In Which Delga Slays Dragon Priests and Makes No Friends Among the Thalmor

This session‘s preliminary action was visiting Ragnvald, to fight the dragon priest there and get its Shout word, and doing the same at Shearpoint because I wanted that Throw Voice Shout!

Main action saw me return to the main plot for a little while, because I decided it was high time that I go pay a call on the Thalmor Embassy! Proceeded through the recovery of Esbern from Riften, and getting Delphine and Esbern setting out for Sky Haven Temple.

Highlights

  • Started off in Whiterun
  • Decided to get Lydia back on active follow duty and head to Ragnvald
  • Frost Dragon vs. giant spawned right at Western Watchtower; dragon killed the giant but did not attack me or the tower, it just flew off
  • Hostile NPCs encountered: Dark Brotherhood assassin (this time a female Argonian); thief (this time a male Khajiit)
  • Non-hostile NPCs encountered: Two separate sets of Thalmor
  • Hostile creatures encountered: Mudcrab
  • Locations discovered: Bloated Man’s Grotto
  • Passed the cart with dead Khajiit and scooted the bear traps there off the road, because that shit’s dangerous, yo
  • Reached Markarth and heard stable NPCs discussing whether to buy horses or puppies for the coming season
  • Banning offered to sell me a war dog, and I would totally have bought a dog from him, except the game won’t let me take a new doggie follower 😢
  • Anyway, onward to Ragnvald! Took out the two draugr outside and started in on the dungeon
  • Collected examples of Ancient Nord weapons to see what taking them back to the Skyforge will be like
  • Successfully ran the dungeon and took out the dragon priest Otar, got his mask and his staff; got the word for Kyne’s Peace off the Word Wall
  • Visited the Lover Stone to get it onto the map since it was nearby
  • Quaffed a potion of strength and boinged over to Markarth; gave Ghorza her book, but got no Smithing bonus just because I‘m already at 100 on Smithing; also sold her a bunch of loot
  • Boinged to Whiterun; did some alchemy at Breezehome, and slept the night
  • Got up and bought a bunch of steel and iron from Warmaiden’s
  • Went to Jorrvaskr and converted the Ancient Nord weapons I nabbed to Nord Hero at the Skyforge; also bought a bunch of iron from Eorlund
  • Popped into Jorrvaskr and bought block training from Njada, which got me to level 43; unlocked Dragon smithing! \0/
  • Boinged to Heljarchen to start building the hell out of some dragon things, and also the hall; filled up the entryway and made progress on main hall and kitchen
  • Boinged down to Lakeview for remaining dragon bits
  • Boinged to Western Watchtower to sell things
  • Second dragon vs. giant at watchtower! This time a fire-breathing dragon and this time the giant won the fight; declined to engage the giant, but I sure did get those dragon bits!
  • Headed into Whiterun and bought more iron at Warmaiden’s; improved the other two pieces of dragon armor! And made more dragonbone arrows
  • Boinged to Heljarchen once more and dropped off Blade of the Pale and the Heljarchen charter; also built a few more things
  • Decided to go clear Shearpoint as I wanted the Throw Voice shout before hitting the Thalmor Embassy! Dragon was Elder Dragon, and it almost took out lyds thankfully she is a protected NPC. I nailed it with the dragonbone bow
  • Lydia: “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Cue the dragon priest Krosis! He was a good hard fight, kept setting Lydia on fire, but I took him out too
  • Came back towards Whiterun
  • Hostile creatures encountered: two sabre cats on the plains east of the city
  • Non-hostile creatures encountered: giant on the Battle-Born farm! But he didn’t hassle me, so I didn’t hassle him
  • Non-hostile NPCs encountered: Imperials + prisoner on the road near Riverwood; also, my housecarl Gregor, WTF
  • Reached the Sleeping Giant inn; got the embassy plan from Delphine, and also spotted Hadvar, hanging out in his Imperial armor
  • Made it back to Whiterun and stashed a lot of stuff at Breezehome
  • Sigurd caught me feeling ill, stupid sabre cats gave me witbane; potion quaffed, problem sorted
  • Sold potions to Arcadia and Belethor
  • Boinged to Solitude; got in just after shop hours so crashed at the Winking Skeever
  • Got up the next morning to sell extra potions; also made a couple more invisibility potions with bought ingredients
  • Handed off essentials to Malborn, then headed down to the stable to meet Delphine
  • Used Razelan as my distraction again this time, and got through the embassy with both Malborn and Etienne alive, good!
  • And yeah I pretty much had to hammerclang every single Thalmor, because LOL what even is stealth with this character
  • (Though I had to restore from save once because of hitting Malborn with the hammer by mistake, OOPS, sorry about that)
  • Boinged to Guardian Stones to check back in at Riverwood and get the rest of my stuff; Lydia caught up with me, and I also spotted a flyby dragon
  • Made it to Delphine and recovered my gear, and got Delphine to urge me to go to Riften to find Esbern
  • Returned to Whiterun to pick up the rest of my stuff, then took carriage to Riften; crashed for the night at Honeyside
  • Got up the next morning and did a little shopping with Balimund, then went into the Bee and Barb and got Keevara to tell me about the Ratway, bypassing Brynjolf (sorry, Brynjolf, you’re dapper and all but not joining the Thieves Guild this run)
  • Headed down into the Ratway and hammerclanged everybody between me and the Flagon
  • Made it into the Flagon and resolved the Arondil’s journals objective with Vekel; he still didn’t actually take the journals, and it’s a very buggy quest experience if you didn’t get this quest from Vekel to begin with
  • Also got him to confirm for me where Esbern was, though I had to bribe him to pull that off since I failed the initial Persuade check
  • Stopped to chat with the Face Sculptor and went ahead and paid her for a round of changing my face; didn’t make extensive changes, not like I did with Merawen, but did eliminate Delga’s war paint since I decided I didn’t like it after all
  • Headed down into the Warrens and hammerclanged a bunch of Thalmor on the way; did not interfere with any of the Warren denizens though
  • Made it to Esbern, gave him Delphine’s password, and got him ready to come with me back to Delphine
  • Took out a couple more Thalmor on the way out (this time with sword rather than hammer, because I was carrying a torch)
  • Also took out Shavari the Thalmor assassin once we got out of the Ratway
  • Quaffed another strength potion since I was overloaded, then fast traveled to Riverwood to get Esbern there
  • Proceeded through Esbern and Delphine’s conversation re: going to Sky Haven Temple to look for Alduin’s Wall
  • At level 43 right now and I need to be at 46 to get the best version of Dragonbane, so opted to meet them there rather than traveling together; will have to figure out what to do in the meantime!
  • Sold some of the assorted loot gotten off the Thalmor to Alvor at the Riverwood forge, then fast traveled to Whiterun and sold the rest at Warmaiden’s
  • Parked in Breezehome and saved for the night

Commentary

So yeah, nice big crunchy session! Nothing hugely new since none of this was anything I hadn’t done before (with the exception of minor NPCs not previously encountered), but there were still several amusing aspects to it all.

I’m a little sad that I wasn’t able to buy a war dog from Banning at the Markarth Stables. Because I totally would have bought a dog from him if I could. But the game does appear to have me stuck in “cannot have another animal follower” mode. Yet another known bug that does not have an option for fixing, with the Switch build of the game!

(And now that I’ve looked Banning up on the wiki, I am going to elect to ignore that the dude is apparently a closet cannibal, because he’s one of the people that shows up in the Namira Daedric quest. Yet another person in Markarth I have to go LALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU about. Fpfpbptpft.)

Was amused by not one but two dragon vs. giant encounters at the Western Watchtower. Particularly the part in the second one where the giant kept hitting the dragon on the head with its enormous bone hammer. And the dragon didn’t take off when that happened!

Presumably because its health was down low enough that it didn’t have enough strength to take flight? This happens when I fight dragons, so I suppose it makes sense to see it in play here.

In both cases, though, was slightly startled that none of the watchtower guards actually reacted to these battles. I should think that they would have taken issue with two very large, very pissed off creatures fighting nearby! But maybe it’s because this encounter doesn’t flag the giant or dragon as immediately hostile to the player, so NPCs don’t react either?

Similarly, later when I saw the giant at Battle-Born Farm, Whiterun guards didn’t react to that either. Presumably because I didn’t get close enough to the giant to piss it off and have it come running at me.

(Felt slightly guilty for leaving a frigging giant standing right there on the Battle-Borns’ property? But hey, Idolaf can take down a giant, can’t he? 😆)

Two notes I want to make about visiting the Companions this session:

  1. It was kind of neat to listen to Eorlund Gray-Mane talking about the Skyforge feeling “more awake”, and also to bring it Ancient Nord weapons out of Ragnvald to see what it was like to convert them to Nord Hero type weapons. It did significantly improve them. However, it didn’t improve them well enough to make them competitive with the ebony and dragonbone weapons I’m carrying around now, so I didn’t keep them. Might have been worth doing if I were still a lower level character though!
  2. Njada, who is the Block trainer for the Companions, is kind of a bitch. And inconsistent in her reactions to you, too. If I walk up to her she’s all “Friends like you are hard to find, and very valuable to me!” But if I ask her for training, she goes, kind of snarkily, “What guidance could you offer me?” So clearly not terribly impressed by me even though I’m the friggin’ Harbinger. Still though I’ll buy Block training from her!

Meanwhile, heh, made a point of going to clear the Shearpoint dragon lair to get all three words of the Throw Voice Shout, and also made a point of making a couple of invisibility potions… and then totally did not bother to use any of that in the slightest, once I got to the Thalmor Embassy. Because LOLOLOLOL what even is stealth, with this character.

I did waffle a bit as to whether to bring Wuuthrad into the embassy, since that weapon specifically does extra damage to elves. But its stats are not competitive with any of the more powerful weapons I have at my disposal, especially now that I have Volendrung improved up to Legendary.

Played going through the embassy party pretty much similar to how I did it with Merawen: i.e., using the drunk guy Razelan as my distraction. And once I bolted into the kitchen with Malborn to get my stuff, I tried sneaking for maybe about three seconds… until the first of the guards found me.

Paul told me he envisions Delga trying to sneak on her tiptoes, the first Thalmor going “You never should have come here!”—and then Delga sighing, going “Okay fine, I tried,” and proceeding to hammerclang the hell out of every Thalmor in sight. He is not wrong.

For the record, elven armor does not stand up well to the might of Volendrung. Most of those Thalmor I took down with one blow.

Also for the record: it is very satisfying to smash the hell out of the Thalmor with Volendrung.

And at one point, once I made it down into the dungeon, I accidentally took out Malborn, too. Oops. It is very important to be careful when swinging Volendrung around in close quarters! It’s easy to hit people with it I don’t intend to.

Fortunately, this problem was easily recoverable. And because I’d alerted the dungeon NPCs and taken them out on the upper floor beforehand, getting Etienne freed was easier. So I made it out of the embassy with both him and Malborn alive!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to save Malborn from the Thalmor assassin later. We’ll see if he makes it to Windhelm!

Getting to Riften to find Esbern played out similarly to previous playthroughs, though this time through I had additional objectives. I had the journals that Vekel wanted—confusingly, given that I’m not in the Thieves Guild this time. If you’re not in the Guild you have no way of getting that quest for the journals out of Vekel, but if you run Yngvild and get those journals, the quest will trigger to take them back to Vekel anyway, and he’ll act like you discussed them with him before.

And even if you resolve the objective with him, he still won’t take the journals. In short, another thing that’s buggy as fuck and which has been addressed in unofficial patches, but nope, still can’t install those!

I took the time to visit the Face Sculptor this time, too. I didn’t do extensive changes to Delga like I’d done before with Merawen. But I did remove Delga’s war paint because I decided I didn’t quite care for that color on her after all. And I doinked around a little with her hairstyle and coloring. But she still essentially looks the same.

I figure that Delga might have some slight cause to want to look a little different, if she bailed on her home stronghold on purpose. But on the other hand, even given that, I feel like she’d have only so many fucks to give about whether or not people know what she looks like. Particularly now that she’s established a rep as the Dragonborn and has helped the Empire take Windhelm.

But I’m willing to allow for her having had at least a fuck or two to give, just for the war paint question!

Next time

Not entirely sure yet. But kind of leaning in the direction of the mage college, since I’m pretty sure I can do that entire quest line in two or three levels’ worth of action. Might also go do thaneship activity in one of the places I’m not thane yet? I’m still not thane in Morthal or Solitude or Windhelm or Markarth. And I could follow up on whether I can get Maven to thane me up in Riften.

Regardless, lots of smithing and building in the immediate forecast!

Screenshots