Harrowhark Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Harrowhark Has a Bit of a Reset

This is a multi-session post, but it actually replicated some of the action I did in running Moonpath to Elsweyr. Because y’all may recall that at the end of my Moonpath to Elsweyr post, I reported seeing some crashing behavior on the way out of the area set up by the mod.

This behavior has, unfortunately, persisted. And investigating what was going on caused me to have to roll back a bit, as I will detail under the fold.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 4/6, 4/9-4/12/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 58-62

Thursday the 6th

  • Not really a real session, mostly just logged in to go ahead and dismiss Inigo
  • Initially thought I would try to actually go back to Elsweyr and leave Inigo in the hideout there, and maybe also do that side quest with the armor
  • But when I returned to the caravan just outside Falkreath, i saw that Ku’rana and Verina had the same lines they had before to start the Moonpath quest, and I didn’t want to play the whole damn thing over again
  • Plus, the game crashed when I talked to Verina anyway, so thrown back to Lakeview after that 😛
  • Punted to just dismissing Inigo from Lakeview
  • He threw me a line about how he’d be in Riften if I needed him, and he ambled off singing, which was kind of sweet
  • Discovered however that my game was still in a bad state, kept crashing a few minutes in after I just derped around Lakeview crafting things
  • Started trying to resolve the crashing issues but disabling and then uninstalling and reinstalling the Moonpath mod didn’t help
  • Confirmed that crashing behavior did not reproduce on the VM
  • In the middle of all this, boinged over to Riften to hit the Thieves Guild
  • Sold Tonilia assorted enchanted jewelry
  • Dropped off Nightingale gear in Shadowfoot Sanctum since there are places for it explicitly, which I really rather like
  • Returned to the Deck and could not repro the crash; stopped there for the night

Sunday the 9th

  • Did a bit more minor playing to try to see if my crashing problem had stabilized yet
  • Picked up in Riften; sold a few things to try to clear out the inventory
  • Discovered I was having trouble fast traveling :/
  • Tried to fast travel first to Geirmund’s Hall to fish for the Lucky Fishing Hat, but the game crashed when I did that, every single damn time
  • Also reproed trying to fast travel to Lakeview, Whiterun, or Morthal
  • Finally made it to Morthal via the carriage, so I tried to launch the fishing contest plot
  • Did a few rounds of this, because I kept also having crashes as soon as I got into fights with the bandits
  • This also put me into a few rounds of fighting with dragons, because a couple of those times, a dragon tried to strafe Morthal; also just got straight up killed a time or two by the bandits
  • Tried a few things to fix the problem, including purging mods and then redeploying them
  • Finally jumped over to VM and was able to finish up the fishing contest plot
  • Got the Warlock’s Ring as well as Illusion and Conjuration boosted vagrant robe and hood off the bandits
  • On the way back into Morthal, an Ancient Dragon showed up, so had to take it out
  • Finally successfully fast traveled to Geirmund’s Hall and fished up the Lucky Fishing Hat
  • Did a bit more fishing; got a catfish and a pearlfish
  • Boinged to Honningbrew Meadery so I could hit the fishing spot there and try to get a pygmy sunfish; was not successful
  • It was raining, and Lucien threw off a line about how he loved storms but preferred to appreciate them from inside, so I took us back to Whiterun and sheltered in nice warm Breezehome
  • Saved there for the night

Monday the 10th

  • Short session, mostly just testing if crashing behavior still happened
  • Picked up at Whiterun
  • Boinged to High Hrothgar and talked to Arngeir; got him to give me a pointer to a Word of Power, this time at Ragnvald
  • Talked to him about Dragonrend; cue Arngeir being pissed off and Einarth chastising him
  • Lucien threw a line at this point commenting that Paarthurnax was an unusual name, and dropping the hint that Lucien was suspicious about Paarthurnax’s nature
  • Made it out to the courtyard to learn Clear Skies
  • Started up the mountain and killed an ice wraith, but crashed shortly after
  • Thrown back to the courtyard, so just stopped there since it was late

Tuesday the 11th

  • Tried to poke at the crashing problem further
  • Tried to roll back to an earlier point in running Moonpath, and also back to the save just before running Moonpath; didn’t help
  • That also reproduced the problem when trying to fast travel 😛
  • Blew away all the Elsweyr saves and started re-running the whole thing
  • Still crashed after a save attempt though
  • Tried purging and reploying mods on the Deck, no love
  • Also tried completely reinstalling Skyrim, also didn’t help

Wednesday the 12th

  • Re-ran all of the Elsweyr quests, but this time including getting the Ancient Siligonder Chitin armor
  • Re-leveled up to 57 and took Health bump and Matching Set perk in Light Armor
  • Returned to Riften and got Tonilia’s payment for the deal with Ri’saad
  • Returned to Markarth and re-did talking to Muiri about taking out Alain Dufont
  • Re-ran Arkngthamz with Katria
  • Re-ran fetching the Lucky Fishing Hat but so far have not been able to get a goldfish for Mila, so I haven’t been able to proceed to the Morthal fishing contest
  • I did however finally get the Ring of Kynareth!
  • Was not able to take Swims-in-Deep-Waters the fishing hat, but I did get the bounty from him to take a spadefish to Bothela in Markarth
  • Boinged to Lakeview and then Windstad, to check on status of building things

Dismissing Inigo, but then retconning that

Y’all will note that as part of this whole process, I initially tried to dismiss Inigo from my playthrough, for reasons I wrote about in earlier posts. However, as I later realized, I felt really guilty about that. And since I rolled back to a save before I dismissed him, he’s back in my playthrough and I’m letting that stand. I wrote up some thoughts about that in Giving Inigo another chance, since that deserves a post of its own.

Go see that post for the scene I envision between Harrow, Inigo, and Lucien on this!

What I will also note here though is, when I initially tried to dismiss him at Lakeview, he ambled off to return to Riften, singing. Which I thought was actually rather sweet, and which did contribute to my feeling guilty about dismissing the big blue kitty. 💙

(I will note though that if I was going to let that dismissal stand, I stand by my thought that I’d actually send him off to Elsweyr to help his people there. With all the gear I gave him, which he definitely earned. I actually saw Inigo briefly in Riften later when I tried to pop in there, prior to the rollback. And that was a bit of cognitive dissonance. So I’m glad to avoid that by having him back on follower duty, too.)

Crashing issues

So just to review from what I said at the tail end of the first Moonpath to Elsweyr post, I saw issues starting at the end of that run, when I tried to go through the door back to the main game. Crashing issues continued to persist after that, though, following into two general types of crashes:

  1. Roughly five minutes in after I came back out of a save
  2. Any time I tried to fast travel

Here’s what I tried to resolve the issues:

  1. Disabling the Moonpath to Elsweyr mod
  2. Uninstalling the mod and reinstalling it
  3. Purging all mods in Vortex and redeploying them
  4. Rolling back to the save that occurred partway through Moonpath, just before I started seeing the crashes
  5. Rolling back to the save that occurred just before I started Moonpath at all
  6. Blew away all the saves picking up from where I started running Moonpath and then started re-running
  7. Completely reinstalled Skyrim

Both ways I’m playing Harrow’s playthrough are weird multi-layered things. On the Steam Deck, I’m not only running on a Linux build, but I’m also using Steamtinkerlaunch as a compatibility layer, to make Skyrim’s PC build talk to Linux and let me mod it. Over on the VM, I’m running in Windows, but it’s an ARM build of Windows 11 running in Parallels on an M1 MacBook.

In other words, I’m in Edge Case land either way. But since they’re wildly different edge cases, it’s really not surprising at all that I could see a problem on one and not the other.

What drives me a little nuts here, particularly as a QA professional, is that I don’t know exactly what’s causing the problem. So I’m not at all sure how to fix it.

The closest I’ve gotten to some kind of a solution is to disable all automatic saving. After running on the VM for a while and then going back over to the Deck, I saw that that length to improve the amount of time I could go without a crash. But I did eventually get at least one crash, so I’m not sure yet whether this has actually fixed the problem.

What all I replayed, and what all I didn’t

As noted above, by the time I got to yesterday’s session, I basically tried to re-run everything done in In Which Harrowhark Takes a Moonpath to Elsweyr, as well as a few things attempted since.

Since I did basically re-run all of Moonpath, all of that stands as canon in Harrow’s run so I’m not going to duplicate it here. The one addition to it I’ll add here is that I did go back and run the mini-quest to get Ancient Siligonder Chitin Armor from the Khajiit who runs the caravan outpost.

This required me to talk to an Argonian botanist who had apparently been tasked with extending the oasis the outpost was built upon. She identified herself as Shi’lara, though she was tagged as Shi’ara in the dialogue UI, so that was a little weird. And I sure hope that as an Argonian, she had access to plenty of salves to tend her scales. Working in the desert seems fairly problematic for a female of a species native to marshes!

Her quest was easy enough, though. I just had to kill a few siligonders and get eggs and chitin off of them for her, and having Jelikirr make me an armor set out of the chitin was my reward.

I also tried making a few sets of the armor myself, since my mods do give me access to a recipe for it at forges. Jelikirr’s set was clearly superior and had not only better protection stats on it, but also a higher carry weight bonus, similar to the difference between regular Thieves Guild armor and the Guildmaster’s version. But I’m not really convinced I like the stuff. I might like it more if I had matching helmet or bracers or boots, but it’s just the armor. So there’s no Matching Set bonus to be had here.

Also, while I was able to make armor using siligonder chitin, zahilisk teeth, and ebony, two of those three are not things I can get outside the Moonpath mod. So I had only enough materials to try to improve one of my test armor sets once.

And I couldn’t actually improve the Ancient set that I got from Jelikirr at all. So while the armor does look kind of cool, I can’t see it being competitive at all with any other armor I’ve got.

Two more things I want to say about Moonpath here:

One, the parts of it set in the desert areas are really washed out, color-wise. They aren’t nearly as vivid as the parts in the jungle. I’d love to see those parts retextured properly so everything isn’t just a wash of sepia and brown. I minimized screenshots from those areas, just because they were all really hard to visually parse.

And two, since I play with subtitles on, I noticed a whole bunch of places where the subtitles did not match what the spoken lines were. Which was frustrating, since I heard several extra choice little bits of dialogue i’d have liked to see written out.

I wasn’t able to redo getting a goldfish for Mila yet, so I wasn’t able to progress to doing the fishing contest in Morthal. Nor did I return to High Hrothgar yet to redo talking to Arngeir.

I did however redo talking to Muiri in Markarth, as well as running Arkngthamz and meeting Katria.

A few excellent Lucien quotes

First, while fighting Argonian bandits when we went to rescue Jo-ran at the Topal Sea hideout:

“You really want to kill me? That’s rather cold-blooded, isn’t it? Ah, come to think of it, I suppose that makes sense. Because you’re a lizard.”

This one’s while we were sneaking through Arkngthamz, and somehow three living beings and a ghost sneaking did in fact usually work:

“I am vengeance… I am the night… I am… making noise, I’m so sorry.”

And this one’s after I read the letter from Bolgeir Bearclaw, which kicked off the bone wolf quest:

“Dark necromancers attacking innocents? Sounds like a job for a dashing hero and their handsome scholarly companion. Or, if they’re unavailable, us.”

All issues with crashes aside, Lucien was pretty much in top form!

Next time

I’ll re-run going to High Hrothgar, and hopefully this time I’ll actually make it to Paarthurnax. I do want to get that Clear Skies Shout into Harrow’s repertoire.


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.