Kendis Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Kendis Goes Bandit Hunting

Still doing a lot of the quests originating in Whiterun, before I finally set off for the Throat of the World. This session featured hitting Redoran’s Retreat and Valtheim Towers.

Play by play

  • Play date: 12/10/2022
  • Session number in this run: 4
  • Picked up from the Bannered Mare
  • Got courier with letter from Jarl of Falkreath
  • Popped back into the inn and bought a few food items from Hulda; cooked a venison chop
  • Then set out for Redoran’s Retreat to do the bandit bounty
  • Killed a couple wolves; got chilly, but no other problems on the way
  • Got in and took out all bandits, let Lydia mostly take out the bandit chief
  • Got Treasure Map IV out of the chest there
  • Returned to Whiterun and crashed at the inn
  • Collected bounty from Proventus for 100 gold
  • Did assorted bits of shopping, including selling my sword since I have the Bound Sword spell now
  • Made Leather Scout Armor
  • Decided to go to Valtheim for Amren’s sword
  • Saw M’aiq
  • Killed five wolves on the way; got Rockjoint again off one
  • Killed by bandits as soon as I got to the tower–because I never reached the bandit who usually demands a toll, she was instantly hostile, and came running over to attack me as soon as I was in range, WTF
  • Thrown back to coming out of the Whiterun gates, so take two of going to Valtheim
  • Second time past White River Watch got first wolf again
  • Found Talsgar the Wanderer having killed a couple of bandits; bard’s rather more badassed than one might give him credit for 😉
  • Headed on over to Valtheim
  • Spotted three wolves again, but went by them fast enough that they didn’t come after me and Lyds
  • Toll bandit once again went straight to hostile, but this time Lyds and I took her out
  • Proceeded to run the rest of the tower
  • Picked up a bunch of food and other items
  • Read the Archery skill book, which unlocked a level up
  • Cleared the iron vein behind the back tower
  • Got Amren’s sword
  • Headed back to Whiterun and killed another wolf, but then got killed by a second wolf and a frigging spriggan, yikes
  • Thrown back to just before getting Amren’s sword
  • Re-read the skill book and got the level up, but this time since there was a bed right there, slept a couple hours in it so I could actually take the level up to 10
  • Took a Health bump and Regeneration perk in Restoration
  • Re-took most of the loot in the tower and headed back to Whiterun
  • No wolves and spriggan this time, made it all the way back to the city
  • Passed a guard who threw me the line about hearing they’re reforming the Dawnguard, which immediately started the Dawnguard questline
  • Khajiit were still on site so sold Ri’saad some of the loot items
  • Went to inn and crashed for 11 hours
  • Got up and returned Amren’s sword to him; got bumps in One-handed and Block
  • Sold a few things to Belethor
  • Saved at that point for next time


At the beginning of this session, it occurred to me that since I’m running Survival Mode and running a character who hopes to be a mage, that I could save myself a bit of encumbrance if I tried to stick to Bound weapons. So since I’d bought the Bound Sword spell from Farengar, I tried getting rid of my physical sword.

But during this session, I also determined a drawback with this approach. Drawing a physical sword is one action. Casting Bound Sword means two actions, assuming you already have the spell equipped on one hand or the other: raising your hands, and then casting the spell. It also takes a couple seconds for the sword to materialize.

And that’s a few extra seconds in which a charging wolf has the opportunity to damage you.

So if I’m going to continue with this strategy, it’s going to be important to let Lydia do initial charging at incoming hostiles, so that I can in fact cast Bound Sword safely before entering the fray.

This definitely came into play approaching Valtheim Towers. Because I had a weird thing happen there: I never made it to the front door of the towers, where a bandit usually demands a toll from the player. Not this time. The toll bandit came charging straight at me as soon as I was within range, and went straight to the attack.

A quick search finds me examples of forum posts and threads where this has happened to other players. A couple of possible causes are mentioned:

  1. The player approaches the towers too quickly
  2. The player has a spell active

Number 2 may be applicable for me here since I think I might have had the Bound Sword active? But I don’t know for sure. I’ll have to see if this happens again later on, once the towers respawn later in the playthrough.

Having to sleep to trigger level ups has already started making me think of taking advantage of places to sleep. This was helpful in the towers, since the place has a few beds and bedrolls. So I figure Kendis crashing with Lydia on guard was appropriate. (And this makes me think that Kendis is definitely fairly young, not really battle-hardened yet, and only beginning to build her strength and stamina.)

I think this may be the first time I’ve triggered the Dawnguard questline by a guard delivering the rumor about reforming the Dawnguard, as opposed to being directly appropriated by Durak actively recruiting? I didn’t know that could happen. Good to know! (Presumably, if I hadn’t heard the guard deliver that line, Durak would have met me as soon as I made it back to Whiterun.)

Next time

It feels like time to head to High Hrothgar, so now I have the challenge of deciding which way to take. I know of two general paths to get there, and both of them have potential Survival Mode problems.

If I go the path past Valtheim Towers, I’ll need to leave the road and there will be increased chances of wolves. And probably diseases.

If I go the southern path past Helgen, that’ll mean roads all the way to Ivarstead, but it’ll also mean a longer stretch of cold environments.

I’ll need to think about which way to take! And see if Arcadia has any more fire salts I can use to make hot soups.


No screenshots this time.

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.