There comes a point during most playthroughs of Skyrim when you reach a level of fatigue, whether it’s because none of the quests in your journal interest you or because you’ve simply run out of things to do. Nestling in the seldom-frequented corners of Skyrim’s map as well as a couple of major cities, there are a handful of hidden quests you might not have discovered yet. They’ll add a couple of hours to any playthrough, plus a few of them give you unique items as rewards which look nice and shiny when mounted on a plaque in your in-game home.
If you haven’t joined the College of Winterhold, this quest might have escaped your radar. You can start the quest either by reading the book titled Lost Legends which can be found around Skyrim, or you can head to Reachwater Rock (which is east of Markarth) and pluck a copy of the book from a dead adventurer’s body. The book will point you towards Folgunthur, where you’ll find more dead bodies (always a good sign) and more intrigue. Here’s a piece of advice: stock up on healing potions before you head into the dungeon. And make sure you’re not carrying too much. Good luck!
If you’re not a particularly high level yet, this quest is the one for you. I hope you’re good at climbing, because to trigger this quest you’ll have to talk to a chap called Froki Whetted-Blade. Froki lives halfway up a steep mountain west of Riften, near Autumnwatch Tower, and his shack is so close to the edge of the cliff that one misplaced step will send you over the edge. Chat to him and he’ll ask you if you’re a true hunter, to which you’ll answer to yes, to which he’ll reply: no, you’re not. Complete his quest to make him swallow his words!
Underneath the College of Winterhold is a dungeon called The Midden. You can get to it by going through a trap door underneath the stairs in the Hall of Countenance, and if you trawl through it, you can find lots of odd goodies, but the weirdest of all is a daedric gauntlet. The quest doesn’t appear in your journal, so you’ll have to follow these steps as the game won’t give you any help. First, search the area and find a key and an incident report (that doesn’t sound ominous at all, does it?) on a nearby table. The incident report will tell you that you need the four missing rings from a chest in the Arcanaeum, the library in the College of Winterhold. Well, it won’t tell you - in fact, it will make it clear that it is not a good idea to get the four rings. But hey, reverse psychology is my weakness too. Grab the rings and put them on the gauntlet. After you do that something will happen, then it’s up to you how you proceed.
I hope you’ve got your furs on, because this quest is set in the snowy steppes south-east of Dawnstar. Trek your way through the snow to find Ironbind Barrow, although you might hear the sounds of bickering before you catch sight of it. Outside the barrow, a warrior and a wizard are arguing about whether to explore it or not, as the wizard is understandably hesitant considering the undead dangers within. The addition of the Dragonborn to their party will fill them with confidence, however, and they’ll accompany you within the dungeon. As you can imagine, it all goes perfectly to plan.
It can be easy to stomp through Skyrim without pausing to sleep particularly often, but when you remember that the Dragonborn has been awake for a month and a half without having had 40 winks, I’d recommend you pass the night at Old Hroldan Inn. The homely outpost is on the eastern side of the major river flowing near Markarth, south of Soljund’s Sinkhole. Simply pay some septims and sleep in the room Tiber Septim slept in, and then do your stuff. All will become clear.
On the coast west of Winterhold is a lighthouse. Once it was home to a family. Now - well, technically it’s still their home, but they’re a lot bloodier and a lot less alive. As soon as you stumble upon their corpses you’ll get given this quest which is, unsurprisingly, to find out what killed them. You’ll have to hunt for clues and read journals to discover what went on, and I’d suggest not following my example by doing the quest in the middle of the night (both in-game and in real life) as it might give you a serious case of the spooks.
I’d say this quest is one of my favourites, as it’s pretty much The Hangover in quest form. Once you reach level 14 a chap called Sam Guevenne will spawn in the next tavern you enter, and then he can be found across random inns all over Skyrim. He’s a fun-loving fellow, so he’ll challenge you to a drinking competition and because my Khajiit is fond of the odd tipple, I immediately accepted. I think you should too, especially if you’re aching for a quest with no combat and a fair dose of humour.
Feel like you’ve got decent matchmaking skills? Do you see Cupid flying around everywhere you go? Then this is the quest for you. Go to the Temple of Mara in Riften (it’s left of Mistveil Keep) and have a chat with the head priestess and she’ll set you on your way to earning Mara’s favour. This is also a combat-free quest so it makes a good respite from hitting dragons with sharp objects or firing electricity from your hands.
We’ve all felt the seductive lure of the ocean at one point in our lives, although for me it resulted in leaning over the edge of the boat with a very green face. Thankfully you can’t get seasick in Skyrim, which means you can head along to the East Empire Trading Company office on Windhelm Docks. Talk to Orthus Endario and he’ll ask you to end their trouble with pirates once and for all. He won’t forget you either, as if you help him out he’ll come in useful later on in the game, especially in a quest called Diplomatic Immunity when you’ll be able to rope him in to help.
Frostmere Crypt is a big Ancient Nordic tomb south of Dawnstar, and should send your alarm bells ringing because crypts are never usually good news. When you come across it you’ll find a bandit called Eisa being attacked by one of her own, who’s raving about the Pale Lady. If she lives (you can help her fight off her attacker or grab some popcorn and watch) she’ll tell you about a mysterious sword that is causing havoc in her bandit camp, but she hates the sword so much that she won’t offer to accompany you inside Frostmere Crypt. Don’t worry if she ends up dead, because you can loot her corpse and find a journal which says pretty much the same thing and will still trigger the quest. The reward for completing the quest is most definitely worth it, so get ready to go dungeon delving!
Not seen your favourite hidden gem here? Mention it in the comments below!