Skyrim,  Skyrim Together Playthrough

In Which the Dragonborns Interrupt a Ritual and Infiltrate a Warehouse

This post is long overdue: the last session, Dara, Mel, and I did with Skyrim Together Reborn. But we haven’t had another session recently–time hasn’t permitted–so y’all aren’t missing anything besides this so far. We’ll play again when time permits! For now, I want to get this post out of my backlogged drafts.

Main highlights here: running Wolfskull Cave and interrupting the ritual to summon Queen Potato (aheh, er, I mean, Potema); stealing a case of wine for an Argonian; finding a very large and very pissed off surprise in the East Empire Company Warehouse; taking out a lighthouse fire (and a lighthouse keeper) for another Argonian; and reporting back to the Guildmaster with what we learned about Karliah.

Play by play

  • Play date: 5/20/2023
  • Session number in this run: 8

Preliminary quest housekeeping

  • Picked up at Whiterun
  • Kitty stole helmets from a guard–who turned out to have four helmets in his inventory, but was still wearing one when Kitty pickpocketed him
  • Unexpected burst of housekeeping as we compared notes on who had what quests in the journal, and Dara and I did a bunch of work to get closer to what Mel had in her list as party leader
  • I called for all of us to save at that point

Going after Queen Potato

  • First major goal in this session was going after the Wolf Queen
  • Dara started calling her Potato, so for the rest of the night we kept making potato jokes XD
  • Actually running Wolfskull Cave started off more difficult than expected
  • I got killed and thrown ahead into the bottom of the hole you have to jump down into, and kept getting killed there until Dara and Mel caught up
  • Lydia was in a highly problematic and loud and clanky state though, so we finally rolled back
  • This threw me back to the save I’d done at the Whiterun stables, so I boinged up to the statue of Meridia to get back within range of Wolfskull Cave
  • Running the place take two was less problematic
  • Got pretty quickly to the necromancer group trying to do the ritual, and mostly I stayed the fuck out of the way and kept throwing flame atronachs into the fray 😉
  • I leveled up to 18 somewhere in here
  • Bit of confusion as to where the lootable chests were on the way out, but we headed on back out anyway

Returning to Solitude

  • Opted to just hoof it back to Solitude since it wasn’t far
  • We sighted a dragon at this point flying around, but it never did actually come down to fight with us
  • Initially took the wrong way on the road, but then swung back around to head south past Meridia’s temple
  • Got back to Solitude easily enough and returned to the Blue Palace
  • Mel settled up with Falk, but Dara and I also had to settle up with Falk
  • Roggvir’s dead body was still by Radiant Raiment and seeing him partially clipped through the ground was disturbing, just his legs sticking up ;D
  • We saw a guard stop by the corpse and go “Oh! What happened?” Me: “YOU EXECUTED HIM.” LOLOLOL

Hey Gulum-Ei, the Thieves Guild says hello

  • Since we were in Solitude anyway, decided to nudge the Thieves Guild quest further along and go talk to Gulum-Ei
  • Kitty, of course, totally pickpocketed him and got his key to the warehouse
  • Got him to send us back to the Blue Palace to snurch the case of Firebrand wine; returned with it to the Winking Skeever, and then proceeded to follow him to the East Empire Company Warehouse
  • We headed down to the warehouse and Kitty was able to use her key, but Mel and I actually had to pick the lock
  • This made for a highly atypical run through the place, and it sure did keep all the guards occupied while we snuck around the periphery to catch up with Gulum-Ei
  • Dara reports she thought she got spotted a couple of times, but nobody ever approached her
  • Tthe dragon flying around sent a fuckton of loot scattering in different places; I snurched some of it, including some of the clothes off the shelves I usually hit in solo runs
  • Mel made it to the office to grab the map to give to Delvin
  • I got caught by a dockworker, who killed me a time or two before I finally teleported to catch up with Mel and Dara, who’d made it into the grotto

Brinewater Grotto

  • Once we were in Brinewater Grotto we were in bandit territory and didn’t have to give as many fucks about stealth, or about the surprise dragon! 😉
  • However, I had a hard crash partway through the grotto and had to reboot the Deck, which threw me all the way back to my Whiterun save, costing me my warehouse loot and a level up
  • Had to teleport straight to Dara and Mel to catch up with them, which landed me in the water because that’s where Kitty was, not far away from the final area of the grotto
  • While Mel had the final convo with Gulum-Ei, I snurched stuff off the shelves
  • Reminded Mel to make sure to get Gulum-Ei to agree to be our fence, so she did that
  • Then we headed out, and Mel and Lydia took out the three horkers in the cave leading to the exit

Oh hey look, a lighthouse

  • Came out of Brinewater Grotto close to the Solitude Lighthouse
  • Since we were passing by there anyway, Mel popped in there to put out the lighthouse fire and move that plot along; she also killed the lighthouse keeper

Back to Riften

  • Boinged down to the Thieves Guild to report in to Mercer
  • Mel ran the convo with him and got the Speaking with Silence quest, to go to Snow Veil Sanctum and confront Karliah
  • We decided this was a good place to stop though
  • Did some final selling of things to Tonilia and also got her to upgrade my Thieves Guild armor, advised Dara about that too

Final quest housekeeping

  • Got Mel to give me screencaps of all the miscellaenous quests she had in her quest journal
  • Went through them trying to identify how many of them I could activate in the console; was able to do a bunch of them but not all of them, as a bunch of them were radiant quests

Initial play and housekeeping in Whiterun

The first bit of amusement in this stage of the session was Kitty trying to steal helmets from a Whiterun guard. Dara reported that her target had four helmets in his inventory, but was even still wearing one after she took those.

Note: under normal circumstances, you can’t steal gear NPCs are actively equipping unless you have Pickpocket up to 100 and you’ve taken the Perfect Touch perk. So apparently we’re managing to bypass this problem completely. LOL.

“I took my arrows from him and my gold and a few other things, but when I went outside and took some of my other stuff from another guard he got mad and insisted upon taking it back so that was bullshit. Guards shouldn’t have arrows. They’re bad at them.”

Dara, as Kitty

The other notable action here was our deciding to do some quest housekeeping to try to get my and Dara’s quest journals more in line with what Mel had. Because she’d been picking up a lot of quests, and many of them had not properly synced over onto Dara and me.

First, Dara and I compared our quests. We were pretty close; each of us had just a couple of quests that needed to be forced to conclude in the console.

Then Mel reported on her list. She had a lot of primary quests as well as miscellaneous ones! So Dara and I activated all the primary quests that Mel had, via the console. Doing all that took quite a while.

I also asked Mel to give me screenshots of her entire miscellaneous quests list, so I that I could check on how to start those later, and help Dara do so as well.

Dragonborns vs. necromancers and the summoning of Queen Potato

The first major goal we wanted for this session was to go after the Wolf Queen, so that’s what we did once we took care of quest cleanup. And Dara made a joke about “Queen Potato”, which set the tone for the entire endeavor and guaranteed I will never look at Potema quite the same way again. ;D

However, as with many things in our experience with STR so far, actually running Wolfskull Cave turned out more difficult than expected. I got killed pretty quickly, and got thrown ahead into the bottom of the pit you have to jump down into, in order to actually reach the cavern where the necromancers are doing their thing.

But Dara and Mel couldn’t quite figure out where I was, and even while they tried to find me, I kept getting killed. There was a Khajiit bandit archer in my immediate vicinity and he kept peppering me to death with arrows before I had time to get into a position of safety.

The bigger problem, though, was Lydia. She got into a weird rapid phasing state where her armor and weapons kept vanishing, over and over and over. And the sound of drawing her weapon kept playing over and over and over, very loudly.

Dara got video! Here you go! Content warning: clangy.

We finally rolled back from this, because Lydia’s fucked up state struck us all as highly problematic. This certainly wasn’t the first weirdness we’ve seen with Lyds, but it was the most annoying!

And this is even with our playing with full awareness that we are not using the actual STR team’s recommended playthrough setup. Including followers. The STR team does, as I think I’ve written before, recommend that you not bother with followers because if you’re on a team with multiple Dragonborns, you have plenty of team firepower already. Followers aren’t really needed.

But here’s the thing: we like Lydia, and wanted to keep her around! We may not need her, but we wanted her. And certainly for me, at least, the early part of a Skyrim run just isn’t the same without her. <3

So yeah, we rolled back. Which threw me all the way back to Whiterun, right by the cart, because that’s where I’d been when we did the saving after all of the quest housekeeping. And I bounced back up to the statue of Meridia to get within range of reaching Wolfskull Cave (though reminder to future me: remember to just use the party teleport).

Take two of running the place was less problematic. I did have to warn Dara and Mel, though, about the issue with the quest marker disappearing once you get into the ruins. And Mel observed the same thing I’ve been surprised about before, but which I don’t think I’ve actually called out in posts on this blog:

I.e., why the heck hasn’t the USSEP fixed the quest marker that goes AWOL once you enter Wolfskull Ruins? Because that’s super confusing if you’re not already very familiar with the layout of the place.

I’ve run Wolfskull Cave often enough at this point that I more or less knew the way through. Likewise, Mel more or less knew where to go. Dara did not, but that was a problem fixed by using party teleport so she could catch up with us.

Once we actually reached the necromancers, I mostly stayed the hell out of the way, and kept throwing my flame atronach to get up there for me. Stupid necromancers. You be on fire now.

Because let’s face it, these necromancers are not bright. I mean seriously, you guys. How did you think summoning Potema, one of the most powerful necromancers Tamriel has ever seen, was going to work out for you?

I guess they just really like potatoes?

Queen Potato epilogue

Main point of interest in returning to Solitude to resolve the quest with Falk was that all three of us had to have the conversation with him. Mel doing it did not sync over to us. After she did it, I saw that I still had a quest marker on him, so Dara and I both also did the final conversation with him.

I suspect this was a consequence of our having had to launch The Man Who Cried Wolf via the console? We’ll need to watch for similar behavior in resolving other quests.

Scoundrel’s Folly part of the Thieves Guild plot

Talking to Gulum-Ei, at least on the face of it, wasn’t too different from running Skyrim solo.

But naturally, since Kitty is pickpocketing everybody in this game, Dara totally pickpocketed Gulum-Ei while Mel was taking to him. And got his key to the warehouse.

And he sent us on back to the Blue Palace to snurch the case of Firebrand wine. Which, as I’ve observed in all my prior solo thief playthroughs, is very easily snurched. It’s even more hilarious when three suspicious-looking Dragonborns and their housecarl stroll in the front doors of the Blue Palace and then back out again with a case of wine!

Likewise, four heavily armed and sneaking individuals following one Argonian is totally not the slightest bit suspicious, why do you ask? 😀

Getting into the warehouse was totes easy for Kitty, since she’d stolen Gulum-Ei’s own key. But Mel and I still had to pick the lock. I’m pretty sure we both actually got spotted doing this. But we were not intercepted before we made it through the door.

Which was good, because we didn’t need that additional complication what with the surprise we got when we were inside.


We were all full of WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK at this point. Dara wondered if we’d confused things by having three players getting in there and having a zone change triggering a fast-travel dragon when it shouldn’t have done. I was wondering if it had been the same dragon we’d spotted coming out of Wolfskull Cave, and whether it had had a rendering issue as it tried to catch up with us. Either of these theories felt plausible, given the amount of weirdness we’ve experienced so far in these sessions!

But after some searching around about the issue, I found a simpler explanation. Namely, that the warehouse is technically considered an outdoor area (source: the Elder Scrolls fandom wiki), which means that it is absolutely possible for a dragon to spawn there. Weird though the warehouse is as a spawn point–because there is not that much actual flying room in there for a dragon to go anywhere.

As I poked at the question a little further, I did confirm as well that it’s less goofy than it sounds that the warehouse is considered “outdoors”. Ships can get in there; there are docks. And there is light coming down from above, which means open access to the sky. Mind you, it still doesn’t feel plausible that a dragon could get in there; there’d need to be a dragon-sized opening above, which would make that entire warehouse a lot brighter than it actually is, I feel.

Apparently, a dragon spawning in there is really rare, though. I did find Reddit threads of a few different players reporting they’d seen it happen–which meant it was also a vanilla Skyrim thing, and not an issue caused by Skyrim Together. I’m vaguely surprised I’ve never seen it happen before now! (But then, I’ve only run four characters out of my eight so far through the Thieves Guild, and that’s not a huge sample set.)

I’m very sad I didn’t get screencaps of this! But my F12 key was borked, due to streaming off the Deck onto the Mac, and I wasn’t able to take screencaps at the time.

(I have since actually figured out a workaround for this problem, thankfully! I’ll need to do any further STR sessions with the Deck in Desktop mode rather than Gaming mode. Doing it that way still seems to let screenshots work.)

Regardless, with a frigging dragon having spawned inside the place, this made for a highly atypical run through the warehouse. And it sure as hell was a great distraction for the guards, while Dara, Mel, and I snuck around the periphery to catch up with Gulum-Ei.

It also sent loot scattering all over the place, even above and beyond the recurring problem with objects just floating off in random directions. I did manage to yoink some of it as I went by, including a couple of items off the shelves I usually hit in solo runs–though that was “objects floating off in random directions”, rather than “objects scattered by passing dragon”.

Dara reported that she thought she got spotted a couple of times, but nobody ever actually approached her, so she chalked that up to random dragon fight noises. I, on the other hand, definitely got spotted. A dock worker found me and managed to kill me a couple of times, before I finally got out of there via party teleport to catch up with the others.

And again, as reported by Dara:

“In the warehouse I got to the door first (because obviously because I am Kitty) and eventually got both of you to teleport to me.”

Because of course Kitty gets to the door first, because Kitty’s stealth is best

Brinewater Grotto

Once we made it into Brinewater Grotto, the good news there was that we were then in bandit territory and didn’t have to give as many fucks about stealth. Also, we were out of the line of fire from the dragon!

The bad news was, I had a hard crash partway through the grotto and had to reboot the Deck. Which threw me all the way back to my Whiterun save. And which cost me all the stuff I’d looted, and a level up to 18. AUGH.

(Reminder to Future Me: save early, saved often, especially when playing Skyrim Together.)

This meant I missed most of the grotto action, too. When I teleported back to Dara and Mel to catch up with them, they’d already reached the final bit of the area, and were in the process of fighting the final bandits and confronting Gulum-Ei.

Since I was feeling surly about having lost my warehouse loot (dammit I wanted those noble clothes), I snurched stuff off the shelves while Mel had the final conversation with our target. And after I reminded her to do so, she also got Gulum-Ei to agree to be our fence. Since that is of course one of the important outcomes of this entire part of the Thieve Guild plot! We do need our fences all over Skyrim, after all.

Meh, Solitude didn’t need that lighthouse anyway

Coming out of Brinewater Grotto did mean we were within range of the Solitude lighthouse. And since we were there anyway, Mel decided to pop in there and move that plot along, too. The plot only requires the Dragonborn to put out the lighthouse fire. But Mel is nothing if not thorough, so she took out the lighthouse keeper too!

Checking in with the Guild, and final quest cleanup

We called a halt as of returning to Riften to check back in with Mercer Frey. This seemed like a good stopping point. So we should be able to pick up with Snow Veil Sanctum next time we play, or however whim dictates we RP next.

Since syncing up the main quests had worked fairly well earlier in this session, I also asked Mel to give me screenshots of all of the miscellaneous quests. I spent a little time after the actual session following up on that, making sure of which quests could be launched via the console, and which ones had to be launched by the player taking an actual action. I shared my list with Dara, so that she could do the same things, and hopefully get us all caught up with the various quests Mel already had.

We’ll have to see how many of these sync up. My theory is, anything we launched separately will probably have to be run separately by each of us? We saw this behavior resolving The Man Who Cried Wolf, after all, and doing the final conversation with Falk Firebeard.

I also did a couple of random runs around Lake Honrich, partly just to gather nirnroot and partly to find things to kill, to try to catch up with Dara and Mel and make it to level 20. (Because we’d noticed that neither Dara nor I had hit level 20 and gotten the courier with the note about the museum in Dawnstar, either.)

Next time

Dunno yet, we’ll see! Mel’s schedule hasn’t allowed for much play lately, so we’ll see how her schedule and ours align.

We may also muck about with console commands to figure out if we can fix the issues we’re seeing with in-game time being off.

And oh yes: Mel did report to us in Discord after I sent her and Dara my notes for this run that she had spotted Nazeem walking around again. But she also vowed that his days are numbered. ;D


Not as many screenshots this time but we did at least get a few.

Mine was actually after the fact as I was trying to figure out my screenshot problem with streaming to the Mac off my Deck:

And Dara got the majority of screenshots this time. These are not in chronological order, but they’re in the order I got them in, so:

Editing to add

  • 11/25/2023: Restored missing galleries.

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.