The 5 Darkest Quests in Skyrim Special Edition

Skyrim Special Edition isn't all sunshine and rainbows.... actually, there are no rainbows. But there are plenty of dark quests to make you depressed.

One of the best things about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is the huge number of quests available. Some are lighthearted, whereas others are pretty evil and dark.

In my opinion, here are the five darkest quests in Skyrim. There are a few others that didn't make the list, so don't worry about this being your only options if you are looking forward to being a bad guy. 

Spoiler alert - It's difficult to discuss quests without spoilers. If you're sensitive to them, leave now!

Dark Quest #1: Innocence Lost

When you visit Riften, you may find yourself in an orphanage. Where every kid is the exact same age as every other kid in Skyrim.

I know- weird.

Anyways, it's easy to see the caretaker, Grelod the Kind, doesn't live up to her name. She verbally abuses the kids, making you feel sorry for them since they have nobody else to turn to.

As you talk to the children, you quickly learn that one of their playmates escaped from the orphanage. They drop a hint he may have returned to his hometown of Windhelm.

In Windhelm, you may hear a few people talk about the boy's abandoned home. If you break in, you'll find him on the top level doing a dark ritual. He's trying to summon an assassin from the Dark Brotherhood to kill somebody in exchange for money.

As you might guess, he wants Grelod the Kind whacked. 

To me, an eight-ish year old kid doing a dark, magic ritual to have someone killed is pretty dark. 

But there's more!

Skyrim Dark Quest #2: The House of Horrors

This quest has you kill not one, but TWO good guys.

It all starts in Markarth. You'll find a Vigilant of Stendarr named Tyranus asking locals about an abandoned house. He thinks something sketchy is going on, and asks you to investigate with him.

...pretty trusting to check out a weird house with a complete stranger, but that's just me.

Anyways, as you start exploring the home you hear a voice. It tells you to attack and kill Tyranus before he returns the favor. If you don't, Tyranus eventually realizes what's going on. A Daedric prince is occupying the home, and he advises you get outta dodge ASAP. 

Unfortunately, the door is now locked. The prince, who turns out to be Molag Bol, says you and Tyranus have to fight to the death to escape. Tyranus obliges, so you have to kill him. 

Molag Bol then explains there's a certain priest he's come to despise. He demands that you bring the priest to the house. 

But your job doesn't end just by bringing the priest to the house. You also bring him downstairs where a cage is awaiting him. Molag Bol traps him, then forces you to beat up the priest. After the poor man finally submits, you're told to smash the priest's head in.

But hey -- at least you get a new mace. I guess. 

Dark Quest #3: Boethiah's Calling

Like most things in Skyrim, this is a quest I just happened to stumble upon. I started walking up this mountain and find myself surrounded by a bunch of cultists. 

The funny thing is that you can also start this quest if you get attacked by one of these cultists anywhere in Skyrim. I just happened to dodge that somehow.

Anyways, you learn this is a proving ground to gain the favor of the Daedric price Boethiah. The thing is -- you can't really progress in the quest without doing a dark deed.

You have to lead a follower there -- someone who knows and trusts you -- and sacrifice them.

If you're like me, you will find a follower you don't care about at all. For example maybe it will be a guild member who has a name but nothing is too special about them. 

After the sacrifice, Boethiah occupies the body and tells you (and all of the cultists) to battle to the death. After all, only the strongest can become Boethiah's champion!

So all of these people that were (relatively) friendly with each other suddenly start slashing each other in the face. If you don't want to end up as troll bait, you'll use everything you can to make sure you're the only one left standing. 

But that's not what makes this quest so dark in my opinion. It's the fact that you intentionally lead a lamb up there to be sacrificed just to make a Daedric prince happy isn't the happiest thing I did in Skyrim.

Skyrim Dark Quest #4: The Taste of Death

You may be able to guess where this is going, just based on the name of the quest.

This one starts by learning that there's something weird going on in Markarth. Corpses in the crypt are getting eaten. 

Yeah. Human corpses. Eaten.

At first, you figure maybe it's some kind of monster. Personally I figured it was a vampire with a weird fetish, or maybe a werewolf. Plus there are skeletons nearby, so perhaps the skeletons were just weirdos and confusing themselves with zombies. I dunno. 

Well as you investigate, you come across a bit of a weirdo. You can tell as soon as you meet her that she's a little off, but to continue the quest you have to go with the flow and do what she says.

As it turns out, there's a group of cannibals in the city. And they're kinda getting tired of two things:

  1. Eating people that have been dead for a little while.
  2. That pesky priest of Arkay that runs the crypt.

Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to trick the priest into following you to the cannibals' hideout.

Keep in mind that this guy really hasn't done anything wrong. He's trying to keep the dead from taking over the world and prevent bad things from happening to dead people. 

But that doesn't matter in Skyrim

If you choose to complete the quest... well, you can assume what happens. Cannibals + human enemies = dinner. 

Dark Quest #5: Frostflow Abyss

This one is very different, in that it doesn't involve your character doing the dark deed. Instead, it involves unraveling a sad story that is probably fairly common in a land as harsh as Skyrim. 

 The quest starts by entering a lighthouse. You immediately realize that things aren't right though, as you see a dead body in the main living area. When you inspect the body, you'll find a journal. Read the journal and you get an idea of what happened. 

The quest becomes a little bit of a riddle. You do a little searching around the house for clues, and slowly piece everything together. Eventually you find the cellar key and venture down, which is where the fighting begins.

The short of it is -- a family's dream of living in a lighthouse came to a nasty end.


As I mentioned earlier, there are a number of other dark quests. Sometimes it's digging around for information on a quest giver's loved one, only to find out the person died in the cold world of Skyrim.

Betrayal isn't uncommon either. Several quests either require you to betray someone or tell the story of someone betraying a loved one.

Bottom line -- there are plenty of dark quests in Skyrim Special Edition to seek out next month. Good luck and have fun depressing yourself! 

Published Sep. 20th 2016
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