Last Time: I began to wander around Solstheim and uncover some of its many and varied secrets. Read all about Staff Enchanting.
This Time: I continue my reconnoiter, and maneuver through a desolate Barrow where meddling fools create poisonous and exploding spiders. Read all about it here:
The Webs of White Ridge: If you’re after a zealous enemy with more than four legs, and a strange and infernal machine that can actually create more of them, head inside.
As you prowl the desolate landscapes of snow and ice, north of the southern ash falls, you may stumble across this monument to a long-dead Nord of ill repute. But this is no Bleak Falls Barrow where the stiffly-animated desiccated corpses of long-dead Nords stagger to life and succumb to carefully lit oil lamp traps. No, this tomb is literally crawling with life; not so much the musty Draugr (although there’s a couple of waking undead to deal with too), but teeming with small, grotesquely squishable spiders.
Egg Sac Attack: Enter the Barrow, and prepare for disgusting, close-range combat with a variety of oddly-hewn spiders with vicious and explosive temperaments.
There’s a reason the Skyrim Legendary Official Guide recommends you’re Level 50 or higher before investigating this particular set of cobwebbed catacombs: from the moment you step into the tomb, you’re set upon by Spiders. These aren’t the hairy monsters you’ve fought in Skyrim. These are devious, chicken-sized foes with an uncaring attitude toward their own safety and a determination to scuttle straight at you usually poisoning, setting you on fire, or exploding before they expire. If only there was some way to harness the ferocity of these little blighters…
Merilar Rendas, Spider Wrangler: Deeper you go, uncovering incubated Bandits, and a half-mad leader named Merilar who uses spiders as offensive weapons.
Now, you’ve got more than just scuttling arachnids to worry about in this Barrow; an exploration team lead by Merilar Rendas has previously unlocked and excavated most of this crypt (although they failed to raise a Dragon Acolyte Priest named Dukaan who guards the Black Book: The Sallow Regent, but that’s another secret for another time). When you’re faced with a Bandit with skin that’s changed to an odd shade of green (more odd than an Orc’s, even), it might be time to uncover just exactly what kind of experimental deviancy is going on around these parts.
Arachnid Imbuing: Find this strange device, and you too can carry around flame, frost, shock, poisonous, or mind-control spiders to let loose on your foes.
An abandoned mine is the setting for the conclusion of this exploration, where you can uncover the remains of Servos Rendas, a Dunmeri mage whose journal explains how badly his friendship with Merilar went. Of greater importance is the odd metal device and Spider Experimental Notes near it. It seems ancient technology, a dash of genius and lunacy, and the merging of Spider Pods, Salt Piles, and gems, allows the construction of your very own collection of arachnids! These can be stored and used like scrolls, but are thrown at foes to flummox them while you back up your new spider chum with your usual combat prowess. Try creating a few nasty Solstheim Spiders for your ongoing journey; they are most entertaining weapons!
What about the different Spiders you can actually craft? Well, the 14 different varieties are listed on page 666, and the effects of each are shown on page 164 of our new and rather chunky Skyrim Legendary Official Game Guide, which is available for pre-order right now.
What are your favorite spiders to create? Or did you take a wrong turn and end up collapsing at the floating feet of Dukaan? Tell us about it.
Until next time, may all your Spiders be extremely explosive, and your interactions with Merilar be violent, one-sided, and in your favor.
Be sure to pre-order the stunning Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Legendary Edition Guide.