Kendeshel Playthrough,  Skyrim

In Which Kendeshel Hunts a Mysterious Criminal and Lost Relic Hunting Tools

This post covers running the Moon and Star mod’s plotline in Kendeshel’s Skyrim playthrough, and as such, contains massive spoilers for that mod. If you haven’t played this mod yet and think you might want to, you should hold off on reading this post for now.

I also have up a spoiler-free review of the mod if you’d like to read that instead.

There are also spoilers here for Legacy of the Dragonborn, covering how to find the Hall of Secrets and how to launch the Tools of the Trade quest to find a bunch of useful items.

And since the screenshots for this mod do involve spoilers for Moon and Star, the screenshot gallery is password-locked. You can find the password at the bottom of this post.

Play by play

  • Play dates: 10/26, 10/29/2023
  • Session numbers in this run: 22-23

Thursday the 26th

  • Started off in the Safehouse
  • Main goal for the session: running Moon and Star
  • Took the Dev Aveza down to Whiterun
  • Saddled up on Heimdall to ride to Riverwood
  • Killed a couple of wolves on the way
  • Reached Riverwood and stopped in at the inn–which triggered Delphine going “good, you weren’t followed”, so before I talked to Mandyn Hlaalu I had to talk to her first
  • Got her plan to meet up with Malborn in Solitude
  • Then talked to Mandyn Hlaalu, and got his pitch to help him apprehend a dangerous criminal wanted in Morrowind
  • He pointed me at the village on the lake I’d seen before, Little Vivec, and gave me an enchanted ring on the grounds that my target was known to use enchanted weapons
  • Headed over to the village
  • Killed a bear and a couple more wolves, and an Elder Dragon (which wound up landing right in front of Lakeview Manor)
  • Finally made it to the village, and started exploring it properly
  • Chatted with various NPCs, most of whom said they’d seen the powerful person I was looking for but they weren’t really willing to say where he’d gone
  • Took a few favor quests from them to help them out
  • Shopkeeper Selyse Andrathil needed me to bring her assorted supplies, so I dipped into my personal stores for some of that, but still needed to get more venison and tundra cotton
  • Guy chopping wood, Toren Darrosa, wanted me to take an order over to the Riverwood mill
  • The town’s ostensible leader, Belvadyr Rathvasi, asked me to take proclamations around to the other inhabitants 
  • Bal-Ran, the town’s actual functioning leader (at least in terms of the respect of the others in the village), asked me to go take out some bandits for him
  • Spotted a book in the water near the dock and nabbed it, since it was The Lusty Argonian Maid Vol. 2, and displayable at the museum
  • But apparently the damned thing was tagged as stolen–so I will need to do something about that, and check if I got a bounty for it, not sure if anybody spotted me taking it 😛
  • Bandit camp was near Lakeview and Pinewatch, so I headed back that way first
  • Slept overnight at Lakeview, then hit the bandit camp in the morning–and found that the bandits were already dead, GOSH I WONDER WHO KILLED THEM
  • Grabbed the helm off the leader to take back as proof (and looted all the bandits for that matter, hey, this armor is valuable)
  • Then headed into Riverwood, and dropped off the order at the mill
  • Overheard Sigrid the smith’s wife arguing with her daughter about wanting her to “be a girl”, boooo, more on this below
  • Still lacked one last venison and more tundra cotton, so headed over to the plains near Whiterun as the best local source for that
  • Shot down an elk to get my last needed venison, and got a couple more tundra cottons
  • Went close enough to the bandit camp near Whiterun that I triggered them attacking me, oh darn what a damn shame
  • Took out the first three, and then took out the next three after I broke into their chest
  • Got the note that started the Staff of Hasedoki quest, and directive to go to the site of the planned ambush
  • Held off on that for now though and popped into Whiterun to sell stuff
  • Wound up harvesting the rest of the tundra cotton I needed from Warmaiden’s, and sold them all my bandit loot
  • Slept in Whiterun and set out the next morning so I wouldn’t travel back to Little Vivec in the dark (because that way lies zombies)
  • Returned to the village and followed up on all the favor quests
  • Selyse gave me a Necklace of Brawn, because “you look like you could use this with all the stuff you’re carrying around”, why thank you, you are correct, this is useful! +45 to carry weight, why yes I’ll have some
  • Bal-Ran thought it was highly curious that the bandits had already been slain
  • He consented to tell me where the other traveler had gone, off to a ruin in the east, Kagrenar–and dropped a big hint on my head about not knowing why I was looking for this person, but that I should think before I acted
  • Returned to Whiterun to pick up the airship and leave Heimdall at the stables
  • Flew to Riften and got Alvis from the stables there
  • Lydia and Thistle vanished into space again, so fast traveled to Shor’s Watchtower, which let them both catch up
  • From there, rode over to where I needed to get to
  • Saw a dragon overhead but it was a flyby
  • Killed a bear as well
  • Kagrenar turned out to be super near Ruunvald, the dungeon for Dawngard’s quest to rescue Florentius
  • Headed into the ruin and immediately found replicas of Sunder, Wraithguard, and Keening
  • There were some initial rooms with a fuckton of loot, only some of which was actually interesting to me, and I had to solve some basic puzzles by putting correct things into chests to unlock doors to proceed further in
  • The first puzzle triggered a few dwarven spiders that Lydia and I had to take out before we could continue, but we made it through the puzzle rooms okay
  • Reached a lift that I took down, and as soon as I came out, the main Morrowind theme kicked in (GOSH I WONDER WHAT THIS IS TELEGRAPHING)
  • Found the guy I was looking for and yep he sure was the Nerevarine, pretty much as I expected
  • He told me he’d come to this ruin in search of a possible third Numidium which he intended to destroy, and he asked for my help
  • He also pointed out that the employers who’d sent me after him were scum, what kind of people would want to kill him?
  • I agreed to help him and went in with him to try to take down the gigantic centurion in the boss chamber, which was tagged as a Dwarven Centurion Titan, not a Numidium but still pretty fucking enormous, and very hard to kill
  • It killed me a few times so I wound up playing the conversation with the Nerevarine a few times, and in different ways
  • Also realized it was kicking Lydia’s ass hard too, so gave her every single healing potion I had
  • And realized that there were crackling orbs all around the room that were feeding the titan power
  • Tried to destroy them but couldn’t–until I realized that there were levers in various places around the room
  • Started flipping those and finally discovered that this was the puzzle I needed to solve to cut the titan off from its power sources
  • Once I flipped all the levers in the correct configurations and turned the power beams red, I was able to destroy the orbs
  • Taking all of those out meant the titan could now actually be killed, so we took it out
  • The Nerevarine offered me a weapon by way of reward and asked if I wanted a bow, a greatsword, or a one-handed mace; I told him bow, but actually got a Staff of Hellfire
  • He also told me he’d be at the Shrine of Azura if I needed to find him again
  • Headed out from there and realized the quest wasn’t actually done yet
  • I had a directive to return to Mandyn Hlaalu, and his quest marker was actually nearby which was confusing; he apparently followed me to Kagrenar?
  • Tried riding to catch up with him, but got intercepted by a pack of zombies, and had to take them out
  • He was also moving back towards Riverwood and I had to fast travel to catch up with him
  • Found him in Riverwood, and he demanded the ring back
  • Told him I’d be keeping it as payment for his not having told me who my target was–at which point he claimed that he hadn’t been lying, the Nerevarine had been a criminal when he first arrived in morrowind
  • I basically told him to fuck off, at which point he threw a smartassed line about ‘oh darn too damned bad the Dragonborn must have gone bonkers in that ruin’
  • But he didn’t even get a chance to attack me, because Lydia stabbed his ass right then and there
  • Searched his body and found a legal Writ of Execution in his inventory
  • Took the rest of his stuff for that matter, including a Dagger of the Black Hand that I could put on display; that finally resolved the quest
  • Returned to Whiterun to get the Dev Aveza, and flew back to Solitude
  • Spent some time putting more things on display
  • Realized I hadn’t taken a perk when I’d last leveled up, so dropped that on Dragon Smithing, and was then able to make a bunch of Dragon armor for the displays
  • Made a set of studded dragonscale for myself as well since the first set I’d found was on display already, but didn’t have enough bones and scales left over to actually improve all of it or make myself Dragon weapons yet, will do that after a few more dragon kills
  • Left off in the Safehouse until next time

Sunday the 29th

  • Picked up again at the Safehouse
  • Main goal of this session: acting on some tips from Mangouste who I know from Discord
  • Talked to Patero in the guild house and got him to give me the quest to build additional guild outposts
  • Looked at the map upstairs in the guild house and got the quest to find all of the easter egg extra tools
  • Then went to Dragonborn Hall and finally found the button to give me access to the Hall of Secrets
  • Went to go ask Auryen about that, and he gave me the backstory that that used to be a panic room for Pelagius, and he got permission from the Blue Palace to claim it
  • He was willing to let me put things down there and not have to worry about asking me what, in fact, I put down there; asked me to come back later and he’d have it cleaned up for me
  • Meanwhile, took the Dev Aveza down to Whiterun, then headed out to get my horse and go do some adventuring
  • Byron and the dead Morag Tong agents were still lying by the road, so I dragged them over to lie out of the way in the bushes so NPCs wouldn’t keep stopping and going “Oh, what happened?” Because apparently the game cleanup scripts won’t clean them up? Oh wells
  • Got Heimdall and tried to ride over to deal with the ambush site for the Staff of Hasedoki quest
  • Flyby dragon at watchtower
  • Killed by the orc bandit at the ambush site, and thrown back to coming out of Whiterun
  • Did take two of getting the corpses out of the way
  • This time got a hostile dragon at the watchtower and took it out
  • Saw a storm atronach show up as I was calling up Snap, Crackle, and Pop, and went WHO SUMMONED THE STORM ATRONACH? Answer: some Thalmor going by with a prisoner
  • Those guys also were still in the area as I successfully took out the orc at the ambush site this time, and they snarked about the dead bandits
  • Did not bother to engage them as they ordered me to back off their prisoner, because yeah, you Thalmor assholes just keep walking, I got other things to do
  • Namely: heading over to Brittleshin Pass to look for the Staff of Hasedoki, finally
  • Got in there and took out a couple of named necromancers
  • Got hit by the staff at least once and went flying, that was impressive :O
  • Took out the necromancers and got the staff and other loot
  • Boinged to Lakeview next, at which point there were bandits, so had to take those guys out
  • Slept for the night 
  • Next morning got up to head over towards where the map marker said I could find “Deano’s Bag”, which turned out to be right by Shriekwind Bastion
  • So ran that place, came in for once through the south entrance which threw off my usual rhythm of running it
  • Took out the master vamp, then went down to clear the bottom half of the place as well
  • Got Sanguinare Vampiris off one of the other vamps, but cleared that up with a potion
  • Bag was not inside the ruin though, so backtracked to go outside the south entrance again
  • Dropped the tent to camp at the site because it was late, and I wasn’t leaving until I found that backpack, but I also didn’t want to climb around in the dark
  • Got up in the morning after camping, and did a bit of climbing to get to where the bag actually was
  • Got the bag!
  • Returned to Lakeview
  • Found the Woodsman’s Friend axe after checking the wiki for where the hell it actually was
  • Did a bit of building and tried to start in on a kitchen wing, but realized I was out of corundum
  • Went back to Whiterun and did some shopping (but could not find any corundum!)
  • Checked in at Breezehome and got SURPRISE MORAG TONG ASSASSINS, as per the ending of Moon and Star ;P
  • Killed them and dropped them into the firepit (dammit, now Breezehome is going to smell like burned Dunmer)
  • Went out to search the city, because the girls were not in the house
  • Confirmed that Sofie and Lucia were hanging out in the Wind District
  • Returned to the museum for a bit to turn in assorted items, and gave Latoria some ruined books since I’d gotten 20 for her again
  • From there, headed off to the College of Winterhold
  • Checked in with J’zargo to resolve his quest
  • Talked to Onmund and got his quest to retrieve his amulet from Enthir
  • Bought five rounds of Illusion training from Drevis which kicked me up to level 45
  • Also did a bunch of training in the Hall of the Elements, and bought a bit of training from Colette in Restoration; that got me up to level 46
  • Unlocked enough Illusion perks to get me to Quiet Casting, fuck yeah 😀
  • Returned to the museum to check out what the Hall of Secrets looked like cleaned up
  • Did some inventory managing
  • Discovered that the Hunter armor looks way better on a female than it does on a male! So I might actually wear it as Kendeshel
  • Saved at Safehouse until next time

Little Vivec

I’d found Little Vivec in a prior Kendeshel session, but once I got the plot of Moon and Star officially underway, I got to visit the place properly.

And I enjoyed this! It’s a pretty little place, and I liked interacting with the various NPCs and doing favor quests for them. The proximity to Lakeview Manor is nice–though I’d find it a lot nicer, probably, in a playthrough that didn’t also include Legacy of the Dragonborn, just because Lakeview is usually my primary house of choice. And having a merchant very nearby to sell things to is helpful.

I also just really liked the backstory of the place, and how it was founded by Dunmer who’d explicitly left Windhelm because they were sick and tired of Ulfric Stormcloak’s bullshit. That is 3000 percent plausible. More Dunmer should call Ulfric Stormcloak on his bullshit, as far as I’m concerned.

The ostensible leader of the village, Belvadyr Rathvasi, was clearly a conceited ass who nobody else in the place actually liked. Which made for a bit of amusement. His voice acting was very over the top, but that actually seemed in character for him, so I was okay with that!

I even liked the one Nord kid present in the village, who’d apparently been adopted by the shopkeeper. And who in turn staunchly affirmed that kid’s right to be in the village right along with its Dunmer residents.

Sidebar: Sigrid, back the hell off of your daughter

While in Riverwood to drop off the order for logs, I overheard Sigrid, the smith’s wife, arguing with her daughter Dorthe about wanting her to “be a girl”. Because apparently Dorthe is not being feminine enough to satisfy her mother? Boooooooo.

Sigrid, Adrianne Avenicci would like a word with you about how making swords is a perfectly acceptable profession for your offspring. And the Dragonborn, her housecarl, every single woman enlisted with the Legion, and every single woman in the Companions would like a word with you about how stabbing things with the sword you just made is a perfectly acceptable profession for a woman, thank you very much.

Meh. I otherwise like Sigrid, so it was vexing to discover she has some very gendered ideas about acceptable behavior for her daughter! And it was particularly jarring in a game that mostly does not have such gendered ideas. So I’m at a bit of a loss as to why Sigrid appears to be an outlier in this.

The actual answer here is most likely simply that her lines were written by somebody who did have those gendered ideas, and didn’t necessarily think about them in the greater context of the game. But that’s only speculation on my part. Since I don’t know for sure, I just have to try to imagine how the hell Sigrid developed her ideas about what constitutes “ladylike” behavior.

It’s certainly possible that the smaller, more insular towns of Skyrim could be more backward than the larger ones in this respect. And Riverwood is pretty damned tiny. And with Sigrid in particular, I get the vibe that she’s got some level of frustration that her kid takes way more to her father’s work than to hers, and that she’s not handling that well at all. She may have grown up in a family where work was divided along gendered lines, and is having trouble grasping that Dorthe has got her own opinions on this, opinions which clearly don’t sync up with her own life experiences.

Heh. I think I feel some fic coming on about this.

Kagrenar, and the artifacts therein

The final dungeon you need to run for this mod is called Kagrenar. And a thing to be aware of here is that this place is practically right on top of Ruunvald, the excavation you need to hit when you rescue Florentius as part of Dawnguard.

In fact, I saw concerns about it clipping into the exterior camp for Ruunvald posted on the forum for this mod. I will need to see if i have issues about that later, since Kendeshel hasn’t run Dawnguard yet.

I mostly liked this place. It had some good puzzles to solve. But I also realized, pretty much as soon as I set foot in it, that Moon and Star clearly intended for it to be a place where you can get all three of Kagrenac’s tools: Keening, Sunder, and Wraithguard.

Which is a problem, given that all three of these items are covered in vanilla Skyrim content, at least if you’re running the full Anniversary Edition. You can get hold of Keening as part of Arniel Gane’s side quest at the College of Winterhold, and Wraithguard and Sunder are covered in the Creation called “Sunder & Wraithguard”.

Moreover, Legacy of the Dragonborn also has its own versions of all three of these artifacts. And Legacy has patches which try to make it play nicer with both the Anniversary Edition content and Moon and Star. Which meant that as soon as I came into Kagrenar, I found replicas of the tools, not the actual tools themselves.

This was a little jarring, not only at that immediate point in time but also later, when I discovered that these replicas weren’t particularly useful for anything. They had no enchantments, they were not marked as things I could put on display in the museum, and they weren’t even worth much gold.

And the same problem happened once I actually finished the plot, and got offered a weapon by the Nerevarine. The weapons he offers you are also available in both the Anniversary Edition and Legacy of the Dragonborn. Again, this is supposed to be patched in my load order. But the patching wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked–because it caused a discrepancy between what the Nerevarine offered me, and what I actually got. He offered me a greatsword, a mace, or a bow, and I chose bow, just because of the three, that was the weapon type I’d actually use.

But what I got was a Staff of Hellfire. Because apparently, Moon and Star’s default behavior here is for the Nerevarine to give you the Bow of Shadows, if you ask for the bow. Which is of course also implemented in the Anniversary Edition–and in Legacy, as I discovered earlier in Kendeshel’s run when I got the Bow of Obfuscation.

Likewise, Moon and Star implements its own versions of Chrysamere, Hopesfire, and Trueflame, all of which are also covered in both the AE and Legacy.

All of which adds up to, if you run Moon and Star in a playthrough on the Anniversary Edition or in a load order that also includes Legacy of the Dragonborn, the artifacts involved are going to be a bit wonky in how they’re handled. I’m glad there was at least an attempt to patch this, anyway, even if the patching attempt wasn’t entirely smooth. Because I’d have found it weirder to have multiple copies of the same damn artifacts in this run.

The “criminal” you pursue for Moon and Star

Speaking of the Nerevarine: I was not the slightest bit surprised that the “criminal” I was asked to find and bring to justice was in fact the hero of Morrowind. I knew pretty much going in that this is who it would be–I mean hell, the hint for it is right in the name of the mod.

But that said, the mod also tried a little too hard to drop hints on my head about it. One NPC in Little Vivec made a big huge honking point about how I should “think” before acting. Once I actually found my target, the music switched over to the theme from Morrowind. And if I hadn’t already known at that point I’d be facing the Nerevarine, the music would have been another big honking clue.

And I don’t like that the mod tried to telegraph it so hard, really.

Let me also get this out of the way: part of me just really doesn’t like that by putting this version of the Nerevarine into Skyrim, it makes you have to canonically acknowledge in your playthrough that the Nerevarine is a dude.

For me, a player who almost always plays female characters, this is annoying, not gonna lie. I’ve already written about being salty about Morrowind clearly expecting the Nerevarine to be a dude even if you’re playing a female character, and this choice on the part of the mod just perpetuates that.

The Nerevarine didn’t take his helmet off at any point, so I couldn’t say for sure what race he was supposed to be. The vibe I got off of him was Dunmer, in no small part because he was respectful to Azura when I found him in a later session at Azura’s shrine, but I do not have a confirmation of this.

But he had no tail, so he was obviously not either a Khajiit or an Argonian.

This doesn’t bug me quite as much as the gender thing does, but it’s part of the same overall problem. One of the things I like a lot about Skyrim, Morrowind, Oblivion, and ESO is that your hero character can be anyone and anything. Male or female, of any race. And putting a Nerevarine into Skyrim via a mod means that it’s that vision of the Nerevarine that the player has to take as canon in their playthrough, a vision that could well contradict who they think the Nerevarine ought to be.

The Nerevarine doesn’t have to be a dude. Hell, the Nerevarine doesn’t even have to be a Dunmer. All that is required is for the Nerevarine to be the reincarnation of Indoril Nerevar. Period.

But all that said, I also have to legit acknowledge that having the mod try to give you different versions of the Nerevarine based on your preferences would have taken a lot more work. Even if they limited it to giving you a male Nerevarine and a female Nerevarine, maybe configurable via an MCM option, that would have required recording an entire second set of voice lines. And you’d also have to consider making different versions of the Nerevarine’s worn armor, for male vs. female body types.

Multiply that out by however many other races you’d want to consider, and you’d be adding even more work into it.

So I’m not really surprised that the mod defaulted to a (probably Dunmer) male Nerevarine.

And even though I’m salty about having to specifically take this Nerevarine as canon for Kendeshel’s playthrough, he was performed well. And by and large I did like the dialogue that was written for him. I liked how he related to Kendeshel, and that he recognized in her another person with “the weight of destiny” on her shoulders.

I also liked the backstory he gave her about where the hell he’d been for the last two hundred years, and the humility he showed about wanting to make up for his prior ego. Given his actions during the events of Morrowind, having not been around during the Oblivion Crisis or the eruption of Red Mountain, and having a huge ongoing guilt trip about that, certainly seems plausible.

(Though if this mod is assuming that the Nerevarine went to Atmora, that certainly raises the question of what he was doing there, and how long he was there. Did he turn into a hero in Atmora, too?)

Azura giving him a vision that they would meet checks out, as far as I’m concerned. Given how heavily the Nerevarine is involved with Azura in the events of Morrowind, it seems absolutely reasonable to me that if he hadn’t already been an Azura worshipper as of the start of those events, he’d turn into one.

And I’ll say this also: even though I’ve never particularly been a fan of bonemold armor, the bonemold armor the Nerevarine was wearing looked good. The mod creators clearly fancied it up a bit when they built the assets for the mod.

The final boss in Kagrenar

The Dwarven Centurion Titan was pretty badass, I’ll give it that. It was huge and intimidating looking, and packed a mighty punch. It did in fact kill me multiple times before I caught on to how I had to solve a puzzle to cut it off from its power sources.

And I’m glad I clued in to that before it managed to kill Lydia. Because I did see it kicking her ass, and I wound up handing her every single non-crafted healing potion I had on me, just to keep her alive until I could solve the puzzle properly.

Since I chose to help the Nerevarine rather than kill him as Mandyn Hlaalu wanted me to do, I did of course have him at my side during this battle. And that was super helpful. But until I cut it off from its power sources, the titan was invulnerable even to him.

So my takeaway here is, come into this mod’s story with one or more very well-equipped followers. And be at least somewhere in the low 30’s for your level. Higher, if at all possible. I found the fight challenging, even coming in in the mid 40’s.

House Hlaalu’s overall motivations, and a large plot hole

This is the part of Moon and Star that fell over flat for me.

Because here’s the thing: the Nerevarine tells the player that nobody knew he was still around because he explicitly wanted it that way.

So if this was the case, how the hell did House Hlaalu know he was still around? Mandyn Hlaalu very clearly knew who the Nerevarine actually was–he said as much to Kendeshel, when I went back to him to call him on what he’d asked me to do. And he brushed off not telling Kendeshel the real truth on the grounds of how the Nerevarine had originally come to Morrowind in chains, so technically he was a criminal, at least then.

And while we’re on the topic of House Hlaalu, why the hell do they want the Nerevarine killed?

The events of the Morrowind game are 211 years prior to the events of Skyrim. It seems really unlikely to me that House Hlaalu would be so pissed off about anything the Nerevarine did during the events of Morrowind that they’d still have a Writ of Execution on him 211 years later. Elves in the Elder Scrolls games live longer than humans, sure, but that’s still a very long time to maintain a grudge.

Or is this some kind of power play? We know that by Skyrim’s point in the timeline, House Hlaalu has diminished significantly in power. But I can’t imagine them coming up with a plan to assassinate the Nerevarine by way of trying to regain power in Morrowind–because how, exactly, would that work out for them? Maybe it would work as more of a revenge thing, where they decide to slay the Nerevarine because they’re pissed off at all the other Houses?

Or, did the Nerevarine actually do something recently that pissed off House Hlaalu? Did he save somebody Hlaalu wanted dead? This seems like the most likely explanation–but I don’t know, because the mod gives us nothing to go on here. All the Nerevarine has to say about the matter to the player is that your employers are “scum”, and he offers no reason whatever why Hlaalu might be after him.

And regardless–how the hell did Hlaalu know he was the Nerevarine to begin with?

I could maybe see a scenario where the Nerevarine tried to do some good deed for somebody that Hlaalu wanted dead. And if he was not careful enough with concealing his face, he might even have been recognized by somebody old enough to remember the events of 3E 427.

But this also makes you have to assume that the Nerevarine slipped up somehow on maintaining his low profile. I can’t see how House Hlaalu would be pissed off at him, otherwise. Because they wouldn’t know he was still alive and kicking!

Morag Tong assassins attacking me after the plot was over

After I finished the main body of this plot, in the very next session I got attacked by random Morag Tong assassins. Right in Breezehome. And I’ve had this happen again since these sessions, because they attacked me at Honeyside, too.

These assassins aren’t hard to kill, but it’s really fucking annoying that I’m apparently going to run this risk every time I set foot in one of my houses. From what I saw looking up the problem, other players who’ve run this mod do keep having this happen repeatedly and there’s no way to make it stop.

I’m a little salty about this from a story standpoint, as well. The Morag Tong may legally operate in Morrowind, but Skyrim isn’t set in Morrowind. The Morag Tong are not operating in Skyrim.

So how the hell do they know to come after me? And why are they coming after me?

Are they pissed off that I killed Mandyn Hlaalu? (Or, more properly, that my housecarl did!)

Or are they pissed off that I bailed on his contract to take out the Nerevarine?

How would they know either of these things? Did Mandyn send some sort of letter back to House Hlaalu in Morrowind warning that he’d engaged the Dragonborn to take out the Nerevarine, and that if I didn’t do it, the Morag Tong should be engaged to take me out?

If so, how the hell did he think this was going to work out for him? I mean, shit, House Hlaalu clearly didn’t think sending the Morag Tong after the Nerevarine was good enough–Mandyn came all the way to Skyrim just to find the Dragonborn and try to get me to do it for them. Presumably because House Hlaalu thought the Dragonborn was the only person with enough actual power to take down the Nerevarine for them.

And if they knew I had that kind of power, what made them think throwing the Morag Tong at me was going to get them any farther than throwing them at the Nerevarine?

While we’re on the matter, why on earth would the Morag Tong accept the contract to begin with? Unlike the Dark Brotherhood, they’re at least in theory trying to operate within the structure of Morrowind law.


(Come to think of it, this is a core objection I had to Project AHO, too!)

And one more thought here: are there any statutes of limitation in Morrowind law about Writs of Execution? How long is the Morag Tong obliged to carry out a Writ of Execution if they get one? Do they have to keep trying to fulfill it over and over if the target keeps killing their people? Like, say, if their target is the Nerevarine, or the Dragonborn, and they keep losing members because their target takes them out without breaking a sweat?

What happens if they can’t fulfill the contract before the original issuer of the contract dies? Or if their target, oh, say, wipes out an entire branch of their guild? Does another guild have to take up the contract? Do writs get passed down from parent to child if a family has multiple generations in the Tong?

A few final thoughts on Moon and Star

Lastly, I have a couple of pronunciation nitpicks about Moon and Star’s dialogue. I’m noting these as extremely minor nitpicks, and by and large I’m willing to ignore them because this is a fan-produced effort… but nonetheless, I noticed them. Pronunciations of both “Vivek” and “Nerevarine” fell very oddly on my ears, because they did not agree with pronunciations I’ve come to know from official game content. Your mileage may vary on this.

The mod’s forum page on Nexus says Lucien has custom commentary about this mod, so I might consider running it again at least once, if the playthrough also includes Lucien. Because I am a little curious what Lucien has to say about this mod’s events.

I do not know yet if Morag Tong assassins are going to hit me more than once in the same home. As of this writing, so far I’ve had them hit me at Breezehome and at Honeyside–and I’ll be taking this as an excuse to dismiss Lydia from following me, explicitly so that she can guard Lucia and Sofie in Whiterun. I will also be moving the children to Solitude as soon as I can decide who I want to marry, so I can park a full family in Proudspire Manor.

(I’d put them in the Safehouse if I could, because Kendeshel now has grounds for that, and it would be the most secure place to keep her family. But this playthrough lacks the appropriate mod to do so, and I am not going to fuck around with my load order.)

As of this writing, I have also met up with the Nerevarine at the Shrine of Azura and did get him to give me a bit of One-handed weapon training. I also picked up his Moon and Star ring to take it to the museum for display, though I wish that would have had a bit more to it than just “this ring is parked in the strongbox on Azura’s altar”. It would have been nice maybe for the Nerevarine to hand it off to me as a token of our encounter.

I can’t wear it, of course, as the thing is cursed to kill anybody that isn’t a reincarnation of Indoril Nerevar. But I feel like it’d be reasonable for the Nerevarine to give it to the Dragonborn anyway, if nothing else because not having the ring on him helps him maintain that low profile. And at least in my playthrough in particular, he could be aware that the Dragonborn is working for a museum with a reputation for guarding priceless artifacts. He could well trust Kendeshel to keep the ring safe for him.

All in all, not a bad mod, though I feel the plot lacks some substance. It’s mostly an exercise in nostalgia, answering the question of “how cool would it be for the Dragonborn to meet the Nerevarine?” Which is nice and all, but for me, I wish the plot would have had more to it than that.

Also, I’m not exactly happy that it doesn’t integrate well with either Legacy or the CC content. I mean, I get why. Different mods are bound to eventually duplicate the same artifacts. And Moon and Star was written before the Anniversary Edition came out; from what I see on Nexus, it was last updated in 2016, long before the AE dropped, and even before the Creation Club was a thing. (The UESP wiki says the Creation Club became available in 2017.)

But it’s immersion-breaking to wind up getting different copies of the same damn weapon. Which means, as near as I can tell, that your options for dealing with this are:

  1. Utilize available patches to smooth over these conflicts, and hope that they do the job well
  2. Get knowledgeable enough about modding to patch such issues yourself
  3. Ignore the immersion issues of multiple copies of the Bow of Shadows, or Magebane, or Keening, or whatever other artifacts may be impacted

Since I’m running Moon and Star in a playthrough that also contains Legacy of the Dragonborn, that means I’m in a playthrough that has three different takes on the exact same artifacts. And to give Legacy credit where credit is due, the people in charge of its patches do appear to have done their best to smooth over the multi-directional discrepancies here. But Legacy’s patches with the AE/CC content seem smoother than the patch for it playing well with Moon and Star, just because of the obvious weirdness of asking the Nerevarine to give you a bow and getting a staff instead.

(That’s not Legacy’s fault, though–because fixing that would require fixing the Nerevarine’s recorded voice line as well, and that’s probably not doable well without getting the guy who voiced the Nerevarine directly involved. Unless you’re really, really good at splicing lines, or using AI to make a new one. Which is probably more effort than fixing one dialogue discrepancy is worth.)

All in all, I mostly enjoyed running this mod even if I felt the story was flimsy, and even though the patching to get it to play well with Legacy and the AE/CC was a bit bumpy. I’m probably not going to run it again, though I reserve the right to change my mind if I feel like running Lucien in a future playthrough after Elessir’s.

Cleaning up some corpses

In the second of these two sessions, I found that Byron and the dead Morag Tong agents were still lying right in the road leading up to Whiterun’s gates. So I took the time to move them out of the way, because NPCs kept stopping by them and going “Oh, what happened?!” Or, in the case of Lars Battle-Born, “AAH! Dead body!”

I had to do this twice, though, because of having gotten killed at the ambush site for the Staff of Hasedoki quest. And the second time through, Lars saw me moving one of the Morag Tong and went, “Be careful with that!”

A nearby Whiterun guard was also watching what I was doing, but all she had to say when I got within range of her was “Heard they’re reforming the Dawnguard…”


The Staff of Hasedoki

This is another little bit of AE/CC content I still hadn’t played, and which I finally got around to in Kendeshel’s playthrough. It’s a short quest and easy to run, so I’m glad I did it.

And I was pretty impressed by how the staff sent me flying when the necromancer I was fighting zapped me with it. Impressed enough that I’d consider actually using the thing in combat if I were more of a staff-fighting type of player. It’s also got the longest-lasting soul trap enchantment I’ve seen on any item in Skyrim to date, which is also well worth considering just for purposes of filling soul gems.

I wound up putting the staff on display in the museum, but may actually go back and get it at some point if I decide I want Kendeshel to be in more of a mage mode at some point in the rest of this playthrough.

Tools of the Trade quest

Mangouste, a player I met via the Legacy of the Dragonborn Discord and invited onto my own server, strongly encouraged me to look for a certain item on the upper floor of the Explorer’s Society Guild Hall… because finding that item (a map) triggers a side quest to let you find a boatload of useful items.

This quest is called Tools of the Trade, and lets you find a bunch of things that are essentially Easter eggs honoring various members of the Legacy of the Dragonborn team, as well as folks who have made other significant contributions to the mod. All of these items do some impressive things, and they’re scattered all over the place, which basically gives you a big ol’ treasure hunt to find them all.

The first one I wanted to get my mitts on was Deano’s Bag. This thing does +200 to Carry Weight. Which, as y’all might guess, is highly relevant to my chronically overloaded interests.

I am simultaneously delighted by this thing and thinking it’s kind of OP, because it honestly kind of is. And in a playthrough that also includes a Stash Supplies spell, it also isn’t really even vital for me. If I can cast Stash Supplies anyway, I don’t really need to care about what my Carry Weight capacity is!

I also find it kinda hilarious how big and chonky the backpack is. It’s wider across than Kendeshel is.

And also, it’s a shade of green that doesn’t really go well with any of my usual sets of armor!

Is any of this going to keep me from using Deano’s Bag? NO IT IS NOT. 😀

But I may actually switch over later to the Backpack of the Curator, which I also have because I’m running the Curator’s Companion add-on for Legacy. Which is +100 to Carry Weight. Not quite as bonkers as Deano’s Bag, but still pretty damned high, and likely to be perfectly fine for my dungeon looting needs!

The Hall of Secrets

First things first: yes, I did notice the obvious Harry Potter joke in the name of the quest that unlocks the Hall of Secrets for you. I am choosing to blatantly ignore that, just because of being aware that that quest got named long before we all found out exactly how problematic Harry Potter’s creator is. Which is all I’m going to say about that here.

Moving on from that, the Hall of Secrets was about what I expected. I already knew before I unlocked it that it was intended to be the place where you can put Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood things. Since I am not running either of those in Kendeshel’s run, the Hall of Secrets is going to be only marginally useful to me.

There’s also a space for “ancient vampire” body parts. This is apparently for if you’re running Dawnguard on the side of the vampires. Which, again, not doing in Kendeshel’s run. So I won’t be using that display either.

But there’s also a display for various other general things categorized as “remains”, so I put Pelagius’ hip bone there. Just because, if nothing else, what the fuck else am I going to do with Pelagius’ hip bone? This same display will apparently also take Arvak’s skull, Potema’s skull, and Karstaag’s, and the skull from Kolbjorn Barrow. So at least that display will be useful.

Still though, I am amused by this hall’s backstory. I do like Auryen’s explanation that it was originally a panic room for Pelagius the Third, which makes total sense given what the lore has established about him.

And I am even more amused by how Auryen clearly has a very liberal attitude towards the possibility of his relic hunter potentially doing extremely dubious and even outright illegal things. Stealing stuff for the Thieves Guild? Murdering people for the Dark Brotherhood? Drinking the blood of the innocent because you’re a vampire? Apparently none of this is going to bother Auryen in the slightest, as long as he doesn’t know about it, LOL.

(Which does raise the fun question of whether Auryen would be able to tell if you are actually a vampire. And if so, if he’d be extremely diplomatic about not pointing it out, and maybe taking the precaution of putting up blackout curtains in the Safehouse. And getting you a coffin. LOL.)

Next time

Kendeshel’s next post will feature a boatload of side questing! She’s taken out the bandit leader at Broken Oar Grotto, solved Dawnstar’s nightmares problem, become Thane of the Pale, launched the quest to find the pieces of Mehrunes’ Razor, saved Rulnik Wind-Strider’s life, slain the dragon and the dragon priest at Shearpoint, built an outpost for the Explorer’s Society, and acquired Azura’s Star!

And last but not least, she’s also raided the Thalmor Embassy and rescued Esbern from the Ratway.


Since these screenshots contain significant spoilers for the Moon and Star mod, I’ve put the gallery behind a password. Use the password “moonandstar” to look at them.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Editing to add

  • 11/26/2023: 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.