Main two themes of this session were Kendis joining the Companions, and then going to confront Kematu about the Saadia situation–which turned out to go the opposite way I expected!
Play by play
- Play date: 12/11/2022
- Session number in this run: 5
- Picked up where I left off in Bannered Mare
- Durak showed up after all to recruit me for the Dawnguard; told him I’m not interested for now
- Also got courier with letter for the warrior’s challenge at Hendraheim
- Did some shopping about
- Went to Jorrvaskr and joined up with the Companions–if nothing else just to get the free place to sleep!
- Told Lyds to stay put downstairs while I went out back to train with Vilkas
- Took his sword to Eorlund Gray-Mane
- Talked to Eorlund and got the shield to take to Aela
- Got aela to tell Farkas to show me where I’m sleeping, and hurray! I have somewhere to leave things (dresser in the general quarters)!
- Got Lydia following me again
- Got quest from Farkas to go take out a rogue mage at Rannveig’s Fast
- Went back out and up to Dragonsreach
- Destroyed Iron Mace of Weariness from bandit loot on the enchanter table
- Bought spellbooks for Conjure Flame Atronach and Lesser Ward from Farengar
- Went back out again and attempted to go to Swindler’s Den to take out Kematu
- However: complication arrived at the Western Watchtower in the form of a dragon, which Lydia, the guards, and I killed
- So naturally I had to loot the dragon bits, but of course this got me overloaded ;P
- And since it was raining, I also made it to “very cold” tromping slowly back to Whiterun
- Made it back to the Bannered Mare and rested up
- Sold dragon bits to Arcadia and bought a bunch of her ingredients; made potions
- Then went out again to try to take out Kematu
- Marked Fort Greymoor for the map
- Encountered mage fight on the way to Swindler’s Den
- Called up the flame atronach to throw at them
- Found the shrine I’ll need to come back to later for The Cause
- Spotted a giant and a mammoth in the distance, did not get close enough to engage; might have been at least one other mammoth or giant I didn’t see? I took a frame rate hit right through there
- Made it to Swindler’s Den though, and took out exterior bandit, then first few bandits inside
- Got a level up, but couldn’t sleep on one of the bed rolls without taking out the nearest other bandits in earshot
- Once I did that, took a two hour nap so I could level up to 11
- Took Stamina bump and first perk in Sneak
- Next group of bandits was large and they killed me once, and beat pretty hard on Lydia
- Second time through though I threw the flame atronach fast enough to take them out more quickly, and we proceeded on through
- Finally made it to Kematu and realized that Kendis was probably moved by his saying “nobody else has to die”–so she agreed to help him
- So back out to Whiterun; spotted giant and mammoth again near the same shrine
- Spotted flame atronach vs. Vigilant of Stendarr on the way back, threw my own flame atronach at it, and oh hey fire salts! Yes please more Hot Soups! 😀
- Made it back into Whiterun and convinced Saadia to come out to the stables, and delivered her to Kematu
- Went back to Jorrvaskr this time to crash
- Got up and went to the forge to sell a few things to Adrianne; made some leather and then some Leather Scout Boots to finish out my Leather Scout armor
- Sold enough things to Adrianne and Belethor combined to top 1300 gold
- Shopped around a little with Anoriath, Carlotta, and Hulda to try to find salt to use for cooking, got two salts; made hot vegetable soup and a couple other salted meat things for later
- Went up to Dragonsreach and destroyed the mage robes i got off one of the fighting mages, and the robe from the Vigilant, to pick up the enchantments
- Saved at that point for next time
First thing I learned in this session was, even if Dawnguard starts by you overhearing the rumor line from the guard, Durak will still show up to try to recruit you. So that’s good to know. Yay, Durak!
Second major notable thing of the session was, I decided to go ahead and join the Companions. A few motivators for this, mostly driven by Survival Mode, but not entirely:
- I have to care about regular sleeping now, and Jorrvaskr means a free place to sleep
- It also means I have somewhere to put things I don’t necessarily want to carry around; there’s a dresser in the general quarters that I can use, and that’s important to keep down the carry weight
- Being able to turn into a werewolf might actually save me in super cold environments
- Companions side quests mean more opportunity to make money, and I need a house ASAP, and also a horse
- Given Kendis’ background as a Redguard, it actually felt kind of appropriate for her
Given that I was underwhelmed by being a werewolf when I played Delga, I’ll have to see how well I take to it a second time through. I am not above taking advantage of being furry if necessary to survive freezing environments, though!
Since I remembered very vividly what happened the first time I joined the Companions and went out back with Vilkas to train, I told Lydia to stay put inside Jorrvaskr before doing that. Can’t have my housecarl flipping out just because I’m sparring with a guy!
And heh, as soon as Farkas showed me where I’m sleeping, he also gave me a quest to go take out a rogue mage. Which happened to be the guy at Rannveig’s Fast. CAN DO.
But I was also amused that he complained about magic users in general. The game did not give me an opportunity to respond to that, but I rather envision Kendis saying cheerfully, “Well, I’m a magic user, but I hope you like me anyway. And I’ll go deal with that rogue for you.” That should give Farkas something to mull! It’ll take him a while. He is dumb as a sack of warhammers. 😀
As I try to do with any character I’m trying to have specialize in magic, I’ve started accumulating spells as available gold permits. And I skipped past Conjure Familiar and went straight to Conjure Flame Atronach here, as that’s more actively useful in combat at low levels. I haven’t seen any evidence that being able to conjure a flame atronach means an extra source of warmth, but I feel like that ought to be a thing in Survival Mode, LOL.
I can see Kendis and Lydia camping out on a road trip when it’s pouring down rain, and Kendis calling up the atronach.
Lydia, drawing the Axe of Whiterun: “Wait, what, is something coming? Are we under attack?”
Kendis: “No, I’m just cold and it’s hard to get the fire going when the wood is soaking wet.” (She hands a hunk of firewood to the atronach, which promptly catches on fire, and she has the atronach set the log down on the campfire.)
Lydia: “Oh, that is better. But it’s still raining.”
Kendis: “Yeah well, I don’t know any make the rain go away spells yet, working on that!”
But anyway, aside from joining the Companions, the main action of this session was resolving the In My Time of Need plot. Take 1 of my attempt to do this only let me get as far as the Western Watchtower before a dragon showed up.
Lesson from that: I have really got to get out of the habit of picking up everything while in Survival Mode. Because as useful as dragon bits are for getting cold, they’re also frigging heavy. And since you get tired super fast while being over-encumbered, and fatigue leaves you more vulnerable to damage and disease, I need to break that habit now before I start traveling in more dangerous areas.
I did make it back to Whiterun with all the dragon bits and loot, but I saw my first sign of getting “Very Cold”, which certainly seemed problematic. I used my one Hot Soup for that, which helped some, but not for very long. I also burned through a torch, which also didn’t seem to help for very long. But it did at least let me make it to the road up to the Whiterun gates, where I could keep pausing for warmth by all the braziers.
Second lesson to be taken from that: rain in Survival Mode is highly uncomfortable, and I may need to consider camping out to wait for weather to clear. Joy.
Once I got all the dragon bits sold, I went back out again to try to reach Swindler’s Den. This time, I actually made it there. And I had thought that Kendis would side with Saadia this time through, in general solidarity with a fellow Redguard woman who had to flee their homeland.
But once I finally made it to Kematu, it occurred to me that his line “nobody else has to die” probably stood strongly out to Kendis. She’s young and idealistic, and while she’s not afraid of entering combat, it’s not necessarily something she actively wants. She and Lydia had to fight pretty hard to get through the initial stretches of the cave–and getting through half a dozen bandits is not the same thing as getting through half a dozen Alik’r warriors. Particularly if you’re already tired from fighting the half a dozen bandits.
As a Redguard, Kendis probably even actively knows that better than most, even if she only knows of the Alik’r warriors from Hammerfell lore rather than direct experience.
So that single line got her attention, and made her willing to let Kematu say his side of the story. At which point Kendis was aghast to hear that Saadia had committed treason. And so she agreed to help him.
Don’t get me wrong, there was also definitely an aspect here of “six Alik’r warriors will probably hand Lyds and me our asses”. But Kendis’ reaction was legit for her character, I think. And I’m pretty sure she was not at all happy about this, because she didn’t like having to rat out one of her own people in this foreign land, even if others of her own people were the ones searching for her. It’ll probably also make her be a little more cautious than she’d like when dealing with other Redguards in Skyrim.
(I just went back and reviewed my earlier playthroughs, and by and large I seem to have a habit of siding with Kematu. Almost all of my previous playthroughs were in Kematu’s favor, with Merawen as the one exception. But I had a very visceral memory of how tight the space was with six Alik’r warriors trying to come and me and Lyds, and I did not want to try that in Survival Mode.
But what this tells me is, Harrow definitely ought to side with Saadia when I get to this point in her playthrough!)
On the way back to Whiterun, getting to fight a flame atronach had the happy result of “oh hey, more fire salts!” I expect I’m going to spend this entire playthrough happy to get hold of fire salts. And this also tells me I need to get access to the mage college ASAP, just so I can make more fire salts on the Atronach Forge.
I definitely need a horse ASAP to mitigate this whole issue of my Stamina being eaten if I’m overloaded. And given that I have over 1300 gold, I should have enough at this point to buy a Wild Horses map and try to find one of the wild horses in the game, a thing I never did during Shenner’s playthrough. I need to see if I can do this yet, or if this is going to require me to go find that journal at the Arcaneum first–another reason to make it to the mage college!
There’s also a real interesting question here of whether Kendis might turn into my first character to own multiple horses. But the only thing keeping me from committing to that is knowing that if I get one or more of the horses in the Wild Horses set, and I change horses at any time, they will wander back off to where I originally found them. And that’s sub-optimal in Survival Mode. I will need to think about this!
Meanwhile, I’m now getting to a point of having to think strategically about which house to get first, and balance this against what plots I need to do next.
Breezehome is the traditional first player house, but it’s less critical with Jorrvaskr available, and once I hit the part of the Companions quest line that makes me a werewolf, I won’t be able to get resting bonuses anyway. So having an owned bed inside Whiterun proper will mostly mean useful space to drop stuff.
What will be more immediately critical, I think, is setting up known places where I can actually safely stop, for the sake of longer journeys. And where I can build up loot caches for later selling.
Hendraheim is now in play, now that I have the courier note for that. And that would also put me in range of Rorikstead, which would let me pick up Goldenhills. Getting that farm set up as a source of food–and by extension, soups–feels like a thing I’d better do sooner rather than later.
Hmm, and come to think of it, Survival Mode may mean I’ll have more need of the various pets in the Pets of Skyrim questline, too. At least, the goat. And if I head for Rorikstead, that’ll put me in goat-purchasing range.
So I feel like a sweep through Hendraheim, Rorikstead, Goldenhills, and then over to Rannveig’s Fast before finally returning to Whiterun might be called for here.
Editing to add
- 11/25/2023: Restored missing gallery.