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Skyrim has been with us for over ten years now, and most of us have gotten more play out of the title than we ever expected at launch. This replayability of Skyrim comes down to many variables, including new support for mods, console commands on PC, continuous drops of new and improved editions of the game, and, of course, a generous amount of DLC content.
Lately, I have spent my usual Skyrim gaming time focused on this DLC content, specifically the new areas that we got with them.
While I played these DLCs at launch and completed their main quest lines fairly quickly, I never actually took the time to breathe and inspect the new environments that came with this storyline. My most recent adventure has been through the Dragonborn DLC, which added the entirely new island of Solstheim to the game.
The town of Raven Rock is the most interesting place on this island. As soon as the player lands here, they are hit with layers of hints and great writing, letting you know that every nook and cranny of this place is filled with lore.
Therefore, I have spent too many hours of my finite life exploring this location to learn everything there is to know about, all the stuff I missed when I ran head first after Miraak.
Therefore, to give a purpose to my many wasted hours, I decided that a location such as this really should have a dedicated guide on our lovely website, just so you fans of Skyrim and TES franchise don’t have to do all the heavy lifting that I did.
So, with all this being said, let’s take a look at the frontier town of Raven Rock, the most interesting place in all of Solstheim.
Getting to Raven Rock
Hopefully, most of you will already be familiar with the Dragonborn DLC and how you access this content. However, to be sure, let’s run over the details quickly.
After you load Skyrim with the Dragonborn DLC installed for the first time and have completed the main quest wherein you retrieve the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller, two strangers will attack the player in weird garb.
These two figures will identify themselves as cultists of Miraak, the one true Dragonborn, accusing you of falsely claiming the mantle. They will then attack the player, forcing you to end their short, weird lives. On one of their bodies, you will find a note named ‘Cultists’ Orders.’ This letter will direct the player to the Windhelm docks to find the boat that brought the cultists to Skyrim.
Annoyingly, this boat has no location maker even after discovering it. Therefore, you will need to travel to Windhelm docks and find the appropriate ship captain, Gjalund Salt-Sage.
After you find this man and try to convince him to take you to Solstheim, he will initially refuse, forcing the player to either bribe, intimidate or persuade him. Either way, he will eventually concede and bring the player to the island.
The screen will then go dark, only lifting when the boat swings around the cliff face on the southern coast of Solsthiem, docking in the frontier town of Raven Rock.
A Stranger’s Welcome
As you float into the island of Solstheim, the player will dock in Raven Rock, the main settlement on the island. If this is your first time, you will be immediately questioned by the awaiting Adril Arano, a Dunmer man who holds the role of Second Councilor of Raven Rock.
Through this first conversation, the player will learn a couple of things about Solstheim and Raven Rock. First of all, you will learn that this town used to be under the control of the empire; however, around the same time that the Dunmer set foot on the island in the early fourth era, the empire decided to give up control of the location, leaving shortly thereafter with the area in complete disarray.
You will also learn that Adril and his people are very concerned with the security of their town, thus why he deemed it necessary to question the new arrival at his docks. Apparently, as a frontier town, life in Raven Rock is hard, and nothing can be left to chance.
Like No Other
As the player steps off the boat and walks a couple of yards into the town, they will see just how different the Dunmer architecture is compared to the rest of the buildings we have seen so far during our playthrough of Skyrim.
It would seem that Adril was right; nearly everything in the town must have needed to be rebuilt when the Dunmer first arrived, with most important buildings and dwellings being built in the Dunmer fashion.
If I were pressed to describe their architectural taste, I would say that they much prefer the use of curvature in their design, as opposed to the straight lines and blocky nature of imperial efforts.
The difference between the two building styles is never more apparent than when you walk into the center of the town, wherein three Dunmer buildings will sit around the town well, with an imperial-built blacksmith forge at its head.
History of Raven Rock
The East Empire Company founded Raven Rock after a vast supply of ebony was found on the island. They quickly moved in and set up and had the town we now know as Raven Rock in a couple of months. The Raven Rock mine and the EEC sign inside of it are one of the last surviving indicators of the town’s past.
Due to the island’s proximity to Windhelm, many ships would travel what is now known as the Sea of Ghosts, bringing the valuable ore back to mainland Skyrim. The town only grew in the following years, with more and more people calling Raven Rock home.
At this stage, the settlement was primarily populated by Nords from nearby Skyrim and a couple of Imperials of the EEC. Thankfully, for the people of Raven Rock, when the Oblivion crisis erupted in 3E 433, no gates opened on the island, and they were left untouched by Mehrunes Dagon’s plot.
After their home, Ald’ruhn, was destroyed in 4E 01; the Dunmer great houses sent small parties out to search for new and viable settlement locations. House Redoran, the house which still holds power in Raven Rock today, sent out a group led by Brara Morvayn, who returned with news of Solstheim and Raven Rock.
The exact details of what happened between House Redoran and the EEC are unclear, but we know that some gold probably changed hands to allow their people to settle in Raven Rock. Eventually, these Dunmer people proved strong and good enough workers for the EEC to think about leaving the operation in their control, ensuring they would take most of the profits.
After the settlement of House Redoran’s group, everything was smooth sailing for a time, with the mine proving to be one of the richest ebony sources in all of Morrowind. However, in 4E 05, this all changed when the Red Mountain erupted.
The blast waves from this eruption hit Raven Rock at full force, destroying everything in its path. The only reason that most of Raven Rock’s population survived was that most were deep underground, working in the mine. After this, House Redoran grew slowly in power over time, soon becoming the ruling clan of Raven Rock after the EEC left when the mine proved to be running dry.
Also, around this time, after the Red Mountain explosion, creatures of ash, known as Ash Spawn, began forming on the island, attacking and killing the populace.
Future of Raven Rock
As you explore the many buildings of Raven Rock and listen to what the NPCs have to say to the player or each other, one thing will soon become clear – Raven Rock is not the thriving mining town it once was. In fact, the leader of the settlement, Lleril Moravayn, will even tell the player that “without the mine, Raven Rock can’t hold on for much longer.”
Yes, the simple truth is that without the ebony mine running at a decent rate, Raven Rock simply cannot sustain itself; the land is too harsh to grow enough crops to support the population.
If you explore Morovayn Manor, the player will be able to find two letters. One is a survey of the current situation in Raven Rock which talks about the falling number of guards and the eroding state of the sea wall that protected the settlement. The survey goes into detail about how they have lost 26 guards in the last two years, receiving only five new recruits in the past five years.
The second letter is a reply from House Redoran, telling Adril and Lleril that they will not be receiving anything in the way of extra funding or support from their homeland. The letter states that Raven Rock is just one of the 74 settlements they have dotted around the place and, therefore, cannot receive any special treatment.
One other interesting thing you will learn from speaking with Moravayn is that he technically is the leader of the entire island of Solstheim.
However, he freely admits that he does not have nearly enough manpower to control anything outside of Raven Rock. Therefore, when he speaks of other tribes, such as the Nords at Skall Village, he speaks about how both parties leave each other alone and that this practice is for the best.
Key Locations in Raven Rock
When you step off the boat and through the walls of Raven Rock, the massive building immediately in front of you will be the Temple. In this building, the Dunmer lay their dead to rest by handing them over to holy fire for a ritual called Reclamation.
There is also a miscellaneous quest that you can pick up here by speaking with Elder Othreloth. He will ask the player to clear out the underground tomb of Ash Spawn. This quest is pretty straightforward and will take no longer than 5 minutes, with the elder rewarding the payer with 1500 gold for their troubles. Not a bad turnover.
As I have already mentioned, this is where you will find the first and second councilors of Raven Rock, as well as some interesting bits of lore via correspondence and some books on Raven Rock’s history. This location can be found by turning left after coming in off the docks; it will be the first stone building on your left.
Raven Rock Mine
As you enter from the docks, the former ebony mine will be found at the back of the town, to the northwest. Inside, you will find an old EEC sign and a bickering couple. By speaking with Crescius Caerellius, you can get the quest The Final Descent, wherein you have to investigate what happened to his great-grandfather, Gratian Caerellius.
Glover Mallory’s House
As you walk through Raven Rock, you might see a familiar name pop up as an NPC walks by you – Glover Mallory, brother of Delvin Mallory of Thieves Guild fame. His house will be located directly behind his blacksmith workshop.
This large home sits on the outside of town. The player can manage to claim it for themselves should they complete the Served Cold quest wherein they must prevent a plot to assassinate first councilor Morovayn.
The Retching Netch
This location, found just beside Mallory’s workshop, has pretty much the exact same layout as the upper floors of the Temple. Once you get inside, you can speak with the proprietor, Geldis Sadri, who will gladly regale the player with a story about how the establishment got its name.
To cut a long story short, Geldis once saw one of his drunk patrons through a bottle of sujamma at a netch. The netch then drank the sujamma and started vomiting violently. Thus the name was born.
Quests of Note in Raven Rock
As the player lands at Raven Rock to begin their search for Miraak, the town is obviously associated with the main quest, but that is for another article. In this list, we will take a look at quests specifically associated with Raven Rock and the people therein. Let’s go!
A New Debt
You can acquire this quick quest by speaking with Mogrul after the Reluctant Steward quest is completed. The quest involves the player paying off Drovas Relvi’s debt to Mogrul or killing him, and the choice is yours.
March of the Dead
As you may have noticed, for a small town, there are an awful lot of Ash Spawn attacks. This quest sends you looking for the cause. Start this quest by speaking to Captain Veleth, the head of Raven Rock’s guard.
As mentioned previously, this quest involves the Dragonborn stopping a plot to assassinate first councilor Morvayn. Adril Arano will give the player this quest as he believes the Ulen family is after his boss.
Cleaning the Temple
Go to the Temple of Raven Rock and kill the Ash Spawn currently infesting the temple there.
Best Loot in Raven Rock
In terms of loot, Raven Rock is pretty lackluster. The only location where you can expect to get anything better than a few pieces of gold or a gemstone is the derelict mine at the back of the town. Here you will find the following unique pieces.
1. Bloodskal Blade
This weapon can be found by entering the Raven Rock mine and undertaking The Final Descent quest. You will have to travel through the mine until you find the secret located beneath it and the skeletal remain of Gratian Caerellius. On his body will be this blade that you can use to open the door that will get you to other pieces of loot.
Base Damage: 21
Additional Effects: Emits an energy blast with power attacks, dealing 30 damage.
2. Zahkriisos Dragon Priest Mask
This mask can only be attained after getting the Bloodskal Blade and completing the puzzle with said blade. After the door opens, kill the dragon priest inside and steal the mask of its corpse.
Base Armor: 23
Base Value: 500
Additional Effects: 50% resistance to shocks; shock spells also do 25% more damage.
3. Word of Power Wall for Dragon Aspect
After the dragon priest is destroyed, you will see a word of power wall directly behind where he spawned. This wall will give you one of the words for the dragon aspect shout.
4. East Empire LockBox
Throughout Raven Rock, you will find locked metal boxes that seemingly belong to the East Empire Company. These boxes are under an expert lock; however, if you break this, there will be some pretty good geared loot inside.
Question: How do you get to Raven Rock in Skyrim?
Answer: With the Dragonborn DLC installed and having already retrieved the Horn of Jorgan Windcaller for the main quest line, the player will be attacked by two cultists, who, upon their death, will point you towards a boat docked in Windhelm harbor. Board this boat and travel to Solstheim; the first location here is Raven Rock.
Question: What Level Should I be for Raven Rock?
Answer: Before you leave for Raven Rock and the island of Solstheim, you should be at least level 30.
Question: What Shout is in Raven Rock Mine?
Answer: In the depth of the derelict mine, the player will find a word of the dragon aspect shout.
So, there you have it, a comprehensive guide to one of the main locations in the Dragonborn DLC, one of the best DLCs released for Skyrim. Raven Rock is certainly one of the most well-thought-out areas in any piece of DLC content. The area is dripping with lore set up by other games, and it is done in a way that won’t confuse any new players to the series. I could, and have, spent hours walking around the town, exploring everything it has to offer and listening to the tales that the villagers unload on me.
Raven Rock Skyrim: Final Thoughts
I hope that you enjoy your visit to Raven Rock and that this guide will help you find and deal with Miraak. Regardless, I hope to see you again soon and wish you luck in all your Skyrim-based adventures; bye!