Most of this session was actually taking a Dragonborn break, and doing a circuit through Skyrim’s major cities and selling off a bunch of accumulated loot. But I also moved the Ghosts of the Tribunal plotline further along, and took out a renegade priest of Dagoth Ur who threatened the temple. Also, I finished up Kolbjorn Barrow!
- Play date: 9/3/2022
- Session number in this run: 56
- Started in the middle of Benkongerike; finished running the place
- Got the silver veins mined, also got the word for Cyclone off the Word Wall
- Ran the Black Book level (which looked really neat in Ultra); took the Black Market power off the book \0/
- Returned to Rulnik and Gogh
- Summoned the merchant and sold him enough stuff that I could fast travel back to Raven Rock
- Did some alchemy and smithing
- Then gathered up a boatload of stuff for a “hey everybody please buy my stuff” tour around Skyrim
- Landed first in Windhelm, and invested in both Oengul and Nurelion, and wow Nurelion is snotty about investing; I will have to go ahead and run the White Phial plot just to get rid of him ;P
- Sold stuff to pretty much everybody; got level up alert while doing that but held on leveling up; had to briefly roll back to not level up too soon because I wanted to go to the college for training
- Checked for Khajiit outside but nope
- Daedric-horse’d to college
- Bought training from all five trainers, then leveled up to 62; took Health bump and next Archery perk; bought training from all five trainers again
- And sold a boatload of staves and scrolls and enchanted jewelry and things to everybody, including selling copies of the Lusty Argonian Maid vols. 1 and 2 to Urag XD
- And HELLO SWIFT WIND I MISSED YOU; decided to ride Swift Wind for a while
- Went down to Winterhold and sold stuff to Birna
- Boinged to Bloodchill Cavern; dropped off a set of bonemold armor, and several of the weapons I wanted to keep around but just didn’t want to use and carry right now
- Boinged next to Dawnstar, and found Ahkari’s Khajiit! So shopped with her
- I think it was here that the courier found me with the final letter from Ralis
- Sold things to Seren and Frida
- Boinged next to Solitude; sold things to Endarie, Sayma, Beirand, Fihada
- No Khajiit outside, so fetched Swift Wind and boinged next to Markarth; sold stuff to Lisbet and Ghorza
- Went out to doublecheck that the Khajiit weren’t on hand
- Boinged to Goldenhills Plantation and picked up money from Illia
- Boinged to Hendraheim and dropped off a few things
- Boinged to Whiterun and oh good, Khajiit! Sold a bunch of things to Ri’saad, then went in and also sold a bunch of things to all the shops
- Boinged to Lakeview–and bandits showed up, so everybody pile on the bandits! Rulnik, Gogh, housecarls, unicorn, storm atronach, familiar, and me; bandits didn’t stand a chance
- Dropped off building materials and gems in the cellar
- Boinged to Riften; sold stuff to Balimund, Bersi, Madesi, Grelka, and Brand-Shei
- Finally got under weight after doing that
- Went out to pick up Swift Wind, and spotted guards chasing trolls nearby; they got the trolls killed without my help though
- Returned to Swift Wind, and fast traveled to Stony Creek Cave; mostly ran the place, took out bandits between me and the back cavern, and the extra bandits in the back, but didn’t bother to go back up after the leader
- Freed the curate, who gave me the mask of Sotha Sil
- Mined the moonstone veins before leaving
- Then went back out and fast traveled back to Solstheim, see you later Swift Wind <3
- Returned to Severin Manor for dropping off things not immediately necessary; slept the night
- Got up the next morning and headed to the temple, and OHNOEZ ASH ZOMBIES
- Took out a couple outside the temple, and more inside
- Reported to the matriarch who did another “it’s all in this note” thing, and gave me the key to the armory
- Used the three masks to open the gate to the chest that had Hopesfire, and also a note from the renegade priest of Dagoth Ur, demanding i meet him at Tel Mithryn’s graveyard for an ass-kicking
- Can do, but this will not go the way you expect, pal
- Went to Kolbjorn first though, and ran the final phase of Kolbjorn
- Got word for the Cyclone shout
- Got the remaining Ahzidal items, and mined the first of the two stalhrim veins
- Killed once by fire from Ahzidal; no problem the second time when I put on my firewalker necklace
- Decided to spare Ralis this time
- Mined the second stalhrim vein
- Ran the Black Book and took Secret of Arcana power
- Came back out to find the camp; no sign of cryomancer (clearly eaten by ash zombies)
- Proceeded towards Tel Mithryn
- Cranky Nord near the silt strider, also surprise trio of ash spawn
- Proceeded to graveyard, where I took out more ash zombies and the priest, along with one more ash spawn (hi there, hook for the Ildari Sarothril quest!)
- Called up Daedric horse and boinged back to Raven Rock
- Sold some stuff to Glover
- Went over to park in Severin Manor and saved for the night
Skyrim shopping run interlude
I’d built up quite the backlog of pricy loot in my chests in Severin Manor, so even though I couldn’t really come up with a decent narrative reason to justify it, I took a break from Dragonborn and Ghosts of the Tribunal action in this session just to visit all the shops I could get to and sell off a bunch of stuff.
Side benefits of doing this: being able to see a wide variety of locations in Ultra graphics for the first time. Which was delightful. <3 And there was at least one in-character justification for doing this–because it meant I could go to Stony Creek Cave and rescue the kidnapped curate for the Ghosts of the Tribunal plot.
So I kind of envision Shenner being legit torn about whether she could justify leaving Solstheim with Miraak’s business still unfinished. But now that I’ve established her in my head as being actively moved by the Ashfall’s Tear temple folk, and with even a bit of legit religious interest here, I think she eventually voted to herself in favor of going after the curate. But if she was going to go back to Skyrim at all, she was going to justify it by bringing over a lot of goods to sell, to help finance her continued presence on Solstheim before she was finally ready to come home again.
As for visiting all the places and selling all the things, this also gave me an opportunity to invest in a few more merchants I hadn’t invested in yet. Including Nurelion in Windhelm, since I haven’t actually run the White Phial plotline in this playthrough yet. At which point I discovered that wow, Nurelion is a dick about your offer to invest with him. He’s got highly condescending commentary about how a mere adventurer couldn’t possibly understand finance, so of course he should manage my money for me.
Old man, if somebody is standing there offering to give you extra money, it is seriously a bad tack to take to insult them to their face about it. With extra bonus bad tack when the adventurer in question is a woman. He didn’t say “here, give me your money and don’t worry your pretty little head about it”, but he might as well have done.
I should have bailed on investing with him right there, but didn’t think of doing so at the time. This is not something I ran into before, I think, because in previous games where I’ve done a run of investing in all the shops, I’ve already run the White Phial plot and Nurelion has passed, leaving the shop in the hands of his assistant Quintus. Who is much nicer and not inclined to insult you to your face if you offer him money.
I think I’m going to have to run the White Phial plot now just to get Nurelion the hell out of the picture. ;P
Stony Creek Cave is very familiar territory at this point, and in this run in particular I’ve already been in there multiple times. So this time through I only mostly ran the place, by which I mean, I only took out the bandits in the main tunnel and in the chamber in the back, and the lookout bandit who ran down to try to stop me. I didn’t bother to go up to the side chamber with the bandit chief.
Curate Melita, the character I had to rescue, didn’t have much in the way of lines. But even given that, I kind of liked her. She looked a bit unlike any other Dunmer I’ve seen in the game, and it kind of sounded to me like her voice was the same one as Colette in the college? So maybe the Ghosts of the Tribunal creators built her lines out of Colette’s earlier dialogue?
Rescuing her, anyway, got me the mask of Sotha Sil. So I headed back to Solstheim at that point.
Ohnoez! Ash zombies!
Back on Solstheim, I returned to Ashfall’s Tear to check back in–and had to fight through an attack of ash zombies, both outside the temple and inside.
Which just handed me a bit of a spoiler for Morrowind, as it happens, because these same creatures show up in Morrowind, too. And wow, creepy. These are victims of Dagoth Ur whose faces get caved in and their mouths get sown shut. Yikes.
Not clear to me how many more of these I’ll run into, or whether I’ll see them outside of Solstheim? Will have to see!
Discovered on my way back into the temple that the puzzle to regain access had reset itself, so I had to open it up again. Which was accidentally hilarious as Gogh and his storm atronach kept trying to attack the ash zombie waiting behind the sliding door!
And I found more of the things inside fighting the Ordinators, too. Which was a pretty impressive battle and resulted in at least one of the Ordinators being killed. I thought briefly about confiscating armor, but then decided yeah no, that’s kind of disrespectful.
Inside, once I made it back to the matriarch, she did another of those “it’s all in this note” things to fill me in on what needed to happen next. And she gave me a key to get into the armory.
There, I found multiple mannequins that all looked empty at first glance, but which turned out to be loaded up with various combinations of armor. And the primary mannequin closest to the chest I needed to reach actually had the Mask of Almalexia. I found a note hinting at what needed to happen to access the chest, but found it legit baffling because I could not see any obvious sign in the room of where I had to put the three masks.
So I had to consult the wiki. Apparently all I needed to do was place the masks on the three mannequins closest to that chest, with Sotha Sil’s on the left, Almalexia’s in the middle, and Vivec’s on the right.
Which gave me access to the chest, finally. I only took the weapon Hopesfire out of it, as well as the note from the renegade priest. Again, taking anything else in there seemed actively disrespectful.
Same deal for the various named weapons I saw in this armory. Of those, the only one I was halfway tempted by was Magebane, though that one seemed confusing. It looks like a glass greatsword, but according to the wiki, it’s actually tempered with moonstone. So why does it look like a glass weapon?
Also, interestingly, the various weapons in those display cases apparently respawn. Which made me a little disinclined to take one of them, just on general grounds of bugginess. Though it does seem to me that if the weapons respawn anyway, that kind of balances the question of whether it’d be disrespectful to take them out of the armory!
Still though, I think Shenner will content herself with Hopesfire and Trueflame.
I’m torn about the armor sets, the Indoril and Her Hand armors. They do look cool. But on the other hand, I’m kind of not a fan of the helmets. And I feel like Shenner in particular would feel weird wearing a helmet designed to make her look like an elf.
But that said, both of those armor sets appear to be craftable and I have the ability to craft them now. So I might make one of each just for display in my own personal armory.
Meanwhile, taking out that priest at Tel Mithryn was easy enough, though I had to go through multiple ash zombies to do it. And, as it happened, an ash spawn–since of course that same graveyard is where I have to return later, to finish up dealing with Neloth’s apprentice.
Overall, this was a nice additional phase to the overall Ghosts of the Tribunal plotline. Still not quite done yet, though. I now have all the forge gems, so I can return to the forge in Fahlbtharz and recreate Trueflame! I’ll need to swing back to take care of that.
Still some things to do on Solstheim before I finish up taking out Miraak! Namely:
- Returning to Fahlbtharz so I can make Trueflame
- Running White Ridge Barrow
- Checking in with Neloth and running enough of his plots to be able to go after Ildari
- Taking out Karstaag
So a couple more sessions at least before I finally take out the First Dragonborn. I think I’ll probably start off with going to Fahlbtharz next time, and see where I’m inclined to go from there.
A lot of screenshots this time, in no small part because I greatly enjoyed hitting a lot of different spots in Skyrim and seeing how they looked in Ultra graphics. I have individual bits of commentary as always on these individual pics.
But I also want to call out here that Red Mountain stood out dramatically to me in this session–because the ash plume was actually in motion. I am going to have to doublecheck this on the Switch, but I’m almost positive I’ve never seen it doing that in prior Skyrim runs. And this was yet another minor detail that really upped the verisimilitude of southern Solstheim as an environment under continual impact from that volcano.
Editing to add
- 11/23/2023: Restored missing gallery.