Issue #27842: Serana's highest stage destruction spells prevent quests completing
Actor: Serana, BaseID xx002b6c
The problem relates to her script DLC1seranaLevellingScript, specifically the spells DLC1IceStormRightHand and ChainLightningLeftHand.
The issue occurred on a save which only used the unofficial patch and the following mods:
'UNP female body renewal', 'Less aggressive animals', 'a quality world map', 'enchant and smithing potion duration' plus a personal armour mod that I was testing, which does not edit Serana in any way.
Indeed, Serana was only using the spells that she should have had available at the time, so she was behaving as her AI should make her behave.
This save has not seen any other mods and my masters have been cleaned. DG has been cleaned twice and also manually cleaned. All following procedures outlined on Nexus.
The issue began at level 49, so shortly after Serana's levelling script correctly swapped to her highest tier spells, quoted above and during the Dawnguard assault on Castle Volkihar. (Kindred Judgement, quest DLC1VQ08).
As the assault began (stage 40), Serana used her 'Ice Storm' spell, causing Isran to take damage from its area effect. Isran and the other Dawnguard members then attacked Serana, until she was in bleedout.
They then continued towards the castle. Some entered before Serana got to her feet, but Isran and a couple of others didn't get that far. They went back to attack Serana until she was in bleedout again.
This simply continued until I re-loaded an earlier save.
The next time I tried the quest, I lowered the difficulty to apprentice in the hope that I could defeat the vampires quickly, before Serana used her spells.
This time, my character, Serana and the Dawnguard made it inside but Serana's Ice Storm spell killed Beleval (Dawnguard level 25 character, so pretty weak and already in trouble from vampires at a much higher level than her). Once again, a fight began between the Dawnguard and Serana,
pretty much as above.
Many players would object to Serana killing non-essential members of the Dawnguard. (I always try to keep all of them alive. I even re-load if one gets killed!)
The quest was impossible to complete without Serana being present in Harkon's chamber and Serana was unable to reach it, since Isran kept attacking her and putting her in bleedout.
Thinking about that, I did not attempt to enter Harkon's chamber to see if she would be moved in by the quest. Looking at the quest (stage 50), the stage script fragment does include an attempt to move her to a marker if she's not following the player.
I therefore have no idea what would have happened then. It may have worked, or it may not.
I re-loaded again, set the difficulty to 'Novice' and this time, by luck more than anything else, I was able to eliminate all the vampires before Serana hit any of the Dawnguard.
I gave this a low severity rating, since it can only happen if the player attempts 'Kindred Judgement' at level 48 or above. I've not seen any specific comments relating to this issue on the net, but I have seen comments by players, regarding these spells.
Some people (with multiple follower mods) complain about her spells starting in-fighting between followers. One player posted to ask for help because Serana's spells kept killing the player. Separate, but related issues.
This is the first time I have done this quest at such a high character level.
After that quest was completed, I took Serana as a follower and started the Mage Guild quest MG02 (Under Saarthal). I walked with Tolfdir and the other apprentices until attacked by frost trolls and ice-wraiths. Once again, Serana's spells turned the mages hostile.
Whilst Tolfdir is essential and MG02 makes the apprentice mages 'Protected', so Serana could not kill them, this once again resulted in the quest becoming stuck.
In this instance I can see nothing in the quest that would force it to progress, so the only solution is to re-load, dismiss Serana and continue.
Again, this is the first time I've played this quest at such a high level and with Serana as a follower. I did it this way only as a test. Normally I never take followers after level 25 or thereabouts.
I would suggest that the two area effect spells above are replaced with Icy Spear and Thunderbolt. This could simply be done by reassigning the two spell properties in the script.
She may need DestructionExpert75 added to her spell list, or be given an offset to her magicka in order for her to be able to cast these spells often enough.
Whilst giving her targeted fire and forget spells will not totally eliminate these problems, they will go a long way to doing so.
All of the incidents quoted occurred with Ice Storm, mainly because the effect is so slow moving, so other NPCs have ample time to move into its path. If Chain Lightning will not jump to a friendly target, it is not an issue, but I can't see in CK just how
the target swapping is being done. At least Thunderbolt and Icy Spear are fast and targeted, so would reduce the chances of 'friendly fire' incidents significantly.
Sorry for the lengthy post, but I felt all of the detail was necessary to explain the issue. I will of course answer any questions you may have. Thanks.