Shenner Playthrough

in Which Shenner Gains a Farm and Joins the College of Winterhold

Very eventful session, chock full of new things, including doing more fishing, getting several more interesting plot hooks, and most notably, acquiring a farm near Rorikstead! But at the same time, I also went off to join the mage college. Gotta learn from somebody how to use all these spells I’m picking up!


  • Play date: 6/5/2022
  • Session number in this run: 14
  • Started in Whiterun
  • Did a little shopping at Belethor’s and Arcadia’s
  • Went up to Dragonsreach and bought a boatload of spells from Farengar
  • Popped into the Dragonsreach dungeon and found and read the Death of a Crimson Dirk book that’s another plot hook
  • Got quest objective to go to Falkreath and search for Edward’s grave
  • Found an empty grave and a dead Khajiit beside it, with a note warning of where the guy appears to have retreated: Knifepoint Ridge
  • Also found a note from someone who’s apparently this guy’s sister, Erwan
  • Boinged next to Riften to check on the fishery people
  • Found Wujeeta going in so gave her her healing potion and got the info on where her dealer is
  • Found From-Deepest-Fathoms and got the Lexicon for Avanchnzel
  • Went into the fishery and found Swims-In-Deep-Water, to get fishing quests from him
  • Went out back and also found Viriya to get her fishing quests, starting with a juvenile mudcrab
  • Did a little fishing off the dock but didn’t catch any of the fish that Swims wanted yet
  • Headed back into Riften to look for other plot hooks
  • Did a little shopping with Balimund
  • Got a bounty for a missing merchant from Keerava in the Bee and Barb, this is apparently for the Daedric mail quest; also found the letter upstairs that’s the pointer for the Blue in the Face goblin quest
  • Headed to the Pawned Prawn for more shopping
  • And to my surprise The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal quest kicked in even before I found the thief in the graveyard, apparently this quest can just do that?
  • went to the graveyard and found the thief, anyway, and got the note off of him with the pointer for how to do that quest; not sure if I’m going to do it yet, since i haven’t committed to this character being a thief
  • Decided to run Darklight Tower to get access to Crowstooth’s Camp
  • Ran the tower, did a little bit more in there this time since I could actually see the damn place, including killing one of the hagravens who had a necessary key
  • Helped Illia kill her mother and got her on board as a follower
  • Found Crowstooth’s Camp and killed the two Forsworn and the hagraven Linelle there; got Linelle’s note saying where Crowstooth had gone, i.e., Arcwind Point
  • Tried to go there twice, unsuccessfully 😛
  • Killed the first time by a draugr that snuck up on me while Illia and I were engaging the Blood Dragon at the place
  • Thrown back to Darklight Tower
  • Jumped back to Alchemist’s Shack to get back in range
  • Avoided engaging with the Imperial camp
  • Did however engage with Ruins of Bthalft since I actually found the place, though can’t engage with the mechanism to access the Aetherium Forge, since I’m not running that plot yet
  • Also hit Autumnwatch Tower to kill the dragon there and get the word for Marked for Death
  • But that loaded me up pretty well so boinged to Lakeview to drop off loot in outside chest
  • Boinged back to Autumnwatch Tower to try to pick it up from there, and this time killed by a Draugr Death Overlord 😛
  • Thrown back to Lakeview, and OKAY THEN NEW PLAN
  • Boinged to Western Watchtower to go hunting for Viriya’s juvenile mudcrab
  • Found the guards being attacked by zombies, ohnoez! They killed one of the guards but I took out the zombies
  • Proceeded from there towards the locale with the juvenile mudcrab
  • Passed two Vigilants of Stendarr, also fought a sabre cat shortly thereafter
  • Found and acquired the mudcrab and killed a few adults nearby
  • Hoofed it crosscountry and found Goldenhills Plantation
  • Investigated it to find out why it was haunted! Nice little backstory, and I laid the family to rest and claimed the place
  • Leveled up to 23 while fighting a couple of wolves at the well where Rin died; took Magicka bump and next Enchanting perk
  • Got the objective to plant crops
  • Hired Illia as steward to give her something productive to do; paid her to furnish a couple of the rooms in the house
  • Then went into Rorikstead and bought Halvar’s goat to satisfy that pets objective; sent the goat over to my brand new farm, since a goat seems like a good thing to have on a farm
  • Checked at the inn to see if i could buy anything I could plant; answer: one carrot, LOL; returned to the farm and planted it
  • Found a Farmer’s Workbench which will let me expand the place, nice
  • Boinged to Whiterun and hired Brenuin as one of my farm hands
  • Gave Ysolda a mammoth tusk for her favor quest
  • Also took Adrianne’s sword up to her father at Dragonsreach
  • Got a bounty from Proventus to take out the giant at Bleakwind Basin
  • Bought a bunch of iron
  • Boinged to Lakeview and did a bunch of building in the cellar, filled out more of the forge room and also more of the aquarium
  • Decided it was time to go join the mage college!
  • Boinged to Winterhold and rented a room
  • Got a bounty for a bandit leader at Snowpoint Beacon from the innkeeper; slept the night
  • Got up and HELLO DRAGON; helped the guards kill it
  • And heh now this alt has both a set of Whiterun and a set of Winterhold guard gear
  • Did Faralda’s trial to get into the college; she asked for Magelight as my demo spell
  • Ran the intro session and all of Saarthal
  • Onmund and J’zargo actually followed Tolfdir, Brelyna, and me to Saarthal, so this was apparently a bug fix? Got to hear a bunch of their random dialogue as well, including Onmund being cranky about a Nord tomb being disturbed, and J’zargo wondering if there was gold to be found
  • Somebody reacted to something nearby on the way but nothing actually attacked us
  • Draugr Deathlord towards the end of Saarthal was a problem, so had to play the sneak and throw flame atronach game
  • Jyrik killed me once at the end, but actually managed to fight him in melee range
  • Got Tolfdir’s directive to return to the college
  • Mined the silver ore vein on the way out
  • Fast traveled back to college
  • Saved for the night


Lots of plot hooks pursued through a bunch of this session! Several of which are clearly going to lead me to getting more of that new armor.

The first plot I pursued, the one triggered by the Death of a Crimson Dirk book in the Dragonsreach dungeon, looks like it’s the one for Daedric plate armor. Which suggested strongly to me that I’m not quite prepared to take that one on, given that that seems like armor I’ll have a hard time attacking at my current level.

So after I got that plot underway, I boinged to Riften for fishing followup! Which also gave me an opportunity to find both Wujeeta and From-Deepest-Fathoms, just to make sure that I can secure the thaneship in Riften and run Avanchnzel. Side note on this: this means there are now three named Argonian characters at the fishery, which is kind of awesome. And at least two known Dunmer, Tythis and Viriya. So that’s kind of cool.

Windhelm is competitive with Riften in terms of number of Dunmer and Argonians wandering around. But Riften, unlike Windhelm, doesn’t give the Dunmer and Argonians active shit for existing. So say what you will about the corruption and thievery in Riften, but at least the city’s not actively racist to its non-Nord inhabitants! Windhelm could stand to learn a few things from that.

Once I did the fishing stuff, I poked around the city looking for additional plot hooks to pick up. I knew the goblin quest called Blue in the Face had a hook available from a book in the Bee and Barb. But I picked up a surprise second quest just by talking to Keerava, who gave me a plot hook about a missing merchant. This one surprised me, as the wiki says that you’re supposed to get this one from the innkeeper at Candlehearth Hall in Windhelm. Yet Keerava can apparently also give you this quest? So maybe it’s a question of innkeepers in Stormcloak holds?

Regardless, I didn’t elect to pursue that one yet. Because that one is aiming for getting the Daedric mail, and happens to also involve the Erwan character whose note I found at the open grave in Falkreath. And again, this seems like armor that might be a challenge for me to get at my current level. So I’ll swing back and try for both of those later.

And I got one other plot hook without actually doing anything: The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal quest just up and started out of the blue. It’s supposed to start when you surprise a thief in the graveyard. But I wasn’t in the graveyard, I was over by the Pawned Prawn. Apparently there is a known issue with this quest, wherein it can just start automatically if you’re in Riften for a small amount of time.

So as long as that happened, I went over to the graveyard and found the thief in question. Searched him, and found the note that talks about the Gray Fox being dead. I did not elect to follow up on this quest yet, partly because the Gray Cowl is another Nocturnal artifact and I’m not sure yet if I want to actually run the Guild with this alt.

(That said? Given that I’ve now had one artifact of Nocturnal dropped on me, and a plot hook for a second one, I feel like Nocturnal is possibly trying to tell me something! LOL.)

After that, I made my next course of action following up on the bounty for Crowstooth. The recommended way to get to her camp was actually through Darklight Tower, so I decided to run that place first. Which was kind of neat, if nothing else because this build on the PC does not run nearly so dark as the Switch build. So I could actually see the place. And do a few more things, like finding chests to loot, and confronting an extra enemy or two.

This also meant I was able to recruit Illia as a follower, once we took out her hagraven-aspiring mother. My theory here was, Illia is a powerful mage, so it would be nice to have her following me as I tried to track Crowstooth in Arcwind Point.

Good theory! In actual practice, though, I found that Arcwind Point also does appear to be above my current pay grade. Got in there twice and started fighting the Blood Dragon that was parked at the lair, only to be taken out by draugr both times. And the second through, that draugr was a Draugr Death Overlord. Yikes.

(Side note about this plot: it occurs to me to be a bit dubious as to why the fuck Forsworn would care about infiltrating into the Rift? The whole deal with the Forsworn is that they’re fighting to take back the Reach. But as near as I can tell from what details you get in the quest, this doesn’t seem to be a matter of the Forsworn in general trying to get into the Rift, it’s just this one specific Forsworn who’s on the run.)

While running Autumnwatch Tower, noted with satisfaction that getting a word for Marked for Death did not trigger the bug that causes extra bogus Drain Vitality Shouts to show up in your Shouts list. Well done there, USSEP.

And after that Draugr Death Overlord, it was definitely time for a new plan. So I punted to going hunting for that juvenile mudcrab that Viriya wanted.

This necessitated boinging to the Western Watchtower, where I discovered that zombies are now a random encounter I can trigger there. Boinged in to find some of them attacking the guards.

Which led me to wonder whether, if you’re going to bother to add zombies to Skyrim, why not make them infect any NPCs they kill so that there’s a risk of those NPCs rising as zombies? The backstory on the zombie plot suggests that the necromancers’ failed ritual was a one-time deal. But given that you can also get random zombie encounters afterwards suggests that that failed ritual is, in fact, impacting the dead across the land. Which would suggest in turn that any slain NPC should in theory have the chance at coming back as a zombie.

(On the other hand, I could also see that that might be a bitch to code. So I forgive it not happening!)

And anyway, since one of the unfortunate watchtower guards was slain by that zombie round, I now have a set of Whiterun guard armor. Which means, I think, that I’m going to wind up seeing if I can collect one of each set of guard armor in both my current playthroughs. We’ll see if Shenner or Faanshi gets there first. 😉

Got Viriya’s requested juvenile mudcrab easily enough, and that led right into the next interesting bit of new quests: finding Goldenhills Plantation near Rorikstead. I found this actively fun, as the quest needs you to find out why this farmstead is haunted, and how to put the ghosts at the place to rest. A nicely engaging, if tragic, little backstory!

And now I have an entire farm. I hired Illia as steward for the place immediately, just because I felt like that would be a good thing for her to do. And much healthier than moping about Darklight Tower about having had to murder her hagraven-wannabe mother!

From what I could see exploring the place, there will be a lot of things to build similar to the Hearthfire player homes. But you also have the added option of hiring farmhands, and you can even hire specific NPCs for the job if you want, or have your steward hire generic ones. I decided to go ahead and hire Brenuin, the beggar who wanders around Whiterun. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s still in beggar clothes next time I see him.

While in Rorikstead, I also bought Halvar’s goat since I had a pending objective for that. And it turns out that I apparently got Thistle out of order in the pets quest? Because getting Hilda the goat gave me access to Halvar’s journal about her, which triggered quests for finding the rabbit, the fox, the skeever, and the frostbite spider. But I already had the rabbit, so that quest got satisfied early.

I feel like I’m going to have to have extra homes just for places to put all the pets. 😉

Last but not least, I decided it was time for Shenner to join the mage college. The main interesting new difference about that, so far, was that when Tolfdir’s class decamped to Saarthal, Onmund and J’zargo actually came along properly. So another bug fix in evidence. Yay! Plus, I got to hear some more of J’zargo’s and Onmund’s random dialogue lines. It was amusing to hear Onmund bitching about a Nord tomb being disturbed, and J’zargo wondering whether there would be gold to find.

“Yes,” said the apprentice who actually went through all of Saarthal, jiggling one of her pockets, “yes there was.”

(Still a little dodgy once we actually all showed up at the site, because I still had to talk to Tolfdir to get him to actually approach the door. But an improvement nonetheless.)

Also worth noting about running Saarthal: tried using the most basic of the Elemental spells on the draugr, only to determine that yeah, friendly NPCs can be hit by that damage, too. Accidentally hit Tolfdir. Oops. Sorry, Tolfdir! Please don’t take that off my grade for the class, mmkay?

Next time

Will probably move the mage college plot along a little further, at least as far as running Fellglow Keep. And now I have a whole helluva lot of quests queued up. So I should probably see about running more of them, just to whittle the list down!


Editing to add

  • 11/22/2023: 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.