Shenner Playthrough

In Which Shenner Acquires a Vampire Lair, a Goldfish, and Ancient Knowledge

Second of two Shenner posts today, but the previous one was for play done on Thursday 6/24, and this one is for play done on Friday 6/25. Main highlights: getting Bloodchill Manor, finally catching one of the two goldfish I need to move the Fishing plots along, and running Avanchnzel.


  • Play date: 6/25/2022
  • Session number in this run: 25
  • Started in Solitude, and boinged to Wayward Pass to try to run the Guests for Dinner quest, to go to that NOT THE SLIGHTEST BIT SUSPICIOUS feast
  • Also, fast fight, LOL, when Team Dragonborn can make it to four besides me, I didn’t even have to kill any vampires–and Durian the Dawnguard orc gave me mastery of the cavern and its house
  • House is… actually kind of awesome? And nicely non-bloody which is a change of pace for a vampire lair (much more commentary below)
  • Not sure I’ll actually use this place, but good to know what it’s like, and that it’s easy to get for when I do run a vampire playthrough
  • Decided to boing to Frostmere Crypt to run the Pale Lady quest; returned the Pale Blade to its holder to appease the Pale Lady (open season on the bandits, though)
  • After that, boinged to Riften to sell a bunch of things to Balimund, Bersi, and Hafjorg
  • Hoofed it out the back gate of Riften and spotted a flyby dragon
  • Fought en route to fishing at Heartwood Mill: frostbite spider, cultists
  • Thought I’d head for Avanchnzel but decided to fish instead, and finally caught a goldfish
  • So boinged back to Riften, checked in with Swims, and got a couple more quests from him, to get new types of fish and his lucky fishing hat
  • Sold a few spellbooks to Brand-Shei
  • Dropped off staves on Honeyside’s basement weapons rack
  • Stashed building materials in the chest to get carry weight down
  • Then headed back out this time actually for Avanchnzel
  • Surprise triple encounter:
    • Faldrus the pilgrim
    • Another frostbite spider
    • Fugitive who gave me a Glass Bow of Immobilizing; no sign of the hunter chasing him though? Second time this game that’s happened
  • Shortly after that, closer to Avanchnzel, pair of cave bears
  • Ran Avanchnzel, and this time didn’t get killed by the damn spinning blade trap ;P
  • Also managed to get out without being overloaded, go me!
  • Fast traveled back to Riften and sold a few things to Balimund; bought a pair of leather boots off of him to finally get a carry weight enchantment
  • Returned to Honeyside and destroyed that on the enchanter table along with the Glass Bow of Immobilizing
  • Also did a little alchemy to make potions for enchanting other objects (including a couple of jewelry items for carry weight boosts)
  • Leveled up to 35 in the middle of enchanting; took Health bump and additional Enchanting perk
  • Saved for the night


Continuing my streak of getting the new player homes available in the AE, I started off this session nabbing the vampire-themed one, Bloodchill Manor!

I’m still giggling over the plot setup for getting you this place, too. Because oh my no, not the slightest bit suspicious that you are invited to a feast in a remote cavern in the snowy wastes of Winterhold. The Dragonborn showing up for this I can kind of buy on general “this smells fishy and I better check it out” grounds. But the other guests? Why the hell are they there?

The note you have to read out loud at the time to initiate the vampire attack answers that question, because all of these people clearly have backstory with the prior owner of the place. So they arguably at least have some reason to believe the invitation is legit. But I still have questions!

Such as, did they know this guy owned this place? Did none of them go “Well, a feast sounds nice, but holy shit dude, I live in Solitude, why are you asking me to come all the way to Winterhold? And not even the actual Winterhold, but a godforsaken remote cave in the Winterhold wastes? Are you not aware of exactly how many frost trolls there are between your digs and mine?”

“In my defense, my digs are nicer than the actual Winterhold.”

“Fair point, well argued, okay fine, I’m in.”

Still though, there is clearly a lot of bad blood here (blood! HA! I kill me). How long had the deceased owner been harboring this resentment against the guests? Did it flare up once he became a vampire? (Presumably he was a vampire, given the design of the place and the vampires already there, but that’s not explicitly called out.) Did none of these people suspect that this guy had it in for them?

And here’s a fun question: what happened to him? Is he actually dead, or was this all an elaborate ruse to cut himself off completely from his prior life before he goes and sets up even more secret vampire digs elsewhere? Was he slain by the Dawnguard, and did he leave orders to do this feast in case of his demise?

I feel like I’m lacking some plot structure here. And oh yes, also actually lacking the guy’s name, since that’s also not actually called out anywhere. There’s no signature either on the initial invitation you get, nor on the note you have to read that initiates the attack.

Now all that said: I was surprised by how much I actually liked the overall layout and design of the place, once the feast plot was done and I had time to explore. So far it’s certainly the most sumptuous of all the player homes. Dead Man’s Dread is I think actually larger and gives you more space to play in, but Bloodchill Manor is also quite large.

If you’re a fan of the darker color schemes that tie in to vampires in Skyrim, this place certainly has a lot of that. Dark reds and blacks and grays all over the place. But also some nice unique design touches, like the fancy carpet and other incidental decorations. And there’s examples of vampire armor on hand, including a set of the royal armor you don’t normally get your hands on until you kill Harkon at the end of Dawnguard.

The armory seems to have fewer special locations for named artifacts, and unsurprisingly, the ones it does have are for the items you acquire during Dawnguard.

I find it hilarious that the children’s beds have vampire dolls on them, and also, the practice dummies are done up with Dawnguard gear. Lolololol.

There are a couple of usable coffins as well as an actual bed. Presumably this is to allow for you owning the place both as a vampire and as a non-vampire? Though it’s not clear to me where your spouse sleeps if you own the place as a non-vampire.

There’s a staff enchanter here too, and a couple of spellbooks I forgot to look for–Necromantic Healing and Conjure Wrathman. The latter of which you can of course also acquire in the Soul Cairn. But it interests me that only one of the Soul Cairn spellbooks is provided here; maybe the mod creators didn’t want to completely bypass all of the Soul Cairn’s goodies!

There’s a dungeon as well, which gives me pause. But presumably that’s there in case you’re a vampire and you have a thrall.

And most of all, it’s not a bloody, bone-strewn mess like every single other vampire lair in all of Skyrim, up to and including Castle Volkihar. This lair, at least, was built by a vampire who clearly had a little bit more pride in his lair! That by itself makes it appealing to me, and ups the likelihood that when I do actually do a vampire playthrough, I’ll need to do it on the PC build just so I can have this place be my home.

In other news, presumably because I played with the staff enchanter at Myrwatch and made a couple of staves, I’m seeing staves showing up now in loot off of slain mage enemies like cultists. So I’m going to have a broader range of staves available even if I myself don’t make them, which is kind of cool.

Something else I’m noticing, last couple of Shenner’s sessions: a higher than usual number of multiple encounters happening at once. Last session, it was the thief who attacked me as soon as I finished fighting Tyra Blood-Fire. This time, it was the combo of Faldrus the pilgrim, a frostbite spider, and the Fugitive with the bow.

Not sure what’s going on with that, if this is a side effect of the mods I’m using, or what. But it’s certainly noticeable.

Next time

Legit torn! I’m whittling down the AE content I’m interested in this time through. I really want to run The Cause, but I can’t until level 46. And I have another 11 levels to go before that.

So I think I should probably finish up the mage college, that should be good for at least a couple more level ups. And the Spell Knight plotline is something I can go ahead and trigger if I find the right book in the Silver-Blood Inn in Markarth.

And I do have the Thalmor Embassy on the queue for Shenner, too! Moving the main plotline along some more to get up to 46 would also put me in range of doing Alduin’s Wall and getting the best version of Dragonbane, too. So that’s going to be a priority very soon.


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.