• Alarrah Playthrough

    Playing Animal Crossing AND Skyrim on the Same Device

    Brief Twitter thread from 5/17/2021, in which I am amused by the juxtaposition of playing Skyrim and Animal Crossing on the same Switch, and what a mashup between the two would be like.

    Note

    This post was written on 3/18/2022, but is backdated to the time of the tweet thread for organizational purposes.

  • Alarrah Playthrough

    In Which the Dragonborn and Her Housecarl Set Out on Another Road Trip

    Twitter thread from 5/17/2021, in which Alarrah and Lydia do another road trip, this time to Solitude; in which Alarrah slays a dragon at the Western Watchtower, and battles multiple bandits; and in which she witnesses the execution of Roggvir in Solitude.

    And also in which Alarrah’s player learns why it’s necessary to be careful when you’re reading books in a location you don’t own!

    Notes

    1. I didn’t realize this at the time, but what very likely happened when I read that book in the Winking Skeever was that I hit (A) without realizing it, after I opened the book to read it. And the game counted that as stealing. Which I still think is kind of bullshit, just because I could argue that you’re not actually stealing the book if you don’t take it out of the inn with you! But I suppose that’d be harder to code than just checking to see if you’ve picked up an item that isn’t actually free to take. 馃槈
    2. This post was written on 3/18/2022, but is backdated to the time of the tweet thread for organizational purposes.
  • Alarrah Playthrough

    Skyrim Action Shots!

    Brief Twitter thread from 5/16/2021, in which I share some action screenshots of Alarrah killing a dragon at the Western Watchtower near Whiterun.

    Skyrim action shots! Set out on a road trip to head to Solitude, and didn鈥檛 even get past the Western watchtower outside Whiterun before a dragon dropped out of the sky. Whipped out the ebony sword and suddenly I was in cinematic mode getting all Legolas-y on its head. 馃榾

    Alarrah Vs. Dragon 1
    Alarrah Vs. Dragon 1
    Alarrah Vs. Dragon 2
    Alarrah Vs. Dragon 2
    Alarrah Vs. Dragon 3
    Alarrah Vs. Dragon 3
    6:44 PM 路 May 16, 2021
    (I expect Lydia was down there yelling THAT STILL ONLY COUNTS AS ONE!)

    6:48 PM 路 May 16, 2021

    Notes

    1. This post was originally written on 3/18/2022, but backdated to the time of the tweet thread for organizational purposes.
    2. Post updated on 12/31/2022 to reconstruct the Twitter thread in the body of the post, and remove the link to Twitter.
  • Alarrah Playthrough

    And Now, in Today’s Episode of Jeez Skyrim is Pretty

    Twitter thread from 5/16/2021, in which I share several screenshots.

    And now, in today’s episode of Jeez Skyrim is Pretty:

    I think this was the stables near Windhelm, an abortive discovery given that that part of my adventures got wiped out by character death? I liked the moon behind the stable and the placement of the horse in the view, though.

    Windhelm Stables
    Windhelm Stables
    11:23 AM 路 May 16, 2021
    Skyrim has multiple moons and this shot let me see two of them at once! And also, Lydia! Hi, Lydia!

    Moons of Skyrim With Lydia
    Moons of Skyrim With Lydia
    11:23 AM 路 May 16, 2021
    Sunset shot coming west out of Whiterun.

    Sunset Over Fort Greymoor
    Sunset Over Fort Greymoor
    11:24 AM 路 May 16, 2021
    Another sunset shot, centered on this fort (I still don’t know what it’s called) west of Whiterun.

    Sunset Over Fort Greymoor 2
    Sunset Over Fort Greymoor 2
    11:24 AM 路 May 16, 2021
    Auroras! Also from the bit of wandering that got reset by character death.

    Auroras
    Auroras
    11:25 AM 路 May 16, 2021
    Auroras, with bonus moon and Lydia, shot the first.

    Auroras, Moon, and Lydia
    Auroras, Moon, and Lydia
    11:26 AM 路 May 16, 2021
    Auroras, with bonus moon and Lydia, shot the second.

    Auroras, Moon, and Lydia 2
    Auroras, Moon, and Lydia 2
    11:26 AM 路 May 16, 2021
    Clear starry night over the trees.

    Starry Night
    Starry Night
    11:27 AM 路 May 16, 2021
    An Alarrah shot! This is Alarrah in her newly furnished home in Whiterun, near the cooking pit in the kitchen in front. Also after trying on the clothes I discovered in the dresser once I got the bedroom actually furnished up. It’s weird to see her not in armor!

    Alarrah in Breezehome
    Alarrah in Breezehome
    11:27 AM 路 May 16, 2021
    Alarrah in armor, on the ramparts of Dragonsreach. Wanted this shot to get an idea of what she looks like now that I’ve started finding elven armor. If I get the helmet she’s going to look like she stepped out of Lord of the Rings! Which must be deliberate design, I feel.

    Alarrah in Armor
    Alarrah in Armor
    11:29 AM 路 May 16, 2021

    Notes

    1. This post was written on 3/18/2022, but backdated to the time of the tweet thread for organizational purposes.
    2. Post updated on 12/31/2022 to reconstruct the original Twitter thread here, in the post body, with original screenshots. Link off to Twitter removed.
  • Alarrah Playthrough

    In Which Alarrah Drags Her Housecarl Off on a Cross-Country Jaunt

    Twitter thread from 5/15/2021, in which Alarrah and Lydia jaunt cross-country, follow up on a Letter from a Friend pointing at Dead Men’s Respite, and battle hostile vampires and ghosts along the way.

    In Which Alarrah, After Finally Getting a House, Promptly Drags Her Housecarl Off On a Cross-Country Jaunt, Which Means They Don’t Actually SLEEP in the House:

    1:21 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    1. Decided my next goal, after getting the house in Whiterun, would be to knock off another item on the miscellaneous quests list.

    1:21 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    I’d gotten a mysterious “Letter from a Friend” via courier, which was one of the ones you get with a hint about where to go to find another Word Wall with a Shout word on it. This one said I should go to Dead Man’s Respite.

    1:22 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    2. So Lydia and I set off again! And this was yet another quest in the vicinity of Morthal–this time a bit southwest-ish of where we’d killed the dragon on Eldersblood Peak.

    1:22 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    3. More miscellaneous hunting on the way. Also more spotting of, and VERY DELIBERATE AVOIDING OF, a distant giant. This one had two different mammoths, I think.

    4. Also spotted another airborne dragon, though this one didn’t actually get near us? So we didn’t go after it.

    1:22 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    5. Instead of following the road this time, I decided to go cross-country and see if I could get to the destination just by keeping a laser focus on the arrow. This more or less worked, though I discovered several times that I had to circle around geographical obstacles.

    1:23 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    Also got to practice my jumping, which is good since that’s another of those two controls at once thing, moving forward with the left lever while hitting X.

    1:23 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    6. And, since this was cross-country, sneaked my way through almost all of the jaunt! Sneak is now 53 as of this writing, definitely my best skill.

    1:24 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    Guards are periodically telling me “Hands to yourself, sneak thief” when they’re not going “Could you really be the Dragonborn of legend?” Lol.

    1:24 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    7. Discovered a couple of miscellaneous locations on the way that I’m _pretty_ sure were bandit lairs, but did not elect to investigate them. Maybe later. (I’m pretty sure the locations were Orotheim and Redoran’s Retreat? I’ll need to doublecheck the names.)

    1:24 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    8. After it got dark and we were traveling well into the wee hours of the night, we got jumped by a vampire fledging. The damn thing hit me with Sanguinare Vampiris, the disease that leads to vampirism in the game.

    1:25 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    Not being in the mood to turn into a vampire, I nabbed a potion of Cure Disease back from Lydia and sorted that problem!

    9. We also took down a couple of bears. _Two_ bears at once.

    1:25 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    10. Not terribly long after the vampire fledgling, we also spotted a couple of ghosts! Which was a new thing, and notably, the ghosts had lines like “I don’t want to do this!” and “This is not my choice!” as they came charging at us.

    1:25 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    One got near enough to Lydia for me to see her kill it, at which point it disintegrated into a pile of ash. _Interesting_.

    11. Finally found Dead Man’s Respite and started working our way in.

    1:26 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    Became obvious pretty quickly that this was another draugr nest, and it didn’t take long for me to find another Dragon Claw key thing, this time a Ruby one.

    1:26 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    12. _Also_ spotted another ghost. But this one didn’t seem hostile, or at least if it was, it didn’t seem like it saw us? But it did walk off further down into the barrow, in a possibly plot-relevant “this is where I need you to go” kind of way.

    1:26 PM 路 May 15, 2021
    13. As we went further down into the place, we took out more draugr (and I clobbered a Restless Draugr with one blow, which was satisfying). We also took out a couple of Frostbite Spiders.

    Tonight’s adventuring will pick up again from here!

    1:27 PM 路 May 15, 2021

    Notes

    1. This post was originally written on 3/18/2022, but backdated to the time of the tweet thread for organizational purposes.
    2. Post updated on 12/30/2022 to reconstruct the original Twitter thread in the post body, and remove links off to Twitter.
  • Alarrah Playthrough

    In Which the Dragonborn Almost Loses Her Housecarl

    Twitter thread from 5/14/2021, in which Alarrah goes hunting on the Whiterun plains, witnesses the Whiterun guards slaying a dragon, slays the dragon at Eldersblood Peak for Morthal, and buys Breezehome.

    In Which the Dragonborn Almost Loses Her Housecarl, But Finds Her Again, and Also Finally Gets an Actual House:

    1. Started tonight’s round of adventuring by clearing stuff out of the inventory.

    10:47 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    So that meant doing more smithing with my leather from hunting, and also some alchemy with various things I’d harvested. Of note when I went into Warmaiden’s: OH HEY they got in a pair of Elven Boots! Why yes please I’ll have some!

    10:48 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    2. Then went out onto the plains to go hunting with Lyds. Took down a deer and a couple of mudcrabs; Lyds took out a sabre cat. Sneak made it up to 50.

    10:49 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    3. Spotted a bonfire from afar. Was advised by Paul that why yes that IS a giant campsite. We stayed very far and very sneakily away from it.!

    10:49 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    4. Wending my way back around towards Whiterun, as it was getting dark, nabbed some torchbugs and a couple of Luna Moths. And oh yeah another Nirnroot!

    5. And there we are feeling all worked out from a nice afternoon of hunting, when suddenly ROOOOOOOOOAAAR overhead.

    10:50 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    At this point I’d turned down the volume on the Switch because TV was being watched, so that roar first manifested as the device rumbling in my grasp. I thought “uh oh” and said out loud “Uh, why is the Switch rumbling?”

    10:51 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    More ROOOOOOOOOAAR. Yep. Dragon. We got in a couple potshots at the thing until it finally LANDED RIGHT OUTSIDE WHITERUN, at which point I went “OH SHIT”, drew my sword, and ran to catch up.

    10:51 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    6. By the time I got there the guards had already killed it. But as I was in fact the Dragonborn, as soon as I got near I did slurp up its soul.

    10:51 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    7. Also noticed that the dragon had killed at least one of the guards! Hope it wasn’t one of those who’d been wandering around going “My cousin’s out fighting dragons, and what do I get? Guard duty.”

    10:52 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    Let it also be noted for the record that I did NOT loot the dead guard, given that his compatriots were still _right there_, so that seemed unwise as well as disrespectful!

    10:52 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    8. Needless to say, after that surprise burst of end-of-day adrenaline, Alarrah felt it appropriate to go back to the inn and conk out.

    10:53 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    9. Next day: decided to take a crack at one of the other pending side quests, helping out a couple more of the people in Morthal to see if I can get that Jarl to declare me her thane. Got there, rented a room, and asked the innkeeper if she knew of any work to be had.

    10:53 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    She handed me a bounty about ANOTHER dragon that had landed up on a nearby peak. “Right then,” Alarrah says to Lydia, “let’s go kill another dragon.”

    10:54 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    10. This was a short tromp southwest of Morthal, and I cut over there cross country. Bit challenging to sneak in snow, particularly on steep mountain slopes, but I eventually found my way up to the right place. And it was very obviously the right place because ROOOOAAAAAR.

    10:55 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    11. We found signs of a wiped out bandit camp as well as a dead Frost Troll, as indicators of having found the appropriate path up the mountain. Eventually started finding arches marking the path as well.

    10:55 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    12. Tried to take a few potshots at the dragon while it was flying overhead, after switching off to the better arrows. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do much damage to it, but its hit point bar did go down in size some.

    10:56 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    13. At Paul’s advice though I hastened further up the mountain, to get to a flat spot where I could take the beast on properly. And yeah, it landed and came at me. My leather armor took most of the damage, but I had to gulp down several of my healing potions to stay alive!

    10:56 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    14. Also finally managed to use Unrelenting Force a time or two in this combat, which is I think the first time I’ve managed to use a Shout in a proper fight.

    15. AND remembered to actually block with my friggin’ shield. Which got me a bump of the Block skill.

    10:57 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    16. Good hard battle and I finally killed it… only to realize oh shit, where the fuck is Lydia?

    10:57 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    A little concerned that the dragon might have killed her, I headed cautiously at Paul’s urging back down along the path I’d come to get there.

    10:58 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    Grabbed loot out of a chest (including, notably, an Elven Shield to go with those boots) on the way, as well as hide off a cow the dragon had hauled up there, and Troll Fat off another downed troll.

    10:58 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    At this point though I’m thinking Alarrah is also going “oh shit oh shit LYDIA” and maybe running a bit back down that path.

    17. No sign of her, dead or otherwise. Dara and Paul both then suggested I fast travel back up to the top of the mountain to see if Lydia resets and catches up with me. And she did. WHEW!

    10:59 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    Cue Alarrah going “OH THANK DIVINES c’mere you big brawny Nord goddess”. Maybe or maybe not in her Outside Voice. 馃槈

    11:00 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    18. With that, our weary heroines fast travelled back to Morthal and collected the bounty for the killing of the dragon. This got me up to just over 4500 gold, not quite enough to go back to Whiterun for the house.

    11:00 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    So I popped into the thaumaturgist’s hut and sold her a bunch of potions, enough to kick me up over the 5000 mark. Also sold her the dragon bits as ingredients.

    11:01 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    19. This dragon killing did NOT, I note, actually tick over the “help the people of Hjaalmarch” quest to 2/3. I PROTEST. I think if the Jarl’s put out a call to kill a dragon haranguing her people, killing the damn thing helps ALL OF THEM AT ONCE. Hrmph. 馃檪

    11:01 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    20. Anyway, back to Whiterun to get the house!

    21. Which proved surprisingly difficult, as I popped a couple of times into Dragonsreach and could not for the life of me find the Steward.

    11:01 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    Finally had to go back to the inn one more time, keel over there for some rest, and go back to Dragonsreach the next morning.

    22. At which point, finally, the Steward! Hey, dude, I have money, gimme the house mmkay?

    11:02 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    23. He gave me the key to the house! And now Lyds and I have actual crash space! Looks pretty pitiful at the moment being filled with mostly cobwebs and crates, so I need to throw more money at the Steward to pretty it up. But that will be for tomorrow’s adventuring!

    11:02 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    24. And oh yeah–finally discovered what that Nirnroot is good for. Potions of Invisibility! And got a guard going “You couldn’t possibly be the Dragonborn of legend. Could you?” at me. My rep, it is definitely spreading.

    11:02 PM 路 May 14, 2021
    25. And OH OH OH the other important thing I found in the second dragon’s chest: Meridia’s Beacon. Took that thing out and an otherworldly voice sounded off about how her shrine was profaned by darkness and I was going to go clean it up for her. “Wait,” says Alarrah, “I AM? WUT?”

    11:07 PM 路 May 14, 2021

    Editing to add

    1. This post was originally written on 3/17/2022, but backdated to the time of the tweet thread for organizational purposes.
    2. Post updated on 12/30/2022 to reconstruct the original Twitter thread in the post body, and remove links to Twitter.
    3. 11/30/2023: Corrected typo, edited the name of the Hold Morthal is in to “Hjaalmarch”.
  • Alarrah Playthrough

    In Which Alarrah Finally Drops Off the Horn

    Twitter thread from 5/13/2021, in which Alarrah returns the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller to High Hrothgar, and her player discovers several varied ways for the game to kill her.

    In Which Alarrah Finally Drops Off the Horn, But Other Than That, Mostly Finds Out Ways for the Game to Kill Her:

    8:42 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    1. As discussed in my last post, I’d decided to go give the Horn back to the Greybeards, finally. This was a fairly anti-climactic ending to the Horn quest…

    8:43 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    …as it involved just showing up back at High Hrothgar, going “Hey Master Arngeir I brought that Horn you wanted”, and letting them teach me the final word of the Unrelenting Force Shout.

    8:43 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    Then they actually Shouted at me for a little bit, and since I could take it, they essentially went “Yep you sure are officially the Dragonborn, High Hrothgar is open to you”, and then went about their business.

    8:44 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    2. Note however that it took me two tries to do this, because I apparently triggered some kind of weird game bug. First time I showed up, I found Master Arngeir out in the courtyard by the gates in back, where I’d done the practice of Whirlwind Sprint.

    8:44 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    I approach him, which triggers the game acknowledging I’ve brought the Horn, and he tells me to go inside where the other masters will meet us. But he doesn’t actually _do_ anything and stays standing there in the courtyard.

    8:45 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    I try to go inside, and I find Master Wulfgar, but can’t get him to interact with me either.

    3. I apparently triggered some kind of weird bug where the Greybeards get in a hung state if you don’t quite finish the Whirlwind Sprint test correctly?

    8:46 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    I rolled back to a previous save and tried again, and on the second time through I got it to work. Of interest on the second attempt: it was snowing this time, and it wasn’t before.

    8:47 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    Also: I stepped around a bit more around the gate area, and triggered a “try again” line out of Master Arngeir before he actually then moved to get inside for the ritual to give me the final Shout word.

    8:47 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    So it did seem like I triggered that bug with the end of the Whirlwind Sprint test. Interesting from a QA perspective (Dara and I weren’t sure whether it snowing on the second attempt was related to the bug or not), but from a play perspective, kind of weird.

    8:48 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    4. Anyway, after the Greybeards gave me the Dah syllable of Fus Ro Dah and open license to hang out at their place, decided Lyds and I would head back to Whiterun and sell some stuff.

    8:50 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    5. First stop: apothecary. Sold a bunch of potions, made some more as I experimented with ingredients I’d found in Ustengrav.

    8:50 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    6. Next stop: Warmaiden’s. Smelted a bit of corundum ore into an ingot, just to see if I could do that, and if I can do anything interesting with that ingot later.

    8:51 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    Also made some leather bracers and now have the question here of whether it’d be worth my time to wear those rather than the steel gauntlets I’m using, even though the gauntlets are a better AC.

    8:52 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    There are bonuses to be had if you’re wearing all Light armor, and right now I’m mostly Light but with a couple of Heavy items.

    8:52 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    Aaron Humphrey 路 @alfvaen 路 May 13, 2021

    On the other hand, if you mix your armour types then you might be able to train multiple armour skills at the same time depending on where you get hit… :p

    8:53 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    Angela Korra’ti 路 @annathepiper 路 May 13, 2021

    I’ve been seeing that exact thing happen in more hardcore battles, my Light AND Heavy armor skills have been periodically getting bumped.

    9:24 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    7. Third stop: General store. Sold a bunch more stuff (and amused myself quaffing a Potion of Haggling to get that chode Belethor to give me better prices).

    8:53 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    Spotted my first Amulet of Mara, but didn’t buy it; still thinking about whether I’m going to get to a point of wanting to propose to my loyal Lyds for tromping around Skyrim with me and putting up with my bullshit. 馃槈

    8:54 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    Aaron Humphrey 路 @alfvaen 路 May 13, 2021

    At some point I like switching to other companions, just for variety, but Lydia is a great starter. (Wait until you meet Serana, too…assuming you have Dawnguard…)

    9:32 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    Angela Korra’ti 路 @annathepiper 路 May 13, 2021

    The Switch edition of the game has all three DLCs built right in, yeah. I have Dawnguard. I also have the opening hook for that in my quests! But I鈥檓 PRETTY sure I鈥檓 not ready to take that plotline on yet. 馃檪

    9:36 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    Aaron Humphrey 路 @alfvaen 路 May 13, 2021

    A lot of these things do scale in power level, but I don’t know to what extent. (You gotta watch that. I recently ascended from Level 59 and Level 60 and felt like the enemies just got harder again…)

    10:27 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    8. After that I kind of wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next. I eventually decided to try to pick a random quest off my list of Miscellaneous quests, since I had several opening hooks listed there.

    8:54 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    9. Chose the Shrine of Azura, NOT to be confused with the Shrine of Azula, which is what I keep wanting to call it. That would be a VERY different game experience, but I’m tromping around Skyrim, not the Fire Nation. 馃榾

    8:55 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    10. (That said, I now totally want a Skyrim-style game where I’m tromping around the Four Nations, as the Avatar. 馃榾 )

    8:55 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    11. The Shrine of Azura is north of Windhelm, so I fast travelled up to Kynesgrove to go up there manually. Got to Windhelm, was reminded I’d already found the place as part of following Delphine around, and then wandered a bit west of there trying to find a way further north.

    8:56 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    12. Saw a dragon flying overhead, went “OH SHIT”, but it didn’t actually land and try to fight with me and Lyds. So I continued on my way.

    13. Also got a neat screencap of two of Skyrim’s moons being visible at once and I need to pull that off the Switch to share!

    8:56 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    14. Found another fort, Fort Kastav, but since nothing came flying out of there to attack us, kept going.

    8:57 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    15. Next random encounter was a cluster of mages, and they were apparently packing a punch, because one of them took me down with a couple of cold blasts. Oops. :} Autosave reset back to Whiterun!

    8:57 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    16. And this time I found out exactly why it’s a bad idea to accidentally trigger a Shout in the Whiterun market square. BOY HOWDY did that piss off the guards. :}

    8:58 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    Frantically scrambled to re-load from a prior save point, this time landing back just outside of Warmaiden’s, and I think at this point I’d reset some of the stuff I’d bought and sold so I’ll need to re-check that next time I play.

    8:58 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    17. Paul made a remark at me about random encounter opponents getting tougher the farther north you go, so I decided to try to finish off the quest involving the Redguard woman this time.

    8:59 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    This involved needing to go talk to that prisoner she mentioned. So I derped around trying to find the dungeon, couldn’t find it and wound up outside Whiterun in the plains.

    9:00 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    18. Where I spotted a mammoth in the distance. And discovered why exactly hitting it with an arrow from afar, even if I was sneaking, was a very, VERY BAD IDEA. Ohhhh shit it’s pissed it’s running this way it’s STOMPING ME RIGHT INTO THE DIRT oh goody autosave reset again.

    9:01 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    19. Looked up mammoths on one of the Elder Scrolls wikis and saw that they’re a level 38 creature. For the record, I am level 11. Later on I will be able to win such fights. This is not yet that day.

    9:01 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    20. I kind of wanted to keep going but at this point it was getting late AND the Switch was complaining about running out of power, so I had to put it in its docking station and go to bed.

    9:02 AM 路 May 13, 2021
    But this was nevertheless an amusing exercise of, in the immortal words of Gritty, “Fuck around and find out”. 馃槈

    9:02 AM 路 May 13, 2021

    Notes

    1. This post was originally written on 3/17/2022, but backdated to the time of the tweet thread for organizational purposes.
    2. Post updated on 12/29/2022 to reconstruct the original Twitter thread here, and remove links to Twitter.
  • Alarrah Playthrough

    Actual detailed travelogue list to follow

    Twitter thread from 5/11/2021, in which I am not amused by the tail end of the hunt through Ustengrav for the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller.

    Actual detailed travelogue list to follow, but for now I’ll say that tonight I hit the first thing so far in Skyrim that actively pissed me off.

    10:53 PM 路 May 11, 2021
    Any player who, long before me, made it to the end of the hunt for the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller only to go MOTHERFUCKER will know exactly what I’m talking about here.

    10:53 PM 路 May 11, 2021
    Narratively speaking I get why it was done, I get that it opens up the next chain of quest events, but from a enjoyability of gameplay experience, I _really_, _really_ didn’t like that I had to slog through a dungeon with no payoff to get to that point.

    10:54 PM 路 May 11, 2021
    And there was loot to be had. But I also kind of feel like there wasn’t sufficiently awesome loot to make up for not getting the thing I slogged down through there for to begin with.

    10:54 PM 路 May 11, 2021
    It also didn’t help that I really didn’t enjoy trying to get through the sequence of gates that required me to have to use the Whirlwind Sprint shout. Comma, the shout I had trouble with up on High Hrothgar.

    10:54 PM 路 May 11, 2021
    More experienced players than me may have dealt with that just fine, but for me, so far, the combo of keys necessary to deal with that Shout is still awkward and annoying, particularly in conjunction with a puzzle that requires timing before it resets.

    10:55 PM 路 May 11, 2021
    And then to have the quest not actually _deliver the payoff_, and have the quest marked as “Failed” in my quests list, didn’t help my enjoyment in the slightest.

    10:55 PM 路 May 11, 2021
    I kept playing for a while after that, just to get to a point where I could in fact accomplish something–killing the next dragon. Because being actively pissed off is NOT what I started playing the game for, and I wanted to not end on that note.

    10:56 PM 路 May 11, 2021
    So I did at least get to a point of closure for that part of the plot, and I ended on a point of success.

    10:56 PM 路 May 11, 2021

    Notes

    1. This post was written on 3/17/2022, but backdated to the time of the tweet thread for organizational purposes.
    2. Post updated on 12/28/2022 to reconstruct the original Twitter thread in the body of the post, and to remove links to Twitter.
  • Alarrah Playthrough

    Previously on Alarrah the Dragonborn

    Twitter thread from 5/11/2021, in which Alarrah begins the quest through Ustengrav to search for the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller.

    Previously on 鈥淎larrah the Dragonborn鈥:

    Lydia: You dragged me all the way to Riften for this?
    Alarrah: Yeah, and now I鈥檓 going to drag you all the way back to Whiterun! I鈥檓 the BEST BOSS.

    9:36 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    Alarrah: And if you鈥檙e _really_ good, I鈥檒l let you kill a bunch of draugr! OH WAIT, we鈥檙e going to do that next!

    And with that, our heroines began their descent into Ustengrav, in search of the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller!

    9:37 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    1. Only a few steps in, found yet more bandits. Bandits had clearly been camping out at this place using it as a lair.

    2. Found a couple of necromancers as well.

    9:38 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    Unclear whether they were in collusion with the bandits, or whether they just happened to have gotten there first and made it farther into the barrow! Either way, Lydia killed 鈥榚m all _real good_.

    9:38 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    Even though one of those necromancers managed to summon a fire atronach before we took them out. This was the same kind of fire golem that the cultists had fried me with earlier, but now I鈥檓 several levels higher and better armored.

    9:39 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    3. Which highlights a bit of a problem with Lydia. It鈥檚 _great_ that she charges in and obliterates anything attacking you, but on the other hand, it makes it a trifle difficult to actually practice killing things _myself_ and actually, y鈥檏now, _level up_. 馃槈

    9:39 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    4. A couple of the bandits we ran into in the lair were actually already dead. Possibly because of gotten jumped by draugr, possibly triggering traps? I heard at least one of them die from a distance, but didn鈥檛 really see what killed him.

    9:40 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    5. Got a couple of magical items off the necromancers, robes that Paul advised me to take just because they didn鈥檛 weigh anything, and they had enchantments on them that I could learn by destroying them.

    9:41 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    Conveniently enough, further down the barrow I actually found an enchanter table and was able to nuke one of those items to get the enchantment learned.

    6. Honestly, fewer draugr and skeletons than I expected for this lair, so far?

    9:41 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    (She said, probably shooting herself in the foot, or perhaps the knee, as she descends deeper into the dungeon鈥) And they鈥檝e been fairly easy kills. If Lydia doesn鈥檛 take them out, I鈥檝e been able to down them in one blow or one shot.

    9:42 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    7. Side note: _damn_, it鈥檚 amazing how much better you can shoot things when you actually know how to aim. 馃榾

    8. Despite Lydia being a fighting machine and mostly taking out things before I have a chance to take them out myself, I leveled up to 11!

    9:42 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    Getting to the point now of having to make interesting decisions about where I want to put my skill emphasis. So far I鈥檓 feeling inclined towards Light Armor, Archery, and Sneak, with a side helping of One-Handed and Alchemy.

    9:42 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    I don鈥檛 know how much magic I鈥檓 going to feel like doing yet, but some of the simpler spells certainly seem necessary, so some points will probably be spent there too soon.

    9:43 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    9. This is a dungeon that pretty well typifies a phrase old gamers like myself will remember: 鈥淵ou are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.鈥 This is a _very_ twisty kind of dungeon.

    9:43 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    I did a lot of backtracking through it trying to figure out where the hell I needed to be going, and even utilizing certain strategies I remembered from D&D, like 鈥渁lways follow the left-hand wall!鈥

    9:44 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    Kept having to load the local map to see where I was, as well, and specifically where I was in relation to the symbol that indicated 鈥済o here to get the thing鈥.

    9:45 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    But after backtracking multiple times, and making liberal use of the Candlelight spell, I finally got low enough in the dungeon to find how it bends around and finally heads towards where I need to be.

    9:45 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    10. Speaking of that Candlelight spell: super useful for 鈥渟eeing where the hell I鈥檓 going鈥 purposes. But not so much for 鈥渃ompletely nuking my ability to sneak鈥. It鈥檚 a _dilemma_.

    9:46 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    Discovered though that I am by far not the only Skyrim player to remark upon how dark the game renders on the Switch.

    9:47 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    And Dara discovered that the current favored solution for this, since controls for brightness are not provided in-game, is to turn off auto-brightness at the Switch-level settings and then gun the brightness slider up to taste. Tried this and it did in fact help some.

    9:47 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    11. Which meant I got to exercise my Sneak more, and now my Sneak is up to 47. 馃榾 And _that_ means I think Lydia loses track of me occasionally! She periodically goes 鈥淗uh?鈥 as I try to move past her.

    9:47 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    12. If I were writing this as an actual novel I鈥檇 expect Lydia would have some OPINIONS about the justice of raiding the tombs of the Nords to find loot, given that she鈥檚 a Nord and all.

    9:48 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    But as this is not in fact a novel, Lydia can put up with me looting every single burial urn we pass and grabbing whatever gold in there I can find. That house in Whiterun ain鈥檛 gonna buy itself.

    9:48 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    13. As a Bosmer, though, I do have some serious questions about Nord burial practices. Seriously, you people, have you considered _not_ leaving your tombs filled with the shambling undead bodies of your ancestors?

    9:48 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    14. I also have serious questions for the Greybeards about why the hell this horn they want is stashed down in a tomb past the shambling undead bodies of Nord warriors, too. 馃槈

    9:49 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    15. Lydia, bless her heart, is not good at figuring out how to get past fire traps. We found one, the only real trap I鈥檝e encountered in this barrow so far as of this writing, and I figured out how to skirt along the edge of it to NOT singe myself.

    9:49 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    Lydia, not so much. I turned around to see her follow me over the trap and it was slightly alarming to see her ON FIRE. Good thing I gave her better armor.

    9:49 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    16. Another thing Dara discovered, as I was asking her questions about 鈥渉ey if I have an arrow nocked in my bow, how can I un-nock it without actually firing the thing?鈥, was this:

    9:49 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    If you鈥檙e playing on a Switch and you have the JoyCons disconnected, you can actually use them with motion gestures to hit with your weapons. _Cool_. I鈥檓 going to have to try that.

    9:51 AM 路 May 11, 2021
    Also, the answer to my question was 鈥渉it Y to un-wield鈥. Excellent, now hopefully I鈥檒l stop wasting arrows!

    And that鈥檚 about it for this update! Next time, we鈥檒l see if our heroines actually make it to the horn!

    9:51 AM 路 May 11, 2021

    Notes

    1. This post was written on 3/17/2022, but backdated to the time of the tweet thread for organizational purposes.
    2. Post updated on 12/28/2022 to reconstruct the original Twitter thread here in the body of the post, and to remove links to Twitter.