Return to the shrine of Clavicus Vile in Haemar's Shame. (If one never returns 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.
The quest can be obtained once the Dragonborn reaches level 10. A guard or Lod himself (whether "Some Light Theft" quest 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 possibility to run into enemies. 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. 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 chest containing leveled loot.
The Dragonborn must now return to Clavicus Vile. They are given a choice to kill Barbas and receive 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 where ever 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.
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 the Rueful Axe is to be kept, save before making the choice if this is the last Daedric artifact needed for the Oblivion Walker achievement. First take the mask so one will get the achievement, then load the most recent save file, kill Barbas and both the axe and the achievement can be owned.
Always add 360 , PS3 , or PC to clarify which system the bug appears on.
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 dungeon 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.
Some times Barbas may have trouble when travelling through Helgen. He may proceed into Helgen, wander around and walk back out repeatedly.
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.
Lod may die in a dragon attack. If he dies, the quest cannot be obtained.
If on PC, clicking on him while in the console (~) and type in "resurrect" (without quotes) 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 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) 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 360 PS3 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.
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.
After obtaining the Axe, Breezehome and Slow Time, head for Haemar's Shame, and position yourself behind the statue, next to the boss chest.
Initiate conversation with the Daedric Lord, and select the option "No deal! Take the ax and take back Barbas.".
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)
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, passed the pull-chain.
Once outside, make sure the Rueful Axe is equipped and Fast Travel to Whiterun.
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)
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)
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.
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.