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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Skyrim: 20 Hidden Quests (& Where To Find Them)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim might be a decade old at this point, but it’s still going strong, thanks in large part to its accessible gameplay mechanics, an intriguing story, and a vast open world to explore. In this world are a series of quests both great and small, but it’s that latter part that many gamers still miss out on.

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While there are plenty of quest-related mods for Skyrim that expand on content, many gamers fail to find some of the base vanilla game’s more obscure quests. It takes quite a bit of digging to find and activate these quests, but it’s worth the effort for completionists, or those who want to replay Skyrim in the modern age.

 The Blackreach Dragon

A dragon in the bowels of Blackreach in Skyrim

Blackreach is one of the largest subterranean areas in all of Tamriel, with a few fun quests to indulge in. One involves finding and confronting Vulthuryol, a powerful dragon who resides deep within the bowels of the Blackreach catacombs. Players can summon him by finding a yellow Dwemer gong hanging within the Silent City.

Players should use Unrelenting Force on the gong, at which point Vulthuryol will appear and fly overhead, breathing fire. He’s extraordinarily difficult to tackle because the Dragonborn can’t use the Bend Will shout on him. Players should make sure that their levels are high enough to defeat him, as low-level characters will get decimated in short order.

The Book Of Love

Two ghosts conversing in the wilderness of Skyrim

Earning the Divine Mara’s favor is the entire point of this particular quest, and it does yield great rewards. The quest begins in Riften, at the Temple of Mara. One of the priestesses, Dinya Balu, will start The Book of Love quest for the Dragonborn. To earn the goddess’ Mara’s favor, the priestess asks the Dragonborn to visit Ivarstead to talk with a girl, Fastred, about her love problem.

Fastred is in love with Bassianus Axius, but it seems that her parents do not approve. Players need to speak to her, and her parents, and make some choices. That’s the start of just a few errands players need to run during this quest where upon completion, they will receive Mara’s blessing and the Amulet of Mara.

Ghost Of Old Hroldan

An old ghost sitting in a chair in Skyrim

Players who travel to the Old Hroldan Inn directly south of Soljund’s Sinkhole have an opportunity to meet Old Hroldan’s ghost. He won’t appear at first, however. Players must sleep in Tiber Septim’s bed where, upon awakening, the Dragonborn will hear a scream and a summoning sound.

Next, players need to leave the room and finally meet Old Hroldan’s ghost. He will mistake the Dragonborn for Hjalti and request that Hjalti’s Sword is brought to him so they can be sworn in as brothers. Speak to Eydis for the location of the sword, then follow the directions to retrieve it.

Forbidden Legend

Three draugr spirits side by side in Skyrim

Forbidden Legend is one of the most challenging quests in Skyrim, focusing on the Gaulder legend, and the search to find the missing pieces of the Gauldur Amulet. This trinket, when assembled, gives the player +30 to Health, Magicka, and Stamina, which is great news for those who like to play balanced characters.

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The quest will first take the Dragonborn to Folgunthur, where players will find the journal of Daynas Valen. It is here that the player can seek out three locations with the missing Amulet pieces – Geirmund’s Hall, Saarthal, and Reachwater Rock. Once collected and assembled, the Dragonborn can then forge the amulet back together.

Coming Of Age

A human and Argonian near a campfire in Skyrim

Another quest that will never appear in the journal is Coming of Age. It begins outside Ironbind Barrow, where the Dragonborn will find Salma and Beem-Ja sitting outside. Speak with Salma, and she will decide when it’s time to enter the ruins. Escort them all the way through the ruins until the battle with Warlord Gathrik.

Beem-Ja will then try to kill the Dragonborn to serve as a sacrifice, so players should take him out first. This is not an easy task, because he can reanimate Gathrik’s body to fight. After winning, loot Beem-ja’s body to get a letter to Salma from her father, warning her about him. There’s also a word wall and a chest behind Gathrik’s throne.

The Pale Lady

A ancient sword on a pedestal in Skyrim

There are several ways to begin the Pale Lady quest. Around Frostmere Crypt, the Dragonborn will stumble upon some bandits fighting among themselves. This reveals that something strange is going on within the crypt. Alternatively, players can also meet Eisa Blackthorn outside the crypt, and reading her journal will also begin the quest. As the Dragonborn fights through the crypt, more journals turn up. Reading each one will continue to update the quest.

With enough exploration, the player will discover an underground forest where a bandit perished at the hand of a Wispmother, The Pale Lady. There are multiple ways to complete this quest – grab the bandit’s sword and place it on the nearby pedestal, or save the bandit before the Pale Lady can attack him. Players must then fight the Pale Lady.

Forgotten Names

A mysterious gauntlet in Skyrim

This quest begins when the Dragonborn discovers a strange gauntlet on a pedestal in The Midden Dark. After investigating the area around the pedestal, players will find a key, and an incident report, which mentions missing rings, all located within the Arcanaeum. After retrieving all the rings, the Dragonborn must place them in their correct places on the gauntlet.

This activates the gauntlet, causing it to clench into a fist. It also summons dremora Velehk Sain, upon which the player must decide whether to release, or end him. Releasing him will give the Dragonborn a new treasure map while ending him gives the player a daedra heart.

Summoning Karstaag

The ghost of Karstaag fighting the player in Skyrim

Skyrim is one of Bethesda’s highest-rated games, particularly because of great hidden quests like these. It revolves around summoning Karstaag, the spectral form of a mighty frost giant that players can find in the Castle Karstaag Ruins. This quest begins by traveling to the Glacial Caves and retrieving Karstaag’s Skull, then taking it to the Karstaag Ruins.

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There’s a trick to get in – if the player is a master-level lock picker, the Dragonborn can open a door leading into the ruins. Otherwise, they’ll need to traverse through the Riekling-infested Castle Karstaag Caverns to get there. Once inside, players must defeat more Rieklings and place the skull on a large throne. This summons Karstaag, who will immediately attack. Defeating him nets the ability to summon him during battle.

Kyne’s Sacred Trials

The spectral form of a Skyrim mudcrab

Kyne’s Sacred Trials begins when the Dragonborn visits Froki Whetted-Blade at Froki’s Shack. He tells the player about the trials before marketing their locations on the map. The quest is to destroy three Guardian Beasts – a wolf located at an unmarked location just west of Lakeview Manor (northeast of Falkreath), a skeever at Windward Ruins (southwest of Dawnstar), and a mudcrab at another unmarked location southeast of Gjukar’s Monument.

After defeating these three creatures, Froki will task the player to destroy three more beasts – a sabre cat northeast of Journeyman’s Nook, a mammoth west of Loreius Farm, and a bear northeast of Twilight Sepulcher. Finally, the player will be required to take down a troll in the Graywinter Watch cavern. Once defeated, Froki will reward the player with Kyne’s Token.


A sorcerer fights a Hagraven in Skyrim

The secret to getting the Repentance quest lies in finding Darklight Tower, an old watchtower southwest of Riften, containing ruins full of frostbite spiders, trolls, and other horrors. Once inside, the Dragonborn meets an Imperial Mage, Illia. She tells the Dragonborn that the order that resides in the tower is evil and that she no longer wants any part of it.

She then asks the Dragonborn to escort her to the top of the tower, and destroy the leader of the order, her mother. Upon accepting the quest, Illia will lead the way, helping out in any battles that come along. Destroy the order’s leader to get the Staff of Hag’s Wrath, as well as a treasure chest in her tent.

A Night To Remember

Sam Guevenne in a bar in Skyrim

This quest is easily one of the best in Skyrim and can be started at any major city’s tavern. Simply accept Sam Guevenne’s drinking contest, upon which the Dragonborn will pass out after three drinks. The player can then choose to clean up the temple or persuade a priestess to do it. Next, players need to talk to Ennis, who will tell them about Gleda the goat.

Recover Gleda from a giant, then travel to Whiterun and talk with Ysolda, who will prompt the Dragonborn to seek out a lost wedding ring. Next, travel to Morvunskar and enter a portal to find Sam, and receive the Sanguine Rose magic staff as a reward.

Rise In The East

A shot of a ruined fort in Skyrim

This quest begins by talking to the guard at the East Empire Company Warehouse in Windhelm, then talking to Orthus Endario, who will ask the Dragonborn to steal Suvaris Atheron’s logbook to find out what’s going on with the company. Doing so will prompt the player to return to Endario, who will send the Dragonborn to Stig Salt-Plank in Dawnstar. Talk to him, and then return to Endario. Get on a boat headed to Japhet’s Folly and talk to Adelaisa Vendicci, then kill Haldyn and report back to Vendicci.

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Finally, return to Endario, and the quest will be completed, upon which the Dragonborn will receive a lot of gold. In a few days’ time, go back to the company’s offices and take all the items available, if so desired.

Frostflow Abyss

A Chaurus and a Falmer warrior in Skyrim

The Frostflow Lighthouse holds the secret of a family that once happily lived here, until disaster struck, leaving the lighthouse abandoned, and the bodies of humans and animals littered about. Further investigation and reading the family’s journals will begin the Frostflow Abyss quest.

There’s a cellar key hidden in an urn above the fireplace which needs to be retrieved first. Afterward, continue to search the lighthouse for the rest of the bodies of the family. This will finally lead to those who attacked and killed the family. End them, and find Habd’s remains. Put the remains in the fireplace, according to his last wishes, to end the quest. This action will give the Dragonborn the reward of Sailor’s Repose, which is a permanent effect giving healing spells 10% more healing power.

Composure, Speed, And Precision

An archery target range in Skyrim

Travel to Angi’s Camp in the Jerall Mountains, south of Falkreath. There, the Dragonborn will meet Angi, who will bestow the Composure, Speed, and Precision camp as an unmarked quest. Angi then offers to train the Dragonborn in archery and gives practice arrows away to begin the training.

It involves four basic rounds – composure (shooting the nearest three targets without a time limit), speed (shooting the nearest three targets within eight seconds), precision (shooting the farthest target without a time limit), and a fourth round that combines all three skills to shoot four targets within ten seconds. Finishing the training will earn the Dragonborn an extra point in the Archery skill. Speak to Angi afterward and retrieve her bow, as well.

Ironbind Barrow

A wide shot of Ironbind Barrow's entrance in Skyrim

Some locations in Skyrim are so hidden that it takes players months to find them. One of these locations is Ironbind Barrow. This is a Nordic ruin that players can find by wandering around the Great Lift at Alftand. For those who stumble upon it, they should take heed, as the barrow is crawling with frostbite spiders, one of the most terrifying monsters in video game history.

Continue onward to find Warlord Gathrik, who guards a word wall. Defeating him allows the Dragonborn to gain a word that gives the Dragonborn the Become Ethereal shout, which is a great way to avoid damage by temporarily turning into a spectral form.


A deep cave system in Kagrenzel in Skyrim

Kagrenzel is another one of those hidden locations in Skyrim which are located in the Velothi mountains, and the only way to get there is via an unmarked path that starts just behind the Tower of Ansilvund. Not only will the Dragonborn face the peril of frost trolls but also a high-level conjurer who often blocks the pass. Eventually, players will discover the dwarven ruin of Kagrenzel.

Inside, players will find a dark room with a pedestal at the center of it. An orb appears there every few seconds, along with the sound of chimes. Touching it opens up the floor, sending the player plummeting into a mysterious new explorable cavern. Continue onward and cross a bridge that leads to a Flawless Diamond.

Liar’s Retreat

A shot of the entrance to Liar's Retreat in Skyrim

The Liar’s Retreat quest is a little tricky to find unless the player accidentally stumbles upon it, or actually has knowledge of its existence. Northwest of Broken Tower Redoubt is an old bandit bar and hideout that has an underground cellar. Players will find it under attack by Falmer.

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Explore the cellar and locate the body of Rahd in the final chamber, who is on top of an altar with a Falmer sword stuck through his chest. Next to him is a unique Orc weapon, the Longhammer. Players will need sharp eyes to spot the sword in his chest, however, so they need to be thorough.

Arcwind Point

A wide shot of Arcwind Point in Skyrim

Players who travel south of Ivarstead and start exploring the southern tip of Skyrim may eventually discover Arcwind Point, a series of Nordic ruins guarded by skeletons, draugr, and other terrors. For those players who have the Dawnguard DLC, it is also the location of the word wall for the Drain Vitality shout.

There is also the dragon to contend with, given that players have completed the Dragon Rising quest. Players should also keep an eye out for the Withershins book, which sits on top of a pedestal at the top of a ruined tower. Reading the book permanently increases the Restoration skill.

Kolb And The Dragon

The open pages of the Kolb and the Dragon book in Skyrim

Kolb and the Dragon isn’t so much a quest, as it is an Easter egg, but it’s still a fun “mission” to play through. Players first need to find the Kolb and the Dragon: An Adventure for Nord Boys book, which can be found in various locations throughout Skyrim, including The Arcaneum, Nightingale Hall, Blue Palace, Radiant Raiment in Solitude, and more.

The book is basically a “choose your own adventure” game where the choices actually matter. It’s a nice nod to the 1980s and the books that kids grew up with in the absence of immersive fantasy adventure RPGs like Skyrim.

Ambushed Caravan Near Dragonbridge

An attacked caravan with dead bodies in Skyrim

Players who wander around the road southeast from Dragon Bridge might come across an unmarked location – a crashed and ransacked merchant’s caravan whose occupants lie lifeless on the road. Although this is an unofficial quest, there is still a mission in this location.

Search around and begin investigating what happened. Uncovering clues will unveil who the bodies are, which reveals that the Falmer were responsible for the attack. There isn’t any great reward in completing the investigation, but it is one of the more immersive areas of Skyrim.

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