Delga Playthrough

In Which Delga Continues to Aid the College of Winterhold

This session was all about continuing the main plot of the mage college, featuring finishing the run through Mzulft to get info on the whereabouts of the Staff of Magnus–and then returning to find chaos at the college, witnessing the death of the Arch-Mage, and having to leap into action to save the town of Winterhold from magical anomalies!


  • Play date: 12/7/2021
  • Session number in this run: 38
  • Started running the Mzulft dungeon
  • Had initial encounter with dying researcher who urged us to go find his colleague in the oculory
  • Killed assorted Dwarven machines and chaurus and Falmer en route
  • Mined a bunch of moonstone veins
  • Looted a bunch of chests but ignored all Dwarven scrap metal to avoid the weight burden
  • Leveled up to 46 partway through the boilery zone of the dungeon; took another Light Armor perk
  • Ran the rest of the dungeon without any issues to speak of; got the vision from Nerien to tell me to haul ass back to the college
  • Did not immediately do so, however! Boinged to Western Watchtower
  • Flyby dragon
  • Headed into Whiterun and sold stuff at Warmaiden’s, Belethor’s, Arcadia’s
  • Got five rounds Alchemy training from Arcadia for level 46
  • Crafted a couple of things at Warmaiden’s which I sold at Drunken Huntsman
  • Picked up several items at Breezehome to take with me to Heljarchen
  • Boinged to Heljarchen and dropped off a bunch of things
  • Boinged to Shrine of Azura to go to mage college
  • Found Arniel and gave him his cogs—and didn’t even get the opening pointer to get those for him, I went straight to ‘I have the cogs you asked for’, but whatevs, it worked! And now I don’t have to cart those around
  • Headed into the Hall of the Elements to find Savos Aren and Mirabelle Ervine in there and pissed off
  • Brought down the ward to confront Ancano, <BOOM>, oh shit the Arch-Mage is dead!
  • Oh shit magic anomalies are invading Winterhold!
  • Oh shit yep the Arch-Mage is still super dead and Tolfdir and Mirabelle have to block whatever the fuck Ancano is doing!
  • Off to Labyrinthian to find the staff!
  • Fast traveled to Volunruud to get to Labyrinthian
  • Talsgar the Wanderer sighted as I was cutting through a snowy pass through the hills; my dude, isn’t this a trifle cold environment for you to be wandering around without a coat on?
  • Headed into Labyrinthian from the east; got ahead of Lydia as I killed a couple of frost trolls
  • Sighted flying dragon in the distance, probably Skyborn Altar dragon?
  • Reached front entrance of Labyrinthian and saw the initial scene between all the ghosts
  • Waited a couple hours game time for Lydia to catch up
  • Saved at that point at the entrance for the night, since Labyrinthian is big and will take most of a whole new session to get through


None of this was new territory, as I’ve run the mage college with all characters I’ve played in Skyrim so far. But that’s okay, because I continue to enjoy the hell out of the mage college plot. <3

As I prepared this post, it occurred to me to wonder about the dying researcher by the entrance to Mzulft. This dude, according to the wiki, had Destruction and Restoration as his primary skills–which meant that in theory, he’d have known healing spells. So how the hell did he manage to die?

I suppose that you can handwave this if you assume that if someone’s injured badly enough, they can’t muster the mental focus to cast any kind of spell.

But even given that, you’d think that mages in the field would at least carry a few healing potions for backup? In a culture where potions are in regular use, you’d think that smart mages investigating dangerous ruins would take that precaution.

But then, this is Skyrim we’re talking about, and in my experience mage NPCs do not have common sense as part of their skill sets. 😀

Once I got through Mzulft and back to the college, I got to the part of the plot where I discovered that oh shit there’s a crisis. This time through I tried to pay attention to the dialogue choices, and pick the ones that best signified Delga’s eagerness to help. This didn’t have any significant change in the flow of the plot, mind you, but it did help keep me in the appropriate mindset!

While I was at it, I also finally found Arniel and gave him the ten dwemer cogs. I hadn’t actually talked to him beforehand, but the game skipped that part of the side quest and let me go straight to just giving him the cogs. And unlike with the quest to bring Vekel the journals, the cogs were in fact properly taken out of my inventory.

Which is good, given that the damn things are heavy! Each of them weighs 10 units of weight, so that’s 100 units right there, and when my total carry weight is around 530, that’s a significant chunk of my ability to carry stuff.

For now though that’s sorted. Later, I’ll return to doing the rest of the Arniel’s Endeavor quest! But before then, I want to finish the main mage college plot.

I think I’ve been lucky so far in terms of timing of the part of this plot where the magical anomalies swarm through Winterhold. To date, I have yet to see one of them actually kill any townsfolk! But I’m pretty sure that this time, one of them did kill a randomly wandering chicken. I found an ash pile on the ramp that leads up to the college, and all that was in that ash pile was a chicken breast.

Also, I don’t think I quite properly appreciated before that Labyrinthian is almost due west of Heljarchen Hall, and that Volunruud is a useful nearby landmark. Very good to know so that I can avoid having to fast travel to Morthal to get there in future playthroughs.

(Now that I have Labyrinthian on the map, it’s not a problem now if I fast travel there later. Since it has no inhabitants, I don’t care if I drop a dragon on the place by fast traveling in!)

I don’t know if it’s a matter of my walking more in this game than in previous playthroughs, but it seems like I’ve been running into Talsgar the Wanderer a lot more! I’m glad he’s survived all the way to my being level 46. Let’s see how many more sightings of him I have!

Next time

Running Labyrinthian, and, time permitting, heading right back to the college to become Arch-Mage!


Editing to add

  • 11/19/2023: Restored missing gallery, and added play date and session number markers.

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.