Shenner Playthrough

In Which Shenner Acquires Bloodthirst and Becomes Thane of the Pale

Combo of new stuff and old stuff in this one! Action that does not, despite the title of this post, include becoming a vampire. Deets behind the fold!


  • Play date: 7/6/2022
  • Session number in this run: 33
  • Started in Windstad; headed out to go to Morthal and do the fishing contest
  • Rode south-ish on Swift Wind
  • Ran into a troll; killed it with Duskfang (and noted that there was indeed a counter on the weapon for how many creatures I’d killed, but commentary on this below)
  • Gogh and Swift Wind disappeared after that battle, but they reappeared after I fast traveled to Morthal
  • At which point an Elder Dragon also appeared, so I had to fight the bastard; took it out with Enhanced Elven Crossbow
  • Lololol, Agni, the kid adopted by Falion: “In all my years I’ve never seen such a thing!”
  • Brutius, the guy I was supposed to meet for the fishing contest, was right by Jorgen’s mill so I went over to talk to him; made a wager and went over to meet him at the designated fishing spot which turned out to be right by Myrwatch
  • And, ambush! Took out Brutius as well as his two bandit pals who were wearing Vagrant robes and there is why the robes were part of the Fishing creation, okay
  • Both bandits were wearing enchanted Vagrant attire in particular so I yoinked it; also got Brutius’ journal and fished up the Warlock’s ring from the fishing spot; took his fishing gear for that matter, because fuck you old man, I needed a new regular fishing rod anyway 😉
  • Went and fished the other fishing spot near Morthal
  • Boinged to Whiterun and sold stuff, then headed out to go to Broken Fang Cave and get Bloodthirst
  • Passed watchtower and found a zombie attack in progress; killed five zombies that had killed three Whiterun guards
  • Killed random aggro High Elf mage
  • Killed the dragon Vuljotnaak!
  • Made it to Broken Fang Cave and killed ancient vampire and master vampire in there; took Bloodthirst and other boss loot
  • Boinged back to Lakeview to drop off more things, both Bloodthirst and Dawnfang/Duskfang, as well as dragon bits
  • Made dragonscale shield for a full set of dragonscale armor
  • Went to Ivarstead and found Reyda’s necklace, then gave it back to Narfi; told him his sister was dead, b/c dude may be mentally impaired, but that doesn’t mean it’s right to lie to him!
  • Went from there to Rift Watchtower to run the bandit bounty
  • Boinged to Riften; sold loot to Balimund and Bersi
  • Went into Mistveil Keep and collected bounty from Anuriel
  • Went to fishery and spoke with Viriya about next bounty action: Dawnstar! And a mudcrab problem!
  • Fished at both the fishery and Honeyside spots, but no new goldfish or pygmy sunfish
  • Boinged off to Dawnstar to attend to the mudcrab problem
  • Found them but also had the thing happen where I read the journal before picking it up, which broke quest resolution, so rolled back to Riften
  • Re-did arrival at Dawnstar
  • 12, count ‘em, 12 pissed off mudcrabs, kind of a vicious fight, that!
  • And a pissed off snowy sabre cat
  • Caused by a necromancer because of course it was, but at least he didn’t kill the old dude whose shack he took over, according to another left behind journal
  • Quicksilver ore vein near the shack, and I could see the Wreck of the Brinehammer in the distance
  • Fishing spot by the shack as well but caught arctic graylings mostly
  • Returned to Dawnstar and ran the nightmare plot
  • Then reported to Skald to queue up becoming thane
  • Got directive to go kill a giant; went out to go do that
  • Found Khajiit on hand so shopped with them, but also found a dragon! Which I had to kill before I could go kill the giant
  • Also fought en route to giant: assorted ice wraiths, frost trolls
  • Found Weynon Stones
  • Took out the giant at Tumble Arch Pass, one of the giant camps not too far from the site of Heljarchen actually; thankfully did not have to fight the nearby mammoth
  • Returned to Skald and got directive to help his people
  • Did favor quests entirely internal to Dawnstar proper, sold ore to the feuding married miners, and gave the drunken Karl a drink; clearing the bar for thane is not terribly high in Dawnstar 😉
  • Hurray! I’m thane! HI GREGOR!
  • Bought the property for Heljarchen; boinged to Weynon Stones to get to it
  • Built out Small House, then boinged to Windstad and grabbed building materials
  • Boinged to Lakeview and got Lydia to replenish the log supply
  • Boinged back to Heljarchen and built out the main house
  • Rulnik volunteered to be steward, yes sir I will take a level 75 steward at this place, please and thank you
  • Built a few more furnishings, and saved for the night

So the thing about Dawnfang and Duskfang, and also Bloodthirst…

First thing to note about this session is that I did try out Dawnfang and Duskfang, a little. But I ultimately set it aside back at Lakeview, mostly on the grounds that I find the counter on the blade for how many creatures you’ve killed a little off-putting. I think perhaps because it reinforces the weapon’s own actual narrative, i.e., this is a sword that’s hungry for deaths, and why the hell does my character want to encourage it?

But also, I can do way better damage anyway with my dragonbone sword. Or the madness one if I feel like trading around a bit.

So while I enjoyed running the plot to actually get Dawnfang and Duskfang, so far I’m not actually seeing myself want to actually use the weapon. Or Bloodthirst, for that matter. Both of them strike me as the sorts of weapons that a responsible Dragonborn might want to take custody of just for the explicit purpose of making sure they aren’t used.

And heh, I realize that at the end of the day, part of the point of playing a game like Skyrim is to collect the super cool weapons and armor and things. But since I’m coming at this with at least some idea of roleplay and narrative in mind, I feel like it’s appropriate to pay attention to what the game’s own narrative is telling me about any given blade. And if the narrative served up by journals you read in the process of getting a blade all say “this weapon is cursed and the last guy who wielded it went batshit so we’re having to lock him up down in a hidden vault in the Ratway”, it does not seem narratively appropriate to have the Dragonborn go “COOL, sign me the fuck up, what can I kill with this thing?”

Now if you want to play a narrative where it might actually be appropriate for your Dragonborn to do that, then go for it! For this playthrough, for me, it just doesn’t seem like the right choice. I kind of feel like making weapons out of madness ore, for that matter, comes close to riding that line too. Because if the narrative says “here’s some journals that say if you make stuff out of these materials, it will probably drive you insane”, what Dragonborn is going to go “fuck yeah, I’ll go make some armor right now!”

I’m seeing Shenner as being aware of that risk with amber and madness, and that’s about as much risk as she’s willing to take with the weaponry she’s acquiring. Adding to that with a sword that gets more powerful the more creatures you kill? Seems like pushing it.

How the hell old are you, kid? Nine?

When I arrived in Morthal to find the fishing contest, I got the inevitable dragon also arriving to attack the place. Like you do. This time through it was an Elder Dragon, and I commenced firing at it with my Enhanced Elven Crossbow.

And noted afterwards, once it landed by the mill, that little Agni came running up and said “In all my years, I’ve never seen such a thing!”

LOLOLOL. I hadn’t realized that a child could actually deliver that line witnessing the Dragonborn absorbing a dragon soul. I think it’s kind of adorable, really. <3 Particularly for Agni, who’s in the care of the grumpy old conjurer Falion, so I could totally see her trying to imitate Falion’s mannerisms.

No Contest quest

This was the fishing contest quest for which I’d come to Morthal in the first place, and this was pretty fun. It has the same problem many of the AE quests do in that the dialogue with NPCs feels stilted, but at least in this case Brutius’ lines were mostly pretty smooth. There were apparently enough previous lines to cobble together new dialogue from that whoever did that work was able to do a good job!

And I really liked the overall idea of the quest, i.e., that the contest is totally a trap, and that it’s a front for bandit ambushes. Though I take a little narrative issue with how close to Morthal the fishing spot actually was. It was literally right by Myrwatch, and that tower is just a short distance away from Morthal. So the location was not far from the town, is what I’m saying here. It seems to me like it’d be kind of risky for bandits to ambush people there.

As opposed to, say, by Movarth’s Lair. Or further out in the marshes, maybe by the Abandoned Shack? That’d be a much better place to set up an ambush!

That said? I was pleased to finally see the Vagrant mage attire actually show up on NPCs, since the two bandits that were working with Brutius were in fact both mages. Plus, the Warlock’s Ring, the reward you can get once you take out Brutius and his henchmen, is definitely a ring worth having. Triggers a ward if you’re blocking, boosts your health regeneration, and makes you move faster. Nice.

The most pitiful dude in Ivarstead

Finally resolved the pending Narfi plot, too, by finding his sister’s remains and bringing her necklace back to him. I noticed with interest that when I found Narfi, he actually went over to work the stone quarry near his family’s farmhouse, and kept doing that while I was talking to him.

Which kind of reinforced what I felt like doing anyway: i.e., being honest with Narfi about his sister being dead. I don’t disapprove of the innkeeper Wilhelm fudging the truth just to make Narfi feel better. But on the other hand, I also feel like even if Narfi is mentally impaired, this doesn’t mean it’s right to lie to him.

And hey, seeing him actually work the stone quarry while I was talking to him reinforced for me that the guy might be simple, but he clearly knows how to work if he needs to do so. Which now makes me slightly disappointed that I’ve already hired two farmhands at my farm. Because I kind of like the idea of hiring the poor guy, just to give him some place to be where he’s not alone. And where he has work to do to keep him occupied, and regular meals!

Hmm, the wiki says you can dismiss previously hired farmhands. I think maybe I may need to swap the one Illia hired out for Narfi!

Crustacean Extermination quest

Next stop: Dawnstar, to investigate a mudcrab problem! And this turned out to be pretty fun, as it required investigating a beach just northwest of Dawnstar, and fighting a swarm of pissed off mudcrabs.

By swarm, I mean twelve. One mudcrab, even the biggest type, isn’t much of a problem. But four or five of them attacking you at once? That’s more of a challenge. And it was a good thing I had Rulnik, Gogh, and Swift Wind along, to better even the odds! I think it would have been harder if I’d had to fight all these creatures by myself.

And of course, the mudcrab swarm turned out to have been prompted by a necromancer, because of course it was, LOL. Dude had been practicing his magic, repeatedly summoning and killing mudcrabs, then raising them. And something about his ritual had clearly pissed off the mudcrabs, causing them to swarm the beach and kill him.

This dead necromancer, like the two bandits from the ambush contest, was also wearing Vagrant robes. So apparently the idea here is to have a new robe option for non-college mages? But so far I haven’t seen any NPC mages wearing them outside the context of a fishing-related quest. I’ll have to see if I see any at any point.

Word of caution though to Future Me and any interested players that read this post: be aware that when you find the necromancer, pick up his journal, then read it. If you read it before you take it off of him, you will not be able to do the objective to actually read the journal, and that’ll break your ability to finish the quest.

(I expect this can be resolved in the debug console, but not everybody has a debug console, so.)

I’m given to understand from peeking ahead on the wiki that there is more to this mudcrab situation to come later, too. Awesome. 😀

Waking Nightmare quest

Had to run this quest in order to get the thaneship of the Pale. Main notable thing about running it this time through was that since I’m on the PC build, as I’ve written before, interiors are not nearly as dark as they are on the Switch. Which meant I got a better look at a lot of the details inside Nightcaller Temple, including multiple carvings of Vaermina all over the place.

So it was nice to be able to see at least a few new details.

Getting thaneship of the Pale, and Heljarchen Hall

This time through, getting the thaneship from Skald, I kept the favor quests entirely inside Dawnstar proper. Usually when I’m doing this thaneship I do the favor quests for Rustleif and Seren, Frida, and Captain Wayfinder. But all of those actually require me to go elsewhere to acquire the requested things. And it was late enough in the session at that point that I just wanted to get the thaneship done.

But hey, selling ore to the married and feuding miners, and then giving drunken Karl a drink, seemed to be enough to satisfy Skald! Man doesn’t seem to have a very high bar for what qualifies for thaneship. LOL.

And now I have Heljarchen, anyway, along with Gregor as my latest housecarl. Building out the Main House structure also triggered Rulnik volunteering to be steward, so I went ahead and let him do that. I’ve been considering him as a potential marriage candidate, and I do in fact have Amulets of Mara… but I haven’t fully decided on that yet.

Noted with interest, too, that dismissing him from active following did not make him return to Whiterun. This will free me up to go fetch Iona again, and see whether her stewardship of Windstad is still intact or what.

Next time

Didn’t quite make it all the way to level 45, but got pretty close! I need two more level ups before I can go run Karthspire–and not only get to Sky Haven Temple, but also retrieve Simon Rodayne’s heart for the Crypt of the Heart quest.

So I’ll probably keep whittling down the list of extant quest objectives on the journal. I can knock down a couple of the smaller objectives, and that should do nicely. I’ll see what I’m in the mood for.


Editing to add

  • 11/22/2023: Restored missing gallery.

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.