If you’re looking at this post going “hey, didn’t Harrowhark also just get the thaneship of Falkreath, and Lakeview Manor, and the Masque of Clavicus Vile?”, you are correct. This is kind of what happens when you’re doing two parallel playthroughs, it’s very easy for them to fall into similar patterns!
Aside from those two things, though, I also raided Faldar’s Tooth and actually saw more of that particular bandit hideout than I ever had done before, so that was cool!
Play by play
- Play dates: 12/29, 12/31/2022
- Session numbers in this run: 14-15
- Started in Breezehome
- Rode down to Falkreath to take care of favor quests there
- Stopped at Roadside Ruins and cleared it only to realize I hadn’t read the book in the inn to actually trigger the quest there, oops
- Stopped at inn to take a room; read the Mysterious Altar book there to trigger the Roadside Ruins quest
- Dropped off journal with Runil who was in the inn, then went over to Mathies’ farm and picked a cabbage, then came back to the inn and sold it to him; that got me to 3/3 favors for the thaneship
- Reported to the Jarl and got proclaimed thane
- Headed from there towards Haemar’s Shame
- Stopped at the crashed caravan to search it and got the prompt for going to the Sightless Ruins for the Wraithguard and Sunder quest
- Made it to Helgen and spotted what was probably a vampire trying to find a hideout
- Fought my way through to the eastern gate and headed out from there
- Saw the vampire running ahead of us (apparently she didn’t like the idea of sheltering in bandit-infested Helgen), but didn’t see her after that
- Made it to Haemar’s Shame (though nearly overshot it)
- Ran and cleared the place with Lyds and Barbas (and heh, didn’t have to worry about Sanguinare Vampiris as a werewolf)
- Got the directive to go get the Rueful Axe
- Overloaded when I got out of the place, but it was also night and the air was “frigid”, so dropped a campsite right by the front entrance of Haemar’s Shame so i could stop and rest up and have a campfire (which manifested right in the middle of a snowberry bush, lol)
- Rode from there onward to Riften
- Had an encounter I hadn’t seen before near Largashbur, goblins vs. bears, presumably this came in with the Goblins creation? The goblins didn’t fare well against two bears
- Decided to go to Riften first instead of Faldar’s Tooth, to sell off stuff I was carrying
- Passed Persuade check to get in at the gate
- Had initial conversation with Maul and bribed him for info about the Black-Briars
- Had initial conversation with Brynjolf and went “Break the law? Are you kidding?” at him, to get him to back off
- Sold a bunch of stuff to Balimund and Bersi, then went out to kill the dragon at Lost Tongue Overlook
- Went out on foot because I didn’t feel like fetching the horse and riding back around from the north side of the city
- Passed a vigilant who’d been fighting skeletons on the way to the city
- Reached and slew the dragon, with Lyds + flame atronach + Bow of Shadows (Barbas was in theory along but he didn’t participate in this fight, as near as I could tell)
- Got the word off the Word Wall for Dismay Shout
- Dragon bits got me overloaded but fortunately not too far to tromp back to Riften
- Slept at the inn, then got up the next morning and sold dragon bits to Elgrim and Bersi; also sold off the other dragon loot
- Collected dragon bounty from Anuriel, then headed out to Faldar’s Tooth
- Killed the first time trying to fight the bandits and Silver Hand there, which threw me all the way back to coming out of Riften
- Second time through discovered the plans I wanted were not in the boss chest by the fighting pit–they were in a boss chest on one of the towers in the back, an area of Faldar’s Tooth I had not explored before, so I had to spend some time figuring out how to get up there
- Made it up to the bandit chief but he killed me a couple of times, dude had steel plate armor and a steel battle axe; he killed me once even when I wolfed out at him 😛
- Finally realized I really needed Lydia and Barbas for this fight, so had to figure out how to tromp back down and find them (had to stash stuff in nearby chest as I was overloaded)
- Got back down to ground level and let Lyds and Barbas catch up with me, then guided them up to where the chief was (bit of a pain, see below), but finally got them up to the tower where the bandit chief was
- Barbas primarily took out the chief, with some help from flame atronach; got the plans and other boss loot
- Couldn’t sleep in any of the bedrolls on the outside of the fort, so tromped back down to ground level, found Lightning and rode back to Riften
- Re-rented the room at the Bee and Barb
- Slept and got up and sold more loot to assorted folks, this time including Grelka and Brand-Shei
- Went to hire the carriage (because now under carry weight), so I wouldn’t have to ride all the way back to Whiterun
- Arrived at Whiterun tired and hungry, so of course a dragon showed up–Blood Dragon, first of Kendis’ run; Lyds, guards, and I all shot it down
- Skeleton crashed right there on the road leading up to the gate; will have to see if it turns into a dragon stalking, Lyds did walk right through the bones
- Retrieving loot off the skeleton made me overloaded again, so i went into the city and sold things to Elrindir
- Then crashed in Breezehome
- Got a crimson nirnroot off of the bunny! Which started that quest way earlier than I usually see it, LOL
- Saved there until next time
- Picked up in Breezehome
- Went over to Jorrvaskr to check in with Aela about getting the Silver Hand plans; she gave me a quest to go take out a Silver Hand leader, so filed that for later
- Took the cart over to Falkreath so I could buy Lakeview Manor’s land from Nenya
- Rode over to do initial building for the Small House structure
- Dropped a campsite to camp out until the next morning
- Rode to the mill from there
- Got the notes out of the chest under the bridge, and other loot; bought logs from Hert
- Proceeded from there towards Goldenhills
- Picked up small amount of money from Golldir; warmed up inside the house; picked up additional veg and made soups with the salts I had on me
- Proceeded through Rorikstead
- Fought bandits at the crossroads
- Horse ran off so had to drop another campsite, to have somewhere to return to while spending time looking for the horse
- Re-killed skeevers at Lund’s Hut before finally finding the horse
- Brought Lightning back over to campsite and slept the night before setting out again the next morning
- Aimed for Robber’s Gorge–and figured out how to get Lightning to gallop, so charged right through without having to bother to fight the bandits
- However, got way ahead of Lydia and Barbas
- Stopped in Dragon Bridge; Lyds caught up at that point, but no sign of Barbas
- Headed from there to Meridia’s statue so I could run getting Dawnbreaker
- Got the word for Elemental Fury off the Word Wall there
- Quickly learned at that point that yep, that territory can also turn frigid temperature-wise, so had to drop another campsite right by the Word Wall so I could have somewhere to warm up and rest (because as I confirmed re-running Kilkreath this time, no place to actually sleep in there)
- Also made sure to be holding a torch before I placed the beacon, and took fastest possible dialogue options
- Ran Kilkreath and got tired while in there, but at least it was warm in there so i didn’t have temperature issues, and had enough soups on me to keep myself fed
- The balcony had “frigid” air and I was a little concerned about how long I’d be out there, trying to unlock the chest, but I got it done fast enough that i could then just bolt inside
- Was going to be worried about Barbas still being MIA, except he showed up again once I finally got to the catacombs portion of the temple, so I could throw him and Lydia and flame atronach at Malkoran; we prevailed on the first try! \0/
- Did not apparently trigger the duplicate Dawnbreaker bug, LOL
- Plunked down outside the temple, again took the quickest possible dialogue options with Meridia
- Slept at campsite again to rest up, and took level up at this point, to 23; took Stamina bump and Dwarven Smithing perk
- Headed to Solitude because overloaded
- First visit, so cue Roggvir’s execution
- Bought assorted garments from Radiant Raiment
- Sold a bunch of things at Bits and Pieces
- Made replacement camping supplies at Beirand’s forge
- Rented a room at the Winking Skeever to get in a bit more rest and actually get back to ‘Refreshed’ status vs. ‘Drained’
- Went back out again and mounted up to head to Rimerock Burrow
- Reached and ran Rimerock Burrow with no problems; took out Sebastian Lort and his flame atronach, got the ever so critical fire salts and the Rueful Axe
- Slept in Lort’s bed because inside
- Retrieved horse the next morning and mounted up again to ride back
- Attacked by and slew Blood Dragon near Volskygge
- Well and thoroughly overloaded at that point
- Took the time to hit up the Steed Stone and activate it, for 50 additional carry weight points
- Thought I would go back to Solitude at that point–but actually got totally turned around and wound up heading west, past Deepwood Redoubt and the smaller Forsworn camp near there, and Mor Khazgur
- Stopped in to try to trade with the orcs only to realize oh shit, not Blood-Kin yet, and their alchemist basically told me to fuck off; I fucked off
- Chased by a bunch of wolves and also occasional Forsworn; cut past Peryite’s Shrine without bothering to stop; heard Kesh the Clean attacking the wolf chasing me
- Cut through Karthwasten again without bothering to stop, and finally made it back to a road
- Galloped past Broken Tower Redoubt without stopping, because overloaded and didn’t want to bother fighting the Forsworn
- Finally made it back to Lakeview Manor; stopped there to rest up, but was out of iron ingots so couldn’t built anything else
- Dropped off everything that wasn’t essential to get back under carry weight
- Rested up and then set out again the next morning, this time aiming for Haemar’s Shame
- Cut through Helgen and figured out how to make Lightning jump over obstacles, awesom; makes getting through the wreck of Helgen easier
- Reached Haemar’s Shame with no problems; dropped off Barbas with Vile and got the Masque
- Got back out again, rode back around Helgen, through Riverwood, and all the way to Whiterun
- Crashed at Breezehome and finally saved for the night
I’d seen this in Shenner’s playthrough, and since I’m having to camp a lot more with Kendis, I’m definitely seeing it in hers: the campsites you can make with your camping supplies can and often do clip over other terrain elements that are already there. Which results in weird shit like your shelter being half-buried under snow, or your campfire being right in the middle of a snowberry bush.
Had a type of random encounter I hadn’t seen in Shenner’s run, though: goblins vs. bears, not far from Largashbur, on the way to Riften. The goblins did not fare well in this fight, apparently three goblins vs. a cave bear and a regular bear was weighted in favor of the bears? This must surely have been an encounter implemented by the Goblins creation, which brings in Gogh and the Spear of Bitter Mercy. Kind of neat to see the goblins out in the wild, even if it was just to get killed by bears.
And just to show that even on my seventh and eighth playthroughs of Skyrim, I am still finding stuff about it that I haven’t seen before: this marked the first time I’d ever run the entirety of Faldar’s Tooth. I’d never realized before that there were higher levels in the back of the place, which you had to reach via ladders. The areas in the back were where I had to go for the final bandit chief, and for the boss chest that contained the plans I had to steal for Aela. Between that and trying to figure out where the hell Kendis could sleep after fighting, this made for an interesting change of pace!
I’m pretty sure I actually cleared the structure, but also pretty sure that Faldar’s Tooth doesn’t count as one of the forts that get taken over by the Imperials or the Stormcloaks if you actually clear it. The wiki does call it a military fort, but it also calls High Hrothgar a military fort, so I am not sure if I trust the wiki’s word on this? I’ll have to see if I see a renewed bandit force in there later.
It was a bit of a pain in the ass to get Lydia and Barbas to follow me up to the top levels of the fort, though. I found the access through a side gate, and Lyds and Barbas had trouble getting through there. I had to fix this by going through a door in there that led to the interior of the fort, which triggered a zone change and made Lyds and Barbas port to me. Then I came back out through that door, which triggered putting them inside the gate where I wanted them to begin with. Only then I was able to get them up to the top levels of the fort to help me with the bandit chief.
I wound up taking the carriage from Riften back to Whiterun, just as a time saver, because it takes a while to ride from point A to point B. But that let me discover that you can, in fact, still get dragons after traveling in Survival Mode–because I had one show up as soon as the carriage dropped me off at Whiterun!
Notably, this dragon was a Blood Dragon, the first of Kendis’ run. And it buzzed Whiterun directly, which I just do not see very often at all. I’m fairly sure Whiterun is not immune to dragon attacks–it’s just that my play habits have usually been to fast travel to the Western Watchtower rather than Whiterun itself, or even the Whiterun Stables. So usually whatever code is in charge of generating a dragon when you arrive in a location doesn’t have a chance to trigger for Whiterun.
(Interesting side thought: of the five major cities in Skyrim, I’ve seen dragon attacks directly inside only one of them, and that’s Solitude. I’ve seen dragons attacking just outside Windhelm, Whiterun and Riften–the common factor there generally being, I’m at the stables at the time. I have yet to have any dragon attacks inside or immediately near Markarth, closest I’ve gotten in Markarth was the dragon that attacked the nearby mine in Ysani’s run.)
The big question I now have on my mind in regards to Thistle the bunny: how the hell did Thistle find crimson nirnroot? Because bun totally found some, which kicked off the Return To Your Roots quest a lot earlier than I normally see it, LOL. Dara points out that bunnies do have warrens, but that’d have to be some pretty damned impressive burrowing for Thistle to get all the way down to Blackreach and back again with crimson nirnroot.
Maybe Thistle is a Daedra bunny. ;D
Next interesting thing I learned in this pair of sessions: more about how to deal with a horse in Skyrim. Namely, how to get the horse to gallop, which means the same key combo I do if I want to sprint on foot. And, how to get the horse to jump over stuff, which is useful when I’m trying to get through the mess that is the ruined Helgen.
Even more significant than horses, I learned that yeah, the territory to the west of Solitude, where Meridia’s temple is, as well as the Steed Stone and Rimerock Burrow and such, is totally territory that counts as “frigid” in Survival Mode terms. In order to get through getting Dawnbreaker and the Rueful Axe, ability to drop immediate campsites was critical. So was having the horse, for ability to move as fast as possible.
I had to make several accommodations to the temperature at Kilkreath in particular. One: dropping a campsite right by the Word Wall so I’d have somewhere to rest up and get warm. The inside of Kilkreath is warm, but there isn’t anywhere in there to actually sleep. So I was in “Tired” status by the time I got out of there, and being able to keel over at the campsite was helpful.
Likewise, I wasn’t sure whether Meridia hoisting me into the air to talk to her was going to put me at risk of freezing to death. But I didn’t want to chance it! So both times the plot had me speak to her, I made sure to be holding a torch before she hoisted me. Also, I took the fastest possible dialogue options to get her to put me the hell down, because okay okay yes, I’ll get the sword for you, it is COLD AS BALLS up here, PLEASE PUT ME DOWN?
The one part of the Kilkreath run that worried me a little was the balcony halfway through. When I got out there, the air again was “frigid”. But fortunately I got the chest open fast enough that I could just then bolt right back inside.
Barbas remained MIA for most of Kilkreath, but finally showed up again once I reached the catacombs portion that led down to Malkoran. Not sure what caused that, given that there were multiple zone changes before I got to that section. I would have thought Barbas would have caught up with me at one of those, but apparently not? Still though it was a relief to have him along for the Malkoran fight. I didn’t want to go up against the guy myself while in “Tired” status.
For running Rimerock, the main consideration I had there for Survival Mode was that I actually slept in Sebastian Lort’s bed after we took him out–because his bed was inside and I’d get better rest off of it. I think that Kendis probably was troubled by sleeping in a bed that smelled like the guy she just killed, though.
(And I’m liking, in general, that Survival Mode is making me think of things like ‘is there somewhere safe here where I can sleep, now that I’ve just cleared this lair?’)
I didn’t intend to make it over to Mor Khazgur in this run, but wound up getting lost coming down from the visit to the Steed Stone, oops? So apparently it’s possible for me to get frigging lost in Skyrim, too. And I couldn’t just recover from this by fast traveling, because Survival Mode! I had to ride somewhere to get back to known locations.
Which led me to discover that if I’m not Blood-Kin to the Orcs, apparently it’s possible for me to actually enter Mor Khazgur without having somebody challenge me? I was able to walk right in and try to trade with their alchemist, only to have Sharamph tell me to fuck off. She didn’t give me the quest to go get the Forgemaster’s Fingers, either, which surprised me. Nor did anyone else approach me to do so.
And ah, according to the wiki, I explicitly have to speak to a guard at a stronghold to get that quest if I don’t otherwise achieve being Blood-Kin elsewhere (like with bringing the book to Ghorza in Markarth). Good to know!
As with Harrow, I feel like Kendis needs to spend some time building up Lakeview and Goldenhills. But unlike Harrow, Kendis doesn’t have as much freedom to wander all over the map. I need to broaden her range and get her more places she can stop at.
I should probably take her to Morthal and claim Myrwatch, and also work on getting the thaneship there to secure Windstad Manor. Which should also be helpful for targeting Ustengrav for the attempt to go after the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller.
No screenshots this time.