Kendis Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Kendis Slays Harkon and Does Side Quests

Main action in this post is finishing up Dawnguard, then also doing a bunch of side questing. And forgetting that if I’m going to do the quests to de-wolfify Vilkas and Farkas in the Companions, and I’m on a non-modded build, I have to do Farkas first. Oops.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 5/14, 5/21-5/22/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 63-65

Sunday the 14th

  • Slept at Honeyside
  • Headed out from there towards Ruunvald
  • Fought en route:
    • Trio of bears and trio of Volkihar vampires at the same time
    • Right after that, Thalmor execution squad!
    • Serana resurrected one of each, LOL
  • Got another blood sample off the Thalmor because Altmer of course
  • Mined a nearby iron vein after the Thalmor fight
  • Made it to Ruunvald; mined quicksilver just outside there
  • Looted exterior tent
  • Realized I was overloaded already though, and that’s no damn good
  • Fast traveled on Yngvi back to Lakeview for supplies dropoff
  • Major graphical failure at Lakeview 🙁
  • The game locked up on me as I was trying to drop stuff off
  • Did a hard restart–and then got rendering breakage coming back into the house, and then everything vanishing even after fast travel
  • Tried to go back to Ruunvald and still had everything black
  • Hard restarted the game again and finally got back to playable state
  • Returned to Ruunvald and started running the place, pretty much as per previous playthroughs
  • Rescued Florentius and sent him along to Fort Dawnguard
  • Boinged there myself, but did not engage Isran immediately
  • Sold boatload of things to Sorine; turned in her crossbow bolt schematic and got the exploding crossbow bolts spec
  • Could not get a new quest off of her though possibly because endgame of Dawnguard in play?
  • Didn’t immediately see Florentius, but he did show up once I engaged Isran and Isran gave his speech
  • On the way out to Castle Volkihar, stopped Florentius for a chat; got the Stendarr’s Aura and Vampire’s Bane spells off of him
  • Then went out and boinged to Castle Volkihar
  • Not killed once during the fight, surprisingly, but Celann and Durak were not so lucky
  • Took out Harkon with Serana, and Isran had his final scene with Serana
  • Looted a few gargoyle remains on the way out
  • Boinged over to the balcony so I could get into the soul cairn and retrieve Valerica
  • Had 26 soul husks, so stopped at Morven Stroud and got a spellbook off of him (Flames, not useful)
  • Returned Valerica to her lab and got her permission to take anything I wanted
  • Ciao Serana, pleasure questing with you
  • Boinged around between Whiterun, Lakeview, and Heljarchen
  • Sold a bunch of things and organized building supplies
  • Did some additional building at Heljarchen (and oh yeah right, forgot I put Marcurio in there as steward, LOL)
  • Returned to Lakeview and organized wardrobe there
  • Saved there for next time

Sunday the 21st

  • Picked up at Lakeview
  • Boinged to Forgotten Vale to run the paragon portal; did so as per previous playthroughs and got all the loot
  • Took items over to Bloodchill Manor; left the paragons there as well as Auriel’s Bow and Shield
  • Boinged to the College of Winterhold and sold Urag the four unknown books
  • Got five rounds of Destruction training from Faralda
  • Bought a few more spellbooks from her as well
  • Sold assorted bits of enchanted jewelry to Faralda, Drevis, and Tolfdir
  • Boinged off to Morthal to run the fishing contest
  • Did it twice because the first time through, summoned dremora killed Brutus and threw him into the water; when I looted Brutus’s body, he had two journals in his inventory, and I could not read either to successfully complete the quest
  • Second time through everything was more normal–mostly? There seemed to be extra fighting, I think the third of the three bandits got into a side fight
  • Killed a frostbite spider as part of this battle
  • This time read the journal, fished up the Warlock’s Ring, and concluded the quest
  • Found a dead Nord and a dead Orc near the shore, and the dead Orc let me get the final blood sample needed for Septimus; these guys may or may not have also been fighting the third mage, dunno?
  • Got objective to return to Viriya for more fishing bounties, but instead went to Eldersblood Peak to find the Word of Power there
  • Summoned Durnehviir! Got him to help me fight the dragon 😀
  • Also got his first Word of Power
  • Lost track of Yngvi after the battle though, and I was overloaded, so had to summon Arvak to get back to Whiterun
  • Sold assorted things, trying to unload more of the enchanted jewelry I was hauling around, including selling things to Farengar in Dragonsreach
  • Weirdly, found Amren at Farengar’s desk in his chamber while Farengar himself was at the table eating
  • Went to Jorrvaskr and tried to go get a job from Farkas, who bitched at me about already having a job with Vilkas OH RIGHT (and saw Vilkas standing by at the door, missed him on the way in ;P)
  • Went to Breezehome and got Rulnik following me
  • Went back to Lakeview to drop off things
  • Saved there for the night

Monday the 22nd

  • Started off in Lakeview
  • Noticed upper shelf of bookshelf in Lakeview seemed borked? Said I could add 16 more books, but the shelf looked empty, WTF
  • Boinged around to a few different houses seeing if I had a copy of Night Falls on Sentinel anywhere; answer: apparently not
  • Turned on the quest to find it and it directed me to Swindler’s Den
  • Boinged there to partially re-run the place; book was only partway in; got it and made a bunch of bandits have very bad days on the way in and out
  • Got One-handed bump off the book
  • Came back out again and hoofed it over to Goldenhills to crash for the night there
  • Got the farm’s profits from Golldir which bumped up my gold to nearly 200K
  • Boinged from there to Markarth
  • Gave Ghorza the Last Scabbard book; got a bump to smithing off that
  • Sold assorted things to Lisbet
  • Came out of the store and a guard was all “by Shor you’re carrying a lot of junk, you should go to Arnleif and Sons and sell it off.” Tad late there, Chet!
  • Stepped outside the city to see if the Khajiit were on hand; their tents were, but not the Khajiit themselves, oh wells
  • Boinged from there to Icewater Jetty to get within range of minor quest locales
  • Found Lower Steepfall Burrow; not entirely sure I’d been in there before?
  • Killed a few ice wolves in there
  • Could not find a way up to the upper burrow from there; only exit out appeared to be an underwater tunnel, which surfaced in a pool that appeared to be the bottom of the aforementioned steep fall
  • Came back out again and headed up to the other Steepfall Burrow entrance
  • Killed a couple of frost trolls in there and got Noster’s helmet
  • Came back out again and started traveling the beach eastward
  • Killed assorted critters, and one cranky random Imperial
  • Went past Ravenscar Hollow but did not engage
  • Reached and ran Broken Oar Grotto
  • Got the iron greatsword for the Companions quest
  • Came back out again and summoned Arvak so I fast travel to Solitude 
  • Gave Noster his helmet and got Sneak boost
  • Sold a boatload of bandit loot to Sayma
  • Tried to head out again to see if the Khajiit were outside–but an Ancient Dragon showed up :O
  • Saw it coming just outside the city gates and then it flew in overhead
  • Guards, Rulnik, Gogh and I all started in on the dragon
  • Gisli threw a line about getting out of there, because LOL, Gisli is not stupid
  • Dragon crashed in Castle Dour’s courtyard, and as previously noted that’s a very bad place for dragons to be landing 😉
  • Assorted cranky Imperials also started attacking it
  • One guard casualty, so I took his stuff and sold it to Beirand (consider it Imperial requisitioning)
  • No Khajiit outside
  • Boinged from there to Dawnstar
  • Crashed for the night at the inn
  • Then came out and gave Rustleif the book; got him to bump my Smithing again \0/
  • Boinged back to Whiterun and sold assorted stuff to Belethor
  • Went to Jorrvaskr to check in with Vilkas and give him the sword
  • And finally Vilkas wants me to de-wolf him
  • Took that quest and Rulnik returned home until I need him again
  • (Yes hon, go watch over the girls please, I gotta go de-wolf my friend here, and for that matter also me)
  • Left Whiterun and finally did find Khajiit! Bought a bunch of soul gems and ingredients off Ri’saad, then sold him a boatload of enchanted things
  • Reminded that oh right, the Purity quest is glitched if I do it with Vilkas first >_<
  • Quest marker vanished and the quest moved to done in my list
  • Vilkas returned to Jorrvaskr, as I discovered when I boinged back to Whiterun and found him there
  • Could not take Vilkas back as follower or Rulnik
  • Got new regular errand quest off Vilkas to kill an escaped criminal, so went to run that
  • Took me back to Ustengrav; killed three respawned bandits outside there
  • Criminal’s quest marker shifted to Morthal then back to Ustengrav, throwing me off
  • But finally found him at the same bandit camp and took him out
  • Boinged back to Whiterun to check in, but this still didn’t let me get either Vilkas or Rulnik back as follower
  • So found Aela and got a quest off of her, to take out a bear in Fallowstone Cave
  • Wound up doing two bears as well as a giant
  • Boinged back to Whiterun
  • Got payment and then second quest to take out a snowy sabre cat at Ragnar’s house in Karthwasten, which was the miner barracks
  • Stopped at Lakeview first to drop off stuff to get under carry weight (lots of heavy dragon bits)
  • Then boinged to Karthwasten and took out the snowy sabre cat
  • Then returned to Aela for payment for that, and that led her to trigger a totem quest and ask me to come with her; got message she replaced my follower, good
  • Saved at that point for the night

Graphical issues on the Switch

Let me start off this post by noting that it’s increasingly apparent to me that the Switch is really just not very happy running the Anniversary Edition. I’ve had too many glitches in Kendis’ run that I just did not see in prior playthroughs. And I say this fully cognizant of how much I’ve bitched about bugs in prior playthroughs!

But for all the prior bug bitching I’ve done for everybody from Alarrah up through Faanshi, none of those playthroughs ever featured game graphics actively breaking. Only in Kendis’s playthrough have I seen things like graphics splintering all over my field of view–or graphics not rendering at all.

So this is me coming in firmly on the side of, if you want to play Skyrim on the Switch, maybe don’t bother with getting the Anniversary Edition, y’all. Because it seems to me like the Switch is struggling really hard to deal with it.

Now, in fairness I will also note that these problems seem to have gotten more pronounced the longer I’ve played this playthrough. For much of Kendis’s run, things were fine. So I don’t know what’s going on here, if this has been a question of this build of Skyrim having a harder time with a longer-running save file or what?

I also see that if I search for “screen goes black in skyrim coming out of house”, I see a bunch of posts and articles that talk about black screen issues when the Anniversary Edition originally dropped. And now I’m wondering if fixes for these issues which fixed things on the PC side, or on the higher powered consoles, maybe didn’t make it into the Switch port?

I see in some of the articles about AE black screen issues that a root cause for them appears to be how game scripts in the AE run faster than scripts in previous versions of the game–and that the game may not be fully up to speed on handling the faster scripts. If so, this might be at least a partial explanation for why the Switch is struggling with this build? Because it’s not as powerful a console.

Anyway, moving on!

Tail end of Dawnguard

I think this is perhaps the latest I ever got Florentius to come to Fort Dawnguard. Literally right on the tail end of the plot, which meant he showed up just in time to join the force going to Castle Volkihar. HA.

This did at least let me finally get his two spells. And I then proceeded to finish off the plot.

The battle at Castle Volkihar went well for me, but not so much poor Celann and Durak. RIP you two, you fought valiantly!

And I did the followup as per usual to get Valerica out of the Soul Cairn, and dismissed Serana to let her go about her own business.

I don’t think I’ll bother to proceed through the rest of Sorine’s crossbow quests, though. Feeling pretty done with Dawnguard in this run.

Dragon in Solitude

Getting another dragon attacking in Solitude reminded me that I do hardly ever see dragons inside the major cities–the ones with walls. But I’ve had dragons in Solitude a few times now across my playthroughs.

Searching about this topic shows me that absolutely, dragons can show up inside the various walled cities. Arguably, I haven’t seen them in Windhelm and Markarth just because I spend way less time visiting those cities in general.

In the case of Riften, I do frequently fast travel straight there, and I have noticed controller rumble a lot when I come into Riften. But so far that hasn’t resulted in a dragon actually inside Riften.

But so far, going clear back to Alarrah, I’m legit surprised I haven’t had dragons in Whiterun more often than I have. I do still recall having the one in Whiterun in Alarrah’s playthrough, but no sign of any since.

Broken Purity quest, and Aela workaround

I knew for a fact that the quest to de-wolf Farkas and Vilkas was actively broken and would not work if I did Vilkas first. I actively reminded myself of this, in fact, trying to go after Farkas first to get the quest off of him in earlier Kendis sessions.

And what do I do this time? Trigger the damn quest with Vilkas first. Augh.

However, this time I dug further into what the wiki has to say about fixing this. As always, since this is a run on the Switch, I don’t have access to console-based solutions.

But the wiki does talk about an in-game workaround, which involves getting Aela to follow you on one of the quests to get a Totem of Hircine. Because that’ll make Aela your automatic follower, and she kicks the “invisible” follower out of your follower slot, which will in turn give you access to another crack at getting the Purity quest. Note to Future Me: do it with Farkas first, dammit.

Running Aela’s quest, at least, will be a new thing I haven’t done yet. So that’s cool.

Next time

Going to run Aela’s quest, and see if that lets me go back and get Farkas on board for going to the Tomb of Ysgramor.


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.