This is another round of action on Summerset’s overall primary plot! Paul and I investigated a sinkhole near Rellenthil, defended the Psijic Order from yaghra invasion, and saved Ritemaster Iachesis from mental manipulation! Go us!
- Play dates: 10/15, 10/16/2022
- Session numbers in this run: 13-14
- Actual plot action bookended by a bunch of crafting and running writs
- As of this writing now at level 18
- Unlocked the free storage coffer for 30 more storage slots, which is super helpful
- Also bought another ten slots in inventory space with the money made off of writs
- Unlocked cotton and leather for clothing purposes
- Dropped assorted skill points on lighting up ingredients and materials when I find them
- Practiced using Soul Trap so I can fill soul gems in combat
- Started swapping deconstructable gear with Paul
- Figured out that if I’m playing on my Mac, the Steam overlay isn’t working so I can’t use Steam’s screenshot functionality, which is vexing, but came up with a workaround (more on this below)
- Also learned that a few commands that want me to hit L3 and R3 on the controller translate to pushing down the joysticks on the PS4 controller I’m using on the Mac
- Meanwhile, plot-wise, Paul and I resumed running the main Summerset plot
- Met up with Razum-dar in Rellenthil and briefed him on what we’d learned from the Psijics
- Went to talk to the canonreeve, who complained about his miscreant son having fallen in with a bad crowd at the Rellenthil Sinkhole
- Amused that the canonreeve seemed inclined to trust me just because I was an Altmer, and he twice mentioned that Razum-dar was well-dressed, LOL
- So we went to check the sinkhole out
- Notable incident on the way: stranger yelled something about Dawnbreaker, bitched about daedric interference, and vanished into the rock in front of us
- Found the son, Nedoril, was part of the Court of Bedlam and working with the Sea Sload K’Tora
- Ran the place with Valsirenn’s help, she worked on stabilizing the sinkhole while Paul and I took care of the combat, and by combat I mean ‘we had to fight a yahgra monstrosity’, yikes
- Valsirenn returned to Artaeum to check in, while we checked in with Raz and then returned to see the canonreeve; confronted the canonreeve with the accusation that his son is a Daedric cultist
- The son showed up and holy crap, Raz killed him on the spot! That was unexpected and simultaneously cool and kind of grim :O
- Went back to Artaeum after that to check in there
- Spoke with Loremaster Celarus and formally joined the Psijic Order; got a side quest to start sealing time breaches in various places for the Order
- Celarus sent me to speak with his apprentice to get gear; the apprentice confessed she’d lost a particular item and begged me to recover it; I was intrigued that the apprentice was a Redguard
- Spoke to the Ritemaster about the Sload situation, only to immediately get word that yaghra were attacking a nearby beach
- We followed the Ritemaster over there, and en route he dropped some side commentary that he felt like something was wrong (breep breep breep PLOT RELEVANCE ALERT)
- Fought off the attack and then plowed into the Psijic Relic Vaults
- Fought a few Daedric minions blocking our ability to get through, who’d put up a web
- Another sighting of that golden armored stranger from earlier, who helped us burn through the webbing
- K’Tora ambushed Iachesis, and Valsirenn sent us to go fetch a staff she needed to help him, so Paul and I had to kill a bunch more yaghra and another monstrosity
- Returned to Valsirenn with the staff; she sent us in to K’Tora’s actual mindscape so we could break his hold on the Ritemaster
- Discovered he’d specifically mind-controlled Iachesis’ mind a couple hundred years ago and this was all part of a long-term plot
- Paul and I ran the mindscape, which was very psychedelic in a Doctor Strange kind of way
- Spotted several memories that revealed what had been going on, including a glimpse of Clavicus Vile
- K’Tora was a hard fight, he killed Paul and me both at least once
- Once we got out of K’Tora’s mindscape, SURPRISE! Sotha Sil showed up!
- He sent us back to check on the Ritemaster, so we returned to Ceporah Tower
- Spoke with the Ritemaster to make sure he was okay; he asked us to go to Alinor and get permission from the Proxy Queen to visit the College of Sapiarchs
- This seemed like a good place to break the main plot play for the night
- However, as an epilogue to this, while I was doing more craft stuff: returned to Alinor after an ingredients run and was met near the inn by an NPC, Squire Bayenor, who asked me to go see Battlereeve Tanerline about the Sea Sload situation
As of this writing I’m up to level 18, and a good bit of that has been because I’ve been crafting like crazy, learning traits via research when I can, and deconstructing things when I can’t. Running writs does appear to have been beneficial for leveling up purposes, as well as for gathering gold I can then funnel into bumping up my bank space as well as my personal carrying capacity.
Once I hit level 18, I got the free storage coffer for an additional 30 slots of space. So Paul and I implemented the same strategy here: moving things into that that aren’t materials, to keep the bank space open exclusively for those.
I read up on the matter on the wiki, so I know that the ways to get additional storage chests are a) spend Tel Var stones on them, b) spend writ vouchers on them, or c) buy crowns with actual money.
Because I know how I work in Skyrim, and I know that I tend to fill up available storage very quickly as I amass interesting gear, I’m pretty damned sure that I’m going to max out my bank space as well as my personal carry space with all available means. So it’s pretty much a given that I’ll be acquiring additional storage. It’s just a question of via what mechanisms.
Option B, the master writ vouchers, seems most immediately likely even though it’ll take me longer to get to that point. Unless I get annoyed enough by lack of storage that I wind up going to deal with PVP just for the sake of Tel Var Stones, or just throwing actual money at the crown store.
I feel like if anything makes me throw additional money at the game, buying additional content DLCs or buying crowns for storage would be the reasons. (I have quite a few additional thoughts on this; see this post.)
Screenshot situation when playing on the Mac, and other controls
I’ve been bouncing back and forth between playing ESO on my new MacBook, and playing on the Steam Deck. Both of them are mostly working quite well overall for gaming purposes. The Mac’s performing splendidly running the game, and I barely feel it warming up unless I play for several consecutive hours. And it’s handling the PS4 controller I plug in well. I kind of like that I’m able to switch back and forth between using the keyboard and using the controller, if I am so inclined. And I have in fact found at least one use case for needing to use the keyboard: i.e., hitting the H key for invoking my horse.
I’m pretty sure I don’t have a controller key mapping for this, at least not on the PS4 controller; I don’t have an available button. But I do have an available back button on the Steam Deck, so I’m going to map that button to H.
I’m having a legit quandary as to whether I prefer ESO on the Mac or on the Steam Deck. The Deck’s got the advantage of a single type of controls. But if for some reason I need to do something that explicitly requires keyboard (such as sending in-game mail), I have to break out the Bluetooth keyboard just because trying to type stuff on the Deck’s on-screen keyboard is cumbersome.
The Mac, by contrast, has the advantage of a larger screen, and a full keyboard immediately handy. So that makes dealing with in-game mail a lot easier, as well as being prepared to deal with in-game chat if I am so inclined.
But the thing that’s making me frown about playing on the Mac is the screenshot situation. I’m apparently not able to invoke the Steam overlay at all, which means I don’t have access to Steam’s default F12 for saving screenshots, or to the ability to drop uncompressed copies into the location I specify.
ESO does have an in-game screenshot option, I saw when I investigated further. By default, on my system, that was set to F13. You will note however that I do not have an F13 button on my MacBook. F13-F19 do exist on full sized Apple keyboards, like the one I have plugged into my work setup for the day job. So since I didn’t want to try to pull using an external keyboard in for this, I remapped that binding to F12 instead.
So now at least I have an F12 screenshot mapping again. The one thing I don’t like about this though is that of course it dumps the screenshots into ESO’s own location for them, so I have to go into that directory to find them. This is mildly vexing just because I prefer to put screenshots all into the same location in my Dropbox directory. I’ve got the Windows VM on this system dumping screenshots there, as well as the Steam Deck. And since I’m gaming in multiple ways now, it’s a little easier to organize screenshots if they’re all going into the same place.
And that failure to give me access to the Steam overlay is nagging at me, because I don’t understand yet what’s causing it. Steam thinks the overlay is on. I’ve got the correct tickybox set for that in its Preferences. And Steam is tracking how many hours I’ve put into ESO so far. So it makes no sense to me yet why the overlay isn’t working, if this is something ESO expects me to change on its side or what.
Which means I have a problem to solve here and it’s going to nag me until I figure out how to fix it. If anybody reading this has a solution, let me know!
One other item of interest, re: learning about how ESO displays what buttons it expects me to hit to do certain things: when I’m in “controller” mode on the Mac, I see that it wants me to hit “L3” or “R3” to do certain things. I had to look up what that actually means, and discovered the answer was “press down on the left or right thumbsticks”. The mapping for this is better on the Deck, where the symbol I see for those commands makes it explicitly clear that that’s what I’m supposed to do.
I’m wondering if XBOX controllers actually do have L3 and R3 buttons? Because right now the way I play on the Mac is, Steam is pretending that the PS4 controller is actually an XBOX controller, since that’s the only kind of controller the ESO build on my Mac seems to want to accept.
Saturday night, Paul and I dropped a lot of effort on the ongoing main Summerset plot! Which was fun and intense.
Going to Rellenthil first thing meant we could finally talk to Raz where he was waiting by the bridge. Paul and I both had passed him multiple times in doing general wandering, and Paul was imagining him going “This one has been waiting–ah, this one has been–this one…? Hello? Ah, this one will continue to wait, then.”
Once we finally talked to the guy, this led us to having to speak to the canonreeve in Rellenthil. I’ve seen a few examples of such titles so far in the gameplay: canonreeve, battlereeve, jurisreeve. Makes me wonder if the Altmer have a christopherreeve in charge of flying. 😀
I don’t know what commentary the canonreeve gave Paul’s character, but to me, he gave commentary indicating he was naturally inclined to assume that “two Altmer and a well-dressed Khajiit” could be trusted. Yay? I think? Welp, as long as it moves the plot along!
Amused, too, by his having commented not once but twice on Razum-dar being “well-dressed”. Which seems to fit in well with commentary I’ve seen from various merchant NPCs about having to be well-dressed in order to make an impression on the local Altmer.
After talking to him, we headed over to check out the sinkhole. At which point we saw an NPC who seemed definitely plot-relevant, a guy who yelled something about “Dawnbreaker, show me the way”, and then vanished into the rock face in front of us.
Paul: Did he say Dawnbreaker?
Me, who’s charged through non-stop Skyrim for the last year and a half, and who is particularly fond of acquiring Dawnbreaker and beating up on vampires and draugr with it: Yes. YES HE DID.
Once we got into the sinkhole we discovered that, of course, the canonreeve’s wayward son was in fact a Daedric cultist. And working with a Sea Sload, K’Tora.
This is the first time I’ve seen an actual Sea Sload in an Elder Scrolls game. I knew about them already, though they do not appear in Skyrim (except for a reference to them via the ship called The Dainty Sload). Now that I’ve actually seen one in play, yikes! K’Tora totally reminded me of Jabba the Hutt, although perhaps with a few more fins, and some terrifying levels of magical power.
That power displayed itself impressively at this point, because K’Tora threw some pets at us in an attempt to wipe us out. Including a yaghra monstrosity. This was the first of these Paul and I had seen, though not the first one we ran into in the session! I was legit surprised that we managed to take the thing out, though it put up a hell of a fight.
(Side note here about my combat tactics: after playing Skyrim on higher tier difficulty levels, where I’ve found myself having to run around opponents a lot to try to dodge them and stay out of their way in between my own attacks, I’ve been finding myself applying that strategy in ESO too. Without even thinking much about it, really, until I actually started working on this post. It was definitely helpful all throughout this session, as I worked on positioning myself best to not only fight our opponents, but also to learn about where I needed to be to heal Paul. I really need to streamline that for him, though.)
After running the sinkhole, Paul and I returned to Raz, and with him, returned to speak to the canonreeve on the whole question of “okay so just so you know, your son is totes a Daedra worshipper”. Unsurprisingly, the canonreeve did not take this well.
What was surprising: the son showed up as part of this confrontation. And Razum-dar whipped out a sword and killed him on the spot. Which was simultaneously cool and kind of grim. :O
I only got a few seconds’ warning about it happening, too. Just because Paul and I have learned that if we both have to interact with NPCs to move a quest along, and Paul was slightly ahead of me in going through the various conversations. I heard him go WHOA a couple of beats before I got to the point of Raz running Nedoril through on my screen!
(Caveat to previous: I’ve seen in some cases though that the question of “each of us has to interact with quest objectives individually” thing doesn’t seem to be a hundred percent true? I’ve seen a few points running this quest line over all where I thought I was going to have to use a particular object to do a particular action, and I wound up not having to. I don’t know if this is because Paul and I are playing grouped up, and object-based actions work for group purposes?)
So then we went back to Artaeum. Before I spoke to the Ritemaster, I also spoke to Loremaster Celarus and officially joined the Psijic Order. Which gave me the start of a side quest involving sealing time breeches, and a chance to discover that he had a Redguard apprentice who apparently had a nice little backstory about mortally offending her noble family when she joined the Order. And unfortunately she’d lost track of one of the important items she had to give me! Oops. So I’ll have to recover that later.
For now, there was a whole extra round of primary plot excitement. Because the yaghra had managed to open a portal onto the island, and Paul and I wound up having to help the Psijics fight that off.
Which led to the Ritemaster confessing to us that something was wrong, and he couldn’t put his finger on what–that he was having memory issues. And didn’t that just set off a lot of alarm bells.
Fighting off the beach attack led to having to plow into the vaults, where we found additional Daedric minions barring our way with a web. That was cool, as there was a minion for each of the three Princes.
At this point we also got a second appearance of that golden-armored stranger, who is clearly a servant of Meridia. So we have a fourth Daedric prince involved in this plot, on the opposite side.
Next big plot development was the earlier alarm bells being justified, as K’Tora ambushed Ritemaster Iachesis and revealed that yes, he had totally fucked with the mer’s mind. Which is pretty frigging scary given that this guy is in charge of the Psijic Order. It underscores what kind of a magical powerhouse K’Tora has to be to influence and control him.
Valsirenn sent us off to fetch a staff to bring back so she could help the Ritemaster. Which necessitated fighting through more yaghra, including another monstrosity.
Once we got back with the staff, by virtue of our being the player characters, Valsirenn sent us into K’Tora’s actual mind so that we could break his hold on the Ritemaster. Which was very cool in a Doctor Strange kind of way, with the whole environment rendered in eerie blues and purples. I wound up proclaiming “I’m here to bargain, Verdrangu!” Which made Paul LOL. 😀
We saw more revealed memories about what exactly what was going on. Notable to me was a glimpse of Clavicus Vile. It was weird to see him in actual humanoid form, rather than just a statue in Skyrim! And to see the actual face and helmet that the Masque of Clavicus Vile in Skyrim is modeled on. The big horns very much gave him a Loki kind of appearance–and even though of course MCU’s Loki post-dates Clavicus Vile’s creation as a character, I was still very strongly reminded of MCU Loki. Which, I suppose, is rather appropriate for Clavicus, as he’s arguably the most Loki-like of the Daedric princes.
Paul’s reaction to seeing him appear: “We got back your dog back for you!” (Subtext: “Asshole!”) 😀
A thing I noted while running the mindscape: now that I’m in the Fighters Guild, I am getting credit for killing Daedra. Awesome.
When we made it to K’Tora, it was time for the boss fight. And that was a challenge. Paul and I both got killed once, but we were well stocked with filled soul gems so this didn’t slow us down long.
And here’s the thing for me in regards to boss fights in games so far, and not just ESO, this happens for me in Morrowind and Skyrim too:
When I’m in the heat of combat, I frequently find that I stress out a little and lose track of which frigging button I’m supposed to be hitting. And in ESO in particular, the combat system is more complex than I’m used to in Skyrim. I’m used to “this trigger means whack the enemy with my sword, and that one means throw lighting bolts”. With ESO I’ve got like five or six different buttons that can do different things on the controller, including multiple multi-button combos. And there’s the whole question of quick slots, and remembering to use the resources assigned to those spots. I’m also not yet used to having to account for another player character in combat, and when I need to throw healing to benefit Paul. That’s a lot for me to try to process.
So I could be wearing the most fantastic gear on the planet, and I’d still run the risk of having my ass handed to me by a boss if I’m not absolutely on top of things. With ESO’s combat system, I’m not there yet. This is entirely a question of my having to just practice more and get more proficient at utilizing the right things at the right times. Better gear will help me survive longer while I do that. But the only real solution to this problem is practice!
Paul wisely recommended that next time we go into boss fights, we both take the time to just pause, take stock, and make absolutely frigging sure we have the right things queued up in the quick slots before we dive in.
Once we were done fighting K’Tora and got back out of his mindscape, the plot threw us another surprise: Sotha Sil showing up! Which pleased me immensely, just because I of course know who this character is. Not only from playing Morrowind, but also from just slurping up lore from reading all over the wiki. This is, however, the first official time I’ve seen one of the Tribunal on camera as an actual character, because I’ve not reached the parts of Morrowind when they show up yet.
I noted he had a slightly electronic-y buzz-y kind of voice, which seemed appropriate given that he is often called the Clockwork King. Likewise, I had seen pics of him before that showed that he’d replaced a good portion of his body with Dwemer-like constructs. So it felt kind of appropriate for him to to have a slightly robot-like voice.
I did also, however, notice some buggy behavior with him. I’m pretty sure he was standing with his hands clasped behind his back, but his hands also kept clipping back and forth through his lower torso. Which was weird. I’m not sure whether this behavior was because of something being strange server-side on the game, or whether it was a consequence of my running on an unsupported type of Mac.
Sotha Sil sent us back to check on the Ritemaster, at which point Iachesis asked us to go to Alinor and ask the Proxy Queen for permission to visit the College of Sapiarchs to get more of the island’s leaders on board with resolving this building crisis.
I also spoke with Loremaster Celarus and officially joined the Psijic Order, which gave me the start of a side quest involving sealing time breeches.
And that was a good place to stop for this main plot action.
Epilogue to all of this, since this happened later, while I was doing ingredients and materials hunting: I came back into Alinor and saw an NPC, Squire Bayenor, with a quest marker over him. So when I went over to talk to him, he asked me to speak to Battlereeve Tanerline about the Sea Sload situation–a side quest that has spawned now that I’ve done the quest to save the Ritemaster. So I’ll be following up on that soon, most likely, since this is apparently the hook to starting to confront the various Abyssal Geysers all over the island.
In the post after this one, I’ll have a little side adventure in some flooded ruins!
Editing to add
- 11/24/2023: Restored missing gallery.