In Which Shenner Takes on a Mage Follower
The two main items of action in this session were both along the theme of bandit hunting! But the real item of interest: trying out Rulnik Wind-Strider as a follower. So far, all sides point to this guy packing a powerful magical punch!
- Started in Lakeview; did a small amount of building
- Then boinged to Whiterun; found Rulnik Wind-Strider wandering around in the Wind District, and got him on follower duty to try him out
- Went first to go take out the bandit chief at Traitor’s Post
- Which was an unexpectedly exciting battle–because a Blood Dragon and three frost trolls all showed up just as I was trying to attack the bandits
- I got a good look at Rulnik throwing Flame Cloak spells, dude does appear to pack some magical firepower so that’s kinda awesome
- Unicorn tried to charge into the ruined house to get at the bandits in there but couldn’t fit, LOL
- Finally got overloaded between bandit loot and dragon loot
- Got on Swift Wind once I found him on the side of the house
- Fast traveled to Windhelm and rode right up to the main gate to minimize tromping
- Sold a bunch of bandit loot to Oengul
- Sold the dragon bits to Nurelion and also bought a bunch of ingredients and potions off of him
- Boinged next to Katla’s Farm in order to ride to Broken Oar Grotto to get Noster’s helmet
- Made it there with no trouble, and no real trouble running the place either
- And good thing I had a ring of waterbreathing because I needed it to get at the underwater boss chest
- Got out again and got on Swift Wind; tried to fast travel back to Solitude but couldn’t because “enemies nearby”, not sure what because no fight music kicked in and I saw no red dot on the HUD
- Just rode a little ways away and then fast traveled
- Gave Noster back his helmet and got the Sneak bump
- Sold a bunch of things to Sayma; bought a bunch of materials off of Beirand but sold him stuff as well
- Boinged briefly to Whiterun to doublecheck I didn’t have a better dual-function robe to give to Rulnik; answer: no, since he defaults to Expert Robe of Alteration
- Boinged down to Lakeview to gather my materials there; did a small amount of building; no better robe there either
- Boinged to Windstad and did a bunch more building there; also finally did another round of improvement on the studded dragonscale armor; no better robe there
- So boinged to mage college
- Took one round of training with Faralda; took four rounds of training with Tolfdir
- Also bought a Master Robe of Alteration off of him to give to Rulnik, who IMO looks better in the darker colors anyway; also gave Rulnik my Ring of Resurgence which should bump his magicka regeneration by 80%
- Went out of the Hall of Attainment and HELLO ELDER DRAGON, yikes
- Tried to summon a Seducer warrior, but got chomped when i got too close, and only then did I realize I was still wearing the Arcane Blacksmith’s apron, oops
- Second time coming out of the hall I immediately armed up in Imperial Dragon, then fought the Elder Dragon properly ;P
- Summoned Seducer again
- Also saw Savos call up his dremora, and afterwards saw that Mirabelle had called a flame atronach
- Overloaded again from new set of dragon bits and loot
- Stopped there and saved for the night
Neither of the two main goals in this session were unusual territory: I ran a bandit bounty back to Traitor’s Post, and then went and got Noster’s helmet out of Broken Oar Grotto. Both of these involved fighting a lot of bandits!
But the real new item of interest for me here was trying out Rulnik Wind-Strider as a follower. When you run the quest A Dying Wish in the AE content (specifically, the stuff pertaining to the Bittercup), you have a choice of three possible paths. If you do the one I did, which is to say, the cup of Nothing, then you can take it to the conclusion of getting Rulnik as a follower. Which, given that he’s a powerful mage, is way more interesting to me than the Bittercup itself.
(Sidebar: Ambivalent about the Bittercup, mostly because I’m not convinced that the ability to raise one of my stats by 20 points at the expense of the other two is a thing I’m likely to take advantage of. I’ve experimented in my playthroughs with favoring one stat over another, but right now Shenner’s are very evenly balanced, the same way I played Alarrah. I’m not feeling a huge expectation that I’ll want to make any huge alterations to that.)
I’ve had mage followers before. Mostly, this means Serana, since she’s a powerful necromancer. But I haven’t often had any other mage following me besides her. I’ve tried out Aranea and Illia a couple of times, but for the most part, the vast majority of my preferred followers have been the housecarls–only one of whom, Valdimar, has any magical ability. And I have been thinking of trying out Valdimar properly as a follower.
But he is noticeably eclipsed by Rulnik. All the housecarls level cap at 50, but Rulnik level caps at 75. And it’s going to be real interesting to see what spells he knows. So far I’ve actively seen him throw Flame Cloak on himself. I haven’t yet been able to directly watch what offensive spells he knows, but I’m pretty sure I saw him throwing a broader range of Destruction spells than what Valdimar’s got at his disposal–Valds just throws Ice Spike.
Rulnik’s wiki page does not call out what spells he knows; it only says he has proficiency in Destruction and Illusion. Which is interesting given that he also comes wearing an Expert Robe of Alteration by default!
That level cap of 75 though is super tasty, and it means that Rulnik could hold his own as my follower for quite some time, arguably through the majority of the game.
And hell, just for this session, he held his own very well.
First round of business was to go to Traitor’s Post, last seen in this run when Shenner had to go up against Erwan and her bandits. The place respawned once I picked up a bandit bounty in Windhelm, and this time I had just the garden variety bandits there.
This, however, did not stop the battle from being unexpectedly exciting when in addition to the bandits, a Blood Dragon and three frost trolls also all showed up for the party! So for a few minutes there we had quite the melee going.
IMO Rulnik’s actually also kind of cute, even if I am not a fan of his hairstyle. And his wiki page does say he’s available to be married! Ha! If he’s that powerful a mage, and I do wind up using him as a follower for a while, this argues well in favor of Shenner eventually marrying him once I find an Amulet of Mara.
Though it would be kind of hysterical if he’s actually a better mage than the Arch-Mage, once I finish off that plotline. Clearly, Shenner is going to have to bump her magical prowess!
With Rulnik now on deck as my follower, and Mirabelle having thrown me a few pointed lines about whether I’ve made it to Mzulft yet, I think I’ll go ahead and move the mage college plot along some more.
And heh, if this guy does turn into Shenner’s love interest, I can use this as an excuse to get her more inspired to work on her magic. Up till now Shenner’s pretty much been a “see enemy, whack enemy with sword” kind of gal. But it is very handy to be able to throw your own magical firepower around.
It only occurred to me as I was writing this post tonight that I completely frigging spaced on taking proper screencaps of Rulnik! I will amend that problem next time. But until then, here’s the one screenshot I did take, of Shenner in the Arcane Blacksmith Apron.