Shalidor's Maze was constructed by Arch-MageShalidor during the First Era in the ruins of the ancient Nordic city of Bromjunaar as a testing ground for new Archmages. The test consisted of navigating the ruins in order to reach the labyrinth and traversing the labyrinth itself, if the journey was survived.
Just inside the entrance, there is a charred corpse holding a soul gem and a Tattered Note. Upon nearing the corpse, four staves rise out of slots in the ground. The note reads:
"Enter Twice - Exit Only Once. Alteration will lead you to Destruction. Only Illusion shows the way to Restoration. Conjure not, but be conjured instead."
Take all four staves, walk straight forward. There is a sigil of Alteration. Use the Staff of Magelight or cast any ranged Alteration spell (Magelight, Paralyze, etc.) on the sigil to lower the gate. Inside the corridors are shutters that act as chests in this area, and allow the Dragonborn to see through the maze.
Using the shutters inside the maze as markers to tell what areas have been explored by opening and closing them is not necessary.
After running through a few corridors, opening the shutters in the corners on the way, there will be a Destruction sigil. Cast any ranged Destruction spell on it or use the Staff of Firebolts to open the trap door below to continue.
At the bottom of the trap door, a sigil of Conjuration is to the left. For now, it cannot be activated. Continue forward. A staircase will slide down like an elevator - taking it will result in placing the Dragonborn back outside near where the four staves appeared. Follow either side of the maze to get to the back. In the back there will be a dragon word wall for the shout Dismay.
Turn around and enter the back exit of the maze, to find the sigil for Illusion. Cast a ranged Illusion spell or use the Staff of Fear to open this gate. Follow the corridors, opening the shutters in the corners, until the sigil of Restoration is reached. Cast a ranged Restoration spell (but not Healing Hands or Heal Other) or use the Staff of Repulsion to open the trap door.
Here there is a portal to the "Trials of Conjuration" if all of the sigils in the maze have been activated. A leveled Dremora Kynval is waiting on the other side and attacks the Dragonborn on sight. When attacked, the two are teleported back to where the staves were, where the Dragonborn is attacked by the Kynval and two Atronachs. After defeating them, the Diadem of the Savant may be taken from the Dremora's corpse.
It is possible to jump or use Whirlwind Sprint to reach the top of the structure surrounding the area to the west. There is a chest and, on the other side, a skeleton with a leveled mace.
It is a unicursal maze, meaning there is only one path to follow.
It is possible to one hit Dremora Kynval and be teleported back to the start and unable to loot the body, due to it still being in Trials of Conjuration.
It is not necessary to use the enchanted staves to activate the sigils. E.g. Calm can be used on the Illusion sigil instead of Fear, and presumably any targeted spell from the proper school will work, except for Restoration. For Restoration, "Healing Hands" and "Heal Other" don't work - "Repel Lesser Undead," however, will. The difference is that the spell fires a projectile, which is the case for the latter spell, but not the former ones.
A Destruction spell may also open the Restoration sigil.
Even though Shalidor's Maze was constructed as a test for Archmages, completing it doesn't require any previous magical abilities or knowledge, as spells required for it are given in form of staves.
Always add 360 , PS3 , or PC to clarify which system the bug appears on.
Click to see the list of bugs encountered
PC PS3 If the Dragonborn uses non-bound weapons on the Dremora upon entering the loaded area, successfully in killing it in one or two hits will result in the Dragonborn becoming locked in the loaded area, making it impossible to leave.
A possible fix for the bug above is to hit the corpse of the Dremora again, this may teleport the Dragonborn back out.
Upon entering Shalidor's Maze, occasionally the tattered note cannot be found near the burnt corpse. A fix may be to reload the auto save from when the maze was first entered, then go to the top of the stairs on the left side (so that the staves won't appear until after the note has been retrieved) and then using telekinesis to move the note and take it without "activating" the staves.
Attempting to use the Staff of Repulsion on the Sigil of Restoration may not work. However, using a Destruction spell (e.g. Ice Spike) appears to work.
PC 360 PS3 Followers can become trapped in the loaded area of Shalidor's Maze. Once they become stuck in the area there is no way to get them to come out. They will remain in the area indefinitely.
PC 360 PS3 Fix: Fast-traveling from near the door outside could bring the follower back.
PC 360 PS3 Fix: Trap the follower behind the bars of the maze by pulling the chain. Leave the maze and enter the Labyrinth, fast travel to another point and the follower should appear.
360 PS3 Fix: Sometimes fast traveling to Labyrithian will bring them back, fully functional if they do get stuck in the maze.
Fix: Enter the maze again with follower inside, close both bars with the chains next to them (do the maze again from both sides). This way the follower gets trapped, so when approached closely, they teleport to the other side of the bars.
Fix: If the follower is a candidate for marriage, doing the marriage ceremony may force them out of Shalidor's Maze.
Paralyzing, as well as killing the Dremora in the Trials of Conjuration will teleport the Dragonborn back to the maze as normal, but the Dremora will not appear. Therefore, avoid hitting the Dremora with power strikes before teleporting back.
PC It is possible to fall through the bottom of the world here. After leaving the elevator, get back inside before it falls back into the floor. At the bottom, leaving the elevator will take the Dragonborn out of the map and they will fall to their death.
PC Using a shout will also cause the elevator to descend, leaving the Dragonborn to fall to their death or to jump to the waterfall and 'swim' back up to the surface.
PC 360 PS3 Followers might not follow the Dragonborn out upon exiting the maze.
Exit the maze and fast travel to a different location, the follower should still appear at the destination with the Dragonborn.
In the Czech, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Polish and Russian versions of the game, a bug prevents finishing this quest. Even if the correct spell is cast on the right sigil, nothing happens. Change the game's language to English to by-pass that bug. Also, the console commandtcl can be used, which toggles collisions with environment off and on. This will allow passing through the floor then use it again to toggle collision back on.
360 PS3 When approaching the raised step outside the maze where the staves rise from the holes, sometimes fewer than four or even no staves rise (tested several times). Simply using alternate spells or reloading will fix this.
360 Followers can pick up the staves without any prompting. If one or two staves are missing and a follower is nearby, check their inventory to see if the missing staff/staves are there.
360 PC . The word wall at the end of the area may not actually teach a word of power after activating and announcing the new word.
Fix: The wall only seems to teach the last word of the shout Dismay (Maar:Terror) and it will not register as learned unless the first two words of the shout (Faas:Fear, Ru:Run) are known. The first two can be learned from either word walls or console commands.
PS3 Sometimes, when doing a critical attack on the Dremora as you are teleporting back, the Dremora will disappear, meaning looting the body is impossible.