Last Time: I wandered through my favorite parts of Dawnguard. Read it here.
This Time: I continue my wandering. This time, I’m trekking across Forgotten Vale.

 “How did you guys create the big maps for Skyrim?” I’ve been asked this question more times than “You’re looking very pale, are you getting enough exercise, dear?” (although the latter was a query posted by my mother). The answer? I take daily walks through the forests of the Pacific Northwest, and my skin is naturally semi-transparent. As for the map-making question; these were created by a wonderfully-talented lady named Sonja Morris, and her crack team of cartographers known collectively as 99 Lives. They’ve been working on video game maps for well over a decade, and their incredible attention-to-detail truly boggles the mind. Look closely at the World Map that comes with the Official Skyrim Revised and Expanded Strategy Guide (that I’m ordered to shoe-horn in a reference to, for every blog post). The map is accurate down to each individual tree. How is this done? Well, it’s a trade secret, and one that involves help from Bethesda, extreme patience, gallons of coffee, and meticulous accuracy. The Skyrim world map itself took over three months to create.

One Ferocious Falmer: This Warmonger is clad in some tough armor, but it’s the unique shield you need to pry from his bloodied corpse.

One of the newly discovered Dawnguard locations requiring a sprawling topographical masterpiece was the Forgotten Vale. You can see the results on page 815 of the guide, as well as the back of the double-sided poster that comes with it. But it isn’t all about finding the frozen waterfalls and wayshrines as you journey across this icy realm to find the Inner Sanctum of the Snow Elves; there’s a couple of unmarked Regional Activities to attend to. I’ve presented an overview of both, in Pro-Tip form:

One Fearsome Frost Giant: Attacking with a massive club and a bad attitude, each of these monstrosities carries a strange Paragon, opening a Portal to hidden parts of the Vale.

Pro-Tip 1. Paragons of the Frost Giants: Lurking exclusively inside the Forgotten Vale, there are five fearsome Frost Giants to tackle. Hardier than a normal Giant, these behemoths are a real nuisance, although they’re somewhat susceptible to fire damage (I used specially-crafted Crossbow Bolts). Frost Giant hunting yields dividends however; each carries a Paragon, allowing access to the hidden areas of the Vale, including otherwise-inaccessible locales. In fact, the Falmer Warmonger seen elsewhere in this blog is only faced if you reach the northern Forgotten Vale forest, a feat only possible once you’ve pried the Ruby Paragon from the fifth Frost Giant. If you’re after some splendid loot (including Auriel’s Shield), it might be time to consider this epic hunt.

One Dead Skeleton: At the entrance to the snow lake lies a sprawled skeleton. Of considerably more interest is the strange, leather-bound tome bearing the sunburst mark of the Falmer.

Pro-Tip 2. Ancient Falmer Tomes: While you’re finding your way through the treacherous cliff paths and fighting off Falmer at every turn, keep both eyes open for a strange, and unknown book. There are only four of them (and one’s particularly-well hidden, requiring a Frost Giant Paragon to reach), and all are scribed in a language you’re not familiar with: However, Urag go-Shub over at the College of Winterhold’s Arcanaeum is. Gather your tomes, and hand them over to the Lore master. He’ll spend some time translating each book before handing you a (unique) copy, as well as paying 1,000 coins for your troubles. For a history of the Snow Elves and their trials, tribulations, and betrayals, seek these out.
Wait. That’s another blog over? Gosh, I forgot to mention the Shellbug chitin you can harvest from the Falmer’s giant carapace bugs they have hidden away inside a couple of caves inside the Forgotten Vale: Which you can then turn into armor. Not to worry, this brief reconnoiter should prompt you into further exploration of this icy landscape.

Until next time, may your Frost Giant attacks all be fire-based, and your arrows poison-tipped…



Remember, you can ask your questions in the comments below or here, and I'll answer them as soon as I can, and may even feature them in a future blog post.

In the meantime, look for the The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Revised & Expanded Prima Official Game Guide at a retailer near you!