This is nominally a double session post—I say nominally, because while this post covers play done on Thursday 5/5 and Friday 5/6, Friday’s play session was super short.
Main action: getting Ingjard of the Dawnguard on deck as a follower, and taking her through Forelhost before presenting her as a recruit for the Blades. And then hiring Vorstag in Markarth, and beginning to take him through Ragnvald.
- Play dates: 5/5-5/6/2023
- Session numbers in this run: 99-100
- Sold a few things to Belethor in Whiterun
- Boinged to Fort Dawnguard
- Wandered around a little and explored some of the upper platforms I hadn’t been on before; also found one of Gunmar’s armored trolls outside
- Bought a few explosive bolts off of Sorine once I found her inside
- Also found Ingjard and got her to follow me
- Took her out through Dayspring Canyon, where we fought two vampire scouts
- Found Alik’r warrior encounter in progress near path up to Black-Briar Lodge, but they were interrupted by three wolves showing up; the warriors killed the wolves while the woman ran off
- Hoofed it further, wound up going past three Imperials + prisoner just west of Riften
- Found Lost Prospect Mine for the map
- Circled around and cut through Riften proper to go out its back gate
- Ingjard and I killed three bears and a skeever while trying to find the path to Forelhost
- Found Crystaldrift Cave
- Found the burned-out house where someone had tried to summon a flame atronach
- Overshot the path up to Forelhost and made it as far as Broken Helm Hollow, though I didn’t officially discover it for the map
- Swung back around and headed up to Forelhost
- Found Valmir in Imperial mode
- Ran the place; got the dragon priest mask and staff from Rahgot; got the Storm Call word
- Confronted Valmir and let Ingjard go after the very surprised Stormcloak soldier who was talking to him
- Took Ingjard to Sky Haven Temple and presented her to Delphine for the Blades
- Boinged to Markarth; sold some stuff to Endon to clear the load
- Slept the night at Vlindrel Hall
- Stopped by Calcelmo to sell him the exploding dwemer crossbow bolt
- Stopped by the forge and bought five rounds of Smithing training from Ghorza, also sold her stuff
- Parked in Silver-Blood Inn about to talk to Vorstag
- Saved for the night
- Hired Vorstag
- Set out from Markarth and veered north along the road towards the Lover Stone
- Ran into a cave bear right there
- Also a Frost Dragon, which Vorstag and I shot at till it crashed, at which point it was also engaged by two Forsworn and one Thalmor
- Thalmor was killed by the dragon I think as I came closer, but the two Forsworn survived and turned to attack me
- Took out the Forsworn and got the soul off the dragon; also took the Thalmor’s stuff
- Then proceeded to Ragnvald with Vorstag
- Started running the place but paused for the night partway in
Ingjard kind of reminded me of Lydia about the face. Since I’m seeing her for the first time in a French build, though, I don’t have a real sense of how she’d come across personality-wise in the English build yet.
But if I look her up on the imdb.com Skyrim credits for the full cast and crew, I see that she’s voiced by April Stewart. Other characters this person voices fall into the general bucket of “bitchier female characters” that I have definitely run into, such as Grelka (armor vendor in Riften), Njada Stonearm (cranky companion who snarks at you), Temba Wide-Arm (mill owner in Ivarstead who bitches about bears), or Gisli (who constantly bitches about her brother Erikur in Solitude). So that lets me extrapolate how Ingjard likely presents: which is to say, probably bitchy. 😉
But maybe not? She doesn’t seem to have much in the way of dialogue lines, so hard to say, really. What few lines she’s got quoted on the wiki aren’t actually terribly bitchy and she does in fact offer help to the Dragonborn.
She fared well running Forelhost! Here and there she got hit kinda hard sometimes, but I think she was a little outmatched by the higher tier draugr, and she was wearing Dawnguard Light Armor by default even though the wiki page for her says her skill is in Heavy Armor. But she seemed very effective with her crossbow, and when the opportunity arose to hand her better weapons, that also helped. (Certainly very useful that higher-tier draugr drop ebony weapons, so I was soon able to hand her an ebony war hammer.)
Plus it was nice to just have some experience running a dungeon with a Dawnguard follower. I feel like once you finish Dawnguard usually the game gives you no incentive to speak of to go back and interact with that set of characters. But narrative-wise, it makes sense to me that the Dragonborn would want to maintain contact with them. They’re good fighters, and at least three of them have no level caps, which makes them really valuable as followers.
Mind you, Ingjard is not one of the ones with no level cap. Also, she was not involved in the assault on Castle Volkihar. But I wound up choosing her as my Blades candidate specifically because I hadn’t done anything with her before. And I can see her possibly being frustrated with not getting enough action fighting vampires, and therefore interested in the Dragonborn coming to her and going ‘hey, want an opportunity to upgrade your fighting skills and take on dragons?’
I was kind of surprised, though, that when I brought her to Delphine for the Blades, I didn’t go through the same sequence of Delphine actively swearing her in. So I don’t know if that only happens for the first recruit? I’ll have to see if the swearing-in is bypassed when I show up with Vorstag as candidate number three.
And speaking of Vorstag, he’s another character that’s new to me. He’s the mercenary that hangs out at the Silver-Blood Inn, and I chose him as a potential Blades recruit partly because I hadn’t run Ragnvald yet with this alt. And Ragnvald is close to Markarth, so.
Again, since this is a character I’m meeting for the first time in the French build, I’m having to kind of interpret his likely personality. Turns out he’s voiced by Christian Svensson in the English build, the same guy who voices several characters who are familiar to me–notably, Farengar Secret-Fire, Rune (the thief at the Thieves Guild with a potentially interesting backstory that you are NOT given a way to follow up on, sadly), and Rustleif (the smith in Dawnstar). So that gives me an idea of how to parse him.
He does seem to have a pretty good assortment of lines, though so far I’m only hearing them in French, so I’m having to look those up too. I like the overall list of lines he has quoted on the Elder Scrolls wiki page for him, though. He seems friendly and has a nice interest in Dwemer ruins and how their automatons work. So I like his expressed curiosity.
Last but not least, was kind of surprised by the one Thalmor and two Forsworn showing up for the tail end of the fight with the Frost Dragon–partly because there was only the one Thalmor. Usually they travel in threes, and I couldn’t find any sign of any other Thalmor in the immediate area! Nor could I find any sign on the list of known world interactions of an encounter where one Thalmor fights two Forsworn.
So maybe I just rolled weird on having NPCs show up in the area when that dragon crash landed? Dunno!
Last but not least, Friday’s play, brief though it was, marks my 100th session playing Ysani. So she’s definitely the longest-running character I’ve had in terms of overall number of sessions played–and also in terms of overall calendar time. Her first session was back on January 26th of this year. So now I’m three months and change with her.
I don’t think I’ll make it to four months, just because the only way I could do that would be if I committed to running the war or the Companions plotlines, and neither of those seem appropriate for this character. Still though, definitely three months and change, several days’ worth of time longer than the other characters I’ve done to date.
(Root cause of this: a lot of Ysani’s sessions have been shorter, and that’s been driven by day job constraints that have required me to be more mindful of when I get to bed. So I have less time during the week to blow on playing Skyrim.)
She is however still not my most powerful character on record as of this writing. That’s still Merawen, and it feels doubtful that Ysani will match her by reaching level 85.
Interesting terms observed:
- La mine perdue: Lost Prospect Mine (lit. “the lost mine”)
- Grotte de Cristalis: Crystaldrift Cave
- Forteresse de Forelhost: Forelhost Stronghold (lit. “Fortress of Forelhost”)
- Journal de Skorm Marcheneige: Skorm Snow-Strider’s Journal
- Crypte de Forelhost: Forelhost Crypt
- Réfectoire de Forelhost: Forelhost Refectory
Cristalis seems like it might be another portmanteau. Cristal is clearly the crystal part of the name, but I’m not sure what the other part is supposed to be. Lis seems most likely, and that means lily–c.f., fleur-de-lis, a term I think most English speakers would probably recognize?
But that said, “crystal lily” or “lily crystal” don’t come across quite the same way as Crystaldrift.
One other possibility here is alis. If I read that page correctly, this is a word from Old French that could mean fine or delicate, so it’s possible here that the translators decided to go with a name that could mean ‘Cave of Fine Crystal’, or something like that.
Going to finish running Ragnvald, then take Vorstag over to be my third Blades recruit.
Then I’ll do at least one “go hunt a dragon” quest with the Blades squad. I’ve already done a lot of fighting with an entourage during this run, so honestly this won’t be super different, I suspect. But with the exception of, this time the whole entourage will be Blades. And at least one of them will also have a crossbow, and the other two will also have ebony bows! A lot of archery firepower, is what I’m saying here.
I’ll also see if I can get Esbern to give me that dragon potion. And it’ll be interesting to see if we hit a dragon lair I’ve already been to with this alt, or if I go to one of the two I haven’t been to yet–Ancient’s Ascent or maybe Arcwind Point. Kind of hoping for one of these two as I want the words off their Word Walls!
After that, I’ll need to figure out if there’s anything else I want to do before proceeding with the main plot. I think Ragnvald should be the last dragon priest lair to clear. And I’m also about out of places to clear to get Word Walls. Aside from the two dragon lairs mentioned above, about the only other Word Wall to hit that I haven’t been to yet (and which isn’t quest locked to either the Companions or the civil war plotlines) is the one in Frostmere Crypt. And I am not mustering quite enough giveafuck to go clear that place at this point in the run.
So I may or may not actually finish up Ysani’s run this weekend. We’ll see!
Editing to add
- 11/21/2023: Restored missing gallery, and added play date and session number markers.