The Dark Brotherhood is an organization of highly trained assassins who carry out assassination contracts. The Dark Brotherhood is called upon by those who wish to utilize their deadly services through a ritual called "The Black Sacrament". They were once the most feared organization in all of Tamriel, but have lost their reputation over time. At one point, they were governed by The Five Tenets, which set the ground rules for the Brotherhood, but those Tenets have long since been abandoned.
The Dark Brotherhood has been operating in Tamriel for many centuries, at one time having many clandestine sanctuaries across the Empire. They revere Sithis, the avatar of entropy and chaos, as well as the Night Mother, who is the spiritual leader of the Dark Brotherhood.
The Dark Brotherhood has been struggling for survival ever since the end of the Third Era. Due to the events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the Dark Brotherhood in Cyrodiil was crippled. They managed to survive until the Great War, when, one after one, each Brotherhood Sanctuary was destroyed. By the end of the War, the Brotherhood was near total destruction once again. Cicero, one of two remaining Dark Brotherhood assassins outside of Skyrim (the other believed to be a deserter), took the Night Mother's tomb from Bravil to last remaining Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Dark Brotherhood has no listener to hear the Night Mother and thus hears about The Black Sacrament through rumors. This type of life for the Brotherhood continues until the Dragonborn joins them.
Joining or Destroying the Brotherhood
Any man or woman may join the Dark Brotherhood. Initiates must also display the ability to kill mercilessly, without regret or sorrow. As a result, their ranks include Vampires, Werewolves, Bandits, and Mages.
If in Riften, the Dragonborn should speak to a man named Maul. He can usually be found standing against a post off to the left at the entrance of the city, if Maven Black-Briar is Jarl, he will be in Mistveil Keep as her housecarl. After sharing some tough words, he can give information on the Dark Brotherhood; for a price, of course. (Upon intimidation, persuasion or upon being shown an unusual gem, Maul's information is free).
The children at the Honorhall Orphanage will also speak about Aventus' attempts to summon the Dark Brotherhood, which will give the Dragonborn a miscellaneous objective as well. Upon speaking to the children there, they will tell the Dragonborn Aventus Aretino escaped and planned to kill their Headmistress, Grelod the Kind, by summoning the Dark Brotherhood.
Speaking with Aventus Aretino initiates the quest Innocence Lost and starts the Dark Brotherhood questline. After accepting Aretino's proposal, the Dragonborn is directed to visit the Honorhall Orphanage. Kill Grelod (the children will cheer and celebrate once she's dead). No bounty is issued for her death.24 hours after Innocence Lost has been completed, a courier will appear to the Dragonborn in any city, with a note saying, "We know." A black handprint is below the words. After receiving the note, sleeping in any bed will begin the next phase of the quest (the acquisition of this note is optional). After some restful slumber, the Dragonborn is seemingly abducted by a Dark Brotherhood Assassin in their sleep and wakes up in an Abandoned Shack. (This is where the decision to join or destroy The Dark Brotherhood can be made).
There, the Dragonborn is asked by Astrid, the Dark Brotherhood assassin, to kill one of three people in the room, initiating the quest With Friends Like These. Killing one, two, or even all of the potential victims will earn the Dragonborn an invitation to join the Dark Brotherhood. The Dragonborn may also take the opportunity to destroy the organization by attacking the Dark Brotherhood representative, Astrid. This will initiate the quest Destroy the Dark Brotherhood! (This is the only chance to destroy the dark brotherhood because after joining, the Brotherhood members are otherwise unkillable.)
- Killing a Dark Brotherhood Assassin (when attacked randomly, at a random location) holds no ramifications as the 5 Tenets have been abandoned.
- It is not possible to sacrifice a Dark Brotherhood Initiate in Boethiah's Calling.
- A Werewolf can still sleep in any bed, initiating the quest.
- Killing Astrid, or pickpocketing her with the Perfect Touch perk (which will allow the player to join the Dark Brotherhood), yields a pair of boots enchanted with the Muffle ability. (This armor feature is also obtainable by joining the Thieves Guild and becoming a Nightingale. The Nightingale Armor features boots with the muffle ability. You could also disenchant a pair of muffle enchanted boots (randomly found throughout the game) and then enchant any boots of your choice.
It is recommended that upon joining the Dark Brotherhood, the Dragonborn already has a high sneak skill. Jobs done for them often require the Dragonborn to remain stealthy, and kill an enemy without being detected. A very useful perk to obtain in doing so, is Assassin's Blade. To get this, the Dragonborn must have a level 50 sneak skill (along with the other perks leading up to it). It will allow sneak attacks with daggers to do x15 damage to the unsuspecting enemy. This will likely initiate a killcam of the Dragonborn slitting the throat or stabbing the other character in complete stealth (or there will just be a slash and the other character will just fall over dead).
Dark Brotherhood quests
- Delayed Burial
- Innocence Lost
- With Friends Like These...
- Whispers In The Dark
- The Silence Has Been Broken
- Bound Until Death
- Breaching Security
- The Cure For Madness
- Recipe for Disaster
- To Kill An Empire
- Death Incarnate
- Hail Sithis
- Where You Hang Your Enemy's Head
- The Dark Brotherhood Forever
- Honor Thy Family
Armor and apparel
When completing quests in the Dark Brotherhood, the Dragonborn can obtain four different armor sets.
- Shrouded Armor - obtained at the beginning of With Friends Like These...
- Cicero's Armor - obtained if Cicero is killed during The Cure For Madness.
- Jester's Outfit - found on the table in the Dawnstar Sanctuary during The Cure For Madness. The variation is weaker statistically than Cicero's Armor.
- Ancient Shrouded Armor - obtained by redeeming Olava's Token.
- Shrouded Robes - found in the Falkreath Sanctuary, located on the shelves in the first room upon entrance. It can also be obtained from corpse of Gabriella during Death Incarnate or Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!.
After Astrid betrays the brotherhood to Commander Maro and the Penitus Oculatus during the first assassination attempt against Emperor Titus Mede II, the Penitus Oculatus ravage the Falkreath Sanctuary, killing all but Nazir, Babette, and possibly Cicero. During the attack, the Night Mother hides her Listener within her coffin, to protect them from the invaders and the fires they ignited in the sanctuary. The Listener awakens in the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, safe and sound.
Refurnishing the sanctuary
Nazir sends the Listener to Delvin Mallory in The Ragged Flagon for assistance with refurbishing the sanctuary. The total upgrade of the sanctuary costs 19,000 . The 20,000 reward given by Amaund Motierre for killing the Emperor can cover this entire expense.
Afterwards, the Listener may report back to Nazir, who effectively serves as a Speaker for additional contracts that do not have significance to the faction's storyline. The Night Mother can be approached an unlimited number of times for more radiant quests, rewarding 500-1200 per assassination.
- Festus Krex
- The Night Mother
- Dark Brotherhood Initiates
- Dark Brotherhood Assassin
- Normally the Dark Brotherhood will not attack the Dragonborn if attacked first, however, if the Dragonborn reverse pickpockets a fellow member, all members will attack.
- If the Dragonborn joins the Dark Brotherhood, passing guards may sometimes say: "Psst... I know who you are. Hail Sithis!" or "It's not true what they say about you and... and the Dark Brotherhood, is it?"
- The Dragonborn can kill Grelod before speaking with Arentino. The Dark Brotherhood will not visit the Dragonborn until they have spoken with Arentino and collected the reward, though.
- Astrid's last words if she is killed in the Abandoned Shack are "Well done..."
Achievements and trophies
| With Friends Like These…|
Join the Dark Brotherhood
| Bound Until Death|
Complete "Bound Until Death"
| Hail Sithis!|
Complete "Hail Sithis!"