Finds-The-Way Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Finds-The-Way Finds Her Way Out of Helgen

It will probably surprise absolutely none of you that after the implosion of Harrowhark’s run, I didn’t take long at all to fire up a new playthrough on the Deck.

Welcome to the beginning of my run with Finds-The-Way, Argonian!

Play by play

  • Play dates: 7/8, 7/11/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 1-2

Saturday the 8th

  • Went through Helgen
  • Screwed up the jump from the tower down into the inn and had issues trying to figure out how to recover from that, but realized I could just go back into the tower and re-do the jump correctly
  • Followed Hadvar
  • Got killed by Stormcloaks partway through the escape, so had to re-do most of the escape sequence
  • Leveled up to 2 partway through the escape
  • Got out okay, and followed Hadvar to Riverwood
  • Initially took Warrior off the Guardian Stones
  • Made it to Riverwood and got Alvor’s request to go take news of what had happened to the Jarl
  • Tested fast travel by boinging to the Guardian Stones and then back to Riverwood

Tuesday the 11th

  • Decided to go ahead with Finds’s playthrough—IN GERMAN
  • Went back to the Guardian Stones, partly to check what they were called in German, and partly to switch to the Thief Stone
  • Hoofed it over to Whiterun and killed a wolf on the way
  • Spotted an Imperial patrol ahead of me with a prisoner but deliberately hung back from them (Finds taking Hadvar at his word that it’d be a good idea if she avoided any Imperial soldiers for a bit)
  • Passed the Companions having their initial fight with the giant; declined to engage on the grounds that this character is not going to join the Companions
  • Sold a few things to the Khajiit since Ri’saad’s caravan was on site
  • Spotted Idolaf and Adrianne having their convo about needing to make more weapons for the Imperials, as per usual
  • Made it up to Dragonsreach and had initial convo with Irileth
  • Played through getting the quest to go to Bleak Falls Barrow
  • Had only 175 gold and didn’t want to spend any of it on getting a room at the inn, so hoofed it back out of whiterun
  • Passed Irileth on the way giving orders to guards to send them out to Riverwood
  • Hoofed it back to Riverwood, passed guards on the way, going the same direction
  • Got into Riverwood early in the morning
  • Hung out at the forge for a bit and made a pair of Leather Scout Gauntlets
  • Waited until 8am, and when Alvor spawned at the forge, tried to run the forge intro quest
  • But I didn’t quite understand all the options in German, and missed the part where he wanted me to tan some leather; I was out of pelts, so decided to come back to this after Bleak Falls Barrow
  • Headed into the Riverwood Trader to get the initial convo between Lucan and Camilla
  • Got quest to go get the Golden Claw, and got Camilla to guide me back to the bridge
  • Headed up to Bleak Falls Barrow from there
  • Dropped into Sneak and took some potshots at the expected wolf along the path; it eventually spotted me, but I took it out
  • Tthen made it to the initial bandit tower and took potshots at bandits, too; that got me a few more points in Sneak
  • Bandits finally found me but I took them out successfully
  • Pretty sure here was where I leveled up to 3; took Health bump and first damage perk for One-handed weapons
  • Looted the tower
  • Snuck my way to the front of Bleak Falls Temple without having to engage any of the bandits outside
  • Made it into the temple and took out the two bandits in there
  • Looted all the skeever corpses as well as the bandits, including the already dead bandit over on the right
  • Saved at the point of looting the chest at the bandits’ little camp


This playthrough started mostly as an experiment to see if my base Skyrim install on the Deck was still okay, in the middle of trying to save Harrowhark’s playthrough. So I launched Skyrim without any mods whatsoever, and made an Argonian just because that’s the one type of character I haven’t played yet, in Skyrim or any other Elder Scrolls game.

I was torn about what kind of Argonian name to give this character, by which I mean, whether it would be a name more like “Wujeeta” or “Shahvee”, or one more like “From-Deepest-Fathoms” or “Scouts-Many-Marshes”. Ultimately, I decided on the latter, partly just because that naming style stands out for me more than the former. I’ve grown more partial to it especially after running into interesting Argonians in ESO!

The name Finds-The-Way is a play on my old Two Moons MUSH character Wayfound. Any of y’all who’ve been following my posts for a while might remember that my Breton mage Ysani was also named after Wayfound, albeit via Wayfound’s soulname. So yes, this makes the second time I’ve named a character after her! But hey, I was partial to Wayfound. <3

I only did Helgen in her first session, and got her as far as Riverwood with Hadvar. My goal at that point was mostly just to see if I could fast travel okay in an unmodded game; answer, yes! So I left off after testing fast traveling between the Guardian Stones and Riverwood.

For at least a day or two I wasn’t sure whether I was going to keep this character or not. Two things settled it for me.

One: I’d posted on this blog before about wanting to do a playthrough in German, and this was an excellent opportunity to try that.

Two: It was also an opportunity to run without any mods whatsoever on the Steam Deck, and by extension, actually pick up more achievements. As I’ve written before, if you’re running mods, Bethesda turns off access to those. And they weren’t implemented at all in the Switch port, even the AE one.

I’d managed to pick up two basic achievements just testing out the initial sessions of Shenner’s run, but nothing else. Because Shenner’s run wasn’t heavily modded, but she did have a few. And Harrow’s run was modded right out of the gate.

And since I am a completist, I do want to try out getting those achievements! I do know there are mods that are supposed to turn achievements back on for you–but I’m more in the mood right now to try a totally unmodded run on the Deck. Again, just because it’s a thing I haven’t done yet, and it’ll be interesting to compare that to running on the Switch, since it’ll be a closer match than my modded attempts so far.

Deciding to run in German required me to figure out how to kick the language over into German on the Steam Deck. This required me to do two things:

  1. Set the language in the properties for the game in Steam
  2. Launch off the launcher, rather than directly using SkyrimSE.exe

I noted when I set the language to German that Steam did a download of about 1.6GB, presumably to install German language files.

This worked beautifully, and had the added benefit of not forcing me to do a system-wide language change on the Deck–in contrast to what I had to do when running in French on the Switch.

I’ll also verify that these same steps work on the VM; I expect they will. Finds’ playthrough will probably wind up being like Harrow’s in that I’ll run it sometimes on the Deck and sometimes on the VM–particularly if I feel like avoiding swapping the Deck back and forth between a German playthrough and the Skyrim Together one I still have in occasional progress!

Once I committed to running Finds’ playthrough, first thing I did (after setting the language) was return to the Guardian Stones and swap from Warrior to Thief. I do indeed intend to run the Guild with her, since the buffs you get as an Argonian are supposed to be good for thievery. And purely in character, I expect Finds was not above taking the Warrior Stone in front of Hadvar and then coming back later for Thief, just by way of maintaining a low profile in front of a potentially untrustworthy human male. Even if he did help her get out of Helgen.

Then I ran the usual progression through going to Whiterun, getting the quest to go to Bleak Falls Barrow, and coming back again to get that started. All of which is familiar territory so I don’t have to recap it here.

I will say though that it’s interesting trying to get into an Argonian mindset here. Argonians are very thin on the ground in Skyrim, with only three of the major cities having any named Argonian NPCs, and a tiny handful of them scattered across the rest of the game. Most of the Argonians I’ve run into in prior playthroughs have been either thieves or Dark Brotherhood assassins, in fact!

(And maybe also occasionally bandits? I doublechecked the wiki and confirmed that Argonians can show up as randomly generated bandits, but just mage-type bandits, no other type.)

And of course Windhelm is well-established as being actively hostile to Argonians. Solitude has only three named Argonians, so not exactly openly welcome to them. Riften does best with six named Argonians, if you have the Fishing content. And “Riften dockworkers” seems to be the dominant impression non-Argonians in Skyrim have of them, given that Hadvar asked me during the Helgen sequence if I was a relative of one of the Riften dockworkers.

Which is a damn good question. I’m pondering why any Argonian who wasn’t actively born there would want to go to Skyrim to begin with–not only because it’s a province generally hostile to their people, but also just because it’s super frigging cold. The lore says Argonians are cold-blooded. But it also says that they can apparently regulate their body temperatures similar to how non-Argonians do, possibly with the help of Hist sap. Still though, I have a hard time picturing why an Argonian would voluntarily go to Skyrim, even if they could adapt to the climate.

I’m toying with the idea of Finds having been marsh-born, and possibly the first of her tribe to have been born under the sign of the Shadow in some time–which would make her a Shadowscale, but untrained. Which would also give me a couple of potential reasons for her to have made the trip:

  1. Maybe her tribe’s Hist tree knew she’d only be trained properly if she found the Dark Brotherhood, and her best shot at that was going to Skyrim?
  2. Given that Hadvar questioned me about being a relative of a Riften dock-worker, I’m also wondering if this is an angle for a potential cover story. Finds can always claim her unfortunate relation gets zorched in a dragon attack, once dragons start strafing the place, if she’s called on it!

And whether or not Argonians can regulate their own body temperatures, I’m going to assume Finds definitely does not prefer the cold. So she’s looking out for a replacement for the Imperial gear she’s got right now, and the fur armor she snurched off the bandits at Bleak Falls Barrow ain’t cutting it as a replacement. I’ll probably be outfitting her in Leather Scout fully as soon as possible.

Achievements unlocked

No new ones yet other than the two I already had from the beginning of Shenner’s run, which were Unbound (for completing getting out of Helgen), and Bleak Falls Barrow (for completing that location). I will track additional ones as they occur!

Current achievements count: 2.

Language commentary

Interesting terms observed:

  • Himmelsrand: Skyrim (lit. sky’s edge, I think)
  • Argonier: Argonian
  • Stufe: Level
  • Die Wächersteine: The Guardian Stones
  • Aktivieren: Activate
  • Der Diebesstein: The Thief Stone (lit. the thieves stone)
  • Der Magierstein: The Mage Stone (lit. the magicians stone)
  • Der Kriegerstein: The Warrior Stone
  • Zauberbuch: Spellbook
  • Funken: Sparks
  • Wolfspelz: Wolf Pelt
  • Durchsuchen: Search
  • Leer: Empty
  • Flusswald: Riverwood
  • Whiterun: Weißlauf
  • Wache: Guard
  • Drachenangriff: Dragon attack
  • Ulfric Stormcloak: Ulfric Sturmmantel
  • Huscarl: Housecarl
  • Lederkundschafterhandschuhe: Leather Scout Gauntlets
  • Flusswaldhandelskontor: Riverwood Trader (lit. Riverwood Trading Post) (source)
  • Ödsturzhügelgrab: Bleak Falls Barrow

Himmelsrand is more or less a direct translation of Skyrim, to my read.

Argonier I picked off the game’s main menu, when I looked at the previous save file I’d saved before switching the language to German. I would expect, though, that technically speaking a female Argonian would probably be called Argonierin…

Yes. Confirmed by looking on the Elder Scrolls fandom wiki, and kicking over to the German language version of that site, I see Shahvee is called an Argonierin.

Interesting to me that the Thief Stone seems to be translating into “Thieves” (Diebes) rather than “Thief” (Dieb). Maybe the translator working on this part of the game thought “Diebesstein” sounded better than “Diebstein”?

Ri’saad did not sound quite like a Khajiit to me; he didn’t have that sort of raspy quality to his voice that many Khajiit NPCs in Skyrim have. But he did sound like a deep-voiced German elder, so that was kind of cool.

Idolaf Battle-Born and Adrianne, in their opening conversation about Adrianne taking on more work to make weapons for the Imperials, sounded like pretty decent matches for their English voice actors.

I need to confirm the spelling on Ulfric Sturmmantel, since I picked that up in passing listening to Idolaf’s opening conversation with Adrianne. So I didn’t see for sure if it’s two m’s or one. I expect two just based on what I know about how German compound nouns work.

Irileth did not sound right to my ear. Her voice was too high-pitched in comparison with the usual “Dunmer woman” voice used in the English build. So she came across as sounding a bit too delicate.

Proventus didn’t sound quite like himself to my ear either. But he still struck me as the sort of officious functionary he comes across as in English.

Jarl Balgruuf and Farengar both sounded pretty good, though!

On the way back to Riverwood, when I overheard Irileth’s conversation with the guards she was mustering, I heard them call her “Huscarl”. Which I note with interest is the same term used in the French translation, during Ysani’s run.

So far “Lederkundschafterhandschuhe” (27 letters) is my longest noted German compound noun! Because I will be keeping track of this. This is the translation of “Leather Scout Gauntlets”, and it’s a direct translation, breaking down like this:

  • Leder: Leather
  • Kundschafter: Scout/spy (source)
  • Handschuhe: Gloves/gauntlets

Honorable mention goes to Flusswaldhandelskontor, though. 😀

And Ödsturzhügelgrab is also fun from a language geekery perspective! Not only because it has two umlauts (which is very metal and also seems appropriate for a barrow, somehow), but also to try to suss out which bits translate to what.

Öd appears to be the part that means “bleak”, although I have an open question here as to whether that would usually have an e on the end of it. (source) Persons who know German better than I do, especially native speakers, do please chime in if you can enlighten me!

Sturz is the part that means “fall”. I could work that out from being previously familiar with the verb form of this, sturzen.

Hügel means hillock or mound. Grab means grave. Put them together and this apparently does in fact mean barrow. (source)

Final language note: I did of course discover Honningbrew Meadery and Pelagia Farm for the map since you do walk past both of those on the way from Riverwood to Whiterun. But I’ll get their translations into the next post.

Next time

As is traditional when I get a new Skyrim playthrough underway, I’ll be running Bleak Falls Barrow, and most likely also returning to Whiterun, picking up Lydia, and maybe also fighting Mirmulnir at the Western Watchtower!


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.