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[LP Skyrim Redone] Dungeons and Draugr - The Lay of Blind Bassus


Hey Nonny-Nonny
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Oh, there once was a 'hero' named Bassus the Blind,
Who came riding through Skyrim to see Draugrkind,

And the blackguard did pray to gods fell and perverse,
And he vowed to leave Skyrim just a little bit worse,

But the north is no place for a man with dead eyes,
And bandits did plot to prepare a surprise,

They chopped him and tore him and left him for dead,
Hooting and singing to Bilegulch they fled,

But Bassus the Blind was not ready for hell,
And he gifted the skalds with a story to tell,

He fell of a night but he rose with the mooooorn ...
For Bassus the Blind was the true Dragonborn.

Welcome to Advanced Dungeons and Draugr, a combination Skyrim Let's Play and mod showcase. The rules and a mod list can be found in this thread.

The gist of it all is that we're playing a (not quite so holy) cleric, with all that entails. At any given time, I can 'pray for' up to twelve spells from my spellbook. Unequipped spells may not be used, and the spell loadout can only be changed after a sleep in a proper bed.

The major mods in use are Skyrim Redone, Character Creation Overhaul, and Apocalypse Spell Package. I'll make a point of discussing now and again how these and other mods have changed the experience.

I've already broken one of our rules. I decided, instead of playing a random start, to select one. This was done for reasons that we'll get into later.


SR1 - Left for Dead
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Hey Nonny-Nonny
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SR1: Left for Dead
Wherein our hero is ambushed by bandits and rescues a dear friend from their clutches.

Spoiler: Show

Blind Bassus
Level 1 Cleric

Health - 80
Magika - 100
Stamina - 90

Light Weaponry 35
Block 35
Heavy Armour 35
Smithing 30
Conjuration 25
Restoration 35

Remaining skills: 5-10, depending on racial affinities. In the future, I'll only be listing the core skills, and anything else that I've invested perks into.

1. Healing

You may notice that these values are somewhat higher than you might expect from a fresh character. This is mainly due to Character Creation Overhaul, which allows us to build a TES-style custom class package from preferred stats and skills. Our preferred skills are also going to improve more swiftly, which will be handy given the long-haul nature of Skyrim Redone.

In the end, it's the blind man act that saved me.

It's the Khajit's fault, really, though he deserved far better than he got. He was a friendly sort, full of tales. I steered him to the subject of Nordic burial cairns, and the stories he told of Draugr had the ring of truth about them.

I should have seen it coming. All these mountains, these narrow passes. If ever there was a place made for ambush, it's Skyrim. Bandits. Only four, but that was enough, especially with my mind deep in the crypts. A bolt took me in the shoulder. Damn near pinned me to the carriage. The Khajit took the second.

"Finish him."

I'm glad they were orcs, at least, swollen up with their all-important honour. One of them approached, axe raised, to finish the job. I'd like to say I shouted a warning to Quintus, but I was too busy drowning in my own agony to think of much else.

But the blow never came. The orc looked into my eyes and spat. "I'll not have it said of me that I killed a blind man."

The irony of it is that had I been prepared for trouble, had my helm and cuirass not been sitting in a crate, they'd never have seen my face, and I'd probably have joined Khar'ja on the other side.

I can forgive the fact that they took my gear. I can even forgive the crossbow bolt. But they took Quintus. They took Quintus, and they left me breathing. It doesn't take a pretend Moth Priest to predict their collective future.

But first, I need a weapon.

Spoiler: Show

Alternate Start-Live Another Life allows a number of different starting points, including the one we've chosen: Left for Dead. All told, it's one of the uglier starts. We've got no armour, no weapon, and no money.

I decide to turn back towards Whiterun, which I can just make out in the distance, in the hope that I'll be able to get my hands on a weapon or at least the tools to make one.

It starts to rain within minutes. Of course it does. I'm wet, I'm cold, and there are wolves after me. I beat them to death with my fists and tear the pelts from their backs.


I feel a little better about things.

Spoiler: Show
Skyrim Redone is a lot harder than vanilla Skyrim, as you can probably tell from just how much damage those bloody wolves are doing. I won't lie: I had to run that fight a time or four before I managed to get out of it uneaten.

The gates of Whiterun won't open to me.

"No beggars, blind or otherwise." I haven't the coin to bribe the guards or convince them that I have means, so instead I head to Riverwood, a few hours away. I passed through this village on my way, and if nothing else, it's home to a forge and a smith who doesn't mind others using it.

With proper tools, I chop a few logs and fashion a club.

It's not much, but it's better than my knuckles.

Spoiler: Show

... but not by any great margin. Clubs are new to SkyRe, and they're not very good without perks. They're dagger-weak but not dagger-fast, and don't boast a great deal of range either (considerably more than fists, though, and that's the main advantage). They're one of four starter weapons that can be made out of firewood (the others are a two-handed quarterstaff and two bows, long and short). This is very handy if you start without a weapon or the means to buy one. As long as you can grab a woodsman's axe--and there's an unattended one near the Riverwood sawmill--you can chop a bit of wood and get started for free.

The UI you see there is SkyUI. Most people who have dipped even a tentative toe into Skyrim modding are probably using it already. If you're playing on a computer, with keyboard and mouse and the whole shebang, this is the mod you need. Even if you're tentative about modding or want the vanilla experience, just trust me: get this mod anyway.

I sell what remains of my pelts to the general store, whose proprietor tells me about bandits in the hills.

Apparently they stole something from his shop: a golden claw. I'm not terribly concerned with Lucan getting his property back, but he's offering money, and I need armour. And I really don't much like bandits just now.

Or I suppose I could just take what I need.

That's better.

Spoiler: Show

Another hard fight, mainly because of the archer. Archers do awful, awful things to unarmoured PCs. A single arrow can take half of my health or more, and I can't kill the archer first--if I try that, her friends will beat me down. Positioning, cover, etc., become a lot more important in SkyRe because ranged enemies are that much scarier. I managed to find some rocks that mostly sheltered me from arrows while I killed the meleeists, and from there it wasn't so rough.

That's a little better. No claw, but I have more important things to worry about. I return to Riverwood only long enough to be praised for my gentle demeanor by a child that might be every bit as blind as I'm pretending to be, and to procure a lantern. Then it's back to the road that runs from Whiterun to Markarth.

Spoiler: Show

Wearable Lanterns allows you to clip a light source to your belt, which is a handy thing if you're using any sort of lighting mod. I'm using Climates of Tamriel, which makes nights and dungeons quite dark. Wearable Lanterns allow me some light without taking up my shield hand. It's a great mod.

Night. I press on. Perhaps that's a foolish thing to do, with all these rumours of vampires floating around, but Quintus needs me. Besides, the Vigilants of Stendarr are out in force, and ... oh.

I dispatch the vampires and decide to leave the road. I come across a hunter's camp in the woods. She tells me she's been fishing and hunting on this land for years. I ask her where a pack of orcish bandits might be found, and am directed to Bilegulch Mine.
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Hey Nonny-Nonny
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He's not here. I give the last orc a chance to confess his sins before I brain him. He tells me that my things have already been sent for sale to contacts near Markarth. He gives me directions. I give him a good death.

Spoiler: Show

Bilegulch is an orichalcum mine, which will come in handy eventually, when we're ready to smith Orcish armour. I try to get my hands on some ore now, but the mine boss doesn't tire of one-shotting me, and I can barely scratch him. SkyRe changes the level scaling in a lot of ways, so it's quite possible to run into challenges that can't be overcome early.



Spoiler: Show


No sign of my armour, but armour can be replaced.

"Thank the Nine. I've missed you, old friend."
"Did they hurt you?"
"Good. Good. I can't tell you how relieved I am. Come. Let's get you to safety."

Spoiler: Show

I'm running Apocalypse Spell Package alongside Skyrim Redone. SkyRe's necromancy is entirely corpse-based, but Apocalypse allows a few summons as well, including my new friend Conjure Skeleton. The reason I chose the Left For Dead start, essentially, is that I wanted an in-character justification for a) a cleric whose backstory includes a certain facility with necromancy not having any such spells to start; and b) necromancy as a summoning art, because we're going to need those conjured skeletons for some time. So, here it is:

Quintus is trapped inside a black soul gem set in a ring. Whenever Bassus conjures a skeleton, what he's actually doing is summoning bones he's stored in Oblivion and briefly imbuing them with the gem. No ring in inventory, no skellies.

The trip back to Markarth is a light-hearted one. I crack jokes and Quintus cackles. I send him away before we reach the city gates--Skyrim is not known for its tolerance of the noble art of lifespan extension--where a guard informs me that I'm entering the safest city in the Reach.

The safest city in the Reach greets me with a murder. A young Breton approaches and asks me:

"I'm blind."

He gives me a look. "No. You're not. I just watched you cross the river without a cane or a guide."

It's true. Bretons are sharper than Nords.

"B'ahsus is part Khajit, and needs only the nose Mother Cat gave him."

"Right," he says, cracking a smile. As I turn to leave, he calls me back and presses a note into my hand. "You dropped this. Maybe you can get someone to pretend to read it to you."

But all I'm thinking of is a warm bed and then a thank-you trip to the nearest shrine of Arkay. The note sits in a pouch, forgotten, and I finally take a well-deserved rest.



Spoiler: Show

Blind Bassus
Level 4 Cleric

Health - 95
Magicka - 100
Stamina - 120

Light Weaponry 37
Block 36
Heavy Armour 36
Smithing 34 - 3 perks
Conjuration 25
Restoration 36

1. Healing
2. Conjure Skeleton

We've leveled a few times, and so far, each perk has gone into Smithing. I'm going to stop at steel for now, for a couple of reasons. 1) It's sufficiently protective; 2) I'm not going to be able to get my hands on dwarven ingots for a while anyhow.

Smithing has changed in quite a few ways in SkyRe. The two halves of the tree are unconnected now, so Light Armour wearers can't go up the heavy side of the tree for better weapons and still get Dragon-smithing. Gear can't be improved without the perk for its material (basic stuff like hide, fur, wood and iron aside), and the degree to which it can be boosted depends on how many points you put into the starter perk.

Economically speaking, the biggest difference is that ingots are more expensive, they now require 3 ores and not 2 to smelt, and shopkeepers have been deleveled. It's very rare that they'll have anything besides iron and steel to sell, and stuff like ebony is right out (although there's a perk in the Speech tree that allows them to sell advanced metals). What all this means, basically, is that the new perk 'Meltdown' is de facto required for smiths. Any weapon or piece of armour made of a material I've invested perks into can be melted down into ingots at a smelting station. I've picked up enough steel weapons to craft myself a new hauberk and a steel mace.


This is the Heavy Viking Armour, which is part of the Immersive Armours mod. I *hate* the look of the generic steel armour (it's waaaay too video-game for my liking), so it's a beautiful thing to have a less ridiculous option. As I continue up the Smithing tree, I'll have access to still more IA sets in addition to the regular ones.

As I said, though, I'm done with smithing for a little while. I'll continue to melt down weapons and make stuff for sale and smithing skill points, but the next few levels are going into magic and weaponry, and that'll be the case for some time. My first big purchase now will be a horse (full heavy armour wearers have a 16% speed penalty in SkyRe), but after that it's basically all going towards spells.

So, what's next?

We have an unread note in our pocket. We could go join a faction. We could investigate rumours of war in Helgen (which will eventually lead us to the main plot). We could not do any of those things, and just go tromping about the wilderness looking for adventure or a dungeon to crawl.


New member
Yay, viking armor!

I suggest you roll a d8 and start heading in the direction it gives you.


Hey Nonny-Nonny
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Validated User
One interesting quirk of the screenshot-friendly console commands is that they may or may not make your character disappear. I'm using ~tfc 1 to pause the game and allow me free camera positioning, but if I activate that mode in first-person view, Bassus disappears. As a result, I'm swiftly learning just how awkward it is to actually try to play the game in third-person.

It's hella awkward.

The end result is this weird little dance where I have to quickly zoom out when I spy a screenshot opportunity.

ed: Also, now that I've got a full set of viking, I had a chance to test something that made me curious. Immersive Armours do not benefit from SkyRe's armour set bonuses, which leads me to believe the functionality isn't baked into the material keyword but into something else that the compatibility patch didn't add.

It's a shame, but fashion trumps utility every time.
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Hey Nonny-Nonny
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The trouble with a d8 is that I'm in Markarth, which is tucked into its own corner at the edge of the world. I can't go in most of the cardinal directions. What I can do is roll a d4 and choose from various flavours of east. And that's what I've done. EP2 should be ready today or tomorrow.


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This is awesome, thanks. I'm already running SkyRe but I didn't know about Wearable Lanterns. Look forward to further discoveries. :D



Hey Nonny-Nonny
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MK1: Fortresses of the Forsworn

Wherein our hero searches for Draugr and finds something else entirely.

Oh, Arkay. Why?

The same dream again. Whispers of damnation, accusing eyes, and the image, over and over, of my mace meeting Quintus's head. "Abomination," Arkay whispers. "Sacrilege."

And as always, I wake. His glorious sufferance sees fit to spare my life, and never once has he withheld His blessing. My hands never burn at the touch of His shrine, and never has He neglected to tell me how important I am to Him, how righteous is my path.

These are difficult things to reconcile. I go to the Hall of the Dead for guidance, but it's locked. My skin crawls. An omen?

Quintus is always the one to talk me down. His voice is cool water on a parched brow. It's not Arkay that sends the dreams. It couldn't be. They're just, Quintus suggests, a reflection of my own pent-up guilt over having killed him. But how could that be? The dreams are too vivid. Too real. And besides, why would I feel guilt over something I never did?

See? He's fine.

I need to clear my head. It's time to follow the carriage driver's tales. Finding the Draugr may not take away my doubts, but at least it will give me something else to think about. We spy a Dwarven tower in the distance, and decide to seek it out. If nothing else, the view from high ground should make cairns that much easier to find.

Spoiler: Show
By default, IHUD hides the compass, quest markers and nearby PoI markers (in addition to other changes, such as bringing up crosshairs only when you have a ranged ability equipped). I haven't turned the compass back on, which surprises me a little... but I'm really enjoying the more visual approach. Actually finding things, with eyes and a map, just feels more exploratory.

But first, we learn something interesting. The house where Quintus was trapped belongs to one Pavo, a miner who was chased away by Forsworn. His foreman laments that it's pointless to ask the authorities for help.

"What kind of mine?"

He's evasive, which tells me everything I need to know. The Silver-bloods of Markarth are not known for even-handedness. If the miners have stumbled on something valuable, they'll hardly want to share it with any local liberators. I cut a different deal: you let me fill my bags with ore, and I'll rid you of your Forsworn.

Don't you worry about Forsworn. Let Quintus and I worry about Forsworn.

We come across a sabre cat, one of Skyrim's vicious predators, and kill it.

We then deal with a wandering Thalmor patrol in the only language they understand.

Alas, it costs us our last potion.

Spoiler: Show

This is Categorized Favourites Menu, with a SkyRe compatibility plugin. It does exactly what it sounds like it does, and is, for me, a must-have. Being able to use the entirety of the screen instead of just a corner of it is very helpful, and the categorization is icing on the cake. Also, I didn't get any good screens of fighting the Thalmor. Sadface. It was another rough fight, because the SkyRe version of the Steed stone has given me, in addition to the added weight limit, a boost to cold resistance but a penalty against fire. Waiting for the Thalmor to split up and making good use of Quintus--who is woefully brittle but hits hard--grants me the victory.

A word on potions: they still trigger instantly (i.e. without a drinking animation), but the effect itself is no longer instant for health or mana potions. Instead, those have greater total magnitudes that tick over four seconds rather than offering an up-front refill.

The tower. Inside, we find a treasure trove of dwarven scrap, and a locked chest that will unfortunately remain so.

Spoiler: Show

One of the most recent SkyRe changes was a dramatic increase in the difficulty of lock-picking, such that characters without any skill at it will break far more picks than usual. I personally enjoy this--I figure you probably should have to invest in some thief skills in order to use them--but those players who just can't leave a locked object behind may wish to consider a cheat or two if they use this mod.

The view from the tower convinces me. There are cairns here. I'm certain that I spy the eagle-headed cairn posts of the early Nords.

I head northeast. It's certain now. I couldn't see it from the road from Whiterun, but it's plain as day from here. Unfortunately, evening has fallen, and the memory of vampires is too fresh in my mind. I'm too far to press on, but there's time yet to finish the job I started at Pavo's House. Let's see if we can teach the Forsworn an important lesson about dealing with brigands.

Shields to the face are highly instructive.

Gold. It's better than I even imagined. The mine is full of gold. I take what I can carry, and waddle back to Markarth. Pavo pays me an additional stipend. Arkay will see a tenth part of that coin. The rest will fund our next excursion. I go in search of a blacksmith to haggle out the value of gold ingots and dwarven, and find myself in Markarth's palace, where I meet the Jarl. He's unpleasant, and not above trying to foist his own duties on a passing adventurer.

Well, I was heading in that direction anyway.


MK1: Part 2--wherein lots of fun game-y wheels begin to turn--will follow tomorrow. A friend of mine is in town from Japan, and today's likely the only chance we'll have to get together.
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Hey Nonny-Nonny
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My hosting may be upgrading servers at some point in the nearish future, which will presumably knock out screens for a bit. Hopefully, there won't be much disruption.

Also, let me know if these threads are getting too image-heavy. If people start to get slowdown, I may have to start hiding pics inside spoiler blocks.

MK1: Fortresses of the Forsworn, Continued

An angry bald man asks me a question to which I suspect he knows the answer. I'd reassure him, but I'm mildly offended that he's foamed all over me with accusations of my homeland having betrayed Talos. I worship the Nine, and I'm hardly alone. The Thalmor will get theirs.

Just moments after I say that, I find myself witnessing an interesting scene. It seems angry bald man is not the only dissident in the palace. I don't know who killed the elf, but I can't say I'll mourn him. Hopefully, this will remain a minor diplomatic incident. Hell, that or outright war. It's what lies in between that I can't stand.

I expect I ought to make myself scarce before the elves get it into their heads to start questioning every stranger they can snatch up. The gold I mined in Kolskeggr mine proves to be exceptional, though the smith has little interest in dwarven ore. I smelt it myself, and have enough for almost a full suit of armour. The closed-face helmet will come in handy. The option of hiding my eyes is a useful one, at least until I hire someone to pose as a seeing-eye minion.

But that's not my only new toy. At long last, I purchase a horse--I'm done relying on Khajiti caravans--and learn some new spells.

Spoiler: Show

My new horse has armour! This is just one of the many optional tweaks provided by the (rather imposingly large) mod that is Convenient Horses. Upset that your horse can gallop for all of twenty yards before hacking up a lung like Joe Camel? You can bump up its stamina. Don't want bears murdering it? No problem! By default, Convenient Horses makes the world neutral towards your horse, and softens its own sociopathic tendencies towards all life that swims, flies, or crawls upon the face of the earth. Some other key benefits: my horse now has an inventory, and I can use it for storing all the ingots I'm hauling around; when I hire a follower, he'll have a horse too, rather than running around behind me; perhaps most importantly, for an extra 500g, I can buy a horn from the stables, and summon my horse to me if I take a fast travel carriage, or if I happen to exit a ruin far from where I entered it.

Also, I thought I'd stick with steel for a bit, but I wanted to see if there were any cool IA armours available at Dwarven. There weren't.

We make our way into the Forsworn-held Red Eagle Redoubt, and fight our way through caves and atop cliffs, until:

Draugr! There's no question. There are none here, but I'm certain that I see evidence of old Nordic burial customs. That they could quarry such cairns from the mountain stone itself ...

But unfortunately, we come across only the one chamber. Whatever else existed here, it's either collapsed or been converted by the Forsworn. And after all this searching? I take my frustrations out on the barbarians, and harvest their bones to await my pleasure.

She wasn't using those any longer.

Spoiler: Show

Harvest is the first of our necromancy-specific Conjuration perks, and it allows me, if I activate a body whilst sneaking, to loot random bones, human flesh, and human hearts. If I'm understanding the rest of the tree correctly, I'll eventually be able to assemble permanent skeletal minions from the bones and empty petty soul gems. Best of all, these minions will not count against my summon limit, which means I'll eventually have an army.

The human hearts are needed not for necromancy, but for the Daedric branch. Summoning a Dremora requires the sacrifice of a human heart or else some health (how much and how permanently, I don't know). However, the human heart trade, at 60gp a pop without any trading perks besides my native Imperial 25% bonus to buy/sell prices, is quite lucrative.

Quintus hates the Forsworn as much as I do.

Spoiler: Show
Fires of the Master, a novice-level Conjuration spell, allows the targeted minion to spit a fireball at an enemy. It's not a highly damaging spell--and unlike Destruction, Conjuration offers no boosts to direct damage; moreover, having tested FotM in a different playthrough, I can confirm that its damage, despite being fire-based, does not increase with the appropriate Destruction talents either--but it's neat, and more importantly, it's a possible answer to an important question: What should a Conjuration mage be doing with mana once the summon limit is reached?

Another new spell I've learned is Curse of Brimstone, a Restoration spell that debuffs an enemy to explode into a hefty fireball when killed. This is not, it turns out, a great mix with a melee character, particularly one who's weak against fire. I wanted to test whether that explosion can hurt me. It most certainly can.

Our spellbook at this point is:
1) Healing
2) Conjure Skeleton
3) Fires of the Master
4) Curse of Brimstone

On the hill's crown, I find an altar and a sword--Red Eagle's Blade. A book on the altar makes reference to a legendary Forsworn who can still be woken from his slumber, if only the blade is blooded in combat and taken to him. *I* certainly won't bloody it--a man must have a code, and it is not my place to question why bloodshed via bludgeoning is more sacred than bloodshed via cutting; it just is--but perhaps I can hire someone to do so, when the time comes.

Onward! Quintus and I stop briefly at a forge to hammer out a new shield--the last one is all Forsworny--and then head to the fortress of Broken Tower Redoubt, where the last of the Forsworn chieftains is hiding.

After a brutal combat, Quintus and I persevere.

Spoiler: Show
It seems there's a lot more variety in the danger level posed by Briarhearts. In vanilla, these were always fairly tough high-level Forsworn, so I was a bit surprised to see how easily I was bashing my way through the ones at Red Eagle Redoubt ... but the boss of Broken Tower? Hoo boy. Despite a 25% frost resistance, his magic tore me to shreds. I ended up calling upon my (not particularly) extensive experience with WoW's PVP Arenas, and hid behind a pillar until, many Quintii later, he was low enough on health that I felt safe charging. Heroism, ladies and gents!

And it's back to the safest city of the Reach we go, weighed down with weapons, loot, and bones, glorious bones!

Spoiler: Show

Blind Bassus
Level 8 Cleric

Health - 107
Magicka - 127
Stamina - 132

Light Weaponry 41 - 1 perk
Block 38
Heavy Armour 40 - 1 perk
Smithing 34 - 4 perks
Conjuration 28 - 2 perks
Restoration 37

1. Healing
2. Conjure Skeleton
3. Fire of the Master
4. Chanthrax
5. Aura - Armoured Ascension

More about the newly purchased spells in the next episode, when we start using them.

You'll also notice that my h/m/s stats have gone a bit wonky, numbers-wise. I'm still not quite wise to SkyRe's stat-fu - and indeed, I don't know if it's SkyRe or CCO at work. Whatever the case, putting a leveling point into a stat doesn't quite add round, predictable values, and I'm not sure what's scaling them to. It might be that there's a random element, or it might be that they're scaled to a racial ratio by CCO (i.e. perhaps high elves get more mana and less health per spent point). It is to shrug and carry on.


So, where to next? We can continue to nose about in Markarth. Perhaps we'll read our note, or perhaps we'll learn why the Hall of the Dead is locked up. We can head elsewhere for a change of scenery. We can follow up these pesky rumours of war in Helgen and start learning what it means to have installed Deadly Dragons.
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