save my bacon. Thanks, White Phial!

I noted with interest that this time, the Seekers I fought cloned themselves more. I’d seen them do this before in Alarrah’s run, and even on the previous Black Book run I’ve done with Merawen—but up till this session, I’d only seen a Seeker clone itself once. This time, the Seekers I fought cloned themselves twice?

I wasn’t sure if this was a leveled thing, or whether it was a matter of me just not killing the first clone fast enough and causing a second one to be generated. It seems to be a thing generated by the parent Seeker dropping past a certain health threshold, so I suppose that I could trigger this more than once?

Also, I liked Jenassa’s line when she saw me do the Black Book: “I can’t believe you do that on purpose!”

On the way back to Tel Mithryn, I was also slightly surprised by Neloth’s line: “It’s good to have everyone not running off to that damn sacred stone every night. I suppose I have you to thank for that.”

According to the wiki this is a line he’s supposed to say when you’ve finished the Cleansing the Stones quest, except I haven’t? I haven’t cleansed the Water Stone yet. So apparently it actually triggers once you’ve cleansed the Sun Stone?

Either way, it was kind of a shock to see him actually acknowledge the effort. Neloth’s a douche, but apparently every so often he can actually acknowledge when somebody else does something awesome. 😉

Mage college training

As of this writing I’m now to the point where I’ve gotten the demand from Hermaeus Mora to get him “the secrets of the Skaal” in exchange for the final word of the Bend Will Shout. I know now that this is the last major thing to do in the Dragonborn plot before I go take on Miraak for real.

And since there is a bunch of side stuff I still want to do on Solstheim, this seemed like a good time to take a break and go pop back over to the mainland for level 62’s round of training at the mage college.

Which was surprisingly fruitful. Not only for the training itself, but also because I was able to offload a lot of my extra crafted jewelry onto the various mages. Presumably so they can use the items for enchanting?

Also, I was able to buy three Expert-level spellbooks in Illusion from Drevis: Invisibility, Pacify, and Rout.

I was however slightly surprised that there was no sign of a random dragon in the mage college courtyard this time!

Next time

Going to do a circuit all around the island, and get in the various side things I want to work on:

  • A New Source of Stalhrim quest, which will require me to go hassle the Thalmor, and that game is almost as fun as making vampires explode
  • Finding the remaining Deathbrand items and then raiding the treasure hoard
  • Gotta keep moving the Kolbjorn Barrow plot along
  • A lot of side stuff to do for Neloth as well, and I do want to get to the point of taking down Ildari
  • And I have a quest pointer to go find the Black Book in Benkongerike
  • Visiting Kagrumez seems rather necessary just so I can try to get the Steadfast Dwarven Sphere following me around this time, for variety 😀
  • There are apparently giant nirnroot plants I missed in Alarrah’s run? I totally want to go find the giant nirnroot plants
  • Gotta think about if I want to do Thirsk Mead Hall again, and if so, if I want to do it in favor of the rieklings or in favor of the Nords
  • And there’s the fun side plot with the barrow that the scholar Tharstan wants to investigate, which will let me fight Vahlok the Jailor and get the Battle Fury Shout

But in terms of what’s likely next session, that’ll likely be at least finding the remaining Deathbrand armor items, and getting that map to the stalhrim source back to Baldor.


Editing to add

  • 11/17/2023: Fixed missing gallery, and added a session number.

As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.