What makes a game brilliant? What makes players explore every corner of the map time and time again in the hopes of discovering some hidden easter egg or Stone of Barenziah? Well, in my opinion, the only thing that could drive me to such lengths are engaging and numerous side quests.
Everyone has their own opinion about the main quest line in Skyrim. I, personally, don’t think it’s too bad, but it really does get blown out of the water when we take a look at some of the side quests on offer here.
Some of these missions give the player everything they could ever want – cool and unexplored locations, powerful loot, and special content designed just for that mission.
With all this in mind, I wanted to cover a specific quest that ticks all of these boxes and more. It’s a quest that many players never really bother with unless they are into min-maxing their player character.
Yes, as you might have gathered from the title, today we are covering the Forbidden Legends quest and discovering how you can get your hands on the most powerful amulet in the game and maybe a few other cool pieces along the way. Let’s get started with this Elder Scrolls Skyrim Forbidden Legend Guide.
For those of you who don’t have the time for in-depth detail of this quest or a walkthrough, here is the TL;DR of the Forbidden Legends quest.
- Quest Start Location: Start by reading the Lost Legends book found throughout Skyrim.
- Quest Locations: Folgunthur, Saarthal, Geirmund’s Hall, Reachwater Rock.
- Rewards: The Gauldur Amulet, Gauldur Blackblade, Gauldur Blackbow, and a chest of loot.
This quest can be started in multiple ways because Skyrim has been built to allow players to stumble into a quest at many points. This means the player can accidentally find an amulet fragment during other quests or explorations and pick up the quest from there.
Despite this, there is only one proper way to start the quest that will give you the correct timeline and story as intended by the developers. This way involves the player discovering and reading a book called Lost Legends.
While this book can be discovered all over the map and bought from some vendors, your best bet is to head to Whiterun and enter Dragonsreach. Inside the Mage’s wing of the castle, you will find the book on one of the bookshelves in the back room. After reading this book, the quest will begin.
The Journey Begins
This quest is not for the faint of heart, as players will have to explore many locations to complete it. The first of these is Folgunthur, located just Southwest of Solitude.
Once here, the player can find a journal belonging to someone named Daynas Valen. From the information in this journal, the player will discover that they aren’t the only hunter of these amulet fragments. From this point on, the player should have their guard up as we now know there might be some weapon-wielding competition ahead.
As we enter Folgunthur, the player will descend a flight of stairs and eventually come across the body of Daynas Valen. Dressed in a necromancer’s robe and posted against a dragon claw key post. The player must loot his lifeless corpse to get the claw.
In this room, the player will see the first puzzle within Folgunthur. While you may be pre-programmed to look at the bottom of the Dragon Claw, there is no need, as Valen has graciously completed the puzzle for you prior to his death.
If you’re feeling extra inquisitive, you can also loot Daynas’ notes from his person. They aren’t important to the quest, but they can help to give a little detail about what is going on around the player.
After you pass through this room, the player will need to deal with a series of alternately ranked Draugr to proceed towards the first boss of this quest.
The First Boss Battle
While progressing through the cave, watch for the numerous traps dotted around the place. These range from fire to spike traps and will take a hefty amount of your health if you aren’t careful. After which, you will have to get that brain working in order to figure out the three separate puzzles that Folgunthur has to offer. Let’s take a quick rundown of these:
- The first puzzle is a simple four-lever system. To pass through this, switch the first lever on your left-hand side and then the second on your right-hand side. The metal door will then slide open. Once this door is open, the player will find a word wall with the Dragon Shout ‘Frost Breath, Freeze.’
- The second puzzle begins with two levers on the floor; flicking each will give the player access to corresponding rooms. Firstly, go into the room on your right and see the pattern of stone pillars laid before you – Snake, fish, bird. Next, enter the adjoining room and repeat this pattern on the revolving pillars. Once completed, move back inside the main room and pull the chain at the back of the room. This will unlock the trap door.
- The third puzzle is a simple dragon claw symbol puzzle. The outer and middle rings are Eagles, while the bottom ring is a dragon. Once complete, activate the door with the key to open the last door.
After you have used the Dragon Claw key and progressed through the cave system a little, killing all the Draugr in your way, the player will be confronted by this cave’s boss, Mikrul Gauldurson. This ancient Draugr will pop out of his casket as you enter, prompting his fellow Draugrs to do the same.
The player must kill Mikrul to get their hands on the first piece of the Gauldur Amulet. Throughout this battle, expect Mikrul to summon numerous Draugry Thralls to help distract the player throughout your battle. If he does manage to get a hit on you, expect the Gauldur Blackblade to take 5-25 points of health based on your level.
After retrieving the amulet, remember he will also have the Gauldur Blackblade in his possession, so make sure to take that as well.
Amulet Fragment 1
- Increase Health by 30 points
- Weight: 0.5
- Base Value: 500
This quest is full of great rewards and lore. However, in exchange for all of this awesomeness, the player must jump through a couple of hoops. Therefore, before the player can progress in this quest, they must join the Mages Guild.
Joining the Mages Guild
To keep progressing through this quest, the player must enter Saarthal. The only issue with this is that you must be a member of the Mages Guild even to step foot in Saarthal. So, I recommend heading over to the College of Winterhold and joining up, progressing until you get the ‘Under Saarthal’ quest.
At this point, you can engage with the Mages Guild as much or as little as you desire as you quest for the other amulet fragments.
To find Saarthal, the player must head to the Northeastern part of the map, just Southwest of Winderhold. Once here, simply engage in the Mages Guild quest line until Tolfdir leads the player into the cave.
If you continue on this path, the player will eventually come across a couple of traps and puzzles but don’t worry, we have you covered.
Saarthal Puzzle Guide
There are two puzzles in the tunnels and corridors of Saarthal that have famously given Skyrim players a little bit of difficulty over the years. To save you some time and frustration, please check the solutions to these puzzles below:
This first puzzle is a little tricky. The player walks into the space and finds six different pillars scattered through a series of rooms. There is no apparent code or clue to help the player solve the puzzle, so most players resort to sheer guesswork. However, if you go up to each pillar with a good light source, such as a torch or spell, the player will find the correct symbol on the wall behind the pillar.
Yes, it’s that easy. Simply match the pillar with the symbol on the wall, and the puzzle is complete. What laughs they must have had at Bethesda Studios watching us attempt and fail at this puzzle for literal years.
The second puzzle is a little bit more straightforward and yet still does not have an evident solution for players to figure out organically. The issue with this puzzle is that while the correct symbol is displayed behind each of the four pillars, turning one pillar will always force another to move.
There is a pattern to this movement that players will notice after a couple of turns. However, if this method of trial and error doesn’t sound appealing, check out this cheat sheet:
- The back left pillar should be turned into a whale symbol.
- The front left turns to a snake symbol.
- The back right turns to a hawk symbol.
- The front right turns to a whale symbol.
If you make these exact turns in order, the puzzle will align and solve itself. Allowing the player to progress through the area and face off against the boss of Saarthal.
At this point, after traipsing through the cave, you will find the next boss of this quest, Jyrik Gauldurson. Like his brother before him, Jyrik will be a great deal more difficult than anything else you are likely to stumble upon in a regular Skyrim cave.
When the player first enters his burial crypt, Jyrik will be invincible, requiring your old pal Tolfdir to run off and shoot lightning spells at the ‘orb.’ During this time, your only job is staying alive.
After Tolfdir lowers Jyrik’s defenses enough, the player can begin hurting him. However, be aware that he will sporadically glow with the color of the corresponding elements (fire, lightning, and frost). During this time, he will have increased resistance against that element. Outside of this, deal with him however you please.
Once this Draugr has been taken care of, make sure you retrieve the Gauldur Amulet fragment and Writ of Sealing from his corpse. Optionally, you can also get ahold of the Staff of Jyrik Gauldurson. Easily one of the best staffs in the game, perfect for all mage-type players.
After the second Gauldurson brother has been taken care of, the player must read the Writ of Sealing to begin the next part of the quest.
Amulet Fragment 2
- Increase Magicka by 30 points
- Weight: 05
- Base Value: 500
The Last Piece of the Puzzle
With two parts of the amulet secured, the player must take their newly looted weapons and powerful necklaces across the map to Geirmund’s Hall. To find this place, the player must go to Ivarstead and travel east. The entrance to the ancient Nordic tomb is situated in the middle of Lake Geir, so swim out to the tomb and enter the location.
The Trial of Geirmund’s Hall
Geirmund’s Hall, the burial tomb of Lord Geirmund, the former Arch-Mage of Windhelm and Lord Battlemenage of King Harald, will be slightly infested with frostbite spiders. Therefore, if you are a slight arachnophobe, maybe send Lydia on ahead to ‘carry your burdens’ for this one.
After these guys have been taken care of, pass through the next few rooms while keeping a close watch on the floor to ensure you do not trigger any of the multiple traps scattered around. There will also be a great deal of Draugrs to dispatch. Eventually, you will come to the final room and the third boss fight of this quest.
This final brother is probably the most difficult brother to fight in this quest, and he carries the Gauldur Blackbow, another great lootable weapon from this quest.
Outside of this, Sigdis also has two dragon shouts up his sleeve – Unrelenting Force and Disarm. These help to keep the combat a little bit spicy if you’re not too careful. Oh, he also teleports to random places in the room once you do a certain amount of damage to him. Easy right?
Lastly, Sigdis is known to create clones of himself in the middle of the battle in an attempt to confuse the player into using their own dragon shouts at the decoys, allowing him to sneak in for some damage-dealing hits. The player must ensure that they work through the clones and get some good hits off on Sidgis as early as possible before he can start picking the player off with that bow.
The only tip I have for you in terms of identifying the true Sidgis is that the horns of his Draugr Deathlord helmet will face slightly forward instead of straight up, unlike his clones.
When you finally dispatch Sigdis and return to being the main character in the story, retrieve the bow and amulet fragment from his corpse to proceed with the quest.
Amulet Fragment 3
- Increase Stamina by 30 points
- Weight: 0.5
- Base Value: 500
Fits Like a Glove
Now that you have personally secured the three pieces of the Gauldur Amulet, you can move on to piecing it all together. After picking up the final piece, the quest map will update and point the player toward Reachwater Rock.
This cave can be found west of Old Hroldan Inn and near Karthspire. Once the player reaches this location, the main piece of content will be quest-related; the actual location is pretty simplistic.
Ghosts of Skyrim’s Past
The meat and potatoes of this section are facing off against the three Gauldurson brothers we have already defeated. Yes, in true Star Wars fashion, the ghosts of our past return in this quest. However, they aren’t here to give us any sage wisdom or approving smiles. Instead, we must defeat them all again, one by one.
Firstly, we will have to deal with Mikrul again. He will spawn with a horde of Draugr, who will continue to spawn up until he has been dispatched. After that, his brother Sigdis will recompose himself and fight you using the same tactics as before.
Lastly, you will have to kill Jyrik using some old-fashioned one-on-one combat. While this fight may be difficult due to the sheer number of enemies and the different fighting styles you may have to adopt per brother, rest assured that their ghostly selves are slightly weaker than their original forms, giving you some chance.
Some Fatherly Discipline
After the three sons have once again been beaten by the Dragonborn, they will form up again to fight the player three against one.
Thankfully, before our day is ruined and we are sent to the Shadow Realm, their father’s ghost, Archmage Gauldur, explodes out of his sarcophagus and disbands his sons with some magical trickery. Finally, someone stepped in and put these brothers in line.
After they are disbanded, their father does some kind of tai chi dance and causes the three Gualdur Amulet pieces to float off of their pedestals and combine into the finished article. After this, pick up the amulet, and the quest is completed. You now hold the most powerful amulet in the entire game.
|Gauldur Amulet||0||1864||N/A||Health, Stamina, and Magick + 30 points|
|Gauldur Blackblade||15||1286||11||Absorb Health by 25 points|
|Staff of Jyrik Gauldurson||8||594||0||25 points of damage and 50 points of Magicka|
|Gauldur Blackbow||14||972||14||Absorb 30 points of Magicka|
Outside of the obvious and big-ticket rewards of this quest, the player can also pick up a great deal of useful loot throughout the mission. Firstly, and probably most notably, you will come across a word wall with the ‘Frost Breath, Freeze’ word of power on it.
Outside of this, I came away with plenty of soul gems and alchemical ingredients alongside copious amounts of enchanted items and other leveled gear. You will come across these as you progress through the quest, but especially in the final boss rooms within each location.
Question: How do I complete the Gauldur Amulet?
Answer: If you have just stumbled upon a piece of the Gauldur Amulet and want to put the entire thing together, you are best finding and reading the Lost Legends book to begin the quest properly. From here, the game will direct the player in the correct direction. The book can be found in Dragonsreach.
Question: What is the best side quest in Skyrim?
Answer: There are many amazing side quests in Skyrim. These quests can be little ten-minute adventures or hour-long expeditions filled with lore and amazing scenery.
However, for me, I would have to say Forbidden Legends is pretty high on the list. Not only does this quest give the player a great deal of lore and rewards, but you also get to go all over the map and complete the quest at your leisure while you journey throughout the Isles of Skyrim.
Question: What are the Draugr in Skyrim?
Answer: The Draugr found in the dungeons, crypts, and caves of Skyrim are a form of undead. They were once Nordic warriors who served a Dragon Priest in ages long past.
These creatures are reanimated when the player comes near them by some kind of magic that the player does not fully understand. Essentially, these enemies are zombies that await their next kill.
Elder Scrolls Skyrim Forbidden Legend Guide: Conclusion
The Forbidden Legends quest is one of the best side quests that Skyrim has to offer. There is so much stuff going on here that you can run through the mission multiple times before even experiencing all the content that the developers have done on the back end.
One thing I love about this quest is how you can jump into it at any point throughout the default narrative, and Skyrim will catch up with the player and weave it all together. The first time I played this quest, I didn’t even know I was doing it; I just wandered around the map enough times and did other connected quests until I somehow had the three amulets in my possession.
However, if you do want to do this quest properly and go through the narrative tunnel that the developers have mapped out for you, this guide will hopefully have given you all the tips and tricks needed to ensure your success and eventual rescuing of the fully-fledged amulet from those horrid and nasty brothers.
With this in mind, I wish you good luck in all your adventures and hope to see you again soon.