In Which Merawen Hunts More Vampires for the Dawnguard

Shortish session this time, again all about the side quests for the Dawnguard, but with stops at both Proudspire Manor and the mage college!

Highlights

  • Started off in Markarth, sold stuff to Lisbet
  • Fast traveled to Lakeview to make potions and drop stuff off
  • Fast traveled to Solitude, sold stuff to Gulum-Ei and Angeline, stopped by Proudspire to check in with the family and pick up Nightingale weapons
  • Played hide and seek with the girls, and saw Sofie playing the drum <3
  • Discovered I had a Grand Staff of Charming that couldn’t leave my inventory, because it was a quest item for Ormund’s favor quest at the mage college
  • Tried to go to the college to deal with that, got fast travel dragon, tried to engage, game crashed
  • Came back just outside door at Proudspire, take two trying to go to the college
  • Killed the Ancient Dragon second time through, and dropped it onto the top of the Hall of Countenance
  • Resolving Ormund’s quest fixed the staff problem; I didn’t even have to make Enthir send me anywhere to seek the staff or even ask me for it, since I passed a Persuade check to get him to give Ormund his family amulet back
  • Dropped the staff in my chest in the Arch-Mage’s quarters
  • Headed to Fort Dawnguard and resolved Florentius’ quest
  • Got new Hide and Seek quest from Gunmar to kill another vampire pretending to be a bard; this time the vampire was in Raven Rock
  • Got vampire bard killed outside Raven Rock; took two tries because he killed me with frost blasts the first time through
  • Resolving the bounty took longer than killing the vampire did; tried to go to the Western Watchtower to report to the guards, but got killed by vampires the first time
  • Backed out of it the second time as a guard got in the way when I was trying to hit a vampire, and I accidentally killed him and got a murder bounty ARGH
  • Third time through I went straight to Whiterun rather than the watchtower, but chose the wrong option and got thrown in jail
  • Fourth time through finally just got to the point of being able to pay the damn bounty
  • Returned to Fort Dawnguard to resolve the quest
  • Had to take another quest from Gunmar, this time it was Cleansing Light, at Broken Fang Cave
  • Fast traveled to Gjukar’s Monument to get there, and engaged a Blood Dragon; spotted another one flying in the distance to the northwest, but that one didn’t get close enough to engage
  • Tried a frontal, non-sneaking assault on the first vampire and her skeletons in the cave, but that didn’t work; she killed me
  • So right then, sneaking and shooting from the shadows like Nocturnal goddamn intended
  • The sneaky approach let me take out both of the vampires in the lair, as well as the skeletons
  • Sold stuff at the meadery and then returned to Fort Dawnguard
  • Next quest was also from Gunmar, Preemptive Strike this time, at Broken Helm Hollow
  • This locale was new to me, and also not that far away, so left for it on foot
  • Engaged two vampire scouts before leaving Dayspring Canyon
  • Found Broken Helm Hollow above a waterfall, and sniped the two bandits outside; inside, tried to snipe the vamp but missed him, so wound up having to go melee with him as well as two bandits; successfully dispatched them all
  • Got one more new quest from Gunmar, this time finally getting Hunting the Monster, which will take me back to Markarth
  • Saved for the night

Commentary

Shorter than normal session for me, mostly because I’ve been having an issue with my left eye being badly irritated by something, and when it’s tough to see it’s tough to play games. I’ve seen one of the nearby clinics about it, and have a prescription for medicated eye drops and ointment that will hopefully settle it down.

I still got in at least some Skyrim action yesterday, though. Started off in Markarth and then took a swing through Proudspire Manor (just to check in on the family, and also to pick up the Nightingale weapons) and the mage college (to fix an issue with another item stuck in my inventory).

The notable thing about the stop at Proudspire was that I got to see the charming sight of little Sofie beating on a drum, while Jenassa looked on. Aw. <3 This is the session’s only screenshot; see previous commentary re: my eye bothering me, so I didn’t really think to get more besides this one. But this is pretty delightful nonetheless:

Sofie’s Got Rhythm

I just love the thought of this little girl moving from being half-frozen and desperately selling flowers on the streets of Windhelm to being warm and happy and learning to play a drum. <3

After that, anyway, I found I had another item in my inventory that I couldn’t stash in storage–a Grand Staff of Charming, which is a quest-related object if you’re running the favor quest for Ormund at the mage college. So I had to detour to the mage college to see if I could actually run Ormund’s quest, because I hadn’t yet done that this game. The staff is the thing Enthir wants you to get if you want me to give Ormund his family amulet back–but as it happened, I didn’t even have to do that. I passed a Persuade check with Enthir, and talked him into returning the amulet without my having to do anything else.

Once I did that, I was able to stash the staff in my chest in the Arch-Mage’s quarters, and move on to reporting to Fort Dawnguard for further quest activity.

The only quests I ran in this session were ones from Gunmar, the Hide and Seek, Cleansing Light, and and Preemptive Strike quests. And of the ones Gunmar gives out, I definitely like Hide and Seek the least. It bugs me that I have no way of doing that quest without getting an assault bounty!

It also bugs me that even after you provoke the vampire into attacking you–and therefore killing him in combat–it still counts as a murder in your stats. Other vampires slain don’t count as murders, so the different factor here seems to be the vampire target not being initially hostile to you.

Of the various strategies I looked up on the wiki, the only ones workable for me seemed to be ones that led to me having to attack the guy after leading him out of the town. Hopefully though I won’t have to do this quest again as Merawen; we’ll see about refining the strategy on further playthroughs.

And I tried to do the same trick I did with the Thieves Guild quests–i.e., saving, talking to Gunmar, and getting a quest, and then reloading from save if I didn’t like the one he gave me. Tried that a few times with him, but each time it rolled up as the Hide and Seek quest. Which suggests the Dawnguard quests do follow a certain pattern, maybe?

But I did at least do all of three of the quests I got from Gunmar. And with the other two, I did appreciate getting sent to locations I hadn’t been in before. Broken Fang Cave was pretty grim, with blood and bones all over the place; clearly the two vampires that lived there didn’t bother to be tidy with their prey. Broken Helm Hollow was kind of neat just for its proximity to a waterfall, though I didn’t explore it in depth once I killed the target master vampire.

And I’ll say this for the Hide and Seek quest this time–it sent me back to Raven Rock. Which cannot have helped Merawen’s frame of mind any, given the creepy experience she had on the previous visit to Solstheim!

Next time

Once I clear the Hunting the Monster quest, we’ll see if that puts me back into a position to get the final quest from Florentius, which should let me get the Dawnguard Rune Axe.

And I’ve just leveled up to 58, so it’s time for another round of training.

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