In Which Gyllerah Returns to Morrowind and Fights a Dark Anchor
I was slightly mistaken about how much solo running I’d be doing early in the week, because Paul expressed interest in hitting a delve in Morrowind! So I boinged back there with him, so we could run our first delve on Vvardenfell. And I got in some additional treasure and artifact hunting, as well.
And then I took another stab at Morrowind, this time in mainland Stonefalls, and got an opportunity to run my first Dark Anchor. Exciting!
- Play dates: 11/6-11/8/2022
- Session numbers in this run: 36-38
- Ran writs; couldn’t finish all of them with what I had on me, had to pull some stuff from the Guild Bank
- Went out hunting for the Summerset Treasure Map II; found it after a little effort just west of the Sil-Var-Woad geyser
- Fought a few lionesses and salamanders while doing that
- Tried again without success to find the artifact near Cloudrest (and even accidentally entered Cloudrest once)
- Wound up wandering way far north after that
- Found a total of four Psijic portals to loot
- Wandered until inventory full, then boinged back to Alinor and finished up the writs
- Made a whole new round of Adept Rider armor as I was tired of my pieces not matching
- Dyed ‘em all green and brown
- Parked in room and logged out for the night
- Ran writs, mostly super fast because I had the materials for almost everything
- Did some inventory management and went out to find more Psijic artifacts
- FINALLY found the one near Ebon Stadmont after resorting to the map on the wiki
- Then proceeded to nab the ones by Illumination Academy and the Corgrad Wastes
- Got Paul’s help to find the one near the Queen’s Hatchery
- Then Paul and I boinged to Morrowind to run our first delve there
- We headed east from Seyda Neen, went past Vivec and through Suran, then veered a little more north than I’d gone before on that side of the island
- Found the Erabenimsun Camp
- Leveled up to 30 finally somewhere in here
- Found what looked like the entrance to a Daedric shrine, Tusenend, with scamps and flame atronachs outside; killed a daedroth there too; didn’t try to enter
- Also found the Nchuleftingth Wayshrine (LOL, Dwemer, you say?)
- Found what was probably the outside of Nchuleftingth, but couldn’t find a way in and it wasn’t the delve anyway, so we moved on
- Started trying to zero in on the delve, which turned out to be the delve icon I’d spotted before for Matus-Akin Egg Mine
- Met the inevitable NPC with a quest outside, Ridena Devani, who hired us to go in there and take out a dude who’d created a new kind of vicious super kwama that would overrun the island if he wasn’t stopped
- So we got in there and fought a bunch of hostiles all tagged “Rumblegarde”, wiki says they were mercenaries; also killed assorted kwama squibs, workers, and warriors
- Took out the bad guy, Drovos Nelvayn, and his creations
- Found the skyshard inside the place
- Returned to Ridena outside for quest reward; she gave us armor
- Derped around a little longer; found Dreloth Ancestral Tomb but did not enter
- And another skyshard
- Then Paul went back to Summerset, and I blipped to Artaeum to drop off the artifacts before returning to Alinor
- Did some inventory management and a bunch of crafting to clear out backlogged materials
- And made a whole new set of Adept Rider armor for level 30 😀
- Decided to go with Breton style!
- Dscovered as well that I had a couple more new dyes, so I took advantage of that, retooling my outfit and choosing a couple of the alternate Breton styles on things that I liked better than the default
- Then parked in inn room and logged off for the night
- Did some of my writs
- Then wayshrined back to Morrowind, using the West Gash wayshrine as destination
- Headed a short ways northwest to Gnisis and its wayshrine
- Easy to find the island just southwest of the wayshrine that had the pewter and copper seams
- LOTS of materials off of that :O
- Returned to the Gnisis wayshrine and boinged to Davon’s Watch, in Stonefalls, mainland Morrowind
- Next target: another jewelry cache, with a written report rather than a map
- Locales noted while searching:
- Fort Arand
- Starved Plain
- Killed assorted alits and spiders
- Found the materials which got me up to nearly 100 units of both pewter and copper, awesome
- Next up: treasure chest, this map however was another of those “just a sketch of the area” things
- First tried a bridge near Ash Mountain without success
- Consulted the elderscrolls.fandom.com wiki but the page for this map was confusing and landed me in the wrong place, which i didn’t figure out until later 😛
- But in the meantime I discovered Ebonheart, which is a lot bigger than the Ebonheart in Morrowind! :O
- Discovered the front entrance of Ebonheart Chateau, a player home
- Also found Ebony Flash Inn, which has another player room situation, but not a room I can get now
- Kept trying to search around the edge of the water for the treasure, but kept getting interrupted by a messenger trying to get my attention, so I finally talked to the guy to find out what he wanted
- He asked me to go see Drathus Othral, the Dunmer in charge of Ebonheart, who asked me to help him rally the three disparate communities in Ebonheart, the Dark Elves, the Nords, and the Argonians
- Talked to the Nords who would only agree to help me if I had some of their mead and kicked their asses, which, y’know, Nords, LOL
- Talked to the Dark Elf Tribunal Priest who needed me to go cleanse the Tribunal shrines and ask for guidance; ghostly messengers showed up at each, and I reported their messages back to Sildras
- Found the locations Brothers of Strife and Vivec’s Antlers while visiting the Shrine of Vivec, and the related wayshrines
- Lastly, the Argonians were pissed because somebody was poisoning their tree, so I had to help them work on restoring it
- All three groups had a single Dark Elf in common who seemed to be behind all their recent aggravations, Rhavil Urano, so Drathus put a scrying spell on me and sent me off to go follow the guy
- Saw him have a few suspicious conversations and then go into a suspicious shack, which had a ritual book that triggered a suspicious message and the reveal that Rhavil is a Covenant spy
- Drathas sent me back to break into Rhavil’s house
- Other players were running the plot and they killed the guy as i was coming in, so had to wait for him to respawn so I could kill him
- When I came back out, reported to Drathas and his guards that I’d had to kill the guy; end quest
- Forget exactly where it happened, but maybe after talking with the Argonian leader, leveled up to 31
- Back to searching for the treasure chest!
- Didn’t find the chest but I did find Daen Seeth Dolmen, which turned into my first encounter with a Dark Anchor, and HOLY CRAP, that was cool
- Spied on the ritual of the Worm cultists as they invoked the thing, and dived into battle when I saw other players on deck
- The players prevailed and fought off the hook! And Gyllerah, shaken, returned to her hunt for the treasure
- Finally returned to the Senie Wayshrine and landed near to where I’d tried to search to begin with
- Saw a smaller portal dropping bad guys nearby and went over to investigate; turned out to be three dremora, and one of them called in a Harvester
- That was a tougher battle than the Dark Anchor really, they killed me once, but second time through I finished them off
- Then finally found the damn treasure chest!
- Boinged back to Alinor and finished off writs, then did another round of them because the writs boards had reset
- Finally returned to room and logged off for the night
Psijic Artifact quest hunting
Finding the Chest of Condemnation tasked me. And it turned out to be another situation where I was finding conflicting information about the solution, because the clue given on this page was actively wrong. It was saying “East of Cloudrest”, and that was the exact opposite of where I needed to be.
As I learned when I finally cross-checked the in-game map against this map. The location is west of Cloudrest, not east.
This confused me enough that at one point I was even thinking “did they actually put this stupid thing inside Cloudrest? Am I going to have go in there?” And I did actually wind up accidentally doing so at one point, just because I keep hitting the wrong damn button on my controller and moving myself places when I don’t intend to.
(Which, side note: fast travel! Without wayshrines! I kind of find it annoying though that the game charges you gold to do this.)
I was vaguely startled that I was in fact able to just blip right into Cloudrest without having deliberately entered it before. I had the impression the place had been deliberately blocked off and that access was restricted? So I was surprised I was able to blip in there without taking initial quest steps.
As soon as I realized what I’d done, I left. Just because I did not want to try to get involved in running Cloudrest without having appropriate other players on hand to work with.
Once I found the Chest of Condemnation, though, I quickly found three more artifacts after that. And also finally found another Foul fishing spot near Corgrad Wastes, so I was pleased to have an opportunity to fish and burn through more of my Foul bait.
Matus-Akin Egg Mine delve
On Monday, took Paul with me to Morrowind and we wound up exploring some bits of it I hadn’t seen before, which was cool. But our main goal was to run a delve there, and the one we landed at was Matus-Akin Egg Mine!
Which was decent overall. I liked the local plot of “this madman’s developing a dangerous new kind of kwama, ohnoez”, even if honestly I couldn’t see what was so dangerous about the kwama in question? Because while we did find and fight several kwama in the place, they didn’t seem any more vicious or fast-proliferating than the ones we fought just wandering Morrowind in general.
Not surprised in the slightest though that the guy responsible for doing this was House Telvanni. 😀
General impressions of Ebonheart and of the Stonefalls area in general
This is one of the locations that appears in the Morrowind game, but it was way different than what I see in that game. For one thing, I don’t think I’d ever properly realized that Ebonheart is not actually on Vvardenfell. It’s on its own little island, between Vvardenfell and the Tamriel mainland. This is a thing I should have realized, I think, just because even in Morrowind, you can only get to Ebonheart by boat.
And in this game, you could only get to Ebonheart by crossing one of a few bridges.
Next, Ebonheart was a lot more complex and detailed in this game than in ESO, of course. Particularly liked that it included an Argonian section distinctly different from the main parts of the city.
And another thing I hadn’t properly learned while playing Morrowind: Red Mountain is not the only volcano in the area. There are two more in Stonefalls, Ash Mountain and Tormented Spire. Which means that there are other parts of Morrowind not immediately near Red Mountain that are also ash-ridden hellscapes! And even several of the nicer bits, like Ebonheart, are literally right across the water from active lava flows. Ash fell multiple times while I was running the side quest around Ebonheart, too, and I kept hearing rumbles from the volcano in the background.
So I gotta say, at this point I really kind of admire the Dunmer for being the people who go “yeah, active volcanos and lava flows and frequent ash falls? We want to live right here.”
Restoring Order quest
I didn’t go into Ebonheart actually expecting to run any local quests. But I had a thing happen that Paul has seen a bit more of than me so far: an NPC explicitly following me around and trying to get my attention. In my case, this was a messenger who really, really wanted to drop off a message with me.
So I interrupted my treasure hunt to talk to the guy and see what he wanted. He relayed a request from Drathus Othral, the Dunmer in charge of Ebonheart, to come and speak to him.
Drathus wanted my help in getting the three disparate communities of the Ebonheart Pact, all of whom had representatives in the city, to work with one another against the encroaching Daggerfall Covenant. So he wanted me to go speak to the leaders of the Dunmer, the Nords, and the Argonians all in the city.
I found this kind of hilarious, not only because of the usual aspect of “incoming stranger asked to solve a local problem” that always happens in games, but also because my character is an Altmer. I.e., the people specifically leading the Aldmeri Dominion. Not that Gyllerah is actually actively involved with the Aldmeri Dominion, she’s not, not really. But the locals in Ebonheart don’t know that!
So very bold, I feel, of Drathus to assume that I’m not an Aldmeri Dominion spy. Man must have been super desperate to get his situation resolved to nab an Altmer stranger exploring the edges of his city and ask her for help.
But because I am in fact a player character, I went ahead and ran the plot. And who knows, maybe Drathus scryed me from afar and saw I was trustworthy? 😉
Getting the Nords on board to help out basically required that I a) get drunk, and b) fight some of them. Which, LOL, Nords. Was also deeply amused that drinking some of the mead out of their keg did in fact blur my screen out a bit, to help the whole feeling of “this character is totally blitzed”.
I had to talk to a Dunmer priest for the Dark Elf portion of this, and this was perhaps the most interesting in terms of character development for Gyllerah. Because Disciple Sildras was having a crisis of faith and wasn’t able to bring himself to go to the nearby Tribunal Shrines to pray to Vivec, Sotha Sil, and Almalexia.
So I had to go to each of these shrines and do two things: a) clean up a pile of offal nearby, because apparently these shrines don’t have people specifically assigned to keep them clean, and b) actually pray to the Three at each to get guidance.
Praying in each place resulted in a ghostly messenger appearing, with a message from Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil. And this is the part I find interesting thinking about for Gyllerah, because again, she’s an Altmer, so she has no particular reason to look at the Tribunal as gods. It’s reasonable for her to have heard of them, certainly; she’s laid actual eyes on Sotha Sil at this point, so I feel like I can assume she actually asked around to at least find out who the Tribunal are. So she knows enough to know that they are considered the living gods of Morrowind.
But knowing that they’re living gods does not equate to them being her gods. So I feel like Gyllerah must have felt quite awkward trying to pray at these shrines, kind of the religious equivalent of “yeah, so is this thing on?” That she did in fact get answers at each of the shrines probably made her go “okay then, I guess they must actually be gods?”
Helping the Argonians required that I gather ingredients to help fertilize their ailing Hist tree. And I actively liked this part, just because I still don’t have much experience with Argonian NPCs from Skyrim and Morrowind.
All three of these sub-quests had a thing in common, though: a single Dark Elf, Rhavil Urano, who appeared to be the instigator of all three groups’ aggravation. So then I was tasked to investigate this guy, after Drathus put a scrying spell on me.
I had to follow Rhavil around from a distance. This took a time or two to trigger before I established the correct distance at which to follow him. At this point I noticed a couple of player characters also following him, and was amused that they were actively crouching, clearly trying to sneak after him. I didn’t bother to sneak. Apparently didn’t need to, even though I was in clear sight of the guy. I was apparently far enough away that this didn’t trigger him reacting to me.
He had a few suspicious conversation and then entered a suspicious shack. The other players went in there at the same time I did, which made it a little awkward to search the place and find the suspicious book that triggered a suspicious projection. Which had the expected reveal that ohnoez! Rhavil is totally a Covenant spy! Who could possibly have seen this coming?
And at this point I see Gyllerah thinking, “These guys better be glad I’m not actually an Aldmeri Dominion spy, because if I were, all of this would be extremely interesting information.”
The other players running the plot beat me back to Rhavil’s house, and were actually in the process of killing the guy when I got in there. So I had to wait for him to respawn so that I could kill him.
(Also, let me note that this was the first official time in this game that I had to break into a house. It was an officially requested break-in, so not really in the same league as breaking in with intent to steal. But I did get an achievement for it, LOL.
Relatedly: once Paul clued me in about how the lockpicking works in this game, and I finally got the hang of it, I have since been able to successfully pick every lock I’ve come across, even the Advanced ones on chests. So feeling a lot better about that mechanic, and am glad I won’t have to fight with it once I finally circle around to playing Oblivion.)
And killing Rhavil was the last necessary step to finally resolve the quest. Spy taken out, Drathas, and all three of your local representatives are now willing to talk to you. Have fun with that!
Dark Anchor at Daen Seeth Dolmen
As noted above, holy crap that was cool.
I feel like Gyllerah probably had a visceral, deep reaction to that thing. This woman has already fought several Daedra, and has now been to Oblivion, even. So I feel like she’s got grounds to have been particularly horrified by the sight of this thing falling out of the sky and locking on the ground. So I’m seeing her thinking oh shit this is bad, even as she flung herself into battle.
And as I think I’ve written before, I know the Dark Anchors are related to the main plot, which Paul and I still haven’t started yet. So arguably I’m coming at my first Dark Anchor kind of out of order, and there are questions here of exactly how much Gyllerah should know about them if anything. I’ll settle for now for a deep and powerful oh shit this is bad reaction out of her. With a possible side helping of is this something I should be remembering?
Paul has actually hit a couple of these as well in his solo wanderings, so he was able to point out a couple of useful things about the fight, like the glowing balls that popped up on the perimeter of the battle and needed shutting down. I was able to help the general melee by taking out one of these.
Finally finding that last treasure
Note for future me: this wiki page for Stonefalls Treasure Map I was misleading, because the screenshot shown underneath the sketch is not where the treasure actually is. So all that time I spent wandering in the vicinity of Ebonheart trying to find the buried treasure was useless. I mean, it actually let me run the fun little side plot and then do the Dark Anchor, so I’m not sorry I did it. But it didn’t do squat for letting me actually get the treasure for the map.
What did finally work was following the step by step instructions on this wiki page instead.
Paul and I have discussed the matter, and next time we play together we’ll do more of the Summerset plot. We’re getting to the point that stakes are upping in this plot, so looking forward to reaching its climax!
Boinged?! You described powerful teleportation magic as boinged? How shocking.
I tend to call it “fading,” which is not as colorful.
You said, “(Which, side note: fast travel! Without wayshrines! I kind of find it annoying though that the game charges you gold to do this.)” Yes, you can “boing” to a wayshrine from anywhere, but it costs gold (And it does not work in Cyrodiil). I am accustomed to using the chat command \stuck (https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Chat#Special_Commands) for such teleporting when I get stuck in a hole or wall, but it still costs 148 gold then, too. I saw in an Internet guide somewhere that if you do the non-wayshrine teleport twice in a row, the second time costs ten times as much.
Cloudrest is not a quest. It is a trial, a twelve-person group dungeon. Though I find trials not to my taste, some of my characters have been to Cloudrest. It is one of the best trials for beginners. Given the Summerset preference of Gyllerah, I recommend it as her first trial. There are trial channels in the Swamp Haven discord server for organizing trial runs, but you will have to talk to Cync or Amy for how they work.
You said, “And in this game, you could only get to Ebonheart by crossing one of a few bridges.” I often find myself swimming to Ebonheart from the Daen Seeth Dolmen. Strangely, though the Ebonheart Pact is named after the city, Davan’s Watch to the east is the most important city in Stonefalls, the one with a bank and crafting stations.
A character can defeat a Dark Anchor solo at around CP 160, That CP is a milepost, because it is the highest level on weapons and armor. Fewer monsters show up for fewer PCs (https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Dark_Anchors).
The four pinions (glowing balls) at the perimeter are not a hazard. Instead, destroying one restores the magick, health, and stamina resources of all the heroes fighting to defeat the Dark Anchor. And once all four are down, Molag Bal boasts and summons a final boss and a fifth pinion to the fight. After the boss and its minions are down, destroying the fifth pinion breaks the Dark Anchor and summons a shared treasure chest of rewards. The chest always contains one jewelry item of one of the three local overland sets, so Dark Anchors are a good way to acquire a matched jewelry set. Another warning about the Dark Anchors is that a sparking static charge will form under any PC who stands in one place too long. It will explode and damage the PC unless they move quickly.
You said, “I found this kind of hilarious, not only because of the usual aspect of ‘incoming stranger asked to solve a local problem’ that always happens in games, but also because my character is an Altmer. I.e., the people specifically leading the Aldmeri Dominion. Not that Gyllerah is actually actively involved with the Aldmeri Dominion, she’s not, not really. But the locals in Ebonheart don’t know that!” The Cadwell’s Silver and Cadwell’s Gold quests, designed when the three factions of ESO were more separate, lets the PCs quest in other factions. Cadwell said, “Touch Meridia’s light and see the world through the eyes of your former enemies. But fair warning—you will no longer be seen as a great champion. Even familiar faces will see you as a soulless drifter, lost in an unfamiliar land. What say you?” A side effect of the former enemies not seeing the PCs as a great champion is that they see the PC as one of them. This effect was not altered when the One Tamriel update gave the PCs other ways to visit other factions.
I am rather disconcerted when my Aldmeri Dominion characters see Aldmeri Dominion soldiers committing atrocities on other faction’s zones. My gut reaction is, “I must tell Queen Ayrenn. Her lieutenants have gone beyond their orders!” But the game allows only defeating those Aldmeri Dominion soldiers in combat.
Finally, Stonefalls Treasure Map I is terrible. I keep assuming the treasure is near the lava. I once had Amy walk me to it step by step to find the treasure.
I know Cloudrest is a Trial dungeon, yes. And I know what Trials are; I’ve looked that up. I’ve gotten a great deal of information off the UESP wiki, not only while playing Elder Scrolls Online specifically, but also while playing Skyrim and Morrowind. And I’ve already looked up a great deal of information on my own about ESO’s stuff in particular and what terminologies are in play, and which locations are Delves, which are Trials, which are Public Dungeons, etc.
The only things I do not tend to look up in advance are specifics about the details of a quest, so as to not know every last detail of a plot once I start running it. But I have looked up a lot of things about the overall structure of a quest line, just to get an idea of how many hops might be in a quest line and what rewards I can expect.
With Cloudrest in particular, I knew it was a Trial already, and specifically knowing it was a Trial is why I went right back out of there as soon as I realized I didn’t want to run it without backup.
Re: “boing”, heh, you do realize I’m not using the language here that Gyllerah herself would use, right? I’m not that formal about this playthrough blog. If I really wanted to get into using the terminology my characters would actually use, I’d be writing out dialogue or narrative for them, and I usually don’t go to that level of detail.
But I’ve been using “boing” as a synonym for fast travel pretty much since starting to play Skyrim last year. This is not new on my part. I have also used “Arvak’d”, “Daedric-horsed”, and “quaff-traveled” as synonyms of fast travel, if I have to invoke one of those means to let myself move somewhere while overburdened. In ESO in particular, I’ve also been using “wayshrined” in a similar context.
(That said: it has in fact periodically occurred to me that I could easily write fic about one or more of my characters’ adventures, and this may actually happen at some point. Which is part of why I post detailed playthrough writeups. If nothing else so that I can come back to them later and remind myself what I did in case I do decide to write Elder Scrolls fic.)
Noted about the glowing balls. And yes, I saw the chest with the loot manifest at the one I fought.
The Caldwell’s thing is not a thing I’ve looked up in depth on the wiki, though, so thank you for sharing that. Interesting to see which bits of the game changed with One Tamriel, and which bits didn’t.
And lol, I take comfort in knowing that I wasn’t the only one who found that treasure “map” annoying. 😉 I don’t care for the ones that are rough sketches of where the treasure is supposed to be. I much prefer the ones that are actual maps, or at least explicit written notes about where I should be looking. Because no matter how much I might wish otherwise, I can’t spend all damn day tromping all over a zone looking for the exact match of terrain of whatever’s in the sketch! I got plots to run!