Shenner Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Shenner Slays Alduin the World-Eater

This post covers Shenner’s final sessions, two sessions in which I made a hard push through the end game: confronting Alduin on the Throat of the World, arranging the peace conference to pause the war, trapping Odahviing at Dragonsreach, fighting my way through Skuldafn, and last but most definitely not least, slaying Alduin in Sovngarde.

Highlights

  • Play dates: 11/18-11/19/2022
  • Session numbers in this run: 74-75

Friday’s play

  • Picked up where I left off in Whiterun; sold a few things
  • Boinged to Fort Dawnguard
  • Got in late but found Dexion awake and at the grindstone, so I gave him the Blood and Sun scrolls
  • Crashed on one of the cots in the fort until the morning
  • Then gave Sorine her schematic for the exploding ice bolts; didn’t bother to take another quest from her
  • Boinged to Septimus’ outpost to give him the blood samples; cue his disintegration
  • Got the Oghma Infinium; took the Path of Might to bump all my combat stats
  • This leveled me up to 69; took a Health bump and dropped a perk point on Fence in the Speech tree
  • Boinged next to the Throat of the World; cue Paarthurnax and running the cutscene to get dragonrend
  • Initial fight with Alduin went surprisingly easily; hit him with Dragonrend right out of the gate, which grounded him; kept Shouting at him to keep him down while I hit him with arrows
  • Gogh and Swift Wind both got in their own hits in the battle <3
  • Alduin made his cranky retreat
  • Talked to Paarthurnax to get the plan to trap a dragon in Dragonsreach for intel on where the fuck Alduin went
  • Boinged to Dragonsreach to talk to Balgruuf, and got him on board by promising to put a halt to the war
  • Boinged back to High Hrothgar and got Arngeir on board with hosting a peace talk
  • Boinged to Solitude; took wrong conversational prompt, which led to Tullius making a smartassed remark about directing me to the nearest prison, LOL; still, got him on board with showing up at the peace talk
  • Boinged to Windhelm to talk to Ulfric; got him on board to show up at High Hrothgar as well
  • Returned to High Hrothgar for the peace talk
  • Played out as per previous playthroughs, aside from a bit of timing issue with Delphine and Esbern showing up
  • Bolted out of the chamber before Delphine could corner me about killing Paarthurnax
  • Boinged back to Whiterun to do the trapping of Odahviing; played that out as per previous playthroughs as well; agreed to free Odahviing and get him to take me to Skuldafn
  • Started running Skuldafn, and was able to summon a dremora lord for backup finally, which rapidly bumped my Conjuration; also got a workout in Heavy Armor and One-handed; Heavy Armor hit 100
  • Leveled up to 70; bumped Health again and dropped a perk point on One-handed to bump up my damage output some more
  • Went through Skuldafn to the point of confronting the Draugr Death Overlord with the diamond claw
  • Saved there and paused until next time

Saturday’s play

  • Picked up where i left off in Skuldafn
  • Went through the diamond dragon door
  • Threw the dremora lord at a few more draugr, then fought the dragon priest to get through the portal to Sovngarde
  • Spotted usual NPCs en route to Tsun
  • Claimed the right of birth and being Dragonborn to enter the Hall of Valor
  • Lots more control in the final battle with Alduin, too; hitting him with Dragonrend fast and grounding him quickly is definitely the key
  • Tsun gave me the Shout to call a hero of Sovngarde, then sent me back to Tamriel
  • Did the dragon epilogue on the Throat of the World <3
  • Boinged home with Swift Wind and Gogh to Heljarchen
  • Heh, Lucia honey, Gogh is still not my pet, really going to have to teach this kid how to speak goblin as soon as I figure it out
  • But first, y’know, I want a nap beside my husband
  • FINI, SHENNER IS RETIRED

Commentary

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I was getting to the point of feeling done with Shenner’s playthrough. I want to move on to playthroughs where I can run mods, and also one in which I’ll do Survival Mode. So I decided to go ahead and make a hard push through the rest of the major plot points, just to get Shenner some closure before I retire her as a character.

The main plot points are all familiar at this point so I won’t go into detail about them here. But here are the differences I can note this time through.

One: getting the Oghma Infinium after running Dragonborn was not particularly interesting. Hermaeus Mora just basically greeted me as “champion”, and I was given a shorter list of dialogue prompts to talk to him, one which was “what now?” and the other which was “I’m not your champion, monster”. I took “what now?”

Two: running the cutscene to get Dragonrend, and having it work flawlessly, was a nice refreshing change of pace. I’m not sure how much of it was due to my running on PC (well, on Win11 VM on my Mac, but close enough) and how much of it was my running the USSEP, but either way, I appreciated it actually working correctly.

Bonus that running it on my Win11 VM, in Ultra tier graphics, made it all that much more visually stunning.

Extra bonus that I’d chosen to try out using the same PS4 controller I use for Elder Scrolls Online–and that thing gave me a lot more rumble than I get off the Switch Pro controller. I really kinda dig that. I’m wondering now if I can up the rumble on the Switch Pro controller.

Three: the initial fight on the Throat of the World went surprisingly easily. This is the first time I’ve fought that battle on a PC, and I had a lot more precision and control. I was able to down Alduin quickly with Dragonrend, and keep him down with repeated Shouts, while pelting him with arrows.

Gogh, bless his little goblin heart, valiantly tromped into the fight. Gogh, comma, the level 6 goblin with only 116 Health points! Damn good thing he’s Essential, otherwise he’d have been fried the instant he got anywhere near Alduin. But he stomped right up to the dragon to poke him with the Spear of Bitter Mercy. Little guy may be squishy, but I cannot fault his bravery. 😀

Likewise, it was delightful to see Swift Wind gallop up on Alduin from the dragon’s other end, to get in his own strikes in the battle! What a good unicorn!

I knew it would do fuck all to actually keep shooting at Alduin during his final lines to me in that first battle, but kept shooting at him anyway. Because I feel like Shenner would be doing everything in her power to take the damn dragon out. She probably clued in partway through the arrow storm that she wasn’t actually killing him, at which point she would have kept shooting anyway on general principles. Because fuck Alduin. If she couldn’t kill him at that point, she could at least make him uncomfortable!

Four: Going to Solitude to talk to General Tullius had an unexpected little wrinkle I hadn’t played through before. I took the wrong conversational prompt with him, because I’d forgotten which one to take. The one I chose at first was the one where I told him I was at Helgen, and which led me towards volunteering to fight for the Empire. But I backed out of that conversation to try again with the correct option, telling him I was there with a message from the Greybeards.

And when I initiated that second attempt to talk, he had a snarky line about what did I need from him, maybe to be directed to the nearest prison? Lololol.

Five: Bit of oddity in playing through the peace talk in High Hrothgar, just because the timing of Delphine and Esbern’s arrival seemed off. I got Arngeir to tell me to take my seat in the council chamber, but Delphine and Esbern didn’t show up until after I was actually in there and sitting down. So I heard Delphine throw her initial line, but I didn’t hear her full conversation with Arngeir

This did not, however, stop Delphine and Esbern from coming on into the council.

Six: Trapping Odahviing in Dragonsreach also played out more quickly than I’m used to it doing. For one thing, as Dara correctly pointed out, I’m better at Skyrim after all the practice I’ve had at it. For another thing, the improved precision and control I’ve got when playing on my laptop meant I was able to ground Odahviing fast with Dragonrend, and get him trapped super quickly. It also certainly didn’t hurt that I remembered quickly that yes, I need to actually ground him with the Shout, I can’t just shoot at him like I would most dragons.

Seven: Thanks to the previous session played, when I showed up in Skuldafn I was able to summon a dremora lord for backup. Just one, but one was enough! I kept calling up that guy to help me cut a swath through all the Draugr Deathlords between me and the portal to Sovngarde.

Eight: Utterly unsurprisingly, Sovngarde looked even more beautiful in Ultra tier graphics. <3

Nine: And last but not least, the same improved precision and control meant that the final battle with Alduin went a lot faster. And seeing Alduin burn up in the improved graphics… wow. :O

And that’s that. Shenner is now officially retired! And will live out the rest of her days in peace and happiness at Heljarchen Hall, with Rulnik and Lucia and Sofie. <3

Next time

Stand by for the final thoughts post!

And for the first post of Harrowhark’s playthrough, as Harrowhark is now stepping up to be my replacement PC Skyrim playthrough–with mods!

Screenshots

As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.

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