Harrowhark Playthrough,  Modding,  Skyrim

Canceling Harrowhark’s Playthrough

I’ve come to the uncomfortable realization that I’m going to have to cancel Harrowhark’s Skyrim playthrough.

The main thing that prompted this: a disastrous attempt last night to try a strategy for solving the problem I’ve been having ever since running Moonpath to Elsweyr in that playthrough: i.e., crashing a few minutes into the game, and crashing as soon as I try to fast travel. This pretty much made Harrow’s run unplayable on the Steam Deck. And while I could still play her on the VM, it was pissing me off not being able to play her on the Deck. We paid a lot of money to get me that Steam Deck! I want to play Skyrim on it!

So when I went searching for a solution to this problem, I found this Steam community post that pointed off in turn to a post on nexusmods.com. The overall idea of the solution discussed basically went like this:

  1. Copy everything out of your saves directory into a temporary location
  2. Start a new game and get it to the point of a fresh save
  3. Copy your stuff back in

Last night I tried this. But I fucked it up. I made the mistake of assuming that if I used Steam’s own built-in backup for game files, this would include save information.

Narrator: It did not include save information.

So then turned off Skyrim’s sync to the Steam Cloud on the Deck, blew away the local saves on it, and ran a new character through Helgen. I took that character, an Argonian I named Finds-The-Way, to the point of reaching Riverwood and getting the request to go tell the Jarl of Whiterun what happened. And I confirmed Finds could successfully fast travel between the Guardian Stones and Riverwood.

Then I tried to turn cloud sync back on. Y’all can probably see where this is going.

Steam Cloud must have basically gone “oh hey you deleted this bunch of save files, I’ll helpfully nuke them out of the cloud for you!”

Because I wound up losing every session I’d played as Harrow since February 6th. This was the point just after which I’d run the Forgotten City mod.

And what really is the icing on the cake is, I even tried loading that last save file… and immediately reproduced the fast travel problem.

What that tells me is, something in the low-level information about Harrow’s run is just fundamentally fucked, regardless of which specific save I load for her. And I’m tired of fucking with this, so I’m going to just have to ditch her playthrough completely.

This is all on me, really. Not only just the part of disastrously misinterpreting the Steam Backup functionality, but also too much fucking around with the mods in Harrow’s playthrough. I have read a bunch of warnings about how deleting mods mid-playthrough in Skyrim is a recipe for disaster. And I did quite a bit of fucking around with the mods in her run.

I’m going to delete the rest of Harrow’s saves, because at this point her entire run seems fucked. But I will of course keep her posts up, and I’m going to do one more post of a few sessions of hers I did before this disaster happened. I’ll try to do as much of a Final Thoughts post for her as I can, though a lot of things I’ve included in previous Final Thoughts posts I can’t do just because I actively lost Harrow’s most recent save files. So I can’t do the capture of her final stats.

I’ll also take this as an opportunity to rethink the set of mods I had active for her, and decide which ones I want to keep for my next modded playthrough.

Lesson learned: do not fuck with what mods I’m using once a playthrough is active.

And, I need to also tell myself that it’s okay to ditch a Skyrim playthrough if it gets fucked up, even if it means ditching a character I’ve put months of effort into.

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.