Shenner Playthrough

In Which Shenner Escapes Execution and a Dragon Attack

SURPRISE EXTRA PLAYTHROUGH! As I wrote last night, I got the urge to experiment and see if I could get Skyrim running on an old PC laptop I have. The startling answer to this was, in fact, yes. I got the Special Edition running on that machine, and while there were graphical issues, it was more or less playable.

So yeah, I did some playing through with the character I created as part of that experiment, a redheaded Nord by the name of Shenner.


  • Play date: 5/17/2022
  • Session number in this run: 1
  • Experimenting with playing in Windows 10 on my PC laptop
  • As per previous post, had trouble navigating with keyboard and trackpad, but once I plugged in one of our PS4 controllers via USB, that solved that problem
  • Problems not solved:
    • Sound not being piped properly through the controller into my headphones, it was much softer than it should be, but all my volume sliders in the settings seemed to be at max
    • A lot of badly rendered shadows or textures, not sure which, resulting in dark mottling all over a lot of things, more pronounced in daylight
  • Didn’t expect to get far so just set up a fairly vanilla Nord and called her Shenner; she is, of course, a redhead
  • Followed Ralof out of Helgen
  • And LOL, got overloaded just practicing grabbing everything in sight with unfamiliar control set, so I was also following him slowly out of Helgen
  • Took the Warrior stone at the Guardian Stones
  • Got Rockjoint off the wolves that attacked us outside of Riverwood, boooooo
  • Made it to Riverwood and had scene with Ralof’s sister Gerdur, who asked me to go ask the Jarl for help
  • Slept the night at Gerdur and Hod’s house
  • Then got up the next morning and sold a boatload of stuff to the Riverwood Trader
  • Did not go to the forge, just because I figure going over there in Stormcloak gear probably not the wisest idea
  • Also, kept one set of Imperial gear to swap into if necessary as it seemed to my character that might be a good idea
  • Got the quest hook to go get the golden claw back; Camilla showed me the bridge
  • Then I hoofed it to Whiterun
  • Spotted a trio of Imperials farther ahead and paused to swap into Imperial gear
  • Spotted Companions fighting the giant at Pelagia Farm and went over to talk to them; got Aela’s recruitment speech
  • Decided to tell her it sounded like a waste of time; Aela: “No one asked you!”
  • Made it to Whiterun and allowed in by the guard
  • Was bitchy at the Jarl about the Imperials wanting to cut off my head
  • Got the quest to go to Bleak Falls Barrow and get the Dragonstone
  • Stopped at Warmaiden’s on the way out and crafted a leather helmet, while hearing Irileth briefing the guards across the way
  • Stepped outside of Whiterun and spotted the Khajiit
  • Saved there for later to see if I resume this playthrough


So yeah apparently I do in fact have a semi-viable way to play Skyrim on PC now. So here’s a formal initial playthrough post for this character, Shenner the Nord. See previous post for more details on this experiment and how I set it up; this post in particular is more about the in-character aspects.

Since I wasn’t actually expecting this attempt at playing to be viable, I didn’t get that creative with the character creation flow. So I wound up with a redheaded Nord! Once I discovered I could in fact play, though, I decided to follow Ralof out of Helgen. In no small part because I figure a Nord who was coming back home after visiting Cyrodiil was going to be really fucking salty about the Empire damn near executing her.

I don’t even think I have to get all that complicated with the backstory here, either. I have the germ of an idea here about how she had a sister who married an Imperial, and she’d gone down there for the wedding. I think she already had suspicions about this guy, and once she got there, got it confirmed that he was in fact an abusive asshat.

I think she probably outright challenged the guy to a fight: “you don’t get to hit my sister and live.” Probably beat the shit out of him. And was called off by her sister. I’m seeing the sisters having a fight about this, and Shenner discovering that her sister had ambitions above and beyond the status their family back home in Skyrim. “I don’t want to be a goddamned pig farmer for the rest of my life!”

She point-blank orders Shenner to go home. Shenner does, only to be arrested at the border and accused of murder. Which she didn’t do; she only beat the shit out of the guy. But I suspect the sister probably killed her husband and then put out the word against Shenner as the most likely suspect.

So she gets arrested and sent to Helgen. Cue Alduin!

Aside from that, though, this was a pretty standard “get the character started” kind of experiment.

Next time

Assuming I can continue to play this character viably, the real interesting question here will be, actually joining the Stormcloaks. This might be the character I finally do that with, if I can get the game working well enough.

Fighting the war on the side of the Stormcloaks is one of the few things I haven’t done yet in the game, so that does make the idea tempting even if I think Ulfric’s an asshole. But Dara points out quite correctly that if the Dragonborn is a Nord, that greatly increases the likelihood of their sympathy for the Stormcloaks:

“Let’s see, on the list of factions in this war, we have the Faction That Tried to Murder Me, and the Faction That Did Not Try To Murder Me. I think my choice here is clear.”

But here’s the thing: I like Balgruuf, the Jarl of Whiterun. And I feel like it’d be totally disingenuous to finish running the Bleak Falls Barrow plot, come back, get made his thane, and then run off to Windhelm to join the Stormcloaks. At which point I’d have to come back to Whiterun with the invading force, take over the place, and depose Balgruuf.

The problem with this plan: from what I’m seeing on the wiki, I can’t run off to join the Stormcloaks first and expect to advance the war plot. You apparently have to finish Bleak Falls Barrow and Dragon Rising first before Balgruuf will respond to Ulfric’s challenge and side with the Imperials.

To wit: damn. Okay, so if I’m joining the Stormcloaks with this alt, she’ll have to accept overthrowing the guy who made her his thane. Ouch. Blow to the conscience right there! But, well, supporting the faction that tried to murder her.

Now, I don’t know how far how quickly I’ll make it with this alt. Much will depend upon whether I can get the game suitably playable. Right now it works but the experience is sub-optimal. I need to figure out if there’s a way to fix the black splotches I’m seeing show up on things, as per what I captured in screenshots.


I already posted these screenshots with the previous post, but here they are again!

Editing to add

  • 11/21/2023: Restored missing gallery, and added play date and session number markers.

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.