Main Quest Tutorial Walkthrough

Aside from getting you into the storyline of the Main Quest, the introductory stage of the game is a tutorial on how to do the various things that you're going to need to do. It's very well done and I highly recommend taking your time and exploring this particular section. It's not terribly dangerous, it's very well designed and laid out, and it's a great way to work up some of your skills. Although I cannot prove it, it appears that any actions you do in the Tutorial are performed as if the relevant skill was one of your Major skills. Of course this could just be that most of your skills are at 5 at this point and are very easy to develop. But since you get to keep all of the skill increases that you get during the Tutorial, make the most of it.

The Tutorial spans 43 actions and several areas: Imperial Prison, Imperial Substructure, Natural Caverns, the Imperial Subterrane, The Sanctum, and finally the Sewers and your exit out into the rest of the game world. To a certain extent, the actions are simple things like moving or shooting an arrow at a hanging bucket, and the like. Four or five of the actions (playing the Persuasion minigame and making potions) can be done at any time and you will get the appropriate journal updates and dialogs the first time you try those actions. What I'm going to do here is run through the quest stages in the sequence that the devs laid out. It doesn't have to be done this way, though.

Imperial Prison

Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass "Go," do not collect 200 septims. You're a prisoner with only a set of wrist irons in addition to the sorry-looking clothes on your back. You'll be instructed on how to move around as soon as you finish setting your sex, race and appearance. So wander around your cell, play with the chains (hold Z while dragging), throw the bones around, jump up on the table, pick up the jug and cup, whatever. That's OK, I'll wait while you do it... dum-dee-dum...dee-dum-dum-dee...<check watch>...*whistle*...<tap foot>...

Ready? Cool. First thing, let's drop those wrist irons. Iron is, like, soooo last year unless you're into the whips and leather thing. So open your inventory (F2, by default) and shift-click the wrist irons. When you close your inventory (F2 again), you'll see them fall to the floor. You can pick them up again or try to sling them around if you'd like, but they're essentially dead weight and won't be useful for anything. When you move close to the door of your cell, you'll be well and truly insulted by Valen Dreth, the Dark Elf in the cell across from you. He's an equal opportunity insulter and has nothing nice to say no matter what your race or sex.As soon as he finishes his little rant, three guards and an older gent in really expensive clothes come down the stairs. They are surprised to find you in the cell and tell you to move back to the window. Do what they say because otherwise the guard just stands there and says, "Prisoner! Move to the window!" I suppose it's interesting enough as a change of pace, but it gets really monotonous really fast. Enter Uriel Septim VII, Emperor of Tamriel, Servant of the Nine Divines, Defender of the Faith, &c.

If you listened to what the guards and the emperor were saying on the way down the stairs, you'll learn that all of the emperor's sons have been killed. You can talk to the emperor if you'd like, but he doesn't have much to say other than introducing himself, telling you that his escape route leads through your cell and that the reasons for your imprisonment don't matter. At any rate, after you finish speaking to him, Captain Renault will open a secret passage out of your cell (it must be your lucky day, as Baurus will tell you). At the moment, you have no weapons and no armor, so just follow the guards' advice and stay out of the way. Even though Captain Renault says that they will leave the door open, it doesn't happen. As soon as you transition to another area, the door closes and you can't go back. A pity, really, as I was so looking forward to sticking a few arrows into Dreth once I got some.

After exiting your cell, follow the Emperor and his Blades at a safe distance. There isn't much to see or do until they get ambushed by assassins a little way into the new area. At that point Captain Renault will head for that big barracks in the sky. Loot her body and that of the assassins. You should be able to pick up some potions, a Steel Shortsword and Captain Renault's Akaviri Katana. Although you will not get to keep this weapon, it's going to be the best weapon you can get in the Tutorial. The two remaining guards will regroup with the Emperor and go through a door where you cannot follow. That's OK, though. There's broken wall in the corner that opens into another chamber. Two Rats will probably come out of that opening and attack you, so use one of the weapons to defend yourself.

I should note at this point that it would be a decent idea to start picking up the Rat Meat from the dead Rats. While it won't do you much good with your Alchemy skill so low, it makes a great ingredient for Detect Life potions once you reach Apprentice level (25+). Combine it with Bread, Tomatoes or Oranges to get a decent single-effect potion.

This is probably a good place to point out that while it is possible for your character to die during the Tutorial, it's not very probable if you're careful and playing at the default (or lower) difficulty level. If you're playing at the hardest difficulty, all bets are off. Keep a weapon handy, use the armor that's available, and remember that you have at least one offensive spell (Flare) and at least one healing spell (Heal Minor Wounds). The critters in the Tutorial don't have much in the way of Health, so they aren't hard to take down, but they can put a severe hurt on you if you aren't careful.


In the chamber that the Rats came out of are some goodies for you and a third Rat. You'll find half of a suit of Leather Armor, a Longsword, some Clubs, an Axe, a Dagger, a Bow (and arrows) and the possibility of other assorted junk in the several containers in the area (don't forget to search the skeleton).They are all poor quality items, but you're not fighting heavy-hitters, so they'll be more than sufficient. You'll also start finding lockpicks (close to 50 of them by the time you finish the Tutorial), torches and a bit of gold here and there. Take everything that you can carry. If you can't use it, you can sell it when you get out. Other than eating up space in your inventory (which appears to be vitually unlimited as far as the number of items you can carry), the toches and lockpicks have no weight, so you can carry hundreds of them and never notice.

The exit to this area is near a dead Goblin Shaman. If you picked up the key off of the Goblin, you'll open the door without wasting any of your lockpicks. If you didn't pick up the key, you'll need to pick the lock (it's only one pin). I recommend picking for a few reasons. First, lockpicks are fairly plentiful in the Tutorial, so breaking a couple isn't any big deal. Second, your skills are all down at 5, so almost anything you do will raise them. And third, it's a lot more fun to pick the lock than to use the key. Once you do this, you'll leave the Imperial Prison and enter the Imperial Substructure.

Imperial Substructure

Time to be the Exterminator, cuz there's lots o' Ratsies around here. Here's a good place to boost that Sneak skill. Just go into stealth mode (<Ctrl> by default) and move from side to side. The Rats probably can't see you because you're so far away from them, but you're close enough that they get a chance to detect. So just sneak around in the little entry passage until you either get bored with it or the rats finally make their detection roll and come charging at you. In the chest over where the rats were wandering you'll find about half a suit of Iron armor, some more arrows, lockpicks and torches. As soon as you get about halfway down the passageway out of this chamber, you'll see a couple of rats come bounding up the passageway. Believe it or not, they aren't aggressive. They're running away from the zombie behind them that IS agressive. If luck is with you, a third rat will turn and take out the zombie (it has happened, but don't count on it). If not, you'll have to fight him yourself.

Keep following the passage and it will eventually open up into a larger room with a ramp down in front of you. There are two rats in there, so here's another chance to boost that Sneak skill by just moving from side to side across the passageway. As long as the rats don't see you, you're fine. and since they are below you and kind of behind a wall, it's not hard to avoid being seen. Eventually you'll get tired of it so go down and get rid of the pests. You'll find a few food items on the ground (save 'em for a couple of potions that we'll make later), an Iron Helmet and an Iron Shield. The only things missing on your suit of Heavy armor is boots (which ruins your Sneak ability at your current skill level) and greaves. You'll be able to pick them up after you get out, so don't sweat it. There are a couple of chests in this room, but one of them is inside a break in the wall of the room, so you'll have to look closely to find it.

Keep going and you'll come to something that looks like a couple of parallel passages or a rectangular room with a couple of really big square supports in the middle. You'll run into a one or two more Rats in here. Take care of business. The exit is in the far left corner. In the next short passage there will be a sack with some goodies on the left wall and you will eventually come into a chamber with nothing in it. Not so. There is a barrel inside the break in the back wall where you'll be able to pick up some brewskies. I don't recommend using them, though. You'll get back a little Fatigue, but lose some Intelligence and Willpower. Since Fatigue regenerates on its own, it's an unnecessary trade-off, especially if you're taking your time. You might also encounter a Rat near the exit from this room, but he usually hangs out a bit farther down the passage and probably won't be able to detect you until you're actually near the exit.

Follow the passageway into the next chamber (there will probably be a Rat near the back wall) and you can start getting the necessary ingredients to make a couple of potions. You'll find some Wisp Stalk (Damage Health) and some Cairn Bolete (Restore Health). If you're lucky, you'll be able to get some ingredients from all of them, but probably not. There is also a Skeleton in here with some minor stuff. The Rat is also the last critter you'll have to deal with in this section, so feel free to explore, go back and pick up stuff you may have missed, or whatever.

Near the exit from this section you'll find some more ingredients, most especially Stinkhorn (Damage Health). So now you have two ingredients (Wisp Stalk and Stinkhorn) with a common effect and are ready to whip up your first poison. All you need is something to mix it with and that's coming. You'll also see three ropes with skulls on them. I'm not sure exactly what this is supposed to be (other than decoration) and it certainly hasn't made any difference that I can tell when I mess with it or leave it alone. Your call. When you've done whatever it is that you want or need to do in this area, go through the door.

Natural Caverns

Now it starts to get a little tougher. You'll still encounter a few Rats in this area, but you're also going to run into Goblins. Unlike the Rats, Goblins can do a lot of the same stuff that you can (like block, maneuver, use items, and so forth) and you definitely don't want them doing it to you. So caution and discretion are the watchwords.

As you enter this area, you'll be in a fairly long, downsloping passageway. This would be a great place to boost up the ol' Stealth skill. Just Sneak and hug the left-hand wall, back and forth from about halfway down to the doorway at the bottom and back again. You can't see him, but there's a Goblin a ways off to your left who is just within detection range. Sneaking back and forth where he can't see you will net you a few points on your Sneak skill until you get bored with it. Just on the other side of the doorway and to your right are a barrel and a crate that will have some goodies in them. Probably not much that's useful, but keep your fingers crossed and check anyway.

Just around the corner is a small chamber with a Goblin at the exit. He'll turn away from you and start walking away, so don't panic. About the time you get halfway across the room, you get a message about sneaking by him. If you followed my advice about boosting your Sneak skill, you'll already be there. Now you have two or three options. You can stick with the devs' plan and simply sneak by on the other side of the room (he doesn't turn away from his roasting Rat, so getting past will not be a problem). You can ignore the plan, out sword, charge around the corner and have at him. Or you can improve on the plan by hugging the wall, approaching him from behind and trying for a backstab attack. I recommend the latter, or at least getting close enough to steal the Mortar and Pestle, Damage Health potion, Wisp Stalk Cap and Stinkhorn sitting on the crate behind him. Once you have the Mortar and Pestle (and hopefully the other stuff, too), open your inventory and click on it to open the Alchemy dialog. You want to combine the Wisp Stalk Cap and Stinkhorn to make a couple of Damage Health poisons (since this guy doesn't have much in the way of health points, let's not waste the 10-point one from the crate - there's a better target a little farther on). Making a couple or three of these poisons should be enough to get a boost to your Alchemy skill. Once you have the poison, click on it in your inventory to put it on your equipped weapon. If you'd like to poison a different weapon, you'll need to change weapons. The poison is only good for one attack, so let's make it a good one.

Sneak up behind the Goblin and whack him. You might get lucky and take him out in one shot, but it will probably take a couple of whacks to do the job properly and, of course, the Goblin isn't just going to stand there and let you do it. But you've got a weapon and he doesn't so it shouldn't take much to knock off those last few Health points. Off to the side of his fire is a chest with a single-pin lock on it. You can pick it to get at a few golds and a couple of lockpicks. If you want, give yourself a pat on the back for being such a good Sneaky Pete. Just don't dislocate your shoulder in the process.

At this point you might also want to consider making potions from the other ingredients. You're not going to be able to do much of anything other than Restore Fatigue, but every potion created adds to your alchemy skill, so it's a good idea to do something with the food items that you're finding laying around.

Exit the room and pay attention to the floor because you're about to hit your first trap. It's a tripwire strung near the entrance to the next chamber that will release three spiked logs on chains (I guess you could call it a crude mace or morningstar). If you time it right, you can use them to smack the hapless Goblin standing under them. If you wait, though, he'll move out of the target area and will probably see you and attack.

Keep going and the corridor will divide with part of it going toward a bonfire of some sort and the left-hand passage heading off into darkness. Follow the left-hand passage and you'll come to a table with a dagger, a gold piece and a single-pin locked chest. The chest has some arrows and lockpicks, if you want them. Keep hugging the left-hand wall until you get near the corner where you'll see some logs piled up just across from you. If you spent some time boosting your Sneak skill, this next part should be fairly simple. If not, we'll do it the crude (but fun) way.

Equip your bow and poison it (save the 10-point one - you should have at least one of your homemade poisons left). In Sneak mode, inch your way up to where you can see a Goblin around the corner and down at the base of the incline. Nail him with the bow. The 2x sneak attack damage, plus the poison, should be enough to put him down and, depending on how often you've been using the bow, might get you a boost to your Marksman skill and possibly another one to your Sneak. Although you have taken down one Goblin, there is a second one who may now be aware of you (he might not be able to see you, but he might know you're there). So back off from the corner, open your inventory and equip your favorite melee weapon. Renault's katana is a good choice if you want a quick kill. Unstealth yourself and smack the second Goblin as soon as he's in range. One or two hits should be enough.

OK, let's assume that you can't do or don't want to mess with the stealth option. Don't even bother stealthing at the corner. Just dash across and activate the stacked logs (spacebar, by default). They'll roll down the incline and smash both Goblins. Crude, but fun to watch. There are a couple of chests to loot at the bottom of the incline.

Continue down the next passageway, which will open out into a large chamber. There are four Goblins (including a Witch, who has a magical staff with electric damage, and a Berserker, who is a bit more stout than the others and won't go down quite as easily). The Witch will be across the chamber from you and shouldn't be aware of you unless you do something truly specatcular to draw attention to yourself. There will be a regular Goblin off on the far right side of the chamber and another Goblin down in the pit in front of you. The Berserker tends to wander from in front of the pit to the near right corner of the chamber where the other Goblin is standing. Down in the pit with the Goblin are three Rats who may or may not be behind a fence (one of them should be, but the other two are iffy). If all three Rats are behind the fence, you can deal with them at your leisure. If not, then they may try to gang up on you along with one or more of the Goblins. Stealth, discretion and caution are in order once again.

My first target would be the Berserker. You probably won't be able to take him out in one shot with any of your weapons (the katana on a successful sneak attack might be a possibility). So try to lure him back into the passageway where you can fight him one-on-one. One way of doing this would be to sneak attack him with your bow, unsealth and run back a ways and switch to a melee weapon. If you did it right, you should be able to take him out without alerting any of the other Goblins to anything being amiss. If not, try to take him out as quickly as possible so that you don't have to fight multiple opponents. Dispose of the remaining Goblins however you would like, but try not to alert the Witch to your presence (she'll start slinging spells at you with her staff).

If possible, we want to use the 10-point poison to take down the Witch (it's arguable, but I consider low-level spell-slingers to be just a tad more dangerous than sword-swingers). Stay stealthed and sneak around behind her, poison the bow and get the best backstab that you can. Under normal conditions, the 2x damage, plus the poison, should be enough to put her down hard. That just leaves the three Rats. If all three are behind the fence, just shoot them with the bow (you can always get more arrows). If not, you may have the ones outside the fence come up to melee with you. In the fenced area behind the witch is a chest that has a longsword and a Repair Hammer. The chest next to the witch has another Repair Hammer and some gems/jewelry.

This was the last part of area with creatures in it, so you can continue to explore, loot or whatever until you're ready to proceed to the next section. Just before you get to the exit from this area you'll find another chest with a couple or three lockpicks and some arrows in it (see? I told you that you'd get more arrows). When you're ready, head for the Imperial Subterrane.

Imperial Subterrane

I don't know why, but this area kind of reminds me of Arena or Daggerfall. Maybe it's just my memory playing tricks on me. In any event, make sure that you have everything that you want from the previous sections because you're going to have to drop down into a room and you cannot go back. There isn't going to be much else for you in this area other than rejoining Baurus, Glenroy and the Emperor. So feel free to explore. The imperial party is going to wait until you drop down into the area. You can sneak around if you'd like. Baurus is going to be pretty good at spotting you, so it probably won't count for much. Once you're tired of exploring and get close enough, Glenroy is going to advance like he's going to smash you, but the Emperor will stop him. At this point, the Emperor will speak to you and ask you to choose your birthsign. From there your mission is to follow the Emperor through three more ambushes and try not to get yourself killed. This isn't as hard as it sounds because all three NPCs are still "essential" and can't be killed. So just stand back and let the Blades do their job. You can participate if you'd like, but try not to get into a situation where you're taking on the assassins single-handedly. You'll probably get spanked. Hard. Be sure to loot the Mythic Dawn assassins afterward, though. You'll be able to pick up a few more potions.

The Sanctum

This area doesn't have much for you to do and only one fight that you have to watch out for. About halfway into the first big room, Glenroy will lead the imperial party off to the right where they will be blocked by a locked gate. They'll suggest a side passage which turns out to be a dead end and then start thinking "trap", leaving the Emperor in your care. The Emperor will have his final conversation with you, give you the Amulet of Kings, tell you to take it to Jauffre and then get killed by an assassin who comes in through a secret door. Here's a good place to work on those weapon skills. The trick is to know that the assassins have multiple spawns that won't stop until the Emperor gives you the Amulet of Kings. That can't happen until you are in the room with him. So if you park yourself in the passage leading to the room and ready your healing spell, you can stand there and smack assassins forever. Of course, they are going to be smacking you (which is why you need the healing spell), but Baurus and Glenroy are both essential and can't be killed until the Emperor gives you the amulet. They'll do a decent job of killing assassins, but there will be a few that will make it to your location. So just let the bodies pile up. And to make things nicer, Baurus and Glenroy won't attack you if you make the occasional "friendly fire" hit. They'll gripe and threaten a lot, but don't actually follow through.

Once the Emperor gives you the amulet, Glenroy stops being critical and buys the farm out in the big room. Baurus disposes of the last of the assassins and waits for you to come close enough to start a conversation. Here's where you'll choose your class. Here is also where you'll lose that nifty katana. If it's in your inventory, Baurus will remove it to return to the Blades. If it's loose on the floor or stashed on one of the bodies, it's simply removed and disappears from the game. Glenroy's katana, too. I haven't been able to check to see whether it might be safe in the Natural Caverns, for example, because there is no way back in once you drop down into the Subterrane and the prison-side entrance gets boarded up after the Tutorial is completed.

At any rate, Baurus will initiate the dialog where you choose you class. He'll also tell you where to find Jauffre (Weynon Priory) and give you the key to the Sewers. Aside from a couple of potions, there probably isn't anything to loot on the Mythic Dawn bodies (unless you're, like, really into the hooded red robe fashion thing) and there's nothing else to fight. There is, however, a chest with a couple of potions in a wall niche just before you get to the door to the sewers. You'll lose the sewer key when you unlock the door, so unless there's something else that you really want to do, click on the sewer entrance and let's get out of here.

The Sewers

The sewers are straightforward enough. There are a couple of Goblins in the area and a couple or three Rats. There are a few barrels and chests and crates around (there's even a loose gold piece in one of the big sewer pipes, if you're really desperate). If you just want to get out of Dodge, you can probably bypass one of the Goblins. But it's a fairly small area and you want all of the skill boosts you can get before you finalize everything by exiting. So sneak, backstab, use your dagger (lower damage means more hits needed means more boost to your Blade skill), use your bow, make potions, whatever.

There will be two Rats and a Goblin in the sewer tunnel directly in front of you. They aren't hard to take out as long as you don't let them gang up on you. There will be one more Goblin down the tunnel across from you on the left, but you don't need to go that way unless you just want to take out the Goblin. Down the tunnel across from you on the right is a set of stairs leading up to a bridge that goes over the other Goblin and you'll find the last Rat in the chamber just before the exit.

Once you click on the exit, you'll get a confirmation dialog that will let you change your race, sex, name, birthsign and/or class. Or you can just accept everything that you've already set and exit the sewers. You'll emerge on the shores of Lake Rumare (the lake surrounding the Imperial City) and are now pretty much free to do whatever you'd like. Your journal will suggest heading for Weynon Priory to give the Amulet of Kings to Jauffre, but you're perfectly free to ignore the suggestion and head off to whatever suits your fancy.

The only part of the Tutorial that still remains is instructions on how to play the Persuastion minigame. You'll get those instructions the first time that you click on someone and attempt to change their disposition through bribery or through the minigame. After that, you're completely on your own. Your journal will help you keep track of the active quests that you have running, but nothing else from the Tutorial.