Easily one of the biggest caves in all of Skyrim, there is a lot going on inside Blackreach that can be easy to miss the first time around. Aside from being the location of one of the Elder Scrolls for the main questline, there are a few other things that you should be doing in Blackreach before you leave, not least of which is exploring the cavern as much as possible.
With an entirely unique ecosystem that isn’t seen in any other location in Skyrim, and which looks like it belongs in Morrowind more than anywhere else, it’s hard to forget any part of what Blackreach has to offer. It is a dungeon that you can very easily spend hours wandering around inside of.
Before entering the main cavern of Blackreach, you will have to contend with multiple Dwarven Spiders and Spheres alongside a couple of Centurions. Like most other Dwemer ruins, there are also many Falmer lurking inside the dungeon that can prove to be problematic for unprepared explorers, as they can very easily overwhelm you with sheer numbers, if not the various poisons and magic they like to use.
Once inside Blackreach, you will have more room to fight, but also more enemies to contend with, including even more Dwarven Centurions that are just waiting to be activated. Thankfully, the Centurions are inactive until you either pull the lever on their frame or attack them first, making them a little easier than most other Centurions to deal with.
In the center of Blackreach, there is a Debate Hall with a large, orange orb hanging above it that not only holds multiple Falmer but also Falmer Servants, people unfortunate enough to have become trapped inside Blackreach at one point or another and forced to work for the Falmer. This orb overhanging the Debate Hall is also the source of a boss fight against a dragon, Vulthuryol, which is a fairly average fight all things considered. The main difference between Vulthuryol and other dragons is that they won’t fly around to avoid your attacks, preferring to crawl around on the ground and launch Fire Breath shouts instead. This fight can be instigated by using the Unrelenting Force Shout on the orb itself, which will cause it to make a gong sound before summoning the dragon.
Considering how large Blackreach is, it should be no surprise that there is a lot of loot to be found inside. The Dwarven Centurions have many great items on them, including powerful arrows, gemstones, and Dwarven parts necessary to make Dwarven Ingots or Daedric armor at the Atronach Forge. It is also possible to find Falmer Armor inside a Falmer hut, to the right of Raldbathar Deep Market, and is one of only two guaranteed places where you can find his armor in Skyrim. The other is in Mzinchaleft Depths, where you can find the entire set on a table near an Expert level locked gate.
As an enormous cave system, there is also a large amount of ore deposits that can be found, the majority of which being Geode Veins that can yield gemstones, Soul Gems, Ebony Ore, or Corundum Ore. There are also a handful of Gold, Moonstone, Corundum, Ebony, and Quicksilver Veins scattered around the area that are useful if you are wanting to gain some Smithing levels.
There are a handful of books to be found in Blackreach, including Sinderion’s Field Journal that triggers the quest A Return To Your Roots, as well as several skill books. The Block skill book, Warrior, can be found in Silent Ruin, a sub-area of Blackreach, on a stone chair with a pressure plate in front of it that triggers a spinning blade. The Heavy Armor skill book, 2920, Vol 06 – Mid Year, can be found on a table west of the War Quarters building, at the top of some stairs protected by another blade trap. The final book, the Alchemy skill book De Rerum Dirennis, can be found inside Sinderion’s Field Laboratory beside a Crimson Nirnroot.
Finally, in Alftand, the area immediately preceding Blackreach, you will find two warriors, Umana and Sulla Trebatius, battling one another over the treasure they have found. Once the pair have killed each other, or if you jump into the fight and kill them yourself, you can loot the unique shield Targe of the Blooded from Umana. This shield, while lacking in defensive power, will inflict Bleed on any enemy hit with its shield bash. Unlike the Axe perks that inflict Bleed, the Targe of the Blooded also works on enemies that are normally unaffected, such as Draugr, vampires, and automatons.
The main reason you would enter Blackreach is for the main story quest Elder Knowledge, though you can also be sent here by the quest Discerning the Transmundane, the Daedric Artifact quest the grants you the Oghma Infinium when completed. This is also where you can start the quest A Return To Your Roots to gain a passive skill, Sinderion’s Serendipity, when completed. This passive skill will give you a 25% chance to create a duplicate when brewing any potion, which can be very useful when trying to take advantage of the Restoration Potion glitch.
You will also need to go to Blackreach for the Dawnguard quest Seeking Disclosure, as you need both the Dragon Elder Scroll obtained through the main story and the Blood Elder Scroll obtained through Beyond Death to complete the quest and the Dawnguard questline. Blackreach is also a good place to complete the Discerning the Transmundane quest, as you need the blood of multiple elven races, the majority of which are found inside Blackreach, though this will mean leaving the area to continue the quest and returning at a later time.
Blackreach is an entirely unique area for many reasons, though one of its most fascinating features is the fact that, unlike every other dungeon in Skyrim, travel distance doesn’t carry over into the overworld. For whatever reason, walking a mile in Blackreach equates to walking one and one-third miles in the overworld.
Blackreach also functions more like the outside world than a cave. You can summon Arvak, Durnehviir, or use the Storm Call Shout inside Blackreach, which you normally can’t do inside a cave. If you are a vampire, you will also feel the negative effects of being outside during the daylight hours, despite the fact that no daylight gets inside Blackreach and all light comes from the stones and fungi that grow there.
The stones are also heavily implied to be Aetherium deposits, which later get more attention in the Dawnguard side quest Lost to the Ages, which focuses on Aetherium and the Aetherium Forge. In the book that triggers this quest, The Aetherium Wars, it describes that the large, blue crystals inside Blackreach are actually Aetherium, though the location itself isn’t a part of that questline.
Next: Skyrim: The Cursed Tribe Quest Walkthrough
Callum Archer is a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia. He is an avid gamer, Nintendo fanboy, and lover of weird sci-fi novels, who also dabbles in manga from time to time, usually dark and twisted work like Uzumaki and Death Note.
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