Best Quests in Skyrim

March 16, 2013

What I personally consider to be the best RPG franchise in the last decade, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim offers players plenty of reasons to re-immerse themselves in the world of Tamriel. As a free-roam experience many players spend endless hours searching for the greatest rewards and most exciting quests. We’ve summed up five of the most exciting quests available in Skyrim.

5. The Cure For Madness

best quests SkyrimOriginally making its first appearance in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Shadowmere has since become one of the most fabled creatures in the franchise. I call it “it” as there’s no factual based information to back up the gender of the horse. Several scenes in Skyrim refer to Shadowmere as a he while others suggest it’s female. However, as a man with a Porsche GT would refer to it as a slenderly sleek female, I personally do the same with Shadowmere.

In both games Shadowmere is rewarded to players that progress through the Dark Brotherhood questlines; and in both games Shadowmere was previously owned by Lucien Lachance. Although the quest itself wasn’t the most exciting in Skyrim, Shadowmere is one of the best rewards in the game and the introduction sequence is amazing.

Watch in awe as Shadowmere emerges from a dark pool located outside the Falkreath Sanctuary, before mounting your new steed and riding off into the sunset. Although it doesn’t boast the immortal carrying capacity of Oblivion, Skyrim’s Shadowmere is still an awesome reward and makes the prerequisite quest one of the best in the game

4. The Black Star

best skyrim questsMaking its first appearance in Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, Azura’s Star is one of the most sought after reward for adventurers of Tamriel. Every Elder Scrolls game since Daggerfall has featured this fabled reward and it’s one of the first rewards I chase down as a new title is released. Created by the daedric princess Azura, the star can offer unlimited potential for fans of enchanting and can ensure your strongest magical blade remains fully charged at all times.

 The Black Star quest sends the adventurer in search of Azura’s Star with two NPC characters vying for its possession. You’re given the choice of returning it to either NPC, in exchange for either Azura’s Star or The Black Star. Azura herself confirms that this magical artifact will only remain in the lands of the mortals for 100 years, after which it will return to Oblivion.

A common mistake among many players sees them going for the Azura’s Star reward. Many put this down to the constant struggle between good and evil, with The Black Star representing the negative side of the Ying Yang. However, The Black Star can hold both black and white souls, making it the primary choice for knowledgeable players.

3. A Night To Remember

top quests for SkyrimHave you ever awoken in a strange place with a heavy head and an empty tankard of mead? A Night To Remember is widely considered to be one of the craziest quests in The Elder Scrolls franchise, putting aside the incident of raining burning dogs. Many consider this quest to be Bethesda’s way of honoring the hugely popular Hangover movies, and aside from the fantasy setting and lack of Mike Tyson and a Tiger, the similarities are obvious.

The beauty of the quest lies within the objectives themselves. Just like attempting to piece together a shattered puzzle made of glass, the adventurer is tasked with tracing their footsteps throughout Skryim, with the hopes of piecing together the actions of the night before. The extreme drinking session proves close to fatal as you wake in a temple that contains obvious signs of your state the previous day.

After scouring half the continent you discover that the entire thing was the work of a humorous Daedra whose responsibility is to spread joy among the inhabitants of Skryim. It doesn’t exactly scale in terms of reward but for a unique, story-driven experience, A Night To Remember is one of the most intriguing quests available.

2. A Daedra’s Best Friend

Skyrim questsOne of my favorite quests in Skyrim, nigh, in the entire Elder Scrolls franchise; A Daedra’s Best Friend. Stumbling upon a talking dog outside of a small town would only be suited to an Elder Scrolls game but Bethesda delivered this quest in amazing fashion. When you first meet Barbas you learn that he has had a dispute with his master Clavicus Vile, a Daedric Prince that gets a real kick from meddling in the affairs of mortals. He’s asked you to reunite him with his twisted master, for reasons I never really figured out.

The quest itself is a little lackluster but the dialog from Barbas is nothing short of genius. Bearing a strong resemblance to London gangsters Barbas says everything with a slightly humorous twist. After a few expeditions here and there Barbas returns to his master granting the adventurer with the infamous Masque of Clavicus Vile, a Daedric Artifact that has plagued Tamriel since Daggerfall.

What makes Barbas even more of an iconic character is his programming. Sadly it was out of the poor little fellas control, but his AI mechanics are nothing short of hilarious. Skyrim doesn’t have the greatest reputation for its approach to AI and Barbaras is a living example of this. Destroying your stealthy approaches, deafening you with a repetitive bark that resembles the annoyance of nails on a chalk board and even pushing you to unavoidable doom down a mountain, Barbaras has been credited with many an annoying habit. However, this hasn’t stopped thousands of Elder Scrolls fans falling in love with the pet of the infamous Clavicus Vile.

1. Forbidden Legend

forbiddenlegendThis is an unusual pick for the one of the best quests in Skyrim. I’m probably one of a very few that would consider this quest to be one of the best in Skyrim, but I can’t recall another that I enjoyed so much. You begin the quest by reading the Lost Legends book, which can be found in a few locations throughout Skyrim. Adventurers are sent to investigate the extremely hostile Folgunthur. I wasn’t sure what to expect from such a random quest but the fresh, dripping corpses should have been enough of a hint for me to turn back. However, my curiosity and insatiable need for good loot kept me going. What followed was easily one of the most adrenaline fueled experiences in Skryim.

This single dungeon features a variety of challenging puzzles, a number of different enemies and four intense boss fights. There are three boss fights as you progress through the dungeon, each guarding a piece of a magical amulet. When I finally reached the end I was confronted by all three bosses in a single fight.

Although Skyrim doesn’t shy away from combat, this single fight forces adventurers to be able to adapt their strategy on the fly. Changing their attacking tactics for each of the three bosses.

The final amulet doesn’t really fit such an epic conclusion to a side-quest, but the journey itself was exciting enough without the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The Best Quest Lines in Skyrim

If you are looking for the overall best ques lines in Skyrim, the following is a list of the top three to check out. Rather than looking at the individual quests, this section looks at the entire series of quests within a major story line in Skyrim.

3. Main Quest Line

best quest line skyrimThe events of the main quest line in Skryim take place 200 years after the crisis in Oblivion, following the death of Skyrim’s High King. Civil War plagues the land of Skyrim and the citizens are torn between supporting the rebel faction Stormcloaks, or the Imerpial Army. The constant struggle reaches its peak as it nears the foretold final event as said in the Elder Scrolls. The prophecy comes true as Alduin returns with his league of dragons and the Nordic God begins his journey of annihilation. Enter the Dragonborn.

I wasn’t really sure whether I should include the main quest line as it’s not really the most exciting. Obviously there’s a good variety of quests available and some of the rewards speak for themselves, but when it comes to innovation and appeal, it does fall a little short in places.

However, in saying that – there is one thing that no other quest can give. Fus-Ro-Dah. Those words will echo through the gaming generations for years to come and alone have spawned hundreds of entertaining YouTube videos. Whether you perk yourself on the edge of the highest mountain, waiting to blow away an unsuspecting bear, or you enjoy throwing enemy soldiers into a solid castle wall, there’s something invigorating about having the power to blow away practically anything that gets up in your face.

Another epic moment in the main quest line, and one that will remain in the hearts of Elder Scrolls fans for eternity, the introduction of dragons. Dragons have been a highly requested feature since the release of Daggerfall and although Bethesda touched on it a few times, they never came close to implementing what fans really wanted. That was until Skyrim.

The random encounters, the scripted battles, the Dragon Souls themselves, it all combines to deliver not only a great story package, but riveting battle scenes and deadly ground-to-air battles.

2. Thieves Guild

thievesguildHonor amongst thieves is something that has infected the Thieves Guild across multiple Elder Scrolls titles, and the trend continues in Skyrim. The guilds purpose is to find and train those of nimble nature and swift hand, giving them the skills and tools to become masters of their craft. Although thievery is a crime by definition, the Thieves Guild is considered an honorable career by many. Authorities turn a blind eye either through bribes or threats, leaving the guild to moderate and reduce crime, well crime that doesn’t line the guilds pockets anyway.

Unlike other factions in the world of Tamriel the Thieves Guild prides themselves on strict regulations, forbidding members to rob other thieves or perform any serious crimes whilst on the job.

The Thieves Guild houses one of the largest variety of quests in all of the quest-lines within Skyrim. Adventurers are tasked with stealing and returning valuables, interrogating store owners for information and profit, and even translating ancient documents. Dedicated thieves will also get the opportunity to join the ranks of Nocturnal’s guardians, the Nightingales.

If you’re skilled enough to climb through the ranks you’ll eventually have the opportunity to become the Guildmaster of the Thieves Guild, giving adventurers the opportunity to shape the guild into something more.

Aside from the interesting quests, challenging objectives and intricate relationships between the NPC’s, the Thieves Guild also teases players with one of the best rewards available in Skyrim. Nightingale Armor is not only one of the best looking sets in the entire franchise, but it also provides players with a variety of thief and stealth based buffs.

1. Dark Brotherhood

darkbrotherhoodWhen anyone asks me what my favorite quest line is, it’s always the Dark Brotherhood. It doesn’t matter what Elder Scrolls game we’re referring to, there’s something innocent about murdering with impunity. Okay, innocent may not have been the best word but as an avid good guy, I found the Dark Brotherhood as a great way of unleashing my inner twisted assassin without the fear of reprisal.

The Dark Brotherhood welcomes adventures from any background. Once a feared organization of highly trained assassins, the group has hit dark time as their spiritual leader, Night Mother, appears to have abandoned them. As an Initiate of the Dark Brotherhood adventurers are tasking with disposing of a number of high profile targets, and this can be done as a Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Warrior; or just about any other approach to combat.

As in previous Elder Scrolls games players gain access to the Dark Brotherhood after digging up rumors in various towns; although there are other avenues available. In true Elder Scrolls fashion adventurers are abducted by the Dark Brotherhood before awakening in an Abandoned Shack. This is when Skyrim presents players with one of the most toughest moral choices in the franchise; to join or destroy the Dark Brotherhood.

Personally, it never even crossed my mind to destroy them. My bonds with the Brotherhood from previous Elder Scrolls games is unbreakable and I found myself compelled to help them return to their former glory.
What follows is one of the most emotional, quest-driven experiences available in a Bethesda game. Players are given morale choices on a regular basis, faced with insurmountable odds and given some of the best rewards in the game, all from a single quest line. If that’s not enough you’re charged with rebuilding the once infamous Brotherhood at the end, albeit with a rather reduced roster.

Aside from the intriguing storyline, in-depth characters and challenge quests, the Dark Brotherhood is also home to some of the most unique rewards available in Skyrim. Shadowmere provides players with a permanent traveling companion  and is easily the best looking horse in the game. Whether you want an emotional storyline, an attachment to characters, or dramatic twists; the Dark Brotherhood houses them all and that’s why I would consider it the best quest line in Skyrim.

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