The disappearance of the Dwemer is Elder Scrolls‘ greatest mystery. They were a powerful race of thinkers, creators, and metalsmiths, who all up and vanished without a trace.
If it were up to me, we’d never learn what happened to the Lost Race of Mer. Some mysteries are better left unsolved and up for interpretation. But that doesn’t mean I don’t thoroughly enjoy exploring every I can find and get every piece of backstory I can.
To the far east border of Skyrim lies the ruins of Kagrenzel. One of the numerous Dwemer ruins that dot the home of the Nords, Kagrenzel is probably the best starter that you can take on in Skyrim. The architecture will (Initially) be foreign, the enemies familiar, and the difficulty level on the lower side.
- Bring a pickaxe
- Unrelenting Force shout
- Become Ethereal shout (If you want to be extra careful)
- Be a member of the Bards College and started Finn’s Lute
- Be level 20 or below
Kagrenzel is in the mountains northeast of Riften or southeast of Windhelm.
Ansilvund is a good starting point. You only have to deal with the lone Conjurer outside, and Kagrenzel is a straight shot east up the slope from there. Feel free to mine the iron ore vein outside Ansilvund, too.
If you have begun the Dawnguard main storyline, the fourth story mission to be exact, speak with . As resident Dwemer and crossbow specialist, she will send you to various radiant locations to retrieve Dwemer crossbow or an .
There are three crossbow schematics and several bolt schematics. Kagrenzel is a possible location for all six. Dwarven crossbows are potent weapons and one of the best ways to punch up in Skyrim, so these quests are well worth doing.
One of the easier ways to passively level up your magic skills while doing what you’d be doing regardless (Which is clearing out dungeons) is taking on the Shalidor’s Insights. Urag gro-Shub will send you off to random locations to retrieve some of the books from former Archmagus Shalidor’s collection, with Kagrenzel being one possible location.
Return to Urag gro-Shub with Shalidor’s Insights, wait 36 hours, and he will reward you with one of Shalidor’s magic scrolls. These scrolls increase the duration and lower the cost of spells from one of the schools of magic for 120 seconds. These are pretty useful for early-game mages trying their hands out on Expert-level spells.
The best possible reward for Shalidor’s Insights is a random 1-point boost to one of the Magic-related stats. It’s not a guaranteed reward like the scrolls, but it happens often enough to be noteworthy.
If you are a member of the Companions and working your way through the questline, Farkas or Skjor will eventually give you this radiant . A client has tasked the Companions to retrieve an item, and you’ll be sent to a random location to do so.
Unlike many other radiant quests of this variety in Skyrim, where the number of the is in the dozens, there are only seven locations Family Heirloom will send you to. Kagrenzel is one of them and also the quickest to clear of the bunch.
- Centurion dynamo core
- Flawless diamond
- Unusual Gem
- Treasure Map X
- Mystery of Talara, Book IV (Illusion skill book)
- Gold ore
- Moonstone ore
- Iron ore
Getting to Kagrenzel
From whichever starting point you choose, make your way to the mountain leading up to Kagrenzel. Along the way, you’ll run into several , regardless of your level. Kagrenzel is a large structure, and you’ll notice it right away, along with what seems to be a light beacon on the .
Head up the first set of to Kagrenzel, mining the iron ore vein along the way, then up the next flight to reach the . Make your way to the back of the structure, and you’ll find the entrance to Kagrenzel beneath a partially collapsed archway.
Before you head inside, spin around to find a moonstone ore vein in the side of the mountain. Next, head to the right side of Kagrenzel, and you’ll see a gold ore vein near the edge.
All finished? Let’s head inside.
Head up the and through the door into a large, dark chamber. Soon a bright light will mysteriously turn on, and a strange orb will pop up in the center of the room. Walk towards the orb, noticing the bandit corpses right beside it, and do the stupidest you possibly could in this situation, and touch it. Don’t worry; you’re the main character, you’ll be fine.
Suddenly a cage will spring up, trapping you on the center platform, and the orb will disappear. It’ll start circling the outside of your newfound cell, presumably performing so sort of scanning function. The orb will begin making a noise similar to the music in The Shining when Wendy finds out the mean that Jack did to Dick Halloran (Spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen the classic 42-year old horror film).
After several scanning rotations, the orb drops back down into the center. Make sure you’re as close to it as possible. The room will go dark, and the floor beneath you will do a coin flip, leaving you to fall into the cavern below. If you aren’t in the center of the platform, you can potentially die by hitting one of the cliffs on the way down. If you want to be extra cautious, use the Become Ethereal shout right before the fall.
Go for a bathroom break or make a cup of coffee because the fall is quite long. Okay, it’s not that long, but close enough.
Eventually, you’ll drop down into an underground lake. If you were in the center during the fall, head straight down, and you’ll come across an Expert-locked chest. You can explore the rest of the lake if you like, but you’ll only find bandit corpses.
After emerging from the water, head to the open passageway near the waterfall. On your right will be a chest with some , with the design of the chest giving away what creatures lurk here. Ignore the glowing mushrooms on the wall. They’re bugged and you can’t actually pick them.
Before you leave this chamber, check out the local map. Several massive are stuck in the walls of this cave. They’re hard to spot during the fall as it happens so fast, but you can catch glimpses of them. What on earth died down here?
Make your way through the passage, and eventually, you’ll be attacked by everyone’s favorite jumpscare elves: the . What’s annoying about these is that even though you know they jump down from their cave wall huts, you can’t target them until they reveal themselves. These will be leveled enemies with a mage serving as the boss.
Keep pressing forward, making sure to hit the moonstone ore vein as you go. Soon, you’ll reach the upper walkway of the waterfall chamber. There’s an Adept-locked chest on the ground in the center of the walkway. Several will approach you from the other side of the bridge, including the boss mage. Kill them all, then continue through the second passageway.
You will make your way into a room with a waterfall on both sides, as well as an archway. Jump up onto the rocks to your left, then check out the inside of the waterfall closely. You’ll find a Centurion Dynamo Core, which you’ll want to store for a rainy day.
Now, look at the top right side of the archway. See that shiny dot of light? That’s a flawless diamond ripe for the taking. Use either the Unrelenting Force shout or an arrow to knock it off its perch. Now I know that might sound like a stupid idea, given that there’s a stream below. But rest assured that the physics in Skyrim don’t work like they do in real life. Instead of flowing downstream, the diamond will plop into the water and stay there.
That’s everything of value inside Kagrenzel, so let’s get out of here. Continue downstream and into the connecting .
Inside this first chamber are two moonstone ore veins, an Apprentice-locked chest, and a bandit. Kill the bandit, take his stuff from his chest, then take the moonstone ore for yourself.
Make your way downstream until you see a wooden ramp to your left and a bandit sitting on the upper platform. Kill him, then head up the ramp and into a passageway on the right. Watch out for the tripwire that springs the morningstar trap, then kill the bandit leader.
Inside a chest to your left is Finn’s Lute. If you haven’t received this leaving it here from Inge Six Fingers at the Bards College yet, I recommend . Skyrim has a problem with you doing miscellaneous the , it may bug out and prevent you from ever completing it. It’s a cool lute, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t want to carry it in my inventory forever. objectives out of order. If you pick up the lute now before starting
the bandit leader for Treasure Map X, then raid the alchemy lab and desk. You’ll find alchemy ingredients and a copy of Mystery of Talara, Book IV, an Illusion skill book. On the desk to the right of the alchemy lab is an Unusual Gem.
Backtrack back to the stream and continue to the end to reach the entrance/ of . Feel free to sell off some at the nearby Eastmarch Imperial Camp before making your way back home.
Question: Do we ever find out what the massive skeletons in Kagrenzel belonged to?
Answer: As far as I’m aware, no. Many fan theories speculate that Kagrenac was working on the Numidium here and that the skeletons might relate to that.
Question: What is the Unusual Gem found in Stony Creek Cave?
Answer: It is an exceedingly rare stone from a set of 24. Rumor has it that collecting all 24 will grant a person a special reward. Find an appraiser in the town of Riften to learn more.
Question: What is a Centurion Dynamo Core?
Answer: It’s a rare Dwemer artifact used to power Dwemer Centurions. For you, the player, it’s a vital component you’ll need when messing around with the Atronach Forge.
Kagrenzel Guide: Conclusion
So, how did you like this fakeout of a Dwemer ruin? If Kagrenzel was your first ever Dwemer ruin, you might think them overrated locale. But this tomb is a lot different than all the rest. No Dwemer Centurions or Spiders are patrolling the halls. Heck, there are no halls at all. Besides the main chamber with the orb, the interior doesn’t have many Dwemer features.
For some, Kagrenzel might be a disappointment. But for others, it’s an effective way to make a player crave to learn more about the Dwemer. After all, Kagrenzel isn’t the tip of the iceberg; it’s the tip of the tip. The Dwemer were the most advanced race in Tamriel, and though they’ve long since been dead, their technology still eclipses anything made in the modern era. Did you know that Volendrung, a Daedric artifact associated with Malacath, was created by the Dwemer?
There are more than 25 other Dwemer ruins out there in Skyrim for you to explore. And all of them do a better job at displaying how cool the Dwemer were and the marvels of their technology (Or horror, depending on how well you can handle a Centurion). Make sure you explore every single one of them.
Until next time!