Skyrim: Awakening

This is the beginning of my playthrough of the Dawnguard DLC for Skyrim. You can find later bits of this adventure on the Ongoing Series page.

As promised, here is my dedicated Skyrim post; I’m going to try and chronicle my journeys through the DLC portions of the game. Before getting into it, I did want to chronicle my past endeavors in the game, as when I played through in the past I wasn’t blogging as regularly.

The Elder Scrolls is a series of games that I have always been aware of, but didn’t play with enthusiasm until I finally got to play the fifth game, Skyrim. I own a copy of III: Morrowind, but I didn’t pick it up until a few years after release, and never really played it due to an MMO addiction at the time. I played a borrowed copy of IV: Oblivion for some time, but never came close to completing it. I was actually looking into picking up a bundle of Oblivion + expansions for the PS3 a couple of years ago, but opted against it because of lack of trophy support — this is a thought process I have moved beyond. V: Skyrim was on my radar for a while, and I was planning to get a copy, but when it released I was unable to afford it, but my brother-in-law got it around Christmas time that year.  I was staying with my sister and him at the time, so I ended up being able to play his copy.

I started the game up in early 2012, and played through everything I could find. I completed all of the major quest lines outside of the Daedric ones, and was still trophy hunting long after I finished the main storyline. At a certain point, I felt like I had seen and done all that I wanted, and put the game down for a while. Somewhere in the next year, I picked up my own copy of the game, but didn’t really go back and play it. DLCs were announced and released on Xbox, but PS3 owners were told there was a delay. That delay went on for quite some time before it was announced that the files were going to be available in early 2013. This news reminded me that there were still loose ends to tie up in the base game, so I fired it up and go to work. I managed to clean up almost the entire trophy list before the DLC was released, but life got in the way and I didn’t get those expansions when I would have liked. Still, I made more progress, but was unable to get the last two trophies needed to get the Platinum. Now I’ve moved past trophy whoring, but this is a game I’d be proud to have “done it all” in. The remaining trophies were to get to level 50 (I took a break again when I was in my early 40s) and to “return the Thieves Guild to its former glory.” The latter was part of the Thieves Guild progression, but after “completing” the series, there are further things to do. The only problem was, to continue I needed to give a piece of guild armor to a character who would then upgrade it for me. At some point I had sold those items, and couldn’t remember where, so I figured I would have to go back and make a new character just to get that trophy. My frustration apparent, I put the game down again.

Here we are today, another year later, with DLC in hand. Not only does this make the game fresh again because of new story driven content, but is an opportunity to get those last two trophies as well. Looking at the new trophies available, I realized that I could pick up a couple fairly quickly, so I opted for those first. First up, I added an additional room to my house, and then adopted a child (trophy). This was an option added in Hearthfire, along with the ability to buy plots of land and build your own house. The latter two bits I’m waiting on because they aren’t that much of a draw and reportedly suck down a lot of cash, so I might as well earn some more money for now. Another Hearthfire feature was the ability to change your face (appearance editing), and doing so earned another quick trophy. Then I moved on to my first new adventure.

Dawnguard takes place in Skyrim, so the same general feel is present, the graphical assets are the same, and the only really new feature is the ability to be cursed with vampirism. I figured it was best to start at the beginning of this DLC and save Dragonborn for later. During my aforementioned running around, there were rumors overheard about a group of vampire hunters recruiting, called the — you guessed it — Dawnguard. The first quest of the series leads you to Fort Dawnguard, and new landmark is added in the southeast corner of the map. To access the fort though, you must travel through the Dayspring Canyon.

Dayspring Canyon
Dayspring Canyon

Surprisingly there weren’t any enemies to fight at this point. I moved through the canyon carefully but also stopped to enjoy some of the sights. Skyrim really is beautiful even on a PS3. I can’t even imagine how it looks on a gaming rig. Along the road I encountered a young man who mentioned he was also heading to Fort Dawnguard to be recruited. We traveled together down the path.

Fort Dawnguard
Fort Dawnguard

Once inside, we encountered Isran, the apparent leader of the bunch, who was having a heated discussion with another member.

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After listening to some dialogue, I spoke with Isran, who sent me after his heated friend, to Dimhollow Crypt to investigate reported vampire activity. As I looked around for loot, I overheard the comical conversation between the sheepish new recruit and Isran; by the time I was leaving he was busy training with a crossbow. I arrived at Dimhollow Crypt fairly quickly, as I have so many fast travel options its pretty easy to end up next to where I need to be.

Just a little ominous
Just a little ominous

Inside there were plenty of vampires, thralls, summoned skeletons and hell hounds to dispatch of. Despite having a sword and board champion, I did dump quite a bit of time into thievery skills and archery, so I can pick and choose my battles. I was relatively unscathed  until running into one of the master vampires. He took a little more cunning.

Had to pause for this one
Had to pause for this one

Further in, there was this strange platform suspended over water that had a monolith in the center of it. This was surrounded by movable braziers that formed a fairly obvious puzzle. WP_20140211_010

Once completed, the monolith opened to reveal a “mysterious woman”, who turned out to be a vampire, imprisoned by her own kind.

I don't know why this is so blurry...
I don’t know why this is so blurry…

Thus completed the first adventure of Dawnguard. A new quest was offered by this woman, and I will be continuing the journey soon. I should also mention that I found a fix for what I thought was a broken questline (the thieves guild quest I mentioned earlier). Turns out, inside the thieves guild you can find a piece of armor needed for that turn in, and now I can continue on and get that trophy. My game plan for now is to finish up the main series in Dawnguard, then clean up the thieves guild before moving on to Dragonborn. Hopefully I will reach level 50 somewhere in there (I’m almost 45 now) and receive my long awaited Platinum!