This is a two-session post, since I didn’t do any actual quests or RP on 10/18. And 10/19 was a solo run, since Paul wasn’t up for playing that night. I followed up on a previously received plot hook, and went to investigate a murder at the Russafeld Winery!
- Play dates: 10/18, 10/19/2022
- Session numbers in this run: 17-18
- On 10/18, basically more crafting and writ running, didn’t do any plot
- 10/19, finished up running the writs I’d started the day before
- Confirmed that there is indeed a foul water fishing hole right in the Rellenthil sinkhole, Paul and I had just had issues finding it before because it had apparently been fished out the times we’d checked, but this time I caught it after it had freshly spawned; burned through some of my backlogged supply of crawlers
- Also ran the plot Old Wounds, which involved investigating a murder at Russafeld–and volunteering to be the third party in a Divine Prosecution investigation?
- Showed up at the place and came in on the tail end of a conversation between Tarnamir and jurisreeves Lorne and Soravil (which admittedly was hilarious, see below)
- The plot was good even if the Divine Prosecution were involved!
- I liked Lorne, she was a decent character
- And I called it about halfway through the plot run that indeed, her colleague totally did it
- Starting to see a pattern in side plots in Summerset where the initial part is “talk to a bunch of NPCs” and the end part is “go into this location and fight a bunch of hostiles”
- First part involving talking to NPCs was a bit more engaging for this plot; had an initial round of questioning nearby bystanders
- A couple of them were fairly standard snotty High Elves, but one guy called Babblebrook was doing a schtick of talking in rhymes for no apparent reason
- After speaking with the witnesses, I found a second body–Farril, a Wood Elf laborer–and had to find the murder weapon for that
- Investigation of that however indicated that the blood on the sickle was actually High Elf blood
- And Celan, the Bosmer who loved Farril, had killed the original victim Halimorion because the guy had assaulted Farril
- But Celan had been recruited into pretending to be the Ghost of the Green by a second person, as I discovered when I tracked Celan into the Red Temple Catacombs
- Went back out again to report to Lorne, who started fessing up to me about her background with Soravil and their investigation of the original Ghost of the Green (yikes)
- Eventually Lorne and I discovered a new murder scene in Tarnamir’s manor; the prior bodies had been moved there and Tarnamir had also been killed; and there was a suspicious scratching on the way with a clue: “Eluvein”
- Lorne cast a forbidden necromantic death-memory ritual to get the story on the murders off the bodies, and I then found out from her that Soravil, after his wife’s suicide, tried to make moves on Lorne herself and she refused to accept him
- So she concluded he’d gone psychotic about her about of bitterness, so that’s fun
- We returned to the catacombs this time to track down Soravil
- The catacombs were full of various “graven” constructs rather than the draugr I’d expect in Skyrim; not undead, they were apparently actual constructs according to the wiki?
- Had some trouble actually finding the way to Soravil
- Spotted a suspicious giant crab partway through the ruin, “Crimson Catch”, but according to the wiki, the crab is not related to the murder plot; I didn’t bother the crab
- Finally made it to Soravil and took him out
- Returned to Lorne for her final commentary, and left her to quietly reflect over the situation, since she wanted to linger in the temple
- Went back outside and had final conversation with Celan’s mother Elsoreth
- Who was very unhappy that her son had been killed, and who thrust a helmet at me that she’d found under his bed: “I never want to see this again! I never want to see you again!”
- Which, unusual way to get a quest reward? So I was all “uh, yay, I got a helmet? I’ll just quietly excuse myself now”
- Did however also level up to 20 and got level 20 quest rewards!
- Returned to Alinor so I could actually claim them
- Worked on more crafting and was on late enough that I got a fresh round of writs off the writ board
- Did a couple of those before calling it a night
It amuses me, playing ESO, that I’m putting just as much time into crafting things as I am actually running dungeons and plots. A bunch of my recent sessions have been bookended by writ activity on either end of the actual RP and/or dungeons.
I’m not sure if objectively speaking, I’m putting more time into crafting in this game than I am in Skyrim? Because I have started and/or finished many a session in Skyrim with time at the forge, or the alchemy table, or the enchanting table. The main difference here, I think, is that having the structure of the writs to work with basically means I need to do crafting.
Well, I don’t need to, arguably. But the rewards are good, and as I wrote about before, it seems to be the best way to burn through a lot of the abundant materials I’ve been able to gather.
So far, at any rate, I’m continuing to enjoy running the writs!
But that’s certainly not all I came to this game for. And the actual meat of this pair of sessions was doing a solo run, investigating a murder at the Russafeld Winery!
This one’s initial hook was one I’d gotten previously, talking to the guy lamenting how the murder was cutting off the regular supply of wine out of the place, and suggesting I go up there and volunteer to help. Heh. Because apparently the Divine Prosecution constantly needs help on this island?
Seriously, they do! There are the daily quests you can go run with the two justiciars hanging out near the Alinor Wayshrine. And this plot that I ran at Russafeld, as well as another I ran at Cey-Tarn Keep! The various Divine Prosecution characters I’ve talked to so far explicitly talk about how they’re seriously shorthanded on the island and have had to resort to recruiting newcomers for contract work, but this apparently even extends to investigating actual crimes.
Me, as player: Wait, I gotta help the frigging proto-Thalmor? OKAY FINE.
Me, as Gyllerah: I’m only slightly less un-thrilled about this than my player, just because from what I’m seeing so far on Summerset, even my amnesiac ass can tell the Divine Prosecution are kind of assholes.
That said: I’m having to re-think my instinctive aversion to working with the Thalmor, just because the Divine Prosecution are so prevalent all over this island. And working with them does give you access to quests with good loot.
And this quest in particular required me to specifically show up at the winery and first speak with the owner, Tarnamir. I showed up on the tail end of a conversation between him and the jurisreeves Lorne and Soravil.
Tarnamir: “An examiner’s quorum needs three members. You both know this.”
Jurisreeve Soravil: “Not this again ….”
Jurisreeve Lorne: “It’s not just superstition, Soravil. We need outside perspective.”
Jurisreeve Soravil: “So, what? We just randomly recruit the next adventurer that passes by?”
Me: “Hi, I’m a random adventurer!”
And then Tarnarmir’s next line was very well done: “And just like that, Auri-El provides.”
LOLOLOL. Well done there, game dialogue writers.
And I’ll say this for the plot: it was a good solid story, even with the Divine Prosecution involved. There were a couple of layers to it, not only the outer layer of the sexual assault of a Wood Elf worker, but also interpersonal drama involving the jurisreeves tasked with investigating the situation.
(Side note about that interpersonal drama: given how short-handed the Divine Prosecution apparently are, this presumably explains why these two were still working together? Given how Lorne and Soravil had tragedy impacting their shared history of working together, I’d think that it would have been prudent to reassign one of them to work with somebody else? But maybe the DP didn’t have that actual choice?)
I did call it in advance that Soravil totally did it. As soon as she gave me the backstory about his wife having committed suicide because she’d been having an affair with Lorne’s husband, and that said husband had been killed by the original Ghost of the Green, I was all “yep, Soravil is behind this.”
Anyway, as things were getting started, I talked with a few nearby witnesses. One of these was a guy called Babblebrook, who had a schtick of speaking in rhymes. For no apparent reason. I couldn’t tell if he had some actual backstory for that going on, whether he was supposed to be some kind of an actor on a break from entertaining the winery, or what. He did drop me the hint about two people being involved with the murder, which raises real interesting questions about why exactly this guy knew a little more about what was going on. But those were questions that didn’t get answered, because his only apparent function was to stand there being weird at me as he gave me the hint about two culprits being involved. Oh well.
Soon enough, I discovered that Babblebrook was right. Celan, the Bosmer who’d loved Farril, had killed Halimorion in fury over Halimorion having assaulted Farril. But he was not working alone, and he turned out to be the red herring suspect, as I learned when I pursued him into the Red Temple Catacombs. Somebody else had recruited him to dress up as the Ghost of the Green.
And then of course there was another murder, this time of Tarnamir, and Lorne was forced to conduct a forbidden necromantic death-memory ritual so that she could actually find out what had happened. A ritual which, I note, Soravil himself had suggested earlier that she use, and she’d blown him off.
(And isn’t that an interesting thought, given what Lorne learned when she finally did cast it. Seems like Soravil specifically was trying to goad her into finding out he was responsible, even at that point in the plot.)
Lorne had interesting comments to me about my not being put off by her casting the death-memory ritual, too. I kind of figure that Gyllerah probably thought at that point that this was hardly the most unusual thing she’d seen on Summerset since her arrival! (And really, as a player, I kind of feel like such a ritual would actually be useful in conclusively resolving investigations like this? But it’s still necromancy so presumably that’s enough for someone to have issued the edict that “no, no death-memory rituals ever”. How long ago was this edict issued? Soravil and Lorne both clearly knew about the ritual and Lorne was clearly practiced at casting it.)
While I had called in advance that Soravil did it, I hadn’t predicted that Soravil was actually acting more out of bitterness that Lorne had rejected him, rather than grief over his lost wife. Still though it fit in with the whole dark profile of Soravil’s character.
Lorne and I eventually had to track him back in the Red Temple Catacombs. Running the place in full was interesting, just because it was full of graven “constructs” of various types. Not undead, but actual constructs/golems of some sort, whose function was apparently to protect the place. Usually I expect a ruin of this kind to be filled with undead, thanks to Skyrim or Morrowind, but not so much here. So that was a nice change of pace.
Took me a while to find Soravil, though. While hunting for him, I spotted a large named crab called Crimson Catch, which seemed like a big enough monster that I didn’t want to risk going at him alone. According to the wiki, he wasn’t related to the murder plot, so I didn’t try to engage him.
Taking out Soravil when I finally found him was easy enough. So then I had final parting words with Lorne, who wanted me to leave her be in the catacombs for a while so she could quietly reflect–since the place was supposedly holy.
When I returned to the winery, I also had final words with Celan’s mother Elsoreth, who was despondent about her son’s death and thrust a helmet at me that she’d found under his bed. She was all “I never want to see this again! I never want to see you again!”
Which, rather unusual and awkward way to end a quest, but fitting!
Slightly disappointed though that at no point during this investigation did I have an opportunity to go “Oh, just one more thing…” ;D
Paul and I hit up Archon’s Grove, to track down a missing bride-to-be who’d been kidnapped by werewolves!