Harrowhark Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Harrowhark Becomes Thane of Riften

Main action in this double session post: gaining the thaneship in Riften, and by extension, Honeyside and Iona as latest housecarl; finishing off the thieving jobs in Markarth and getting Endon as the local fence for the Guild; commenced the Crypt of the Heart plot for the Spell Knight armor; and ran the Folgunthur barrow to move the Forbidden Legend quest along.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 2/10, 2/12/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 32-33

Friday the 10th

  • Picked up just outside Riften at the stables
  • Went back in to talk to Hafjorg only realized I already did the ore quest for her
  • Went back out again to mount up, and rode off to Cragslane
  • Marked Shor’s Watchtower for the map
  • Passed what appeared to be a vampire looking for shelter fighting a bear; killed the bear; vamp ran off
  • Heard a Vigilant yell “I’ll kill you if I have to”, so not sure if that Vigilant was chasing the vampire? Did not investigate for general “yeah pretty sure the Vigilant won’t want to encounter me” reasons
  • Made it to Cragslane; outside bouncer had already been killed by the usual local sabre cat, so we took out the sabre cat
  • Ran and cleared the place with no troubles
  • Summoned the scamp for help, and yep it sure does look like a pink Falmer
  • Returned to Riften
  • Another thief got caught so I swiped his stuff, while noting the last thief still lying naked nearby, LOL
  • Melted down swiped weapons in the smelter
  • Hung out for a few hours till Balimund showed up, then sold him a bunch of stuff
  • Boinged off to the mage college
  • Parked a couple staves I was carrying in the Arch-Mage’s secret vault; also left the Forsworn Armor of the Gods in there
  • Dropped enchantments on other pieces of Hedge Mage armor
  • Went down to the Hall of the Elements and trained for a bit
  • Leveled up to 40; took Magicka bump and Backstab perk in Sneak
  • Sold a few things to assorted trainers till I topped 5K
  • Boinged back to Riften and reported back to the keep
  • Got the Jarl to offer me the thaneship immediately
  • Did not have the money to buy Honeyside, I forgot that the price bug on that got fixed in the USSEP!
  • So sold a bunch of soul gems to Wylandriah
  • Went down to the Guild and sold stuff to Tonilia, and that got me over 8K
  • Went back up and bought the house, but didn’t have money to furnish the house yet though
  • (Still, HI IONA welcome to Team Dragonborn!)
  • Went back out to mount up and tried to fast travel to Goldenhills
  • But a Frost Dragon showed up, so had to deal with that
  • Then then boinged to Goldenhills
  • Found Illia and collected profits; got her to furnish most of the farmhouse and also buy a cow to round out the livestock
  • Didn’t have the materials for building the bunkhouse though
  • Boinged to Whiterun to buy iron and corundum but Belethor had no glass or goat horns
  • Found Khajiit parked outside so shopped with them too
  • Boinged back to Lakeview to grab my cache of building materials there, then boinged back to Goldenhills
  • Chopped firewood and got some stone off the quarry so I could make the bunkhouse
  • Boinged to Windstad to drop off materials there; realized I’m still running hardcore short on logs, so couldn’t build anything
  • Boinged to Markarth to check in with Endon, and got the plot to run Pinewatch
  • Discovered Ginevra is a new merchant in Markarth and sells books, apparently? But she also clips through her stall, LOL
  • Headed out from there on horse to try to also hit the Spell Knight quest
  • Found the bridge again where the ghost appears; got attacked by a spriggan and two bears there
  • There was also a bear cub, awww–but it acted like an adult bear, both in noise and aggression, and not sure if my horse or one of the boys killed it
  • Killed the adult bears and the spriggan
  • Followed the ghost, and got attacked by the Forsworn by the grave and took their note about their orders
  • Also yoinked the iron and steel Spell Knight armor off the fallen knights
  • Took out the Forsworn at the unmarked camp near the road who were fighting with Imperials, and the surviving Imperial thanked me for the help
  • Rode back towards Lakeview
  • Took out cultists near the bridge to Karthspire (Karthspire itself I skipped for now)
  • Lucien also took out a nearby mudcrab in that same spot
  • Boinged directly back to Lakeview after that to save time
  • Put things away so I could run Pinewatch without being burdened as fuck
  • Ran Pinewatch without too much trouble
  • Bribed the guy in the cottage as per usual
  • Sneak backstabbed at least a few of the bandits, fuck yeah
  • Successfully pickpocketed sleeping Rigel Strong-Arm (LOL), then took her out when she woke up
  • Reached the treasure room, looted it, and recovered the silver mold
  • Boinged back to Markarth to check in with Endon and give him the mold; sold him a bunch of loot while at it
  • Boinged back to Lakeview and picked up stashed stuff
  • Boinged back to Riften
  • Checked in at the keep and bought most of Honeyside’s decorations from Anuriel
  • Boinged to Whiterun and sold stuff to Elrindir
  • Slept in Breezehome, then went to Hall of the Dead to talk to Andurs about the dagger
  • (Andurs was nonplussed when I told him the gods aren’t a big part of my life)
  • Also ran his little amulet quest, killed a couple of skeletons, got the Stone of Barenziah, and read the carriage driver’s note
  • Did a little more shopping with Arcadia and Belethor
  • Boinged to Lakeview and got Lydia to replenish the log supply
  • Did some alchemy to try to get closer to level 41, but didn’t quite make it
  • Came back out again and BANDITS! Mostly killed by Rayya and the boys
  • Looted two, couldn’t find the third
  • Went uphill to the nearby corundum vein and mined that
  • Took all the mats off to Windstad 
  • Built the library wing and most of its furnishings
  • Filled in furnishings for the kitchen and some of the cellar
  • Saved for the night

Sunday the 12th

  • Started off at Windstad
  • Built a few more things in cellar
  • Chatted with Inigo about his backstory and got a comment about his brother and him being adopted as orphans by retired assassins
  • Decided to ride over and run Folgunthur since it was in the area
  • On the way, stopped by the Abandoned Shack
  • Determined that a) yes, the previous captives were all cleared out, thank you, USSEP, and b) there were a couple of interesting items on a table, see below
  • Reached and began to run Folgunthur
  • Forgot that the first big room with draugr has a gate that auto drops on you once you’re in there! Inigo and Lucien wound up on the other side–which let me use J’zargo’s scrolls without frying them
  • Lucien had snarky commentary about the scrolls not working well, either, LOL
  • Lucien ported in through the gate, so apparently he does have at least some AI that lets him auto-catch up with me? Still had to raise the gate for Inigo to come through though
  • Proceeded to run and clear the rest of the place; got the next bit of Gauldur amulet and the Gauldur Blackblade
  • Overloaded, so decided to go to Riften to get rid of loot
  • Got in late so went down into the Guild and sold things to Tonilia
  • Waited until morning to talk to Delvin
  • Closed out the Markarth job and confirmed presence of first merchant at the Flagon
  • Tried to get new Bedlam Job from Delvin but couldn’t get him to actually give me one; apparently this is a known issue with the Thieves Guild mod? >_<
  • Did get a Sweep Job from Vex though, in Solitude
  • Got three rounds of Pickpocket training from Vipir the Fleet
  • Leveled up to 41; took Magicka bump and Glass Smithing perk
  • Went topside to report back to Alessandra in the Hall of the Dead and resolve her quest; she gave me a Greater Ward spellbook, awesome
  • Went to Elgrim’s Elixirs and found oh good, they did have hawk feathers! So did next round of fortifying the Hedge Mage armor
  • Went out through the gates to get Hjalte
  • Spotted flyby dragon
  • Boinged back to Lakeview
  • Saved for the night

A reminder of why I blog my playthroughs in such detail

Heh, realizing I’d already done Hafjorg’s ore quest in Riften kinda underscores one of the reasons I keep this playthrough blog: so that not only can I share all my adventures with you, but also that I can remember where the hell I left off in my own playthrough. This is especially helpful when I have multiple characters across multiple games going at once.

Of course, the flip side of that is, I have multiple characters going across multiple games. So particularly in Skyrim, where I’m continuing to run two playthroughs at once, it’s especially easy to forget whether or not I’ve done a particular thing with a given character.

I may have to start adding tags for specific quests to make doublechecking this stuff easier!

Bugginess of mods

By and large I’m enjoying the hell out of this modded playthrough, and how it lets me enjoy Skyrim in so many different new ways. But at the same time, it’s also letting me experience bugs in Skyrim in many different new ways!

Because of course, mods can have their own bugs.

I’ve written about some of this already in Shenner’s previous playthrough, with the USSEP introducing a few bugs. This time through, I’ve seen a few things now that I haven’t been able to find fixes for:

  1. In theory the Immersive College of Winterhold mod is supposed to have a Mods Configuration Menu I can get at in the game UI; in practice, not seeing it, and that’s bugging me, because I’d really love to play with this idea of it letting me pull all my alchemy ingredients from elsewhere into the Arch-Mage’s quarters.
  2. Also frustrated that I can’t get Colette to train me in Restoration when the trainers are all in the Hall of the Elements. I’d really like to give her a chance to train me too! (And I mean, sure, the mod’s already super generous with how it lets you train your magic skills for free pretty much, but I’d like to at least be able to spend time with all of the trainers doing that! It feels better for RP purposes. Particularly with how Colette gets shit for her chosen school being Restoration.)
  3. Dawn of Skyrim seems to have some issues with Ginevra, the NPC I spotted in Markarth, clipping into the side of her market stall.
  4. The Thieves Guild mod I’m running apparently has broken Delvin? Because I am now no longer able to get Bedlam Jobs off of him. Damn. 🙁

Spell Knight armor quest, and armor for followers in general

I got the Spell Knight armor quest underway, which is one I really did enjoy from Shenner’s run. I am not sure if Harrow will actually wind up wearing the ebony version of that armor later. My sense of it right now is that this might be an armor set she’d wear later after she is de-vamped.

(It’ll be a while yet before I conclude this quest; I’ll hold off on the next bit of it until after I’ve moved the Main Quest along enough to hit up Karthspire with Delphine and Esbern. So I have time to think about this.)

For now, I’m also now thinking of handing off the iron or steel versions of said armor to housecarls. Or to Lucien. But on the other hand, I also kind of enjoy having Lucien and Inigo wearing armor that actually lets me see their faces. Both of them are probably due for upgrades to their armors, but not sure exactly which ones I want to set them up with yet.

Running Pinewatch

Couple of minor but amusing differences, running Pinewatch this time.

I was able to sneak up on multiple bandits and do the throat-cutting sneak attack. Muahaha. (And it occurs to me as I write this that I do have the Shrouded Armor now, and I should seriously consider trading off to that, now that I am a member of the Brotherhood. But the thing is, I really like the look of the Hedge Mage armor!)

Also, I actually found the bandit chief, Rigel Strong-Arm, asleep in her bed! I think that must have been Immersive Citizens kicking in, there. Which meant I also was able to successfully pickpocket her.

That woke her up, but she did not immediately attack me. Instead she tried to run out of the room. Only after that did she turn around and react to me, Inigo, and Lucien being right there. Lololololol.

A few minor character notes

Heh, Andurs sounded nonplussed at my answer to his asking if I knew about the mighty god Arkay: i.e., I told him the gods weren’t a big part of my life. Which felt most appropriate for somebody trying very hard to be an ethical vampire. I figure Harrow’s not exactly feeling charitable towards Divines who are not showing her any obvious way to be devamped. But she’s also not rude enough to be snarky at an actual priest about it.

I have tried to start periodically pinging Inigo with interactions to see if I can get him to give me any interesting quest tidbits like Lucien does. And this time I learned more about his background, including getting a reference to his brother. And that the two of them were adopted as orphans by retired assassins!

So that built nicely on the last bit of background info I got from him. Curious about the brother now. I’ve seen passing references to him when looking up stuff about the mod, but I don’t know if he’ll show up at any point as I continue this playthrough. Or for that matter if Inigo has any personal side quest activity I can take on for him, like Lucien does. (Or even like Vilja does, since Vilja has a lot of that.)

More on the Dark Brotherhood for Good Guys changes

On the way over to Folgunthur, I stopped at the Abandoned Shack again since it was right there. This let me confirm a couple of things.

One: the three captives previously acquired by Astrid were, in fact, gone. So yeah, the USSEP fixed that problem, good.

Two: I found a couple of things that appeared to be clues put in by the Dark Brotherhood for Good Guys mod. One was a skillbook I didn’t recognize. The other was a note to Astrid, from someone signing themself S.S., and describing how all three of those captives had been horrible people in their own unique ways.

Which basically helped underscore that yes, this mod is going out of its way to set up that every single person you kill totally deserves it.

I went looking for confirmation that the note about the initiation was a clue from the mod–and saw discussion on the mod’s forum page on Nexus that showed some players thought the mod was being too “good guy”.

This is kind of hilarious to me. Because it is explicitly called “Dark Brotherhood for Good Guys”. It’s right there on the tin. So of course it’s going to be leaning towards making all the people you kill horrible.

Some of that commentary, though, I do kind of agree with. I feel like there are multiple ways to make people horrible rather than just making everybody a serial killer or a rapist. I do see a risk coming on of this getting repetitive if there isn’t enough variation in the backgrounds I get on these targets.

(Beitild in Dawnstar appears to be a good counterexample to this so far; I’ll see how this trend continues.)

Some folks were still not happy with having to kill Narfi, and I’m sympathetic to that, too. I’m still not entirely on board with the idea of making him not only mentally impaired, but also a rapist. And possibly one with incestuous leanings, since the dossier you get on him lays out that the girl he attacked was somebody he mistook for his sister. In short, yuck.

That said: if there are multiple rapists to be taken out in this modified version of the Dark Brotherhood plotline, I gotta say, Harrow is on board with that. She will have no fucking qualms whatsoever with enacting some illicit vengeance.

Problems with more Thieves Guild quests

As I said above, the Thieves Guild mod I’m running appears to have broken Delvin. I’m reproducing what appears to be a known bug where Delvin stops giving you Bedlam Jobs properly.

Given that that’s the exact kind of job I prefer to take from Delvin, this is problematic. :/

The bug manifested when I came back to Riften and went down into the Guild to sell things to Tonilia, and check in to close off the Markarth set of jobs. Delvin let me do that. But when I tried to get him to switch to a new city and give me a different kind of job, I could only get him to do the dialogue for handing me the job. The actual quest for the job never launched.

I tried a couple of different approaches to see if I could work around the problem:

  1. Rolling back to a prior save and re-doing my job request
  2. Setting Delvin to point at a specific city, as the mod lets me do
  3. Setting Delvin to not point at a specific city
  4. Calling off the previous given job, which didn’t help presumably because I didn’t have a job to cancel

It’ll suck if I can’t do any more Bedlam Jobs. I may have to punt to getting Delvin to give me Fishing Jobs instead.

(And I acknowledge that there is a degree here of You Should Really Just Relax. But y’all gotta understand, I’m an SDET/QA Engineer! Even above and beyond being a player of Skyrim, bugs are my natural nemesis. It is my instinct to poke at them until I find a solution, or at least a workaround!)

Next time

I’ve already played Harrow’s next session after this post–and that’s going to feature getting more mileage in with the Brotherhood!

After that, Harrow’s still got a large list of minor quests all over her journal, so I want to work on whittling that down some more. But now that she’s in the low 40’s for level, I’m almost to the point where I can get the best versions of Chillrend and Dragonbane.

So it’s about time to tackle the Thalmor Embassy. And in order to do that, I want:

  1. The Quiet Casting perk on Illusion
  2. Invisibility spell
  3. Magicka cost cut down on Conjuration spells to make it easier to summon the daedroth
  4. Ideally, also the Conjure Dremora Lord spell
  5. Twin Souls perk would be delightful if I can make it 😉

I think another training session at the mage college is in order.


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.