Double-session Kendis post, to clear out the queue! Main action here, running the Blessings of Nature quest and getting the Gildergreen renewed. But a side helping of journal recovery, zombie fighting, and finally getting a steward for Goldenhills Plantation.
Play by play
- Play dates: 12/25, 12/27/2022
- Session numbers in this run: 12-13
- Picked up in Breezehome
- First attempted action: temporarily dismissing Lydia so that I could hire Jenassa and see about making her the steward at Goldenhills; got jenassa all the way there only to discover SHE CAN’T BE HIRED AS A STEWARD, fuck, so rolled back from that
- Next attempted action: going over to see if I could take out the Saints bandit camp since I’d hit level 20; answer: yes, but it took me a few tries
- Fully looted the camp and freed the elytra nymph
- Got all the Golden gear and the bandit leader’s journal, as well as the note about where to find the secret info on how to smith the Golden and Dark gear
- Rode back to Whiterun
- Khajiit were on site (I’d seen them coming in on the way out!) so I stopped to sell all the bandit loot to them and buy a bunch of soul gems and ingredients
- Got courier with the museum letter
- Headed back in for inventory management
- Created necklace and ring with 18% frost resist enchantments, but may or may not be useful, see below
- Decided to try to get another Companions job; got quest from Aela to go steal Silver Hand plans from Faldar’s Tooth
- Got Blessings of Nature quest from Danica
- Headed out again to try to do a sweep through Falkreath’s favor quests
- Got minor favor quest to take ashes to Runil, and Runil’s quest to get his journal
- That gave me three quests all clustered in the same area, so I decided to go at them
- First up: Runil’s journal quest in Southfringe Sanctum, near Fort Neugrad
- Spent two of the camping supplies in my inventory for opportunities to rest and warm up
- Ran Southfringe Sanctum, and realized that it didn’t seem to count as “inside” for resting purposes, or for temperature; had to take advantage of several braziers in the place to maintain a warmth level
- Did not run the part of the cave with the spiders and the trapped mage; just did the bandits and the necromancer boss, and recovered Runil’s journal from the boss chest and other loot
- Got back out again, hit orichalcum and silver veins near the cave
- Found the zombie ritual site while trying to find the path back down the mountain
- Went wolfy for the cold protection and took out the zombies; noted I was not able to feed on them
- Actual ritual spot had fires so I was able to warm up there and wait to turn human again
- Returned to campsite where horse was waiting; rested and warmed up there
- Finally rode to Orphan Rock; overloaded when I got there so primarily relied on Lydia, flame atronach, and horse to fight the witches and the hagraven
- I did however get in some shots with the Bow of Shadows
- Ceared both chests; got ingredients off the alchemy table by the tent; got Nettlebane off the hagraven
- Had to hunt around for where Lightning ran off to, then finally mounted up and headed back to Whiterun
- Picked up again at Breezehome
- Did a little inventory management
- Chopped wood and bought some pelts to make leather for more camping supplies
- Went to the temple to report in about Nettlebane and pick up Maurice
- Set out with Lydia and Maurice for the Eldergleam Sanctuary
- Valtheim towers had hostiles in it but didn’t bother to stop and fight them
- Found hostile Khajiit at crossroads spawn point; Lyds and Maurice drove him into the water; went in after them and looted the Khajiit when Lydia killed him
- Got me overloaded but didn’t have far to tromp back to the horse
- Continued to follow the road on around to Mixwater Mill
- No obstacles to keep us from reaching the Sanctuary; ran it as per usual
- Came out again and heard dragon in the distance but it didn’t show up to fight, so I mounted up and headed back
- Decided to stop at Hillgrund’s Tomb and run the place, to pick up Golldir as a temporary follower so I could get him set up as steward at Goldenhills
- This worked well, no major issues running the place
- Only minor issue was a draugr giving me Brown Rot, even though I’m a werewolf, there is apparently a bug with diseases and werewolves in Survival Mode, see below
- Gave Golldir the steel plate armor items I got off the Khajiit so he’d have some actual decent armor to wear
- Sent Lyds home to Whiterun–and passed her on the way while I rode over to the plantation with Golldir
- Passed but did not engage Thalmor + prisoner
- Reached the farm and hired Golldir who was honored to be my steward; gave him all my money to furnish up the place
- Crashed in the upstairs bedroom so I could rest up and get back to non-Drained Fatigue status
- Got up the next morning and nabbed a bunch of ingredients both for food and for alchemy
- Rode back to Whiterun
- Passed but did not engage an assassin, because fuck you I’m on a horse, good luck catching me on foot, asshole
- Reached Whiterun!
- Sold loot items to Adrianne and Belethor
- Ysolda commented I looked a little sickly, yes indeed I feel like shit, and I am headed to the temple right now, but also because I have this sapling here, make way, coming through
- Reported in to Danica at the temple and gave her the sapling
- Then prayed at the shrine, and oh good, Blessing of Kynareth + disease cured, that’s better
- Returned to Breezehome and cooked a few foods! Including a new hot soup!
- Saved until next time
This was a very educational couple of sessions!
First lesson learned: remember to check the wiki for the list of NPCs who are eligible to be stewards, before trying to hire them as stewards. For either the Hearthfire houses or Goldenhills Plantation. Jenassa is not on this list. It would have been wise of me to confirm this before I got her all the way to Goldenhills. DOH.
(But ah well, it’s for the best, Jenassa doesn’t really strike me as the domestic ‘stay home and run a farm’ type, anyway!)
Next up: seeing if I could go take out the Saints bandit camp, since I’d passed level 20! I was able to do this, but it took me a few tries. I even tried going at them as a werewolf, but that didn’t work well, since I was outnumbered and still not accustomed to the mechanics of fighting while wolfy.
What finally worked best:
- Riding Lightning (comma, my unkillable horse) over close enough that he could join in the combat
- Calling up the flame atronach while in Sneak
- Shooting at them once with the Bow of Shadows to initiate combat
- Then engaging in melee and whacking skulls with my Skyforge steel axe
Second lesson learned: you can apparently have only two active pets at once. I found this out when freeing the elytra nymph, and saw that I couldn’t activate it as a following pet because I have Hilda and Thistle already doing so. I did at least get the spell to teleport it, though.
Third lesson learned: I made some jewelry with Resist Frost enchantments, a ring and a necklace both. But I only discovered after making them that information I’d been acting on, i.e., that Resist Frost could help in Survival Mode, might have been mistaken! So far the information I’m finding on this is contradictory–but leaning in a direction of “it helps you resist frost damage, it does not bump up your Warmth stats”. In which case: damn. I thought this was a good idea!
Fourth lesson, on the way to fetching Runil’s journal from Southfringe Sanctum: High Hrothgar is not the only place that can clock in at “treacherously cold”. Which was a daunting lesson to learn, given that this was rather less elevation than the Throat of the World! It makes me worried about how well I’m going to be able to travel anywhere in the northern areas of the map.
Corollary to this, which I’d already noticed on the Throat of the World and was able to confirm here: it definitely gets colder at night. So that’s the time for camping.
While running Southfringe Sanctum, cold continued to be a problem as well–because that cave complex is not a closed-off cavern. It’s got open access to the sky over most of it. So it was a damned good thing that the bandits in there had set up various braziers with fires, where I could stop to warm up. And I didn’t spend any more time in there than necessary; I didn’t go down into the part with the spiders and the trapped necromancer. I needed this to be a surgical strike, get in, get the journal, get out.
Lesson five: werewolves cannot feed on zombies! I went wolfy while fighting the zombies at the ritual site near Southfringe Sanctum, just for protection against the cold. The zombies were comparatively easy to kill, but I could not feed on them like I can other slain NPCs. Presumably the idea here is that zombies are dead flesh, and therefore “not food”.
This time going to Eldergleam Sanctuary, I kept to the roads mostly until I had no choice but to cut cross-country, past Mixwater Mill. Two advantages to this:
- Less risk to Maurice
- Less risk to me with staying out of chilly air
An interesting addition to the set of changes in my game planning that Survival Mode necessitates, a trend I’m starting to see developing as I continue this playthrough.
Another aspect of this is that I’m trying to uphold advice I saw about stacking quests together if they’re all close to one another, to minimize travel time. Which is why, on the way back from Eldergleam Sanctuary, I decided to stop and run Hillgrund’s Tomb. Because I knew that’d get me Golldir as a free follower that I could employ as a steward.
And there, I learned lesson number six: even though I’m a werewolf and in theory have 100% disease resistance, there are apparently bugs with this in Survival Mode. Survival Mode introduces multiple new diseases, and apparently the code in charge of granting werewolves and vampires disease immunity was not updated to account for them.
Game, while I’m wailing on a draugr with my axe: “You have contracted Brown Rot.”
Me: “WAIT WHAT?”
Utterly unsurprisingly, this is a thing that has already been fixed in the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch.
Which I can’t run for this playthrough. Because Switch. Augh.
By rights, arguably, I should have just stopped in Whiterun to drop off the sapling and get healed, and then go to the farm with Golldir to get him set up as steward. Or sent Lydia in with the sapling to drop it off. But I think I’ll run with the headcanon that Kendis sent Lydia back to Whiterun to tell the temple she was coming, and that she’d be following as quickly as she could. Because she needed to escort Golldir to the farm, because otherwise how the hell was he going to know how to get there? And she wanted to make sure he got there in one piece, even though she’d given him new armor.
But anyway, farm steward secured, sapling delivered, Gildergreen renewed!
I need to take a long look at where all my current pending quests are. Right now, torn hard between a road trip in the direction of Riften, one back to Falkreath to work on getting the thaneship there, and one towards Morthal to head for Ustengrav and my inevitable failure to find the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller!
Editing to add
- 11/25/2023: Restored missing gallery.