Dawnguard is here, and though it can’t be called an insanely massive expansion, it is decently big, offering a whole new and potentially exciting quest-line with multiple paths to follow, and let’s not forget the large amount of new weapons it brings.
In Dawnguard main quest, you have the option of siding with either the Dawnguard faction, the brave fellows who hunt vampires, or the powerful Vampires of Volkihar, with their leader directly linked to Molag Bal.
In this guide we’ll go over the quests that you would have to complete if you were to side with the Dawnguard, therefore becoming one of their recruits.
The Dawnguard quests are:
- Dawnguard Quest
- A New Order
- Chasing Echoes
- Beyond Death
This is basically an initiation quest, and is necessary to start the DLC, therefore also making it necessary if you opt to side with the Vampires. If you are above level 10, you will begin hearing rumors of the Dawnguard faction and how it is recruiting new blood.
In fact, if you’ve developed a name for yourself in various places in Skyrim, you may be invited to Fort Dawnguard yourself.
Assuming the above doesn’t happen, travel to Riften and talk to the guard at the gate. He will give you brief information about Dawnguard, and will place a marker on your map locating Fort Dawnguard, located southeast in Riften.
Now it’s time to head to Dawnguard. You’ll have to head into a small cave that leads to Dayspring Canyon. You’ll run into another fellow looking forward to going to Fort Dawnguard, Agmaer. Follow the road and you’ll eventually reach Fort Dawnguard.
Isran, the leader of the Dawnguard faction, will put you on your first test, which is in the form of the quest ‘Awakening’. You’ll also get a crossbow from him – a brand new weapon-type in Skyrim.
This quest will have you exploring the Dimhollow Crypt, and boy is it filled with undead stuff, ranging from Draugrs all the way to dozens of Vampires. You’ll play this quest irrespective of which force you plan to join. Obviously, the more dangerous dudes to watch out for are the relatively high-level vamps, such as the Vampire Stalkers. However, most can be easily overcome with brutal force. If you prefer magic, then it’s time to play with fire – avoid frost magic though, as vampires have resistance to it.
This dungeon is quite a bit like any other you’d find in the game; you can’t get lost too easily here, and it’s all a matter of going deeper and deeper in, while killing anything hostile in your way. You’ll also find an Alchemy table, Glowing Mushrooms, and Fly Amanita.
Later towards the end of the quest, you’ll come across an interesting puzzle. You can learn how to solve the puzzle here.
Once you have solved the puzzle, you will encounter the female vampire named Serana or ‘Mysterious Woman’. Talk to her, and find out everything you can about what’s going on. This will start the next shared quest, Bloodline.
This is the quest in which you decide which side you will be fighting for. This will initiate after agreeing to take Serana to her home, located near Solitude. Well, it’s not the same as talk a walk in the park, as you’ll encounter and battle gargoyles, undead enemies and much more on your way.
As you progress onwards, you’ll eventually come to a large arena with plenty of stares, and lots of Draugr enemies charging at you. Make your way ahead, and you’ll eventually come across the first word of one of the three new shouts in Dawnguard. You can learn more about the new shouts here.
Now, you’re heading far, far north – you’re heading northwest of Northwatch Keep, which itself is in the northwest area of Skyrim. You only have to follow the marker now, and if you’re an experienced Skyrim hitchhiker, then you shouldn’t have much trouble going across the varying land. The point of destination is an abandoned boat, next to the Icewater Jetty. It’ll take you to Castle Volkihar, home of the Vampires.
At the gate, Serana and you will part ways, and when Serana and Harkon are done meeting each other, Harkon will turn to you, thanking you and offering you his blood.
If you accept, then you are on you way to become a Vampire Lord, and should be looking at our Vampire Lord Quests Guide. If you decline, you’ll be banished from the castle unharmed, but your only choice will be to join the Dawnguard, for which you should read on.
A New Order:
You’ll have to head to Fort Dawnguard again. Be sure to resupply with whatever you wish to, and when you’re ready, set foot in the fort.
When you arrive, several vampires will attack, which you will have to fend off. Once everything is calmer, Isran will tell you to recruit two people, a Nord called Gunmar, and a Breton called Sorine Jurard.
Gunmar can be found in any Radiant location, but is most prominent at the Pinepeak Cavern, located northwest of Riften, just before the Throat of the World. Talk to him, and he’ll tell you about some violent bear he has been hunting for a while. You’ll have to kill the bear inside, after which he will go to Fort Dawnguard.
Sorine can be found Druadach Redoubt, a camp located in western Skyrim, west of Morthal. If you have strong persuasion skills, you can immediately get her to go to Fort Dawnguard. If you don’t, you’ll have to get her a Dwemer gyro. Don’t worry, it’s not that difficult; she has a satchel containing 7 Dwemer Gyros that can be found on the river bank just next to her.
Once you’ve found both the fellows and done them their respective favors, it’s time to head back to Fort Dawnguard, and the quest will be completed.
This quest is shared (but with a few differences) by the Vampire Lord and Dawnguard quests.
Go upstairs to ‘follow’ Isran, and you’ll end up meeting Serana. She’ll tell you how the Elder Scroll is only readable by a Moth Priest, and there’s siting of one in town, or actually the whole of Skyrim.
You have a variety of places you can go to gather information about the Moth Priest. If you’ve done the College of Winterhold quests, then perhaps easy access to it would make it the first priority. I mean, who doesn’t like being respected and welcomed warmly as the Arch Mage of the place?
Anyways, head to the Arcaneum and speak to Urag-gro-Shub, who will point you to Dragon Bridge, located northwest in Skyrim. When you arrive there, you can ask various people for information about the Moth Priest. A kid named Clinton there can be easily asked these questions. You’ll find out that he was being escorted on a wagon through the town. You can find the wreckage beyond the stone bridge south of town.
Search through the corpses to gather a Vampire Note, which will give you the location of the Moth Priest. They’ve taken him to the Forebear’s Holdout, located further east with a narrow entrance. When you arrive at the area, as a Dawnguard you will discover it to be a Vampire holdout. It’s a fairly big room with some sort of magical barrier emanating in a distant. Head to it, and along the way you’ll fight a couple of foes.
Near the magic barrier are a few Vampire Mistwalkers and stuff. Kill them, and search their body. You will acquire the Weystone Focus. Climb up the neighboring stairs to some sort of altar, on which you can use the Weystone Focus to deactivate the barrier.
Dexion Evicus will emerge from the location of the now-exhausted magical barrier. Beat the hell out of him till he yields. Once done, talk to him, and he’ll tell you about himself. Ask him a couple of questions and all. Once you’ve asked him about enough, and told him enough, it’s time to head back to Fort Dawnguard again.
Speak to Dexion in Fort Dawnguard and he’ll read the Elder Scroll. Enjoy it, and you’ll eventually find out you have to find two more Elder Scrolls.
Talk to Serana about the two Elder Scrolls you must find, and she’ll tell you about one that may be with her mother. Ask her questions and all to come to a hypothesis that her mother might actually be hiding in Castle Volkihar itself.
Well, you can’t use the front gate, so you’ll end up making a plan with Serana to use an alternative route. Head outside Castle Volkihar and search around its perimeter to find a hidden back entrance, guarded by a couple of Skeletons.
Enter in it, and you’ll eventually be fighting more enemies of different types. The idea is to activate a lever to lower two wooden barriers. However, there’s a second wooden barrier as well, which can be accessed if you follow the path to the left.
It’s a fairly linear and narrow place, so progress on ahead. Be careful though, as this place is filled with ridiculous traps and pointy stuff that tends to make your character scream.
You’ll come across a relatively bigger room filled with bones, and then ultimately through thick growths of spider webs. You’ll encounter a Giant Frostbite Spider, which you will have to kill, and then ultimately find the lever for the second barrier.
In the courtyard you must find missing pieces for the large moon-dial in the middle of the area. Don’t worry, they’re not hard to find. One is located in the water pool with the weird mushrooms growing next to it. Another is located in a large cluster of dried Nightshade bushes. One is up the stairs nearby, lying right next to a table and chair.
Now, place the missing pieces in the vacant spaces of the moon-dial to reveal the staircase. Go down and into the Volkihar Ruins. The ruins are straight forward, and hold common foes (save the Gargoyles). There will be a place where you will have to pull a chain behind a Gargoyle statue, which will bring it to life. Once you have slain it, move onwards to the area it opened.
You’ll end up in a place with more statues, and hence more Gargoyles to fight. Do exactly that, and then search for a secret entrance by the hearth that can be opened by turning the adjacent candlestick. This will reveal Valerica’s secret lab. Speak to Serana, and then get the Valerica’s Journal from the bookcase. You’ll need some reagents to go ahead, and all of them are located in the lab, making them very easy to find.
Once you have collected them, assemble all the reagents in the portal vessel to create a portal to Soul Cairn. Once the portal is opened up, it’s time to make choices again. You once again have the option of turning into a vampire, or you could instead get your soul trapped by Serana. The choice is yours. If you choose to become a vampire and return to Fort Dawnguard, you will begin another quest which will aid in your curing. Choose wisely, and move on.
It’s not often in Skyrim that you actually get to visit a realm of Oblivion, but Dawnguard has made sure you have a taste of it, and it’s come in the form of Soul Cairn, the Oblivion realm of the undead. Your job here is to first find Valerica. On your way, you also have the option of obtaining an undead horse called Arvak, which is super-cool. To learn how to do this, refer to our guide here.
Valerica isn’t difficult to find, and once you have done so, talking to her will reveal that you have to kill three Keepers to disable the barrier around her ruins. She’ll have quite a bit to say, and frankly speaking it’s all quite interesting, so take your time to listen if you’re a proper RPG player.
These Keepers can be found easily near gem-like structures which sap your life when you go near them. The waypoint will tell you where exactly they are, and they’ll often be accompanied by one or two additional foes.
Once they have been slain, return to Valerica for the Elder Scroll, and follow her into the boneyard. Durnehviir the dragon will appear, and despite its reputation, it should fall quite easily if you’re at a decent level.
Once Durnehviir has been defeated, speak to Valerica and follower her again to obtain the Elder Scroll. Now, it’s time to leave Soul Cairn, though you might want to explore a bit, and ask Valerica plenty of questions for some exciting information regarding the area.
Upon leaving the boneyard, you are stopped by Durnehviir. But this time instead of a battle, you will be asked a favor by the dragon. Surprisingly, Durnehviir seems to be a very respectable fellow – err, dragon. He’ll ask you to take him back to Tamriel, and by doing so you will earn a new dragon shout that will summon him. Do so, and you will have completed this quest.
When you return to Fort Dawnguard, you will find out that Dexion is physically unable to read the Elder Scroll; it is up to you now to do so, and Dexion has a way. You must travel to the Ancestor Glade, and perform a ritual there to read the Elder Scroll (Blood).
To learn how to do so, please read that section in our Vampire Lord Quests Guide.
Touching the Sky:
This is an extremely tedious and tiring quest, which has you searching for Auriel’s Bow, once its location has been found by reading the Elder Scroll (Blood).
Auriel’s Bow is located in the Darkfall Cave. For the full-fledged walkthrough of Darkfall Cave, refer to our Vampire Lord Quests Guide.
After attaining Auriel’s Bow, speak to Gelebor, and he will tell you about Sunhallowed Arrows that can be formed from Elven Arrows. I highly recommend you get them made by Gelebor, as you will need them in the fight to come.
Talk to Serana, and she will suggest that it is time to take the fight to Lord Harkon himself. But to do so, you must ready the men of Dawnguard, for which you have to first return to the fort and talk to Isran.
Once you are ready, head to the castle. As you make your way across the bridge, the Gargoyle statues will spring to life and attack you. Defeat them and enter the castle. You’ll have to fight your way through hostile enemies in the castle, after which you will eventually encounter Harkon himself.
To learn how to defeat Harkon, please refer to our Vampire Lord Quests Guide.
Congratulations! You have finished the main quest-line of the Dawnguard DLC for Skyrim!