I always go back to Barbarians. I should make it a thing, where the first build of every new year is a Barbarian. I needed a break after Urag's wonderful, but complicated playtest, though I wasn't feeling FO yet and I didn't want to playtest builds with some of the same skillsets as Urag (My Auroran uses conjuration and my little archer pure build, well, Urag is an archer too), so I decided to tackle the two-handed skill on the Pure Build Series Deebs and I are working on. At first, he was going to be this awful bandit who joined the Dark Brotherhood and Thieves guild in his fanatical devotion to the Stormcloaks, a sort of Bleak Walker influenced Stormcloak. I had even killed Alvor after I stole things from him, then that became a hot mess in Whiterun, so I reverted to an earlier save. I then had a read of this thread.
Unplanned Changes in Direction
You do encounter quests like this, myself included, and one such quest I had with this character, who had not yet joined the Thieves Guild or Darkbrotherhood was the quest Missing in Action. Missing in Action is where you discover that the Battle-Borns, or at least their patriarch, knew that a member of a clan they used to be friends with but are now feuding with, the Grey-Manes, has been imprisoned by the Thalmor. First off, hearing Olfrid Battle-Born call Fralia Grey-Mane a 'hag' in public just, I dunno, you don't call old ladies 'hags' in public. It's awful and something just snapped with this character, you know? He collected the evidence and then proceeded with Avulstein to Northwatch Keep, no easy feat at level 7 with the mods I use and on Survival Mode. Nevertheless, I defeated the Thalmor and rescued Thorald, and all the other prisoners too. I knew when I had done this that I had in my hands a poetic rp build that takes the idea of that game-changing moment and really sets it as the focal point. Add to that the dynamics of the two-handed skill, mounted combat, and the new mechanics of Survival Mode and I present to you a fun, roleplay-heavy build where we examine what it means to have so much national pride, so much desire to right the wrongs committed in the Great War, so much fear of what will be done to your people if things continue the way they are, that you come out of your long hybernation, abandon your former life of comfort, and become...
The old war veteran smiled, letting his eyes crease, feeling a bit of heat rise to his cheeks at the sound of Carlotta's voice. "Evenin', Carlotta." He responded, kindly enough, though he quickly diverted his gaze from her lovely eyes to the objective of his current quest. He wasn't going to cause her anymore embarrasment than that bard, Mikael, did. You sure taught that bungler a lesson, he smirked to himself, catching out of the corner of his eye Mila's giggle and wink from behind the stall. Okay, I know, child. I know you approve of me courtin' your ma, but when I get the gumption, alright? Got the amulet and everythin'. Ha! When you find the courage you had at Red Ring, old Bear-Arm, he sighed. He pointed with a battle-hewn, gauntleted paw of a hand at the crisp green apples that occupied a section of the Imperial's stall. "Five of those, please." More heat. He could feel the others' stares.
She chuckled and he practically squirmed. "Going to try again, eh?"
Now audible snickers from the other patrons of the Market Square and Tysnal Bear-Arm closed his eyes, feeling the embarrasment reach the very tip of his big nose. They all saw the black smoke pour from Breezehome the other day, heard his loud cursing, saw poor Lydia run to fetch buckets of water. He was Thane of Whiterun, Veteran of the Great War, retriever of the Dragonstone - Talos bless the young lass making the trip to High Hrothgar, he quickly prayed in his head -, slayer of old Hajvarr Ironhand, restorer of the Gildergreen, yet he was being soundly defeated by the complexities of apple pie. Well, if Carlotta baked your pies... no, not yet. Let her heal. Tysnal scratched his full, greying red beard and then extended the motion to rub the back of his thick neck, the great war veteran, Tysnal Bear-Arm the Bridge-holder, was humbled. "Yeah." He managed, not quite sure where to look. Not at Carlotta, definitely not at her. His eyes darted around nervously, noticing the flicker of red from an Imperial cape.
"Let me pack them for you, five, you say?" Carlotta asked.
"Aye, five." He confirmed, but his eyes were now focused on Battle-Borns, Idolaf and Olfrid, making their way to Fralia Grey-Mane's stall. What business did they have with her, he wondered. Bad blood between the two clans had been stewing since the High King's death. Fralia ran the stall oppposite to Carlotta, just outside the entrace to the Bannered Mare. Heated words were being exchanged and he saw Fralia's face, the tears building in her eyes, the sneers from Idolaf and Olfrid.
"Foolish old woman! You know nothing! Nothing of our struggles, our suffering!" Olfrid chided.
"Here are your apples, Tysnal." Carlotta interupted, trying to hand him a burlap sack. He grunted, grabbing the sack, not really paying attention.
"Nothing?" Fralia blinked. "And what of my son? Hmm? What of Thorald? Is he nothing? So don't talk to me about suffering!"
The market square was now silent. Thorald Grey-Mane, a Stormcloak. A traitor to some, a hero to others. Tysnal chewed the inside of his lip. The feuding had never been this public before.
Idolaf pointed at Fralia, his eyes narrowing. "Your son chose his side, and he chose poorly. And now he's gone. Such is the way of war. The sooner you accept his loss, the better."
"I will never accept his death!" She suddenly cried out, beating her fist to her chest in grief. "My son still lives. I feel it in my heart. So tell me, Battle-Borns, where is he? Where are you holding my Thorald?"
Tysnal heard Carlotta suck in her breath. It was definitely an accusation. He knew the Grey-Manes, an upstanding family with an honorable tradition, though they had hit hard times lately. Happens when two sons leave. Happens with war.
Olfrid Battle-Born stepped closer to Fralia Grey-Mane, making Tysnal Bear-Arm bristle, he didn't like the motion. It was agressive. Hard. "Do you believe this old hag?" He sneered. Tysnal blinked, feeling the heat of a different kind creep to his face. Hag? There were just things you didn't do in life, certain rules you obey, certain respect you give to people and Olfrid crossed a line with that word. His hand clenched the burlap bag full of apples tightly and felt his other hand ball into a fist.
"Tysnal, no." Carlotta whispered. Yeah, I might do a stupid Nord thing. Don't hold it against me, eh?
He set his jaw as the Battle-Born patriarch continued. "Holding him"? Why I've got him in my cellar." He laughed. "He's my prisoner. Face it, cow!" Tysnal's brow lowered. "Your stupid son is dead! He died a Stormcloak traitor. And you..." Now he was shaking his finger at Fralia Grey-Mane. "you best keep your mouth shut before you suffer the same."
The apples fell to the ground, followed closely by Olfrid Battle-Born, the hard punch to the jaw knocking him square to the floor. There may have been missing teeth, Tysnal wasn't sure. He didn't care as the guards scrambled to the fallen Battle-Born. He didn't hear the cries of Idolaf Battle-Born to arrest him, didn't even feel the guards grab him. He only saw Fralia's face and knew that he had to help her...
Difficulty: Tested on Expert
Race: Nord; make him all old and grizzled, bearded and braided, maximum weight-slider. Nords also receive a 50% resistance to frost and have a 25 point warmth bonus in Survival Mode.
Stats: All health, he isn't young, so no stamina for him. Besides, bears are known for their short bursts of incredible power and their survivalbility.
Standing Stone: Lady, though steed is also a good option, because of Survival Mode mechanics. Lady allows for passive health regen, something which is disabled in Survival Mode. Steed makes armor weigh nothing, but the carryweight buff is reduced from 100 to 50. I went with the Lady.
Patron City: Windhelm
Shouts: None, this isn't a dragonborn, he's just an old angry bear on a mission. He did have to deal with dragons in the air though, just like any other citizen of Skyrim.
Blessing: Before Civil war battles, seek out Kyne, giving 100 gold to her shrine. A favorite shrine to use was the one on the route to Fort Snowhawk.
Titles: Exiled Thane of Whiterun, Thane of Eastmarch.
Mods: you can play this game easily on Vanilla if you follow an rp regimen (sleep, food, etc, which I did before I played with mods anyway), but this build is best experienced with the following modifications.
Campfire - A great mod that introduces tents and camping gear to the game. Believe me, he'll need it, because he'll be homeless for a lot of the game. Other options include Hidden Hideouts of Skyrim and abandoned houses you find in the game and inns. Bear in mind, though, to have a truly restful night in Survival Mode, you must sleep in an interior cell bed. Sleeping outside will get you a level up, but you'll wake up drained at best, which effects your overall magicka and your resistance to diseases. The abandoned Hjerim is a great option, with safe storage and a bed that provides a restful sleep. Another is the workhouse at Mixwater Mill. He's desparate enough to serve, that he'll do without the creature comforts, nothing new for this old Legionnaire.
Convenient Horses - Available in both SSE and Oldrim, though I love the intuitive controls and immersive quests of the SSE version. Both offer dynamic mounted combat with a sprinting charge for your horse.
Useful Dogs - No Nord would be without a faithful hound on his journeys. This makes the dogs in the game better fill their role as a trusted companion, inspired by Dogmeat's mechanics in Fallout 4.
Alternate Start Live another Life - Not necessary, as it's easy for an old Nord Legionnare out hunting to get mixed up with the wrong crowd and bad things happen, but I would select the Breezehome option and make yourself a citizen of Whiterun. It'll make you feel what you give up for your principles that much more.
Smilodon - But any combat mod that you prefer will do.
Morrowloot Ultimate - I love this mod. It eliminates the "all bandits have ebony once you hit level 30" nonsense and makes the game more immersive because enchanted gear is now rare and awesome, worth keeping. It also hand-places very special rare items in the game. You can use either the full edition or simplified. Some of the morrowind artifacts are fun.
Add trespassing and robbery to your list of crimes against the Battle-Borns, Tysnal Bear-Arm, he thought quietly as he took a seat opposite Fralia Grey-Mane and Avulstein at their worn dining table. He looked around the room, he shared the evening meal with the Grey-Manes many a time, with the Battle-Borns too, but this, this was wrong, he sighed, holding the missive in his hand. The Battle-Borns knew, almost taunting the Grey-Manes with it. Thorald was alive. Well, for how much longer, Tysnal didn't know. The Thalmor had him and as the memories of the Great War flashed through his mind, of him holding that bridge, of the slaughter there and in the sewers, of the screams coming from his brothers as they were tortured. They didn't have much time. With a gust of air, he set the missive on the table and pushed it towards Avulstein.
"Oh, Tysnal. You didn't." Fralia protested, her brow creasing as she wrung her hands. "You were just released from the jail. The Jarl warned you."
"I did." He nodded solemnly, watching Avulstein read the missive.
The Grey-Mane's eyes met his, hope flashing through them. "He's alive." he gasped.
Fralia began to weep in relief.
"I will go with you to Northwatch Keep, Avulstein." Tysnal said calmly.
The old woman looked up from her weeping, fear in her eyes. "No, Tysnal, you can't. It's not your fight." She turned quickly to her son. "Avulstein, don't make him do this. He's done too much for us already. He'll lose everything if he goes..."
Tysnal rose from his chair, placed a hand on the old woman's shoulder and squeezed. "Fralia, I will lose everything if I don't go." He replied.
Skills: Two-handed, though unperked archery is used on occasion to bring down those pesky dragons and I had some level ups in speech, lockpicking (to a point, I'll explain in the rp), enchanting (to charge weapons and to give weak enchantments to the gear I wanted to use), restoration (the bear has some old tricks from the Legion), heavy and light armor (this is a mashup character). When the two-handed skill was maxed out, he had a perk point left.
Gear: The only required gear are the Ironhand gauntlets, otherwise, he was a mashup of gear, preferring gear that keeps you warm and has an enchantment, as armor has a warmth rating now in Surivival Mode. I ended up with a heavy steel helmet (archery), a light armor cuirass of your choice (fortify health preferable), light armored boots (stamina or stamina regen in the later game). Stormcloak gear will involve the officer's helmet infused with a weak archery enchantment, which with unperked enchanting and a filled grand soul gem will give you about a 12% boost to the skill. I also enchanted the Stormcloak cuirass with fortify health. The Gauldur Amulet for endgame or at least the stamina fragment or any magical necklace or ring (Amulet of Talos for rp or Kynareth for stamina boost, or even resistance). I wasn't especially picky. This build can't afford to be because artifacts are extremely rare with Morrowloot installed. Hawk feathers (an easy cure disease option that doesn't cost a lot of gold, think of it like Kyne blessing your body with the symbol of her power), salmon steak (a light food, .1 carryweight, that restores 220 points of hunger), cabbage soup, potato soup (restores 380 poins of hunger), fire salts (to infuse foods with soothing properties that restore warmth), Beef stew, Venison stew, Vegetable soup (for regeneration properties), mead (because he's a Nord), potions (because he'll need them). The best bow of your choice and only 100 arrows, because they have carryweight in Survival Mode.
Spells: Basic healing, wich I roleplayed as something taught at the Legion when he served in the Great War. He's no mage, but it gets the job done in a pinch.
Weapons: Early game is an Ancient Nord greatsword or any enchanted two-handed weapon you find. I used the battleaxe the boss drops from Bleak Falls Barrow. Once Missing in Action is completed, the weapon Fralia Greymane gives you as your reward (reload a save until you get the Steel greatsword of ice), Steel battle axe of fiery souls, and a warhammer of choice. His time in the Imperial Legion gave him experience in handling all three weapon types, though I saw him progress with his usage. Because he is old and out of practice, I went with greatswords first on account of them being lighter and faster, then I moved on to axes and then endgame sees his skill in combat return enough that he can use warhammers. Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what about Stormfang or the Bloodskaal blade or Volendrung, or Champion's Cudgel, or Longhammer, Lis? Why not these? Because unless there's a reason for going to those places in the roleplay, I won't go, so sorry.
"Suffer the winter's cold winds..." Tysnal repeated, following Fralia Grey-Mane up the stairs to her room. She rested a hand on his forearm as they walked, her crow's feet bunching with a smile through her tears. He felt the squeeze from her gnarled hand and a lump formed in his throat. They reached Grey-Mane's bed and he saw an oddly shaped item wrapped in burlap underneath it. You know that shape, he swallowed hard, feeling overwhelmed by her generosity.
Fralia Grey-Mane knelt by her bed and reached for the burlap, dragging its heavy form from under her bed to rest it on her lap. "...for it bears aloft next summer's seeds..." She whispered, fighting her own tears. "That's my boy. So it's true, then. For now, it's enough to know that he's alive." She patted the burlap like it was a beloved child and bade Tysnal kneel next to her, chuckling at the many cracks his protesting bones made. She bent her head, her eyes on the burlap again. "I can find peace in that. Thank you, dear friend. You've given me back my son."
"It was nothing."
She turned and faced him, that old Nord strength returning. "No, it wasn't nothing, Tysnal Bear-Arm. When do you leave?"
"Late tonight. Already packed. I left the axe at the Jarl's throne. He's a good man, but I cannot serve him in good conscious anymore--"
The old woman faced him. "Oh, Tysnal, exiled!"
"Tell Carlotta?" He interupted and then looked away, blinking, finding it harder than expected. "Mila won't understand."
Fralia scowled, crossing her arms over her chest stubbornly. "Go tell her you damned self."
"So be it." He called her bluff and made to rise. I play a mean game of cards too, old woman.
She suddenly hugged him. "I'll tell her, you old bear. But Tysnal, you're not young anymore, where will you live? Where will you go? Will they even let you fight? How will you survive?"
He smiled, strangely at peace with his decision. He was leaving everything; the gold, the meaningless things, the trophies from his many battles won, the possibilities of a future that would be a happy one. Taking with him only his horse, his dog, and what he was wearing. "Old bears know how to live off the land, Fralia." He explained. "Talos will provide. I will live and I will serve. I will not let happen again what happened in the Great War. Can't let the Thalmor pull that shit again. Neither Nord nor Imperial deserve it. This is Mila and Carlotta's home now too." He nodded, set in his purpose. Awakened from the long sleep of complacency. His eyes fell upon the Grey-Mane's paned window, seeing the falling snow. You had gotten fat anyway, old Bear-Arm.
"You are leaving everything, Tysnal, but you will have one thing when you leave Whiterun, this I promise as a Grey-Mane." And she carefully unwrapped the burlap, revealing a Skyforge greatsword, Eorlund's great skill manifest. It glimmered with an enchantment that was true Nordic ice. Its sheer beauty took his breath away and he understood the meaning of the gift. Meant for Thorald, but now for him. That he would not be alone. That there was maybe hope, even for his return. "It was meant for my Thorald, but I give it to you, Tysnal Bear-Arm, the Winter Bear just awakened from his long nap. Now, you go, and do what old bears do."
Aye, to my last breath.
Survival Mode - This is a new mode introduced by the Creation Club and available for SSE. There was a week where all platforms could get it for free, but now it costs 800 credits. It's a mode that introduces survival aspects; cold, fatigue, encumberance, and hunger to the game. Yes, there are mods that do this, and do this very well, but while I had my reservations about it when I participated in the Beta, now that I've given it a try in a legitimate playthrough, I actually like a lot about it, with some modifications. Oldrim players can simulate Survival mode's effects with either iNeed or RND and Frostfall. I did like, however, that I had all the mechanics in one place and Survival mode does some other interesting things that these mods don't do. You are now required to eat and sleep or face stunted mechanics, even death if you're not careful enought. In addition, you no longer regenerate health passively (there are workarounds), fast travel is disabled, you must sleep to level up, and shrines now cost money for blessings. Skyrim is now divided into zones ranging from comfortable and warm to treacherously cold. Swimming in water can now be deadly, depending on where you swim.
1. PC players - I highly recommend that you set your timescale to 10, or download a mod that does this. I sincerely think the developers of Survival Mode didn't take this to account when they were developing the feature. If you are playing on console, then favor eating larger meals (which I list in the gear section) and always carry some food with you.
2. Invest in a horse - Fast travel is disabled and because cold now effects you, the faster you get from one location on the map, the better.
3. Hawk Feathers - a cheap, light-weight solution to curing disease, which now has dire consequences in Survival, since initial afflictions can develop into somethingmore potent if left untreated.
4. Salmon Steak - It weights only .1, but it restores a hefty 220 points of hunger, more efficient than stews for restoring hunger due to them weighing .5. Save your stews for their familiar buffs (stamina regen, health regen)
5. Fire salts - Become rather important, even for a warrior-based build because they can be used to create food that, in addition to restore health, magicka, or stamina, can now restore warmth.
6. 200 warmth is your goal - Aim for a warmth level of around 200 to avoid suffering, even in the most frigid conditions, though Nords, Khajiit, and I believe Orcs can get away with a bit less since they are given warmth bonuses. Mine hovered at around 170, depending on what armor I was using. This is best accomplished through the use of certain light armor, especially fur and when I knew the Winter Bear would be stuck for long periods in unfavorable conditions, I would carry a spare set of fur armor.
7. Consider a follower - A follower can take some of the carryweight edge off the Winter Bear. Though I didn't use one because I used Convenient horses which added inventory management to the Winter Bear's horse, some strong followers for the Winter Bear include Uthgerd the Unbroken or Lydia.
8. Learn not to loot - This was rough, but I learned pretty quickly to limit myself with regard to weapons, arrows, armor, and food. Once you have the supplies you need to survive, you are limited as to how much you can carry. The default carryweight is now 225 for the Winter Bear and since I didn't invest in stamina, that was all I had. This is why I divised the weapon strategy I used below under the combat section.
Combat: You are thinking bear and think block, right? All Stendarr and all that, well, ever see bears attack? They are all about the charge and the sweep, which is something I can simulate beautifully with mounted combat and the two-handed perk "sweep", where you cause damage to more than one enemy with an sideways power attack. In addition, you have the three weapon-specific perks that also simulate the damage a bear can inflict.
Like a the damage caused by a back-handed sweep of the bear's paw, warhammers were favored for armored opponents, bandit chiefs, and slower-moving targets. To simulate the bear's bite, I used greatswords which were favored for light-armored or no-armored opponents. If you've ever seen a bear drag a smaller animal in its maw, you'll know what I mean. The strike of the battle axe became the bear's clawed swipe, tearing flesh and causing the enemy to bleed. It was used when the opponents were too fast for the Winter Bear, or when he had run out of stamina (which happened frequently), trusting that the continued bleed damage would deal a bit more extra damage until the Winter Bear could catch his breath and catch up to them.
I didn't seek out dragons to fight, that's the Dragonborn's job, but when one threatened a city or troops from either side, he would pitch in and help them out. Dragons were taken down with bows until he could use either mounted combat or engage them on foot with his two-handed weapon. For frost dragons, I tried to use the Steel battle axe of fiery soul trap if I had it in my inventory, while I used the enchanted weapon that Fralia gives you for fire-breathng dragons. Unfortunately, I only had one weapon in my inventory at a time, because I treated combat like specific missions where he could only have one weapon. If I knew I was going to do a quest that involved draugr, I'd use the steel battle axe of fiery soul trap, but if a fire dragon attacked that was the weapon I was stuck with. It added a sense of realism to the gameplay, because really? Who carries three two-handed weapons? Your average warrior would carry his two-hander and then his bow if he knew he was going to engage the enemy from a distance.
Mostly combat involved swinging at things, dodging things, the use of battle cry (similar to the bear's intimidating roar), and the use of the horse (to simulate the bear's great charge). Nothing especially fancy, but damn was it fun, especially when you take down dragons and giants on horseback, relying on the accuracy of your swing to deliver the blow. That Bear-Arm's swipe can be deadly. Also, because this isn't a high-stamina build, I had to reserve power attacks for that one moment I knew the attack would bring the enemey down. I also did his weapon usage differently. I would pick one weapon per mission, only one, because you can't carry 50 weapons when your carryweight is only 225, whatever worked best for the enemy he was to engage on that mission, though for the major Civil War battles, I only used Fralia's blade and only that weapon. I am an awful button-masher, but I had a great deal of fun. Sweep was used for crowd control, and I made sure I had that perk before I started the Battle for Whiterun.
Quests: Quests were divided into two main sections. Those that you do before Missing in Action to earn the Winter Bear his status in Whiterun and those you do after Missing in Action is completed, where you have to start all over again.
Before the Winter Bear awakens: Bleak Falls Barrow up until Dragon Rising, but then don't progress further in the main quest. Bandit bounties, help quests, help Amren, defeat Hajvarr Ironhand at White River Watch, Book of Love, Blessings of Nature. At around level 7, with Lydia's, Meeko's, and Avulstein and his friends' help, I felt ready to take on Missing in Action and Northwatch Keep. Honestly, those magic-wielding Elves were the toughest enemies he faced in his entire playthrough and I highly suggest that you use the alternate entrance to the side of the fort, guarded by a single guard to infiltrate the Keep. Once Thorald and Avulstein were secured and were on their way out, I then, with Lydia and Meeko, cleared the rest of the fort. This is where the ability to heal using basic magic, potions, and patience in gameplay really came into their own.
After the Winter Bear awakens: Kyne's Sacred Trials, Forbidden Legend, Ironbind Barrow, Blood on the Ice, Waking Nightmare, The Skooma Trade, Freeing the Stormcloaks you find in random encounters, all "help" quests in Stormcloak-held holds, and the Civil War.
Roleplay: For the first levels of the game, either out of Helgen or at Breezehome, depending on how your start, your goal will just be to serve as a honorable citizen of Whiterun. Not a Companion, because of their neutrality and also because you're really too old to be a whelp. Do bandit quests, help Amren, restore the Gildergreen, things like that. Whiter River Watch was a feather in his cap and he proudly displays that he defeated the bandit Hajvarr Iron-hand in combat, saving the citizens of Whiterun, and carrying his warhammer (Legacy adds this amazing warhammer, Shield-Breaker to White watch overlook, but usually there is a leveled two-handed weapon with Hajvarr anyway). He's retired, but still formidable. Book of Love is another quest he can do and I did talk Mikael out of harassing Carlotta, making her a candidate for marriage. You can even do Bleak Falls Barrow, which I did, just to get dragons in the air. He's effected by the dragons, just like any other citizen of Skyrim, but I pretended that one of the guards absorbed the soul and that's the person on their way to High Hrothgar, not Tysnal, though I did take the title Thane of Whiterun for helping to defeat the dragon and you can purchase Breezehome. This is why I lockpicked and sold items in the beginning. It is important that you have enough for the house if you are not playing with an Alternate Start. A house and horse. Store your prized weapons there. Display everything you can. Amass your wealth.
Because it'll all come crashing down. I really let Missing In Action serve as the game-changer for the Winter Bear as I indicated in the introduction. I even went back in my playtest and tested punching Olfrid Battle-Born (he doesn't die, by the way, you just get arrested for assault), opting to serve his time in the Whiterun jail. The dialogue plays when you first exit the Bannered Mare, but I punched him just before I started Missing in Action by talking to Fralia. He wakes up from his long hybernation to find that all that he's fought for has been for nothing, that his people are still being mistreated. Ashamed of himself for living his comfortable life of retirement in Whiterun while his land isn't free, this old bear leaves Whiterun after completing Missing in Action. He leaves the hypcracy of a Jarl who turned his back on his citizens. I even left the axe of Whiterun at the Jarl's throne and never picked it up again. The Winter Bear takes very seriously the torture rooms he saw in Northwatch Keep and the mistreatment of Thorald Grey-Mane. That's what scares him, so he abandons Breezehome and all his wealth inside, carrying with him only immediate supplies to survive the long journey to Windhelm, his horse, and his dog, using only the weapon Fralia Greymane gives him. This weapon is a leveled either one-handed or two-handed weapon. I reloaded until I got a greatsword sword with an ice enchantment. It ended up being steel in quality and yeah, it's something when you get it. He makes the long trek to Windhelm and joins the Stormcloaks, eeking out a living in Stormcloak-controlled holds; bandit bounties, city quests, helping citizens, etc.
With survival, the living arrangements can be rather difficult, as you must sleep within an interior cell in order for it to count as a rested sleep. You can either rent a room at the Candlehearth Inn, sleep at the workhouse at Mixwater Mill, or sleep in the abandoned Hjerim after you complete Blood on the Ice, but sometimes he would be forced to sleep in an exterior cell and wake up drained, leaving him vulnerable to disease. Hjerim has safe storage to store your gear if you don't have a mod that gives your horse inventory management.
Eventually, he joins the Stormcloaks and reclaims his lost home in Whiterun after the battle for the city, but by then, he's already been accepted as a citizen of the Eastmarch, even earningn the title of Thane. At the end of the Civil War questline, reunite with Carlotta, marry her and move her to Windhelm. Why Carlotta? Why not a Nord? Because the Winter Bear isn't a zealot monster. He served the Empire with dedication during the Great War, spent time in Cyrodiil, fought just as hard for them as he did for his own people. He just didn't want to see what happened there happen in Skyrim.
Thanks to everyone who puts up with my craziness (I'm looking right at you, Lorc). I know sometimes I float around and start and stop things, but as Paws always says "follow your muse" and lol, my muse this time was a two-handed warrior. I enjoyed working on this build, delving into his roleplay, and I am happy to share Tysnal's story with you. His build has now morphed into the first of a series of four builds where I'll be exploring the old Atmoran totems, limited skills, the seasons, the Civil War, and patron cities. Two warriors, two mages, two males, two females. The next in the series is the Summer Wolf. She'll be followed by either the Spring Moth or the Autumn Serpent.
I usually shy away from survival mode gameplay (You dont want to know how many Tamagotchis I killed through neglect), but this build has me wanting to give it a serious go.
Thanks, Curse. It was very fun really using the Survival Mode mechanics for this build and what prompted me to make the mode part of my normal gameplay unless rp makes it a bad idea, like when I'm playing supernatural beings (The Sea Ghost). This, however, was a harder port to do than expected. I had to redo quite a few of the images to account for the different background colors. Was gonna do another build today, but I may put that off until tomorrow. I am a bit formatted out, if that makes any sense?
Glad to see the first Survival Mode build make the transition
It was the first one, wasn't it? I forgot.
I need to mutate and grow and extra limb so I can give this build 3 thumbs up.
Hey Long Chapper, I really loved what you done here. I can't believe I forgot to comment on it. Never thought of going into Surivival in Skyrim but I've always wanted to. Btw, you hit Rank: Expert
I'm all 'bout that RP man and this does it for me. Very cool, like I said on discord we had a lot of the same thoughts for a Stormcloak build I'm making. Thanks for some inspiration as well.