Finding the Quest Object

Without a doubt, this is the most difficult part of the game. In each dungeon there are anywhere from 5 to 12 (usually 5 or 6) possible locations for your quest object. If you were lucky in the random number department, your object will be fairly close to the entrance. If not, you have a loooong trek ahead of you. One of the major complaints about the game was the size and extent of the dungeons ("mating octopi" was how one gamer described it). Daggerfall dungeons are HUGE and they are in 3 dimensions, so exploring and navigating in them can be quite time-consuming. Don't start one if you need to be somewhere in the next few minutes. Bethesda promises that the dungeons of "Morrowind" will not be this big ('course they've been promising the game for a while and it's not here, so take that for what it's worth).

Most of the time, there will not be any critters right next to the entrance, but finding company right off the bat is common enough that you'll want to have your weapons drawn and ready. Save the game as soon as you enter and each time that you pass the entrance. This is one way to avoid having to repeat a lot of traveling and mapping.

OK, you're in and ready to rumble. What now?

If you're new at the game (and I'm assuming you are or you probably wouldn't be reading this), explore the area immediately around the entrance and kill anything that gets in your way. This provides you with a relatively safe area to rest. If you are capable of casting a "Recall" spell, right inside the entrance is a good place to anchor one. Daggerfall dungeons reset completely when you exit them, so teleporting out of the dungeon in an emergency will make your map disappear and you'll have to go back over territory you've already covered if you have not completed your quest. Once all of that is accomplished, save the game again and let's go exploring.

Two methods seem to dominate players of "Daggerfall" when it comes to exploration. One involves following the wall from the entrance, either right or left (the wall-followers seem to be about evenly split on this issue from what I can tell). Go through all doors, use all elevators and teleporters, but keep following that wall until you either find the quest object or get back to the entrance. If you get back to the entrance, save the game, and then follow the other wall (the one across from the entrance). If you get back to the entrance again, save the game and start following passages that you didn't take the first two times. The method works (I use it). It's not very thorough, but it will get you to the quest object eventually.

The second method involves working with the dungeon by section. If you look at your map, you will see that your arrow is on a particular type of flooring. The section method requires that you explore ONLY the areas with that kind of flooring until you have cleared out all of that section. Then you move on to another section and clear it. And so forth until you reach the quest object. It is a very thorough method of exploration (I use this one, too), but time-consuming. This is not a bad thing if you have a lot of time on your hands, but it is not designed to get you to your destination quickly.

After you have played the game for a while, you will start to notice patterns to the dungeons. This is a by-product of the dungeon creation process. Daggerfall dungeons are modular. The Main Quest dungeons were painstakingly constructed by hand, but the random dungeons take pieces of the Main Quest dungeons and sling them together in various forms. This is why players get a strange sense of "deja vu" in the random dungeons. They really have been here before. Once you reach this point, finding quest objects becomes much easier because each module only has one or two object locations. For example, when I find myself with a series of teleporters, I know that there is a quest object location under the trapdoor and the trapdoor is opened by a lever in one of the teleporter locations. So I go through the teleporters until I get to the lever, pull it, and then keep going through teleporters until I appear over the trapdoor (hopefully with an active "Levitate" so I don't break a leg falling down the hole when I appear). Remember where you find quest objects and the next time you wind up in the same module, you'll have a good idea of where to look.

Navigating dungeons requires a bit of ingenuity and/or a few good spells/items/potions. One of the earliest problems you will need to overcome is water. All characters can swim, some better than others (that's why there is a "Swimming" skill). Your swimming skill determines how fast you move underwater and how long you can hold your breath. If you have a low skill in this area (in other words, you are slower than molasses in January), you can compensate with a potion, item or spell that has "Water Walking" as its effect. Contrary to the description in the manual, "Water Walking" does not let you walk on water. It just lets you move through it at a reasonably good clip (about the same as your normal overland rate). "Buoyancy" is a cheap water walking spell that any character should be able to cast, even with single-digit skills in magic.

Water also requires that you be able to breathe. When you submerge, you will see a yellow bar in the lower right of your view screen. This is your breath meter and it tells you how long you have before you drown (once it runs out, you're dead, no saving throw). Allegedly, members of the Kynareth temples get the benefit of being able to hold their breath longer than other characters. If that isn't the case for you, you need "Water Breathing" in some form (spell, potion, or item). "Water Breathing" removes the breath meter for as long as the effect is active. Once the effect wears off, the breath meter comes back at its previous level (if you were 2 seconds from drowning when you cast the spell, you'll be 2 seconds from drowning when it wears off). Putting your head above the surface of the water (sometimes difficult when weighted down with heavy armor and lots of goodies, and well nigh impossible if the whole passageway is submerged) will move your breath meter all the way back up when you submerge again.

The next obstacle is how to reach openings and platforms that are not at the same level you are. This is where "Climbing" and "Levitate" come in very handy. With few exceptions (the final dungeon of the Main Quest being the most obvious one), you can usually climb wherever you need to go. It may require some additional exploring to get to a place where you can climb up, but it's usually possible. The game will make a check against your climbing skill every 10 feet or so, so those with low skills should be wary of trying to climb great distances. "Levitate" takes the guesswork out of that . Getting back down again can also present problems, so you would be wise to invest in something that will let you levitate or cast "Slowfall" on you.

Teleporters are devices you will encounter in some dungeons and they instantly move you to another part of the dungeon. They usually look like bricked-up doorways. To activate them, just walk into them. There are a few free-standing ones that you must click on to activate. At other times, you'll see these bricked-up doorways that don't do anything at all. Remember that dungeons are modular? The bricked-up doorways that do nothing are the places in the module where the entrance would normally be or where a module would hook in. When you run into one of these doorways, save the game before trying anything. Most of the time you'll just be teleported to another location or they won't do anything. Occasionally, these will be traps that can put a serious hurt on you (especially if you are relatively low-level and don't have many hit points).

There are about four occasions where walking on the floor can kill you and a couple of others where it will suck out all of your magica. If your view starts swaying when you step on something and you don't have a "Levitate" effect available, don't go any farther. Take a step back (or turn around and jump) and assess the situation before going on.

Pits in the floor can be jumped by characters with minimal skills in this area. Longer jumps may require a running start. If you fall down into a pit, you should be able to climb back out again without too much trouble. Just be sure not to turn your back on whatever might be in the pit with you unless it's dead. It's always good practice to look at your map before walking across a room. There are a few rooms that have trapdoors that spring as soon as you step on them. These will show as holes in the floor on your map.

You will find many secret doors and passages in the game. Some are fairly easy to spot and others are very difficult. All will appear on your map and look like regular doorways. If you see a door on your map, but not in your view screen, just move to that location, face it and click on that section of wall to open the door. Sometimes the doors are locked, so you may need to pick it, bash it, or "Open" it to get through.

This brings up the subject of "Lockpicking". There is a school of thought among long-time players of the game that says the higher your lockpicking skill, the more frequently you will encounter locked doors. I don't know whether the programmers intended this or not, but there is at least a germ of truth to it. Assuming that you're not up against a magically locked door, you can always bash these doors open (I've heard players maintain that "Fireball" is a good way to open a locked door, but have not tried it). Bashing puts wear and tear on your weapons, so if you're going to bash, the recommended method is to use your fists/feet. They don't wear out. The cheesy little "Open" spell that I recommend for Mysticism practice also works. You just have to cast it a lot of times before you get through (nice idea if you need to develop that skill). "Open" will also work against magically locked doors, but the chances of success are much lower than a regular locked door (the artifact "Skeleton Key" will open anything once per day and casts "Open" the rest of the time).

OK, you've run, climbed, swum, levitated, bashed and fought your way through the dungeon and you still can't find your quest object. Now what?

There are only two possibilities: you have either overlooked something (there is someplace you haven't been) or you've got a bug. Both are problems that have (relatively) simple solutions.

I'll start with the easier one first: you've overlooked something. 99% of the time, this is going to be the problem you're facing. Remember that the dungeons are modular and that there are only a few places where the quest object can be? If you have installed the v.212 or v.213 patch, you can teleport to each of the possible quest object locations using the bracket keys. You must have "cheatmode" enabled if you're going to use the teleport feature. Just hit one of the bracket keys ( "[" or "]" ) and you will be teleported to a possible quest object location. If it's not there, hit the same key again to move to the next location. Keep doing that until you have cycled through all of the possible locations. If you still haven't found your object (be sure to move after you teleport because you're going to appear on top of [or inside] your quest object and you can't see it unless you move away from it), you have hit a bug (the exception is a Merchant quest to find his cousin - more about this under "Questing").

There is an intermittent bug that crops up occasionally where the game does not place the quest object inside the dungeon. Bethesda created a program called "fixsave" to repair this problem (you must have "fixsave.exe" in your \dagger directory to use it). To use it, exit the dungeon, save the game (remember the name of the saved game) and exit "Daggerfall". Go to the DOS prompt, to the \dagger directory and type "fixsave". This will launch the program and you'll be shown the name of all of your saved game slots and asked which one you want to fix. Give it the number of the saved game file and it will fix the problem (as well as a few other bugs that might be hanging around). Now relaunch "Daggerfall", load your saved game and reenter the dungeon. If you don't want to go through all of the dungeon crawling that you did the first time through, use the teleport cheat to hit ONLY the quest object locations until you get to where you need to be.