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One of my favorite things about jumping back into the world of Elder Scrolls, or any long-running RPG series for that matter, is the things that persist from title to title. This could be something small, like a particular spell of a unique piece of clothing. Or it could be utterly foundational to the world you wish to inhabit, such as a guild or magic system.
By bringing things established in other games, the developers are not only giving themselves the chance to build off the successes of former developers, thus producing an even better product. But they are also allowing fans like myself to have little moments of nostalgia as they play the game.
Now, you could be cynical and simply call stuff like this ‘Fan Service,’ but in my opinion, there are few things better than being able to use the hard-earned knowledge that you acquired in previous titles to help you in your current struggles.
The writers and developers over at Bethesda do this pretty well, seeming to enjoy bringing their players countless moments of nostalgic warmness as they play through their new titles. One of the key ways they do this is through their complex and comprehensive lore system. The lore has been drafted and re-drafted countless times over the years, leaving an incredibly well-crafted and systematic mess for all fans of Elder Scrolls games to unravel.
My personal favorite returning theme in the Elder Scrolls franchise is the Daedric Princes and the missions which come along with them. Especially when these missions also reward you with a weapon you so dearly loved in a previous game.
To this end, this guide will spend a great deal of time speaking about one of those rewarded weapons, Mehrunes’ Razor, and how it features in each of the Elder Scroll’s games to date. We will also take a brief look at the history of the weapon and the Daedric Prince himself. So, with this in mind, let’s get right into it!
Who is Mehrunes Dagon?
As one of the Daedric Princes, Dagon exists in a realm alternate to that of Nirn, Oblivion. Therefore, he exists outside of the concept of reality and time. This Prince is one of the more heavily featured Daedric lords in the Elder Scrolls franchise, even serving as the main antagonist in the Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion.
As with any Daedric Prince, Dagon controls particular spheres of this eternal realm. This place, dubbed ‘The Deadlands,’ focuses on destruction, change, revolution, energy, and ambition. To this end, Dagon is constantly trying to expand his realm of power, resulting in countless attacks on the mortal realm over the centuries.
However, he has always been beaten back by some acts of mortal heroics, such as Marten’s sacrifice in the final act of The Elder Scrolls 4. We can also see from these spheres of control why Dagon had such a particular problem with the Septum bloodline in ES4. After all, how could mere mortals rule over a world he thinks is his own?
- Mehrunes Dagon is the Daedric Prince of destruction, change, and revolution. Therefore, he is constantly searching for more power.
- Dagon was the arch antagonist in the ES4: Oblivion.
- The sphere of Oblivion which Dagon controls is named ‘The Deadlands’ and is, therefore, the location we visit when passing through Oblivion gates in ES4.
The History of Mehrunes’ Razor
As with any Daedric artifact found in the world of man, Dagon created this Razor with mortals in mind, wishing for someone he deemed worthy to wield the dagger and, therefore, a portion of his power upon the mortal plane. Daedric Princes do this for one reason and one reason only, to benefit their own ends in whatever way they see fit.
The Second Era
It appears that the first mention of the Razor appearing in the world of Nirn dates back to the Second Era. A time that was utterly controlled by Akaviri power and world dominance. Some fans on the forums will argue that this dominance is why Dagon inserted this power into the realm. However, this is mere speculation.
The lore surrounding the Razor continues to state that it was once held by an Argonian named Trouble-Finder. This NPC can be met in the Elder Scrolls Online, located outside Dredlen Orn’s Kwama Mine in Senie, Stonefalls. However, it appears that he did not hold the weapon for long before followers of the Daedric Prince came looking for the weapon, subsequently chasing the poor Argonian with murder on their mind.
In order to defend himself, he lashed the weapon into a river. Upon doing so, neither he nor anyone else came into contact with the weapon for some time. However, we do know that the blade of the weapon may have shattered at some point in the interim as pieces of the artifact begin to show up sometime later.
The Third Era
Moving into the Third Era, any and all mention of the Razor is particularly conflicting, especially in the Era’s early years. For instance, some reports state that the Razor lay in pieces, in places unknown for a great deal of time. The lore even states that the Dark Brotherhood, during this time, would send agents out in search of the weapon, to no avail.
However, later recordings state that someone within the Brotherhood may have finally laid their hands on the weapon, with death and carnage following close behind. Leaving the Brotherhood decimated and trapped within years of power struggle and in-fighting. The lore then continues to record the blade falling into the hands of Neloth, a masterful sorcerer and Councilor, to the house of Telvanni in Morrowind.
According to sources, this mage used the Razor and the innate, Daedric given power it held to whip his soldiers into line during the numerous battles between himself, as a representative of House Telvanni and Master Gothren.
This ploy seemed to work, with Neloth’s soldier reigning supreme for many years. However, it appears that someone found out about his literal secret weapon as not long after his first spate of several victories, the Razor was stolen by a group Neloth only referred to as ‘skilled acrobats.’ In other words, the Razor was stolen by a bunch of Ninjas.
The weapon and its location then appeared to go silent for many years, leaving no trace. Until whispers about its location began to spread throughout Tamriel. These whispers soon made it to the ear of another House Telvanni mage, Frathen Drothan. After this, you better believe that Drothan got his stuff together quickly, hunting for the Razor.
Eventually, he found out that it was being held in an ancient Ayleid city named Varsa Baalim and thus went off to fetch it. However, his plan was foiled before he ever managed to get to the Razor, but more on that later.
The Fourth Era
After this, the Razor once again goes missing, and nobody knows who has held the powerful weapon for more than two centuries. The most likely explanation as to its whereabouts is that some strong and/or wealthy family laid claim to it sometime after the Hero of Kvatch departed the realm of the living and kept it amongst their lineage for centuries.
However, we do know that sometime during the Razor’s absence that those who held it brought it with them to the shores of Skyrim, wherein the item somehow broke once again into shards.
Somehow or another, these shards then ended up dispersed over the region of Skyrim, in the hands of Jorgan, Orsimer Ghunzul, and a Hagraven named Drascua. However, as you may have noticed by now, the Razor of Mehrunes’ Dagon does not get left alone for long, especially when its location is known.
Therefore, during the events of ES5, the player character is sent by a Mythic Dawn enthusiast, Silus Vesuius, to retrieve the parts of the artifact. In the hopes that the cultist can reassemble the weapon and add it to his collection. However, we will cover the details of this quest in greater detail later.
- The Razor will seemingly go missing for many years, or even centuries after a player character interacts with it in The Elder Scrolls franchise.
- The Razor breaks into shards many times during its history, likely due to Dagon’s dissatisfaction with its use.
- The NPCs who are also after the Razor throughout the course of the franchise often die at the hands of the player. Especially Silus, who the player murders at Dagon’s command.
Quests To Acquire the Razor
Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall
As with any Daedric quest in this game, the player must summon the specific Daedra, in this case, Mehrunes Dagon, on a specific date. Summoning Dagon of the 20th of Sun’s Dusk will see the player finally succeed in conferring with the Prince of destruction.
Dagon will then speak to the player, informing them that a Frost Daedra is hiding out in the dungeons of Daggerfall. After some dialogue, Dagon will tell the player that he wants this Daedra dead, and in return, he will provide you with Mehrunes’ Razor.
After this, the quest is as straightforward as you would expect. Simply head on out to the location Dagon has set for you and kill all the enemies in your way until you meet with the Frost Daedra. A few swings of your favorite weapon later, the Daedra will be dead, banished back to the plains of Oblivion.
Therefore, the prize of Mehrunes’ Razor is yours after you meet his follower in the town tavern. After asking you whether or not you are the one his God sent, he will provide the Razor.
- Damage = 11-16
- Weight = 0.5
- Enchantment = Save vs. Magic or Die
Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind
his Dagon quest is more similar to that found in Oblivion and Skyrim than the title which came before it. This is because, unlike Daggerfall, it appears Dagon does not actually have the Razor in his possession. Therefore, the player must complete the quest by retrieving said Razor.
However, before you learn this, you must head to the Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon, located in the depths of Yasammidan, a large structure entirely dedicated to the worship of Dagon. To find it, simply head west of Ald Velothi.
Once there, interact with Dagon’s shrine, and he will tell you that in order to earn his favor, you must first prove yourself by, you guessed it, fetching his Razor. The Daedra will thus mark the location of the Razor for you, pointing you in the direction of the Molag Amur mountain range, within which you will find the tomb you seek.
However, once the player arrives at this location, they will not be able to find any Razor. Instead, on the body of Varner Hleras, you will find a ‘rusty dagger.’ Therefore, the player must return this dagger to Dagon, wherein he will transform it and give it to the player in its true form, Mehrunes’ Razor.
- Chop = 12-15
- Slash = 12-15
- Thrust = 12-17
- Weight = 6
- Health = 600
- Base Value = 5000
- Enchantment = Disintegrate Armor: 6-25pts for 1 second, Weakness to Poison: 5pts for 20 seconds, Poison: 6-20pts for 1 second.
Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion
When fans originally downloaded the game, they may have been alarmed that their favorite weapon was not included in the base game. However, whether it was planned or not, Bethesda rectified this soon after by including it in a ‘plug in’ soon after. This is what we called DLCs back in the day; who knew?
Downloading or installing this plug-in will thus give the player access to the quest ‘Unearthing Mehrunes’ Razor. This quest is attained simply by booting up the game with the plug-in activated. Doing so will see the player brought a letter wherein the Hero of Kvatch is informed of an ancient Daedric artifact being unearthed within the previously lost and ancient Ayleid city of Varsa Baalim.
Therefore, this note will activate the quest and point the player towards a ruined fort, Sundercliff Watch, located on the eastern edge of the player’s map. Probably because the developers hoped you hadn’t explored here before the plug-in and thus wouldn’t notice a random fort springing out of nowhere.
Once the player arrives at this ruined fort, they will explore, only finding soldiers and an apparent plot waiting for them. Killing the soldiers and delving deeper into this location and plot will bring the player to another door, entering through which will bring you to Sundercliff Village.
The player must then pass through this area, another named Sundercliff Forge and Mines before you eventually make it to Varsa Baalim. Passing into this area, the player will immediately see combat going on below; however, should you not want to engage in said combat, you can just continue on deeper into the cavern.
Whether the player engages in combat or not, nothing is changed. They will eventually make it to Nefarivigum, wherein they will see our old friend, Drothan, studying a statue. Once he sees the player, you will have some decisions to make.
You can either kill him in one-on-one combat or kill him and eat his heart. Doing so will gain the player infamy points as well as some diseases, including Poryphyric Hemophilia and Cannibal’s Prion. No matter what the player chooses, Dagon’s Champion, who is also located here, will come back from the dead, forcing you to kill him.
The player must then head through the next door, wherein Mehrunes’ Razor will be waiting for the player, thus completing the quest.
- Damage = 19
- Weight = 9
- Health = 1200
- Base Value = 3100
- Enchantment = Disintegrate Armor: 15pts for 7 seconds, Daedric Banishing.
Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
As previously mentioned, Mehrunes’ Razor was, once again, separated into several pieces by the time it was located in Skyrim. Therefore, after Silus Vesuius contract the Dragonborn to piece the Razor together, you must collect all of these pieces.
The quest, ‘Pieces of the Past,’ begins once the player arrives and speaks to Silus at his Museum of the Mythic Dawn, located in Dawnstar. The player can either arrive there naturally or follow one of his fliers, handed out at random during the course of the game.
Once the quest begins, you will have to acquire four different pieces of the Razor to make it whole again. These items are:
- The Pommel Stone of Mehrunes’ Razor – Located in Dead Crone Rock.
- The Hilt of Mehrunes’ Razor – Located in Jorgen and Lami’s House, Morthal.
- The Shards of Mehrunes’ Razor – Located in Cracked Tusk Keep.
- The Scabbard of Mehrunes’ Razor – Located in the Mythic Dawn Museum.
Finding all of these pieces and bringing them to Silus will allow him to enact the next step of his plan, assembling the pieces. However, he will need the help of the Daedra, who originally forged the artifact. Therefore, he will instruct the player to meet him at the Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon, located just to the east of Morthal.
Once the player and Silus arrive at this shrine, the Daedric Prince will begin speaking with the player, but not with Silus, a fact that will bring him some distress. The Daedric Prince will then offer the player a deal. You can kill Silus and therefore be rewarded with the Razor, or you can turn down the Daedra and allow Silus to live.
However, doing this will result in the player’s inability to acquire the Razor. Therefore, just kill Silus, he is very annoying at the best of times anyway, and the gold he offers you in exchange for his life is truly not worth the loss of the Razor. Once Silus is dead, the Daedra will give the player his Razor, anointing you as his Champion and completing this quest.
- Damage = 11
- Weight = 3
- Base Value = 860
- Enchantment = 1.98% chance to instantly kill any enemy.
Question: Is Mehrunes’ Razor a good weapon?
Answer: Due to the damage to weight ratio of the weapon, I would say it is highly effective. This, teamed with the great enchantments on the Razor, make it a formidable weapon to be confronted with.
Question: Is Mehrunes’ Razor better than the Blade of Woe?
Answer: On its face, the Blade of Woe appears superior due to its higher base damage. However, the Blade of Woe’s enchantment will often run out on the player after very few hits. In contrast, the Razor will not run out of charge.
Question: How powerful is Mehrunes’ Razor?
Answer: The base damage of this weapon is not the best in the game; however, it does carry the ability to kill any enemy in the game with only one strike. The chances of this death strike coming in at 1.98% per strike.
Question: Is Mehrunes’ Razor a dagger or a sword?
Answer: Mehrunes’ Razor is also known as the Dagger of the Final Wounds. Therefore, I would argue that we should define it as a dagger.
Mehrunes Razor Guide: In Brief:
- In Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, the player must kill somebody in exchange for the Razor.
- Should the player choose not to kill Silus in Skyrim’s quest, they will forfeit the dagger.
- The player needs only collect three Razor pieces in Skyrim as Silus already has the scabbard in his collection.
So, there you have it, a complete and comprehensive guide to Mehrunes’ Razor. This weapon is not only one of the more unique and interesting-looking weapons one can find in the Elder Scrolls games, but it is also the reward for many great quests in the franchise’s history.
For me, this Razor is probably one of my favorite weapons in the later Elder Scrolls games due to its slick presentation and significant damage to weight ratio. However, I understand that it is probably only valuable for those of us who enjoy a stealthier gaming experience.
With that being said, I hope this guide and the history covered within it will encourage you to carry the weapon more often and engage with the Mehrunes Dagon quests found in these games.