This post is the first two sessions I’ve done with Kendis on Solstheim in Skyrim–during which I discovered, to my dismay, that two quests on Solstheim are actively broken if you’re running the Anniversary Edition on the Switch.
So in these two sessions, I tried to see what I could do about this, and also tried to see how many of the things I usually run on Solstheim are still functional. Deets behind the fold.
Play by play
- Play dates: 8/23, 8/27/2023
- Session numbers in this run: 77-78
Wednesday the 23rd
- Picked up again in the square in Raven Rock
- Went into Raven Rock Mine to get the Ancient Nord Pickaxe, and run Raven Rock Mine and Bloodskal Barrow; this went pretty much as previous playthroughs
- Talked to Crescius about the mine situation, then got the pickaxe from him as well
- Headed down into the mine with Lydia
- Was surprised to not be killed at the point halfway through with the waterfall and multiple Draugr Deathlords, but summoned Storm Atronach + Lydia + me worked out just fine
- Remembered this time how to properly do the power moves with the Bloodskal Blade to get through the door puzzle, too ;P
- Got Lydia through the gauntlet of swinging blades traps
- Took out Zahkriisos the dragon priest
- Ran the Winds of Change Black Book, and got snarked at by Hermaeus Mora
- Took Companion’s Insight perk off the Black Book
- Got out through the reaver hideout, and took out the various reavers inside the barrow
- Then came out and took out the various reavers outside the barrow as well
- Looted the towers built out there, got the red Dunmer outfit and other loot
- Fought the two bandits by the Deathbrand chest on the way back, and got the Deathbrand armor out of the chest
- Called Arvak so I could ride back to Raven Rock, since I was overloaded
- Did some more alchemy at Milore’s table and a bit more smithing at Glover’s forge
- Sold some more stuff
- A Revered Dragon showed up, so had to take him out
- He crashed behind the town up by Ashfall’s Tear, so I ran up there to help the Redoran guard kill it
- Also heard a madman ranting nearby, so after taking out the dragon, I got him to point me at White Ridge Barrow, but then of course he flipped out and attacked me
- At which point I learned that I could throw a Pacify spell on him, which settled him down long enough for me to leave the scene
- Headed out from Raven Rock with the rough plan of heading to Tel Mithryn to talk to Neloth
- Noted with confusion that Captain Veleth was not fighting the ash spawn at Old Attius Farm, WTF
- Swung past the Wreck of the Strident Squall
- Was not immediately going to run it except Lyds and I did get close enough to trigger the reavers, who ran out after us to attack, so okay then guess we’re doing this; took out all the reavers
- Got the folio and other loot, then returned to Raven Rock to find Cindiri and give her the folio
- Dropped off more things in the urn in the square, then headed out again to try to get to Tel Mithryn
- This time, cut past Kolbjorn Barrow and started the quest with Ralis
- Headed all the way to Tel Mithryn this time
- Killed assorted ash hoppers and burnt spriggans, including the one by Hrodulf’s House
- Made it to the Sun Stone and cleared that, then headed over to Tel Mithryn
- Re-did opening convo between Talvas and Varona, then went in to talk to Neloth
- Talked him through to the point of going to Nchardak
- Headed out right past Talvas who was very, very engrossed in figuring out that spell–and heh, Neloth completely ignored this 😉
- Reached Nchardak and took out the outside reavers, then started running the place
- Had to yet again look up a couple of things to remind myself of how the flow of this place works, but hit the treasure nook with the Kagrumez gem, and got the treasure after the final centurion
- Got ahead of Lydia close to the end
- Read the Epistolary Acumen Black Book and HI HERMAEUS MORA it’s me again, you tentacle-y bastard; got his ultimatum to go get the knowledge of the Skaal
- Came out again and exited the ruin, and Lydia caught up at that point for the fight with Krosulhah, whose bones fell into the water after we took him out
- Arvak’d back to Raven Rock as Neloth set off back for Tel Mithryn
- Stashed stuff and then tried to go run Fort Frostmoth on speed run to see if I could advance the quest that way; answer: no
- Was able to reach and kill Falx Carius, at least on a second attempt; he killed me the first time through, but second time through I bolstered my fire resistance and finally wore him down
- But he did not drop any kind of note or journal to advance the quest, so yeah, it’s just fucked
- Returned to Raven Rock and saved there until next time
Sunday the 27th
- Picked up in Raven Rock
- Was still heavily overloaded so did an emergency trip back to the mainland to drop off and also sell stuff
- First boinged to Hendraheim; left the Bloodskal Blade, the Champion’s Cudgel, assorted pieces of armor, and the Zahkriisos dragon priest mask there
- Boinged to Whiterun and sold a bunch of stuff
- Got courier there with first letter from Ralis to check in with him
- Boinged to Riften and slept in Honeyside for a few hours, then sold stuff to Bersi and Balimund
- Checked in with Viriya and got her charm and her thanks, to close out that quest
- Boinged to the College of Winterhold; got in a round of Restoration training with Colette and sold her more things
- Slept in the Arch-Mage’s quarters, then got up and did the rest of level 61’s training with Faralda; sold her, Drevis and Phinis things as well
- Came out of the Hall of Attainment and got a Revered Dragon! Kept throwing Dragonrend at it to keep it on the ground so Lydia and Yngvi (since Yngvi was hanging out in the college courtyard still) could help me take it out
- Drevis and J’zargo both ran over to be all “It’s like the ancient legends”, etc., etc.
- Sold a few things to Tolfdir to finish off the visit, then boinged back to Solstheim
- Checked in at Kolbjorn Barrow and did round 1 of getting into the barrow and taking out draugr; got the waterwalking boots and killed all the draugr
- Came back out, checked in with Ralis, and gave him another 2000 septims
- Hoofed it around the island
- Found a hunting party already in active combat with a netch—they did not approach me first, which was out of the ordinary; I helped them take down the netch
- This was immediately followed by a Lurker Vindicator, and that was followed by the three ash spawn from the nearby Deathbrand chest, so pretty busy for several moments taking all of them out
- Hunters did not otherwise interact with me, though they did help on the combat
- Went over to the chest and got the Deathbrand boots out of there, then headed on around the island
- Stopped to talk to Revus Sarvani with the silt strider; bought Kagrumez gem from him
- Got mage fight just before Bujold’s Retreat; took out both the cryomancer and the pyromancer
- Confirmed at Bujold’s Retreat that Bujold was tagged as Bujold the Intrepid; did not have a conversational prompt to offer help in taking back the mead hall so yep, that’s a confirmed no go with her
- Proceeded on along the shore and took out another lurker
- Cut over to the island with the dead peddler and read the journal to start the netch leather armor quest
- Swam over to the riekling island to talk to the chief, and got pointer to help their hunting party take down netches; ran back over to do that
- Took out a couple of nix-hounds on the way
- Reached the hunting party and helped them on the hunt, which also let me get enough netch leather for the armor and netch jelly to bring back to Milore
- Very overloaded at this point so returned to Raven Rock, and sold things to all vendors
- Gave Milore the netch jelly and got the potions of well being
- Attempted to sleep in the Retching Netch but did not trigger a bounce to the remaining uncleared stone, so got up the next morning to head over there
- Previously encountered madman up behind the town attacked me directly so Lydia and I took him out
- Proceeded from there to Brodir Grove; got attacked by ash hoppers so we started fighting those, which attracted the reavers from the camp so we had to go ahead and take them out too
- Looted the camp and the reavers, and got the pendant out of the strongbox
- Called up Arvak since I was overloaded, and rode from there to the Water Stone
- Cleared the stone, and got dragon to fight as per usual; fairly quick dragon kill since it was a lowest tier dragon
- And yay, all the sailors survived the fight!
- Rode from there over to get the last piece of Deathbrand armor and the key to Gyldenhul Barrow
- Boinged back to Raven Rock and sold more things
- Tried to make Elsweyr Fondue at the cooking pot in the Retching Netch, only to discover that I had not taken the moon sugar out of Fort Frostmoth, oops
- Boinged back there, ducked in, found the moon sugar, and ducked back out again
- Boinged back to the rieklings to resolve the netch leather armor quest; got the cookbook, the ability to make the armor, and the painted armor set
- Waited until after hours so I wouldn’t interrupt Glover at the forge, then made the shadowed netch leather set that I like; improved that, as well as the painted set out of the riekling chest
- Boinged back to the Skaal Village
- Saw the conversation about Baldor missing so okay guess I’m still running A New Source of Stalhrim; got the objective to go find Baldor
- But first found the camp with the dead bandit, and the journal about the stalhrim fur armor
- Arvak’d up and boinged back to Brodir Grove to get within range of the Abandoned Lodge
- OH HEY LOOK Thalmor! Took them all out and freed Baldor
- Returned to Raven Rock and made some Elsweyr Fondue
- Sold more stuff as I could
- Went to Kagrumez to see if I could run it successfully; answer: yes! Did all three trials and got the important loot, and the diagram for making soul stealer arrows
- Came back out and boinged back to Raven Rock
- Chopped some firewood
- Made some soul stealer arrowheads out of most of the fragments I was carrying, then made some arrows with them and the firewood
- Saved there until next time
March of the Dead quest being broken on the Switch
I went into this in more detail in this post, but I’ll summarize again here: two significant quests are broken on Solstheim if you’re running the Anniversary Edition on a Switch.
I discovered that I couldn’t launch March of the Dead after I went past Old Attius Farm a couple of times and did not see Captain Veleth fighting ash spawn, as I expected. Doing Duckduckgo searches about this is what led me to discover multiple Reddit threads discussing functionality being broken in the Switch AE build. :/
And yeah, I was able to confirm that I repro the problem. I have Captain Veleth in my game, but he’s just wandering around Raven Rock like he does after you run this quest and get through the assassination plot as well.
I tried a few different things to see if I could still somehow trigger the Served Cold quest, but no dice. Here’s what I tried:
- Running Fort Frostmoth anyway, since I saw one player reporting he did this and still got a relevant note off of killing General Falx Carius. I was able to speed-run the fort, but did not get any note off of killing the general.
- Talking to Veleth to see if he would still ask me to help with the assassination issue; no relevant dialogue choices given
- Trying to run Veleth’s side quest to find the Emberbrand wine, to see if that helped; answer, no
- Talking to Adril Arano after running Raven Rock Mine, to see if he had any relevant dialogue options unlocked; answer, no
One other thing I’d like to note here that may or may not be relevant to the problem: the times in these two sessions when I swung past Old Attius Farm, I also noticed that I never triggered any random encounters. In previous playthroughs I’ve always seen that area, right around the spot where you can turn left to go up to Kolbjorn Barrow, triggering encounters. In this playthrough, it’s not.
I don’t know if that spawn point is considered part of the same cell as Old Attius Farm or not, but it sure is an interesting data point.
Thirsk Mead Hall quests being broken
In the second of these two sessions I was also able to confirm that I repro the issue with Bujold the Unworthy being automatically named Bujold the Intrepid, which is not supposed to happen until after you help the Nords retake Thirsk. The bug also includes not having any available dialogue option with her to help the Nords.
I cannot confirm a repro of the riekling side of this quest being broken. But given that I’m already reproducing a lot of the reported behavior I saw on various Reddit threads, I think it’s a safe assumption that I’ll repro that too. And I’m not going to try to do so, since it would piss me off to have another quest on the journal that I cannot finish. (See previous commentary re: the Bones for a Crow quest being broken in this playthrough, too.)
Netch hunters also seem glitchy
I have not observed the netch hunting party on Solstheim ever already hunting a netch when I come upon them. Usually they actually ask me to join them first. This time through, I came across them fighting a netch without approaching me about it first.
This is not a huge deal but it’s odd enough that it stood out for me nonetheless. As far as I know this encounter is supposed to play out with the hunters inviting you first.
So what’s actually working?
I had originally planned to speedrun the rest of the Dragonborn plot and get the fuck off of Solstheim. But I was thinking about that after starting Kolbjorn Barrow. And as I’ve written about before, Kolbjorn does take multiple stages to run. And I do want to finish it if I can.
Which means that in these two sessions, I also spent some time with various side quests just to see if they would work. Here’s a running list of what I can confirm does actually function correctly in this build, assuming no triggering of other non-AE-specific Skyrim bugs:
- Retrieving the folio off the Wreck of the Strident Squall for Cindiri; note that I did not initially get the quest off of Cindiri to begin with, but I was still able to finish it with her nonetheless, since the quest had been structured to account for that scenario
- Falx Carius does still drop the Champion’s Cudgel even if you have to kill him outside the context of the March of the Dead quest
- Getting the Ancient Nord Pickaxe from Crescius and resolving the quest with Glover, who lets you keep the pickaxe
- Running Raven Rock Mine and Bloodskal Barrow, and by extension, using the Bloodskal Blade on the puzzle
- Running the Winds of Change Black Book, with appropriate expected snarky lines out of Hermaeus Mora based on my earlier repudiation of him in this playthrough
- Getting the Bend Will Shout at Saering’s Watch
- Using the Bend Will Shout to clear all the All-Maker Stones and free the enthralled workers at each one
- Talking to Neloth at Tel Mithryn and getting him to go to Nchardak with you
- Running Nchardak, and making the Black Book in there accessible
- Running the Epistolary Acumen Black Book, including Hermaeus Mora’s ultimatum about the knowledge of the Skaal
- Fight with Krosulhah at Nchardak
- Running the Netch Leather Armor quest
- Bringing East Empire Company pendants to Fethis
- Getting netch jelly for Milore
- Black Book Madman encounter
- Fire mage vs. ice mage encounter
- Fighting the reavers at Brodir’s Grove
- Running Kagrumez
- Making soul stealer arrows
So this is a fairly decent amount of content that’s confirmed functional. My overall impression so far is that Solstheim is still mostly functional, even if not having access to Severin Manor is really fucking annoying.
Stuff that’s still in progress so cannot confirm if it’s fully functional yet
Here are the things I’ve started on Solstheim but haven’t yet finished, so I cannot confirm if these are fully working still:
- Running all of Kolbjorn Barrow
- Getting the stalhrim fur armor, and by extension, seeing it show up in leveled lists and being able to make it if you know how to smith stalhrim stuff
- Getting the map from the Thalmor, mining the Stalhrim Source site, and learning from Baldor how to create stalhrim gear
- Following up on the pointer to the Black Book at White Ridge Barrow
Kagrumez functioning correctly in particular was a relief, given that I have seen Kagrumez break on the Switch before prior to installing the AE, way back in Merawen’s playthrough.
I did not try to engage either of the friendly dwarven machines, just because I’m in a hurry finishing Solstheim at this point. And also, I’m not entirely sure whether my animal follower slot is still open, since I’d lost Meeko way earlier in this playthrough. And it’s not clear to me whether getting Gogh in my playthrough for a while overrode that.
(Damn. Now my QA brain is engaged by this problem, and I’m curious. I may or may not swing back to Kagrumez and try to pick up one of the friendly machines. More on this later.)
Despite my earlier inclination to just run the rest of the main Dragonborn plot and get the hell off Solstheim, the need to properly run Kolbjorn Barrow now that I actually started it does pretty much mean I’ll go ahead and try to finish as much of Solstheim as possible.
I still need to get the second letter from Ralis, and there will be two more after that. Which is still several in-game days’ worth of time, so I’ll need to find things to do in the meantime.
Since I have A New Source of Stalhrim active, as well as the quest about the stalhrim fur armor, I’ll probably knock those down next.
After that, not sure yet. But it’s likely I’ll do these, which are more of my usual Solstheim action:
- Running White Ridge Barrow just because I have a pointer for that, though I’ll probably speed-run it again like I did last time I ran it, in Shenner’s run
- Running Benkongerike since that Black Book will give me access to the dremora merchant, and given that I don’t have Severin Manor, more ways to sell loot will be kinda critical
- Running Vahlok’s Tomb
- Helping restore Neloth’s mushroom tower, and the other side quests necessary to get Neloth to the point of siccing me on Ildari Sarothril
And at this point I’m looking hard at Ashfall’s Tear and the whole plot involved with that. I’m real curious at this point whether that’s an option for a safe place to sleep and safe storage. Plus, I’ve run it only once, as Shenner, so it’s still pretty new content to me.
All in all I must admit that my QA Engineer/SDET brain is engaged, and I’m legit curious about defining the scope of the Solstheim breakage. I want a clearer idea of what all works as well as what all is broken, and I’ll document my findings on this blog. More to come.