In Which Harrowhark Opens an Oblivion Gate
A lot of action in this one, with thievery action in both Solitude and Whiterun, the purchasing of Tundra Homestead, and last but not least, defeating the Mythic Dawn at Red Scar Cavern and venturing into the Deadlands through the Oblivion gate there.
Play by play
- Play dates: 3/25, 3/26, 3/29/2023
- Session numbers in this run: 53-55
Saturday the 25th
- Started off at Lakeview
- Boinged to College of Winterhold to experiment with nailing down the location of the Secluded Cabin; from there, used the orb in the Arch-Mage’s quarters and spent a soul gem to return to the cabin
- Discovered I could definitely climb down the mountain from there, but not back up
- Fought a frost troll on the way down
- Nearby fort icon on the HUD turned out to be Gallows Rock
- Found Mara’s Eye Pond and Uttering Hills Cave; fought outside bandits at the latter
- Boinged back to the college
- Ancient Dragon showed up, but immediately regretted its life choices, thanks to the courtyard being full of Team Dragonborn and a bunch of aggressive mages; Inigo, Lucien, Tolfdir, Faralda, and i all killed it
- Boinged back to the cabin via the Arch-Mage’s quarters (which cost another soul gem)
- Confirmed that the Gallows Rock fort icon now showed up as visited on the HUD, and confirmed via map that Dara’s guess about where the cabin is was right
- Boinged to Solitude
- Sold some stuff to Beirand and Sayma
- Parked Inigo and Lucien in Proudspire
- Attempted to break into Evette’s house to steal stuff, but got caught lockpicking 😛
- Paid the fine and went back for round two, and this time got in correctly
- Got in, got the items; got out safely
- Returned to Proudspire and got the boys back on duty
- Went over to the Blue Palace to speak to Sybille, and waited an hour for her to wake up; told her the Pinemoon vamps were taken care of
- She bumped my Illusion, and I bought three rounds of Destruction training with her
- Picked up my horse and rode out towards Dragon Bridge
- Attacked by hostile Wood Elf near the Haafingar Stormcloak Camp, which I discovered for the map while trying to find where the Wood Elf had fallen after we took her out
- Headed through Dragon Bridge and crossed the river just by the camp near Chillwind Depths; stopped to fish there
- Discovered the Reach Stormcloak Camp en route to Bruca’s Leap Redoubt
- Reached and ran Bruca’s Leap Redoubt, and got the ghost’s sword from there
- Game crashed when I tried to return to my horse and fast travel to Markarth; thrown back to coming out of the Redoubt
- Quaffed a potion this time and boinged to Markarth to sell things
- Made a Campfire black fur backpack and attached one of my Amulets of Talos to it; I like that that backpack is less chonky than the ones from the AE, but not liking that it adds only 50 points rather than 75 to the carry weight
- Rode to Old Hroldan Inn to drop off the sword; ghost bumped my One-Handed and Block
- Rode to Hendraheim to drop off the horses, and there was a frigging cave bear right at the stable; took it out
- Hoofed it over to Bilegulch Mine and ran the place, was in the mood to fling a daedroth around
- Inigo had a good line: “You like to steal, do you? You can have this for free!”
- Got Kharjo’s moon amulet back
- Boinged to Riften, and yay! Kharjo and his caravan were there!
- Returned the amulet and got Kharjo’s offer to travel with me if I ever need him <3
- And right after that, he shot at a frostbite spider that skittered up right while we were trying to have our conversation
- Sold a bunch of things to Ahkari, then went down into the Guild and sold more things to Tonilia
- Checked in with Vex and gave her the stolen items
- Got another job in Solitude, this time hitting Jala’s house, but still couldn’t get a Bedlam Job
- Bought two rounds of Pickpocket training with Vipir to get me over 50
- Boinged to Dead Crone Rock again to doublecheck that i’d gotten the Stone of Barenziah there; answer: yes
- It had also respawned, so had to kill a few extra Forsworn
- Boinged back to Lakeview and dropped off assorted things to get down the carry load
- Did a bit more research on the issue with Delvin not giving Bedlam Jobs, and then boinged to Riften
- Moved the Thieves Guild mod after Dawn of Skyrim in my load order and reloaded from save, which appeared to temporarily fix the problem; I was able to get a Bedlam Job after this change
- Discovered that the Y button being broken to make skills Legendary was a thing I’d seen already in Shenner’s run, and also figured out that I could do a workaround of mapping the R4 button on the Deck to Spacebar
- Boinged back to Solitude; parked the boys in the house again
- Waited until after 1am to break into Jala’s house, to make sure she and Ahtar were both asleep
- Got the two things on the lower floor
- The item by Jala’s bed was a bit of a problem, I couldn’t get the prompt to nab it with two other things in the way, so had to temporarily pick up a tankard to fetch it
- Also wound up knocking an egg off the end table
- Got the item though, and dropped the tankard back onto the floor
- Hastened back to Proudspire, retrieved the boys, and boinged back to Riften
- Checked in with Delvin and Vex, got payment for the jobs, and got each of them to give me another job to fill out the five for Solitude
- This time had to rob Addvar’s house, and still not a fan of that, given that that family is poor
- Got back to Solitude this time in morning hours, and did a little shopping to kill time
- Talked to Angeline and got her quest to talk to Captain Aldis, and yep, sorry Angeline, your daughter sure is dead
- Went over to scope out Addvar’s house; Greta was in there brooding about her brother, and I chatted with her a bit
- Parked the boys in Proudspire again, and waited until after 4pm to get into the house when Greta wasn’t there: nabbed the items and got out
- Retrieved the boys and returned to Riften; talked to Delvin and Vex again, got payment for jobs
- Also got Delvin to give me the Dainty Sload job
- Boinged back to Solitude to run that
- Sabine is still really bitchy, but this time she was also clipping into a mast of her boat, so that was weird
- Cast Candlelight and Waterbreathing spells to dive underwater to her chest to get the Balmora Blue
- With Inigo and Lucien along, the Dainty Sload quest was not one I could really do stealthily once I reached the ship; I kept throwing Invisibility, but the boys did keep getting noticed 😉
- Did however still get the contraband planted, and got the Stone of Barenziah while I was in there
- Checked in with Erikur to conclude the quest on his side, then boinged back to Riften to conclude it with Delvin
- Attempted to start with Whiterun as the next set of quests to get, but replicated the problem with Delvin no longer giving me Bedlam Jobs
- Got him to give me a Numbers Job, but wanted a Bedlam Job, and didn’t really feel like committing forgery even if it was in Belethor’s shop
- Rolled back to the point where I’d just checked in with Vex and was ready to check in with Delvin
- Saved at that point for the night
Sunday the 26th
- Mucked around some more in Vortex
- Figured out how to assign the Thieves Guild mod to ‘Late Loaders’ group and throw it all the way down to the bottom of my load order
- Also remembered that when I got Solitude’s quests to work I’d already had a solo job done for Vex, so decided to try that with Whiterun too
- Picked up again at the Thieves Guild
- Boinged off to Whiterun to run the quest to rob Ysolda’s house
- Parked the boys in Breezehome
- Robbed Ysolda’s house safely, retrieved the boys, and boinged back to the Thieves Guild
- Got another Sweep Job, this time to hit Wintersand Manor! Which turned out to be Nazeem and Ahlam’s house, added back into the game by Cutting Room Floor
- Delvin did give me another Bedlam Job, awesome
- Boinged back to Whiterun, this time by Honningbrew because of proximity to the house; scoped out its location
- But a Blood Dragon showed up, so Team Dragonborn + guards had to take it out
- By then it was almost sunrise, not really a good house-robbing time frame, because apparently Wilmuth, Nazeem and Ahlam’s employee, is asleep only between midnight and 4am
- To kill time, went over to Tundra Homestead, only to discover I hadn’t actually bought Tundra Homestead yet as harrow
- Lucien threw off a delighted line about how the place looked charming and asked, “Can we buy it?”
- Headed into Whiterun and sold assorted things until I was up over 7,500 gold
- Went into Dragonsreach and found Proventus so I could buy the place
- Returned to Tundra Homestead to settle in, and put a few books on the shelves
- Went back outside and killed a skeever near the stable
- Told the boys to stay put in the house
- Waited until after midnight so I could sneak over and hit Nazeem’s place; confirmed that yep, he and Ahlam were asleep in there
- Swiped the items without issues, which satisfied both the Bedlam and the Sweep Jobs
- Boinged back to Riften; got payment from Delvin and Vex for both jobs
- Got a new Sweep Job for Amren’s house
- Could not get another Bedlam Job, so took a Numbers Job instead, which wanted me to hit the new bakery added by Dawn of Skyrim
- Boinged back to Whiterun and knocked both of those jobs down pretty quickly
- Boinged back to Riften yet again, and got payment for those jobs
- Got Vex to give me a Windhelm Sweep Job for Belyn Hlaalu’s house
- Talked to Delvin and got his job for Olfrid Battle-Born
- Boinged back to Whiterun yet again and did Olfrid’s job
- Yoinked the Stone of Barenziah out of the Jarl’s quarters
- Spotted his kid hanging out in the quarters, so threw Invisibility to get past him; I don’t think I needed to, but RP-wise it felt appropriate; got safely back out again
- Found Olfrid hanging out in the main court of Dragonsreach, so resolved the quest with him
- Boinged back to Riften yet again
- Got Tonilia’s job to give moon sugar to Ri’saad, and sold her assorted things
- Found that the alchemist and smith were now on deck at the Flagon; got wisp wrappings and moonstone ore
- Slept in the guild until Delvin was up, and got his payment for the special job
- Got him to give me a Numbers Job in Windhelm since he wouldn’t give me a Bedlam
- Boinged back to Tundra Homestead and picked up the boys
- Went back outside again into the night and the rain–aaaaaaaaand zombie horde; took them all out
- Went over to fish the nearby river, but nothing interesting caught
- Boinged to Alchemist’s Shack
- Killed a wolf–then killed by surprise Ancient Dragon
- Thrown back to the fishing spot
- Boinged to Alchemist’s Shack, take two
- Killed two wolves this time, and dragon was a flyby
- Went up to the Mythic Dawn camp and took out the cultists
- Got the pointer to Arcwind Point
- Made it safely over there, and this time took out the dragon
- Got the word for Drain Vitality off the wall there
- Took out the Draugr Death Overlord that burst out of the coffin
- Headed up to fight Crowstooth and her Khajiit crony, and assorted draugr
- Got the dragonplate armor and finished off that quest
- Reached the entrance to Rielle at Varlais Caverns
- Whistled for Hjalte to get him to come down to the cave entrance, which did work, and it was kind of fun to see him coming from a distance
- Ran Rielle, faster this time, with the help of the Clairvoyance Spell
- Placed the elemental shards to trigger the secret room, and got the Great Welkynd Stone
- Killed once by Norion the Undying but not thrown back too far; killed him off the second time through by throwing the dremora at him and staying out of range
- Found the journal with the clue to the Oblivion gate’s location
- Found the cultists fighting Vigil of Stendarr as before
- Lost track of Inigo and Lucien at this point, but they caught up with me once I got out of the ruins
- One surviving Vigilant also came out of the ruins at that point, snerk
- Saved there for the night
Wednesday the 29th
- Picked up just outside Rielle
- Mounted up and boinged from there to Riften
- Sold a bunch of things to Bersi to unload
- Then rode over to Red Scar Cavern to find the Oblivion gate
- Used the cultist robes I was already carrying to be incognito as I came in (and apparently none of them thought it was the slightest bit weird that I was coming in there with a couple armed followers who were not in robes)
- Made it down to the gate and took out Vonos; Inigo, Lucien, and summoned dremora took out other cultist NPC
- Headed through the open gate, took out the various dremora, looted a lot of things, and got the Summon Daedric Horse spell!
- Went back to Tamriel and found that the Vigil had in fact arrived and swept the place, only had to fight a couple more cultists on the way out; left the cave in Vigil hands
- Mounted up and boinged back to Riften
- Remembered I’d loaded Hjalte up with a bunch of stuff in the saddlebags, so retrieved that stuff
- Went in and sold a bunch of things to Bersi, Balimund, and then Tonilia down in the Guild
- Dropped off a bunch of the items from Arcwind Point as well as the dremora weapons from the Deadlands in Shadowfoot Sanctum
- Returned topside and boinged back to Lakeview for more inventory management; dropped off assorted things
- Then decided to hit the college and make the Conjure Ayleid Lich spell at the Atronach Forge
- Triggered incoming Ancient Dragon as I came in!
- Mages fought well but the dragon killed Orthorn; sorry about that, Orthorn! You did at least get to live for a good chunk of this session! (Bet he’s going to be lying dead in the courtyard for the rest of this game now though, we’ll see)
- Got dragon bits and slept in Arch-Mage’s quarters
- Got up the next morning and got a bit of training in Alteration and Destruction
- Boinged to Whiterun to try to report to Ri’saad and give him the moon sugar; showed up late and he was asleep, so slept in Breezehome
- Took a moment to swap out the color assets on the Hedge Mage Armor, went from red to mustard, just because I feel like Harrow wanted to wear something at least a bit more cheerful
- Stepped out through the gates to find that the Khajiit had taken down their camp, but they weren’t far so ran over to catch up with them; gave Ri’saad the moon sugar, and got him to agree to work with the guild
- Saved at that point for the night
Nailing down the location of the Secluded Cabin
I told Dara about playing around with the Secluded Cabin added into the game by the Immersive College of Winterhold mod, and that I was trying to figure out where it was, particularly in relation to Windhelm. So since she has a really good eye, she helped me work it out quite well. We looked at all the landmarks I could see from the cabin’s vantage point, and compared them to the map of the immediate area on the wiki. Having Windhelm in clear sight helped out a lot with this.
In play on the 25th, I started off by boinging back over to that cabin from the Arch-Mage’s quarters. First thing I was able to confirm is that yes, I can in fact climb down the mountainside from the place. It’s a little tricky, but totally doable. Climbing back up, on the other hand, is totally not going to happen. It’s way too steep. So unless you’ve got a mod that includes climbing equipment or maybe levitation magic, nope, you’re not getting back up that mountain.
And at Dara’s clever suggestion, I went around trying to find the nearest locations I’d spotted on the HUD, just to get them marked for the map. Which would then let me return to the cabin and see if those icons now showed up as visited.
This worked well. It let me determine that Dara’s guess about whether the cabin was on the map was about right:
- Just south of Raldbthar
- West of Gallows Rock
- North of Darkshade and Valtheim Towers
- Southeast-ish of Shearpoint
I’m very curious now about whether there’s some sort of overland route you could use to get to the cabin, if you come at it from a different direction. Like, say, if you’re already up on the slopes. I will have to keep an eye out for this, particularly when I’m ready to hit Raldbthar.
Action in Solitude
Calling this out on general grounds of for fuck’s sake, me, you know better than this: got caught picking the lock on Evette’s door.
Note to self: maybe rethinking picking a lock on the streets of Solitude in broad fucking daylight, even if I am sneaking? At least remember to throw an invisibility spell first!
Meanwhile, I made a point of waiting for Sybille to wake up from her slumber before giving her the news that the Pinemoon Cave vamps had been taken care of again. Harrow may not be a vampire anymore, but I think she harbors a large amount of sympathy for Sybille. And is not going to make her life any more difficult than it already is. Sign of respect and politeness to let the woman get her shut-eye!
Fixes for mod problems
So as I called out in the post Solving a few issues in Harrowhark’s playthrough, my attempts to fix Delvin’s lack of ability to give me Bedlam or Fishing jobs so far just have not been successful. Really not sure what else to try here. So I think I’ll just have to put up with this for the rest of this run. Fortunately, I’m close enough to being Guildmaster that I think putting up with it for the rest of the run will be less annoying than it was when I first started taking the jobs.
As a note to Future Me, though, I think it may behoove me to try out the Taking Care of Business Redux version of this mod, which is a newer version of the one I’ve been using. Apparently the code’s changed hands a couple of times since it was originally built for the non-Special-Edition version of Skyrim. Maybe that version will do better?
(And for that matter, I think this version’s supposed to build in the ability to not rob those who can’t afford it. Like, say, Addvar’s family!)
It was however a bit of a relief to discover a problem I could fix, which was the issue with not being able to set skills Legendary. I’d totally forgotten I’d seen that issue in Shenner’s run, too. But this is at least I had the ability to fix on the Deck, by mapping “Spacebar” onto one of the back buttons!
Boinging back to Dead Crone Rock
I did this out of an abundance of paranoia, really. I’d kind of lost track of how many Stones of Barenziah I’d yoinked already as Harrow! And running the same places with two different characters makes it easy to mix this kind of thing up.
Turned out I had in fact already taken the stone on Harrow’s first visit to Dead Crone Rock, so the second visit wasn’t actually necessary. But hey, I got to take out a few more Forsworn!
I don’t really have a good narrative excuse for this, though. I’m going to headcanon that this didn’t actually happen.
More action in Solitude
I didn’t get nabbed for breaking into Jala’s house, to be fair. But that job still was a bit more clumsy than I would have liked.
It was frustrating to have a tankard on the end table be right in the way of my nabbing the target item; I couldn’t for the life of me get my aiming cursor to pick up on the actual item. I had to pick up the tankard to get at it. Which of course meant “I stole the tankard”.
And all this flailing about also meant I knocked what looked like a rock warbler egg off the end table, too, and sent it falling to the floor below. I just hope Jala and Ahtar didn’t slip on that broken egg on the floor when they got up the next morning!
I don’t like that I had to rob Addvar’s house again, another argument in favor of trying the newer version of the Taking Care of Business mod, as I noted above. For this playthrough, though, I think Harrow did a little judicious scoping out of Addvar and Greta’s house if nothing else just because she was wary about getting caught again, after trying to break into Evette’s place.
Not to mention, it gave her an opportunity to find out more about Roggvir and what happened. I don’t think she gives a fuck about Ulfric per se, she’s trying to stay out of the question of the war as much as possible. But I do think she absolutely understands trying to do what you feel is right under extremely difficult circumstances. So she’s a little sympathetic about Roggvir, and by extension, his family.
Didn’t stop her from robbing them! Because, well, she’s a thief.
Boarding the Dainty Sload
Sabine as a character was still bitchy. But in this modded playthrough, she also clipped into the mast she was standing by, which was definitely weird.
The Waterbreathing spell came in handy again here, definitely. Since it lasts long enough that I was able to dive in, open the chest, and get back out of the water without running out of air.
I want to note for the record that I tried to be stealthy going through the Sload. I did keep throwing Invisibility! But the boys kept getting noticed, and fights kept breaking out, and yeah, well.
But I did at least get the contraband planted! And I got Erikur’s buyoff on helping the Guild in Solitude!
And for that matter, the Stone of Barenziah. Which was really what I was there for the most.
Thievery action in Whiterun
Running the Guild jobs in Whiterun meant that I was able to see some of Cutting Room Floor in action–because I got Wintersand Manor as a target to hit. Which is Nazeem and Ahlam’s house, added back into the game by Cutting Room Floor!
And unlike the house of Addvar and Greta, I have no compunctions whatsoever about robbing Nazeem’s house. Because seriously, fuck you, Mr. “Do You Ever Get to the Cloud District?”
But I had to kill some time before I could do it. Which led to discovering that a) I hadn’t actually bought Tundra Homestead yet as Harrow, and b) now that I have Lucien’s extra lines for AE content installed, he was very chipper about the place. He called it “charming” and enthused about how “we” had a homestead now.
Son, what did you think Lakeview Manor and Windstad Manor are? Also, what’s this “we”? My name’s the one on the charter, pal.
(Heh. Honestly, I’d cheerfully give followers houses if the game would let me do so. Which is not to be confused with telling followers they live at my houses. I’m talking about outright gifting a house to be owned by a follower. Because seriously, I do not need over a dozen houses!)
Dawn of Skyrim also got a hand into this action, too, because of the new bakery added in becoming the target of a Numbers Job. Which leads me to appreciate a bit that having mods active can make the Thieves Guild radiant jobs a bit more interesting, in general.
Finishing up the Mythic Dawn quest
Running the rest of this definitely went faster than it had done for Shenner, because this time through I knew what to expect.
Having the Clairvoyance spell in Rielle made getting around quicker–or rather, I should say, thinking to use it. Because I’m pretty damn sure I also had this spell as Shenner, given the point at which I ran this quest in her game.
And having a larger group with me as I headed into the Deadlands was also helpful. Especially given how I got overloaded nabbing a bunch of loot!
I do still like the use of the Vigil of Stendarr in this plot. Though I think it also means that Harrow was very, very relieved she was no longer a vampire. And she stayed the fuck out of their way, out of rather instinctive habit, too. She may no longer be a vampire, but I think it’ll take her a while to be entirely comfortable going anywhere near a Vigilant of Stendarr. She certainly doesn’t trust them.
One thing I’d like to call out here is a thing I didn’t mention when Shenner ran this plot, but which I did mention when I ran the Tribunal cult with her on Solstheim: namely, that if I was wearing the appropriate robes as a disguise, nobody gave me any shit about infiltrating their cult space. Even though I had multiple followers behind me who were not wearing cult robes. I should think that if Harrow came through there with an armed Khajiit, an armed Imperial, and an armed goblin all following her, somebody should at least have thought to stop and challenge her?
And of course, when I came back out of the portal, just about all of the cultists were too busy fighting the Vigilants of Stendarr to bother with me. LOL.
I’m not sure which of my mods triggered Orthorn returning to the college after I rescued him from Fellglow Keep. As I wrote in Shenner’s run, I left him with that Caller that time.
So legit not sure whether it’s the USSEP, Immersive College of Winterhold, or Cutting Room Floor that let Orthorn come back to the college! And I was legit enjoying seeming him actually interacting around the college, including showing up for the training sessions. I like to think he learned some valuable life lessons about not trying to get into necromancer social circles.
Here, though, the poor guy got killed by the Ancient Dragon that showed up to attack the college. I will grant him the dignity of assuming he died nobly trying to defend his fellow mages!
Adjusting the Hedge Mage armor colors
I do wish I could re-color the Hedge Mage armor inside the game itself rather than manually swapping assets. But since the mod creator does give you alternate color assets, I was in the mood to swap colors again! Because I felt like now that she’s no longer a vamp, Harrow wanted to wear something a bit less dark in tone. So I swapped off from the dark red colors to a mustard yellow instead.
(And those of you who’ve read the Locked Tomb series will know what I mean when I say I consider this letting Harrow indulge a bit of her inner Nona. :D)
Harrow’s next post will feature finally starting the Moonpath to Elsweyr mod!