Shenner Playthrough

In Which Shenner Becomes Arch-Mage of the College of Winterhold

This session saw the running of Labyrinthian to get the Staff of Magnus, and the immediate followup of the finale at the college, where yet again I have become Arch-Mage!

I also retrieved the Headman’s Cleaver from the bandits at Lost Knife Hideout, and got in the usual assortment of dragon fighting and crafting. Featuring unlocking Madness smithing finally, which let me start making weapons with the stuff!


  • Play date: 7/1/2022
  • Session number in this run: 29
  • Started at Lakeview
  • Went outside to mount up as I was overloaded
  • Fast traveled to Whiterun to sell stuff; sold a bunch of armor and weapons to Elrindir
  • Then waited four hours and sold assorted other things to Belethor
  • Went back out to mount up again and started riding to Labyrinthian
  • Engaged en route: hostile bandit near Silent Moons Camp; two cave bears; one wolf
  • Reached Labyrinthian exterior, and engaged all four frost trolls wandering around outside
  • Then reached the entrance to Labyrinthian proper, and started running the place
  • Found another Telekinesis Arrow spellbook
  • Got the Equilibrium spellbook as per usual; started working a bit on leveling magic
  • Then ran the rest of the dungeon
  • Broken gold vein was fixed in the bugfix patch, awesome
  • Killed once at the spellcaster traps, but not thrown back very far
  • Used Elemental Blast to dislodge all of the soul gems that spat fire
  • Overloaded by the time I made it to Morokei
  • Used the Bow of Shadows to take down the first enthralled mage—Hafnar
  • Also unblocked the other enthralled mage, Atmah (who this time actually sounded like a woman, so that got fixed in the bugfix patch as well)
  • But that also freed Morokei, so summoned up a Seducer and let her, Rulnik, and Gogh take out Morokei as well as Atmah
  • Then cleared the final two chests and headed out to face Estormo; let Gogh and Rulnik take him out
  • Gave Rulnik a few items so I could fast travel to Whiterun; sold a few more things
  • Khajiit were outside so I shopped with Ri’saad; yay! He had more amber and madness!
  • Fast traveled to Lakeview; grabbed Tyra Blood-Fire’s ebony plate armor and gave it to Rulnik
  • Dropped off a bunch of things to get unburdened
  • Then boinged to Winterhold to do the final phase of the college plot
  • Fuck you Ancano, stern letter to follow *ZAP*
  • Yay! I’m Arch-Mage!
  • Bugfix patch apparently has a second set of Arch-Mage robes, with no hood; the original hooded robes no longer allow you to wear a circlet while you’re wearing them
  • Dropped off ingredients at the Arch-Mage’s alchemy table
  • Dropped off a bunch of clothes items in the wardrobe
  • Dropped off the Staff of Magnus in the chest
  • Slept the night
  • Did training with all five trainers
  • Bought a couple of Master Robes of Destruction & Alteration from Faralda, gave one to Rulnik
  • Boinged to Tundra Homestead intending to ride over to Lost Knife Hideout, but when i arrived it was raining, so I went “Hey! I could fish!”
  • Except a Frost Dragon showed up; this did not go well for the dragon, between Team Dragonborn and the Whiterun Guards
  • Once the dragon was dispatched, then I fished; caught a spadefish for the current fishing quest for Swims
  • Boinged to Shroud Hearth Barrow to ride north-ish from there to the hideout
  • Fought en route: troll at the river
  • Passed en route: one Vigilant of Stendarr lying next to a dead flame atronach
  • Reached and ran Lost Knife Hideout
  • Bandits here were the Greencap Bandits rather than the Silver Hand, due to the Blood in the Water quest
  • Killed the orc who’d stolen the Headman’s Cleaver; also found the dead body of his brother
  • Freed a living sabre cat in a cage; it was of course hostile so I had to kill it (but I figure it would have been crueler to leave it there to starve to death)
  • Made it back out and mounted up on Swift Wind
  • Boinged back to Whiterun and sold more stuff
  • Boinged back to Lakeview and built out more furnishings, and did some more smithing and alchemy
  • Leveled up to 40; took Magicka bump and Ebony Smithing perk
  • Which unlocked Madness smithing! 😀 Made myself a madness sword
  • Gave my ebony sword to Rulnik
  • Discovered I had a refined moonstone in the safe in lower level bedroom but had no gold ingot
  • Went on a bit of a shopping spree
  • Boinged to Riften
  • Oh hey look I left a whole stash of materials at Honeyside! *yoink*
  • Little bit baffled to find Iona there given that she’d volunteered to be steward at Windstad?
  • Did a bunch of enchanting there, including dropping a Soul Trap enchantment on the madness sword
  • Sold stuff to Bersi and Balimund and Hafjorg
  • Came out of the gate to see if the Khajiit were on site; no, but did get a flyby dragon, which oddly did make the fight music kick in even though it didn’t land to engage? Not sure what was up with that
  • Boinged from there to mage college
  • Got training from all five main trainers; sold assorted bits of enchanted jewelry
  • Boinged from there to Windhelm, only to realize I didn’t actually want to sell anything to Windhelm merchants
  • Went out the gate and OH HEY look! Khajiit! Bought things from them, more amber and madness, yay
  • Boinged from here back to Lakeview
  • Picked up most of the materials cache there to move it to Windstad for building
  • Boinged to Windstad; built forge and other things in the cellar; built the enchanter tower and some of its furnishings
  • Saved for the night


Couple of minor differences in running Labyrinthian this time, due to having the AE content available, as well as the USSEP.

First thing: on the table in the beginning of the dungeon, where you can find a random spellbook, this time I found a Telekinesis Arrow one. This is out of the Arcane Archer content. I’d already found it at the college, but if I hadn’t done so already, I could have done it here. So apparently that got added to the list of random spellbooks you can find on that table.

Second: there’s a spot partway through with a couple of gold ore veins, one of which is broken in the non-patched build. With the USSEP installed, I was able to mine both of those veins. Awesome.

Since I was overloaded by the time I made it to Morokei, I basically shot at the two thralled mages (Hafnar and Atmah, though the game doesn’t actually name them) with the Bow of Shadows. This broke them out into attack mode, but it also freed Morokei. So I conjured up a Seducer and let her and the rest of Team Dragonborn actually take him down.

Notably, the bugfix patch appears to have corrected the issue with both of the enthralled wizards being male. One of them actually had a woman’s voice this time through. Excellent.

One minor notable difference this time through concluding the college plot: the Arch-Mage’s quarters included a second Arch-Mage’s robe, this one without a hood. This appears to be a bugfix patch thing. It corrects the issue the original Arch-Mage robe has with allowing you to wear a circlet, so maybe this was the patch creator’s way of letting you still have an Arch-Mage robe and wear a circlet if you want to?

Near as I can tell reading up on the issue, there were two distinct bugs here. The hoodless robe was apparently in the original code, but marked disabled. So the bugfix patch re-enabled it. Curious as to why it was left off in the original code, though.

Not sure what I think about this change. I approve of bugfix patches in general. But it doesn’t make any sense to me that you couldn’t wear a circlet just because the robe you’re wearing happens to have a hood on it. You could easily pull a hood up over the circlet on your head.

And I do like the look of the Arch-Mage’s robe when combined with the Aetherial Crown, too.

On the other hand, I guess having a hoodless version of the same robe available is a reasonable compromise. It’s not quite got the same enchantment as the hooded version; it doesn’t give you the same bump to your Magicka pool. But then, if you’ve made it to being Arch-Mage, you also have the Mage’s Circlet from earlier in the quest, assuming you haven’t sold it–and that makes up for that problem.

Running Lost Knife HIdeout this time was for some additional AE content, the Blood in the Water quest. This place in my earlier Delga playthrough had been populated by the Silver Hand; this time through, it had generic bandits, but also Greencap Bandits. (Who, despite the name, were not in fact wearing any green caps. I feel this is an oversight on the part of the Creation.)

I’ve remarked before that this is a nice large bandit lair to run, and this time was no exception. The Blood in the Water quest was mostly not interesting, though. It put a couple of extra NPCs into the site, with journals on them explaining their backstory, and you basically had to kill the orc who’d stolen the Headman’s Cleaver. Which is not an interesting weapon to me. It has no enchantment on it, and according to the wiki, it in fact cannot be enchanted.

Best I can say for the thing is that it does appear to have an unusual design, since it doesn’t look like any of the standard battleaxes in the game. And it does appear to be an Orcish weapon, and you can improve it with orichalcum and the Orcish Smithing perk. So if you’re playing an Orc and you like battleaxes, eh, you might find it more interesting to use?

I looked up what the backstory is supposed to be on this weapon, and apparently it comes from an Orcish kingdom down in Cyrodiil. A kingdom which in fact has had queens rule it periodically, which makes it distinctly different from Orcish strongholds as portrayed in Skyrim. So that’s interesting, arguably more so than the weapon itself. This kingdom apparently shows up in Blades, but since I’ve barely played that game I haven’t reached that content yet.

Just within the context of Skyrim itself, meh, this particular quest and weapon for me are a wash.

When I boinged to Honeyside for the beginning of the shopping spree, I was legit surprised to see Iona actually there–given that she’d volunteered to be steward at Windstad. Narrative-wise I can make this make sense, given that she was appointed my housecarl in Riften, so it’s still within the scope of her duties to keep an eye on Honeyside as well if I’m not there. So clearly she travels back and forth.

That said: still kind of surprised to see this happen. Makes me wonder if I’m going to pop into Breezehome at some point and find Lydia there!

Last but not least, the other new item of interest in this session was that I unlocked Ebony Smithing, which by extension gave me the ability to make stuff out of madness ore. I’m less interested in the armor just because it’s heavy armor, and plus I find it kind of ugly. Weapons, however, I’m interested in. So I made myself a madness sword, and handed off the ebony one to Rulnik.

Who, by the way, I also outfitted in Tyra Blood-Fire’s ebony plate armor. Gave him a few other weapons as well just to see which of any of them he’d use, including my ebony crossbow, since I now have an enhanced elven one that does more damage. So far though, after kitting him out, I’ve seen him still using magic as his primary attack in combat. I’ll have to see how his magicka holds up and if he uses the physical weapons once his magicka runs down.

Next time

I think I need to pay Dawnstar a visit. I hear they have a new museum opening there!


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.