Getting Deep in Solstheim

When I arrived on the Island of Solstheim, I was planning on just getting right into the main story line and wasn’t going to let myself get side tracked. That lasted about 5 minutes, and next thing I knew I was being pulled in several directions at once, as Skyrim has been proven to do every time I play it. This is not a complaint either, I love the immersion and the drive the game gives me to explore all the nooks and crannies. Let’s just say it doesn’t take long for Shit to Get Real™.

I did start out with the main quest line, because it was the only real direction I had. I was told by the dude at the docks that I should ask around town for more information about Miraak, since he’s basically the whole reason I was on the island in the first place. I came across “the Earth Stone,” as the quest marker pointed me in that direction.


There were some construction workers nearby who seemed a little out of it, as if they were under a spell or something. Shortly thereafter, I was approached by a Dunmer by the name of Neloth.


He points me in the direction of some temple on the other side of the island, and gives me a new location on my map. I figured I should explore the town further before starting the trek though, and that lead me into several side quests, which I had a hard time resisting. See, I’m usually the type who likes to complete everything that comes my way, so a game like Skyrim puts me in a position where I can’t just rush through the game for trophies or just to say I “beat it” because I won’t feel that way unless I did mostly everything on offer. Soon enough I was inside the town’s temple, and was told that their underground crypt was infested by “Ash Beasts,” and guess who volunteered to clear it out? This guy.


You’ll have to forgive the quality of some of these screens, as it’s hard to play the game with a controller and take pictures with my phone, but I manage. So these ash creatures are formed from the volcanic ash from the — you guessed it — volcano on the island. They aren’t too tough though they do seem to cause a burning effect when striking you. The good news is that they all drop various ores in their dead ash piles, so I’ve come up on a lot of materials that can be used to level blacksmithing. I know, I’m the guy who complains about tradeskills in games, but in Skyrim the tradeskills don’t bother me. They’re easy to do, and they give effective rewards. It’s not like the typical MMO where the gear I craft is shit, or I out level it within a day or two. I’m still wearing the Dragonbone gear that I crafted a long ass time ago, case in point.

It was rather easy to clear out the crypt, and I received a small reward for doing so. Moving further in the town, I was tasked with getting an “Ancient Nord Pickaxe” from a miner, who had borrowed it from the Blacksmith. I headed to the mines, and of course said miner had a conspiracy theory. He wanted me to head deeper into the mines to find his grandfather’s remains, whom he believed was killed by some foul force and that the East Empire Company had covered it up.


First off I convinced him to give up the pickaxe, and when I returned to the Blacksmith, he let me keep it. He just wanted “his point made.” So score, new pickaxe for me. Not that it made much of a difference, but whatever. So we were off to dive deeper into the mines (when I say we, I mean Serana and myself, as I decided to keep her along with me).


Navigating the mine was no big deal. There were some spiders to deal with but still, no big thang for a bad ass adventurer like myself. Once we got towards the bottom the appearance changed. It seemed that we were in an ancient Nord burial chamber. This was typical of Skyrim, but we were in Morrowind now, so it was strange to see Dragur. No matter, they were easily dispatched, and I eventually came across a deposit of a new material called “Stahlrim” which according to my trophy list was something I could craft with. We’ll get to that later. Further along there were some bigger baddies, including the Nord zombies with the nice armor who also know shouts.

WP_20141018_009 WP_20141018_013 WP_20141018_011 WP_20141018_016

When we did finally find Gratian Caerellius’ remains, it was clear that the old miner was correct about the conspiracy to cover up the Nord burial chambers.

WP_20141018_018 WP_20141018_019

He had a journal on him that chronicled the events, and his remains were in front of a mysterious door that was glowing with energy. He also had a magical two-handed sword that was a piece of the puzzle. With a strong attack, it actually shot out an energy wave, which was used in opening the door (which at this point was the only want to get out).


The puzzle was easy enough, and it wasn’t too difficult to get beyond the traps thereafter either. There was an evil spirit that was a bitch to kill off, I believe he was a Lich King, in the fact that he dropped a rather nifty mask, much like one that I used to wear for a while (Krosis I believe it was?). I didn’t get a picture of him because that was a tough, twitchy fight. But he was in the water-filled chamber below:

WP_20141018_022 WP_20141018_023 WP_20141018_024

In a small room nearby, there was a stand with a book on top of it, and I assumed it was a typical book or perhaps a spell tome, but I was surprised to be transported to another dimension once I touched it (which is why I didn’t take a picture, because it seemed so ordinary). So I’m now in another dimension, and there’s a creepy beholder type floating eyeball mass talking to me.


Apparently the plane is called Apocrypha, where all knowledge is hoarded. He tells me that I may consume all the knowledge I want and then leave, for a time. It’s fairly ominous, but eventually I realize I can leave though I have to kill a big ass boss mob. Despite having recently dispatched a Lich King. Yeah, I’m a bad ass, but I believe I already mentioned that.


He doesn’t look that bad in the pic, but he was rather large, and took a long time to kill. Shortly thereafter I found a really big book that granted me a special perk of my choosing, though none were that awe-inspiring. It also held the portal to get outta here.


Shortly thereafter I emerged from the Nord burial chamber into another cavern, which had been used by bandits as a stronghold. I cleared them out and found myself on the beach just north of Raven Rock. I returned to the old miner, and got a small reward. From there, I traveled towards another side quest, which was a shipwreck off of the south east coast, where the matriarch of the town needed me to retrieve a logbook. On the way, I came across a Dunmer named Captain Veleth who was being attacked by the ash beasts. I helped him out, and he told me that something had happened at this farm house and needed help figuring out why the ash beasts kept attacking Raven Rock. I found a note nearby, which was a decree from General Falx Carius, whom Veleth said had been dead for centuries. He pointed me in the direction of another fort, but first I was off to the ship wreck.

WP_20141018_033WP_20141018_032WP_20141018_034 WP_20141018_035

The ship had been taken over by thieves, and I cleared them out quickly. I found some loot along with the log book and returned it to the matriarch. Then it was time to investigate the fort where Carius was said to be located (possibly). We found the fort with little trouble, and ash beasts were lurking all around. Once inside, there were more ash beasts but I also came across a journal of someone who had taken residence in the fort recently. He described foul experiments using heartstone which he grafted to the long-dead remains of Carius, and somehow brought him back to life. He mentioned that Carius was showing a resilience of mind and continuously attacked him, denying any power the conjuror may have had. Later I found that Carius was behind a locked door, and for good reason. He could summon ash beasts and carried a powerful 2 handed sword. He killed me once before I took him down, and was a rather tough boss fight. But I was victorious in the end.

WP_20141018_036 WP_20141018_037

When I returned to town, it was to Veleth’s delight that the ash beast attacks would stop (I did manage to see an attack happen once, and it seemed rather negligible, but still, I was the hero of the day).


Veleth sent me to talk to the original Dunmer who had greeted me on the docks, but I had decided to call it a night by then. The adventure will continue soon!

#skyrim #dragonborn #solstheim

Bragtoberfest Week 3 Round-Up



Another week down, and we’ve had another big event, several mini-events and more bloggers writing about what they’re accomplishing in games. It’s been a fun month but we are nearing the end. That means for the month-long competitions you only have a week left to make that final push. This upcoming weekend will be the final big group event. You only have a week to earn the rest of the potential achievements and at the end of the month I’ll be doing the big giveaway. So stay tuned for all of that!

Gaming Events


This weekend we got together to play some Team Fortress 2. Being free to play, easy to understand/jump into, and goofy fun, it seemed like a good choice. One of the only things I failed to think of ahead of time was the fact that the participants were all over the world, and that meant ping could be a factor. In a game that didn’t require accuracy, this might not have been an issue, but it was in a game like this. Welshtroll, his wife, Roger from CMP, and Jeromai joined up for the session.


I spent a lot of time as the sniper.

Starting out, Jeromai had some issues with ping, but eventually we got that all sorted out and it wasn’t much of an issue (at least it was tolerable). The only other issue is the fact that the game is a little dated, so there matchmaking system leaves much to be desired. We worked around it though, and I chose to set us up in Mann vs. Machine matches so that we could cooperatively shoot shit. It was also the easiest way to get us all on the same server. We did end up with some random players here and there until eventually Doone joined up with us and we had a full 6 man team.


These tanks were annoying!

Overall it was pretty fun, but I have to say that I’m just not really a fan of the game. The classes don’t speak to me. I enjoy the style and the goofy factor, but the gameplay is a little lacking. This is mainly because I’m more partial to newer shooters, but it is what it is. I had a good time regardless.


I really like this game. It’s such a simple concept, but the 6 man co-op takes the zombie killing fun to the next level (as opposed to say, CoD Zombies modes with 4-man teams). There are annoyances such as shitty voice overs that declare you are reloading every single time you do so, and the graphics are a bit dated (it did release in 2009 after all). I joked that the majority of our group would enjoy the game because the voice overs were complete with British accents and your in game currency is pounds rather than dollars. It’s apparent the game was developed in their country. This game also had a dated matchmaking system (that or I have been completely spoiled by matchmaking in Steam or on consoles) that took a minute to figure out, but soon enough we were in game. Doone dropped out of the group at this point, as did Welsh’s wife, so it was just me, Roger, Jeromai and Welsh going into it. We ended up with two random friends each round though, so it wasn’t an issue. We also sucked hard at the initial claustrophobic level that we started on, but things leveled out once we got onto the farm level.


We had plenty of room to move around, though we ended up finding a farm house and next thing I knew the group disappeared and come to find out everyone had died. I managed to survive the wave, and next thing you know we were all dying. It was rather difficult to stay together and kill everything that moved.


We tended to stay together while the other random people would wander off. We would usually end up together again once it was time to do the shopping in between waves, that is if we made it there in time.


At this point we were in a run down version of London, and I had dual “Love-Cannons” with which I smashed in many heads. Later in this match I would end up buying a pretty awesome sniper rifle.


We ended up actually completing this level including taking down the boss (who was a zombie with a chest-burster and a big ass gun). We lost all previous levels because we weren’t prepared, and I actually turned the difficulty down. But whatever, we finally got a victory screen:


All in all it’s a rather fun game. The sequel is currently in development, so I think I’m going to try and convince these folks to pick that up when it comes out so we can do this all over again with prettier graphics.

Mini Games

After last week’s PoE event, Doone was nice enough to gift participants with the screen-saver-ish “game” Mountain. It seems we have all been coaxed into naming our Mountains and Doone is planning something with them at the end of the month. Mine has been named “The Devil’s Teat” and so far has managed to gather a baseball, padlock, and a bunch of bananas. Aside from when I make it rain blood or destroy it altogether. It’s a weird concept but it can be enthralling at times.

2014-10-11_00001 2014-10-11_00002 2014-10-11_00003 2014-10-11_00004 2014-10-11_00005 2014-10-17_00001 2014-10-17_00002 2014-10-17_00003 2014-10-17_00004

We’ve also been running an on going score attack challenge in Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+, where I am currently leading with just over 3 million points on the Championship II (first course of the game) 10-minute run. Proof:

I understand that some others have been getting involved, and you are welcome to post whatever scores you like, but this was the officially sanctioned one for the month. So beat my score, and rub it in! Also, this week’s flash game was Feed the King, and it appears that Murf has been the winner, as I can’t find any higher score than this one. J3w3l will be announcing the new game soon.

So congrats on that Murf. I couldn’t ever get past 40k. As far as achievement tracking goes, check the list and let me know if I missed anything, as usual.

Post Round-Up

Here’s what’s been going on in the Blogosphere for #Bragtoberfest:

Aywren hits level 50 in ArcheAge and makes a bunch of gold in the process. Also on Clean Casuals, Aywren’s counterpart Almonihah clears The Last Federation.

Moderate Phil gives a rundown of this past weekend’s gaming event.

Rowan Blaze plays TSW and earns a bunch of skill points and a new set of gear.

In his weekly round-up, Mr Luvva Luvva talks about Bragtoberfest high scores.

Murf tells us a story about a server first in WoW.

Welshtroll’s recap of Saturday’s gaming event.

And here’s Jeromai’s as well.

Finally, Doone talks about Mountain.

That’s all for this week. Catch you for the finale next week. Same bat time, same bat channel.

#Bragtoberfest #roundup #community

State of the Game: Week 42, 2014

Yeah, I know, that’s not a very descriptive title for the round-up this week, but you see I had a problem. Well, it’s actually not much of a problem, it’s actually been rather nice. I’ve been playing Skyrim, and that’s what I spent the majority of my time on this week. That means a round-up of a bunch of games can’t happen, so instead I’m reaching towards anything I can say, without really talking about Skyrim, because I made a lengthy post already and have another prepped to go! So here’s a recap of my week here on the blog:

So really, you can see that I mostly played Skyrim, and everything else was just the usual posts that have filled my weeks this month. As I said, I’ve moved on with that Skyrim DLC playthrough, so I have another post that should turn up within the next couple of days. I did manage to play other games, but they were just very sporadic and very short sessions. Or, they fell within the parameters of Bragtoberfest and will be relegated to the round-up post for tomorrow.

I jumped into Awesomenauts for a few rounds after I found out that there was a new naut in the works. I still love the game and the steady improvements keep it up there as one of my favorite MOBAs. I just wish I knew more people who played it, and were relatively the same skill level. I did manage to meet up with an old friend for a few games in League of Legends though, and that was a blast while it lasted. I still have been playing a few games here and there, but there are only so many hours in the day and I have too many damn interests.

The League of Legends World Championship Finals happened last night/this morning (depending on your time zone). I stayed up late enough to see the 3-1 victory for SSW. The first game was smash mouth for RC, they were steamrolled. Game two saw a small improvement, but SSW still came out on top. Early on I called a 3-0 in favor of SSW and made a snarky comment comparing RC with the 90’s Buffalo Bills, because this is the 2nd year in a row that the Chinese team made it to the Final, and they lost both (just as the Bills failed to win any of the 4 in a row Super Bowls that they went to). The 3rd game was a complete turn around and it looked like we might have a series. Especially when in game 4 RC took an early lead and held it for a while, but they made poor decisions and ended up losing overall. So Korea takes another Championship.

I played a few more little Indie titles for some short sessions, and have been working on high scores for the flash games and other score challenges that have popped up over the course of the month. Yesterday a group of us got together to play Team Fortress 2 and Killing Floor. I spent some time with the latter title by myself before we had the official event, but I will touch more on these comings and goings tomorrow.

I did manage to clear a few more levels in Orcs Must Die but I still have a way to go to beat the game. I rather enjoy it but I think that co-op would make it that much more fun, so I really need to push through and finish it so I can play the sequel with friends. Some other bloggers have expressed interest in this, so hopefully we can all get there sooner than later.


This level was giving me a hell of a time. So many Ogres!

That’s really all there is to it this week. Short and sweet. I’ll be back tomorrow with details about the goings-on with Bragtoberfest!


Completing Dawnguard

It’s been 6+ months since I touched Skyrim, but I was interested to get back into it after reading a post over on Gaming Conjecture. I’m not really sure why I hadn’t finished up the DLCs, but my best guess is I got involved in other games and they fell off my radar for a while. Every time I had thought about firing up TES5, I simply didn’t.

I had to do some looking around to be able to pick up where I left off. Turns out that I had a post planned that would tie my last post about the game to this one, complete with more screenshots. However, I have switched computers since then, and I have also switched phones, so the two places where the pictures might have been are no longer in my possession. So, to tie things together, here’s a quick rundown.

When I had left off with the last post, I had just gathered the last Elder Scroll, and had traveled to Ancestor’s Glade, where I read the scrolls. After a vision and speaking to Serana, we headed to the Darkfall Cave. Here we ran into Knight-Paladin Gelebor who is one of the last living Snow Elves (the rest have evolved into the Falmer). Turns out he has a quest for us, and there’s no way around it to get ahold of Auriel’s Bow. We are charged with helping Gelebor defeat his brother, Arch-Curate Vyrthur, who is in the Inner Sanctum of the chantry of Auri-El. This boils down to him giving us an Intitiate’s Ewer which we have to fill with water from 5 different “Wayshrines,” but first we have to travel through Darkfall Passage to get to the Forgotten Vale. Gelebor opens the Wayshrine near him so that we may enter the portal to Darkfall Passage. This is what I would have posted, but never got around to. Now, onto my adventure from last night:


As the objective clearly states, our first task was to survive Darkfall Passage. This wouldn’t have been much of an issue as I was nearly level 47, decked out in Legendary Dragonbone Armor, and had many a Daedric artifact at my disposal. However, when I had last played I apparently used nearly all of my healing potions so my first few attempts at fast clearing were foiled rather quickly. Most of the Falmer went down pretty quickly, but there were some that were rather tough, and did quite a bit of damage to me rather quickly. I then resolved to use stealth and to let Serana get focused so that I wouldn’t take as much damage, and the rest of the trek was fairly easy.

WP_20141016_004 WP_20141016_006 WP_20141016_007

Finally, we came to one of the ghostly former snow elves, Prelate Sidanyis. He opened this wayshrine and the Ewer was filled.


Afterwards we headed out of the Darkfall Passage and into the Forgotten Vale.


The Vale was beautiful. There were various forms of wildlife, along with the usual Trolls, Tigers and Spiders we’d become accustomed to killing. We had to visit all the corners of the Vale to fill the Ewer completely, so this wasn’t going to be purely a sight-seeing trip. Later, we ran into a new monster I had yet to fight: A Frost Giant.


He dropped a curious item, which actually opened a nearby portal. The portal ended up leading to the inner sanctum so I thought I had found a short cut, but it was a portion of the building that was closed off from the rest, and simply functioned as a treasure cache.


I ended up finding three of the Wayshrines during my time in the Vale, though the map indicated that the last would be found inside another location (different map symbol for instance). While heading towards this destination, we came across a vast frozen lake, with a lone outcropping of rock that clearly had a word of power inscribed on it. Of course, as soon as I approached this location, two huge named Dragons burst out from under the ice and attacked. Being rather vulnerable to their breath attacks out in the open, I retreated to an area where I had some cover, and whittled them down with Dragonrend and other abilities.

WP_20141016_019 WP_20141016_020

They were still no match for the Dragonborn. Following the path behind the latter set of dragon bones, we went through a Falmer settlement, which lead us to an icy cave in the side of the mountain.


Moving through the cave was slow going as it was crawling with Falmer. At the other end, we came back  out into the Vale, and though Falmer structures were still present, they were no longer around. Here is where we found the final Wayshrine, and the Chantry behind that. Filling the Ewer, we were ready to enter the inner-sanctum. I emptied the contents of the Ewer into the bowl in the latter picture, and the gates opened for us.

WP_20141016_023 WP_20141016_024 WP_20141016_026

Once inside it was apparent that some sort of battle had taken place here. Charus and Falmer were frozen in various places, but very few broke out of the ice to attack us.


We made our way further in, and finally found Gelebor’s brother, sitting upon a throne; frozen Charus and Falmer filling the room. After we confronted Vyrthur, he breaks the spell and we had to kill all of the formerly frozen enemies. He also attempted to cave the roof in on top of us, but we managed to kill everything and survive. He scampered off and we gave chase.

WP_20141016_029 WP_20141016_030 WP_20141016_035

After a brief confrontation between Vyrthur and Serana, it was revealed that at some point he had been turned into a Vampire. He was protecting Auriel’s Bow from the likes of us. We put him down swiftly, and Gelebor appeared to show us the location of the bow.

WP_20141016_036 WP_20141016_037 WP_20141016_038

After claiming the bow, Gelebor blesses some of my Elven arrows with the power of the sun to use against Harkon. We then return to Dawnguard Keep to report back to Isran.


He immediately mobilizes the rest of the Dawnguard, and we head to Fort Harkon to confront the Vampire leader in a final confrontation. Crossing the bridge we were immediately attacked by animated Gargoyles and Vampires, and this battle continued inside the castle, all the way til we find Harkon’s inner sanctum, where Serena and I would confront him alone.

WP_20141016_040 WP_20141016_041

That battle was rather difficult. Not only did Harkon take some serious damage but he was either lifestealing, or had incredibly high health regen. Periodically he would turn to bats and escape to other portions of the room, call in skeleton or gargoyle minions, or create a bubble around himself while floating over the top of the fountain in the background there. When he would, it required use of Auriel’s Bow to break the shield and coax him back into the fight. After quite some time we finally defeated him, and Isran would enter to thank us, thus completing the main story of the Dawnguard DLC.


There are some side quests that I have in my journal and still need to turn in to really be “done” with the expansion, but I wanted to dive straight into the Dragonborn DLC, so I did what I had to do to get on the boat to Solstheim. Turns out I had the pre-requisites done, so I just headed to Windhelm and grabbed a boat ride.


Solstheim appears to be much different than Skyrim already. Apparently the island is part of Morrowind, and is almost exclusively made up of Dunmer (Dark Elves).  I was greeted by a member of the local government on the dock who told me as much, and then I decided to call it a night.

More on my adventures on Solstheim to come soon!

#skyrim #dawnguard #dragonborn #dlc

Couch Podtatoes Episode 18: Talking Points The Sequel

We’re back, and it’s episode number 18. This time around I decided to be a little lazy and throw together the sequel to our show “Talking Points” from a couple of months back. Rather than do the typical format show, we just do a little cross promotion for TGEN, recap the goings-on with Bragtoberfest, and then dive into a varied discussion about a number of different articles, all of which you can see below in the show notes. We also had a fellow member of TGEN join us in the candid discussion, Roger Edwards of Contains Moderate Peril! It was a lot of fun getting different opinions on all of the different talking points, and we hope you enjoy!



Listen to Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 18: Talking Points The Sequel (runtime: 1:25:42)

TGEN Cross Promotion/Bragtoberfest recap (starts at 1:22)
Discussion: Talking Points (starts at 14:39)

Discussion Links:
Talking Points

State of Play Movie

Playstation TV

The Resolution debate

Hotline Miami 2 Delayed to early 2015

Alien Isolation’s overall good reviews

Borderlands Pre-Sequel Review

Semi controversial review of The Evil Within

Dragon Age Inquisition System Specs Revealed

DA:I is set to be “a long game”

LoL Worlds Finals Info

Evolve Alpha info + Trailer

TellTale’s Game of Thrones Speculation

LOTRO + Rift + more = beta watch

Trion DDoS’ed again

Brianna Wu Story


Host Contact information:

Blog: Me vs. Myself and I

Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Guest information:

Roger Edwards
Blog: Contains Moderate Peril
Twitter: @moderateperil

Music Credits:
“Level Up” by Cookie Monsta (from the Riot! EP)
“Debt Owed to the Grave” by Revocation (from the album “Deathless”)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

#couchpodtatoes #podcast #gamesdiscussion #gaming