Elder Scrolls Online,  Marwyth Playthrough

In Which Marwyth Lands on Bleakrock Isle

I’d been meaning to fire up another alt in Elder Scrolls Online, and as of this post, I’m finally doing it! Welcome to the start of the adventures of Marwyth of the Dunmer, my second ESO alt.

Play by play

  • Play date: 5/27/2023
  • Session number in this run: 1
  • Re-ran the tutorial, not entirely on purpose, but it proved to be useful to do so
  • This time coming through I told it to drop me on Bleakrock Isle so I’d be on the starter zone for the Ebonheart Pact
  • Ran pretty much the entire opening plotline on Bleakrock, which involved finding a bunch of villagers and helping Captain Rama organize everybody to evacuate the place in the face of imminent Daggerfall Covenant attack (which, yikes?)
  • Two major NPCs met were Captain Rama, a Dunmer, and Darj, a Nord
  • Several short but notable side plots:
    • Rescuing some folks who’d been turned into skeevers and using a wand to turn them back
    • Breaking into a barrow and defeating the necromancer in there who’d been disturbing the body of the dragon priest
    • Had to kill a bunch of spiders to rescue trapped Fighters Guild members who’d come on an expedition to the island; their leader encouraged me to join the guild
    • Had to help a woman find her brother in an icy cave, which was haunted by a mad mage’s ghost; notably, this mad ghost told me “your soul is missing”
    • Located a woman’s shipwrecked husband, with the help of his dog
    • Tangled with Frostedge bandits, which necessitated some disguise work
  • Determined some of the villagers had gone missing because of the Covenant’s efforts to invade the island–and once I located everybody, found that the Covenant escalated to outright attacking the village
  • Had to put out some fires in the village, and get trapped people out to rendezvous with others at a nearby tomb
  • Helped the captain escort a bunch of refugees out through that tomb
  • Made it to a rickety boat and sailed off to Dhalmora in Bal Foyen
  • Had to warn the immediately local forces about imminent attack, and light some signal fires to warn Davon’s Watch
  • Got to a point of having to make a choice of whether to help defend the docks or the fort
  • Made it clear up to level 9 with this alt in this one session
  • Other notes:
    • I have access to the same bank space as Gyllerah when running Marwyth, which surprised me
    • I also have access to the Champion points UI, which i didn’t expect
    • HURRAY Marwyth can summon banker kitty \0/


I was feeling salty about breaking Gyllerah’s build again, and still wanted to play ESO but did not want to fuck around with fixing Gyllerah again. I was in the mood to shoot things. So since I was already halfway thinking about starting a second ESO character, I went ahead and did so this past Saturday night.

I waffled hardcore between running an Argonian (since this is the only race out of the ones available in Tamriel that I haven’t run yet at all in any game) and a Dunmer. But since I was feeling like playing an ESO equivalent of my character Merawen in my Skyrim runs, I finally landed on Dunmer.

In fact, I was going to name this alt Merawen–but somebody had claimed that name in ESO already! So I punted to Marwyth instead, which means she’s still actually named for the same character in my Rebels of Adalonia books that Merawen was. And so she’ll get to have a lot of the same personality traits I was RPing to myself in Merawen’s run. 😉

As I’ve said on Marwyth’s main playthrough page, she is a Nightblade, and my goal is to run her as a stealth archer. I do love that kind of character in Skyrim, stereotypical as it may be!

Merawen joined the Thieves Guild in Skyrim, and it would be very appropriate for Marwyth to do so in ESO. I do not however have the Thieves Guild DLC yet, so I will have to keep that as a possible future goal.

For now, I’ll focus on what content I do have access to. Since Marwyth is a Dunmer, that plunks me into the Ebonheart Pact, and I’ll still have a boatload of additional content available that Gyllerah hasn’t even touched. I will not be lacking for things for Marwyth to do.

Which brings me to…

Re-running the tutorial

The game did tell me basically “Hey, you ran the tutorial already with a different character, do you want to re-run it with this one?” I thought I hit the option to skip the tutorial, but I was apparently mistaken. Because it did land me right back in Balfiera.

This, however, turned out to be useful just because it gave me the opportunity to do some basic practice with the bow. I’d tried that some with Gyllerah and found it awkward, but working on it in the tutorial let me clear my mind a bit and have the chance to get a better grasp of how the weapon works in this game.

I think one of the things that had been confounding me is that I’m very used to how bows work in Skyrim. But my muscle memory for that doesn’t entirely translate over to ESO. That particular action is a heavy attack, not a light one, in ESO’s terms. So I need to get better at just tapping the trigger button for basic bow shots.

And also, it was helpful to have Norianwe be able to remind me when to take advantage of a stunned opponent to hit them with a heavy attack. Which is when the more familiar “draw back as much as possible on the bow” muscle memory comes in.

This time through the tutorial, I did a lot more sneaking. Which meant I was able to evade more of the golems that wander around the area!

But because I am me, I did of course try to snurch as many things out of urns as possible. Which inevitably led to my inventory filling up.

I did have a bit of a dilemma trying to figure out what flavor of armor I wanted when I reached that part of the tutorial. But finally chose Medium since that seems to be what the game wants assassin-type characters to be using.

And for the record, it’s kind of hilarious to show up in Balfiera as a Dunmer, since the place is Altmer territory, and all the free gear you can get is Altmer style.

Narrative-wise, I think I am going to assume that Balfiera is not actually part of Marwyth’s story. Just to vary it up a bit. But it could well have been a nightmare she had! Because I am certainly not above inflicting nightmares on my characters for RP purposes. 😀

Her story does however start with…

Arriving on Bleakrock Isle

Mind you, I was actually also tempted to start with landing in Vvardenfell. I do very much want to run that zone’s story. But two things decided me against it.

One: I feel like this character may be a bit of a heretic in regards to worship of the Tribunal. In keeping with her Skyrim analog, it’s likely that she’s an Ashlander, and therefore more inclined to be a worshipper of Azura than a worshipper of Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil. (And I’m calling it for Azura rather than Mephala or Boethiah, just because as a player I am disinclined to run a character who’d worship those other two Daedra.)

And two: I want to run Marwyth a bit more linear than I’ve been running Gyllerah. Which meant I really wanted to start her off in her alliance’s starter zone. Which meant, therefore, Bleakrock Isle.

There are questions here of why Marwyth showed up there to begin with. I’m thinking she may have already had some trouble with the law–both in a thievery sense and in a religious sense. I don’t think she necessarily has any fucks to give per se about the Ebonheart Pact; at this stage of her story, she’s mostly wanting to not be in Morrowind.

So for whatever reason (maybe she paid a smuggler? Maybe that was her only possible option?), she wound up on Bleakrock Isle.

At which point she started discovering 1) boy howdy is this place remote, and 2) oh shit, the Covenant really wants to fuck the place up for the locals.

(Additional note: I had forgotten, until I started dropping tags on this post for publishing, that I had in fact already been to Bleakrock Isle as Gyllerah! Because I already had a tag for it. I did not, however, see the village while I was there as her.)

Finding all the lost villagers

This was a marathon session, and I pretty much ran the entirety of the plot on the island. This required me to find a bunch of missing villagers and bring them back into the safety of the one village on the island.

As part of this, the two major NPCs I met were Captain Rama, a Dunmer, and Darj, a Nord. I think Marwyth was probably simultaneously suspicious of a fellow Dunmer being in a position of power here (is she going to rat Marwyth out to the Tribunal or at least the secular authorities back home?), and kind of relieved to see her (because the place did seem predominantly Nord).

I’m not sure which of these two characters is going to wind up being the Ebonheart Pact equivalent of Razum-dar for the Dominion. Guess I’ll find out!

Rama sent me out to find all the various villagers, which led me to running several short but notable side plots. And I really did rather enjoy all of these.

The skeever plot started off a little startling, but also fun, what with a big blonde Nord woman running up to me and squeaking like a skeever. Apparently she and a few friends had fallen afoul of a rogue mage, and gotten themselves turned into skeevers. She wanted me to take the wand that had done it, and disenchant her impacted friends.

Breaking into a barrow is very familiar territory for anybody who’s played Skyrim, of course. What made it kind of hilarious this time through, though, was that I did not in fact have to kill the local dragon priest. In fact, the dragon priest’s spirit outright commanded me to take out the necromancer who was trying to defile his body. And he was even grateful for my help! Kind of. “You have fulfilled your purpose. Well done, worm.” LOLOLOL.

Came across a small contingent from the Fighters Guild, several of whom had been trapped and cocooned by spiders. Once I rescued them, their leader encouraged me to join the Guild, and said she’d put in a good word for me. For narrative purposes, I shall assume Marwyth is a little tempted, but still also mostly interested in maintaining a lower profile than that.

The plot where I had to rescue a guy out of a frozen cave was particularly interesting. The place turned out to be haunted by the mad ghost of a mage who’d died in there. And one thing he said to me stood out: “Your soul is missing.”

That struck me as a leftover from the earlier days of ESO, when you’d play the starter zone for your alliance only after you’re killed and sent to Coldharbour. Since I haven’t played that with this character yet, and since I don’t want to do Gyllerah’s schtick of being a victim of the Soulburst and unstuck in time, this means this hasn’t actually happened to Marwyth yet.

But I will cheerfully handwave this by headcanoning that the mad mage ghost was having a bit of a premonition about Marwyth’s future. Insert obligatory shiver down Marwyth’s spine here!

Finding a woman’s lost husband handed me the second time in ESO that I needed to follow a dog, ha! And, amusingly, the dog looked pretty much the same breed as the one Gyllerah saw in Daggerfall.

More than once, I had to tangle with Frostedge bandits. Some of this involved stealing a disguise to try to infiltrate their ranks, and honestly, I actually kind of liked the look of that disguise! The blue and silver color scheme looked really good on Marwyth.

All of this work, however, eventually led to discovering that a lot of the ones that went missing were because of the Covenant trying to get a foothold on the island. And once I’d found everybody, the Covenant escalated to outright attacking the village.

Escaping the Covenant attack

The attack on the village seemed a bit more hardcore and brutal than the Maormer attack on Khenarthi’s Roost–and that’s not entirely fair of me, as the Maormer were pretty hardcore with Khenarthi’s Roost.

But here’s the thing: from what I saw on Khenarthi’s Roost, the Maormer didn’t actually attack Mistral directly. All of the fighting I did as Gyllerah to repel that attack was outside Mistral, not actually in it. Whereas here in this session, the Covenant was actively rampaging through the village, setting things on fire, and killing villagers. Yikes.

It was also legit sad to see a village get attacked and burned after having barely just started getting used to the various merchants! Sniff.

Getting out through another tomb near the village was a nice little bit of suspenseful. And heh, I will straight up admit that I kept expecting Captain Rama to turn out to be a traitor, maybe conscripted by the Covenant to make sure there were no survivors? But I was pleased that this was not the case.

Maybe about a dozen total survivors escaped the attack on the island, and we sailed off on a rickety boat to Dhalmora, in Bal Foyen.

Warning Davon’s Watch

There were a few more tasks I had to do on the tail end of this session: getting some kindlepitch and lighting signal fires, mostly, with the goal of warning Davon’s Watch of imminent Covenant attack.

I liked this part. Bal Foyen is Argonian territory, and just being in Argonian territory in general was a bit of a nice change of pace. I was particularly amused by hearing an Argonian merchant calling out “Come! Erect the spine of trade!”

And I also liked the character Lineem, a quartermaster who was grateful I’d come to warn the docks of imminent danger. She called me “sun on my scales”. Aw.

I didn’t finish up this part of the plot, though, because by then it was super late and I needed to get to bed.

Final notes

I made it clear up to level 9 in this single session, just doing a hard charge through the opening stages of the Ebonheart Pact plot. Which let me start getting some armor made, collecting quest rewards, and collecting money.

I also made a few discoveries that surprised me!

One: I have access to the same bank space that Gyllerah does, I don’t think I’d realized before that bank space is by player, not by character. This will be extremely helpful given that Merawen does not have Gyllerah’s inventory space.

Two: Relatedly, fuck yeah, Merawen can summon banker kitty Ezabi! Which will also be helpful until I can buy her more pack slots.

Three: I also have access to the Champion points UI in Merawen’s menu, and found on the wiki that that apparently unlocks whenever any of your characters levels up enough–but I hadn’t realized before that this means all the characters get access to that.

The interesting question here will be, whether I can go ahead and set Champion points on Merawen. I definitely didn’t see her actually accumulating any as I played her. But if she can spend points that get generated by Gyllerah, this should certainly smooth her path a bit in the early parts of her playthrough.

Next time

Marwyth will probably clear level 10 next time I play her, which should get me a horse. And it looks like I’ll need to decide which bit of Bal Foyen to help defend!


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.


  • Erin Schram

    The burning of Bleakrock Village is one of the most startling events in Elder Scrolls Online. Some of my characters have stopped halfway on the Bleakrock Isle quests and refused to go further to avoid triggering the destruction.

    You said, “And it looks like I’ll need to decide which bit of Bal Foyen to help defend!” Alas, the tragedy continues. Deaths will occur in the part that you don’t defend first. Thus, the decision is important.

    You said, “Marwyth will probably clear level 10 next time I play her, which should get me a horse.” Nope, Marwyth already has access to Gyllerah’s mounts, including the Sorrel Horse that is the 10th-level reward. So Marwyth should wander over to Davon’s Watch today and start horse training.

    Marwyth also has access to Gyllerah’s costumes. However, if you color the costumes via ESO Plus, then the colors are specific to each character.

    You said, “It’s likely that she’s an Ashlander, and therefore more inclined to be a worshipper of Azura than a worshipper of Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil.” A good Azura quest is The Missing Prophecy, https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:The_Missing_Prophecy. Talk to Alessio Guillon at any major inn to begin it or go to the Cloudy Dregs Inn in Wayrest, Stormhaven.

    As for Marwyth being a stealth archer, ESO lacks Skyrim’s fun of hiding so well while sniping that the guard with an arrow sticking out of him says, “Must have been the wind.” Shooting someone in ESO reveals your location, so you have to hide anew. The Nightblade does have a few abilities, such as Mark Target (https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Online:Mark_Target), that can soften up a target beforehand without them noticing. The first shot from stealth ought to be a heavy attack, since those do extra damage and shooting from stealth adds more damage.

    • Angela Korra'ti

      Yeah, I saw the decision of who to defend in Bal Foyen; I’ve played that now. More on this in a coming post.

      And I did realize as well after I put this post up that I do in fact have access to Gyllerah’s mounts. So I’m letting her use Gyllerah’s original horse, since Gyllerah’s using her senche-leopard right now. Thanks for the reminder about horse training, though! You’re right, I will need to work on that for her. Right now, what gold I’ve been making with her I’ve been chucking into my bank, because I need all the gold I can get for styles for Master Writs. And, for that matter, trying to make the armor I want for Marwyth. Because Gyllerah has the crafting skills built up, and Marwyth doesn’t, I’ve been sharing resources between characters so Gyllerah can get what she needs to make Marwyth’s gear.

      And yeah I also know ESO’s stealth doesn’t work like Skyrim’s, figured out already, trying to sneak with Gyllerah. I do find ESO’s stealth kind of hilarious. 😉 But that said, the core concept of “stealth archer” is still the archetype I’ll be working with for Marwyth. I do expect this to mean more the “archer” part than the “stealth” part, though I will also of course take stealth bonuses when I can get them.

      As for the Azura quest… yeah, I’m aware of that NPC, too. I just found him as Gyllerah, in fact–but I found him in Coldharbour, which was kind of hilarious. We’ll see where I find him as Marwyth.

  • Erin Schram

    Given the new Necrom chapter that arrived today and its new Arcanist class, I created a new character and ran through the Balfiera tutorial for the first time. My other characters predated that particular tutorial. And Marwyth had me thinking about stealth archers, so he picked up a bow as his weapon.

    He is an orc arcanist named Ulliam ro-Wan Hamilton. I tend to name my characters after mathematicians (William Rowan Hamilton was an astronomer who made important mathemtical discoveries) or with a variant on my onw name, which is nevertheless named after a mathematician, too. Hamilton went to Stros M’Kai after the tutorial, since he will feel at home on orcish Betnikh Island, the location after Stros M’Kai. Gyllerah and Marwyth won’t meet him in game, because I created him on the EU server. I had fewer characters there.