Back around to Kendeshel, and my next major chunk of action with the Wyrmstooth mod in particular. This is a single-session post, just because I figured I’d have enough to say here to make for a sizable post even with just a single session’s worth of play!
Warning: this post does contain significant spoilers for the Wyrmstooth mod. Nothing pertaining to the mod’s main plot, but lots and lots of side quest stuff, including getting the fort that serves as a player home.
If you’re not familiar with Wyrmstooth, proceed with caution.
Play by play
- Play date: 12/4/2023
- Session number in this run: 31
- Picked up again at the Safehouse
- Dismissed Gogh as per previous planning
- Checked the Dev Aveza and confirmed that I can, in fact, take it to Wyrmstooth! Awesome
- Put the skooma I was carrying around on me and the Thalmor docs in the Smuggler’s Hatch
- Then returned to Wyrmstooth, and landed at Stonehollow
- Turned off the draugr swarms in the MCM, because I didn’t feel like those made sense
- Checked out status of the town, and saw a bunch of Imperial soldiers working on building things
- Also found three of the four mercenaries and chatted with them
- Got quests from Shargam the Orc, Daenlit the Bosmer, and Athir the Redguard
- Didn’t see the Altmer mage Elmera around, but didn’t mind skipping her quest anyway
- Picked up several more side quests off the town’s bulletin board
- Headed west-ish to try to find the spot to investigate the Tomb of Vulom
- On the way ran into a pyromancer/cryomancer battle
- Stopped at a camp pointed at by one of the side quests
- First camped for the night nearby, then in the morning, talked to the wounded Dunyick
- Dunyick asked me to go find his pet wolf Faelor who’d been run off by the marauders that attacked him
- Diverted course to go do that
- Found an unoccupied camp on the way to reaching the wolf
- Convinced Faelor to follow me since I had her owner’s scent on me now
- Returned to Dunyick’s camp and OHNOEZ he died
- Got new objective to go take out the marauders that killed him
- Found their camp, where they were fighting with some draugr
- So threw the dremora at the lot of them and took them all out
- Meanwhile also returned to Wulfmere’s Watch, the tower I’d found before
- Found a naked Nord paralyzed on its upper floor, who begged me to find the witch who’d stolen his golden pants
- And, LOLOLOL WHY HELLO THERE, callback to Morrowind quest!
- Gjalrunn gave me a big spiel as well about the witches living on an island just near Wyrmstooth and how to find it, and I agreed to help him
- Marked Chillwater Mill and Hag’s Perch for the map
- Then reached the Tomb of Vulom finally and checked it out
- Was hailed by a disembodied voice who asked me to approach his sarcophagus
- Found a skull who claimed the “defilers” who had buried him in this place had scattered his bones all over the island
- He asked me to return them so he could be whole again
- Marked the Wanderer’s Camp and Southroad Pass for the map
- The “find the bones” quest wanted me to stop at Fort Valus, which coincidentally was also the ruined fort I needed to ask Lurius about
- But I went there first and scoped the place
- Grabbed a lot of bottles of the local types of booze and also assorted items of clothing
- Finally found a secret entrance down to a witches’ lair and killed three witches down there
- Got the second word of the Mirror Form shout, and more of Vulom’s bones
- And a spell called “Ease Burdens” which temporarily boosts your carry weight and isn’t that helpful <3
- Once I was done in there, also fulfilled a mini-quest to kill a nearby bear, which I’d actually spotted coming in
- Then hoofed it back to Stonehollow, found Lurius, and asked him about the fort
- Bought the deed to it for 30,000 gold
- Then returned to the Dev Aveza (and noted that Rulnik appeared to be stuck below decks, hmm)
- Smelted a bunch of items into ingots for my crafting stash
- Got the rest of my gold out of the treasury safe
- Then returned to Lurius and bought all the upgrades to the fort, which cost me another 10,000 gold
- Followed his tip to read books around the trading company office to learn more about Wyrmstooth
- Main interesting one I found talked about red and blue ores unique to the island (but see below for more on this)
- Sold some items to the Khajiit
- Returned to the Dev Aveza for a sleep, then got up again for more adventuring
- Boinged back to the fort to check it out
- Yep that sure was a fort! Lots of guards all over the place, and found the smith and the gardener
- Noted that the false wardrobe access down into the witch lair was still there, as were the dead witches
- After that, started on a sweep to try to hit other side quests
- Aimed for Gronndal Grove where I had to speak to some miners who’d broken into a spriggan sanctuary
- Told the new wolf pet I had to stay outside so the spriggans wouldn’t fuck with her
- This took me a few tries, more on this below, but finally cleared the place and got 800 gold from the miners
- From there, aimed for the bandit lair where I was supposed to take out a bandit leader
- Passed an Aspiring Mage on the way and talked him out of his staff
- Found a ruined house with three dead NPCs in the fireplace
- And a note to Miraak cultists warning that the Dragonborn was coming to the island (but no actual cultists anywhere in sight)
- Made it to the bandit camp at Cragwater Camp, which was a large fortified camp similar to Halted Stream at first glance
- Paid a toll to get access to the interior of the camp, but found that this actually made the bandit leader non-hostile so I couldn’t exactly kill him
- So had to roll back from that, which put me back to coming out of the mine
- Re-did encounter with the Aspiring Mage (which was kinda LOL, because this time there were giants tromping around very nearby, but they didn’t get pissed off at me)
- Then realized oh fuck I forgot the wolf
- Fast traveled back to the mine and got Faelor following me again
- Hoofed it past the mage one more time
- Re-found the destroyed house
- Made it back to the bandit camp, and this time came in hostile
- Took a while to clear the place, but dremora held up well against exterior bandits
- Then got into the interior and took out the bandit leader
- Saw some of the loot immediately around the bandit leader was marked ‘steal’, including the stuff in a boss chest so that was kind of vexing
- Then found an entire extra section with yet more NPCs that I had to take out, including one that had a giant club
- Freed a Thalmor soldier in a cage but that soldier promptly attacked me (ungrateful Thalmor bitch)
- Did not try to free the hagraven in the other cage
- Noted that one NPC was actually not hostile and he appeared to be a bard, so I left him alone
- Loot in this area though was free to take, so I nabbed a lot of it and threw it into my stash via the Stash Supplies spell
- From there, started circling around the southern shore of the island to aim for the next place I needed to get to, with the rest of Vulom’s bones
- Found a Gravetender’s House where we fought a couple of werewolves, but no obvious quest prompt there and there seemed to be no way to get into the house
- So moved on from there to a nearby vampire lair where I also had a side bounty to take out a master vampire
- Saved there until next time
Bye bye, Gogh, I’ll miss you
Started off by dismissing Gogh from following me, as I’d previously planned. I feel a little guilty about dismissing the little guy. But I figure two things:
- Kendeshel would have figured out pretty quickly that he doesn’t seem to hold his own well in a battle, and gets his ass kicked a lot. So I figure she might think it’s fairly cruel to make him follow her around and get into trouble.
- I could also make a case that as a goblin, Gogh must surely feel out of place in the culture of humans and mer, particularly since he doesn’t seem to have the language skills to communicate with those around him. At least, that he lets on, anyway.
So I’m going to run with the narrative that Gogh just up and buggered off on his own. He might appreciate Kendeshel well enough for letting him free, but I figure he maybe started missing his own kind. At least, the ones who weren’t trying to kill him! So I think he went off looking for more goblins to live with.
And maybe drew Kendeshel a little piece of goblin-style art indicating his intentions, if he didn’t have the words to verbally tell her that!
Taking the airship to and from Wyrmstooth
Handy benefit of running Wyrmstooth as part of a playthrough that also contains Legacy of the Dragonborn: I confirmed in this session that I could in fact take the Dev Aveza to the island. Which means that in-character, I don’t have to worry about taking a ship over.
Of course, I also did notice that I can fast travel to and from the island as well, similar to Solstheim. But I like moving the airship around, for roleplay purposes! And it does serve as a handy base of operations wherever I happen to be.
As of this session I’d only confirmed the ability to take the airship to Stonehollow. Later, though, I also confirmed that it could go straight to Fort Valus. More on this in Kendeshel’s next post.
Side quests from the mercenaries
While exploring the rebuilding Stonehollow, I found three of the four mercenaries hanging out in the town: Shargam, Athir, and Daenlit. Stopped to chat with all of them, and picked up their side quests while doing so.
I didn’t see Elmera hanging out anywhere, so I didn’t get an opportunity to do her quest for her. But LOL, from what I see in the Wyrmstooth guide PDF, I won’t miss much by not doing that quest anyway!
Shargam’s quest was to go to Markarth and kill a guy who had defaulted on paying back a debt. Athir’s quest was to fetch a particular enchanted sword. And Daenlit wanted me to steal a certain necklace for her–from Erikur, fellow thane of Solitude.
More on all three of these quests to come in an upcoming post!
Random NPC encounters
Wyrmstooth definitely has shown me at this point that standard Skyrim world encounters can happen in its worldspace, too. This session threw me both a pyromancer/cryomancer fight, and an Aspiring Mage.
I liked having both of those. It helps tie in Wyrmstooth with the rest of the overall game world.
A Howl Load of Trouble quest
This was a small one but not bad! Sorry for poor wounded Dunyick, I kind of wish I would at least have had the option to heal the poor guy before I left him alone and defenseless in what was left of his camp. I certainly think Kendeshel would have offered to leave him some healing potions at the very least, if he didn’t want her to waste time casting healing spells on him.
Hell, for that matter, I also feel like Kendeshel would at least have offered to leave Rulnik with him to help guard him while she went after the wolf.
But either of those options would of course have made the quest a little more complex. Arguably more than it really needed to be, since the whole point of this quest appeared to be “here, Dragonborn, have a pet wolf!”
And the wolf is pretty badass, I’ll give her that. 😀
The Naked Nord quest, or at least the beginning of it
Anybody who’s played enough Morrowind will recognize that this quest is specifically a callback to that game. I have in fact played the Morrowind quest it’s calling back to! A matter of a naked guy standing around in the middle of nowhere, who complains to you that a witch took his pants, LOL. Y’all may recall that I played the very quest this one’s riffing on in In Which Tembriel Hunts Smugglers for the Fighters Guild.
And because I had in fact played that quest, as soon as Gjalrunn started bitching about witches taking his golden pants, I started side-eying him and wondering if I was going to find out that the witches had a damned good reason for taking his pants. That said, I still agreed to help him.
Though there is also a question here of really kind of wishing I could do a bit more for the guy. Because logistically speaking, he’s lying there fucking paralyzed. This is a recipe for starving to death, dying of thirst, or dying of exposure. At the very least, if he was able to talk, he should have been able to take food or water. And even if he was paralyzed, that doesn’t mean somebody else couldn’t physically move him to someplace safer.
As with Dunyick, I feel like Kendeshel would at least discussed with Rulnik if he could stay behind and keep guard on the guy. I’m going to assume for purposes of narrative that Gjalrunn probably (a little raggedly) yelled for both of them to go because maybe it’d take both of them to deal with the witches! And he’d be fine! Really! (But do hurry, okay?)
But more on this to come in another post!
Someone With Backbone quest
Anybody who’s played Skyrim (or any other fantasy video game for that matter) for more than five minutes will figure out really fucking fast that if a spooky skull asks you to go find the rest of his bones because “defilers” scattered them all over the island, there’s probably a damned good reason they did that. And that it’d be a very bad idea for you to bring his bones back to him.
Did this stop me from taking the quest? No it did not. 😀
I will however take the liberty of assuming that the following conversation took place as soon as Kendeshel and Rulnik got out of Vulom’s Tomb:
Rulnik: Kendeshel, I am the last man in Skyrim who’d critique your choices. But I’d do you a disservice if I didn’t point out that helping out the spirit bound to that skull has “bad idea” written all over it. In very large, very loud, very red letters.
Kendeshel: Of course it does. This Vulom is totally a necromancer. Why else would the so-called “defilers” have scattered his bones all over this island? Common marauders aren’t going to bother with that. And anybody who would go to that kind of trouble isn’t going to do it because the bones belonged to an upstanding citizen.
Rulnik: Then you’ll forgive my puzzlement as to why on Nirn you agreed to help him?
Kendeshel: You know how we took down the spirit of Potema, right?
Rulnik, dubiously: Yes…?
Kendeshel, now grinning broadly: We do what we did with Potema. We get the remains, and haul them off to the nearest priest of Arkay to be sanctified. Best case scenario, in which yes I am allowing the creepy skull a small benefit of the doubt, Vulom’s spirit goes to Aetherius. Far more likely scenario, Vulom goes muahaha foolish mortals I shall now rule over this land. At which point you and I purify the remains ourselves. With fire.
Rulnik, shaking his head wonderingly: I hope you know what you’re doing!
Kendeshel: Trust me, we got this. And besides, you’re enjoying this. Don’t deny it. I can see your eyes lighting up. You’re having the time of your life.
Rulnik, starting to smile, with rather tender feelings kindling somewhere in him: Yes. Yes I am.
(Because yep, you guys, we are totally going down a Kendeshel/Rulnik ship path here!)
Investigating Fort Valus
Fort Valus is the large player home you can get on Wyrmstooth, and I had two different quests pointing me at it. One just to ask Lurius about it, and the other the bones quest I’d just started with Vulom.
I actually visited the place twice in this session, but the first time through was just to scope the place and also grab Vulom’s bones. It was impressively large, and at least in its initial ruined state, arguably a good cover for the witches’ lair hiding down underneath it.
And there was also a word wall down in the witches’ lair, which I needed for the second word of the Mirror Form Shout. (Which does raise questions about what the witches thought of that wall. Did they know it was a source of power? Or did it not make any sense to them?)
Once I went back to Stonehollow and paid Lurius, I was then able to buy the fort and all of its accoutrements. And I did have all the gold for that up front. Because here’s the thing: in a run that features Legacy of the Dragonborn, I have the ability to generate a lot more gold quickly. And I haven’t even had to visit Goldenhills Plantation all that much for the gold being generated there.
I like that the fort comes with NPCs to actually help you staff it, including a gardener and a smith. And actual guards as well. And it amuses me that this is the first player home I’ve ever acquired in Skyrim that does in fact come with its own Word Wall!
Apparently the witches’ lair underneath the fort counts as the fort’s alchemy and enchanting area. Which, okay, makes sense. But when I went back there after buying the fort and decorating it, the dead witches were still down there. I was a little surprised that paying to clean the place up didn’t get rid of the dead witches. Guess I’ll have to check back and see if the game’s standard cleanup scripts eventually get rid of them.
All that said, I’m not sure how practical this home will be for me for the rest of this playthrough. Once I’m done doing all the side questing on Wyrmstooth, it’s not likely I’ll return to the island. But we’ll see.
Confusing books about Wyrmstooth
While buying all the accoutrements for the fort, Lurius suggested I read up on Wyrmstooth by checking out the various books around the trading post. I did this! But one of them talked about a couple of custom types of ore that apparently no longer exist in the mod: brimstone and wyrmstone. But I only learned about this once I did some digging later, and saw the mod’s change history that included the removal of those ore types.
So that was a bit of a confusing experience. If the custom ores are no longer a feature of the mod, that book ought to also be removed, or at least rewritten to indicate that all known sources of the ores are tapped out.
A Priceless Commodity quest
This one required me to help out some miners at a mine who’d discovered a source of ebony ore–but the problem is, it’s inside a sanctuary guarded by spriggans, and the spriggans have attacked a bunch of the miners.
And this turned out to be one of those quests where you have to decide which side to help, with no obvious right or wrong answer. I generally like this kind of quest, though in this specific case, I wasn’t entirely happy with either available option.
Because helping the miners meant killing the spriggans. And helping the spriggans meant killing the remaining miners.
Complicating the matter was that the main spriggan actually had dialogue. First time through, I was surprised by this! And kind of liked it, too. Just because having a spriggan that actually talks gives the whole quest more narrative weight. It’s more difficult to just waltz in and blow away a bunch of spriggans if their leader can actually talk to you. So the Spriggan Earth Mother challenged me on my way in, asking why I’d arrived.
I was given three choices to answer, one re: avenging the slain miners, one re: repairing the miners’ damage, and one re: having no earthly idea why I was there.
Option three seemed foolish, given that I’d literally just talked to the miners outside. So I tried the “repair” option first, and the spriggan told me to kill the remaining miners. I was not comfortable with that, so I rolled back to coming into the cave.
Second time through I took the “avenge” option. But after I killed the earth mother (she wasn’t a tough match for three dremora lords), I accidentally fell off the tall rock tower in the middle of the cave.
Ow. That was my own damn fault, and that did in fact kill me.
So I was thrown back again to coming into the cave. This time I took the avenge option again. And I took more care trying to find my way down off the top of the natural rock tower to get at the rest of the spriggans, as well. I mined several ebony vines while in there, and finally successfully cleared the place and went out to talk to the surviving miners. They gave me 800 gold.
I wasn’t entirely comfortable with killing the spriggans, either, mind you. Because they were just defending their territory, and the miners were coming in and trying to rip the place apart. But the quest doesn’t give you any option to resolve the matter peacefully. You have to commit to one side or the other, and whichever side you choose, you have to wipe out the other side.
Best I could figure here is that if she had to choose between saving the spriggans and saving the miners, Kendeshel was going to save the people who were just trying to do their jobs.
But I also figure she was going to make some serious offerings to Kynareth at her earliest opportunity, too.
Cragwater Cavern bandit camp quest
I hit this place to clear out an objective to kill a marauder leader, and this was a pretty good crunchy bandit leader. Larger than I expected, too!
First try at it, I got a marauder demanding a toll at the entrance to the camp. I paid that toll, which let me get in safely–only to discover that it meant the marauder leader I had to kill was not actually hostile to me when I got to him. So that was a problem. I didn’t feel like picking a fight with a peaceful NPC, so I rolled back from that to try again.
When I came in the second time, I came in hostile. So there was a lot of good crunchy fighting to be had with that. I cleared out the initial area, then made my way into the interior and took out the marauder leader as well.
At which point I discovered the one vexing thing about this place: a lot of the loot right around the bandit leader was marked “Steal”. So I couldn’t take anything without it counting as stealing!
Mind you, I’ve already established that Kendeshel is willing to steal under circumstances where she dictates it to be a moral imperative. (I.e., stealing everything that wasn’t locked down while trying to figure out how to escape from slavery.) And I had no particular reason to not take the things marked “Steal”, given that I did cheerfully loot every container I could find that wasn’t marked “Steal”. Just because “confiscating loot stolen by bandits” is definitely a thing I’ve happily done every single time I’ve played through Skyrim.
This was just all about my not wanting to go to the trouble of having to go all the way back to Slaverytown to fence all the stolen stuff, really. But then, I still have an open question of needing to take what stolen stuff I already do have back to Sadrith Kegran, just so I can hand it all off to Ra’zhirra.
And hmm. Heh. I think I just gave myself the necessary moral imperative to go and grab that stolen stuff. I’ll have to see if that place has respawned next time I hit Wyrmstooth, or if I can just waltz in and take that stuff. Because I do like the idea of selling it all to Ra’zhirra for the general “Get the Fuck out of Slaverytown” fundraiser.
Kendeshel’s next post will feature more Wyrmstooth action, including fighting the vampires at Bloodfrost Burrow, and destroying the hell out of Vulom before he could get very far past “muahaha I will take over the world and kill you first”.