A group of sinister assassins and the devotee of Daedric Prince – Sithis, The Dark Brotherhood was once the most feared guild in all over Tamriel. But over the time, they lost their value and respect.
Their presence in Skyrim is also pretty much non-existent until you (the Dragonborn) join them. Becoming the member of the guild also kicks off the Dark Brotherhood quest line.
The overall story of the quest involves the rise and fall of the Dark Brotherhood guild. Although the campaign falls slightly shorter on the overall playtime, it compensates quite well with its rich storytelling, memorable characters, and mission design. In fact, the community considers it one of the best questlines in the game.
The entire campaign consists of 14 main missions and numerous assassination side missions. Depending on your playstyle, it can take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours to complete the entire campaign.
Moreover, you can also get some of the best rewards by simply playing through the Dark Brotherhood Campaign. Receive unique gears, items, mounts, companions, etc., Some of the rewards include:
- Blade of Woe dagger.
- Shadowmere horse.
- Dark Brotherhood Initiates followers
- Cicero companion
- Muiri’s Ring
- Ancient Shrouded Armor set
- Marked for Death Dragon Shout
That being said, lets us guide you through the entire questline. Starting with becoming a member of the guild.
Table of Contents
Join the Dark Brotherhood
So the first thing that we’ll be doing is, of course, joining the Dark Brotherhood guild. Now joining the band of assassins isn’t as similar to joining the Companion or Thieves guild.
Here, you must carry out an assassination in order to get contacted by the guild. Follow the steps below to join the guild,
- Head to the Aretino Residence over in Windhelm.
- Speak with Aventus Aretino, and take the contract to assassinate Grelod, the Kind.
- You’ll find Grelod in the orphanage at Riften. Eliminate her and return to Arentino.
- After completing your assassination task, you must wait for the Dark Brotherhood to contact you. They’ll send you a mysterious note with a handprint and the text “We Know.” If you’ve yet to receive the note, fast-travel around the cities or villages until you encounter the courier.
- After reading the note, you’ll need to sleep on a bed at your home or an inn.
- Upon waking up, you’ll encounter Astrid, the leader of the Guild. You’ll then have to kill one of the captured captives in order to get the invitation to join the guild.
- Head to the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary and speak with Astrid again. She’ll welcome you to the guild and give you the Shrouded armor set.
Note: You can also complete a small optional side quest (Delayed Burial) before joining the Dark Brotherhood guild. Although the outcome of this quest doesn’t affect the Dark Brotherhood storyline, it is still related to the guild.
So, we recommend completing it to get a bit of an insight into the Guild. Head to the Loreius Farm and speak with Cicero to start the optional quest.
Take up Assassination Contracts
Soon after joining the guild, you’ll be instructed to complete some assassination contracts for the guild. You can take upon contracts from Nazir, a Redguard, and a guild member.
He’ll give you the contracts in batches. In the first batch, he’ll give you contracts for the three targets, i.e., Narfi, Ennodius Papius, and Beitild. In the second batch, you’ll have to kill Lurbuk and Hern.
Here’s a list of contracts of all the NPCs you can get from Nazir,
- Ennodius Papius
- Ma’randru-jo from Ri’saad Trading Caravans
How you eliminate these targets is completely up to you. You can be creative and kill them while remaining unnoticed or do it the old fashion way and strike them with your weapons out in public.
But you need to be careful. If you’re caught in the act by the guards or even some other NPCs, you will earn a bounty in the respective hold. Refer our guide for tips on clearing your bounty here.
Completing these contracts will earn you gold coin, and the amount of gold coin you receive per contract will depend on your character level.
For example, completing tasks while you’re below level 20 will yield 400 gold coins for your efforts, whereas completing contracts while you’re over 40+ will pay you 750 gold coins.
Note: Before you eliminate Narfi, make sure to complete The Straw that Broke questline, as you won’t be able to complete it after taking his assassination contract.
After completing your first batch of assassination contracts, return to the Dark Brotherhood sanctuary and speak with Astrid. This time, she’ll instruct you to meet Muiri to learn more about the target.
You can find Muiri either at the Silverblood Inn or the Hag’s Cure in Markarth. Upon talking with her, she’ll ask you to eliminate her ex-lover Alain Dufont, a bandit residing over at Raldbthar.
Moreover, Muiri will also ask you to eliminate Nilsine Shatter-Shield. This request is entirely optional.
However, accepting her request will get you more gold coins and Muiri’s Ring. The ring is essential if you’re looking to craft strong potions.
Note: If you choose to eliminate Nilsine Shatter-Shield, complete the Blood on the Ice questline beforehand, as you won’t be able to complete it afterward.
Be a Listener of the Night Mother
After completing Muiri’s request, Astrid will share her concern over Cicero and the night mother as you return to the Sanctuary. She’ll ask you to spy on Cicero by hiding inside the Night Mother’s coffin.
While you’re hiding inside the coffin, the Night Mother will choose you to become her Listener.
Then, after completing this mission, return to Nazir and take on the second batch of assassination contracts.
The Biggest Assassination Yet
When you return to the sanctuary, Astrid will approach you regarding the meeting with Amaund Motierre at Volrunruud. Like the other clients, he wishes his target to be eliminated, not just any target, but the Emperor of Tamriel himself.
But before you eliminate the Emperor, there are three different individuals that you must kill one by one.
- Vittoria Vici the Bride
- Gaius Maro the Imperial soldier
- Balagog gro-Nolob the Gourmet
As mentioned previously, you can eliminate the targets with any means you want; however, sticking with the methods mentioned by the quest givers will earn you more gold coins.
For example, you must kill Vici while she’s giving her speech, Gaius in the middle of a city, and hide Blagog’s body for more rewards.
Before eliminating your last target, the Gourmet, you must also deal with Cicero. Pursue him in the Dawnstar Sanctuary, where you can either eliminate him or let him go.
Disguised as the Gourmet
After eliminating the three targets mentioned above, return to the sanctuary and speak with Astrid. She’ll instruct you to head to Solitude as a Gourmet and assassinate the Emperor.
Now you don’t have to get yourself a set of chef’s clothes; you just need to Writ of Passage from Balagog, the Gourmet. Then, use the permit to gain entry to the Solitude castle.
Once you’re inside the Kitchen, you’ll have to do some cooking. Well, Giana, the castle’s chef, will do the cooking for you. You only have to pick the ingredients for the meal. Here, you can also choose to put in the poisonous herb Astrid gave you.
After reaching the dining room, Giana will start serving the meal to the Emperor. If you’ve added the poisonous herb previously, he’ll die as soon as he eats the meal. If you fail to add the herb, you can kill him the old fashion way, i.e., with weapons, of course.
Traitor Among the Brotherhood
When you return to the sanctuary after escaping from the Castle, you’ll find the sanctuary in shambles. The only NPCs that will survive the onslaught are Nazir and Babette. Unfortunately, you cannot save anyone else.
As you progress through the sanctuary, you’ll find Astrid burned and lying inside a room. Take the Blade of Woe from Astrid and then eliminate her.
Kill the Emperor
Despite the tragedy of the brotherhood guild, you still have to assassinate the emperor. This is also the final quest in the dark brotherhood campaign. To get started,
- Speak with the Nightmother and Nazir.
- Make your way to the Bannered Mare in Whiterun and speak with Amaund Motierre about the location of the emperor. Moreover, you can get the location of Commander Maro from Amaund to kill him as well.
- You’ll find the emperor on his ship, the Katariah, near Solitude. The ship can be accessed from an anchor chain at the opposite face of the ship.
- You’ll find the emperor to be non-hostile in his room. Eliminate him and return to the Bannered Mare in Whiterun.
- Report to Amaund Motierre about the successful assassination. In return, he’ll give you the location of the reward. Here, you can choose to kill him as well.
- Head to Volunruud and collect the gold coin from the urn.
- Return to the Dawnstar Sanctuary and speak with Nazir to complete the Dark Brotherhood campaign.
Note: You can also retrieve Windshear lodged at the bowsprit of the Katariah ship.