The Dragonborn cannot gain entry to the ruin before starting this quest (See Dungeon Lock Outs). Approaching northeast from Shearpoint allows entrance by descending from the mountains, and, if carried out correctly, can lead the Dragonborn immediately to the Bandit Chief, avoiding the other enemies.
In the courtyard of the ruin there are five bandits and a chest. All but one of the entrances to the interior of the ruin have collapsed. Internally, Irkngthand harbours the only known statue of a Snow Elf, before the betrayal by the Dwemer caused them to degenerate into the vengeful Falmer.
Due to the high numbers of Falmer, Chaurus and other undesirables which inhabit the ruin, Irkngthand is one of the most difficult Dwemer sites to explore, although a high Sneak skill can prevent conflict within several areas, notably the Irkngthand Slave Pens, in which it is possible to sneak through the entire section without engaging a single enemy.
The trio delves deep into the ruins, until they find Mercer taking the legendary Eyes from an ancient Snow Elf statue in a large hall. The room's ceiling begins to collapse, and, after defeating Mercer and taking back the artifacts, the Nightingales escape by taking advantage of the water flooding the room and swimming into a clearing, and out of the ruins, emerging in Bronze Water Cave.
In a room that has been completely looted, the words "One step ahead - Mercer" are written backwards. This is a message to the Dragonborn and Karliah left by Mercer Frey.
On an alternative route of pipes above Falmer in the Irkngthand Slave Pens, the Shadowmark for a "Thieves' Cache" is on the stone wall where the player must jump down, though only a lone Potion of Ultimate Healing can be found.
In Raldbthar, a key can be looted from one of Alain Dufont's guards called "Irkngthand Consortium Key." As there is no such location in the game, the key has no known use.
This section contains bugs related to Irkngthand. 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 , 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 see the list of bugs encountered
360 The Dragonborn enters Irkngthand and kills the bandits guarding Irkngthand, but the quest does not show "Visit Irkngthand" completed, and the game locks up when you try to enter the Irkngthand Arcanex, even if you reinstall the game or back up a save or two.
Cause undetermined, but fast travel away without entering the Arcanex, complete a couple other different quests, and return later via fast travel. For some reason, this qualifies as a visit, and allows entrance to the Arcanex without locking up.
Cannot return to the Sanctuary through Irkngthand after first exploring the ruin.
Returning to the entrance of the Sanctuary, the Dragonborn will be trapped due to a cliff.
You can exit without reloading you previous save by climbing to the top of the falmer hut on the right facing the door. Go behind this hut, climb onto the fence and once on the top, use whirlwind sprint to get onto the top of the cliff.
Occasionally Karliah will fail to follow the Dragonborn out of the hole in the ceiling and the player will not be able to complete the quest.
360 Passing through the ruin can cause significant amounts of frame-rate lag and, in the worst cases, system instability. No known solution is currently available.
PC Using the console enter: SetStage TGlarceny 80 to activate the quest to return the Left Eye to Delvin, then add the Eye to the inventory with the console (player.additem 1994f 1). Then return to Delvin Mallory to turn in the quest BEFORE killing Mercer. If Mercer is killed before turning the quest in, the quest may disappear from the journal as soon as his body is looted.
360 One can escape Irkngthand without taking the Eye, take the rest of your items back to Delvin, sell them, and go back to get the Eye off of Mercer's body.
PC In the Slave Pens, there are numerous Falmer huts that are very difficult to get into but impossible to get out of due to the collision box of player characters without the use of console commands.
PS3 If Dragonborn is installed, a potion of waterwalking or an item with a waterwalking enchantment is used when the Sanctuary is being flooded, the player will go through the roof. The way to fix it is to go through the right side of the exit tunnel.