In Which the Dragonborn Hunts for Dragon Priests

This session was all about trying to find the remaining ones of the original set of dragon priest masks in the game, since I had five and was still lacking three. (I know there are more on Solstheim, but for purposes of this hunt, I was focusing just on the original game’s eight.)

At the same time, I also wanted more Shout words. Fortunately, I could handle both of these searches at once!

Highlights

  • Fast traveled to High Hrothgar to ask Arngeir for another clue as to where to find a Shout word, and he conveniently pointed me at one of the places I needed to hit for the remaining masks: High Gate Ruins
  • Which turned out to be literally right next door to Windstad, so I fast traveled to Ustengrav to head for my house
  • Killed a couple of bandits and a necromancer near Ustengrav so had additional loot to drop off at the house when I stopped to do building; stuffed it all in the workbench chest
  • Then scampered right over to High Gate Ruins to check the place out
  • Turned out to contain an NPC, Anska, who was there to look for a scroll that provided evidence that her family was directly descended from Ysgramor; she asked for my help in searching the dungeon
  • Actually had to start the dungeon twice because I missed a few clues trying to run the dungeon without the volume up, and caused a couple of bugs
  • Cleared the dungeon with Anska, killed the Dragon Priest and got his mask and staff, and gave Anska her scroll; she gave me a spellbook for Conjure Flaming Familiar, awesome; got word for Storm Call Shout
  • Grabbed all the loot out of the chest at Windstad and boinged back to Whiterun for a drop off/sell run; had to do it by summoning Arvak due to having all the loot
  • Boinged back to High Hrothgar for round two with Arngeir, who directed me this time to Ragnvald which is north of Markarth
  • Fast traveled to Kolskeggr Mine as nearest landmark; fought a couple of Forsworn and a Frost Dragon
  • Also had a Blood Dragon attack me almost immediately after the first one, but the Blood Dragon flew off before I could finish fighting it
  • Went then to Ragnvald to check it out; this dungeon was larger and had three different zones I had to run back and forth between, because there were a couple of side items I had to find in order to unlock the Dragon Priest’s sarcophagus
  • This priest surprisingly did not do the “float around to avoid me” thing, fighting him was purely melee, possibly because I was already right in his face by opening his sarcophagus; regardless, got him killed and then went past him to get to the wall; got word for Kyne’s Peace
  • Came back out of Ragnvald and went back to my earlier fast travel point to see if the Blood Dragon would show up again; it did, actually, at least assuming that this was the same Blood Dragon, which I don’t know for sure? This time I did kill it
  • Also found what looked like the remains of a fight between Orc hunters and Forsworn
  • Another drop off/sell stuff run in Whiterun got me Lucia showing me her new friend: a fox she’d brought home! Gave her permission to keep it
  • Last jump back to High Hrothgar for one last try to see if I could get the last Dragon Priest location: answer, no, I got Autumwatch Tower instead
  • Went there anyway and since it was a short ways from Ivarstead, decided to actually walk back down the mountain rather than fast traveling; killed a few trolls and a bear on the way
  • Third dragon of the night, another Blood Dragon, tried to attack me just as I found the tower; tower was otherwise very small and had no other enemies in it; stairs led up to the wall
  • Shout word for this one was another for Marked For Death, which also triggered the ongoing Drain Vitality bug so now I have two bogus Drain Vitality Shouts in my list along with the real one
  • Returned to Whiterun to close down for the night

High Gate Ruins

First Shout-and-mask hunt for the night was High Gate Ruins, which to my amusement turned out to be right next door to Windstad Manor. I suppose this explains why I periodically have dead draugr in my yard there? Presumably they stagger over from High Gate and keel over because they can’t get any farther.

I used Ustengrav as my fast travel marker to get there, and fought a couple of bandits and a necromancer when I landed. Killed them without too much trouble, and got to Windstad with all the loot I’d swiped from them. After doing a bit of building in the place, I stashed everything that wasn’t vital in my workbench chest and proceeded on to the ruins.

Turns out that High Gate is one of those places where you not only get the dungeon to crawl through, you also get a temporary follower to help you clear the place. Anska was a Nord mage who’d shown up at the ruin in search of a scroll she said would demonstrate proof that her family was descended directly from the legendary Ysgramor. She asked for my help and was willing to give me dibs on anything in the place aside from the scroll, so I agreed and we proceeded through the dungeon together.

Anska was not quite as amusing a follower as either Lydia or Serana. But she did have a few funny lines, including “Sometimes I just like to watch them burn.” Apparently this woman sets draugr on fire for funsies? She had killed several draugr when I showed up, ha. And she was pretty helpful in the dungeon flinging spells at the various draugr that attacked us.

Apparently she’s not a Nord particularly concerned about disturbing the burial chambers of her ancestors. 😆

High Gate was not too huge a dungeon, but it did have a lever puzzle that required solving, and a couple of spiral staircases to navigate down before we finally got to the bit with the Dragon Priest, Vokun. Took him out from afar with arrows, and got his loot. Once I did that I was able to get to the Word Wall, clear the boss chest, and get Anska her scroll. By way of gratitude, she gave me a spellbook for Conjure Flaming Familiar. Awesome.

The Shout word for this dungeon was another one for Storm Call. This seems like a Shout I should throw around at least once, just for general Thor-style amusement and destroying enemies with lightning in battle!

Returned to Windstad after, to get my loot out of the chest. Since this made me encumbered again, I threw a summons for Arvak to let him carry me back to Whiterun for a round of dropping off and selling stuff.

Ragnvald

Since I intended to use Arngeir for a shortcut for finding all the Shouts in this session, I boinged back to High Hrothgar for a second time. This time, I got another pointer to a Dragon Priest dungeon: Ragnvald, in the Reach, just a little ways north-east-ish of Markarth.

The nearest fast travel location was Kolskeggr Mine. When I came out of fast travel, I got jumped by both a Frost Dragon and Forsworn, all of whom I dispatched. This was not terribly surprising, given a) Kolskeggr, and b) fast traveling.

What was a little surprising was a second dragon showing up on the heels of the first! I had a Blood Dragon show up just shortly after I killed the Frost Dragon—though this second dragon actually flew off before I could finish killing it, perhaps because it realized I was a tougher fight than it liked?

Once it was gone, I proceeded to Ragnvald. This dungeon was the most interesting of the three I ran in this session, partly due to its size and layout. But there was also an extra step that I had to do to trigger the Dragon Priest emerging: finding a couple of skull keys to unlock his sarcophagus. This requires killing the draugr that had them: Guardian Saerek and Guardian Torsten.

It interests me just for backstory purposes that this Dragon Priest had guardian draugr carrying the keys! It’s unclear whether they were there to protect the Dragon Priest or to actually keep him from getting out. But it’s an amusing question to consider.

The Shout word I got out of this dungeon was another one for Kyne’s Peace. I have not actually used this Shout at all yet. But given that I’m getting into a place where sometimes I’d like to actually not fight the opponents, this might be a useful thing to try at some point.

When I came back out of the dungeon, I returned to my original fast travel spot. On the way, I found the remnants of what looked like a battle between Orc hunters and Forsworn! Apparently this is a known type of random encounter in the Reach. Must have been a fierce battle, because they were all dead.

I was also honestly curious if I’d see the Blood Dragon again, since I hadn’t actually killed it. Answer: maybe! I had another Blood Dragon show up that may or may not have been the same one I fought before. This one had a full health bar, so either it was a different dragon, or it was the same one and it flew off long enough to replenish its health points. Either way, this time I actually killed it.

And since this now meant I was lugging around two dragons’ worth of dragon bits, it was time for another boing back to Whiterun to drop off stuff. When I arrived, I was greeted by Lucia who happily informed me she had a new friend, could she keep him?

The friend in question: a fox. Lol.

Lucia’s Little Friend
Lucia’s Little Friend

I’m dubious about how a fox might have gotten into Whiterun! But it’s also distinctly possible that Lucia ran out to play in the nearby plains? Hell, I do that all the time. Anyway, I told her she could keep it, and now she has a fox following her around the house. It periodically makes slightly alarming breathing noises!

I also periodically see Lucia running around Whiterun still, so it’ll also be interesting to see if the fox follows her when she does that.

Also, I think it was at this point where I did some more smithing work to a) use all the gold ingots I’d made, and b) get a built up cache of jewelry that I could practice double enchanting on. This required me to go up to Dragonsreach to borrow the enchanter table there, where I also destroyed a couple of loot items I’d found with enchantments I didn’t have yet. The most useful of these: Waterbreathing!

Now that I have that enchantment, I need to see if I can make a jewelry item that has both Fortify Carry Weight and Waterbreathing on it, because that’ll be way less weight than wearing the Volsung mask.

And once my Smithing reaches the ability to do dragon armor again (I’m kind of regretting resetting smithing, honestly), I may do another set of dragonscale armor, this time with double enchantments on it. I want Fortify Carry Weight on my boots, too!

Autumnwatch Tower

One more jump to High Hrothgar for the evening, but this time I didn’t get the remaining Dragon Priest location as I was hoping for. Instead, I got Autumnwatch Tower.

This turned out to be a location not too far from Ivarstead, at the foot of the mountain. So I actually went back down the mountain on foot this time, rather than fast traveling, just to see if anything interesting happened on the way.

I killed multiple frost trolls on the way down, as well as a bear. Once I made it into Ivarstead, I saw that Imperial guards were wandering through the place. So presumably Ivarstead’s local guards were also updated when Riften was handed over to Imperial control.

Also, I really just liked the view of Ivarstead coming off the path down the mountain. Here’s what that looked like!

Ivarstead
Ivarstead

Just past Ivarstead, I was attacked by a pyromancer and dispatched same. Also a Clan Volkihar vampire! Apparently there are enough of those still around that their NPCs can still come at me.

Found the tower without any trouble, and on the way up to it, got jumped by the second (possibly third but unconfirmed) dragon of the night: another Blood Dragon. I threw Dragonrend at it a couple of times to get it to land, and it gave me a decent fight before I finally killed it.

Not much in the way of loot in Autumnwatch, as it’s a pretty small tower and its main feature is the stairs leading up to the Word Wall. The Shout word for this location was another one for Marked For Death—though this also triggered the ongoing bug I’ve seen where words for Marked For Death also trigger bogus words for Drain Vitality.

So now I have two bogus Drain Vitality Shouts in my list, in addition to the actual Drain Vitality Shout—which I got words for while running the Dawnguard plot. (This is definitely another example of why it’s so baffling that I’m finding all these bugs, many of which appear to have already been fixed in official patches!)

After getting that Shout, I returned to Whiterun to close down for the night.

Next time

I think my loot stash in the chest in Whiterun is getting too damned big, because I keep noticing a second or two of lag every time I try to interact with an item in it, either getting it out or putting it in. I think I’ll need to move some stuff I don’t need as often out to other homes!

And I still want that last dragon priest mask so that I can go use the wooden one to get that fancy final gold mask. So I’ll be seeing about doing that.

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