|Next Quest||Hitting the Books|
|Reward||Staff of Magelight|
|Faction||The College of Winterhold|
|Type||Faction main quest|
- Meet Tolfdir outside Saarthal.
- Follow Tolfdir.
- Find Arniel Gane.
- Use the Saarthal Amulet to escape the trap.
- Follow Tolfdir.
- Tell Tolfdir about the vision.
- Follow Tolfdir.
- Find danger within Saarthal.
- Talk to the Arch-Mage.
Tolfdir's class meets outside the ruins of Saarthal before beginning an academic exploration of the ruins. You may travel there with the other students as a group, and they will help deal with any bears or trolls you may meet on the way.
If you have a follower with you, consider ordering him to wait outside. It is very difficult to get through the quest with a follower, and the follower can be retrieved when you leave Saarthal.
After some touring inside, Tolfdir asks the player to find Arniel Gane. Alternatively, the player may run ahead to the quest marker and simply speak to Arniel.
The player must now find several artifacts, one of which is the Saarthal Amulet. The rest of the artifacts are very small and hard to see, so follow the quest indicator markers to each. The artifacts do not have to be returned to Arniel and can be kept.
Retrieving the amulet traps the player. To escape, simply equip the amulet and cast any spell on the tablet from which it originally came. (Tolfdir will approach outside the trapped area and suggest using the amulet if you try to return to Arniel.) The tablet breaks into pieces, revealing a passage and removing the blocking gates.
Tolfdir will then take the lead. When he gets to the room at the end of the passage, there will be a vision sequence, which only you can see. After talking to Tolfdir about the vision, deal with the draugr that appear from the three coffins in the room.
The draugr can be killed with little or no harm to yourself via archery. Tolfdir can't be killed, so just arrow-attack the draugr attacking him. Tolfdir can be knocked down, whereupon the draugr will switch their attacks to you if they detect you. If you are undetected, you can wait until Tolfdir recovers and re-assume sniping the draugr when they go after Tolfdir again.
Follow Tolfdir to a barred gate in a room. Look to the right, and pull the lever. Dispatch the enemies in this room.
Follow Tolfdir through the middle coffin. You will come to a large room where four draugr will arise out of wall crypts. Help Tolfdir slay all of them (with good sneak and archery you can kill them all without them noticing you).
Pulling both chains, one on each side of the gate, opens the next area.
There are a number of inconveniently placed traps that have the potential to provide a great deal of problems for some of the Dragonborn's followers, especially dogs. Most are pressure pads, so they can be avoided with some caution. The swinging pendulums are also difficult for followers to navigate, so keep healing spells handy or be ready to wait.
Proceed on your own, killing draugr as necessary. In a large room, there is a draugr, a rune trap, and two more draugr. Kill the first draugr. Get the attention of the next two, so that when they approach you trigger the trap and damage them, which helps in killing them.
Pillar Puzzle 1
In this area, there is a door on the second floor near a broken coffin; open it and proceed. There is a puzzle with 6 different movable pillars. The correct position for each pillar is shown on the wall directly behind them, respectively. This fact is easily missed if you do not get right up next to the pillars. Using the candlelight spell makes them easier to see.
In the next room there is a Draugr Deathlord, Draugr Wight or Draugr Scourge (Level dependent). It activates when you get near the top of the ramp you must climb. Kill it if you can. One easy way of doing this is to run back to the previous room (with the first pillar puzzle) once the Draugr has spotted you, and shutting the gate behind you. You can then shoot arrows at the enemy whenever he appears from around the corner. Alternatively, if you have a high-enough sneak level and a potion of invisibility, use the potion, sneak through the door near the top of the ramp, and close it. The draugr will not detect you unless you make too much noise. There's a chest and other items to loot here. Afterwards, there's two rune traps to pass. Activating either the traps using a shout or magic makes noise and will cause the draugr you just passed to run up and attack you. Walking over the traps does not get the draugr's attention. Walk over the first trap, taking its damage. Do not walk over the next trap until healed (by food, potions, or waiting) as you will take enough damage to kill you. Walk over the second trap, heal again, and you're finally pass the draugr.
Pillar Puzzle 2Now the player will come upon a second puzzle. There are four movable pillars. Each pillar has the corresponding animals picture above and behind the moveable pillar. With the exception of one, each pillar is linked to the others so that rotating one will rotate one or more of the others. This linking of these pillars is not random at all — rotating the southeastern pillar rotates all three other pillars; rotating the northeastern pillar rotates both of the west-side pillars; the southwestern pillar rotates itself and the northwestern pillar; and the northwestern pillar only rotates itself. With this pattern in mind, the easiest way to solve the puzzle is to align each pillar with its correct animal in the following order: SE (whale), NE (snake), SW (hawk), and finally NW (whale). Using this order bypasses the connected rotations since each pillar you complete is unaffected by the following pillars. The complexity of this puzzle makes it one of the most challenging puzzles in the game, which fits well with the theme of magic and its associated intellectualism. After puzzle 2, move down the stairs. Finally, Tolfdir catches up ("I thought it was high time I caught up with you"). He will follow the player now.
In the final room, jump down to the glowing orb to start a battle with Jyrik Gauldurson. Initially Jyrik is invulnerable, but after about 30 seconds, Tolfdir weakens Jyrik by casting a spell on the glowing orb in the room, allowing the player to deal damage.
Jyrik Gauldurson is powerful, on the level of a Draugr Deathlord for medium-level players.
Players can easily defeat him by grabbing the Staff of Jyrik Gauldurson and using on him once, instantly killing Jyrik.
Or, players with good sneaking and archery ability can defeat him without taking any damage. Stay in the balcony looking over the floor below. Stay as close as you can to see the floor without standing near the balcony's edge. Shoot Gauldurson with arrows every time you can. Gauldurson will run up to the balcony but will only run along the edge and will fail to spot you. Just keep shooting him if he does, as sooner or later he will die.
After killing Jyrik, search his corpse to find the amulet and the Writ of Sealing. The writ, when read, will start the quest Forbidden Legend. Talk to Tolfdir to advance to the next stage of the quest (Return to the College). Before leaving, take the Staff of Jyrik Gauldurson, which is on the altar.
Open the door behind the artifact, and jump down to the garden to find and learn the Dragon shout Ice Form. Travel back to the college, and find the Arch-Mage (Savos Aren). Inform him of the discovery, at which time the Arch-Mage rewards the player with the Staff of Magelight.
- Sometimes outside Saarthal Tolfdir thinks there is a enemy when there is not and wanders off and can't find him again therefore impossible to get into to Saarthal and/or complete the quest
- When first entering Saarthal, after Tolfdir goes through the door, he can sometimes end up in a completely random part of the world. After waiting a day, he reappeared inside the dungeon.
- In the room where Tolfdir stays and the player moves on alone, the door has some kind of invisible wall in front of it and cannot be activated to the next zone. Reloading the autosave fixed it.
- When taking the Saarthal Amulet and moving any direction immediately after, the Amulet will not freeze the player. The game will progress normally even so.
- The door on which the Saarthal Amulet is found causes the game to crash when a spell is cast on it. This occurs while the player is trapped in the room and Tolfdir is watching.
- Solution: equip the Amulet plus one of the Rings the player has just collected.
- Solution: Try firing Firebolt or other projectile spell at the door, then look away as quickly as possible so that it's not in the field of view when it breaks. Try standing up against the barred door in front of Tolfdir, aiming the reticule at the left side of the door, firing the spell, and then jerking the view as far to the left as possible. If the door breaks while looking away from it, the game should not freeze. Another way is to go to the barred door farthest from the stone door, where the player can only see the lowest part of the stone door, and cast something like lightning bolt on it.
- In some instances where Firebolt freezes the game, using Flames works.
- If none of these work, as the spell is about to hit the door you can open console, or just keep tapping the console key as soon as you have fired the spell.
- Also, playing the scene in windowed mode (as opposed to full-screen) works for some people.
- Another option is setting the graphics settings on low, breaking the wall down and restoring the settings. Unfortunately, this necessitates exiting the game twice.
- It has been found that equipping the amulet then standing as far from the breakable wall as possible, then using unrelenting force shout caused the barred doorways to open.
- Alternatively, you may also use Candlelight or Magelight to break open the wall
- Sometimes, if you stand right next to the door, in first person, looking only to half of the door, you can prevent the crash by using Flames and quickly turning your view from the door to the wall.
- The gate before finding the amulet will sometimes close when the player equips the amulet, trapping Tolfdir. If the player continues down the hall the quest will update and he will warp through, however, when you are done with the events in Saarthal and are to return to the College, the gate will remain closed, and the player is trapped. You cannot fix this once it has happened. Save the game and make sure the gate is open before progressing with the quest. Last resort: console command "TCL" will toggle no-clip to walk through the gate.
- Gates Before Amulet Closed before quest: Solution Walk-through (XBOX): Step 1: Bring a follower with you Step 2a: (If 3rd ring is stuck inside), send follower in to grab ring (their bug will warp them into room), then call them back and trade with them, get ring (this will not give quest credit), Step 2b: Face down the hall to your left, throw the ring down, it will give an arrow, pick it up, quest portion complete. Step 2c: When at the gates, have your follower activate the amulet (this will put the follower near the amulet) Step 3: Unrelenting Force in between your follower and the amulet, the gates should drop.
- Jyrik Gauldurson's body may fall through the floor or disappear.
- Equipping the Saarthal Amulet can cause players to have infinite magicka.
- If the player is in beast form when Tolfdir catches up, the player will not be able to progress in the quest, even if the beast form wears off.
- The Draugr Deathlord or Scourge may not appear after the first pillar puzzle. Instead, a Restless Draugr or Draugr Wight may come from the coffin and attack. Fortunately, these are both relatively easy to defeat.
- The six pillars will not rotate when trying to spin them. This can be fixed by saving and reloading. If this does not work, try leaving the area and reentering.
- Pulling the lever in the room with four rotating pillars (right before Tolfdir rejoins you) can cause the player's follower to disappear.
- To avoid this, dismiss the follower before pulling the lever.
- At the second pillar puzzle, the game will not recognize the completed puzzle. When it is solved, darts still fire and the door will not open.
- In a few circumstances, players have found the solution to be some other random combination of pillar faces.
- Some people have opened the door by placing the pillars in the following order:
- Left front: Snake
- Left back: Whale
- Right front: Whale
- Right back: Bird
- This can also be resolved by entering the console, selecting the lever at the center of the puzzle, and entering 'setpv numPillarsSolved_var 4', followed by 'setpv puzzleSolved_var true'. After exiting the console and activating the lever, the door should open as normal.
- For some users, Tolfdir doesn't appear at the meeting place outside of the Saarthal entrance and cannot be found anywhere between Saarthal and The College of Winterhold. This persists after waiting several days in-game.
- Solution: Traveling back to the college, entering the Hall of the Elements, and then returning to Saarthal (do not fast travel) fixed this.
- Another solution would be to fast travel to another area (Whiterun for example) and then turn off BOTH the "Under Saarthal" quest and the "Forbidden Legend" quest. You can then fast travel back to Saarthal, and Tolfdir will be there
- Solution: If you open the door and try to return to the hall of elements your system may crash.
- Solution: use console command
player.placeatme 0001C19Ewhile standing near the quest pointer.
- After taking the amulet and going through the door, being killed by a draugr and reloading caused the amulet to become invisible.
- The player can fall through the floor in the hallway with the shock rune and will end up in the room in front of the glowing orb. Jyrik Gauldurson will be still seated and will not rise until the player backtracks and finds Tolfdir. However, Tolfdir will never cast a spell on the orb, and Jyrick will be invincible indefinitely.
- Sometimes in the room where the vision is supposed to take place, the spirit will appear but no dialog will occur, and the game will be stuck. You cannot fix this if you are inside the room because the way out will be blocked by an invisible wall. However, if it keeps happening, you can fix this by quickly running in and then out of the room. Once the spirit appears, walk back out into Skyrim. This will allow the quest to continue.
- Sometimes when the player enters Saarthal from the Saarthal excavation the player's companion (Lydia) will become invisible. Normal interaction with her can still take place by hovering over where she should be. The player may still continue to progress, but with the knowledge that the Draugr Deathlords may also be invisible and, therefore, hard to kill. Exiting and reentering Saarthal doesn't correct this problem. The player may be able to sneak past and into the next area, basically bypassing the problem.
- When searching for the Amulet, quest markers also point to Enchanted Rings with a +20 health increase. These can be exploited and worn simultaneously with any other ring in the game, given that the player equips the Enchanted Ring first. But the player must also have the Archmage's Robes equipped, which is awarded much later in the College's questline.
- Sometimes the door blocking the exit to Saarthal Excavation won't open.
- If the player has Barbas along when going into battle, Tolfdir may cast explosive spells that can hit Barbas. If Barbas is hit enough times, he will attack Tolfdir, but neither of them can die. Reloading a previous save and leaving Barbas behind should fix this.
- Sometimes if you are talking to Arniel Gane and you have a torch in your hand, it will disappear. Load the last save to get it back. It is unknown if this happens anywhere
- Using the Whirlwind Sprint onto the broken platform after going upstars in the room with a Draugr Scourge, Draugr Deathlord, or Draugr Wight may let you jump through the wall into the final battle room. You should then take all of Jyrik's things that are around him on the table and go back to find Tolfdir a few rooms back don't worry there are no enemies on the way. Once you find Tolfdir go back to the final battle room and the regular final battle will continue.