I’ve decided to go ahead and make a hard push through the rest of Kendis’ playthrough–to finish up Solstheim, and then to run her final confrontation with Alduin. I want to get her finished up so that I can free up my Skyrim cycles for Elessir and Finds-The-Way!
Also, I want to finish my confirmation of how much of Solstheim is still functional on the AE build on the Switch. So here’s a big ol’ round of that in this post.
Play by play
- Play date: 8/28/2023
- Session number in this run: 79
- Forgot to note in last session that I leveled up to 62; took Stamina bump and Twin Souls perk, so now I can summon TWO dremora lords, fuck yeah
- Ducked into the Reclamations temple just to read the book to trigger Ghosts of the Tribunal
- Got the objective to go to Fahlbtharz
- Came out of the temple and got courier with Ralis’ second letter, so ran over and did the next round of Kolbjorn Barrow
- Killed all the draugr and got the Ring of Necromancy
- Paid Ralis 3000 for more miners and also mercenaries
- Very heavily overloaded at this point, so boinged back to mainland for another run of selling and dropping things off
- Tried Bloodchill Cavern first before remembering I’d previously dropped off stuff at Hendraheim
- So went there first and left the Dwarven Black Bow of Fate as well as some of the more non-unique expensive weapons I had, and the rest of the Deathbrand armor
- Boinged to Solitude and sold stuff to Beirand, Sayma, and Radiant Raiment
- Boinged to College of Winterhold
- Got Revered Dragon; killed same, from the top of the Hall of Attainment, with help of dual storm atronachs and Faralda
- Slept in Arch-Mage’s quarters
- Got up next morning and took five rounds of Destruction training with Faralda; bought several higher tier Destruction spells from her, then sold her a boatload of stuff, including all dragon bits I was carrying
- Boinged back to Solstheim and hoofed it to Fahlbtharz from Raven Rock
- Fought a few rieklings just outside and just inside
- Noted dead dragon skeleton dropped into view just outside Fahlbtharz; generic dragon, probably the one left over from the fight at the Water Stone?
- Went as far in as the forge
- Killed Hand Kenro when he attacked me and Lyds; got his clothes and journal and such, and got directive to use his clothes to sneak into Ashfall’s Tear
- Fast traveled back to Raven Rock since I hadn’t actually discovered Ashfall’s Tear yet
- Talked to Matriarch Drevlan and had to fight the four Hands in single combat; the last one of the four killed me
- Thrown back to coming into Ashfall’s Tear, so did take two
- This time I was successful in the single combat; casting Ironflesh helped, and so did using paralyze potions on the ebony scimitar I got off of Kenro
- For some reason the first of the four Hands fought with Lydia instead of me, similar issue to one I’d seen in Shenner’s run
- Got the matriarch’s directive to recover the masks of the Tribunal; also got directives to find the missing curate, and hand off a propaganda note to Aphia to be translated
- Went off to get the Mask of Vivec in the cellar of Old Attius Farm; took out the guard and the buyer in there and got the mask
- Got courier with note number three from Ralis, on the way back into Raven Rock
- Took a sleep in the Netch
- Went to Crescius and Aphia’s house and handed off the note to her to be translated
- Boinged to Tel Mithryn to kill time (and immediately got the alert to check back with her about the translation)
- Talked to Elynea about healing the mushroom house; got directive to bring her three soaked taproots
- Talked to Neloth and got directive to find Varona
- Came back out and got Talvas begging me to take out the ash guardian for him; did so
- Went looking for Varona and had to kill a total of six ash spawn; Revus Sarvani actually ran over to help!
- Then realized Varona’s dead body doesn’t actually spawn till I talk to Elynea, oops
- Boinged to the Wind Stone to get near the headwaters to take care of that before talking to her again
- Went into the cave and killed Spriggan Earth Mother
- Dipped the taproots i already had on me, though I got an extra off the Spriggan Earth Mother
- Boinged back to Tel Mithryn; got there late, so dropped a campsite and slept
- Got up again in the morning and checked in with Elynea; got directive to plant the taproot next door, and also asked her where Varona was
- Went back out again and then found Varona’s dead body
- Reported to Neloth that she was dead, and also planted the taproot
- Reported to Talvas that the ash guardian was dead; got him to teach me the spell and give me a free heartstone, and also bought several other spells off of him
- Returned to Raven Rock and got the translated note from Aphia
- Gave one to Drovas and also sent him off to be Neloth’s steward
- Bribed Geldis, Milore, and Glover to show the note to their patrons to fulfill the quest
- Returned to Tel Mithryn to check in with Neloth; got his grudging acceptance of his new steward
- Proceeded to his bitching about heartstones; got the quest to go check out a Briarheart for him
- Time to return to the mainland! Boinged to Windhelm, then boinged to Hendraheim
- Killed cave bear
- Started running Lost Valley Redoubt
- Got the dremora to kill the first Briarheart for me, and examined him for Neloth–but killed by Briarheart at the word wall, oops
- Thrown back to Windhelm, so did Hendraheim take two
- Got a Revered Dragon this time; Lyds and storm atronachs and I took him out
- Had another round of Miraak sniping the soul, but weirdly delayed
- Dropped off a bunch of things in Hendraheim; grabbed some cheap weapons to sell to free up their weapon rack slots
- Came back out to re-try getting at that Briarheart
- Bear already dead, must have been killed during the dragon fight
- Geared up in dragonscale and ran Lost Valley Redoubt again; this time got through the whole place safely
- Harvested the first Briarheart for Neloth
- Got the second word of Become Ethereal, and took out the hagravens before they could make the second Briarheart
- Jumped off Bard’s Leap Summit to say hi to the ghost and get the Speech bump
- Boinged to Lakeview for a supplies check; decided I wanted mage gear back
- Boinged to Whiterun to sell things
- Boinged to Stony Creek Cave to rescue the curate
- Boinged back to Solstheim and returned to Ashfall’s Tear
- OHNOEZ ASH ZOMBIES! Charged in to take them all out, and oh good, they didn’t take out any Ordinators
- Reported to the matriarch and got key to the armory
- Placed the masks and unlocked the chest
- Got Hopesfire and the note to find the bad guy at Tel Mithryn
- Sold stuff to both alchemists (including the curate I’d just rescued) and to the blacksmith
- Confirmed that I can in fact sleep on the beds set up in the place
- Mined some ebony on the way out
- Boinged to Tel Mithryn to check in with Neloth and also fight the bad guy
- Immediately confronted by ash spawn; called up dremora and took them out
- Talked to Neloth and reported in about the Briarheart
- Immediately went to the “somebody is trying to kill me” conversation; got the tracking ring and went back outside
- Took out the ash spawn, the Dagoth Ur priest, and his ash zombies at the graveyard
- Got the heart stone and the staff out of Ildari’s sarcophagus
- Also got all the stuff off the priest to resolve the Ashen Tear quest
- Reported back to Neloth and got objective to go kill Ildari
- Saved there until next time
The question of where to put my stuff
The Solstheim situation in Kendis’ playthrough kind of means by definition that I have to relax her narrative some.
I realized that I don’t like the idea of using a bunch of the locales on Solstheim as safe storage, just because it seems really narratively weird to me. I cannot imagine my Dragonborn going “hey, I’ll camp out here in this dismal cave previously inhabited by hagravens, just so I can drop all my loot into this one chest!”
On the other hand, I also have a hard time imagining her traveling repeatedly back to the mainland just to carry stuff back to her established houses. This is what I wound up doing, just because this seemed like the best immediately useful option. But it doesn’t make any more narrative sense than dropping all my crap at Altar of Thrond or the Abandoned Lodge or wherever.
What seems most narratively likely to me, if my Dragonborn doesn’t have access to private space in Raven Rock where she can stash stuff, is that she’d do one of the following:
- Give Geldis a bunch of money to let her long-term rent a room in the Retching Netch, including the use of all chests and things in that room
- Raven Rock has a working dock, so presumably there’s somewhere around to store cargo. So she could pay the town a long-term rental on a cargo storage shed or something
- There is abandoned house space in the town; the guards explicitly say that squatting there is prohibited. But what if Kendis pays the town enough money to actually buy an abandoned house and put people to work fortifying it for her? Then she could even let the town have it back for use once she’s ready to go home.
- Pay the Northern Maiden to ferry a bunch of her stuff back to Windhelm with instructions to contact her housecarl Calder (since I do have Calder in this run) and keep stuff in storage for her at Hjerim
Because seriously, at this point in Kendis’ playthrough, I’m carrying around well over 300,000 gold. That’s more than enough to drop a sizable sum on Raven Rock to convince them that “hey, so, I reopened your mine for you and saved you all from working on that shrine at the Earth Stone, howsabout you let me rent some space here for a while until I’m able to take out Miraak?”
Unfortunately, I had no ability to do any of this. So I did make a couple of emergency loot dropoff-and-sell runs back to the mainland in this session. And I did at least have the legit reasons of “rescuing the curate” and “finding Neloth a Briarheart” to go back to the mainland, so there’s that.
Running Ghosts of the Tribunal
I was pleased to confirm that once you join the Tribunal cult and get in enough people for them to renovate the space inside Ashfall’s Tear, there are usable beds that are not marked as Owned.
I was less pleased to see on the wiki, though, that Ashfall’s Tear does have a Respawn time on it. Which means none of the containers in there are safe storage. Damn.
So while Ashfall’s Tear is a confirmed place to sleep (particularly relevant if you’re running Survival Mode), it’s still not a viable place to store your stuff.
Still though, I can confirm as of this writing that the overall Ghosts of the Tribunal plotline seems functional, which is good. (At least the version of it where you side with the cultists!) Notably, the cellar of Old Attius Farm is still accessible for getting the Mask of Vivec, even though the March of the Dead plot is not functional. So whatever’s going on with that plot doesn’t block the Buyer Beware portion of Ghosts of the Tribunal.
Relatedly, I only went into Fahlbtharz far enough to reach the forge and confront Hand Kenro. So I cannot yet confirm if the rest of Fahlbtharz is functional.
Unrelated to the question of “how broken is the AE on the Switch”, I can also note that at least on take two of my fight with the Hands inside Ashfall’s Tear, I reproed an issue I saw when running this plot as Shenner: i.e., the first of the Hands actually attacked Lydia, not me! Which suggests that in general, this part of the plot is a little wonky if you have a follower with you. It did at least work other than that.
Also, I’ll note that as a Redguard, Kendis was in my opinion probably pretty happy with taking that ebony scimitar off of Hand Kenro. It is a sweet looking blade. 😀
I am also assuming for narrative purposes that Kendis is feeling a bit at sea, as a magically inclined Redguard who really doesn’t fit in in her own homeland, and isn’t exactly fitting in in Skyrim, either. I don’t see her as necessarily wanting to bail on worshipping the Divines–or, for that matter, the Redguard pantheon she grew up with. But I can definitely see her wanting to feel a real connection somewhere, just for the sake of being Kendis, vs. being the Dragonborn or the Arch-Mage or the Harbinger or whatever.
Plus, I figure her background makes her pretty sympathetic to people who are at odds with the main portion of their society–for religious rather than magical purposes, sure, but the same overall idea applies. So I can see that guiding her to want to help them, even if she doesn’t necessarily want to worship Almalexia per se. And I’m not convinced she does.
Miraak’s sniping souls off of slain dragons
I’ve seen this happen a few times now, so I can definitely confirm that this seems wonky in this build. The behavior I’m seeing is that if Miraak snipes a dragon soul from you (he’s not always guaranteed to do this, past the initial dragon at Saering’s Watch), there’s a weird delay between when you kill the dragon and when you finally are informed that Miraak has absorbed the dragon’s soul.
So not outright non-functional, but definitely wonky. I’m going to have to see if I can observe behavior if I hang out near the dragon; I want to see if Miraak’s ethereal form actually shows up correctly.
Assorted side plots at Tel Mithryn do seem functional in general. Noted as working in this session:
- Getting the taproots for Elynea and using them to heal Neloth’s house
- Taking out the ash guardian for Talvas and getting him to teach me the spell
- Finding Varona has been killed, and needing to get Drovas as the replacement steward
- Observing a slain Briarheart for Neloth
- Using Neloth’s tracking ring to find out what’s sending the ash spawn to Tel Mithryn
It occurred to me to wonder whether Ashfallow Citadel is still runnable, even without the Served Cold quest being active. Or more specifically, whether Vendil Severin/Ulen is actually there.
Off the immediate top of my head, I don’t recall seeing him wandering around Raven Rock. I will need to doublecheck that. If I can’t find him, I might have to go try to run Ashfallow and see if I can get at him that way. Worth exploring, anyway.
Also, I need to do Round Three of Kolbjorn Barrow, and finish up the stalhrim-related stuff.
And definitely go kill Ildari at Highpoint Tower.
Time permitting, I may also run Vahlok’s Tomb. We’ll see.
No screenshots this time.