Ysani Playthrough

Final Thoughts on Ysani’s Skyrim Run

As with previous Skyrim playthroughs I’ve done, here’s the final roundup post reviewing Ysani’s playthrough, and major highlights of it for me! This will be long, so everything will be behind a More tag.

Favorite Follower

I’m going to give that award this time through to Argis the Bulwark, who Ysani wound up marrying! I was surprised by how partial I got to the big guy. And this is, I think, entirely just because I really liked the overall sound of how his French voice actor did his lines. <3

But that said, I also have to give an honorable mention to Ingjard of the Dawnguard and Vorstag the mercenary, who I got as followers very late in the game, two sessions before the final battle in Sovngarde. It was nice to be able to meet a couple of new characters by way of getting recruits for the Blades, and I liked what I saw of both of those characters.

Favorite City

Tie between Whiterun and Riften this time. Whiterun because I’m always partial to Whiterun, and this time through in particular, it was where I settled Ysani’s family. But Riften also, just because I did a few extra quests there this time, and also because I enjoyed hearing Riften’s vendors as performed by the French voice actors.

Favorite Daedric Quest

I think I’ll go with getting Mehrunes’ Razor this time. Partly because it was appropriate for Ysani, and partly because it was interesting to learn about the bug you can exploit to completely avoid getting the option to spare Silus.

Favorite Non-Daedric Main Game Plot

Tie between mage college and Thieves Guild, just because both of them were hugely important to the narrative I constructed for Ysani in my head. She was definitely the most powerful mage I’ve played to date—and the Thieves Guild was critical to her anti-Thalmor crusade.

And this isn’t a main game plot, but I gotta call out that my favorite new place to visit that I hadn’t hit before was definitely Northwatch Keep, as part of running the side plot Missing in Action. Given the anti-Thalmor background I set up for Ysani, it was super appropriate for her to be willing to go rescue Thorald Gray-Mane from the Thalmor even if she wasn’t a Stormcloak supporter. Rampaging through Northwatch was great fun. 😀

Favorite Armor

All across my playthroughs, my known major favorite armors are pretty clear at this point: dragonscale, Nightingale, and the light stalhrim.

But that said, I’m going to go with the scaled armor set that was Ysani’s first major long-running armor, on the grounds that a) I hadn’t worn that particular armor set before, and b) it was narratively appropriate because I couldn’t see her tolerating wearing elven armor.

Favorite Weapon

I actually have an oblique answer for this one this time: dual-wielding! Because Ysani was the first character where I finally learned how to dual-wield properly. And once I got that mechanic down, I became very partial very fast to dual-wielding Chillrend in my right hand, and either the Razor or my dragonbone dagger in my left. The dragonbone dagger was particularly handy that way just for the Soul Trap enchantment I had on it, too.

Honorable mention to Auriel’s Bow, for which I developed more of an appreciation this time through, and the conjured bound weapons which were very useful in early stages of the game when I had to be a lot more finicky about what Ysani was carrying.

Auriel’s Bow in particular actually wound up being my most powerful bow at several points of the later part of this run, until the dragonbone bow finally surpassed it. Its combination of being one of the lighter bows available and what damage it can do with Sunhallowed Elven Arrows became very tasty for me!

Favorite Named Dragon

My standard answer to this holds at this point: tie between Paarthurnax and Durnehviir.

Things I Actively Disliked

Running a pure mage not as entertaining as I’d hoped

I think it’s a little unfair to categorize this as a thing I actively disliked, but this is the best place in this post to talk about this, so. I came into this game hoping to run Ysani as a pure mage. Didn’t work out that way, in no small part because running a pure mage, without armor, gets you way less protection armor-rating-wise than wearing actual armor.

This meant in turn that while I got Ysani’s Destruction spells up to being pretty powerful, I still wound up being able to do better damage with wielded weapons, just because I couldn’t regenerate magic fast enough while wearing actual armor. (The one exception to this: once I got the Disintegrate perk. Because it was really cool to be able to disintegrate a dragon at Eldersblood Peak!)

Other than that, though, nothing new actually presented itself to me as a thing I actively disliked! So that speaks well to me about Ysani’s run overall.

Things I Wish I’d Done Differently

Not too much, actually! I’m feeling pretty good overall about the things I’ve learned in previous playthroughs, as I’ve got a solid feel at this point for how I like to do a Skyrim run.

And Now, Some Stats

  • As of the last save I did of Ysani’s game, she had over 325,000 gold. Which puts her on record as the character who had the most operating capital by the end of her run.
  • She was thane of every hold except Eastmarch.
  • She had the following properties: Breezehome in Whiterun; Honeyside in Riften; Proudspire Manor in Solitude; Vlindrel Hall in Markarth; Lakeview Manor in Falkreath; Heljarchen Hall in the Pale; Windstad Manor in Hjaalmarch; and Severin Manor in Raven Rock on Solstheim.
  • She was a member of the Bard’s College in Solitude
  • She was Arch-Mage of the College of Winterhold
  • She was Guildmaster of the Thieves Guild
  • She did not choose a side in the civil war

Here is the video for Ysani’s final skill trees, as of level 78, which is where I left her in the final session. Unsurprisingly, her skills are predominantly in magic. I built up ALL of her magical skills, and the only reason the Illusion tree was wiped out was because I transferred perks off of it over into One-Handed, Light Armor, and Archery for the final run through Skuldafn and Sovngarde. Vast majority of Ysani’s run, Illusion was built up pretty heavily as well.

Aboslutely no contest that Conjuration was Ysani’s preferred school of magic, with Alteration close behind. I found both of those super critical for playing Ysani as a powerful mage. Destruction got entertaining once I got powerful enough, and I gotta say it was very satisfying to be able to fry dragons with lightning.

Weapons-wise, I didn’t even bother, really, with Two-handed. Ysani was an itty bitty slip of a thing, so two-handed weapons did not seem appropriate for her at all. Daggers and swords and the bow, much more her speed. And bound weapons when possible.

Likewise with armor. Didn’t even bother with Heavy Armor to speak of.

I did eventually throw perks at Light Armor, because I realized very quickly that the maximum armor rating I could get out of the Mage Armor perks, as long as I had the Lord Stone also active, was 350. Which is just not competive at all with what I could get out of having actual armor on. Now, I get that ideally, a pure mage character shouldn’t have to care about having higher armor ratings than that, because you want to be hitting opponents with Destruction spells anyway. Or, flinging conjured buddies into their faces to do your fighting for you. So if an opponent gets close enough to you for melee, you’re not doing mage correctly!

I get all that. But I also realized that I just like being able to do melee fighting as well. I derive great satisfaction from whacking enemies with my sword—or, in this playthrough in particular, dual-wielding sword and dagger! In short, I like having the option of switching off between melee weapons and combat spells as whim and circumstances dictate. Which tells me that my ideal play style really appears to be spellsword, rather than pure mage.

And here is the video of Ysani’s stats. I note with some bemusement here that I got a 1000 bounty for something. It is not at all clear to me what I got that bounty for. I also had three murders on my stats, apparently—so I must presume that one of those got me a 1000 bounty, since I wasn’t a werewolf or vampire in this run, so nobody could have seen me shapeshifting.

But I have no idea what non-hostile NPCs I might have killed, unless the game thought I was specifically responsible for killing Runil, Indara, and Leonara, rather than the dragons I fought at Falkreath and behind Riften? Which sucks. And it suggests that even though I was trying not to hit dragons with ranged spells close to civilized places, I clearly need to work a little harder with my aim to avoid hitting NPC bystanders with anything. Or else be prepared to just limit myself to melee fighting with dragons if I’m super close to a city or a farm.

I also note that that bounty was never actually active, no guards ever actually tried to arrest me for it. So presumably whatever bounty got triggered there immediately cleared, if some hapless NPC I accidentally killed was the last known witness in the area.

(Though, hmph. I feel like that if I accidentally kill NPCs while I’m trying to fight a dragon, at best that ought to count for just manslaughter!)

I also clearly got a 1 gold bounty for something, presumably for stealing something not worth much?

Next time

This concludes the playthrough for Ysani Demers! Onward to playthrough number five, and Faanshi of the Khajiit!

As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.