In retrospect, Skyrim is a very hit-or-miss game. Certain aspects of it are exceptional, like how Ulfric funds his war effort (if you don’t know, find out). However, some parts of the game are disappointing, including many so-called “unique weapons.” I’m thrilled to report that the Bloodskal Blade is not one of those weapons.
Not only is the Bloodskal Blade a strong Greatsword, but it’s got a distinctively unique look and effect that sets it apart from every other weapon in the game. It’s not just a fancy version of Skyrim’s vanilla enchantments. It’s one of the highlights of both Skyrim and the Dragonborn DLC, so I’ve put together this Bloodskal Blade guide to walk you through how to get it and how to use it.
Key Details Up Front
Location: Raven Rock Mine
Cost: None: Obtained via Completion of the Final Descent in Skyrim or the Central Room of Bloodskal Barrow in Morrowind’s expansion Bloodmoon.
Weapon Type: Greatsword
Related Characters: Crescius Caerellius
The Bloodskal Blade has appeared in two different Elder Scrolls games, albeit in DLCs. First, it appeared in Bloodmoon for Morrowind, then again in Dragonborn for Skyrim. These DLCs see the player travel to Solstheim, so, logically, it hasn’t appeared in any other game in the series.
While the Bloodskal Blade doesn’t have a wealth of lore behind it, it does have a fun little bit of continuity from Morrowind to Skyrim.
In Morrowind, you can meet a man named Gratian Caerellius. He was sent to Raven Rock Mine as an Ebony miner by the East Empire Company back in the Third Era. Fast forward to Skyrim in the Fourth Era, and you meet his great-grandson, Crescius Caerellius. Crescius is the one that gives you the quest that you get the Bloodskal Blade from.
During the quest, you’ll find Gratian’s journal on his remains which tells of how he was sent back to the mine later in life to steal the Bloodskal Blade, again for the East Empire Company. Aside from Gratian’s failed excursions, we know that the Nerevarine had the sword before it was returned to Bloodskal Barrow, where it remained until the Last Dragonborn raided the Barrow.
The Bloodskal Blade got something of a facelift between Morrowind and Skyrim. Rather than its old Silver Sword appearance, Skyrim’s version of the blade is much more rugged. It is made from a dark metal with a red edge with spikes lining the blade’s sides. It almost looks vampiric despite having nothing to do with vampires.
The appearance of the Bloodskal Blade isn’t the only upgrade between TES III and TES V. The weapon’s effect was also changed. In a rare turn of events for Skyrim, the Bloodskal Blade was upgraded with a unique effect, rather than having its uniqueness stripped away.
In Morrowind, the sword dealt Frost damage only. However, in Skyrim, power attacking causes it to cast out a massive energy blast. There’s no other weapon in the game with any sort of effect similar to it. There is no exact lore reason for this change, so we can safely assume that it’s just a regular technologically-related retcon, not that I’m complaining.
Not only do the blasts look fantastic, but they stagger almost every enemy in the game. So, despite not doing too much damage, it’s still a handy ability. On a more fundamental level, it simply gives you a ranged option with a melee weapon, something that can be invaluable regardless of effectiveness.
In terms of both fun factors as well as actual usability, the Bloodskal Blade ticks almost all the boxes. The sword has the base damage of a Glass Greatsword, meaning you can use it in most of the game’s complex content. Although upgrading it is difficult as it’s not affected by any Smithing perks, you’ll have to get creative with your gear and potions.
The only downside that the Bloodskal Blade has is that it’s a two-handed Greatsword, and you can’t take the enchantment off of it. So, unless you’re using a two-handed build, it’s nothing more than a cool-looking wall decoration.
The Final Descent
Speak with Crescius Caerellius in Raven Rock Mine
When you first enter Raven Rock Mine, you’re going to stumble across a small domestic between Crescius and the Missus. As is all too common in marriage, she’ll be trying to dissuade Crescius from going on a good old-fashioned adventure.
Wait for them to finish bickering, then talk to Crescius. He’ll tell you about something that the East Empire Company covered up two centuries ago. He believes that whatever the company hid could put Raven Rock back on the map.
Offer him your help, and he’ll give you a key to the mine, as well as the objective to recover the journal belonging to Gratian Caerellius, his great grandfather.
Explore the Mine
The mine layout is pretty typical of other mines and dungeons you’ll have explored in Skyrim. Make your way down a bunch of old, broken scaffolds, fighting Skeevers and Spiders along the way. Eventually, the mine will break off into some ancient Nordic ruins. From here on out, you’ll be fighting leveled Draugr. Given that you should be at a high level when you come to Solstheim, you can expect to come across a few Deathlords, so make sure you come prepared.
Fight your way through the ruins, being careful to avoid traps, until you come across a drop into a cavern. You’ll need to fall here but bear in mind that you can’t return to the surface from this point until The Final Descent is complete.
In the cavern, you’ll come across a wicked-looking door, as well as the remains of poor old Gratian. Take his journal from his corpse, as well as the Bloodskal Blade.
Use the Bloodskal Blade to Unlock the Door
Give Gratian’s journal a read if you’d like. It gives you a little bit of backstory on Gratian and highlights how you open the big door in front of you. You’ll need to equip the Bloodskal Blade for this next part.
When you’re using the blade and you power attack, the sword will shoot out a line of energy that staggers and deals damage. If you’re moving backward or side to side, that line of energy will come out horizontally. The line will be vertical if you’re standing still or moving forward.
On the door, you’ll notice a bunch of different red lines. Take the Bloodskal Blade and hit these lines with the appropriate energy beam, horizontal or vertical. Do three rounds of two lines, followed by a final follow-up line to unlock the door.
Slay the Dragon Priest
Proceed down the hallway of death behind the door and into the boss fight arena. Interacting with the loot chest in the center of the arena, which only has a pitiful two septims, will start the boss fight. You’re going to be fighting a guy called Zahkriisos. I say guy, but he’s a Dragon Priest. One of the five, in fact that inhabit Solstheim.
You shouldn’t need me to tell you that Dragon Priest fights are no walk in the park, especially as half of the arena is covered in water. That being said, you can cheese the fight by using the Bloodskal Blade’s ranged attack, if you want.
Either way, kill Zahkriisos, read the word wall for one of the ranks of Dragon Aspect, and continue towards the exit. Before leaving the dungeon, make sure you interact with the Black Book sitting by the stairs on a pedestal. This Black Book is the Winds of Change. Run through that quest, and you’ll be returned to where you picked up the book. You can then proceed out of Bloodskal Barrow and Raven Rock Mine.
Return to Crescius
Return to Crescius in his Raven Rock home and give him the journal. He’ll pay you, thank you, and send you on your way. This completes the Final Descent.
The Bloodskal Balde’s unique effect differs from most other Skyrim weapons. Rather than having an enhanced version of vanilla enchantments, the sword allows you to shoot out a massive line of energy that staggers and deals damage to any enemy it hits.
Granted, it doesn’t deal much damage, but the stagger effect can come in exceptionally handy. When you consider that it’s the only melee weapon in the game with a built-in ranged attack and that it has the same base damage as a Glass Greatsword, it’s hard to argue against the Bloodskal Blade’s viability as a primary weapon.
How to Obtain
Complete The Final Descent
To get your hands on the Bloodskal Blade, you’ll need to follow my walkthrough of The Final Descent. The quest is quite fun and well designed, putting a unique spin on what would otherwise be another cookie-cutter dungeon exploring fetch quest.
While the sword isn’t your objective while you’re dungeon diving for Crescius, it is needed to complete the quest. In fact, you won’t be able to remove it from your inventory until The Final Descent is fully completed, so make sure you head back to Crescius and tie up your loose end.
Question: How do you open the door with the Bloodskal Blade?
Answer: On the door, you should see a set of glowing red lines. Us the Bloodskal Blade’s power attack to hit these lines. If the lines are horizontal, hit them with a horizontal attack. If they’re vertical, use a vertical attack. Continue hitting the lines until the door opens.
Question: Is the Bloodskal Blade Good?
Answer: Yes, the Bloodskal Blade is excellent. It has the base damage of a Glass Sword, meaning it’s not the most damaging Greatsword you could use. However, the stagger effect of its power attack is invaluable in many different, difficult situations.
Question: What type of weapon is the Bloodskal Blade?
Answer: The Bloodskal Blade is a two-handed Greatsword. There is no way to remove the weapon’s enchantment, meaning only two-handed builds will be able to use it to its full potential.
Bloodskal Blade Guide: Conclusion
That pretty much does it for my Bloodskal Blade guide. Bethesda really stepped it up when the team was developing Dragonborn, and the blade along with The Final Descent is clear proof of that. It’s an entertaining and unique weapon that is useable on higher difficulties, and the quest to get it stands out compared to others of its kind.
Regardless of whether you’re just a collector or want to use the Blade actively, make a point of seeking it out. You’ll need to, anyways, for the Black Book found at the end of Bloodskal Barrow.