This session on PC was a mix of familiar stuff and new stuff. On the familiar side, we have visiting High Hrothgar for the first time, running Shroud Hearth Barrow, and moving the quest In My Time of Need further along by talking to Saadia. On the unfamiliar side, we have the quest to acquire a suit of Silver Armor!
Also, I have commentary behind the cut about my current mod list (it’s short), and my current FPS performance.
- Play date: 5/22/2022
- Session number in this run: 6
- Talked to Wilhelm the innkeeper and got the pointer for investigating Shroud Hearth Barrow; also got a bounty for killing a bandit leader at the Rift Watchtower
- Set out from the inn to go up to High Hrothgar
- Got Temba Wide-Arm’s bearskins objective
- Got Klimmek’s objective to deliver supplies
- Headed on up the 7,000 steps
- Managed to not get a frost troll around the fifth marker on the way up
- Hit all 10 emblems and dropped off Klimmek’s supplies
- Ran the “hi Greybeards, I’m the Dragonborn you summoned, please introduce me to Shouts” sequence; got the two Shout words and objective to go get the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller
- Attempted to head back down the mountain and oh there’s that frost troll, and yep it handed me my ass; thrown back to coming back out of High Hrothgar
- Ctrl-alt-fuckit, fast traveled down to Ivarstead, and HI CULTISTS
- Started fighting with them, but accidentally hit Klimmek in combat! YIKES! Roll back roll back sorry Klimmek!
- HI CULTISTS TAKE TWO; this time I let Lydia and the Ivarstead guards handle this problem
- Then i went to go investigate Shroud Hearth Barrow; kicked Wyndelius’ ass; took his journal back to the inn
- Wilhelm was shocked, SHOCKED HE SAYS, that these shenanigans were going on, and he gave me the sapphire dragon claw
- Went back to clear the barrow, which went reasonably well, lots of up close and personal hit draugr over the head with my shield action
- Leveled up to 8 somewhere in the middle of running the barrow, took Stamina bump and first Bladesman perk in One-handed
- Got the word for Kyne’s Peace and got the fuck out of the barrow
- Boinged back to Whiterun; did a little smithing, and sold loot to Elrindir since I got in late
- Pretty sure Smithing kicked me up to level 9? Took Health bump and Steel smithing perk
- Upgraded my bow to an Orcish Bow of Frost
- Got a courier with the letter from the Jarl of Falkreath
- Headed over to the inn and found the diary note of a Khajiit called M’Sharra in the inn’s kitchen; got pointer to look for more evidence in the dungeons
- Also talked to Saadia and triggered the next step of her quest, which conveniently was also in the Dragonsreach dungeon
- So I went out to sell stuff to Belethor to get enough money to actually pay for the Alik’r warrior to be released
- Found M’Sharra’s confession, got pointer to where she hid her armor in Lund’s Hut
- Also questioned the warrior and got pointed at Swindler’s Den
- Headed out from Whiterun to hit Lund’s Hut first
- Noted that the Voice of the Sky ability was in effect! Several wolves didn’t bother me at all
- Passed through Rorikstead en route to Lund’s Hut
- Skeevers outside and inside the hut also left me alone
- Got the armor though! And also got promptly attacked outside by an Imperial Captain and an East Empire Warden
- Bit disappointed to discover that the armor was only barely better than the Leather Scout stuff I was wearing, so when I got back to Whiterun and got enough silver to improve the armor, I gave the whole set to Lydia
- Did more shopping to pull down the load
- Went up to Dragonsreach to destroy a few items for their enchantments, and bought a boatload of spells from Farengar, including a Choking Grasp spell and Elemental Flare spell i’d never seen before
Since my first major action of this session was to take Shenner up to High Hrothgar, and since I’d recently done exactly that with Faanshi, it particularly stood out for me that I saw absolutely no sign off that goddamn frost troll on my way up the 7,000 steps.
And I’m not at all sure how I pulled that off. My best guess is that I did ease by underneath the overhanging ledge, so maybe the troll just didn’t spot me? But honestly, I have no idea.
My luck only extended to coming up the mountain, though. Because I did get the troll on my first attempt to head down, and it sure did hand me my ass. So with take two of coming out of High Hrothgar, I just fast traveled straight down to Ivarstead.
At which point I also had to do a take two, because I accidentally hit Klimmek while doing battle with one of the cultists. Oops. Sorry Klimmek! *^_^*;; Rolled back from that and then let the Ivarstead guards and Lydia have at the cultists.
Who I then looted. Because fuck those guys! And I stuffed both of the bodies underneath bushes, so that on the off-chance I come back through Ivarstead with this alt, I won’t have to worry about concerned NPCs commenting upon their cult-y corpses.
Then it was off to Shroud Hearth Barrow. Which went smoothly!
Back to Whiterun, at which point I got two different pointers to the Dragonsreach dungeons: Saadia’s directive to question the Alik’r warrior in jail there, which I knew about from prior playthroughs. And the diary note left on a table by the Khajiit M’Sharra, which I wanted to hunt down as the pointer for how to get the Silver Armor I wanted to check out.
I gotta giggle at least a little about how this diary of M’Sharra’s is just a written letter laying out on a table in the Bannered Mare. If she’d supposedly been a beggar in Whiterun, there are questions to be raised here:
- Wait, so she was a Khajiit and begging outside the city? Presumably because she wasn’t allowed inside the city? So how did her diary letter make it to the inn? Did the guards actually let her in? Or did somebody find her letter and leave it there?
- She wrote out a confession and it was just lying next to the evidence chest? I suppose this was because the chest was locked and the player would piss off the guards by trying to actually get into the chest. And presumably adding a line to talk to the guards about the confession would have required a new voice line?
- Also wait–if M’Sharra knew about the illicit romance between Jon Battle-Born and Olfina Gray-Mane, and about Belethor being a dick about selling his sister, this suggests M’Sharra has in fact set foot inside the city? So is it just the Khajiit caravans not allowed in cities, vs. all Khajiit? (I am amused about the snark leveled at Belethor in her little diary letter, though.)
Once I got the quest pointer to head for Lund’s Hut to find the armor, I was amused to realize that I still had the Voice of the Sky blessing active. Because I kept going past wolves and not a one of them actually came up to attack me.
(Interesting sidebar to this: Voice of the Sky did not keep that frost troll from attacking me on the way down from High Hrothgar. And the wiki confirms that the effect does not work on trolls. But it does work on vampires? That makes no goddamn sense. Vampires aren’t animals! Maybe it’s a “because Kynareth is the goddess of the sky” thing and vampires are vulnerable to sunlight?)
It was actually slightly creepy, though, to show up at Lund’s Hut and to also not be bothered by the skeevers there. Because that meant I had to step past the living skeevers, the ones outside and inside the hut, to get to the armor stuffed inside the chest. And, well, ew.
And there are real interesting questions to be asked here, too. Like: why did M’Sharra stash the armor here? This little storyline doesn’t really give a reason as to why she chose that spot, and whether she did it before or after Lund died.
Regardless, I got the armor. At which point, when coming out of the hut, I was promptly attacked by an Imperial Captain and an East Empire Warden!
i feel like this little questline is missing some context here, too. Only when I went back to the wiki and read up on the quest did I discover that M’Sharra’s old bandit gang, the Crimson Dirks, was in fact wanted by the East Empire Company. Which gives at least a little context for why these guys might attack me, but only a little. Why were they here in particular? Did they think I was one of M’Sharra’s gang? Were they staking out the place? Did they come looking for Lund? Did they think I killed him? What the actual fuck?
Still though they weren’t difficult opponents, and I did get the full set of armor. Was disappointed to discover, though, that it was barely better than the Leather Scout Armor I was already wearing. So I wound up giving the armor set to Lydia, since it was better than her steel, and she needs the protection too!
So now both I and my housecarl are decked out in new stuff. <3
Meanwhile, in terms of ongoing experimentation with running a playthrough on my laptop: I figured out how to turn on the frame rate counter available in the PC Steam client. So now I know that in exterior zones, I’m averaging about 13-15 fps. Interiors seem to do better, I’m averaging low to mid 20s. And every so often, usually when going up spiral stairs or when I’m right next to doors, I can even hit 30.
I’ve tried a couple of different mods to see if I can get any better numbers. Right now, I’m not running much. This is my current list:
- Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch (installed off of bethesda.net)
- Skyrim SE – Project Optimization
- eFPS – Exterior FPS boost
- eFPS – Anniversary Edition
(And I have both 3 and 4 because 4 has 3 as a dependency.)
I’ve tried a couple other mods that purport to give you optimized textures, and also eliminate certain aspects of the world to improve your frame rate. But so far I haven’t been able to get those to work. Unclear so far whether I’m doing it wrong (because I’m real new to running mods), or whether it’s because they don’t play nicely with the AE yet.
I strongly suspect though that I’ll just have to live with sucky FPS. The machine I’m playing on is ten years old, and was not intended as a gaming machine, it was intended for business use. So I may just have to settle for being shocked I can play Skyrim on it at all!
So far at least as long as I move carefully with my controller, I do all right. And having the precision rings from KontrolFreek on the thumbsticks does actually help a lot, because it keeps me from moving too quickly. Right now I’m using the softest rings in the package, but I may try the middle ones as well to see if I like them better for this particular use. The soft ones have been good on the Switch. But the middle ones may be called for for further reduction of excess motion on the PC.
Guess I better go see what the Jarl of Falkreath wants, hmm?
And I still want to take out those Saints bandits, but I feel like I’m going to need more backup. Fortunately for me, I did buy some Conjuring spells! Wonder how those bandits will like a flame atronach in the face?
Editing to add
- 11/22/2023: Restored missing gallery, and added play date and session number markers.