This session was all about running Blackreach, and trying to do it all in one go so I wouldn’t have to come back down later. Which meant, getting all the crimson nirnroot before finally going to the Tower of Mzark for the Elder Scroll. And as a bonus treat, this time around I actually summoned and fought the dragon Vulthuryol!
- Play date: 7/19/2022
- Session number in this run: 40
- Started in Blackreach
- immediately had a fight a dwarven guardian sphere as well as a Falmer since they spotted Jordis
- Went into Sinderion’s laboratory and looted the place; got the crimson nirnroot quest started
- Did assorted alchemy and enchanting to try to level up; almost made it to next level
- Started looking for the 30 crimson nirnroot, going counter clockwise around the map
- Jordis kept losing track of me though because it’s fucking dark in Blackreach and my Sneak is 100, so I had to move slowly
- Made it to the Reeking Tower which gave an opportunity for Jordis to catch back up
- Killed some spiders in there and leveled up to 53; took Health bump and Glass Smithing perk
- Worked towards the lift to Mzinchaleft but found the Pumping Station first
- Jordis lost track of me again as I made it to Silent Ruin
- Nothing to fight with in Silent Ruin so got another nirnroot and a Block skill book while in there
- Found Jordis again fighting with the Blackreach giant; called up the dremora to help and they went after the wispmother i also spotted
- Next target: Hall of Rumination, which was unexpectedly violent, I think the Falmer servants spotted Jordis? So got into it with both dremora active as well
- Sorry Falmer Servants, I don’t know what hold the Falmer have on you all, but welp I’m just here for crimson nirnroot and an Elder Scroll, and if you’re gonna fight me I’m gonna fight you
- While I’m at it I think I’ll Shout at that big glowy orb OH SHIT dragon!
- Vulthuryol defeated!
- Didn’t hit everywhere else in Blackreach, but did find all the crimson nirnroot I needed; had to fight a few more Falmer and chaurus while doing so
- Got into the tower of Mzark; found the Elder Scroll and assorted chest loot
- Came up through the lift near Heljarchen
- Jordis volunteered to be steward and I let her
- Then grabbed the materials cache and boinged on my new horse to Honningbrew; sold a bunch of stuff
- Boinged to Whiterun; smithed some armor items to sell to Elrindir, then sold a bunch more stuff and bought more iron
- Saved for the night
I’ve written plenty about Blackreach already so there’s not much new to say here, but I do at least have a few things to talk about!
First up, getting down there with Jordis as a follower meant that, like Ysani’s and Delga’s playthroughs when I went down there with Serana, I had to deal with a relative lack of stealth. Even though my own Sneak is 100 at this point, Jordis kept getting noticed by Falmer or chaurus, or the giant that wanders around in Blackreach. So I kept having to engage in combat anyway, just because I’m not a heartless monster who’ll make her housecarl do all the work!
Second, thought some more about how the hell the Falmer manage to maintain slaves that wander around Blackreach freely–and who are also armed. What in the world keeps the Falmer servants from actually turning on their masters? Why do the Falmer think letting their slaves have weapons is a good idea?
I can kind of buy why the servants don’t try to just escape–because the access points to Blackreach are all through Dwemer ruins. And you have to have Attunement Spheres to make the lifts work. And even if they got through the lifts, then they’d have to make it out through Raldbthar, Mzinchaleft, or Alftand. And good luck doing that.
So okay, they’ve got a force of slaves who pretty much can’t escape. And maybe these slaves are resigned to serving the Falmer because they think they don’t have any choice in the matter.
But the question still remains: why do the Falmer arm them?
I can see an argument that the servants don’t fight with the Falmer just because they’re probably severely outnumbered. And they probably are operating under threat of torture. So if they’re under enough control that they won’t fight with the Falmer, what else in Blackreach might warrant actually arming them?
The main threats in Blackreach are the Falmer themselves. And there are enough Falmer camps scattered across the cavern that I could see a scenario of rival groups of Falmer. Maybe the Falmer who control the servants want to make sure their prizes can fight other Falmer.
I can also see a situation where they have to defend themselves against any chaurus who turn hostile to them. And there is a giant wandering around, as well as a dragon that lurks about, and a couple of frost trolls.
There are still some Dwemer automatons wandering around, too.
And, of course, there are incidents of the Dragonborn and armed followers of the Dragonborn coming down there to fuck shit up. 😉
So with all of that in mind, the Falmer Servants did spot Jordis a time or two, and I wound up having to help her out once combat was initiated. This often also attracted actual Falmer. So the dremora had to be thrown around a few times, too.
Third, for the first time, I actually threw Unrelenting Force at the big glowy orb at the top of the cavern, just to see what fighting the dragon that summons is like. Answer: like fighting a dragon, pretty much. Nothing unusual about this compared to fighting any other dragon.
Though I have questions about what the actual deal with Vulthuryol is. I’ve written before about being baffled about how the hell a giant made it down into Blackreach. Same question applies to this dragon! How did he get down there? And why does he only appear if Unrelenting Force is thrown at that orb on the cavern ceiling?
This smells like a scenario of “the Dwemer made some kind of arrangement with the dragon so that he’d come if he heard the gong”. But still, how’d he get down there in the first place? How long has he been down there? Was he hiding out from other dragons? Maybe even Alduin or Alduin loyalists?
It’s certainly also possible that the Dwemer might have captured him. We know from the events of the game in general that the Nords did capture Numinex and imprison him at Dragonsreach. So I could kind of see a scenario where the Dwemer managed to nab themselves a dragon, though there’s also a real interesting question of how the hell they got him down into Blackreach.
And last but not least, once I got out of Mzark and came up near Heljarchen, Jordis volunteered to be the steward there. I went ahead and let her. This suggests Heljarchen will have to be my eventual go-to house, but I’m okay with that! I did build bedrooms there as well as a kitchen. And that would certainly be useful for child-adopting purposes.
Gotta take the crimson nirnroot to Avrusa. But my quests journal is getting pretty scanty at this point, which suggests that Dawnguard will be in Faanshi’s near future!
Editing to add
- 11/23/2023: Restored missing gallery, and added play date and session number markers.