Combo of new stuff and old stuff in this session. New stuff: running a couple of the AE plots for getting the new armor types. Old stuff: working on getting enough money to buy Honeyside in Riften, so I can get the thaneship, and also commencing the Laid to Rest plot in Morthal.
- Started at farm, and boinged to Hendraheim to drop off some stuff; did a little alchemy there to spend some ingredients
- Boinged to Lakeview to do a little building with what iron I had on hand
- Made some Imperial light armor to go with the helmet i already had, to try my theory about whether I could fake being an Imperial soldier for the Battle of the Champions quest
- Improved the two pieces of Nordic armor I had on me and left those on the upstairs mannequin; also made a set of Leather Scout armor and improved that
- Boinged to Whiterun to sell stuff; made the Imperial light boots and bracers to finish out the armor set; also sold stuff to Adrianne, Belethor, and Arcadia
- Boinged to Solitude, suited up in the Imperial gear, and went back to the Legate
- HI I AM A TOTALLY LEGIT IMPERIAL SOLDIER CAN I GET IN ON YOUR CHAMPIONS ACTION
- Lolololol that did in fact work and the Legate gave me the key to the chest where the Imperial Dragon gear is stored; went downstairs and fetched everything in the chest, along with a note and a map to the battle locale
- That got me quite overloaded though, so had to hang out till the next morning so I could sell stuff enough to boing back to Hendraheim and unload; dropped off a few things there
- Then boinged to Lakeview and dropped everything that wasn’t critical into the entry way chest
- Got Lydia on duty and hoofed it to the battle site near Whiterun
- Killed a few wolves en route; also passed an Imperial trio + prisoners attacking a frostbite spider and another wolf across the river; Lydia got in on that action and shot at the spider some too
- Made it to the battle site and GAME ON
- Four of the five Imperials were killed but we took out the Stormcloaks and their champion, yay? So I got her gear as well as the Imperial gear
- Boinged to Hendraheim and dropped off the Storm-Bear gear there, as well as the Imperial Dragon weaponry since that’s not as interesting as the armor; also dropped off some of the clothes I was carrying
- Went to go take out Aesrael for the Elven Hunter armor quest, since his camp was real nearby Hendraheim; he turned out to have a pet wolf named Dusk as well who attacked first; took him out and got the Elven Hunter armor
- Boinged to Lakeview and recovered all the gear I’d left there to have my better weapons back
- Boinged to Whiterun to sell some stuff
- Boinged to Solitude to clear out Wolfskull cave and fuck up the Potema summoning
- Leveled up to 26 while doing that; took Stamina bump and Advanced Armors smithing perk
- Returned to Solitude and reported to Falk Firebeard; got payment for that work
- Got a fair amount of boss loot so wound up selling about all of that to Solitude shops, to build up gold stock for buying Honeyside
- Also picked enough nightshade around Solitude to fulfill Ingun’s nightshade request
- Oh cool got the third extravagant robe from Radiant Raiment
- Bought deathbell from Angeline to get close to that, too
- Went out on foot with the thought to hoof it to Morthal
- Passed three characters I didn’t recognize who turned out to be NPCs from the crew of the Red Wave; not new to the AE, they apparently show up in a plot with the Dark Brotherhood
- Realized hey there must be a fishing spot down by the Solitude sawmill; found it and fished for a bit
- Took the carriage to Morthal; saw Legate Taurinus Duilis wandering around, a character I didn’t recognize, but he’s a known non-CC character, so maybe he got un-bugged with the USSEP and I just haven’t seen him up until now?
- A Blood Dragon showed up, and I accidentally shot somebody with my crossbow while trying to help the town fight it, so had to roll back to prior save; that threw me to coming out of Solitude and I lost the round of fishing by the mill
- Took the carriage, take two; had a dragon show up again but this time Lydia and I successfully killed it once it landed just outside of the town
- Rented a room at the inn; got the scoop on the haunted house, and a bounty for the bandit leader at Robber’s Gorge
- Picked a few deathbell around the town and got the last necessary one from Lami; also got Lami’s quest for Song of the Alchemists
- Went to go ask the Jarl about the house the next morning; got her directive to investigate
- Got Helgi’s ghost to tell me to come find her after dark
- Derped around in the marsh for a while looking for ingredients
- Killed a few frostbite spiders and a chaurus reaper; also some pissed off elk that may have been charmed by a spriggan? But I didn’t find a spriggan
- Also found Folgunthur but did not try to run the place yet; instead returned to Morthal to move the Laid to Rest plot along
- This time I actually heard the proper conversation play out where most of the villagers were all “uhhhh this is a bad idea, let’s let HER go in first”
- So tried to run Movarth’s lair, but killed twice 😛
- Second time went somewhat better as I successfully did a little sniping, but failed to be stealthy enough towards the end and vamps came running; thrown back again to beginning of the lair
- Saved for the night
First up for this session: finally finished the Battle of the Champions quest! And as it happened, my Speech was up to 51 at this point, so in theory I could have passed the Persuade check to get the Legate to let me fight for the Imperial side.
However, I really wanted to see whether I could pose as an Imperial soldier, as the entry in my quest journal was suggesting I could do. Answer: yes. Yes I could. 😀
I made an entire set of Imperial light armor, just because that’s some of the easiest stuff to make in the game, and showed up at Castle Dour wearing that. Legate didn’t bat an eye when I asked to be the champion, and gave me a key to a chest that was downstairs in the castle. Went past multiple guards, cleared out the chest, and muahaha, Imperial Dragon armor achieved!
This stuff is badassed. I’m not a fan of the helmet’s design, but the overall look of it is still pretty bitchin’. And more importantly, the enchantments are kind of amazing.
The armor bumps your fire, frost, and shock resistances all by 30%. The boots bump your Health regeneration by 10%, and fire resistance by another 20%. The gauntlets increase your melee damage by 10%. And the helmet, if you get low on health, has a chance of invoking Ebonyflesh to bolster your defense. (What’s not clear to me yet is what the chance of invoking Ebonyflesh is; I’m not seeing a reference to that on the wiki. How cool this is will depend on that percentage chance!)
Now mind you, the Imperial Dragon armor is heavy armor and normally I’m not a heavy armor person. But for these kinds of enchantments I am willing to be persuaded. 😀
So anyway, once I got officially named the Imperial side’s champion, I went and got Lydia, and showed up at the battle site. This was basically a six-on-six fight, with five regular soldiers on each side, plus the champions. (And Lydia!) All I had to do was make sure all the Stormcloaks were taken out, including their champion.
Now, four of the Imperials also got killed, but the surviving one was still all proudly “FUCK YEAH we won!” LOL.
And I was also able to snurch the Storm-Bear armor off the Stormcloak champion. And to be fair, that gear also has some impressive enchantments on it. But I just don’t like the look of it and can’t see myself wanting to wear it. Here, these are links to wiki screenshots of what the armor looks like:
Now, I’ll say this for both armor sets: neither of them do that thing in Skyrim where heavy armor often over-emphasizes the boobs on female characters, as I’ve complained about before. But that said, to my eye, the Imperial set is way more aesthetically pleasing. In that it actually has some aesthetics! The Storm-Bear gear kind of… doesn’t.
Well, let me amend that. I do like the shield. But wow do I not like that helmet design. And the armor is super chonky, mostly just looking like a thick steel can. Mind you, that’s certainly practical from an armor standpoint. Thick steel can is kind of what you want out of heavy armor, after all. But that doesn’t mean it has to be ugly, and this stuff is.
Still though, I’m keeping it. I might wind up gifting it to one of the housecarls. Maybe Gregor? Because since this is Stormcloak gear, I kind of feel like I should give it to one of the housecarls from a Stormcloak-sympathetic Hold!
Likewise, both sides of this fight had two named weapons available as part of the gear. The Imperials had Akatosh’s Talon and Dragon’s Oath, both of which deal fire damage, and the Stormcloaks had Tsun’s Judgement and the Storm-Bear Sword, which deal frost damage. All of which deal damage at pretty significant numbers, in fact–the one handed weapons at 30 points, and the two handers at 50.
But I’d be more impressed by that if they weren’t just steel weapons. I’m pretty sure I’ll get way better results out of higher-tier weapons, like the ebony sword I’ve already got. That said? These weapons also strike me as potentially useful to hand off to the housecarls.
One more amusing thing about this entire plot: given that I was able to bullshit my way into being the Imperial champion, there’s a real strong question here about what this says about Shenner’s narrative.
I see two possibilities here. One, she’s more sympathetic to the Empire than she likes to admit, even if she actively tells herself she’s sympathetic to the Stormcloaks. But I can see the potential for seeds of doubt already sprouting in the back of her mind about that. Or two, she just wanted the armor. 😉 And this may be an indicator that yeah I should just have her go ahead and join the Guild! Which would play into Nocturnal already dropping hints on her by the Bow of Shadows getting into her hands, and the plot hook for the Gray Cowl coming across her radar.
Not sure which way I want to go yet. I found the six-on-six melee a bit hard to keep up with on my PC, and strongly suspect that the various fort battles for the civil war would likewise be tough for the machine to process. That by itself is making me reluctant to do the war plotline in this playthrough. But still… I did also get a letter of commendation from the Legate, who now clearly thinks Shenner is an Imperial soldier. Snerk. Hopefully nobody will think to ask him “Wait… Shenner? Who the hell is Shenner?” “Oh, she’s the Dragonborn.” “When did she join up? Who swore her in?” “Uh, I thought you did?” “I didn’t, I thought you did!” “HEEEEEEEEEEY…”
On the other hand, while I enjoy the hell out of running the Guild, I’m also currently running that plot with Faanshi and don’t really want to have that running at the same time on both alts.
Not dismissing either possibility yet. But there’s still so much new ground to cover with the AE content that I don’t feel like I need to be in a hurry to have Shenner commit to any faction right now.
After all that excitement, the next new thing was to go take out Aesrael for the Elven Hunter armor. His camp was super-near Hendraheim, as it turns out. So I just walked over there and fought the guy.
I have to admit I was a little sad to take him out. He apparently specifically gave up being a bandit and retreated into living in the wild, with nobody but a wolf he’d tamed to keep him company. So I feel like there should have been a bit of a redemption arc there, maybe?
Also, given that I got this plot hook in the first place by sneaking a peek at a guard dossier in Falkreath, I feel like there really isn’t enough closure here. If the Falkreath guard force was concerned about this guy, there should have been a way to report back to them about this, maybe, and collect a bounty for the effort so that they know this former dangerous bandit is now decidedly former. They could have just had you report back to the steward in Falkreath, maybe, to pick up a bounty from her. Wouldn’t even have required new voice lines, you could just have a dialogue prompt saying that you’d taken care of the bandit Aesrael, and she could have given the standard ‘You’ve done us a great service, here is your reward’ line.
And now I know how to make Elven Hunter armor, apparently! Which I’d be more impressed by if I wasn’t already wearing the dragonscale. 😉
Then it was off to Solitude for throwing a wrench into the attempt to summon Potema! Which is familiar territory so what I’ll say about that is, even though I was playing on PC–and therefore could actually frigging see everything–I still got turned around a few times trying to make my way through that tower up to the ritual. But this time, since I could in fact see what I was doing, I now understand why I keep getting turned around running that dungeon. There’s an open platform towards the end where you’re supposed to follow the path along to another door into the bottom of another tower. Finding that door is the part that always confuses me.
But now I know explicitly where it is. So we’ll see if I have a problem on future Potema runs! Faanshi hasn’t run Potema yet so I’ll look out for this with her.
After a brief Solitude-mill-adjacent fishing interlude, it was off to Morthal! Where I spotted an unfamiliar (yet not actually new, it turns out) Imperial legate wandering around. I think all of the Holds actually have an Imperial legate or Stormcloak officer in the area, depending on their sympathies. But some of these places appear to not actually have the characters actually out interacting, they’re often stuck in specific spots like a room in the inn or whatever. Which would explain why I hadn’t seen this particular legate before.
Then a Blood Dragon showed up, even though I’d taken the cart in rather than fast traveling! And everybody of course started trying to fight it. What was noteworthy about this: the mill owner, Jorgen, yelled a line about “are you here for that damned hilt? Try and take it from me!”
And, wait, what? Dude, that hilt is hidden in a chest in your house, how the hell is the dragon going to know that? Paranoid much? LOL. If Jorgen is in fact real twitchy about keeping the hilt, though, this kind of explains why it’s so easy for the Dragonborn to come along and buy it off of him!
(Hold that thought, Jorgen, I’ll be back to have a conversation with you about that later.)
But then I accidentally shot somebody with my crossbow while trying to fight the dragon. Oops. Had to roll back because I didn’t want a bounty!
And, this also underscored that even though that crossbow is currently my highest-damage weapon, it is not a good idea to whip that thing out in a multi-combatant melee, like a dragon provoking a town. My PC can’t keep up with the reaction times needed to use a crossbow quickly, if there are so many people about. So Bow of Shadows it is!
Second attempt at that dragon fight went well, though. And once I got the dragon business dealt with, I proceeded to the Laid to Rest plot to see about getting the thaneship in Hjaalmarch.
First notable thing about that: I was amused by Alva walking by me, after I killed Laelette. Alva’s line: “I hear you put Laelette out of her misery.”
ORLY? You heard that awfully fast, given that I literally just now killed her. That isn’t the slightest bit suspicious. BRB, gotta go break into your house. Wait, did I say that out loud?
Second notable thing: when I got to the point where Idgrod directed me to take her warriors and go clean out Movarth’s lair, I actually got to see the full conversation all the villagers have when they realize that that’s actually a very scary prospect. And Thonnir being cranky at everybody for being cowards. It was nice to see that conversation play out properly!
Third notable thing: I was not, in fact, able to clear Movarth’s lair. Tried twice, and was killed both times. Second time was somewhat better as I did some successful sniping, but failed a Sneak check at one critical point and that was enough for the vamps to come running.
So I’m going to have to try again on a third attempt. I may need to play the “throw the flame atronach and run” game a few times to clear out the vampires sufficiently. The previous room with the grave is supposed to be safe, Movarth and his minions won’t chase me back there.
Immediate priority is to clear Movarth’s lair. After that, that should put me in a position to aim for the thaneship in Hjaalmarch and do the necessary favor quests.
I’ll have to do a gold check and see if I have enough to buy Honeyside yet so I can also claim the thaneship in Riften. The thing here is that I need the full 8,000 gold for Honeyside–because I’m running the USSEP in this build so I’m pretty sure the bug where Honeyside’s price was set to Breezehome’s is fixed.
If I’m not up to the full 8K yet, it’ll be then time to run some bounties, I think.