Side Quest: The Golden Claw

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You'll receive this quest from Lucan Valerius in the Riverwood Trader in Riverwood.


Lucan will tell you that thieves recently stole one of his prized possessions -- a Golden Claw -- and he'll ask you to go to Bleak Falls Barrow and get it back. Then when you exit the shop, Lucan's sister Camilla will guide you to the bridge leading out of Riverwood, and she'll point you towards the barrow (located in the mountains to the northwest of the town).

On your way to the barrow, you'll pass by a ruined tower being used by bandits. The bandits will attack you, but they shouldn't put up much of a fight. At the top of the tower you'll find a chest with some random loot inside. Then when you reach the barrow, you'll have to defeat a few additional bandits.

Inside the barrow, you'll encounter some more bandits, both living and dead, and then you'll come to a puzzle room (#1). To open the door in the puzzle room, you'll have to rotate some pillars so they show the proper symbols. You can find the answer to this puzzle on display on the upper level of the room. The only trick is that the middle symbol has fallen, and so you'll have to view it on the ground level. The correct sequence for the puzzle (from left to right) is snake, snake, whale.

Past the puzzle room, you'll encounter some skeevers and then a frostbite spider boss (#3). The spider will probably be tougher than anything you've faced thus far in the game, so be sure you have healing potions on hand before you charge at it. After defeating the spider, you'll meet Arvel the Swift, who managed to get caught in the spider's web (#4). To progress farther into the barrow, you'll have to cut Arvel down, but when you do he'll rush off without you and get himself killed (#4a). If you want, you can end Arvel's life a little more quickly by attacking him right after you free him. Either way, when you loot Arvel's corpse, you'll find the Golden Claw and Arvel's Journal. This will cause the quest to update and task you with discovering the secret of the barrow.

As you make your way deeper into the barrow, you'll start encountering draugr, and eventually you'll come to a cylindrical puzzle door (#5). To open the door, you'll need to rotate the three rings of the door so that they show the correct symbols. For a clue on how to do this, just read Arvel's Journal. It will mention that when you have the Golden Claw, "the solution is in the palm of your hands." If you examine the claw in your inventory, you'll see that it has the correct three symbols engraved on it. These symbols are (from top to bottom) bear, moth, owl. Once you have the symbols in place, just use the claw in the center of the door to open it.

Past the puzzle door, you'll come to the main burial chamber (#6). Here you'll discover a treasure chest with some nice random loot in it, a closed sarcophagus, and a curved word wall. When you approach the word wall, you'll begin hearing chanting, and then then when you get right next to it, you'll gain access to the word of power for "force, unrelenting force." This word of power is the secret of the barrow.

Note: You'll learn how to use words of power in an upcoming quest.

After gaining the word of power, the sarcophagus in the room will open up, and a draugr boss (probably a draugr overlord) will attack you. When you defeat this boss, you'll find a Dragonstone on its corpse. You'll need the Dragonstone for the main quest Bleak Falls Barrow.

Finally, when you return to Lucan in Riverwood, he'll accept the claw from you, and he'll reward you with 400 gold.

1 - Puzzle Room

2 - Thief

On the table here you'll find the book Thief. The first time you read it you'll gain a rank in the Pickpocket skill.

3 - Frostbite Spider

4 - Arvel the Swift

You'll first meet Arvel stuck in a web here (#4). If you free him then he'll rush off and get killed by draugr (#4a).

5 - Puzzle Door

6 - Burial Chamber / Word Wall

$ - Treasure Chest

  1. Doorway between Bleak Falls Temple and Bleak Falls Sanctum.
  2. World exit.




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