By the Elder Scrolls: Dragonborn (With Spoilers)
Upon obtaining the Skyrim DLC “Dragonborn,” I was greatly excited by the opportunity to travel to the island of Solstheim with a whole new story, unique items, and quests. The new DLC becomes active upon entering any major city in Skyrim. There you are attacked by several cultists that claim to be sent to kill you because you are dragonborn. From there you end up on the isle of Solstheim and embark on an epic quest to slay the ancient dragonborn, the first dragonborn, and the most powerful dragonborn Miraak.
Miraak is a dragon priest from long ago who is plotting his return to our world from a realm in Oblivion called Apocrypha (more on that later). From here he has been using his power to manipulate the people of Solstheim to allow his return to the mortal realm. Upon your first encounter with him, he easily uses his minions to dispose of you while he flies away, RIDING a dragon. Later, we learn he does this through a new shout “Bend Will”. It is one of four new shouts along with “Cyclone”, which is similar to an upward “Unrelenting Force”, “Dragon Aspect”, an incredible armor that you can only use once a day, and “Battle Fury” which is like “Elemental Fury” except it is used on your allies.
When you first arrive at Solstheim, you find that Miraak has taken control of the inhabitants and is having them build around the various elemental stones scattered around the island. For me this was a disappointment because we are never shown the purpose behind this throughout the story line and what exactly they were building.
Then, you go to Miraak’s temple, meet him and obtain a black book. From here you learn of the black books that serve as portals to Apocrypha, Hermaeus Mora’s realm of oblivion. The inside of which you learn is full of acidic oceans, warping hallways, writhing tentacles, and books. Yes, within the books are books and its bookception. However the books are random and tend to be very rare. One of the books I found was the spell tome: Flame Thrall, which is a master level spell only available after completing a certain quest. But these books aren’t free and require killing the challenging enemies of the realm. In Apocrypha, there are two types of enemies. There are the floating and self-duplicating Seekers who float around and attack with magic and the colossal Lurkers whose physical strength is only made more impressive by their ability to trap you in a pit of tentacles. The cloning of the seekers makes them a challenge because you have to kill the original one to kill them all. While the lurkers sheer strength and health make them a difficult enemy to beat. The task however is highly worth it because at the end of every black book is an incredible power that will soon become an essential part of your Skyrim journey.
Then you travel around the island itself for most of the main storyline. The southern part of the island resembles the nearby Dunmer (dark elf) homeland of Morrowwind. This is very fitting since you can see the dark elf’s homeland from the island as shown by the volcano known as Red mountain across the water (You can’t go to it though. I tried and failed). It is covered in ash and is sparsely inhabited by wildlife. The first settlement you encounter, Ravenrock, is home to Dunmer that I found only slightly less obnoxious then the Altmer (high elves) of the Thalmor. Upon arrival at the settlement, you see the multitude of new armors. On the main continent we see the new Nordic armor that is greatly artistic and better that steel plate armor. There is chitin armor made from insect exoskeletons, bonemold armor, and Stalhrim a deadly icy ore that is very useful for frost enchantments. I also saw at Ravenrock a dragon, which is because it is a common spawn points for dragons in game. Upon leaving raven rock we see multitudes of new creatures. They range from the peaceful giant jellyfish called Netch to the creatures that appear from the ground you stand on, the Ash Spawn. Ash spawn use fire magic and new ash magic, which can render you “ethereal temporarily.” Also found in the lower portions of Solstheim is the Ash Hopper. They are as they sound tiny grass hoppers that are easy to kill if you hit them but they are fast and small so they are a small challenge. We also learn that the bandits of Solstheim are referred to as the Reavers. This really serves no significance because they are really just like normal bandits.
If you stay to the lower half of the island you will see other interesting sights such as the bizarre silt strider and Tel Mithryn, a series of collosal mushroom that house a mage of the house Telvanni of Morrowwind. In the mushrooms, you find a plethora of unique spells that are not available on the mainland such as Conjure Ash Spawn, Frenzy Rune, and Whirlwind Cloak. You are also given many magic related quests that end with you gaining a home, membership to the house Telvanni, and access to the one of a kind staff enchanter that allows you to make unique staffs to assist in your journey. Tel Mithryn is one of the only two houses you have access to with the other one being obtained by doing quests in Raven Rock. These are both essential so you don’t have to go through the long process of traveling between Solstheim and Skyrim.
End of Part 1 To be continued