Talk to Uraccen to learn that Madanach is in a private cell which is being guarded by Borkul the Beast. Borkul will demand a shiv as toll. A shiv can be obtained from Grisvar the Unlucky, who is located in the south tunnel. He will demand a bottle of Skooma. This can be acquired from Duach or Braig, through pickpocketing, persuasion, or a brawl. Trade the Skooma to Grisvar in exchange for a shiv, and give the shiv to Borkul to get the key to Madanach's cell.
Alternatively, Borkul can be persuaded, given the Skooma directly, pickpocketed, or defeated in a brawl.
Attacking Borkul outside of the brawl will cause all the prisoners to attack. Unless one is a strong mage character, a Werewolf, or a Vampire Lord, this is not recommended. If a prisoner is attacked, Madanach will attack on sight as well.
Madanach will try to convince the Dragonborn that he and his Forsworn are justified in their actions and sends the Dragonborn to seek out the prisoner Braig and hear his story. After listening to Braig, return to Madanach and he will offer freedom, but he requires proof of loyalty. He requests the assassination of Grisvar the Unlucky, who has outlived his usefulness to the Forsworn Rebellion. After killing Grisvar, the Dragonborn must return to Madanach.
Upon hearing news of Grisvar's death, Madanach gathers the remaining prisoners and leads them to an escape tunnel that runs through the Markarth Ruins. At the end of the tunnel, the Dragonborn's belongings are returned to them by Kaie, and Madanach adds the Armor of the Old Gods as a reward. Once outside, there is a confrontation between Thonar and Madanach. The Forsworn and Madanach charge the city, killing Thonar and all guards (and citizens) in sight. After they leave the city, they will continue running to Druadach Redoubt which will have several friendly Forsworn inside.
Kill Madanach in his cell. Sneak so as not to be detected by the other prisoners and guards. It will be unlikely to kill Madanach with a pickaxe in one sneak hit, however. If the Dragonborn has the Assassin's Blade perk in the Sneak skill tree, then listen to Braig's story and return to Madanach. Madanach will instruct the Dragonborn to kill Grisvar the Unlucky. There's a dialogue option to obtain a shiv from Borkul. Once obtained, kill Madanach with a sneak attack with the shiv. The shiv counts as a dagger and thus the Assassin's Blade perk applies, doing 15 times normal damage. Madanach may survive the initial blow, but it will deliver a substantial hit.
Once Madanach is dead, read the note on his body and use his escape route. It is possible to run or sneak past the Frostbite Spiders and Dwarven Spheres in the Markarth Ruins. If the Dragonborn opts to sneak through the ruins, the Throw Voice Shout is indispensibly useful. Alternatively, being a Werewolf, Vampire Lord, or Mage, makes fighting your way out significantly easier. Another option would be to use the Secret Servant power from the Dragonborn expansion to smuggle your equipment into the jail cell, for you. Upon exiting, Thonar Silver-Blood will reward the Dragonborn with the Silver-Blood Family Ring and the Dragonborn's belongings. The ring is enchanted so that weapons and armor can be improved 15% better.
Side with Madanach up until the Dragonborn is given the Armor of the Old Gods, which is at the end of the Markarth Ruins right before exiting to the city. After the dialogue and receiving the armor, attack Madanach, turning him hostile. Doing this while close to the door to Markarth will cause his followers to re-enter and attack the Dragonborn. After Madanach and his followers are dead, loot his body and read his note. Then exit out to Markarth and speak to Thonar. It is best to attack Madanach close to the door to Markarth because if not, his followers may not re-enter and it can be difficult to get the Silver-Blood Family Ring from Thonar as Madanach's followers will be waiting outside to attack.
If done correctly, after killing Madanach and the rest of his Forsworn followers inside the Markarth Ruins, the Dragonborn will exit out to a peaceful Markarth with Thonar waiting to speak with them and reward them with the Silver-Blood Family Ring and a pardon from the Jarl. If Jarl Igmund is spoken to afterwards, he will apologize for the wrongful imprisonment. If upon exiting the tunnel there are Forsworn left, it helps to reenter the tunnel so that Thonar is not accidentally hit.
If a skilled assassin, it is possible to break out with the other Forsworn, and stall Madanach before he exits to Markarth. Once alone with him, kill him and search his body. Madanach will be dead, but the Dragonborn won't be blamed for the kill. When exiting to the city, both the Guards and Forsworn will be peaceful towards the Dragonborn, although they will still fight each other - the either side can be assisted, as both are friendly and will treat any attacks as accidental. Thonar will almost certainly be killed in the fighting before he can give the Dragonborn the ring, but this route still leaves the Dragonborn with the Armour of the Old Gods, an official pardon from the Jarl, a friendly Druadach Redoubt. Although if they are lucky, a conversation may be started up with Thonar when leaving the ruins and by quickly skipping through the lines the dragonborn may receive the ring. It may take several attempts to pull off properly and by reloading the autosave just outside the ruins, can yield different results, however.
Another way is to stall Madanach and pickpocket him. He turns aggressive and can be killed. A guard will run in but will not attack.
Another way, is cheating a bit, but it will reward both the ring and the armor. Pickpocket the key from Borkul, and go see Madanach. After talking with him, take the wooden plate on his table, place it against the bars on the locked cell, and run through it. Follow the tunnel into Markarth Ruins, and follow to the end. Madanach will show up near the end. Talk with him to receive the Armor of the Old Gods and the Dragonborn's belongings, then attack and kill him. His followers will then appear, kill them also. Then exit to a peaceful Markarth and talk to Thonar. He will then give the Dragonborn a pardon, and his ring.
If Madanach is killed after receiving the Armor of the Old Gods and their belongings, before the Dragonborn leaves Markarth Ruins; Thonar will greet them outside and give the Dragonborn Silver-Blood Family Ring as a reward for completing the quest.
After completing the quest, the body of Eltrys is still in the Shrine of Talos and can be looted for several hundred septims.
Ironically, Cidhna Mine is escaped through a large, extremely visible hole in the wall that leads straight to Markarth. The Markarth guard, however, seem to be fairly aware of it, since the path exits out right into the hands of the owner of the mine himself, accompanied by guards, who were waiting.
If Madanach is killed and the Dragonborn is going through Markarth Ruins solo, a good way to beat the spiders and Dwarven machines is to run past the spiders until reaching the last room, where the Dwarven Spheres attack, then lead them back to the spiders to have them fight each other.
With a high Pickpocket skill, one can reverse-pickpocket Urzoga gra-Shugurz beforehand and smuggle equipment into the mine though the Dragonborn must be in reach to pickpocket her through the bars as the door instantly shuts as she begins walking.
Also, it's possible to shove Urzoga into the mine, whether to pickpocket her equipment or to kill her with the prisoners' help.
If the Dragonborn chooses to kill Madanach, and is a Nord, he will say "Come at me, son of Skyrim!", in a somewhat mocking tone.
If the Dragonborn wishes to complete the quest but avoid directly killing Grisvar, it is possible to choose the 'Madanach says hello' dialogue option and wait. Grisvar will panic and start attacking, and the other prisoners attack and kill him.
Choosing not to side with any prisoner, it might be difficult to kill them all with just a pickaxe. But there is a trick to it. Walking up on the hanging bridge and waiting for them to stand directly in front of them, the Dragonborn can use the Unrelenting Forceshout. The prisoners will then fall off into the pit directly behind the bridge. They can't get out but the Dragonborn can, making it easy to pick them off one at a time. It is also possible to transform into a Werewolf if sufficient progress is made in the Companions' questline, or buy the spell Bound Sword or any spell tome used to summon a familiar beforehand from a court mage.
At one point in the mission, the Dragonborn is asked if they have any family, and can respond that they are outside Skyrim, that they are all dead, or that they don't have any that they care to talk about. This is perhaps the only time where the Dragonborn can talk about their previous life. This has changed with the release of the Dawnguard. Serana, arguably the main Dawnguard follower, will ask about the Dragonborn's family during a discussion of Serana's family.
When talking to Madanach for the first time, choosing the dialogue option 'How about revenge?' sometimes only causes him to attack. After killing him, the other prisoners will act normally.
Despite Cidhna Mine being considered a prison at the start of the mission, completion of the quest will not reward the "Wanted" achievement.
If the Dragonborn has a follower, like Lydia, before going back into the Shrine of Talos to get caught, it is possible to give the follower their equipment and ask for it in the mine and then kill everyone.
If the Dragonborn originally sides with Madanach and the Forsworn, but betrays them in Markarth, and kills them all with the guards, citizens of Markarth will proclaim how the Dragonborn was seen leaving the ruins with the Forsworn. Some citizens may even congratulate the Dragonborn on siding with the Forsworn, suggesting a certain inclination to the Forsworn.
If the Dragonborn has a high enough Sneak, and decides not to side with Madanach, killing/pickpocketing him is not necessary to open the escape route. If he is hit with a ranged spell/ability and the Dragonborn sneaks back down the hallway, he may open the locked jail cell door to the escape route while searching for the Dragonborn. The Dragonborn can then attack him and his followers again and lead them through the ruins so the Dwarven Spheres and Frostbite Spiders can help make short work of them.
PC If the Dragonborn joined the Forsworn but wishing to avoid the Ash Pile issue upon entering Markarth, simply use killallcommand to kill everyone within Markarth, and resurrect Madanach and his allies with resurrect command, and subsequently the citizens after the Forsworn left the city.
Always add 360 , PS3 , or PC to clarify which system the bug appears on.
Click to show a list of bugs.
Choosing to kill Madanach but then hiding may result him to open the escape cell door. once the dragonborn get to the end of the dwaren ruins, madanach will give him his items as if you chose to escape with him but then he will try to kill you.
Killing all prisoners before entering the shrine may cause the guards to attack, making the quest unfinishable.
PC 360 PS3
Fixed when respective Civil War faction takes over Markarth.
PC Solution: Enter the console outside of Markarth and enter TCAI (Toggle Combat Artificial Intelligence). After doing this, the AI will not attack. Enter Markarth and head to the Shrine of Talos where the three guards were confronted, and then turn TCAI off by entering it in the console again. Here, the guards will speak to the Dragonborn. Select come quietly, and then when the guards start the next conversation there should be three dots above the normal response. Select this, the guards will continue their conversation, and afterwards the guards will return to normal and no longer try to make an arrest.
Alternatively on PC , when confronted by a guard, click on them and type "paycrimegold" into the console. The Dragonborn should be teleported somewhere in Markarth with no bounty.
PC If the guards were killed inside the shrine, but the quest is not toggled as completed: type "setstage MS02 100" (sets quest to complete helping Madanach escape and he clears the Dragonborn's name for their crimes - but not for killing the guards in the shrine), then type "prid 00036f3b", select the guard then "resurrect". Then continue as above with the surrender, go to jail. Select chat option "..." with the guard and repeat the go to jail dialogue. In jail get a pick and start to mine, a dialogue asking if the Dragonborn wishes to do their time comes up, select yes.
The solution above works. But the guard might still attack after they say "No one escapes Cidhna Mine, no one". To resolve, escape outside the city, be arrested by a non-pursuing guard, and serve the sentence.
PS3 Solution: Sneak into the shrine of Talos where two or three guards will be waiting as if the Forsworn Conspiracy quest is being finished again. Kill the two guards and wait for the third to respawn. During dialogue with the third guard, choose "You're Corrupt, Thonar is paying you" and "Fine, I'll come Quietly". The guard will attack; kill him. Exit the shrine of Talos. It is bugged if they respond to the "pay off bounty" option with: "We have multiple witnesses, you're not getting away with this." But should be able to pay off the bounty like normal.
PS3 If the jail option is chosen, it is possible to be trapped in the mine for good since no one else is there and the gate next to the Orc requires a key, which is not possible to pick. No one escapes Cidhna Mine for the second time...
PS3 Fixed after **1.04/2.03 Patch** 11/02/2012 Went to the shrine of Talos and the Markarth guards weapons and shields where still there (killed them during The Forsworn Conspiracy) Took the weapons and shields and removed them from the Shrine of Talos and got rid of them, completed the quest and had a 1,050 Bounty that was paid off.
360 Solution: make sure the Dragonborn's level is high enough and enter Markarth. Upon entering the city, do not get spotted by the guards, and enter the Shrine of Talos. The three guards from the previous quest "The Forsworn Conspiracy," will still be there, and the middle guard will engage in the same conversation as at the end of that quest. The other two guards will attack, and because of being in conversation, there is no way to fight back, so be prepared. Answer the guard with "You're corrupt, Thonar is paying you," and then again with "Fine, I'll come quietly." The guard will then do nothing, so heal as needed. After a few seconds, the same guard will attempt to make an arrest, and give the option to pay off the bounty.
Bugs are less likely to occur if the Dragonborn go to jail peacefully.
PC 360 PS3 Quest items in the inventory (which cannot be removed otherwise) may be permanently removed following the break out from the mine. On the PC version all items from completed quests will sometimes stay, however items like the Elder Scroll may disappear forever.
(PS3) Items may return after leaving the mine, if not, go through the nearest door to trigger another loading screen. Items may return after that.
360 May not receive all quest items that they had prior to this quest's beginning. However, receive them when the Forsworn start fighting the guards outside the ruins. Or kill the Forsworn in the ruins, then Thonar gives them back after the conversation.
If you are jailed with Auriel's Bow, you may find it absent when you get all of your items back. Simply store the Bow in your home before you are jailed and there won't be a problem.
PC 360 PS3 It is possible upon arriving in Cidhna Mine, Urzoga gra-Shugurz (the guard) has no dialogue options but instead fights to the death.
360 After completing this quest, a glitch occurs that will prevent the PC from being able to Fast Travel or Wait, stating that guards are pursuing. Fix: Commit a crime and get caught. Paying the fine or going to jail will fix the bug. Fix: Enter a building and then leaving will also fix it.
PC It is possible that Madanach will not have the key in his inventory when he is pickpocketed.
If the note is pickpocketed from Madanach, it may not be able to be read, therefore not allowing the quest to complete. Thonar will attack the Dragonborn when they exit the ruins.
PC The quest is started in the cell, but both doors are locked with no way to open them.
Solution: Open the console and enter "'setstage ms02 0".
If Madanach does not complete his dialogue before leaving the mine, after leaving the mine, Madanach and his men, as well as Thonar and his guard, will just stand outside and do nothing. The event where they're supposed to fight just doesn't happen. Killing Thonar completes the quest and initiates the fight but incurs the 1,000 bounty in Markarth. The bounty can be avoided by killing the last witness (the guard) or making other people kill Thonar by casting a strong enough fury or frenzy effect on them.
After completing the quest, first helping Madanach to get the armor and then later turning on him by helping the guards kill him to also get the ring from Thonar, Uraccens dead body may be laying along the path just before the entrance to Druadach Redoubt. It is unknown how he made it all the way there and then died.
PS3 Sometimes, when the quest is completed by killing the prisoners, there will be three guards standing outside and no one to give the Silver-Blood Family Ring. (Update: to fix this reload to a point before talking to Talnor in the Treasury house and make sure that Talnor is not attacked by the Dragonborn during the battle).
360 When starting the quest, it may be noticed that an item equipped in the inventory is still in the favorites, and is there and can be used throughout the quest. However, when the gear back is returned, the item, while still appearing in the favorites, will not appear in the inventory even under the favorites section in the inventory. The only way to equip or remove this item is by pressing up on the d-pad. No fix.
360 All pick-up sounds for items may not sound.
Upon exiting the prison, Thonar may be hostile. He is marked essential and cannot be killed, therefore the battle will never end. Casting Calm on him will work in the short term, long enough to complete the quest and get the ring. If Calm cannot be cast on him, just run out of the town, exit combat, fast travel to some place far away then travel back to Markarth. Head to the exit of the Cidhna Mine (door left to the Understone Keep's door) and Thonar will be waiting there, not hostile anymore. He'll start conversation and the quest can be finished.
PC PS3 Skipping the dialogue where the guard says "no one" with enter, the guards will draw, the Dragonborn will be transported to the prison, and the Orc lady will attack.
Possible fix: Make sure there is no bounty when sent to the prison.
If in Cidha Mines as a prisoner before, do not kill Grisvar. If so, when Madanach says to kill him, he will not be there and there is no dialogue to tell Madanach he is already dead.
PC If Madanach and the Forsworn are killed after receiving the reward armor and then the ring is received from Thonar, the quest registers as the Forsworn wreaking havoc in Markarth and killing the townspeople, causing passing citizens to scold the Dragonborn for helping the Forsworn break out.
360 After getting taken to jail, resting for one hour, the current follower will appear. Can load up the follower before getting arrested to have gear even while in the prison.
360 If having been sent to the mine before and killed all of the prisoners, will still be sent to the jail but the quest will not start. Even searching the body of Borkul the Beast, will not find a key to the door, only his gauntlets and ragged trousers. This will make it impossible to do the quest.
PS3 360 After escaping the mine and completing the quest (aiding the Forsworn escape) any followers active before being arrested may still be at the Shrine of Talos. Even after killing the guards the follower will stay in position by the shrine. They can still trade items but even after parting ways they may still remain there indefinitely.
PC Sprinting past the Dwemer spheres may cause them to follow outside into Markarth. This can be a big problem if choosing to kill Madanach, as Thonar will force a dialog tree on exiting the ruins. The Spheres can kill the Dragonborn while they are stuck in dialog. If this happens, load the autosave and skip through the dialog as fast as possible and get as far away from the spheres as possible. Thonar will probably be killed before the spheres are subdued by the guards, and his corpse will be able to be looted with no consequences.
PS3 Sometimes after killing the guards and being sent to Cidhna Mine, it will automatically kill the Dragonborn, regardless of armor rating, health, or stamina.
If the Forsworn Conspiracy quest is nearly completed except for the final objective to return to the shrine, completing Season Unending will finish the Forsworn quest and prevent No One Escapes Chidna Mine from starting. The guards will be gone if the Dragonborn returns to the Shrine to Talos. This may have something to do with Markarth changing sides during the Season Unending negotiations. However, completing the Civil War questline in favor of the Imperials should fix this and allow the quest to begin normally.
Xbox 360: After killing Grisvar the Unlucky, the Dragonborn will talk to Madanach. After talking to him they will go out to hear his plan but he doesn't announce it and the quest won't continue.
PC 360 PS3 It is possible that after exiting the Dwemer Ruins during the escape that there will be no dialogue between Madanach and Thonar.
Solution: Killing Thonar will skip the dialogue and progress the escape of the Forsworn. This will however count as siding with the Forsworn and may receive a 40 gold bounty. The bounty should disappear within a few seconds as Thonar is the only witness to his own murder.
360 PC After killing Madanach and escaping the mine, Thonar may become hostile for no reason, giving no dialogue options and therefore no end to the quest. Reloading doesn't work. ** PC Solution: Using the console, click on thonar and type 'disable' then 'enable'. he should become friendly and will continue his dialogue as normal. ** 360 Solution: Escaping back in to the mine, attacking Thonar until he is disabled and then running to a hiding spot will give you the chance to wait. Waiting for three days should allow you to then exit the ruins and continue the quest as normal.
360 After killing Madanach and all the Forsworn, Thonar will say to get out of his sight, without giving the ring or the pardon. Pick the lock and go back into the mine, then walk back outside, and he'll give the items.
360 When the items are returned, either by Kaie or Thonar, the console may become incredibly laggy. A previous save from before the quest starts may be reloaded, but the Dragonborn may be forced to never get arrested when in the Reach.
If the two guards that initially approach in the Shrine die, speech with other guards might not send the Dragonborn to prison to continue the quest, instead when it is opted to be sent to prison, it loops the speech "you'll never see the day of light again" followed by the only reply "what's the problem" which loops it back to multiple speech options which all lead to the same loop.
PS3 If every one in the jail is killed to get the key to Madanach and used and area effect spells sometimes a bounty may be incurred while in jail, meaning that when leaving, instead of Thonar talking, he will just attack.
Sometimes upon finishing "The Forsworn Conspiracy" and choosing to pay the fine very early, or slaying all the guards before they complete their dialogue not leaving any witness (bounty removed doing so) the Dragonborn may not go to the mine, preventing initiation of the quest
Possible solution: getting arrested later in the game for something else rarely triggers the quest