- Find Barbas the dog near Falkreath. The meat given to the Dragonborn by Lod is not necessary to lure him, hence why it isn't marked as a quest item.
- Follow Barbas to the Shrine of Clavicus Vile in Haemar's Shame (one can return to Lod for a reward at this point). Be prepared to fight a host of vampires and their thralls once inside. Talk to the Daedric Prince by activating the statue.
- Retrieve the Rueful Axe for Clavicus Vile in Rimerock Burrow. A named mage, Sebastian Lort, can be killed, but there is not much resistance otherwise. With enough Sneak, the Rueful Axe can be stolen without killing Sebastian Lort.
- Return to the shrine of Clavicus Vile in Haemar's Shame. (If one delays returning to the shrine, one can keep the axe and keep Barbas as a follower and have him in addition to another follower. Barbas is a good follower because he cannot die, go down, or take damage. Unfortunately, for stealth-oriented characters, he will see the Dragonborn in stealth and will get a bounty if he sees them steal, kill etc.
- Kill Barbas to keep the Rueful Axe or spare him to receive Clavicus Vile's Masque (if going for the Oblivion Walker achievement/trophy, take Clavicus Vile's Masque).
At any time after finding the dog, the Dragonborn may return to Lod for a small reward (25 ) by telling him, "The dog was more trouble than he was worth." Lod has no special comment even if you have Barbas following you.
It is not necessary to have Barbas follow the Dragonborn. At any time after receiving the mission from the shine, Barbas can be ordered to stop following the Dragonborn, at which point he will automatically return to Haemar's Shame on his own. When the Dragonborn eventually returns after retrieving the Rueful Axe, Barbas will be waiting in the chamber with the Shrine. As Haemar's Shame will refill with vampires between visits, Barbas' presence in the final chamber will be helpful as he will help clear out the vampires before the Dragonborn even enters the room.
The quest can be obtained once the Dragonborn reaches level 10. A guard or Lod himself (whether the quest "Some Light Theft" is completed or not) will say he has been looking for a dog and spotted one near the entrance of Falkreath. Lod can be persuaded for half payment (25 can be received) or the task can be taken.
Barbas can be found west of Falkreath along the road beyond the fork where he will approach the Dragonborn. They can return to Lod once Barbas is found, hand in the quest and then return to Barbas where he is waiting.
Barbas can sometimes be a little tricky to follow as there is a possibility of running into enemies and losing track of him. It is best to stay behind him to avoid losing him.
Barbas will lead the Dragonborn to Haemar's Shame where the Dragonborn and Barbas will fight vampires and their thralls together, depending on current level. Haemar's Shame is located directly in between Ivarstead and Fort Neugrad. There are few leveled enchanted items, an Arcane Enchanter and an Alchemy Lab. The Shrine of Clavicus Vile is located deeper in the cave, guarded by four to five vampires.
Activate the statue of Clavicus Vile and he will ask what he can do for the Dragonborn. Choosing any given speech option will result with his request to retrieve the Rueful Axe from Rimerock Burrow. Barbas can be kept as a follower or told to stay. Behind the statue on upper walkway is a chest with leveled items and a chain that opens a barricaded tunnel leading back to Skyrim.
Rimerock Burrow is a small cave in the far northwest of Skyrim. At the end of a short tunnel, there will be Flame Atronach and Sebastian Lort, a Breton mage. He may summon a Frost Atronach. The axe itself will be laying on a long table opposite an Arcane Enchanter. Behind them is a room with a chest containing leveled loot.
The Dragonborn must now return to Clavicus Vile. They are given a choice to either kill Barbas and keep the Rueful Axe or to spare Barbas and receive Vile's boon, the Masque of Clavicus Vile. Once the choice is made, the quest is finished, and the reward is received. (There is no quest option to keep Barbas but if desired one can just ignore the quest line and travel with him wherever you go.)
In Dawnguard, one may come across Barbas and the statue at Haemar's Shame. He may still be there, depending if one has done this quest. During the Dawnguard mission, if Barbas is still alive he will try to kill the Vampires they are fighting. He never dies and therefore, provides good help.
|A Daedra's Best Friend – DA03Start|
|5||A guard outside Falkreath mentioned the Blacksmith Lod is looking for a Dog and offering a reward.
|A Daedra's Best Friend – DA03|
|25||I ran in to a talking dog named Barbas who said he wanted my help. He's waiting outside Haemar's Shame
|50||I ran in to a talking dog named Barbas who said he had a falling out with his master and wanted my help. He's waiting outside Haemar's Shame.
|70||I ran in to a talking dog named Barbas who had a falling out with his master Clavicus Vile. Clavicus has agreed to take Barbas back if Barbas and I retrieve the Rueful Axe.
|150||I ran in to a talking dog named Barbas who had a falling out with his master Clavicus Vile. I've retrieved the Rueful axe for Clavicus. I can keep the axe if I kill Barbas or I can return the axe, reunite Barbas and Clavicus Vile and receive the Masque of Clavicus Vile.|
|155||I ran in to a talking dog named Barbas who had a falling out with his master Clavicus Vile. I've retrieved the Rueful Axe for Clavicus who offered me a deal. I decided to kill Barbas and keep the Rueful Axe.
|200||I ran in to a talking dog named Barbas who had a falling out with his master Clavicus Vile. I've retrieved the Rueful Axe for Clavicus who offered me a deal. I decided to reunite Barbas and Vile and received the Masque of Clavicus Vile.
- This is one of the few Daedric quests where the Dragonborn is not supposed to kill the daedra's target in order to receive the artifact.
- If Barbas is killed, Clavicus Vile will mutter, "He should have chosen a better companion."
- If this is the last Daedric Artifact needed for the Oblivion Walker achievement, and you wish to keep the Rueful Axe, save before making the choice then choose to take the mask, so you will get the achievement, then load the most recent save file, kill Barbas and both the axe and the achievement can be obtained with the same save.
- If Clavicus Vile is asked for, "The strength to crush all who oppose me!" when first encountered, he will act surprised, humorously remarking that the Dragonborn's strength is unrivaled already, and that giving them any extra power would be redundant.
This section contains bugs related to A Daedra's Best Friend. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
|Click to show Bugs|