This is a double session post, covering play done on Sunday 3/6 and Monday 3/7. Aside from the usual building and crafting, the main action in this post is running the Forsworn Conspiracy plot. But with a hefty side helping of major dragon attack at Left Hand Mine near Markarth—and my adopting a surprise second child!
- Play dates: 3/6-3/7/2022
- Session numbers in this run: 41-42
- Boinged from Heljarchen to Honningbrew and sold stuff to Mallus
- Boinged to Lakeview to swap out the dragonscale armor for Nightingale to lighten the load some
- Boinged back to Heljarchen to drop off extraneous weaponry; limiting to dragonbone bow and Chillrend as highest damage weapons, also the Razor
- Did a tiny amount of building until I get more iron in and also replenish the logs supply
- Boinged to Solitude and sold a few things to the Khajiit outside
- Boinged to Windhelm for pickpocket training, and to check on status of murder plot
- Got Pickpocketing up to 52 training with Silda, but nope no sign of murder plot
- Decided to hoof it back to Solitude, but killed by Blood Dragon coming out of Windhelm, oops
- Take two: dragon spawned again but this time didn’t land to engage
- Onward! Killed a snowy sabre cat by way of storm atronach
- Hi Talsgar!
- Passed Khajiit on their way to Windhelm
- Saw somebody blowing up something further up the road—and that somebody turned out to be Taron Dreth! I was wondering when I’d see this asshole 😉
- Took him and his mercenaries out with dremora, even though he raised two of his mercenaries during the fight; I hadn’t realized before that he knows how to reanimate corpses!
- Turned out that he and his guys had been fighting a troll before I reached them, as I found that troll lying dead nearby
- Boinged back to Solitude to sell all the stuff I looted off this pack of clowns
- Boinged from Solitude to Whiterun, then to Heljarchen, before finally realizing I needed to get more logs—so then I boinged to Lakeview; got Lydia to replenish the log supply
- Boinged back to Heljarchen
- Built up a bunch more of the kitchen wing; also built out the smelter in the cellar
- Did a little alchemy and armor creation to have stuff to go sell in Whiterun
- Hoofed it south across the plains to Whiterun; sold stuff to Elrindir and Arcadia
- Went out to the plains to hoof it north-ish
- Went past Silent Moons Camp; attacked by one lone bandit who’d apparently also taken out a wolf and a fox; dremora took him out
- Saw two mammoths in the distance, did not engage
- Found the bandits pretending to be Imperials encounter—and killed by those bandits before I was able to call up the dremora 😣
- Thrown back to coming out of Whiterun, so okay fine, boinged back to Solitude instead
- Did the favor quest for Evette to get her her shipment released
- Bought a few amulets at Radiant Raiment to use in shrine making
- Boinged to Markarth because I gotta level up to actually trigger the courier from Falk Firebeard, apparently?
- Decided to run Forsworn Conspiracy, but first, took the precaution of stashing a bunch of stuff in my chest in Vlindrel Hall—wanted to minimize the risk of having something really important get misplaced somewhere, like the Nightingale gear
- Ran the plot mostly as per previously played, albeit with the exception of escaping Nepos’ house by throwing a Pacify spell and getting the hostile household to back off, lol
- Still though got arrested and thrown into Cidhna Mine
- Didn’t bother with trying to get a shiv, and also passed the Persuade check to get past Borkul
- Didn’t have to kill the guy Madanach wanted killed either, because as soon as he came at me everybody else killed him; nice bunch of Forsworn, I guess? 😉
- Got out of the ruins with the Forsworn; hung back while they rampaged through Markarth and got the fuck out
- Quietly sauntered my way back to Vlindrel Hall
- Hi Argis! So if you heard anything about a jailbreak, for the record, I was only moderately involved; also c’mon, my dude, I need your help
- Tried to hoof it off to Lakeview; failed twice
- First time killed by Forsworn, after killing a Blood Dragon, two cave bears, and a sabre cat
- Second time through, the spawned dragon just outside the city was an Ancient Dragon, and it chomped me to death 😣
- Third time through: also an Ancient Dragon, this time though it landed at Left Hand Mine and promptly devastated the place 😢
- I was about to not let it stand until I found a kid nearby, Erith; talked to her, and she sighed sadly and said her mother was dead and now she’s all alone
- Offered to adopt her; she perked up and agreed, which was simultaneously charming and sad, just because of how fast she went from ‘oh shit my mother is dead’ to ‘holy crap, this woman who just killed the dragon adopted me!’
- Saved at that point for the night
The most notable thing about Sunday night’s play, really, was finally triggering the encounter with Taron Dreth. Which is never not satisfying!
This time through I saw him actually raise a couple of his mercenaries after my dremora had killed them. I don’t think I’d realized before that Taron is not above indulging in a little necromancy if he’s feeling threatened!
Still didn’t help him kill me for what I know, though!
The Forsworn Conspiracy quest
Main difference from previous playthroughs, as noted above, is that I was able to get out of Nepos the Nose’s house without actually fighting any of his household. Threw the Pacify spell at the lot of them, which let me run off scot-free!
Nepos: “My dear girl, what makes you think you’re getting out of here alive?”
Me, throwing Pacify spell: “This, actually, because it’s either that or I call up my Dremora Lords from Oblivion.”
Uaile: “This fight makes no sense.”
Me, dashing out the door before the Pacify spell wears off: “BYEEEEEE!”
I imagine Nepos then blinking, nonplussed, and saying “Well, I guess she was leaving here alive, then.”
And Uaile turning in confusion to her boss and going “Sir, what just happened? Do you think she could really have summoned Dremora Lords?”
Nepos: “I… no. I think it would be safer for all of us if we didn’t give her an opportunity to demonstrate that claim to us.”
Which all means by extension that I did not in fact have to kill Uaile, so her father will presumably get to see her again, now that he’s escaped the mine!
Real interesting question here as to whether Nepos’ household will remain in Markarth or whether he might choose to have them withdraw for their own safety. Since they are Forsworn agents after all.
I imagine that if they hang around in Markarth, any time they happen to see me passing, some very awkward eye contact might have to happen. With some “I got my eye on you” stern looks from the Dragonbone and Thane of the Reach!
Also noting for reference that even without the Amulet of Articulation, my Speech is high enough at this point that I passed assorted Speech checks without any trouble. Didn’t bother trying to get a shiv—because Ysani is well capable of defending herself magically at this point. And as I observed in previous playthroughs, Cidhna Mine’s security has the dramatic flaw of not accounting for powerful mages being thrown into the place. 😉
Who the fuck needs a shiv when you can call up two Dremora Lords to beat the shit out of whoever pisses you off?
Also, still didn’t need to raise a hand against the guy Madanach wanted dead. All I had to do was talk to him to make him flip out and attack me, and as soon as he did that, everybody else in the place killed him. Including the orc guard Borkul. Apparently Ysani won them all over to come to her defense? Lol.
Dragon massacre at Left Hand Mine
I am not a hundred percent sure whether this was the most devastating dragon attack I’ve had happen in a game—because y’all may recall, I lost a lot of NPCs at Riften during Merawen’s playthrough. Arguably, a similar number of named NPCs.
The difference here though was, this was a dragon attack where I knew for sure nobody was dead prior to it, and everybody was confirmed dead after. Yikes.
This wasn’t even a fast travel dragon spawn, either. There’s a spawn point just outside of Markarth, if you come out of the city on foot. You go through the stables area, then out past the entrance to a farm, and then just past a bridge. Once you’re past the bridge, there’s an area that’s spawned a dragon on me almost every single time I’ve walked through there coming out of the city. This session was no exception.
However, partway into the battle, the dragon started doing that thing where it stopped fighting me (and my housecarl and my summoned atronachs) and flew off to attack other nearby targets.
Ri’saad’s Khajiit were on hand, and I saw them trying to get in on the fight. I’ve discovered that all the Khajiit are considered Protected status, and Ri’saad himself is considered Essential. So none of the Khajiit can actually die in a dragon attack.
I’m pretty sure that the dragon went first from me to the Khajiit, and the Khajiit defended themselves well enough that the dragon sought yet more targets. Which sent it over to Left Hand Mine. And none of the NPCs there have the luxury of being Protected or Essential. So when that Ancient Dragon landed there, they were doomed.
And I couldn’t get over there fast enough to save them. I had to run over to join in the battle, and even once I arrived, it was still a hard fight to finish taking the dragon out.
First sign I got something was wrong was a courier showing up, right in the middle of the dragon bones while I was absorbing its soul. I had a moment of wondering whether that courier was the one Falk Firebeard was sending me—but then I realized oh shit, no, he’s bringing me Letters of Inheritance, who died? Did that fucking dragon just kill my housecarl?
Answer: no! But once I started reading the letters, I realized the dragon had wiped out the mine. The letters were specifically for the miners whose disposition I’d improved by running the plot before to clear out Kolskeggr Mine of Forsworn—so that covered Pavo Attius, Skaggi Scar-Face, and the Orc Gat gro-Shargakh.
But they weren’t the only casualties. I also found Skaggi’s wife Sosia Tremellia dead, as well as Daighre. And the unnamed Reach Hold Guard who’d been on duty trying to protect the place.
There were three other adult NPCs at the mine who didn’t get killed, but I think the only reason they survived was because they never actually leave the mine!
And I found Erith, the one child at the mine, alive. And standing by looking forlorn. So I asked her what was wrong, and she gave me the line about her mother being dead, and that now she was alone.
At which point, as a player, I’m all oh holy crap.
Up until that point, I’d been starting to think about whether I wanted to roll back and undo this massacre. But that kind of emotional gut-punch, where the game periodically reminds you that why yes dragon attacks can be devastating, is part of why I find it so rewarding. So I decided to go ahead and let this stand.
And adopt poor traumatized Erith. She perked up in a charming and pathetic sort of way, and I sent her off to Whiterun to hang out with Lucia at Breezehome for the time being. So now I’ll have two children there.
I’d say that I’d have two dogs–because apparently Erith had a dog as well, Torom. But tonight when preparing this post, I reviewed the video I took of when I killed the dragon. And realized that there was a dead dog lying near the dragon! Which means it not only killed all the adults who weren’t actively in the mine, it also killed Erith’s dog. GODDAMMIT DRAGON.
So yeah, definitely glad I adopted the poor kid and hopefully she and Lucia and Stray Dog will all get along!
Interesting terms observed:
- Camp de la Lune silencieuse: Silent Moons Camp (lit. “Camp of the silent Moon”)
- Nepos le Nez-creux: Nepos the Nose (lit. “Nepos the hollow Nose”)
- Le Roi en Haillons: The King in Rags
- La Mine de Cidhna: Cidhna Mine
In the English build of the game, Silent Moons Camp has plural moons in the name. In French, though, it’s singular. I’d have expected a more direct translation to be Camp des Lunes silencieueses. Why they went with a singular translation instead, no way of knowing!
Interesting as well that Nepos’s moniker of ‘the Nose’ has an additional adjective attached to it. A bit of searching, though, gets me an actual French idiom that seems to be in play here: avoir le nez creux, which means to have good intuition about something. So this actually gives Nepos a bit more character development! That’s kind of awesome.
Lastly, the slight shift in the name of Cidhna Mine from English to French intrigues me. It’s not clear to me in game lore what or who Cidhna Mine is named after? Given how a lot of location names in the game work, where they have descriptive nouns or adjectives, ‘Cidhna’ suggests an actual person. In which case, the French ‘la Mine de Cidhna’ makes sense to me.
I think arguably Breezehome is too small for two children and two dogs. So I’ll probably have to move the kids elsewhere. Solitude, probably, but I don’t have Proudspire yet. So I’ll need to work on that.
Which I was doing anyway, trying to get that next courier to show up from Falk Firebeard! So get a move on, Falk, and let me know I gotta come take out Potema properly for you!
And I gotta say, I think I might actually wind up marrying Argis! He’s got a much nicer voice in French than he does in English, and the ebony armor looks kind of hot on him.
Editing to add
- 11/21/2023: Restored missing gallery, and added play dates and session number markers.