Every once in a while, a game is released that fully encapsulates its audience and the gaming world, dominating the space for months and perhaps years after its release.
Today’s most recent example would be games such as Fortnite and almost every Call of Duty title released. However, back in 2006, when the industry was much smaller and less diverse, a game was released by Bethesda that would take the world by storm and garner all of the top awards – The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion.
After the game’s initial success, fans clamored for more content, and Bethesda will never turn down extra cash. Hence, they got right on the ball again and made DLC after DLC to drain their fans of all possible profits. However, this money-hungry attitude created some great content, quests, and moments.
So, with all this in mind, why don’t we jump right into this fascinating land and start? Let’s go!
Down the Rabbit Hole of Madness
Once you load up your game of Oblivion, it will roughly take two in-game days, or 48 hours if you want to be precise, before the game UI notifies the player that some strange new doorway has opened in a place called Nibben Bay, located just to the east of Bravil.
Once the player follows the quest marker to this location, they will be greeted by some strange sights and events. First of all, you may be a little shocked to see the doorway itself, considering that it is not so much a doorway as it is some magical portal placed between three screaming heads, the portal occupying the space where the mouth should be in the central head.
Upon approaching the door, the guard in front of the portal will be attacked by a creature. The player may choose to help if they wish. After the creature is defeated, the guard will allow you through the portal.
Hero of Kvatch in Wonderland
Once the player gets through the doorway to The Shivering Isles, they will be greeted by a man named Haskill, Sheogorath’s chamberlain, who will tell the player, “You are approaching the Shivering Isles. Through the door behind me lies the realm of Sheogorath, Prince of Madness, Lord of the Never-There.” After this conversation, ask Haskill plenty of questions before proceeding.
Once the player passes Haskilll, they will be guided by the level design down a path that ends at the entrance to a small, rather unassuming little hamlet that wouldn’t be out of place in the base game. You know, if you don’t look in the direction of the gate to the realm of Sheogorath.
This gate, imposing by itself, is guarded by a monster made up of the flesh of those who tried to get past him and gain access to his master’s lair. He also appears to have no eyes and has a sizeable sickle-like object for a hand, so maybe not everything is as normal as it seems.
Even with the presence of this monster, it is still pretty clear to the player that to advance through this DLC; you need to progress through that gate.
The Gatekeeper Conflict
At this point, the player will know that to get through that gate; they will need to somehow weaken the monster that guards it. Therefore, you must search around the town and track down some leads. Eventually, the player will have two ways through which they can finally kill the rather sizeable roadblock.
The first option involves the player finding an NPC named Jayred Ice-Veins. After meeting him, he will tell the player that he has a way of constructing arrows that can hurt the beast; all you need to do is kill a couple of horrid-looking skeletons in the town’s graveyard and return to him the bones they drop.
After this, the player must wait a couple of hours before Jayred is ready. At this point, he will give the player some arrows, and the two of you will team up to rid the town of the gatekeeper.
The second option available to the player is a little more complicated. First of all, the player must snoop around town until they come across Relmyna Veremin. The player must engage her in conversation long enough for her to accidentally say the name, Nanette. After this, she will disengage, clearly wishing to keep any information she has regarding the creature a secret.
However, after tracking down the mysterious Nanette, the player will learn that Relmyna had a hand in creating the monster and her own tears are one of the few things capable of hurting it. Nanette also tells the player that she visits the creature nightly at midnight.
With this knowledge in hand, the player must wait for this time to come and hide somewhere close enough to the Relmyna and her creation to overhear their conversation in secret. Once this is done, the game will prompt the player, telling them that she has left a tear-stained handkerchief near the monster.
Upon collecting this item, the player can squeeze out the tears, transferring them to bottles that can be used as poison vials, coating weapons, and arrows. Once this poison touches the monster, it becomes vulnerable to damage and, therefore, killable.
Curse You Sheogorath
Once the monster has been felled, one would assume it would be plain sailing from here on out; however, Haskill soon reappears in front of the gate. He then tells the player that Sheogorath has a quest lined up for them and would, therefore, like to speak with them. However, to find the Prince of Madness, you must first proceed through one of two magical doors.
The doors each lead to the same location; however, one gives a blessing of Mania, the other of Dementia.
- Entering the Shivering Isles requires entering a door in Nibben Bay east of Bravil.
- When the player meets Haskill, ask him everything you want to know about the Isles, he will then direct you to the small town down the path.
- To destroy the gatekeeper, find Relmyna or Jayred. Both will lead the player to a means of killing the monster.
Meeting the Prince
After the trials and tribulations of getting to Sheogorath, one would expect a friendly greeting; however, this is not the case as soon after the player’s arrival, the Daedric Prince tasks the player with cleaning out and restoring the ruin of Xedilian.
To complete this quest, the player must travel to the southwest of the map, near Madgod’s Boot, and enter the fort via tiny, wall-mounted buttons.
Once inside, the player must fight off new enemies, such as the grummites. Doing this and progressing through the fort will allow the player to find the crystals of power needed to power the location. These crystals also serve as keys to open up parts of the fort.
Once the player progresses through Xedilian far enough, they will be able to power up the teleportation pad that brings them to the upper levels of the fort. Here, the player will meet the caretaker, Kiliban Nyrandil. This NPC will help you by showing the purpose of the old fort and how it can be used as a testing ground for adventurers like yourself.
Soon after, the player can witness and help the fort to take out a bunch of other adventurers, witnessing how they each fail the tests Xedilian puts them through. Doing this will unlock the unique sword Dawnfang which can change its name to Dustfang depending on the time of day.
Advancing through the nearby exit and defeating the Knights of Order therein will complete this quest.
This next quest is perfect for new players of this DLC as it spells out exactly how this realm works and how it is split between two kingdoms and two figureheads. The first is the lands of Mania, under the control of Thadon, the Duke, and the second is the lands of Dementia, under Syl, the Dutchess of Dementia.
The first part of this quest, entitled Addiction, involves the player talking with Thadon at the request of Sheogorath and finding out that he has lost his Chalice of Reversal. The chalice is incredibly rare, and he needs it back quickly; therefore, he tasks the player with recovering it.
The player should then speak with Thadon’s servant, Wide-Eye, an Argonian. Wide-Eye will tell the player that the chalice can be found in Dunroot Burrow, a place inhabited by creatures called Elytra.
Once the player reaches the Burrow, they must kill the Elytra standing guard outside in order to gather and consume the Felldew it holds. Without this alchemical ingredient, the player will not be able to survive within the Burrow.
Once inside, the player must continue killing the glowing Elytra to ensure they stave off Felldew withdrawal. Eventually, you will make it to the second level of the location, wherein Felldew and its withdrawal effects are neutralized. The player will find the chalice on a plinth in the middle of the inner sanctum.
Upon returning to Thadon, he will give the player the title, ‘Courtier of Mania,’ and the first part of this quest will be complete.
This next part of the quest, entitled ‘The Lady of Paranoia,’ involves finding Lady Syl, who claims that everyone around her is plotting her death to rob her of the throne. She thus sends the player to someone she trusts, the torturer, Herdir.
The torturer will direct you towards the Crucible, wherein you will be able to search for suspects. Once here, you can interrogate each court member, asking if they plot to kill Lady Syl; each will, of course, deny it. However, after a little lightning bolt interrogation from Herdir, they will mention Kithlan, the Lady’s steward.
Kithlan will direct the player towards Anya Herrick, who will, in turn, point towards Ma’zaddha. Unlike the other, Ma’zaddha will not break under the electrical torture, thus forcing the player to change tactics. Leaving Ma’zaddha, the player must speak to Caldana Monrius, Bhisha, or Sickly Bernice in order to learn that Ma’zaddha meets with a dark seducer named Nerlene.
After this, travel to the southwest sewer fate in the Crucible here between 2:30 and 2:45 am, the meeting will take place, and a plot to kill the Lady will be discussed. The player needs to squeeze the pair for information about anyone else in on the conspiracy.
This will reveal Muurine as the one at the head of the whole thing. After telling Lady Syl this, she will summon Muurine to her and immediately sentence her to death, finishing the quest and earning the player Ruin’s Edge, a bow of great power.
A Hard Choice Indeed
The Cold Flame of Agnon
The next quest given by Sheogorath involves lighting the fires of Agnon in order to prevent the Greymarch. In order to light this great torch and prevent the event, the player must travel to Cylarne, a location in the northwest of Mania.
It is only when the player arrives here that they find out about the other two factions that divide the Isles, the Golden Saints, and the Dark Seducers. Each of these organizations controls one of the altars required to relight the flames; however, these factions are about to go to war with each other and won’t help the player from the outset. Therefore, the player must decide which faction to side with to complete this quest and gain access to both alters.
The Choice is Yours
No matter which side you choose, the path to victory is rather simple. You will need to fight on your chosen side until you emerge victorious from the battle. Either way, the player’s side will always win.
No matter which side the player chooses, the result is always the same, and the choice of faction usually comes down to whichever realm the player prefers, Mania or Dementia.
Once dominance has been established, the leader of your chosen clan will light the flame of Agnon for the player and offer them the right to carry back the honored flame to Sheogorath.
As with the rest of this DLC, the method of transporting said flame is a little odd; instead of simply dipping a torch in the fire, the player must actually step into the flame, becoming the torch themselves. Once set alight, the player must travel to Sacellum Arden-Sul within New Sheoth.
Once you arrive, a final choice will be presented to the player in the form of two priests. One will be a representative of Mania and the other Dementia. Each priest will offer the player a reward should they light the torch for their house.
Should you side with Mania, the player will receive the raiment of Arden-Sul, an armor that fortifies Willpower, Intelligence, and Resist Paralysis. If you side with Dementia, however, you will receive the raiment of Intrigue, gifting the player with fortification in Speed, Security, Luck, and Sneak.
Once again, your decision here does not really matter in the grand scheme of things. Afterward, head to Sheogorath, who will be clapping frantically before preaching that the Greymarch is still fast approaching before giving your next quest.
- The player must help both kingdoms of the Shivering Isles, Mania, and Dementia, to gain their trust.
- Sheogorath will eventually tell the player about the Greymarch, an event wherein his true alter-ego, Jyggalag, replaces him.
- The player is asked to choose sides many times throughout this DLC; however, until the quest Ritual of Accession, these choices do not affect the ending of the DLC.
Ritual of Accession – Another Choice
Once again, this DLC will give the player another opportunity to pick a side in one of the conflicts raging throughout the Isles. In Ritual of Accession, Sheogorath will tell the player that the Greymarch is still fast approaching, and to stop this, he needs the player to rise to power within one of the kingdoms on the Isles. He leaves the choice of whether you become sovereign of Dementia or Mania up to you.
In order to truly know what you’re getting into, the player needs to speak with the two priests from before, enquiring how a new sovereign is selected in each of their kingdoms. Each has its own requirements begging consideration. Depending on your choice of kingdom, a specific quest will then begin.
Ritual of Dementia
Should the player decide to become sovereign of Dementia, this quest will begin, and it involves taking the throne from someone we have already met, Lady Syl.
The game will direct the player back to the Crucible. Here, the player must speak with a resident and earn their favor. Doing this will prompt them to tell the player that their Lady is rarely seen in public and that all her duties are completed by her servants, Kithlan and Anya Herrick.
Finding either of these two and raising their disposition towards the player will gain you entry to the house of Dementia. Once inside, you will have to make your way through the royal gardens to find the secret door that leads to the ruin of Xirethard.
Once inside Xirethard, the player must navigate countless traps and Dark Seducer soldiers before gaining entry to Lady Syl’s main compound. When the player gets here, they will find Lady Syl dressed in Dark Seducer armor, ready for war. Of course, she is still no match for the player. After her death, take her heart and return it to Sacellum.
After the player places the heart on the alter, it will glow and disappear, prompting the high priest to announce the player as the new sovereign of Dementia, ending this quest.
Ritual of Mania
To complete this quest, the player must extract information from Wide-Eye, Thadon’s servant. By raising their disposition, the player will learn that Wide-Eye must fetch Thadon something at noon every day; however, they won’t say precisely what.
Of course, the player must sneak around Wide-Eye at noon until she activates a statue in the Halcyon Conservatory. This statue will reveal the entrance to Greenmote Silo, wherein the player must follow.
Once the sneaking portion of the mission is complete, leaving the player by the source of the Greenmote ingredient, they must take two or more doses for their inventory. The player must escape this area and head back to the House of Mania.
Once back in the house, the player must enter the Duke’s quarters by picking the lock and head down to his private kitchen. There will be a tray of food and wine for the Duke’s dinner; spike these both by activating the tray and then wait for the Greenmote overdose to kill him at 8:00 pm. After this, collect his blood and return to Sacellum.
Here, the blood must be placed on the altar before burning away, allowing the priest to announce the player as the Duke of Mania, completing this quest.
The War Begins
After taking one of the thrones of the Isles for yourself, Sheogorath will congratulate the player until the remaining sovereign of the realm bursts in and speaks to Sheogorath about the encroaching presence of Jyggalag and the Greymarch.
The player is then tasked with heading up the defense of the Fringe. Here the player must talk to their new Lieutenant and help him set up troops to defend against Jyggalag’s forces. Soon after this is done, Knights of Order will start coming in waves. Fending off these enemies will prompt the player to be sent to Xeddefen to deal with a dark presence detected there.
The player must first defeat the enemies outside the location to gain entrance. Once inside, a simple dungeon run awaits the player. However, an NPC named Sheldon will beg you to help him escape during your run. Simply tell him to wait and continue on your journey to the source of the dark power.
The source is soon revealed to be an obelisk that can only be brought down via overloading it with hearts of order (lootable from fallen knights). Once the obelisk is overloaded and destroyed, escape the structure with Sheldon before it can come down atop you.
Returning to Sheogorath will be the next quest wherein he has decided that to prevent the Greymarch from advancing further, he needs another Gatekeeper. Of course, you destroyed his last one and, therefore, need to find Relmyna again.
Once found, she will agree to help after some delicate persuasion; however, she needs specific ingredients from the Gardens of Flesh and Bone that she will mark on your map. Once here, the ingredients are actually quite easy to find, and upon returning to her, she will help you build another gatekeeper.
The Helpless Army
The Greymarch continues, so Sheogorath anoints the player as his champion, sending him to defend the kingdom they did not overthrow in the Accession quest.
This quest, no matter which side you fight on, is straightforward and involves meeting a group of soldiers in either Pinnacle Rock or Brellach. Once there, you must proceed into their territory to save their leader. Once he is found, simply give the nearby chime a good thump, and he will be freed.
Together, proceed to the Wellspring to restore the waters and further prevent the Greymarch; however, when your group enters the next area, everyone but you drops dead. The player must then do everything themselves, killing the Knights of Order and destroying the obelisk that blocks the way to the Wellspring.
To do this, hit the chimes scattered throughout the area, and the emitted tones will eventually shatter the obelisk. The soldier will return to life after the water is restored. You must then return to Sheogorath.
Symbols of Office
With the waters restored, the players will find Sheogorath panicked about the oncoming Greymarch. He will tell the player that with Jyggalg being so close, he will soon cease to exist and he has, therefore, instructed Haskill to aid the player in returning the mad Prince to his realm.
This requires a simple fetch quest that starts with the player having to attain the wisdom of Dyus in order to learn how to reassemble Sheogorath’s Staff. He will point the player toward a branch from the Tree of Shades and an eye from Ciitra, and each is relatively simple to collect when quest markers are followed.
Once everything is gathered, head back to Dyus at Knifepoint Hollow for him to assemble the Staff for you. After this, he will send you to the Prince’s throne room.
The Roots of Madness
Now that you hold the Staff, the player is directed to activate the fountain within his chambers. However, you’re too late; the Greyamrch has come and has rendered the fountain unstable.
From here, the player must head to the Fountainhead entrance in order to cleanse the pools of Mania and Dementia. The door to Fountainhead is located behind the throne. Here, the player will face Priests and Knights of Order. Killing these enemies will earn the player Shards of Order; these items are required to release two pools from the priests who taint them.
Once two shards are collected, head to the Pool of Mania and Dementia. Kill the enemies here and cleanse the pool. Depending on which kingdom you don’t control, the other sovereign will be at their respective pool, waiting to fight the player.
After the pools are cleansed, return to the throne room to find the fountain of madness now fully functioning and proceed to enchant the Staff.
The End of Order
The final quest of The Shivering Isles DLC involves the player finally facing off against Jyggalag. First, you will have to head to the palace courtyard as a new obelisk has spawned there, allowing Jyggalg’s forces to swell inside the area.
Arriving in the courtyard, the player must destroy the obelisks inside with hearts of order, each requiring three. Eventually, you should be able to shut down these obelisks, forcing Jyggalag himself to spawn.
The final battle between him and the player will then begin. Jyggalag will use spells of Shock Damage on the player and easily knock them down throughout the conflict whilst also regenerating health over time. However, he will eventually be defeated.
After this, Jyggalag will tell the player the whole story; how Sheogorath is the mad version of Jyggalag, formed after the other Daedric Princes cursed him, trapping the deity of order into madness. The Greymarch is, therefore, the time when Jyggalag’s true form returns to try and free himself from the curse.
In killing him, the player has freed Jyggalag from his curse, and he thanks you for this. However, the Isles cannot be without a mad prince, so the player is awarded the title of Sheogorath.
The Shivering Isles Guide: FAQs
Question: How do I get to the Shivering Isles?
Answer: To get to the Isles, travel to Nibben Bay, located east of Bravil, and find the portal there.
Question: How long does the Shivering Isles take?
Answer: It will take most players between 8-10 hours to complete the main quest of this DLC.
Question: Can you buy a house in New Sheoth?
Answer: The player can buy a house in Bliss or Crucible. Each cost 10’000 gold.
So there you have it, a complete guide to Oblivion’s Shivering Isles DLC. This DLC has to be my favorite one released for Oblivion, and the moments I experienced all those years ago are still rich in my mind.
I hope you enjoyed this guide, and it helped you in your journey throughout the Isles. Good luck with your next adventure!