Phinis Gestor is a Breton mage found working and studying at the College of Winterhold. He can be found in the Hall of Countenance, but can also appear in The Arcanaeum. He is the college's expert-level Conjuration master and a former pupil of Falion. During a conversation with the Dragonborn, he admits to be practicing Necromancy.
(Broken Quest): Phinis mentions that four students from the college, Yisra, Ilas-Tei, Borvir and Rundi have gone missing. However, the discussion doesn't create a quest entry in the logbook. After finding the students and their respective belongings, there is no dialogue option to inform Phinis of their fate. It does, however, provide some loot.
Phinis sells the following Spell Tomes (all of which are Conjuration):
- Banish Daedra
- Bound Battleaxe
- Bound Bow
- Bound Sword
- Command Daedra
- Conjure Dremora Lord
- Conjure Familiar
- Conjure Flame Atronach
- Conjure Frost Atronach
- Conjure Storm Atronach
- Dead Thrall
- Dread Zombie
- Expel Daedra
- Flame Thrall —After "Conjuration Ritual Spell"
- Frost Thrall
- Raise Zombie
- Reanimate Corpse
- Soul Trap
- Storm Thrall
"If you require assistance with summoning techniques, please let me know. If you would, please also contain your summons to the College grounds. The locals do not need to be agitated further by Atronachs roaming their town. The summoning of undead is even less advisable outside of the College."
- Summoning undead isn't frowned upon? "By Sheor, no. Those archaic policies died out with the Mages Guild, and were never enforced here. Necromancy, as any other type of magic, is a tool to be used. Of course, non-mages may not see it that way, so we don't go around flaunting it."
- Are there many Conjurers outside the College? "Not within society, no. Many who practice within the school of Conjuration do so on their own, secretly. Falion is the only one I know who is public about what he does. He was once my teacher here, but left the College years ago."
- Why did Falion leave the College? "He didn't like the Arch-Mage. Hated dealing with him, hated having to answer to him. Falion said he hated what this place was becoming. So he just left. Aren found a note on his desk, and that was it. I understand he settled down in Hjaalmarch, and his presence there caused something of a problem."
"The people of Skyim have no appreciation for what we do here. Not that I care."
- What else is there to be learned about Conjuration magic? "How quickly you've advanced. Most impressive. There are spells yet to be learned, powerful spells that can more closely and more permanently bind creatures to your will. But there are risks. There are always risks. You must summon and command an unbound Dremora."
- Do what now? "These spells are difficult, even for one as skilled as I. To even begin to inscribe them, I need something very special. A sigil stone from an Oblivion gate. I do not have one in my possession. Nor do you, I'm sure. So we require a Daedra to retrieve one for us. You will summon a Dremora, and order it to bring a sigil stone to you. I will then inscribe the spells for you."
- Great. How do I do that? "I will teach you the spell to summon the Dremora, but know that it will only work in a place properly prepared for the event. Once you have summoned the Dremora, you will order it to deliver to you a sigil stone from an Oblivion gate. Once I have the sigil stone, I shall inscribe the spells that you seek."
- Sounds easy enough. "If only that were true."
- If you need a sigil stone, why aren't you doing this? "Because I have no wish to be harmed."
- "Summoning an Unbound Dremora is not like other Conjuration spells. It will not simply do your bidding. You must first prove you are in control. Here is the spell you need. Go to the top of the Hall of Attainment; I have prepared a place for you there."
(After obtaining the Sigil Stone)
"Should you ever fall victim to an unfortunate accident, I promise your remains will be put to good use..."
- I have your sigil stone. "Mine? Oh no, the stone is yours. I simply need to borrow it for a moment... Now, let's see what there is to see."
(If approached again)
"That 'incident' in Morthal was just a misunderstanding. No matter what the guards claim."
- What did you see? "I have the knowledge I need. And so you may have your stone back, and also please take this. You have done well.
Phinis Gestor delivers a lecture on the Eye of Magnus and the College's efforts to learn more about it. The lecture is held in the Hall of the Elements, during which most of the members of the College come to listen. After he finishes, everyone goes back to their usual schedule.
"Projects are underway to discern the origin and nature of the College's recent find in Saarthal. Any and all theories are currently being considered. Those with ideas should please speak with Mirabelle.
"At this time, there is no indication that, as has been rumored, the object is in fact a physical part of Magnus, the god of magic. It has been suggested that the object is a gateway to the realm of Aetherius, but nothing has proven that idea one way or the other. It has been proposed that the object is in fact the entirety of Aurbis in one physical space. This would of course mean that Tamriel, indeed all of Mundus, is actually contained within the sphere.
"It further suggests that we are somehow then outside our own existence while looking in at it. While the idea seems dubious at best, it has not, at present, been entirely ruled out."
This section contains bugs related to Phinis Gestor. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- Sometimes he will not sell certain spells even when one's conjuration is high enough. Waiting 48 hours to a game week usually fixes this problem. (The master-level spells will not be available until the quest to obtain them has been completed.)
- When fighting Ancano, Phinis sometimes goes into the Hall of Elements and begins fighting Ancano with his fists. When Ancano is killed, Phinis resurrects him as a zombie.
- Upon giving Phinis the sigil stone for the master level quest he ends the conversation and won't reward the master spells, (fix try to talk to him again).
- Sometimes Phinis appears to disappear entirely. Different sources have reported finding him in various places for no discernible reason such as in the town of Winterhold, or trapped behind the gate of Winterhold College. Another place to check for him if he is missing is far below the college a few hundred yards outside the exit from the Midden. He has been found loitering in the snow fields down there and never leaving the area once he goes there.
- Fix: Attack Phinis or put something in his pocket to start a fight. Use Rally to force him to keep fighting while moving to some place near Winterhold. When near enough, some guards will intercept the Dragonborn. Pay the bounty. Phinis will return to the College.