The main highlight of this Skyrim run was doing the quest called “The Mind of Madness”, which involves you investigating what’s really going on with the Pelagius Wing of the Blue Palace in Solitude. Other than that, I tried to follow up on a couple other quests, but those didn’t go so well!
I was in the mood to just to do minor quests around Solitude, so the first thing I did when I started last night’s run was to go to the Winking Skeever and ask the innkeeper for any rumors.
He told me about someone named Jaree-Ra possibly looking for work. Turns out that this was the mysterious person hanging out near the apothecary and who kept saying “Come see me when you get bored, stranger” every time I went past him. Turns out he’s also an Argonian.
So I went to see what he had to say, and turns out what he had to say was “hey, wanna help me rob a ship?”
HARD PASS. Specifically because his plan was to sabotage a lighthouse to make sure that a ship ran aground, at which point he’d loot the hell out of it. This not really being a good match for my morality, never mind Alarrah’s, I backed out hard from this. I had gotten far enough along in the conversation with the character that I no longer had a way to back out of the quest, so this meant I had to roll back to an earlier save to get out of doing it.
(Mind you, I’ve already established Alarrah is not above swiping minor things if necessary—see previous post re: swiping that letter in Falkreath. See also previous rampage through the Thalmor Embassy, which certainly included theft of documents as well as fighting and killing Thalmor agents. But neither of these are quite the same thing as actively sabotaging a lighthouse so that a ship can be made to run aground, for profit.
If I were playing a different character I might elect to go ahead and do this quest, but right now I’m playing Alarrah. In D&D alignment terms, I feel like she’s Chaotic Good. And this kind of a quest? Definitely more in Neutral territory, if not outright Evil.
So after backing out of that, I needed something else to do. I was still in the mood to stay in Solitude, so I decided to go ahead and do the quest called “The Mind of Madness”—which is a Daedric artifact quest.
I’ve written before about how the Daedra in Skyrim are almost entirely horrible—but only almost. So there are legit questions any Skyrim player will want to consider when going after the Daedric artifacts:
- How critical is the quest for it? Is it something you need to do in order to become thane of a location you want to be thane in?
- Is the artifact awesome enough that you can foresee yourself actually using it in regular gameplay? Or are you just going to keep it as a trophy?
- What’s your take on the Daedra involved?
- What’s your take on the quest involved to get the item? Does it seem like something you’d actively enjoy playing, or would you find it horrible? If you’d find it horrible, is it worth it to you to do a horrible quest if it means you get the artifact? (See question 2.)
This is one of those areas where I have absolutely no scruples about looking up spoilers, because some of those Daedric quests are ones I’d find actively repellent to play, so I’m glad I found out about them in advance rather than getting an unpleasant surprise when I can no longer actually back out of doing the quest and have to be forced to roll back to an earlier save. (As with the Argonian thief, above.)
Your mileage may vary. But if you’d appreciate warnings before you take on any of the Daedric quests, I recommend research on Elder Scrolls wikis. The ones I’ve been using are:
All that said, “The Mind of Madness” is generally fine. The Daedra involved is Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. Despite that, he actually came across as fairly harmless. He threw off a lot of wacky commentary, but didn’t actually do anything to me, or order me to do anything particularly crazy. If anything, the whole point of the quest is the exact opposite of madness—because you’re supposed to actually fix the mind of Pelagius, who’s still haunting his wing in the Blue Palace.
Plus, you do all of this with the Wabbajack, the staff that Sheogorath gives you. You enter the wing of the palace, and then you get transported into a realm that turns out to be Pelagius’ mad brain. You’re temporarily deprived of all your equipment, and your only weapon is the staff. So you have to figure out how to use the staff to actually get out of Pelagius’ mind.
When you shoot a target with the Wabbajack, your target randomly changes into something else. The thing about the quest here being, you have to figure out exactly what you have to shoot with the staff, and when. I’ll say straight up I missed parts of what I needed to do, and had to go check the wiki for help. (I’m not going to say which bit I missed, just for purposes of not giving away all the spoilers!)
Anyway, I did make it through the quest pretty quickly and convinced Sheogorath to let me return to reality. Which he did, though amusingly, with the Wabbajack and with the fancy “Fine Clothes” I wound up being dressed in during the main quest action.
Which means that from Lydia’s perspective, while we were in the Pelagius Wing, she would have seen Alarrah in her usual armor suddenly vanish—and then reappear in the Fine Clothes, including with a fine hat. I didn’t think to make a note of how much game time had elapsed, so I don’t know how long Lydia in theory had to wait for Alarrah to reappear. But I like the mental image of Alarrah blipping out for a moment and then coming back dressed entirely differently. :D
Oddly enough though I didn’t have to do anything else to satisfy the quest constraints after that. I’d gotten the key to the wing from the steward Falk Firebeard, but I didn’t have to take the key back to him. Nor did I have to do anything with “Pelagius’ Hip Bone”, which was given to me by the mad beggar who sent me on the quest to begin with. So a hip bone and a staff that randomly changes targets you shoot at into other things are the trophies I got from this quest, definitely among the odder loot I’ve picked up in this game so far!
After that, my initial thought was to go follow up on another miscellaneous quest, and see about the source of power at Mount Anthor, which I expected to be another Word Wall.
Good plan but not easy to execute, as it turned out. Fast travelled out of Solitude and landed near Wayward Pass—at which point not only did I get a dragon attacking me, I also got a giant. This, I feel, was a BIT MUCH. But I managed to kill the giant, and didn’t have to engage the dragon, actually; it flew off before Lyds and I could take it out.
So then I tried to swing south, east, and north again to try to get to where the quest marker appeared on the map. But this also proved problematic. I found Fort Kastav again. And by ‘again’, I mean, this is a locale I’d found on a previous run that resulted in death and rollback.
Happened this time, too. I tried to avoid the place, but Lydia, bless her stalwart Nord heart, charged into battle like she does. So I couldn’t run off without her! Tried to run up onto the battlements of the fort to take on enemies up there, but wasn’t paying attention to my health—and a necromancer took me out. Fftpft.
This rolled me back all the way to coming out of the Blue Palace post-Mind-of-Madness. And by then the Switch was demanding to be re-docked, so I actually bought a few different things from the clothes shop (because I wanted to see how Alarrah looked in them), and called it a night.
Next time: not sure, actually? I think I’m very close to meeting all the requirements for becoming Elisif’s thane, but there’s at least one more quest I need to do for that, so maybe I’ll try for that tonight.