Now we’re talking. A few sessions in which primary action was Main Quest stuff, but with a side helping of Mages Guild action as well!
Play by play
- Play dates: 1/2-1/3/2023
- Session numbers in this run: 84-85
- Boinged to Vulkhel Guard to visit the Harborage and see what the Prophet wanted
- He sent me off to investigate rumors of a dark agent lurking in the city
- Questioned two NPCs to find out where this person went
- Bribed a Khajiit to tell me where the guy had gone
- Also talked to a Bosmer bard who confirmed the same thing, guy had gone into the lighthouse
- Found a Psijic portal en route to the lighthouse, fuck yeah
- Found the lighthouse with no trouble, and the trap door into the cellar
- Fought assorted skeletons down there
- Found the agent, an Imperial named Aldimion; he killed me once but only once, got him the second time through
- Found Orb of Discourse which, when I tried to take it, activated a conversation with—HELLO—Abnur Tharn, isn’t that interesting
- Bullshat my way through pretending to be a lackey and he did not give up the location of Sai Sahan, which indicates he is not an idiot, so that’s something
- Went back to report to the Prophet and give him the Orb
- Lyris was there and asked to talk to me so we chatted some about her side of the Five Companions story, and also a bit about what the deal is with Abnur Tharn
- Prophet sent me off for a bit so he could further investigate the Orb and try to use it to figure out where Sai Sahan is
- Went back outside briefly, found another Psijic portal and looted it; it had an Ancient Elf style page, lololol, bit late there, portal
- Then got called back in by the Prophet, and discovered he’d tried to contact Tharn directly, which caused Tharn to project in
- Demanded I come and free him from Mannimarco’s clutches in Coldharbour and give him asylum, at which point he’d give me the location of Sai Sahan
- Prophet opened a portal to Coldharbour and sent Lyris and me in
- Talked to one of the Soul-Shriven slaves in a horrid little Coldharbour town
- Fought off the hostiles hassling Cadwell, which convinced him to help me find a back way to Mannimarco
- Fought assorted beasties while Cadwell tinkered with steam pipes
- Tharn showed up again and warned of a ward that’d fry me if I tried to go through it, so I had to gather parts to build a flesh atronach to do it (yuck)
- The atronach broke through the ward and then disintegrated
- Fought assorted additional hostiles, worm cultists as well as dremora
- Made it to Tharn and killed his two guards
- Then Mannimarco himself projected in and started throwing a bunch of skeletons at us, and finally a bone colossus; that was a hell of a fight
- Tharn mentioned a back chute for sewage that could get us out, and we found Cadwell again, who showed us the way
- Invited him to come with us to get him the fuck out of Coldharbour
- Prophet opened a new portal to return us, at which point I learned that:
- Tharn didn’t actually know where Sai Sahan is (which pissed off Lyris too)
- Prophet revealed his true identity and that he had deliberately lied to me about it
- So wow yeah Gyllerah’s surly about this; stalked off outside
- Got a ping from a new voice demanding I come talk to Tharn in the Mages Guild
- Declined to do so immediately, partly because break from main quest, partly because that was enough adventure for one day!
- Picked up in Vulkhel Guard
- Went over towards the Mages Guild to follow up with Abnur Tharn
- Found Shalidor outside and got pointer from him to go talk to Valaste in Marbruk in Greenshade about the next book of Sheogorath’s
- Found Tharn inside and got pointer from him to go dig up secret information about Sai Sahan’s whereabouts in Wormroot Depths, in Grahtwood
- Went back out and attempted to run writs; did five of them
- Found Scout Gunthe, a messenger from the Skald-King Jorunn, who wants me to go talk to an agent of the king at the Fighters Guild
- Boinged back to Alinor to run the rest of my writs
- Had to remind myself where Marbruk was, and ah yes, Greenshade
- Previewed the Cliffshade house
- Then boinged off to Marbruk to follow up with Valaste
- She couldn’t make sense of the Circus of Cheerful Slaughter book, so I went over to have a look–and got slurped back into Sheogorath’s realm
- He had me star in a ‘play’ in which I had to kill vision doubles of assorted high ranking personages, including Queen Ayrenn and Razum-dar
- Made it through, got the book, returned to Valaste
- Then went back out and headed over to Grahtwood
- Wormroot Depths turned out to be a delve; got in there and found Abnur Tharn
- Killed assorted dremora and scamps and clannfear
- Triggered three Speaking Stones to get information about where Sai Sahan is being held
- Then was instructed by Tharn to head back to talk to Varen/The Prophet
- Did not however elect to pursue the next bit of plot
- Returned to Alinor instead for a bit of inventory management and signed off for the night
Finally returning to the Main Quest let me finally reach certain Important Reveals!
First: why it’s important to get through a certain point in the Main Quest before trying to run the Demon Weapon plot. Because I got to see that Abnur Tharn was in fact a traitor and had started following Mannimarco.
But what I didn’t know was that he was a traitor who actually regretted his choice. Because he sees through my attempt to bullshit him, and when Varen reaches out to him directly, he demands asylum in exchange from busting him out of Mannimarco’s prison. And I had a big ol’ O RLY reaction to this entire plot development.
And speaking of Varen: that was the second reveal, the Prophet fessing up to being Varen Aquilarios. I knew going in who he was already–but I hadn’t known the circumstances of the reveal. And that he’d been aware of his identity all this time, and had been lying about it to the Vestige. Which was my second big O RLY.
Because up till now I’ve been thinking that Gyllerah would have some natural sympathy for this guy because what she’d been going through, her own memories rattled and her perceptions of time being off, if not her actual place in time in general. To learn that the Prophet actually deliberately lied to her is a hard blow, and gave additional weight to a damn reasonable question Abnur gave me later: about why, exactly, I didn’t blame Varen for what he did.
The dialogue options I got in that conversation clearly seemed to indicate that the story wanted me not to. But I’m kinda thinking that for Gyllerah that’s kind of bullshit, because part of her does blame him. She’ll get over it–because she knows Mannimarco, not Varen, is the one ultimately responsible for the fact that she frigging died, and from what she’s hearing out of this crowd, he’s ultimately responsible for deceiving Varen in the first place with the whole “oh sure you just need to get this amulet and it will TOTALLY make you Dragonborn, what could possibly go wrong?” thing.
(Side note: kinda grooving on the whole ‘I must be Dragonborn to be a true Emperor’ aspect of this? Because as we all know from Skyrim, being Dragonborn is a big fucking deal. And if it’s required for Emperors to be so, I can see how Varen could be seduced into this plot.)
Some level as well of Gyllerah being surly at Lyris about this too. Because Gyllerah likes Lyris, and Lyris knew what was going on, and fucking lied to her about it. So I figure Gyllerrah stalked off in a very surly huff about this, once they fessed up. And this contributed to her not being necessarily willing to help them again immediately.
Now of course, I did proceed with more plot, because even if the character’s surly, the player wanted to see what happened next! Before I get to that though I’ll say that the visit to Coldharbour to break Tharn out raises two thoughts in me:
- Yep, Coldharbour sure is terrible, and apparently the Soul-Shriven have managed to cobble together at least something resembling a town, but one wonders how much of that cobbling was voluntary
- Wow, Varen seems to be awfully damned good at opening portals into Coldharbour, I should think this might, I dunno, get him noticed? Is Mannimarco not able to track this? Is Molag Bal not able to track this?
And as I moved on to the next portion of the plot, I had a couple other interesting experiences.
Tried to actually run writs in Vulkhel Guard, and since I’m accustomed to doing that in Alinor, wow yeah doing it in Vulkhel Guard seems a lot more chaotic. The way that place is laid out makes it feel a lot more crowded to me, so even though the various crafting areas are not necessarily much farther part than the ones in Alinor, they’re definitely not as conveniently arranged. I did wind up blipping back to Alinor just to finish up the writs there.
I also picked up a side quest, when I was hailed by Scout Gunthe, who had a message from Skald-King Jorunn asking me to meet a messenger of his in the Fighters Guild. Now, I happen to know that this will be Lyris. So I’m considering how to play this, given that I’m also currently feeling like Gyllerah is cranky at her. 😉 I don’t feel like she’s necessarily going to want to leap right into helping Lyris do something else until she gets a better sense of WTF is going on with the Main Quest stuff.
I had to remind myself of where exactly Marbruk was; answer, Greenshade. On impulse, before I blipped in to deal with Valaste at the Mages Guild, I previewed the Cliffshade house that’s there. I think I may actually like it? This may be the better house I buy for Gyllerah, to have room for a better array of stuff. Moonmirth is small and cozy but not exactly large enough for things like crafting stations.
Blipping into Marbruk to follow up on Mages Guild stuff led me, of course, to the next phase of that plot. Which meant another round of zany hijinks with Sheogorath, this time helping him put on a “play” which mostly consisted of my killing “actors” representing the leaders of the three major factions. No lie, I kept legit expecting this to turn into a situation where I was killing something more important than just “visions”, and I feel like actually having to fight and kill Razum-dar, not to mention the Queen, was not something Gyllerah dealt with all that well.
But, well, this is what happens when you deal with the Daedric Prince of Madness, amirite?
Last up, running the Wormroot Depths delve. Wherein I had to trigger three Speaking Stones that ever so conveniently gave away important information about how to get to Sai Sahan.
Which leads me to wonder exactly why Mannimarco thought it was a good idea to leave those things lying around in a delve where any old adventurer could come in and find them? <snerk>
So yeah that was a satisfying burst of plot relevance, and some nice big tasty reveals. I need to think about what I want to run next, and whether I want to immediately do more Main Quest stuff, or some guild stuff instead. Now that I know I need upwards of 250,000 gold to get Cliffshade, I’m kinda thinking I need to reassess my current stock of gold.
Editing to add
- 11/25/2023: Restored missing gallery.