And, back to the Skyrim playthroughs! Specifically, Shenner’s last session, in which I did some more initial action in Raven Rock before moving on to helping Captain Veleth with his ash spawn problem, and finding the truth of what happened to Graetian Caerellius in Raven Rock Mine.
- Play date: 8/5/2022
- Session number in this run: 48
- Started at Glover’s forge in Raven Rock
- Decided to try to pick up a few initial quests; went to check out the temple since I’d never been in there before, and also to get the opening lead on Ghosts of the Tribunal
- Met the elder of the temple, who, unlike his apprentice, does not appear to be a dickweed; agreed to cleanse the ancestral tomb of ash spawn for him; quite a few of them! But Rulnik and Gogh and I took them out; got his thanks and a payment of gold
- Explored around a little bit and found the book to read to get the lead on the Ghosts of the Tribunal plot—which points me to Fahlbtharz, hold that thought, I will get to that
- When i came out of the temple it was close to evening; saw Neloth going by, away from the Earth Stone
- Went over to check out the Earth Stone anyway but couldn’t do anything about it yet
- Went to check out the Netch
- Found Cindiri and got her lead on getting her the folio
- Talked to Fethis and queued up the quest to bring him East Empire pendants
- Slept and did not get tossed out to an All-Maker stone, so got up the next morning and set out to go get the folio
- As expected found Captain Veleth at Old Attius Farm; helped him with the ash spawn and got his request to take out General Carius
- Proceeded from there to the Strident Squall and took out the bandits there, and found the folio; also a stalhrim light helmet!
- Went from there to Fort Frostmoth; took out assorted ash spawn
- Got all the ingredients for Elsweyr fondue, one could wonder exactly how fresh those ingredients are in a fort that was destroyed 200 years ago by a volcanic eruption, but hey 😉
- Cleared assorted chests; took out the General and got his cudgel
- Overloaded so quaffed up to head back to Raven Rock
- Found first party of netch hunters at the farm spawn point; helped them with their hunt
- Made it back to Raven Rock–but an Ancient Dragon showed up! And fried me >_<
- Thrown back to coming out of Fort Frostmoth
- Take two on the way back to Raven Rock, took out some ash hoppers
- Got the netch hunters again, and helped them; they lost one of their number though
- Returned to Raven Rock; found Captain Veleth and reported that the general was dead, got his thanks and a payment
- Spent some time at Glover’s forge to use all the ore I’d gotten off the various ash spawn; improved assorted weapons obtained as loot
- Did some alchemy at Milore’s table
- Doublechecked the Earth Stone; saw Cindiri and Dreyla going !!! at the dead reaver still lying by the path
- Did a circuit around the Earth Stone but no Neloth; when i came back past the dead reaver Cindiri was still there, but she had gone into Miraak mode and I couldn’t interact with her
- Returned to the Netch to sleep a few hours; once again got away with not being moved to an All-Maker stone
- Sold a bunch of things to Glover
- And as soon as I was done with that an Ancient Dragon showed up! rRght in the middle of the market! Apparently the game was determined to give me a dragon, so I helped the Redoran Guard shoot at it
- It finally crashed up on the hill past the mine; ran up there to take it out, and heard a Black Book madman ranting while I did that
- Found the madman after killing the dragon; he pointed me at White Ridge Barrow for that Black Book before flipping out; Gogh and his storm atronach mostly fought him
- Went back down to use the dragon bits to improve the Fang of Haynekhtnamet
- Sold the scales to Milore though
- Then started running the Raven Rock Mine plot
- Had to start twice because i realized oops, forgot to get the Ancient Nord Pickaxe from Crescius
- Just to vary it up a bit, talked to Aphia first the second time through, just to see what interacting with her first would be like
- Then headed down into the mine and ran the whole thing, all the way through to Bloodskal Barrow
- Actually got both Gogh and Rulnik both past the seven blade traps!
- Ran the Winds of Change Black Book and took the Companion’s Insight power
- Fast traveled back to Raven Rock when done
- Resolved the mine quest with Crescius
- Got alert from Captain Veleth that Adril Arano wants to talk to me
- Stashed stuff in urn in the square, then saved for the night
First action out of the gate in this session was to go check out the temple in Raven Rock. Two reasons for this:
- I’d never actually been in there before, in my prior playthroughs
- That’s also where I needed to be to get the opening hook for the Ghosts of the Tribunal quest line
I’d been kind of put off about going in there in prior playthroughs, just because of seeing the NPC Galdrus Hlervu in passing. Of whom I have previously observed that he is an asshole.
I was pleased, however, to see that I didn’t have to deal with him. Instead I talked to his superior, Elder Othreloth. Who was not an asshole. And I chatted with him a bit out of general politeness, but also just to see what his various dialogue options were. I liked his various explanations of the purpose of the Temple and how Dunmer religion works. All of which was information I knew already from prior playthroughs–but I felt like it was appropriate for Shenner to ask for roleplay purposes. She’s a Nord visiting a Dunmer colony, and coming into their religious space. So it’s just polite to ask some basic respectful questions.
I wandered around a bit to look at the various shrines to the Reclamations, and then did the elder’s plot to go down into the Ancestral Tomb and clear the place of ash spawn. Of which there were quite a few! No issues taking them out, with both Rulnik and Gogh to back me up, as well as their summoned entities.
Then I explored around a little bit, until I found the book I needed to read to get the lead on the Ghosts of the Tribunal plot. I did find and read the book! But I did not take it. Partly because I couldn’t really com up with a narrative justification for being in that room to begin with, never mind actually reading and taking a book. 😉 I can kinda handwave it as “is this entrance to the tomb? No? Is this book useful for information about that–oh nope, whoops, wait, this is something else I probably shouldn’t know about, yeaaaah I think I’ll just leave this right here then. So where are those ash spawn? Hey Rulnik, let’s go try this next door!”
Now I know, though, that the next place I need to be for this will be Fahlbtharz. I’ll get to that! More introductory stuff to do in Raven Rock first!
Namely: doing the small quest to get the book for Cindiri, the Fort Frostmoth quest, and the quest to clear Raven Rock Mine.
I figure in parallel to this, Shenner’s definitely creeped out by the shrines thing. She’s gotten nabbed by this once so far, and now she’s actually seen it impacting the people of Raven Rock. I forgot to document that I did get Milore to give me a pointer about the temple, too. So now Shenner knows in-character that she needs to go find out about this temple.
So I’ll queue that up to do after I finish dealing with the assassination–because at this point Shen’s got dueling priorities of one, establish a presence here by helping the people out with the things they explicitly tell her they need help with, but also two, find out what the hell is really going on since nobody seems to be able to actually explicitly tell her that.
This session was where I started getting amusing little dissonances from playing Dragonborn earlier in the narrative flow than I’ve done before. First of these was having a dragon show up at Raven Rock and it being an Ancient Dragon rather than a Revered Dragon! Which made me have to go “wait isn’t that the wrong type of dragon oh no right I’m ten levels under when I usually show up here”.
Another item of interest: when I went to the Earth Stone after running the temple and doing crafting, I saw Cindiri and Dreyla both stopping to react to the dead reaver still lying next to the path. I didn’t try to interact with either of them at that point. But when I came back, and found Cindiri still there, she was in Miraak mode and wouldn’t do anything but intone parts of the chant.
What this tells me is, even when the town NPCs are headed for the Stone, their AI can be at least partially interrupted by reacting to a dead body. Which raises interesting narrative thoughts about how whether the sight of a corpse is disturbing enough to them, even through Miraak’s mind control, that it slows them down from going to the Stone? But if they’re interrupted, by, say, me, then Miraak’s control takes over and they head to the Stone to build things.
When I got to the point of running the Raven Rock Mine plot, I wound up having to start it twice. Just because I forgot, again, that I needed to get the Ancient Nord Pickaxe from Crescius before going on down into the mine.
So second time through I also varied things up a bit and actually talked to Aphia first when I walked in on their argument. I figure if I’m going to come into a couple’s living space and interrupt their domestic dispute, the least I can do is talk to both of them!
This showed me that you’re able to get much of the same information about the quest requirements from Aphia that you do from Crescius. But you do still have to talk to Crescius to launch the quest. Which means you go through some redundant questions, because you still have to ask him the same things you just asked Aphia, if you talked to her first. The game logic doesn’t seem to be quite clever enough to pick up on the fact that you speak to Aphia first in that scenario.
But I suppose that would have been slightly more complex to code and might have required a few additional voice lines? Something along the lines of “Your wife says this, but what do you say?” Which doesn’t strike me as a high priority enough thing for Bethesda to have pursued.
Past that point, the main notable things about running the mine and then making it into Bloodskal Barrow were:
- Actually successfully remembered how to do power swings with the Bloodskal Blade this time, without having to look it up first
- Got both Rulnik and Gogh past the seven swinging blade traps!
I’m frankly stunned Gogh made it past the traps! But I think it was helpful that they’re spaced far enough apart and swing slowly enough that he actually had enough time to follow me past them. He seemed to have an easier time of it than Rulnik did, which was equally surprising.
This also became the first Black Book of Shenner’s run on Solstheim, since I haven’t cleared Miraak’s temple yet. And even though she’d already seen Mora at this point back at Septimus’ outpost, Septimus is still intact–so I had different dialogue from Mora this time once I made it into Apocrypha. Namely, this line:
“So, another seeker after knowledge enters my realm. I am Hermaeus Mora, Prince of Fate and Lord of Secrets. This is Apocrypha, where all knowledge is hoarded. Perhaps you will prove clever enough to uncover the secrets hidden here. If so, welcome. Perhaps you are a fool or a coward. If so, you are in peril. Read your book again and escape before Apocrypha claims you forever.”
The wiki says this is supposed to be the line you get if you haven’t met Hermaeus Mora before. This seems a little bit murky given that I have met him before at this point, I just haven’t made it to the point of finding the Oghma Infinium. But apparently it only counts if you go as far as getting the Oghma Infinium and seeing poor Septimus disintegrate?
I took the Companion’s Insight power again off of this Black Book. In no small part because I do keep hitting my followers and/or their summoned entities by mistake in this run. And it’ll be nice to not actually damage them.
Cleared the reaver fort outside the barrow, once I emerged. And I decided to fast travel back to Raven Rock, rather than riding (in which case I’d have summoned the Daedric horse), even though I’ve read the Deathbrand book now. I’m pretty sure I need to actually find the map first before the treasure points all spawn.
Last thing of note: when I returned to Raven Rock and got Veleth’s heads up that I needed to talk to Adril Arano, I stopped by one of the urns in the square to stash my stuff in it. And had a brief moment of “OH SHIT where are the other two Elder Scrolls?” Then belatedly realized that oh right I haven’t actually run Dawnguard yet with this alt, so I don’t have those Scrolls yet! Oops. 😊
Gosh, I wonder what Second Councillor Arano wants? That sounds important. I’d better not keep him waiting!