The Elder Scrolls IV: OBLIVION
A brief guide by Lu Richardson
This is a much-trumpeted role playing game - but, in spite of exaggerated claims, I've seen graphics just as good in games that did not require such ridiculously high computer specifications (have a look, for instance, at Farcry to mention but one at random). What places Oblivion apart is its vast, visually detailed world, the myriad of items it contains (most of them superfluous) and the great number of things you can try out. In theory, this could keep you playing for ever - though not necessarily entertain you all that much because, inevitably, the gameplay becomes repetitive and predictable. Still, I'm sure lots of people will get a great deal of pleasure out of it.
To keep it as brief as possible, I am recounting only the path you must take to complete the game, i.e., I'm describing the main quest. I appreciate your character will not necessarily be ready to take on certain enemies, but I'm only setting out the stages of the main quest in a logical way. You should, of course, gain experience points by carrying out side quests (I describe a couple so you can see how easy they are) or join guilds before you take on each of these stages; it would be absurd for me to attempt to tell you all the tasks you can undertake in order to advance. It would take forever!
Don't pick up everything you find and burden yourself unnecessarily. Keep only the very expensive (to trade) or useful items. If you find a better weapon or armour, drop the old ones. Keep always a one-handed weapon for when you need to have a torch in the other hand: this applies to dark places, of which there are many. Indeed, even when it's daytime, the moment you step into a location everything is pitch dark. This is rather annoying, actually.
Every time you get a side quest, read it up, highlight it and click on MAP to find out where to go. More often than not you cannot travel there directly, but you will always be able to travel somewhere near and then walk to it. Handy green triangles on the compass and the map will guide you.
As you go along, always look about you first for people or animals which might attack. Always search the dead bodies for goodies. Note that enemies drop their weapon on the floor near them. Read all the books you find. Talk to people using all the options. Look out for folks who can teach you something. Try not to steal or attack innocents and don't pick locks when there are folks about - it will make life easier. Lockpicks are hard to come by, so save before you try a difficult lock.
Buy a house somewhere handy (the cheapest is a shack you can get for 2000 gp from the Office of Imperial Commerce at the Imperial City) as soon as you can afford it, so that you always have a place in which to rest safely and to dump stuff you are not sure about (buy the storage house furniture). Always travel light, there is much to be found out there.
Do your own thing at all times... and save often!
One particularly important thing. If you are going to go into battle with helpers, save first. If your allies get killed, reload and try again... if you can be bothered to keep them alive, that is. Reload also if you kill a friend by mistake. This can become quite tedious.
From the start:
THE PRISON AND DUNGEONS
Have a look around you and wait for the Emperor to be escorted in. Have a conversation with him and follow him through the dark passage, go down the stairs and then stay back while a fight takes place. You'll be asked to remain here. Go immediately down the stairs to the left and get what the Captain was carrying. Equip the katana or the short sword and the torch - you'll be attacked by a couple of rats, so defend yourself. You can pick up their meat. Search also the other bodies for something you can use. You will notice that the door through which the party left cannot be picked - a key is needed.
Go through the gap in the wall to the right of the stairs as you go down. This next bit is a sort of Tutorial and good for practice. Keep right and explore, looking all about you for rats and other perils before they surprise you. Search around and remember to take only what you need and small, expensive things. Beware the traps (be on the look out for strings at ankle level and cut them); manipulate everything you can. The hand icon does not appear easily, so do your best. By the way, make sure you pick up another one-hand weapon in good condition while in the dungeon.
The way out is behind the goblin shaman, but do finish exploring the area if you want.
THE IMPERIAL SUBTERRANE
When you get out of the dungeon you rejoin the emperor and his escort. Follow them, have a conversation, choose a birthsign to your liking and continue to follow the emperor. You'll find a locked gate; an ambush is suspected. At this point, the emperor goes into a side passage and is told to wait there (the Sanctum?). Take up your position at the back end of the short passage, just inside it, with your back to the emperor; the two Blades will take the entrance. Kill any assassins who make it through but be sure not to kill the Blades. You might want to save every time you successfully defend the emperor. This is a good place to get experience. When you get bored, back off and the emperor will die after giving you his amulet and explaining what to do with it.
Somehow, and in spite of your best efforts, only Baurus survives and talks to you after searching the emperor's body. You find out how to find Jauffre. At the end of the conversation you have to hand over the Captain's weapons so this is where the spare weapon you picked up earlier comes in handy.
To get to the sewers, face the dead emperor and go through a passage on the right. The key Baurus gave you will open a door which leads to the entrance of the sewers. Just explore them and have a couple of easy fights, then find the way out. You can't get lost.
Now, you could go along the dock, into the water and across to the bandit's camp site an explore around; do so, by all means, if you like. Me, I'm going to use the map and go directly to...
Advance to the well. The chapel to your right has a fount that will cure various conditions (remember this), but the door you want is behind the well. Go in and talk to people, don't steal, go up the stairs and talk to Jauffre. Use up all the options and at Assistance, he will unlock his chest for you. Help yourself. Leave the building and travel to...
A guy will run to you and appraise you of the situation. Go right (talk to Boldon) and up the road to the camp. If it is night-time, you can sleep in one of the tents till daylight. Not that it will last long. Talk to whoever you see.
Go up the road till you get to the barricades and talk to Matius; at the end, offer to help. Go behind the barricades and approach the gate. Enter it and you'll see a guy fighting, help him out and talk to him. Send him back to Matius. Go to your left and keep walking around (mind the falling boulders) till you reach some steps leading to a door in the N. Go in, keep left and explore around. Basically, you must try to go upwards. Find the door to the Plane of Oblivion to the NE. Cross the bridge and enter the other door, go up, kill the Sigil Keeper (get his key) and talk to the guy in the cage.
Go back the way you came and at the door turn left and get to the door to the NE (Citadel Hall Door) which you will open with the key. Go right, through the door to Blood Feast, left, up, get rid of the Dremora Churl. To his right, a round lift. Stand on it an use it to go up. Go up the ramp and through the door to Sigillum Sanguis. You will see a red dome, go to it and up a red-bar ladder to the left, up another red-canvas ladder (you might need to jump to access it). At the top, get hold of the sigil stone. You wind up outside the gate. Go forward and talk to Matius. Of course, you'll help him again, so follow him into...
Save first. Kill your enemies but make sure that you don't hurt your allies. At the end, talk to Matius and follow him into the chapel.
Listen to the conversation, watch and talk to Matius. Follow him out and again make sure you hurt only enemies. At the end of the battle talk to Matius again and he will send you into the chapel to find the guy with the key. At this point three Imperial Legion soldiers join you, tell them to follow you. Talk to Berich and follow him.
There will be a couple of battles before Berich unlocks the way into the Castle. Follow him at all times and make sure he survives! In, go the only way you can, find a ladder to your left, up, up the stairs and turn the wheel to open the gates. More battles.
Into the Castle, fight some more, then Matius tells you to go to the back of the Castle for the Count. Do just that. In the last room you'll find him dead. Pick up his signet ring and nothing else. Don't take your dead helpers gear on the way back to Matius. Talk to him and give him the ring. He gives you some good stuff in return. At this point, whichever helpers you still have with you will make themselves scarce.
Time to go to the camp and find Martin; though you might want to do a spot of looting in the Castle before you leave.
When you find Martin, talk to him and persuade him to accompany you to Weynon Priory. Travel there - you'll find trouble. When you can, go right to the chapel, defend Jauffre, talk to him to find out what happened, follow him out and into the house, talk to him some more. Time to go to...
But first, go out of the priory house and under the
arch to your left. Look at the horses
until you find the one allocated to you.
"Use" it to mount it.
Martin and Jauffre will mount the other two. Travel to the
IMPERIAL CITY ELVEN GARDENS DISTRICT
Talk to everyone you can. Find Luther Broad's Boarding House. Look about you, talk to people. Eventually Baurus will turn up sitting at the bar. Talk to him and do just as he says. When you follow the spy to the Basement, watch - Baurus will kill him. Again, do as Baurus says.
As you leave you might like to go to the Market and have a look around - you probably have a lot of loot weighing you down. If you go shopping you'll find that all the best stuff is far too expensive! However, prices change, I don't know why, so you might be able to afford something you really want.
[The Thoronir Quest]
Should you get involved in the Thoronir quest, wait
outside his door till night-time, sneak after him and listen to the
conversation by the well. Follow Agarmir
to his house and wait outside till he comes out in the morning. Go in and find the basement door, go in, keep
left and find a book - take it. Take it
to Thoronir and speak to him. Go to the
gates to Green Emperor Way, turn left and go along the gravestones till you
come to the Trentius mausoleum (you are automatically told you are there). In, confront Agarmir, fight him and his
friend. He carries a good weapon. Now go to the open tomb and grab the spade,
take it to Thoronir; problem solved plus you get a nice ring. Next, go to Jensine, talk to her and use the
option "Thoronir" by sliding down the arrow to the left of the
conversation options. Quest completed
plus you get
Before we move on, you might want to try your luck at the Arena. Go there and wangle a fight from Owyn to get money and experience. On the way up into the Arena you will see a basin of renewal - use it on the way down, after a fight.
[The Agronak quest]
If you go to the Arena and get the Agronak quest you'll have to travel to Kvatch and go W to find the ruins you have to search. There are vampires there, so look out. You need to find a book and get it back to Agronak. If you are aiming at any stage to challenge him (to be the Grand Champion after getting to be a champion yourself), it is better if you do not do this quest; killing him afterwards will carry a penalty. On the other hand, giving him the book will boost your skills. Up to you.
If you are ready, it's time we went to...
THE ARCANE UNIVERSITY
Travel there, enter the door ahead of you. Listen to the conversation and talk to Tar-Meena.
Back to the Market and to First Edition. Talk to Phintias then wait for Gwinas. Talk to him and pick the option "over your head". He eventually hands you the book, when he finds out the Mythic Dawn killed the emperor. Ask him about the 4th volume. OK, go find Baurus in front of Luther's Boarding House, talk to him and follow him.
THE SUNKEN SEWERS
No need to help Baurus with fights, but you could
search dead bodies - only don't loose sight of him. Eventually you will get to the meeting
place. Whichever way you do this there
will be a fight; kill the guys, get the last book. Baurus disappears, so search around here,
leave the sewers and get back to the
He tells you to come back tomorrow to get his thoughts on the matter. You could read the four books yourself and see what you think. I couldn't make head or tail of them. So wait till the next day and talk to Tar-Meena. He gives you a clue and requests the other two books. Hand them over and wait 24 hours, when he tells you where you have to go.
Leave and go to the
Go in and talk to the first guy you come to (passwords
are automatically exchanged), enter and talk to
With a bit of luck, you should be able to go up the stairs opposite the ones you came down with Harrow and fight your way out of here - there is a stonewall to the SE of the map which can be opened with a lever (turn your back on the stonewall, advance to the entrance of the passage and it's on your right, at shoulder height). Go through the opened gap and by going right you'll be able to get out to the Jerall mountains.
Use the map to locate the next place to visit N of Bruma and travel to...
Find Jauffre and talk to him, go through the door into the Great Hall and talk to Martin. Be sure to talk to Baurus who is nearby. Find Jauffre again by going to the East Wing to get the spies quest, then go to the West Wing to speak to Steffan. By the way, help yourself to whatever you need here.
Leave the temple complex, follow the road to the right and guide yourself by the green triangle on the compass to find the runestone. If it's not dusk yet, wait (I think dusk is after 6 pm and dawn after 6 am). Two spies will appear and you'll have to kill them; search them and get whatever you want plus the keys. Travel to...
If it's getting late, sleep at Olav's. Go to the Castle (you'll probably get involved with the Countess and get a quest), find the Barracks and speak to Burd. Now it's just a matter of walking around the village to find Jearl's house, which you can enter. Look on the floor for a trapdoor and go into the basement. Find a letter and read it. You can open the door down there and go through the caves to another door which leads to the mountains.
Travel to Jauffre, talk to him then to Martin. Read the Modern Heretics on the table in front of him. Leave.
If you read your present quest and click on Map you will see the shrine marked, so travel to Cheydinhal and make your way to it using the green mark on the compass to find the...
SHRINE OF AZURE
Talk to Mels and bribe him till he tells you what to have to do. Get the wisp dust from the yellow mound on the ground, near the bench. Stand in front of the statue and wait till past 6 pm or 6 am, "use" the base of the statue, give the wisp dust and get your marching orders.
Head for the...
Nothing much to do here save kill folks. Look out for traps. Look for silver veins (shiny boulders) to get nuggets. I believe you can pull a rope and open up another door (I'm not certain of this but it's worth trying). Be sure to find the Worn, Faded Note on one of your victims. Leave and travel back to the Shrine. Use it and you get an artefact.
Go to Martin and hand it over, talk to Jauffre and go to Bruma. Travel to the stables (you'll see the green mark on them), turn left and talk to Burd. Leave him talking to his men and approach the gate. Enter it and keep to your left - watch out for traps. You need to enter the tower which looms above you, so get round it to the stairs and in. You've done this before, just keep going up whenever you can. You'll eventually meet the sigil keeper who carries a key you need. Don't lose Burd, you must show him how to get the sigil stone so that he can close other gates when they appear.
When you pick up the stone you are back out of the gate. Travel to Jauffre. Speak to him then to Martin then to Jauffre again. Right, let's have a break. Let's go to the...
and dump our surplus.
We should be seeing the Council of Elders, but that won't be possible
yet. If you go to the
As you explore around, you will be approached by a
woman and asked to visit Seridur's house (preferably, it should be
night-time). Go there and you will be
told about a vampire you have to root out.
Go to Roland Jenseric's house, make sure no-one is about, sneak and pick
the lock. Inside, look for a letter on a
round table a little ahead and to your left.
Once you've read the letter, leave the house and travel to the W gate of
Cheydinhal then walk along the road to get to the cabin. When you speak to Roland (don't kill him)
you'll find out Seridur is the vampire.
Go to The First Edition and talk to Phintias - you might need to bribe
him to get answers; but then he is really obliging and tells you where to find
Seridur (presumably in daytime). So go
Now you can leave (I didn't fancy exploring this cave) the way you came and visit Roland. You then need to go to Seridur's house basement and talk to Roland. Not only he gives you a great ring, he will buy the vampire dust you are carrying at an enormous price. Quest over.
Enough of that. Let's get on with the main quest. You have to visit all the towns to get help. Of course, it's not going to be easy. I visited Chorrol first because I needed to get something for Martin, so let's do that first.
More of the same. Find the darned place and go in. Inside there are some luminous ghosts I could not kill, so I just run past them - perhaps you'll be more fortunate. If, like me, you gotta run, look up ahead after two ghosts till you see a gate and throw the lever on your right as you pass it. With a bit of luck the ghosts won't reach you. You will come to a large room with a Undead Blade; kill it, it turns out to be Rielus' ghost and he asks you to free his mates. Great. His weapon, by the way, allowed me to kill the ghosts. You can follow him, if you like, to find out where the shrine you must enter is located. Then you need to search around for the other three Undead Blades. When you've freed all three, go to the shrine. They will lift the spell and you can go in and get the armour. When you get out again, talk to the four ghosts so that they can finally go to their rest.
AID TO BRUNA
Go to the castle in each town and enter the Great Hall. Talk to the head honcho (or honchette) and invariably you'll have to close an Oblivion gate for them before they'll agree to anything. This is going to be extremely boring, since you've already closed two gates and all the rest are more or less the same. However, here are the main things to remember: beware of traps (they get more elaborate each time), find the tower and seek always to go up. Once you've got the sigil go visit the honcho in question to get their help. OK, here we go.
CHORROL: Go to the Stables and find the gate. Go inside. Now, I've no idea if I did this right or not, but here it goes: I went to the following towers and pulled a lever to open a gate, in this order. Tornado, Tsunami, Eruption, Landslide. Then I went out and I found the tower Earthquake. This lead up to the sigil stone. So it might well be that you can go straight to Earthquake and get on with it.
KVATCH: Just go into the Castle and talk to Matius. He pledges his help to Bruma.
SKINGRAD: You need to enter both towers, left and right of the gate, and get right up to the top to pull a lever. Both bridges will extend so that you can reach a third tower. Try Anguish first, then Sorrow. Access the third tower from Sorrow. You know the rest.
ANVIL: Nearly gave up on this one. I spent *hours* wandering around and finding myself, again and again, at two useless towers. Nearly died of boredom! Then I travelled through tunnels and finally got to the Tower Portal through the Red Gnash tunnels. Once there it was a piece of cake.
LEYAWIIN: You can ignore the tunnels (though there are some worth-while goodies in there - namely, an armour of Cameleon that can make you partly invisible) and work yourself to the NW to the Spindle Shrine, go to Blood Well, all the way to the top and pull the lever, down and through the next door down to the left - the War Gate will open. Through, enter the door to your left and do your stuff.
BRAVIL: There is a tower straight ahead - but that, of course, would be too easy; it has a huge, closed gate in front of it. So head left and look out for a long thin bridge. Under it there is the Cavern of the Abused (I got down with the aid of Acrobatics - but I think I was tired of running about, I should have approached this more carefully). At any rate, when you come out of the Cavern you'll find yourself on the other side of the gate and will be able to access the tower. Go for it.
CHEYDINHAL: This time the Count told me to talk to someone I couldn't find, so I went straight to the Gate. Wandering around, as usual, I found a couple of guys. Talk to them, first Farwil then Bremman, save and go left over a bridge. Be careful to kill only enemies - if necessary, restore. It is imperative that Farwil survives, but the other chap can make it, too. Do your best. After you get the sigil stone, talk to Farwil. Talking to the Count will also be rewarding.
OK, this quest is completed - let's get on. I guess we might as well go to...
Find the place as usual, go down the spiral stairway and enter. Explore around. Be aware that the zombies can infect you. There is a button to press in a square room to the W, but I don't know what that does. Around here there is a chest with a very useful Nighteye ring. To open the gate upstairs, stand on the square in front of it (you'll find others, some open secret walls). Basically, search around, pressing any buttons you come across (just in case), till you find the Great Stone. When you get it, the King of Miscarcand will appear accompanied by some zombies, so look out. Rush to kill him - from him you'll get a key and a great staff. The key opens a door to the W. Find your way out.
THE GREAT GATE
Go to Martin and talk to him. New quest. Travel to Bruma and talk to the Countess. Follow her to the Chapel. Talk to Martin when you can and then to the Countess to tell her you are ready. Leave the Chapel and Baurus will talk to you.
Travel to the Stables in Bruma and look for the Oblivion gate. Some soldiers will come, too. Wait till Martin arrives and makes his speech. You have to defend him at all costs. Wait in front of the first gate and save. Be ready to kill everything that comes out of this one and the other two gates when they appear. Save every time you get a break - it's the easiest thing in the world to kill a friend by mistake or to let an important person be killed.
After a while the big Oblivion gate will appear - enter it at once. Go towards the gate ahead and it will open. Rush in and enter the door on the left, ride the corpse masher up, up, go through the N door, cross bridge, in, down, go through W door, go along the bridge - you'll see a gap ahead of you, also a beast. You can come close to it and shoot it dead or you can take a running leap over the gap and kill it on the other side. When you've done that, head north till you have gone up as far as you can and are level with the other edge of the bridge: turn left until you can enter a W door opposite a gate. In, all the way to the top and pull the Gate Control lever. Down and out the door and you'll see the gate opening. Go through and take the first door to the left. Go in, take the N door, up, in the S door, up, take the S door, up, first door on the left and you will be in familiar territory. Been there, done that, got the sigil stone...
OK, when you do get it, wait a bit till you are outside the closed Oblivion gate. Find Martin amongst the cheering chaps and talk to him.
Go meet Martin at the Cloud Ruler Temple Great
Hall. Tell him you are ready (if you
are!) and a portal will appear in the room.
Use the stone and enter
You can saunter around listening to the voice, killing nasties and so on; but you must speak to at least one of the immortals to find out what's what.
You need to go N and E, where there is a bridge. There
you'll meet a character called Kathutet who will offer you to serve him or
fight him. Up to you, but I killed him
and got the Bands of the
Move along over the bridge and you'll get to the entrance of the flooded grotto. In, keep right, you'll come to the door of the Forbidden Grotto. In. Careful here, don't fall into the acid pools. Enter the next chamber, turn left and you will see a prisoner in a cage. Look for a little bridge to cross to the other side, kill the nasties and turn left to go through the passage behind the cage. You will meet Eldamil - he will speak to you, say you are here to kill Mankar Camoran. Agree to his help and play along. Follow him and watch, do exactly as he tells you and enter the cage to your right. Wait. The cage will come back up, exit through the back, leap across and follow Eldamil. You might find his dead body in the next chamber (along with two very nasty fellows) but don't worry - he's immortal. Carry on, cross another little bridge and go to the right to find another door to the Forbidden Grotto.
Here you'll meet Eldamil again, who will remove your
bands. Accept his help and find the way
out. Keep left, defend Eldamil and avoid
the acid pools. You will come to yet
another door, this time to
LIGHT OF THE DRAGONFIRES
Go outside and travel to the
It's over... but not for you. Ocato comes in and talks to you. An armour will be ready for you in two week's time. Cue for you to go and have a wander around.