With this session, I boinged back to the main plot to seek out the “Dragon” Elder Scroll, the one specifically needed for the main plot but also for Dawnguard. Got in some action at the mage college, slew my first Revered Dragon this time, and began running Alftand with Serana as my backup.
- Boinged to mage college and bought five rounds of Restoration training from Colette
- Mages were actually gathered in the Hall of Elements (presumably for Colette’s usual repeating lecture about Restoration, though it was an odd time of day for that), so talked to Urag there about finding the Elder Scroll, then followed him to the Arcaneum so he could get out the books
- Got his info about Septimus
- Headed with Serana out to cut behind the bridge to go down towards the beach
- Mined iron vein
- And HELLO DRAGON, first Revered Dragon of this game! This was kind of a fun variation of the usual dragon fights, see details below
- Proceeded from where I found the dragon bones to find Septimus’ outpost–which had a fucking VAMPIRE in it, details on that below as well
- Got Septimus to point me at Alftand, anyway, and give me the Attunement Sphere and the blank Lexicon
- Initially boinged to Alftand (see previous session where I found the place for the map), where I got the expedition manifest and looted the outside chest
- However, realized I was also carrying a lot of loot so a strategic retreat back to the college was called for
- Returned to the college, where I passed J’zargo, who finally asked me for help with his scrolls
- Okay son I get it, you’re good, but which of us is actually Arch-Mage now, hmm? just saying (still, agreed to help him)
- Then retreated to Arch-Mage’s quarters to drop off a boatload of stuff
- Headed back out again to go to Alftand and start running the place with Serana
- Serana got stuck in throwing vampiric drain fighting a dwarven spider just before skooma addict J’darr; i had to fight him by myself, and he was a hard fight, couldn’t take him down with lightning, had to break out the Nightingale sword; I may have been hitting him with Sparks by mistake and not the biggest lightning spell I have? Easy to mix them up in French
- Got through the corridor full of explosive gas without setting it off
- Made it as far as the sequence of piston traps before saving for the night
Nothing hugely new here in terms of bigger plot points, but I did have a couple of new little experiences worth calling out!
The first thing was fighting the dragon at the mage college. Usually when I have dragon fights there, I’m in the courtyard or out on the bridge that leads up to the main college complex. And depending on where I’m fighting it, the dragon will usually crash on top of the Hall of Countenance, or within the courtyard.
This time, I was actually down on the ground on the back side of that bridge, on the path that leads down to the water. Which gave me some new angles of attack to deal with that dragon, and also put it within range of attacking Winterhold itself. The end result though was still that the dragon crashed onto the Hall of Countenance. So I had to run back up from ground level, up the bridge, and into the Hall of Countenance so I could get up to the roof to deliver the finishing blows.
Or, rather, so that the dremora and Serana could!
Once I did that though I saw that the dragon had landed in such a way as to be poised right on the edge of the top of the tower. And when the dremora and Serana killed it, it tumbled off over the side. Oops!
And that required me to go hunt for the bones. I still absorbed the soul on the way down the stairs to the lower levels of the Hall of Countenance. But it took me a few minutes to actually get back down to the water and hunt around a bit, until I finally found where the skeleton had landed. It had in fact landed in water, but it was still reachable and visible. And I was able to loot it for the bones and scales and other loot.
So that was a kind of fun and interesting variation on how dragon battles usually go!
The second unusual thing in this session: an actual vampire being in Septimus’ little outpost in the ice. And by in, I mean, actually inside, in the same room with Septimus himself. There was just the one vampire as well, as opposed to the usual two or three I’m accustomed to running into, particularly while the Dawnguard plot is active.
It was what the French build calls a jeune vampire, which I’m pretty sure is a vampire fledgling, the weakest vampire type.
From a game mechanics standpoint this was unusual enough to make me go “wut?” I think what might have happened here is that your chances of vampire encounters do go up while the Dawnguard plot is active–and entering Septimus’ outpost counts as changing zones. I was surprised though to see a vampire in a place that I would have interpreted as inside?
This vampire was also not a vampire assassin, another type of vampire encounter I’ve had before–she wasn’t carrying any note with orders.
So I got nothin’ as to what the game had in mind for her to show up where she did.
From a narrative perspective, it was kind of hilarious as well. Because I didn’t see any sign of the vampire being there to attack Septimus, but as soon as I came down the ladder from outside, she totally tried to attack me.
She did not get very far with that. Not when I threw a dremora in her face.
And Septimus in general seemed remarkably unperturbed by this turn of events, lol! Presumably because, as he’s quite crazy, he may have assumed the vampire was a hallucination! If he noticed her at all. Since he does nothing but pace around in circles muttering to himself until the Dragonborn shows up!
Interesting terms observed:
- Dragon vénéré: Revered Dragon
- Avant-Poste de Septimus Signus: Septimus Signus’s Outpost
- Griffenoire: Blackreach (lit. “Blackclaw” or “Blacktalon”?)
Avant-poste was a new word to me, but it is apparently the direct translation for outpost! Which interests me just because I’ve encountered avant before as meaning before, not out.
This session marked the first mention of Blackreach in this game, so this is the first time I got to see the translation of Griffenoire. Which does not appear to be an exact translation, just because the word griffe means claw or talon, as far as I know. But this may also tie into how I didn’t see the Reach getting translated directly over, either.
Also, this far into the game, I’m definitely to a point where I can say that in many examples, the French voice cast does a great job of matching the tonal flavor and personality of the various characters as portrayed in the English build. Septimus is another example of this. So even if I couldn’t understand half of his lines, he still sounded kind of familiar, and that improves the play experience for me.
(And, lol, you could argue that Septimus isn’t exactly understandable in English, either, so there’s that!)
Tonight’s session is likely to be a big ol’ run through the rest of Alftand, and on down into Blackreach!