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.)
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 shrine, 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 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 guard outside Falkreath mentioned the Blacksmith Lod is looking for a Dog and offering a reward.
Objective: Speak to Lod
Objective: Find the Dog outside Falkreath
A Daedra's Best Friend – DA03
Objective: Talk with Barbas
I ran in to a talking dog named Barbas who said he wanted my help. He's waiting outside Haemar's Shame
Objective: Join Barbas outside Haemar's Shame
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.
Objective: Travel with Barbas to the shrine of Clavicus Vile
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.
Objective: Retrieve the Rueful Axe with Barbas
Objective: Return to the shrine of Clavicus Vile with Barbas and the Rueful Axe
Objective: Give the Rueful Axe to Clavicus Vile OR kill Barbas with the Rueful Axe
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.
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.
Objective: Speak to Clavicus Vile
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 lastDaedric 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:
Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template 360 / XB1 , PS3 / PS4 , PC / MAC , NX , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person-anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
Click to show Bugs
If Barbas is addressed during the final dialogue, he does not join the shrine, the masque may not be given.
360 If this quest is completed successfully with 49 dungeons cleared, the Delver Achievement will be earned.
360 Barbas may stop randomly and not move during the quest. This may take place near Haemar's Shame or after initially speaking with him. To fix this, Fast Travel somewhere and on return he should have entered the cave. He might be found near the shrine later on. Using Destruction magic on him will get him moving.
Sometimes Barbas may have trouble when traveling through Helgen. He may proceed into Helgen, wander around and walk back out repeatedly. Opening the eastern gate in Helgen may resolve the problem, as Barbas then follows the Dragonborn towards Haemar's Shrine.
360 This bug can be fixed by killing all of the enemies in Helgen, including the one atop the tower on the right after entering Helgen.
Sometimes, while following Barbas, upon running into a Vigilant of Stendarr, Barbas will disappear. To fix this, go to Haemar's Shame, and the Dragonborn will meet Barbas there.
PC If Barbas encounters the skeleton of a dragon blocking his path, such as the remains of a dragon killed recently in Falkreath, he may stop to sniff at the skeleton like any other dog in the game and be unable to proceed.
PC(Fix) The dragon skeleton can be moved out of Barbas's path using the Unrelenting Force shout. Traveling to Haemar's Shame (or using one of the other methods mentioned above) will also reunite the Dragonborn with Barbas. The player can also open the console (~), click on Barbas, close the console, move the Dragonborn a ways past the obstructing skeleton, open the console again, and use the console commandmoveto player to move Barbas to the far side of the skeleton, where he will proceed on his path (or simply use Barbas's reference ID with the "moveto player" command instead of clicking on him).
PC Lod may die in a dragon attack. If he dies, the quest cannot be obtained.
PC(Fix) Clicking on Lod while in the console commands (~) and type in resurrect to bring him back to life permanently or until he is killed again.
PS3 Barbas may run into a locked door and float up into the air until the door is unlocked.
360 PS4 Sometimes at the start of the quest Barbas will not appear, making the quest uncompletable.
If attacked while following Barbas, there is a chance he will go somewhere close and stop walking for a while.
360 At the very beginning of the quest while following Barbas, he may wander ahead while an enemy is encountered, and he doesn't stop to help fight. By making the quest primary and following the marker to Barbas, he can show up stuck in a glitch in the terrain in random areas. Hitting him with a few Destruction spells will transport him back to the nearest road, and he will resume the trek to the quest location.
360 Accepting the Masque may cause the game to freeze and cause the Dragonborn to be forced to accept the Rueful Axe.
During the final dialogue, if Barbas is spoken with after choosing the masque over the axe, Clavicus may disappear, leaving Barbas in "real dog" form.
360 Sometimes another beast follower may not be allowed, such as a (Dog, Death Hound, or Armored Troll), until after the quest is finished, because the game thinks Barbas is still following the Dragonborn.
While following Barbas to Haemar's Shame, he may randomly teleport great distances.
If already having killed the dragon attacking Western Watchtower but have not yet unlocked Falkreath, upon entering Falkreath a dragon will attack and there is a high probability that Lod may be slain in the attack.
PC After retrieving the Rueful Axe and returning to Haemar's Shame, there will be no option to initiate dialogue with Clavicus Vile, leaving the quest unable to be finished.
PS3 If the Dragonborn reunites Barbas with Clavicus Vile, the option to activate the shrine will remain after completion of the quest, but nothing will happen if they choose to do so. Killing Barbas with the Rueful Axe however, will prevent this.
PC 360 PS3 (Optional) It is possible (though complicated) to obtain both the Rueful Axe and the Masque of Clavicus Vile by using Slow Time and having a house that contains a Weapon Rack. For this exploit, using Breezehome works the best, also the easiest way to obtain the Slow Time shout is through Hag's End. It helps to have both "Time" and "Sand" unlocked on the Slow Time Shout.
1. Prepare the exploit by making sure the weapon rack just inside Breezehome is empty and functioning properly, that the chain behind Clavicus' Statue is pulled and the exit is opened, that the Slow Time Shout has been unlocked and equipped, and that the Rueful Axe is equipped as well. Note that loading an auto save while exploiting this bug cancels the in-game time, and that if it doesn't work the first time, reloading a save from Clavicus' shrine is required.
2. After obtaining the Axe, Breezehome and Slow Time, head for Haemar's Shame, and position yourself behind the statue, next to the boss chest.
4. Initiate conversation with the Daedric Lord, and select the option "No deal! Take the ax and take back Barbas."
5. As soon as the conversation can be exited, do so, and use the Slow Time shout. (this will lock the screen into one direction, as though he's still talking).
6. While Slow Time is active (and Clavicus is still in dialogue), back out of Haemar's Shame through the exit behind. Since the screen is locked, run backwards towards the "To Skyrim" exit, past the pull-chain.
7. Once outside, make sure the Rueful Axe is equipped and Fast Travel to Whiterun.
8. The moment Whiterun is reached, use Slow Time again, and run to Breezehome's door. (Though the screen is locked, it can still be accessed due to the positioning of the house).
9. As soon as the loading screen ends, and you are inside, immediately move to the right to place the Rueful Axe on the weapon rack. (There is a brief moment here where the screen should be unlocked).
10. If everything was done correctly, shortly after placing the axe on the weapon rack, a message should appear confirming completion of the quest. However, one must still travel back to Haemar's Shame to retrieve the Masque.
11. Leave the axe for now, and head for Haemar's Shame. About halfway through the first section of the cave, another completion message will appear, as well as a note in the top left saying the Masque of Clavicus Vile has been received. At this point the exploit is done, and further exploration to the shrine reveals Barbas at Clavicus' side. Now head back to Breezehome and collect the Rueful Axe, which is no longer labeled as a "quest item" and can be dropped and picked up freely, as well as the masque.
(Note that this exploit is finicky and may require several attempts.)