In Which Delga Joins the College of Winterhold

Lots of action in this session, with multiple dragons, fulfilling a bandit bounty, and last but most assuredly not least, getting the mage college plotline underway!

Highlights

  • Hoofed it up to Heljarchen
  • Put on dragonscale armor just to see if I could exercise the light armor skill any on the way, but nothing attacked
  • Went by imperials + prisoner group again, this time not actually on the road (geez, guys, how many prisoners are left for you all to take?)
  • Did a bunch of smithing and building out of the house
  • Got some dragonplate gauntlets made to compare them to dragonscale, just to see also if any of the dragonplate armor items look okay by themselves, the gauntlets are kind of all right? But don’t match the light armor very well
  • Killed five skeevers in the cellar
  • Walked back down to Whiterun, and got Loreius Farm and Whitewatch Tower onto the map
  • Avoided Cicero’s carriage on the road, still don’t feel like dealing with him yet
  • Spotted a trio of what were probably Thalmor but didn’t get close enough to confirm, they cut through Battle-Born Farm and left the road
  • Reached Whiterun and sold the elven bow I’d made at Heljarchen to Elrindir
  • Did a little alchemy at Breezehome then slept the night
  • Did some shopping at Warmaiden’s, bought a bunch of iron and corundum and steel
  • Also shopped at Belethor’s, then boinged to Lakeview to do some enchanting work
  • Or tried to, because ELDER DRAGON–and motherfucker, it killed Ogol
  • Rolled back to last auto-save because didn’t wanna lose my steward, goddammit
  • Fast traveled to Guardian Stones this time, and again triggered an Elder Dragon, but this time at least not within range of Lakeview
  • Also triggered a cave bear attack, and the three bandits from the nearby camp, so that was quite the battle! :O But lyds and i took them all out!
  • Overloaded again so tromped very slowly to Lakeview
  • Destroyed some items on the enchanter table, and did a bit more smithing
  • Boinged to Weynon Stones to return to Heljarchen
  • And damn good thing I did the stones instead of the house, because a Frost Dragon showed up! But Lyds and I didn’t have to kill it, it picked a fight with the giant and two mammoths at the nearby giant camp, Blizzard Rest
  • Winner of the fight: the giant! Though the dragon killed one of the mammoths
  • Nabbed the dragon bits and soul, and then gave the camp a very wide berth to leave the giant and mammoth alone as I tromped over to the house
  • Built structures for the alchemy and enchanter towers, and started furnishing each, then headed south to Whiterun
  • Mined one orichalcum vein and two iron
  • Hostile creature: wolf
  • Non-hostile creature: mammoth
  • Sold bandit loot at Warmaiden’s, then decided to go do the bandit bounty at Nilheim
  • Fast traveled to Lost Knife Hideout to get close enough
  • Derped around a little to find proper route to Nilheim
  • Killed a sabre cat that was fighting a female Orc skooma dealer; she was valiantly trying to punch the cat and yeah no that wasn’t working very well; declined to buy her wares
  • Encountered Vampire Masquerade trio, fighting a frostbite spider; they also had raised one of the Vigilants they’d killed, so poor guy was mumbling “must kill” as he tried to punch the spider
  • Finally closed in on Nilheim and triggered encounter with the dude faking it by the road; he led me to the camp and GAME ON
  • Summoned familiar and then atronach as Lydia kicked every ass in sight; got all the bandits killed and got their loot, but boy howdy overloaded
  • Tromped very very slowly to Riften
  • Assorted animals fought: wolves, bears, frostbite spiders, sabre cat
  • Passed farmer with painted cow
  • Passed unmarked camp with a horse and a campfire
  • Reached Shor’s Stone; courier met me there with a Letter from a Friend, this time for Sunderstone Gorge
  • Sold the blacksmith there all my loot, and was then able to head to Riften unencumbered
  • And also walk safely through Fort Greenwall HI FELLOW IMPERIALS
  • Made it to Riften, and stopped to ask Shadr about his debt to Sapphire, then paid the debt off for him
  • Headed into Mistveil Keep to collect bounty from Hemming Black-Briar
  • Shopped a little with Balimund
  • Dropped off the dragonplate armor items in Honeyside just so I wouldn’t have to carry them, also a couple items of clothes
  • Traded with Ahkari’s Khajiit just outside Riften; got Kharjo’s quest to get his amulet back
  • Boinged to Whiterun then to Heljarchen to build some more of the house
  • Sent Lydia home since I knew i was about to go to mage college
  • Did a lot more building, also some improvements on armor and weaponry
  • Then boinged to Shrine of Azura to go to Winterhold and college
  • Took out ice wraith
  • Made it to the college; Faralda asked me to summon a flame atronach by way of testing me, then allowed me entry as an apprentice
  • Played through the intro tour and Toldfir’s class pretty much the same as with Alarrah and Merawen, i.e., “I think we should learn something practical”
  • Then we all went to Saarthal! Walked out with Brelyna and Tolfdir; Brelyna was chatty and friendly <3
  • Got just outside Winterhold and WHY HELLO THERE FROST DRAGON
  • Tolfdir threw a frost atronach at it, awesome! Had a great line about how even though he’s old, he still has some fight in him :D
  • Brelyna also got in on the fight, while I pegged it with dragonbone bow
  • It flew off nearby and got in a fight with a frost troll, but oh hell no, dragon, you ain’t getting away that easily; I went after it and took it out, and then discovered it had killed the troll
  • (Heh, Tolfdir and Brelyna did not follow me to the dragon, guess they don’t get to see me eating dragon souls yet)
  • Onward to Saarthal! Actually got there before Tolfdir and Brelyna, so I mined the silver ore vein while I was waiting, and here I was all prepared to go ‘sorry I’m late, I had to kill a dragon’
  • Bug happened again with Onmund and J’zargo not showing up until we were actually inside the place
  • Commenced running the dungeon, and it went more or less the same as previous playthroughs up until the part where I got killed by hulking draugr after Tolfdir sent me ahead into the ruin
  • Outnumbered three to one by two hulking draugr and a Draugr Deathlord; took me six tries to get through that part of the dungeon
  • Finally got through the sixth time, and remembered to engage the draugr in close quarters but also to use atronach and familiar as distractions; also, had some success with power bashing the Draugr Deathlord with my shield
  • Took the deathlord’s war axe on the general principle of ‘fuck you, asshole, I take your weapon as a trophy’
  • Tolfdir finally caught up with me, and we found the Eye of Magnus; Tolfdir sent me back to the college to tell the Arch-Mage
  • Still giggle at Savos Aren’s sighing and telling me “don’t tell me another of the apprentices has been incinerated”
  • Went down at his instruction to talk to Urag; hi there, Urag, you are no longer the only orc in this college!
  • Got the quest to go recover the books from Fellglow Keep; also got Shalidor quest and other rare book quest from urag while I was at it
  • Had initial wary conversation with Ancano
  • .oO(Hi there, Thalmor, I am totally and absolutely not the orc named Delga who recently rampaged through your embassy, WAIT DID I SAY THAT OUT LOUD)
  • Boinged back to Heljarchen with intent to work on building only to realize shit, I was out of iron, so hoofed it down to Whiterun instead
  • Sold a few things at Warmaiden’s
  • Bought iron and steel from Eorlund, and upgraded the war axe from the Deathlord to Nord Hero
  • Went over to the temple and bought five rounds of Restoration training from Danica
  • Returned to Breezehome; did a little alchemy, then saved for the night

Commentary

It is possibly incongruous for a character intended to be a tank to join the mage college, but on the other hand, I like the mage college way too much to not play it. <3 Plus, I like the idea of a scholarly orc immensely. So Delga can be a tank and a mage!

The Elder Scrolls games seem to have this concept anyway, already, as I’ve said before. “Battlemage” is a term I see reading around on the wiki, even though it doesn’t appear in Skyrim. It does appear in other games, though, alongside “spellsword”. “Battlemage” seems to be more inclined for the heavy armor/tank types, while “spellsword” better fits the light armor/ranger types. So Delga? Definitely a battlemage.

And as of this session, she’s officially joined the College of Winterhold!

Since all of this was basically familiar territory, here in no particular order are the things that stood out for me this time through.

I really kind of like the kitchen wing I’ve built out in Heljarchen, I didn’t build that before in previous playthroughs, I think? It’s a pretty cozy addition and those additional sources of heat must be good to have in Heljarchen’s snowy locale. Also, the wiki says that if you have a cow on your property, and you’ve also built out the kitchen, jugs of milk will periodically show up in that kitchen.

I note that Eorlund Gray-Mane, every time you try to buy things from him, goes “Gods be praised!” Which suggests that people buying things from him is a rare enough occurrence that he’s grateful to get any coin? Or just that he’s a fervent enough worshipper of the Divines that he considers any transactions worthy of that expression? Or both?

Orc skooma dealer and Urag in the mage college both ended their conversations with me with “Fight well”, this seems to be common with Orc NPCs talking to me <3

Also kind of hilarious that that Orc skooma dealer was trying to punch the sabre cat; I admire her courage, but not her decision to go unarmed in the wild!

Tolfdir helping me fight the Frost Dragon with his frost atronach was pretty badass! Way to go Tolfdir! Likewise Brelyna!

Ancano’s initial conversation with me lands a little differently close in the wake of running the Thalmor Embassy, as well as getting Esbern out of Riften. I feel like Delga had to be going “shiiiiiiiit there’s a Thalmor here too?” And possibly seriously regretting leaving Lydia in Whiterun, since Lydia was her source of pointers on subterfuge!

(Pause to express, once again, some LOLs at the notion of Lydia giving pointers on subterfuge.)

And boy howdy did that jaunt through Saarthal hand me my ass. I don’t know if this was a matter of just having the difficulty kicked up another level or what, but the combo of two hulking draugr plus the Draugr Deathlord was rough to get past! And I’m writing this as someone whose character was at level 43 at this point, fully kitted in ebony armor, and wielding dragonbone weapons.

Which might have been my problem right there: trying to run that dungeon at this level. Because the draugr do level up with you! I had not written in either Alarrah’s or Merawen’s posts about running Saarthal about the dungeon kicking my ass that hard.

What finally worked to let me make it through was remembering these things:

  1. Making liberal use of both Conjure Familiar and Conjure Flame Atronach
  2. Not letting the draugr all hit me at once
  3. Remembering that I’m playing a frigging tank, so I need to take advantage of that, use all my armor (including the ebony shield), and get my armor rating up as much as possible
  4. Power bashes are a thing I can do, so if I’m hauling a heavy shield around I need to damn well hit my opponents with it, and it was quite satisfying to smack the shit out of the Draugr Deathlord with my shield!

Next time

Several quests to get through at this point, side quests queued up for the college as well as the Sunderstone Gorge word wall and getting Kharjo his amulet back. I think I’ll be doing a circuit through all of these!

Screenshots