Harrowhark Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Harrowhark Joins the Dark Brotherhood

Finally hit the sessions wherein Harrow does, in fact, officially join the Dark Brotherhood. Coming into this a little antsy, but we’ll see how running the Dark Brotherhood for Good Guys mod impacts this!

Also featured in this post: having to do an additional mod install to fix a lingering bug from running Forgotten City; beginning work in Riften to get set up as thane there; also beginning the Fishing plotlines; running the Forsworn Conspiracy; and moving Thieves Guild action further along finally, by reaching the plot of getting Markarth’s special job queued up.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 2/6, 2/8/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 30-31

Monday the 6th

  • Picked up at Lakeview
  • Did some building and smithing work; notably, made some ebony and diamond rings!
  • Discovered that I was triggering what is apparently a known bug with running Forgotten City: after you finish the mod’s quest, its soundtrack still plays and doesn’t let the game shift back to Skyrim’s main soundtrack; had to install another mod to patch that, some adventures with that, see below
  • Boinged to Whiterun and sold a few things
  • Headed out briefly into the plains around Whiterun to find something to fight and see if invoking fight music would reset the soundtrack; found Thalmor vs. Stormcloaks
  • Found some Thalmor vs. Stormcloak fighting going on, and heh, the Thalmor got pissy at me for hanging around nearby
  • Team Dragonborn took them out! I looted all the Thalmor and all the Stormcloaks
  • Overloaded at that point so did Horse Call to get my horse
  • Boinged back to Forgotten Ruins and had the fix kick in as soon as I walked onto the dock, good
  • From there, boinged off to Solitude thinking I’d try to sell a bunch of things to Gulum-Ei–but had forgotten Gulum-Ei never showed up at the Skeever from before
  • Saved the game on the Deck and reloaded on computer for better access to the console; used commands I’d learned from fixing Valdimar to retrieve Gulum-Ei from whatever hole he fell into
  • And then I sold him stuff! You just be here next time I come by, okay, my scaly dude?
  • Sold a few additional things to Beirand and Sayma and Radiant Raiment
  • Headed back out again to the farm to mount up
  • Boinged to the Roadside Ruins to try to knock down that quest; decided to do the “nothing” option again just because I do like Rulnik, and the other two quest options didn’t appeal to me for Harrow
  • That also meant I was right by the Sanctuary for the Dark Brotherhood, so went in there to get that show on the road
  • Lucien and Inigo did not follow me in, and neither of them had any interesting commentary about the black door, either
  • Had the intro conversation with Astrid and got my set of Shrouded Armor with the enchantments
  • Heard the initial banter between the others
  • Talked to Nazir for initial round of contracts, and also got four rounds of training in Light Armor; would have done fifth round but ran out of gold
  • Leveled up to 38; took Health bump and first perk in Speech
  • Got dossiers on all three initial contacts, this is part of the Dark Brotherhood for Good Guys mod
  • Stopped right by the gate to Falkreath
  • Got a courier who brought the letter from Danica re: getting the rare ingredients to make the soup to heal Rulnik; that’ll be another reason to go hit Dawnstar soon
  • Next up: decided to get a steward for Goldenhills finally
  • Wanted Illia, which would also put me in range of Crowstooth’s camp for that armor plot
  • Boinged to Riften and sold bandit loot to Balimund
  • Went out on foot through the back gates thinking to hoof it to Darklight Tower–but then a dragon showed up
  • Saw it attack the fishery during the fight, and realized oh shit, I still hadn’t talked to Wujeeta with this alt
  • So went back into the city after we took the dragon out–but the game locked up on me, so I had to reboot the VM
  • Didn’t lose much, only back to coming back in through the gates after killing the dragon
  • Went out to the fishery, which auto-started the Fishing plot as well
  • Talked to Wujeeta
  • Also talked to Swims and got his quest, then went out back and talked to Viriya to get hers
  • While I did fishing, Inigo and Lucien had a great little exchange about why Inigo likes Riften so much; he had some poetic things to say about what he can smell in Riften, like the metallic tang of coin, and the fear of Maven Black-Briar, muahahaha
  • Happened to fish up a juvenile mudcrab right there on the docks, so gave that to Viriya and then got the bounty for a glassfish for Zaria in Falkreath
  • Take two on going out the back gates: hoofed it to Darklight Tower
  • Found Illia fighting one of the other witches, talked to her, ran the place, and helped her take out her mom; got her on board as follower
  • Team Dragonborn, temporarily four, then cleared Crowstooth’s camp and I got the note off the hagraven pointing at Arcwind Point
  • Boinged from there to Goldenhills and installed Illia as steward; got her to furnish some of the farmhouse, hire hands, and buy goats and chickens before I ran out of gold
  • Boinged back to Whiterun
  • Parked in Breezehome and saved for the night

Wednesday the 8th

  • Picked up at Breezehome
  • Went out on foot to look for nirnroot; grabbed the ones from the river by Whiterun
  • Snuck over by Bleakwind Basin and got the nirnroot from there; managed to avoid alerting the giant or the two mammoths, fuck yeah, sneaky vamp is sneaky
  • Went a little further west; found zombie horde by a bridge, took out same, courtesy of daedroth
  • Found enough nirnroot to fill out the 20
  • Found Greenspring Hollow; killed bear there, and looted the place
  • Found a green cloak there called Hunter’s Folly which must have been a Cloaks of Skyrim thing; it had an interesting description but not an interesting enchantment, so I sold it later
  • Boinged back to Lakeview and did a bit of building and smithing
  • Made a set of chainmail armor because I could and wanted to see what it looks like; made assorted leather armor as well
  • Boinged to Whiterun and sold crafted armor, to Elrindir when I arrived and Warmaiden’s the following morning
  • Got more iron and corundum at Warmaiden’s
  • Sold assorted other items to Belethor; got more glass and goat horns
  • Noted conversation at the stables I’m pretty sure I hadn’t heard before
  • Boinged back to Lakeview and did more of the furnishings in the armory
  • Built the storage wing and did a few initial furnishings in that
  • Got last needed deathbell off the shelf inside Lakeview
  • Boinged off to Markarth to do the Bedlam Job, and also get Forsworn Conspiracy out of the way while we’re at it
  • Spotted an unfamiliar NPC, Ginevra; she looked kind of like Lydia, only wearing dwarven armor; probably added in by Dawn of Skyrim? Tried to talk to her but couldn’t get her to say anything interesting
  • Ran the conspiracy plot pretty much as per usual
  • Game crashed when I had the brawl outside the warrens, so had to reload, but only thrown back to coming out of the Warrens so didn’t lose anything
  • Stopped to nab Thonor’s Unusual Gem while I was in his house for that part of the plot
  • Took care of the rest of the Bedlam Job by robbing the hell out of Nepos’ house after Lucien, Inigo, and I defended ourselves against the lot of them
  • Neither Lucien nor Inigo came into Cidhna Mine with me
  • Hit 5 of the 6 silver veins while I was in there, couldn’t find the 6th one
  • Played out the rest of this plot as per previous playthroughs
  • Killed once on the way out through the tunnel by the dwarven guardian sphere; it got me as I stepped wrong off the stairs and got stuck down there 😛
  • Second time through no problems, and this time I tried casting Conjure Scamp
  • Got out, stayed out of the way while the Forsworn rampaged their way out of the city
  • Nabbed a set of guard armor for the guard armor collection
  • Got out through the front gates and saw the guards outside still fighting with the fleeing Forsworn
  • Horses at the stables got wigged out by the battle including my Hjalte, but got mounted up and was able to fast travel out
  • Checked horse UI when I reached Riften Stables and triggered a level up on the horse! Had me giving the horse ‘You should rest and meditate on what you learned’ directive, LOL, I recognize that messaging
  • Bumped up the horse’s strength and set it to another round of training
  • Went into Riften and melted down a lot of filched weapons at Balimund’s smelter
  • Saw a thief taken down by the guards, so yoinked stuff off the thief
  • Headed down into the Guild and sold stuff to Tonilia
  • Slept in my bed down there and got up the next morning
  • Got special Markarth job from Delvin, which is kind of hilarious given that I just fled Markarth, awkward
  • Trained five rounds of Pickpocket with Vipir the Fleet
  • That let me level up to 39; took Magicka bump and Adept Lockpicking perk
  • Went topside and found Ingun Black-Briar at Elgrim’s Elixirs to give her her remaining ingredients
  • Went to Mistveil Keep and reported the finding of the skooma dealer; got sanction to hit the warehouse
  • Took out the two lowlifes in the warehouse, and took their stuff, but didn’t bother with the skooma or the moon-sugar; read the note for the dealers’ hideout but didn’t take it
  • Went over to the fishery to fish and realized shit, From-Deepest-Fathoms was not out on the dock
  • Got a glassfish and a carp out of fishing at the dock as well as other fish and junk items
  • Went back in and sold skooma lowlife loot to Bersi
  • Went over to the Hall of the Dead and confirmed yep, Fathoms was dead
  • Yoinked the Lexicon out of her coffin
  • Stopped to talk to Alessandra while in there and got her quest to take the dagger to Whiterun (consider this a little penance for robbing the dead)
  • Returned to the keep
  • Saw Maven having a conversation with the Jarl about how Riften needed to compensate her for a shipment lost in an Imperial attack, and geez, Maven is a bitch
  • Told the Jarl I’d taken care of the warehouse problem; got sanction to go hit the main hideout
  • Stepped out to Hjalte and saved there for the night

Surprise extra bugfix for Forgotten City

I was startled, when I fired up this session, to discover that even though I was now done with the Forgotten City quest, I was still hearing its music. And apparently this is a known issue?

Fortunately, there is a mod to fix it. Still though it took me a bit of investigating to get it to kick in and reset the game’s soundtrack back to standard Skyrim music.

First round of trying to do something about this was just saving, installing the bugfix patch, and restarting. But that didn’t help. I heard regular Skyrim music briefly kick in as the game loaded, only to get overruled by the Forgotten City music. Which was weird.

Next thing I tried was going out into the plains around Whiterun to see if I could find something to fight, get the fight music to kick in, and reset the soundtrack back to normal. This did not work. At least, not in terms of fixing the music!

I did find a Thalmor vs. Stormcloaks fight going on, which the Thalmor won. And then the Thalmor got pissy at me for hanging around in the immediate area.

Heh. Lucien, Inigo, I think we can take these guys, don’t you?

Narrator: “They took those guys.”

So that was fun, but it didn’t actually fix the problem. Finally, though, I saw on the bugfix mod’s page that I specifically needed to be coming out of the Forgotten Ruins for the fix to kick in.

Boinging back to that location did actually work, so yay, the soundtrack’s normal state was restored!

And as long as I’m fixing things wrong with this playthrough…

Tried to boing back to Solitude at that point and sell some of my loot to Gulum-Ei, only to be reminded, shit, he never showed up at the Winking Skeever after I ran his plot!

This was fixed easily enough, though. I used the same console commands I’d tried with fixing the Valdimar problem, only using Gulum-Ei’s refID (pulled off his page on the wiki) instead:

prid 000198B7
moveto player

I’ll make a slight face here as I remember that in this playthrough, I don’t have Mallus as a fence because I doublecrossed him. So I think that’s going to mean that all my other fences will max out at 3,000 gold instead of 4,000 once I get them all? We’ll have to see.

Vampire, thief… and now, assassin

As of this post Harrow is now officially in the Brotherhood.

As I said at the top of the post, I’m a little antsy about this, just because I’m not entirely sure of how I’m going to like this plot, even running the Dark Brotherhood for Good Guys mod. But we’ll see.

(And doing this right on the heels of running Forgotten City, for that matter, feels weird. I think if I’d known in advance how Forgotten City ended, I would have wanted to do the Brotherhood before that. And, for that matter, finished up the Thieves Guild before that. I’ll have to keep that in mind for future playthroughs.)

It felt distinctly weird going in there not intending to wipe the place out. And I also noticed neither Lucien nor Inigo followed me in there, even with Inigo’s auto-catchup AI. So apparently both of those boys are blocked from going into the Sanctuary.

Interestingly, neither of them had anything to say about my going in there, either. Not even a crack out of Lucien about the creepy black door. So I’ll be curious to see if I get any commentary out of either of them about assassination work. (And for that matter, I haven’t heard anything out of them about thievery on my part, either. We’ll see if this keeps up once I return to handing Mercer Frey his head.)

Anyway, as soon as I got into the Sanctuary, my first course of action was to talk to Astrid. And again, this was very weird, given how I’ve killed her in every single other playthrough and proceeded to wipe the Brotherhood out.

But what stood out to me immediately about this was that Astrid’s first kill was taking out an uncle who tried to sexually assault her. I feel like that, that right there, is something Harrow will relate to a whole helluva lot.

I got my very own set of Shrouded Armor… well, my second set, given that I’d taken some off of a prior assassin that came at me! But this set of course is the one with the badass enchantments on it.

And then I found the rest of the assassins, and saw their various initial conversations play out. Going to be real interested to see if Babette has anything to say to me about being a vampire.

Nazir gave me my first round of contracts, at which point the first sign of the mod showed up: he gave me dossiers on all three of the contracts, including what the Brotherhood knew about why they’d been targeted.

For Narfi, this meant he’d been accused of attacking a woman while mistaking her for his lost sister, and attempting to rape her. I have a strong conflicting reaction to this! On the one hand, Narfi is presented as entirely innocent and harmless in the core game. And in fact, the expectation of having to kill him has always been the thing that put me off running the Brotherhood in all other playthroughs. So I feel a little sorry for original Narfi, for having his story made darker like this.

But on the other hand, giving this dark turn to his character feels within the realm of possibility. So sorry, Narfi. This darker AU version of you is going to have to die.

Ennodius Papius is likewise set up by this mod to be a sexual assaulter. So yeah, Harrow’s not going to have any problems taking him out whatsover.

Beitild in Dawnstar, in this mod AU, is now set up to be an abusive boss who’s working her share of Dawnstar’s miners to death, even though she pays three times the wages her estranged husband does. So now her husband’s bringing in the Brotherhood in an attempt to protect her workers, not just because he’s having his personal relationship with her implode. I kinda like this twist on their story, so far.

But that was enough Dark Brotherhood business for the nonce. I’ll have to work on appropriate stealth tactics, and ideally to get the Pickpocket perk that lets you reverse pickpocket stuff onto NPCs.

Almost got back to Riften too late, whoops

These two sessions, back to back, reminded me that it’s super important to help NPCs in Riften earlier than I’m doing here, if I want to actually minimize the chances of them being killed by dragons.

Because yeah. The dragon that showed up in the first of these two sessions, attacking the fishery, killed From-Deepest-Fathoms. Which meant I had to go yoink the Lexicon out of her coffin in the Hall of the Dead. And my headcanon here is now that Fathoms’ ghost is haunting the dock, and she begged Harrow to go get the Lexicon out of the Hall of the Dead and take it back to Avanchnzel for her so she can rest.

I am very, very lucky the dragon didn’t also get Wujeeta, though. She was still alive inside the fishery, so I was able to get to her and kick off the action required to get the thaneship in Riften.

Chainmail armor

I finally found out that a lot of the armor types and ore types I’m seeing available to me at forges and smelters are courtesy of Beyond Skyrim: Bruma. This mod appears to be pulling in a bunch of stuff out of Oblivion, not surprisingly, like various types of armor.

So because I could, I built out a set of chainmail armor to see what it looked like. Answer: fugly. You can see an example of this armor on the UESP wiki, here.

But now that I know that a lot of these unusual armor types are out of that mod, and unusual ore types as well, I’ll be looking out for them once I take Team Dragonborn to Bruma!

(Also, I now know that the chainmail mage robes and hoods I’ve been seeing are not from the Bruma mod, they’re from Armor and Clothing Extensions. Good, because I do like those and may want to wear them eventually!)

Still hearing conversations I haven’t caught before

Eight playthroughs in on this game and I am still periodically catching conversations between NPCs that I’m pretty sure I hadn’t heard before.

First one was at Whiterun’s stables, where I heard the stable owner grilling his son about whether his chores were done:

Skulvar: “You shoe that gelding, boy?”
Jervar: “Yes, father.”
Skulvar: “Groom her, too?”
Jervar: “You know I did.”
Skulvar: “You clean out that muck?”
Jervar: “Yes, father, I did. And I watered her, and got fresh feed, and refitted the old saddle, just like you asked. Is there anything else?”
Skulvar: “Don’t suppose there is. But you don’t have to be so damned prickly.”

I was halfway wondering if this was put back in by Cutting Room Floor, but no, this conversation is directly quoted on the wiki, so this is core content. And apparently Jervar really, really hates working for the stables.

Same for this conversation I witnessed between Laila Law-Giver and Maven Black-Briar:

Laila: “Maven! Always a pleasure to receive you. What can I help you with today?”
Maven: “I’m certain you’re aware of the loss I sustained a fortnight ago.”
Laila: “Yes, indeed. An entire caravan shipment of your mead taken by Imperial soldiers. What of it?”
Maven: “Well, I’m also certain you’re aware that our own city guard failed to provide the protection required to ensure safe passage of the shipment.”
Laila: “Indeed. We lost three soldiers in that attack. A sad day for Riften.”
Maven: “Quite. To be brief, I need compensation for the lost shipment. Since Riften was responsible for it, Riften should pay for it.”
Laila: “We… don’t have enough to…”
Maven: “Laila, Riften is my home, but if my meadery can’t be safe here, I’ll just move it elsewhere.”
Laila: “No, that won’t be necessary. You’ll have compensation for your loss.”
Maven: “Thank you, Laila.”

And wow, I now think Maven’s an even bigger bitch. And the Jarl gave her no pushback on this? No “Riften guards busted their asses fighting the soldiers, and three of my best people died to protect your mead. We’ve already paid in blood”?

I didn’t have an opportunity to interfere in that exchange, but oh boy howdy Harrow noted it for later. This woman’s lodge is totally getting robbed. And Frost is totally getting stolen.

Running the Forsworn Conspiracy

Boinged off to Markarth mostly to take care of running the pending Bedlam Job. But since I knew I could get an Unusual Gem out of the Treasury, I decided to also go ahead and run the Forsworn Conspiracy, just to have a reason to go in there in the first place.

Played out the Conspiracy pretty much as per previous playthroughs. And certainly, having Lucien and Inigo along made taking out Nepos’ entire household rather easier!

I note however that neither of them followed me into Cidhna Mine. Clearly the corrupt Markarth guards didn’t quite realize that if they had issues with my snooping around, maybe ignoring my two well-armed followers was not exactly the brightest of ideas?

I’m not entirely sure of this, but I also suspect that the Thieves Guild mod I’m running may have adjusted the value of a Stone of Barenziah when running a Bedlam Job? I didn’t automatically fulfill the quest when I snurched the stone in the Treasury. I had to fill out the rest of the 500 gold by robbing Nepos’ house, once we took out Nepos and all of his followers.

The one other notable aspect of running the plot this time was that on the way out through the tunnel, I tried Conjure Scamp for the first time because I didn’t have enough magicka to cast Conjure Daedroth. The resulting scamp looked kind of like a Falmer with a different coloration scheme. I’ll need to try that spell again and get a proper screenshot.

Leveling up my horse

Returning to Riften after running Markarth gave me an opportunity to follow up on training my horse. I was definitely amused by being able to give it a directive to rest and meditate on what he’d learned, given that I recognize that messaging from Morrowind. 😀

But Hjalte’s days as my horse may be numbered. I do have the quest to go get the unicorn. And now that I’m in the Brotherhood, I should eventually be able to get Shadowmere as well.

For now though I’m still inclined to keep Hjalte. I mean, I’m training this horse!

Next time

Getting the thaneship of Riften is in progress, so I’ll keep working on that. And now I have one confirmed favor quest already, with getting Ingun her ingredients. Alessandra’s dagger will make two. I’ll have to doublecheck if I already got Balimund his fire salts for the third one!

Then I’ll go clear Cragslane. And if I go get profits from the farm, I should be set to buy Honeyside! Though I also feel like Harrow should have Shadowfoot Sanctum too. 😉


Editing to add

  • 11/25/2023: Restored missing gallery.

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.