This is another double session post, covering gameplay done on the night of Sunday the 26th and Monday the 27th! Main goals of these sessions were to do Ancestor’s Glade and the entirety of Forgotten Vale. But there was a hefty side helping of encounters with the Traveler, as well as Double Dragon Surprise!
- Set out from Lakeview to hit Ancestor Glade
- Killed en route: bear and some bandits
- Serana also raised the White Stag I’d previously slain during Ill Met By Moonlight, and uh hey Hircine, don’t take that personally, mmkay?
- Made it to Ancestor Glade and ran the place, got the location of Auriel’s Bow
- Killed by vampire hit squad on the way out >_<
- Second time through made sure to make with Ironflesh, and also called up a frost atronach a couple of times; that got the job done
- Boinged to Lakeview when we got out, which led to some complications in prep
- Got stuff from Lakeview, then boinged to Whiterun to drop stuff off after quaffing an Elixir of Strength so i could get there
- Serana re: Whiterun: “What a curious city. It’s so… open.”
- Boinged to Heljarchen; not much to pick up there but the Blades armor
- Boinged to Windstad and picked up stuff from exterior chest
- Saw giant partially rendered in the house and partly in the yard
- Went in to fetch a few other things and drop off heavy weapons on the weapons racks in the cellar
- Came back out and this time the giant rendered properly in the yard, so I took him out, sorry giant, this is what you get for being cranky at me on my property
- Not back down to fast travel weight, but then I remembered I have Arvak now, so that’s okay
- Boinged to Whiterun and spotted probable Traveler further up the road, but went into Breezehome to sleep first
- Came out and tried to do some forging, but the Traveler showed up and all hell broke loose
- Tried to fight him but I hit somebody by mistake and that pissed off the guards, including the commander, so well fuck gotta roll back
- Tried Plan B: dropping off stuff in chest in Breezehome and just going ahead and proceeding to Darkfall Cave
- Spotted Traveler again when I came out of Breezehome
- Fast traveled to Dragontooth Crater and got DOUBLE DRAGON SURPRISE again: Elder Dragon (fire breather) and Ancient Dragon (frost breather) and well shit
- Killed and thrown back to Breezehome
- Came out yet again to spot the Traveler, and this time went well ‘fuck it, let’s deal with this’
- Tried to just keep up the defensive spells so he couldn’t hurt me while everybody else fought him, and that actually worked out whew. Fuck you, Traveler, this is what you get for attacking Whiterun!
- Returned to the plan of selling stuff because boy howdy did I need more healing potions
- Got smithing up to 25 burning through forging stuff at Warmaiden’s
- Then sold stuff to Belethor and Arcadia
- Went up to Jorrvaskr and bought five rounds of Smithing training from Eorlund Gray-Mane
- Went back and did more alchemy and forging; almost but not quite leveled up from 54
- Decided to go ahead and proceed with the plot
- Boinged to Deep Folk Crossing this time
- Only one dragon, Frost Dragon; took it down, but that also loaded me up with dragon bits
- Headed north along the river but got ahead of Serana
- Killed en route: cave bear, two wolves
- Found Darkfall Cave, but it was really near Mor Khazgur, so I went over there to sell them stuff and also see if I could get more healing potions; Serana caught up with me just as I was entering the stronghold
- Sold their alchemist Sharamph all my dragon bits; also sold a few things to their smith
- Then returned to Darkfall Cave
- Serana re: the Reach: “This land feels… twisted. I’m surprised my father didn’t want to live out here.”
- Started running Darkfall Cave and Darkfall Passage; much the same as previous playthroughs
- Made it into Forgotten Vale, and started following the wiki in depth just to keep from missing anything
- Found frost troll lair and vale sabre cat lair
- Mined multiple silver ore veins
- Found entrance to Forgotten Vale Cave, and actually ran it this time, since I discovered you can mine the shellbugs without actually killing them if you only take two pieces of chitin
- Lost track of Serana though?
- Made it as far as the first frost giant, and decided to do a loot drop
- Fast traveled out to Windstad so as to not risk setting foot in a city and spawning the Traveler again
- Dropped a bunch of stuff in exterior chest at Windstad, and also got Serana to catch up, yay
- Then boinged back to Forgotten Vale and returned to locale of first frost giant
- Saved there for the night
- Resumed Forgotten Vale
- Malachite ore vein directly across from amethyst frost giant
- Found paragon portal
- Took out sapphire frost giant; waited for it to hit first on general principle
- Reached Prelate Nirior and his Wayshrine
- Arch with skeleton and resist fire potions
- Three moonstone veins
- Twin dragons on the ice
- Tried to summon Durnehviir to help with the fight, but not successful? WTF?
- Word Wall with Dragon Vitality Shout word
- Additional moonstone vein
- Cleared submerged chest by the falls
- Next moonstone vein up the slope left of the falls
- Cleared second submerged chest underneath dragon hole in the ice
- Two skeletons with sword and resist fire potions
- Four orichalchum veins + multiple charus + a couple of Falmer on bridge overhead
- Got some Daedric arrows off the Falmer Nightprowler
- Elected to skip Sharpslope Cave
- Got ahead of Serana again, as I discovered when I reached the gold vein by the pouches and couldn’t mine it because I was still in combat? So apparently Serana being stuck in combat impacted me?
- Tried summoning multiple atronachs as well as wrathman, mistman, and boneman, didn’t work
- Backtracked and discovered Serana stuck in combat mode; had to hit her with Unrelenting Force, and then she took out a Falmer near the gate who hadn’t rendered properly when I went through there the first time
- Then I was finally able to mine the gold vein
- Got to gated area with emerald frost giant; Serana raised a Chaurus Reaper, while I took out the frost giant with the Dawnguard crossbow (which does fire damage now because i enchanted it, woo)
- Proceeded onward through the network of bridges and ramps; took loot from assorted tents (mostly leaving the food items)
- Found a couple of Falmer Serana and I had previously shot at from below
- Made it down to the river that leads to Glacial Crevice
- Final orichalcum vein (supposed to be two but I think either I got to one already or else it wasn’t rendering right, I couldn’t mine it)
- Three moonstone veins up the slope
- Had another convo with Serana just before Glacial Crevice just to take some options I don’t think I’d taken before; commentary re: helping the priests, and what Serana knows about Auriel’s Bow, and whether it bugs her that we’re working against her father
- Reached Glacial Crevice! Took shortcut through as per Merawen’s playthrough
- Got ahead of Serana again taking the underwater passage
- Long swim + a few more Falmer in the cavern with zigzagging bridges and ledges
- Serana caught up once I took the exit back out to Forgotten Vale
- Took out the diamond frost giant
- Finally found the big tent with Unknown Book IV
- Finally reached the last Wayshrine
- Tried to call Arvak to boing to Windstad for another loot drop, but that didn’t work? Maybe for same reason I couldn’t summon Durneviir?
- Proceeded on to the Inner Sanctum and Vyrthur, but very slowly, and skipped looting any of the frozen Falmer
- Took out the ruby frost giant; Serana raised a skeleton while i did that
- Made it to Auriel’s Chapel; had boss battle with all of Vyrthur’s frozen minions, and swung Volendrung around a lot for that
- Whacked Vyrthur with Volendrung!
- Got the bow and got all my elven arrows blessed
- Figured out how to utilize Potions of Fortify Restoration to bump the carry weight enchantments on my gear, and make it back to Windstad for loot pickup
- Did a bunch of smithing and leveled up to 56; oh wells, no level 55 training
- Can’t improve Auriel’s Bow yet, derp, right, no Arcane Blacksmithing
- Dropped off all but necessities and returned to Fort Dawnguard
- Saved for the night
One of the big takeaways I have for running Dawnguard this playthrough is this: stay the hell out of the cities as much as possible, while the Dawnguard plot is active. Otherwise, I run the risk of spawning the Traveler, and dealing with him is a major pain in the ass.
That said: so far I’ve also still been able to run Sorine’s side quests for the crossbow schematics, without having to run the ones for Florentius or Gunmar. So even after I take out Harkon, I’m going to see if I can finish up doing Sorine’s quests to get to the best level of crossbow and crossbow bolts.
I’m really liking that even on a third time through, I still have gotten new lines out of Serana. It seems like she has color commentary about most if not all of the major locations of Skyrim. I quite liked her remarking on how Whiterun is so open–this is a thing I’ve remarked on myself in prior posts, about how Whiterun is so open and airy and that’s one of the things I like about it.
Likewise, her commentary on the Reach was highly interesting, with the part about the land feeling “twisted”. Which raises all kinds of interesting questions here–not the least of which is, what exactly did Serana mean by that? Something above and beyond physical attributes of the land? Why did she make the leap to “my father would find this an appropriate place to live”?
What’s less fun about Serana this time through is this bug of hers where she gets stuck in combat. According to the wiki this is a known issue with her, which makes me wonder why I haven’t encountered it before? The workable solution I found for this is to hit her with the Unrelenting Force Shout. Now, mind you, I’m about done with Dawnguard so Serana will be standing down soon as a follower, but knowing that this bug exists now will be relevant for future playthroughs.
And apparently if Serana gets stuck in combat, by extension that seems to impact me. As I discovered when I tried to mine that gold vein, only to be told I could not do so while in combat. I had no obvious enemies around but I did see red dots on my HUD, and every time I conjured an atronach or a Soul Cairn entity, they’d go right into combat mode and go try to fight whatever was offscreen.
It intrigues me that I haven’t seen this bug before. It’s not clear from the wikis if this is a known repro at the lower levels of difficulty? Or did I just happen to get unlucky multiple times this playthrough? It’ll be interesting to see if it keeps happening when I do the Master and Legendary runs later.
This time through Forgotten Vale, Serana did yet more raising of Falmer she’d just taken out in battle, not to mention chaurus as well. Really though I was more amused this time through by her raising the White Stag just prior to hitting Ancestor Glade! I was slightly surprised that the Stag’s body was in fact still around for her to raise to begin with, but I guess the game hadn’t cleaned it up? I hope Hircine didn’t take her raising his avatar personally!
Also, it was interesting to discover that I couldn’t summon either Durnehviir or Arvak inside Forgotten Vale. From what I’ve seen poking around about this, apparently it’s because the Vale is technically not considered part of Tamriel by the game? And you can summon Durnehviir and Arvak only within Tamriel?
This makes no in-game sense, given that as far as I know I’m summoning both Durnehviir and Arvak out of the Soul Cairn. And I’m also summoning mistmen, bonemen, or wrathmen out of the Soul Cairn, and those I was able to summon in the Vale just fine. So add this to the ever-growing list of things I’ll be keeping an eye out for once I’m playing a version of Skyrim where I can actually apply mods and patches.
One last difference with this Vale playthrough was that I discovered that it is in fact possible to get shellbug chitin without killing the shellbugs, which made me feel better about that. So this time through I did pop into the Forgotten Vale Cave locale to check out a shellbug, just for a new thing to do. I wound up getting two pieces of shellbug chitin out of that, which is the max you can get off a single shellbug without killing it.
That said: I still think the shellbug chitin helmets are ugly and I wouldn’t want to wear one, so I will probably make one just to sell? Or display? Not sure yet. Will have to see if I can figure out whether a crafted helmet would net me significantly more gold than the individual chitin pieces, or what.
Aside from all of the above, this run through Forgotten Vale was pretty similar to Merawen’s. I did the shortcut through Glacial Crevice, which cut down the time needed to run the whole Vale significantly.
Got through to the end, and did the epilogue with Gelebor to get him to bless all my elven arrows in addition to getting the bow itself. I’ve written before about my thoughts on Gelebor and the Falmer, so I won’t get into that again in depth here. But I will note that I’m thinking about how Delga will take in this new knowledge about the Falmer in general.
I think as an Orc she’s probably a little less inclined to be charitable to the Falmer at least from a cultural/upbringing perspective. On the other hand, she’s also supposed to be a cinnamon roll! So I feel like that’d swing her towards being more sympathetic to them, now that Gelebor has presented her with new information.
To a point, maybe. There’s only so much sympathy I feel that Delga can muster when Falmer are actively attacking her.
Still though I feel this’ll make her less likely to try to directly start shit with Falmer in the future.
Time for the big Dawnguard finale, and taking down Lord Harkon!
After that, likely action will be:
- Going back to the Forgotten Vale for the paragon quests
- Running the rest of Sorine’s crossbow schematic quests
- Maybe going to get to be thane in the Reach? And by extension, doing the Forsworn Conspiracy plot
- Giving Dexion the Sun and Blood scrolls
- Then deciding how much father I want to go in the main plot, or if I want to do that before going to start Dragonborn