Note to all: This post is several days after the fact, since my house Internet went down on Thursday 1/6/2022, and only has come up again five days later. Not cross-posting this to Dreamwidth because I put up a mirror version of this same post on that site already, here.
With this session, I officially kick off the Dragonborn DLC activity for this playthrough! And the way the session action played out, Delga and her housecarl Calder made it to Solstheim and almost immediately got caught up in the mystery of what’s going on with Miraak taking over the minds of the people of the island.
- Got Calder into active follow mode in Hjerim
- Headed to the docks to go to Solstheim on the Northern Maiden
- Gave the captain his doubled fee to go over—because I feel like the captain doesn’t owe the player jack so that dialogue option isn’t really appropriate, and Delga wouldn’t intimidate the guy, so doubled fee it is
- Arrived in Raven Rock, got the initial hail from Adril Arano
- Came into Raven Rock just after midnight, so oh hey look, residents being creepy and heading to the Earth Stone
- Went into the Retching Netch to get a room
- Got the side quest to hand out the sujamma, and got the story about the name of the bar
- Rented a room to sleep, and boom, I’m at the Tree Stone in Miraak’s temple
- HI FREA! Started running Miraak’s temple with her and Calder
- Cleared the temple, and got first word of Dragon Aspect shout
- HI MIRAAK AND SEEKERS IN THE BLACK BOOK!
- Headed with Frea and Calder to Skaal village
- Got intro to “why things are fucked up on Solstheim” from Storn
- Got urged to go to Saering’s Watch and learn the same word of power Miraak did, so I can cleanse the Wind Stone
- Intercepted by Deathbrand pirates at Haknir’s Shoal who shot at us
- (Look you assholes, my housecarl and I were just MINDING OUR OWN GODDAMN BUSINESS, but no you had to start some shit, ooh you have a treasure map ISN’T THAT INTERESTING)
- Okay, asses all kicked, c’mon Calder, let’s go find Saering’s Watch
- (Overloaded at this point as pirate captain had Nordic armor and that shit’s heavy)
- Declined to fight with horkers on the beach
- Orichalcum vein
- Wheeeeee Lurker Vindicator and two frost trolls and the two horkers that came after us, all fighting at once! See Calder, this is why i needed you to come along
- Another orichalcum vein
- Another frost troll
- Reaver marauder, a Dunmer in Nordic armor, pacing back and forth muttering “must go back and get it” about treasure; tried to talk to him and he bitched about enemies taking “their” treasure at Frossel, but then corrected himself and was all “it’s mine, you can’t have it”
- He then attacked me; I hit him once with the greatsword and he freaked out and fled
- Caught up with the guy further ahead on the trail just before a snow bear and one single and then two more ice wraiths; he tried to attack me again, flipped out in panic again, and was finally shot down by Calder
- Made it to Saering’s Watch, where Serpentine Dragon was fighting with the draugr; Calder and I got in on that action
- Called up flame atronach and then Durnehviir for help since I was overloaded; Durnehviir not actually needed, since Calder did a pretty kickass job of killing the dragon himself
- Miraak sniped the dragon soul though, boooooo
- Durnehviir also wiped out the rest of the draugr in the place
- Got the word for Bend Will off the wall and cleared the boss chest
- Called up Arvak to move a bit faster
- Calder shot a frost troll while I was riding
- I got ahead of him though crossing the river to get to the Wind Stone
- Bend Will shout unlocked, Wind Stone cleansed, Lurker Guardian defeated!
- Very surprised Skaal returned to the Skaal village!
- Sold a bunch of stuff to Baldor Iron-Shaper to clean out the inventory, and oh good he had a bunch of stalhrim things
- Went to talk to Storn about WTF just happened; got his info about cleansing the rest of the stones and the pointer to go talk to Neloth about the Black Books
- Inventory down low enough that i could quaff an Elixir of Strength to get back to Raven Rock and sell more stuff
- Got back to Raven Rock in the middle of the night, so fuck it, let’s do the Earth Stone too
- Hey Raven Rock townsfolk, I’m here to break you out of the spell, everybody stop being creepy now
- Lurker Guardian! Took it out! And a Lurker, townsfolk and the Redoran guard and Calder took it out, way to go team
- Got the quest to find Cindiri Arano’s folio
- Did a bit of smithing at Glover’s forge while waiting for the shops to all open; improved some of the stalhrim stuff
- Chatted with Glover and got his quest for the pickaxe; bought a bunch of stuff off of him, including stalhrim bow and arrows 😀
- Talked to Milore re: potions and stuff; got her quest for netch jelly
- Chatted with Fethis and sold him stuff too, and got his quest for East Empire pendants
- Saved for the night
So yeah, nice strong start to action on Solstheim, right out of the gate. 😀
I hadn’t really actively planned to dive right into clearing Miraak’s temple as soon as I arrived, but the timing kind of worked out that way! Since Delga and Calder got to Raven Rock shortly after midnight local time, it made sense to go ahead and rent a room at the Retching Netch. And by extension, do the “transported to one of the Stones as soon as I try to sleep” thing.
This time through, on my third playthrough, it occurs to me to wonder about the mechanism of my being teleported like that. In-character, was I actually teleported? In which case it occurs to me that the ability to physically move people like that is as scary an aspect of Miraak’s power as the mind control.
Or is this more of a matter of, I walked from Raven Rock to Miraak’s temple in my sleep? From the player’s perspective it looks like a teleport, but that may just be because the game is taking a shortcut here, the same as fast travel being a shortcut to let you quickly get from point A to point B without having to worry about taking the time to actually do the journey. (Unless you want to.)
This latter option seems more likely to me. Just because if Miraak were really able to actually physically teleport people around, I should think he’d actually legit own the island even before the player shows up!
Also, “the player just walks to one of the Stones in their sleep” would likewise explain why my follower came with me. If my housecarl’s standing guard over my sleeping form and I suddenly start sleepwalking off to the nearest Standing Stone, creepily chanting, it’d make sense that Calder would go “WHAT THE ABSOLUTE FUCK IS THIS” and have to follow me just to try to protect my poor enthralled self until he can snap me out of it.
And it’d also explain why my follower does not appear to be also enthralled and working on the shrine when I snap out of it? At least I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen my followers on these playthroughs also get nabbed by Miraak that way, if nothing else just because any active on-duty followers I have don’t frigging sleep when I do. 😉
Second thing worth noting as a new thing this time through is the encounter with the Dunmer Reaver. I do not remember running into him before. (Or any non-Dunmer equivalent for that matter; the World Interactions page on the wiki says only that this guy is a ‘Frossel Reaver’, so it’s possible he may spawn as a non-Dunmer?)
I was kind of surprised that he was so easily startled, given that he spawned in full Nordic armor and should have been a pretty decent fight. But he ran off from me multiple times before Calder finally killed him.
Third thing to note: great action at both the Wind Stone and the Earth Stone, with the previously enthralled people leaping into battle with the Lurkers that emerged. The Skaal helped the fight at the Wind Stone, and the people of Raven Rock (both the Redoran guard, whose job this is, and everybody else, whose job it is not) helped at the Earth Stone. Way to go, denizens of Solstheim! Nicely self-defended!
Fourth thing: unlike on Merawen’s playthrough, I did not see Neloth hanging out around the Earth Stone. So I’ll have to go hunt him down separately this time through, apparently.
Fifth and final thing: having Calder along is definitely helpful, he appears to be a formidable fighter, even though he’s a lot more Stoic McNordboy personality-wise and doesn’t have much in the way of color commentary like Lydia does.
This post is going up several days after the fact, so I’m already able to tell you what I did the session after this one: followed up on getting that Ancient Nord Pickaxe for Glover, and clearing Raven Rock Mine and Bloodskal Barrow. Stand by for that in the next post!