Skyrim talk:A Cornered Rat

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Esbern won't open his door[edit]

When I talk to Esbern, his dialogue (sound && text) is missing. Right after i convinced him to open the door he shuts his window and stands behind the door, doing nothing. Anyone else encountered that problem? -- 21:09, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm having the same issue. — Unsigned comment by Onihige (talkcontribs) at 22:58 on 12 November 2011
Exactly the same problem here. Figuring I'll use console to get past it. Movetoqt might work, as well as setting quest stages experimentally. — Unsigned comment by (talk) at 02:32 on 13 November 2011
Had the same issue; leave the area twice and return. The quest will continue, but there will be no dialog. Talk to him whenever he pauses and his movement will resume. -- Sramdi (talk) 01:42, 12 September 2012 (GMT)
Did you have any luck? I tried tcl and just wanted to start a conversation, but i feel ignored ;) -- 05:55, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
Me again, I did some experimenting. After you talk to him, type setstage MQ202 160 and setstage MQ202 170, it'll open the door and make him talkative again.. I hope, his later
I found this on Youtube: use BSA unpacker, just unpack Skyrim - VoicesExtra.bsa with this program in data folder and it will work
Dialogue is fixed. -- 06:09, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
This fix is also described in detail here. -- 20:51, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

() I encountered the same problem and the setstage thing worked but after the door opens and I talk to him again he has the same dialogue as when I talked to him at the door.-WTF- -pc- — Unsigned comment by (talk) at 07:04 on 16 January 2012

Confirmed on PC: Just removing the Skyrim.ini did the trick for me. Prior to this I could pass through the dialog (w/o sound obviously), but he wouldn't open the door afterwards. — Unsigned comment by (talk) at 21:33 on 18 January 2012
Same probem here. I already taked to him and persuaded him, but he won't open the door. Pressing the interaction button to open the door as prompted does nothing. I'm wondering, could this have anything to do with how many followers you have with you? I understand you can only have a limited amount of followers, right? Or does that rule apply only to permanent followers, and not to quest-only follwers? Right now I have Lydia and Serana with me (permanent and quest follower respectively).--Rope Dog (talk) 03:31, 12 July 2013 (GMT)
Once I deleted the Skyrim.ini file & talked to Esbern, he opened the door for me. I had both Faendal & Serana following me at that point (permanent & quest respectively). Katlypto 01:26, 13 July 2013 (GMT)

Text edited out[edit]

I've edited out this text from the detailed walkthrough, as it's not specific to this Quest but occurs when you first meet Byrnjolf, regardless of other quests.

at the market. He will ask you to steal Madesis' silver ring from Madesi' stall located on the other side of the market. When Byrnjolf has everyones attention by presenting his wares sneak to the stall and open the display case. It is quite hard for guards not to notice you and you will probably be caught. It doesn't matter if you are or not,although you will have to pay a small fine (usually 10 pieces). If you don't get caught, go to Brand-She and plant the ring on him. Byrnjolf will then tell you to go to the 'Ragged Flaggon' in the ratway sewers. There will be a few enemies on the way. — Unsigned comment by (talk) at 19:31 on 23 November 2011

A dragon in Riverwood[edit]

Is it common that when you bring Esbern to Riverwood, there is a dragon waiting for you there? Or is it just a suspiciously placed random encounter? When I saw him, I was certain that it was part of the quest, and was surprised that nobody talks about it. - 06:09, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

It is indeed a random encounter. Dragons will show up occasionally when you enter towns or cities, or fast travel to any location.Ninepaw 20:56, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Not a Thief?[edit]

I don't want my mage to have anything to do with the Thieves' Guild. Can I pull an end-run around that quest and just go to the Flagon and get through it without associating with them at all? — Unsigned comment by Daedalus (talkcontribs) at 00:39 on 30 November 2011

Yes you can. Just exit (TAB) the dialog with Brynjolf before asking him "What do I have to do?(Or something like that)" and ask the barwoman. The journal objective will then point to Esbern removing the one on Brynjolf. -PGR — Unsigned comment by (talk) at 21:18 on 1 December 2011

Glitch in A cornered rat.. 360[edit]

When I leave the thalmor embassy and return to Delphine, she does not give me the quest. I have saved and tried again several times. I even went and found esbern but he will not talk to me at all. Says go away and closes his little window. What do I don to start this quest? Xbox 360 07:17, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Has anyone else had this happen and what can I di to fix it? Do I have to buy another disc? 13:53, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Dragon attack frequency increase?[edit]

I notice more dragon attacks on major cities after completion of Diplomatic Immunity. I took a break from main quest line during diplomatic immunity and did all other quest lines (did all achievements except main quests and Thu'um Master). During those many many hours of game play, I never saw a dragon attack on solitude (my main residence) and whiterun and almost all of attacks on other small towns occurred during night time. Now I completed all other quest lines and after finishing diplomatic immunity, I encountered 2 daytime attacks on solitude during a few visits to my residence. I also notice more frequent attacks on riften i.e another attack occurred even before the previous dragon bone had a chance to disappear. Now I just finished a cornered rat and will see how attack frequency goes. (ZekunD 12:54, 8 January 2012 (UTC))

Workaround for Glitching Esborn in Delphine's Room in Sleeping Giant Inn[edit]

I was able to coax the mute Esborn from "Rat's Way" to Delphine's room in the Sleeping Giant, but Esborn would give no more dialogue. Delphine kept telling me "let's see what Esborn has to say," but the old bugger wouldn't react to me at all. In my frustration I began blasting him around the room with my "Unrelenting Force" shout. Eventually I blew him partially out of the room (into the stairway) and when he returned - the quest updated! And I was able to talk to him! I went through his mute dialogue and Delphine took it from there. Now we're own our way to Sky Haven Temple. Just thought I'd let others know about my brilliant "Dumb Esborn" fix. 03:59, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Help i cant find Esborn[edit]

he opened the door out of his "hovel" and after that i started to leave the area (thinking he was following me) but after i left i went to speak with Delphine (via fast travel) but he wasn't there so i went back to the ratway and as soon as i left the vaults to get to his room my Xbox froze in the loading screen and when i reloaded the last save i was auto saved in the room i was trying to enter, but esborn was not there only some other man who babbled on senselessly I'm so confused! — Unsigned comment by (talk) at 17:22 on 7 February 2012

Possible fix for quest not starting after completing diplomatic immunity[edit]

I had this bug today and using the console to move the quest ahead didn't work, but I didn't want to skip the whole quest and move on to Alduin's wall since I'm still on my 1st playthrough. Looking for a fix I read somewhere a guy had this problem on his xbox, and after he went back to an older save where Dirge was alive and completed Diplomatic Immunity again, the quest then started no problem.

After a quick look around on my game, Dirge was lying dead in the ragged flaggon. Resurrected him with the console, then did setstage MQ202 10 and voila, quest started. I think I tried setstage MQ202 5 also but it didn't work.

If anyone else can confirm this as a fix, might be worth adding it to the bugs section? — Unsigned comment by (talk) at 20:25 on 4 March 2012


Gissur may be seated at a table in the Ragged Flagon when you get Esbern's whereabouts from Vekel the Man. After you end conversation with Vekel, Gissur will get up from the table and leave the Flagon. Vekel will suddenly say That one, right there, walking out the door. He was one of them asking about that old man you were looking for. If confronted, Gissur will only rebuff your attempts at conversation. However, he can be attacked and killed with no repercussions, and other Thieves Guild members will join the fight on your side.

Should the above info be added to A Cornered Rat notes? Some of it is mentioned on Gissur's page, but it seems more important for the quest. --Xyzzy 05:27, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

I haven't seen this, but it's certainly notable and I think it should even go in the detailed walkthrough. Vely►Talk►Email 14:37, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Ok. If nobody objects, I will cut and paste the above info into a new note on the quest page. --Xyzzy 16:20, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Missing voice files for Esbern[edit]

The only situations I know of where this happens is with pirated versions of Skyrim which is why the missing voice files can be downloaded from several websites known for promoting software piracy such as Pirate Bay. If the user purchased a legitimate version of the game they could simply do a re-installation of the game. Is there a policy on promulgating solutions for players using pirated software?--DagmarH 21:00, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

I do not know if anyone with a legitimate copy has had the issue; that's a very good thing to point out, actually. The fix of downloading the files would be more convenient than a reinstallation, but removing the link would make it harder for pirates to get to it.
I do not know if we have an actual policy on piracy, but I assume that we should minimize such solutions for legal issues. I'll remove the solution for now, since reinstallation or extracting the disc's files should fix the issue for anyone else. Vely►Talk►Email 21:19, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Playing the game on the XBox360, I've noticed Esbern appears to have two distinct voices. For the majority of storyline dialogue he has the voice from the trailer, while at other times he has a completely different accent and sounds closer to a Breton or Imperial. I wonder if those experiencing missing voices are missing particular ones, like to ones that don't sound like to main actor? If this is the case it could still be a glitch somewhere that might be dependant on individual installation. 19:27, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
You are incorrect, it just happened for me in the perfectly legal Steam version; I've installed the game when it was 1.4 and met this quest only when game was autoupgraded to 1.7, and that quest was broken as described. Deletion of .ini files worked for me. — Unsigned comment by (talk) at 21:44 on 30 August 2012

Vekel the Man & Dirge Persuasion[edit]

Hey, I just thought I would say that's it's a fairly high persuade check (around 80 with no perks) in order to get them to be succesfully persuaded. I didn't know where else to put this but here, and someone might want to add this into the article. — Unsigned comment by The Drunken Elf (talkcontribs) at 08:39 on 16 August 2012

Cheap Trick for esbern[edit]

  • Another cheap trick (PC version) is Simply Go console and write tcl on / off
    • Move to Esbern's room, Talk to him, he will open the door from inside. Talk to esbern again (unfortunately no sound and fast dialouge). until you choose dialouge option "Im a DragonBorn". Move to his Work desk, He will take something from his Chest. and he will follow you. If he is just standing still, ask him "do you know the way out ?", he will move and freeze again. ask him to "wait here" then "Follow me". sometimes he will stuck and looking into dead body that you've been slain. Drag the dead body out of his sight. Escort him out of Ratway.
    • Once in Riverwood. (If Quest stage "Escort Esbern to Riverwood" has not been finished) In secret room, Delphine will talk to Esbern, but Esbern won't respond. Esbern will keep staring at you. Move out from basement until both alone. Quest stage "Escort Esbern to Riverwood" should be Finished. Delphine will talk to Esbern, but Esbern will reply with no sound and fast dialouge. at this point, Esbern should talked about Alduin, and Sky Haven temple, and proceed to next quest. But Esbern still won't speak at Alduin's Wall quest. However, I rock BSAunpacker at the end.

Zerov (talk) 03:37, 14 October 2012 (GMT)

Incorrect quest info list[edit]

That list seems to be from the Diplomatic Immunity quest. His should be mentioning finding him, talking to him, etc. 11:14, 13 June 2013 (GMT)

I'm not sure what you're referring to. I don't see any copied info from Skyrim:Diplomatic Immunity. This does mention finding him and talking to him. Are you sure you looked at the right article prior to posting this? --AKB Talk Cont Mail 13:20, 13 June 2013 (GMT)

Finding Esbern - Thieves Guild Member[edit]

This is probably because I am a member of the Thieves Guild, but the quest marker directed me to talk to Vekel the Man, not Brynjolf. Also, I didn't have to pass a persuasion check, Vekel told me where Esbern was right away.

Bugs Cleanup[edit]

  • Pc22.png Esbern sometimes has no voice and will not open the door.
    • Pc22.png Another solution is to delete Skyrim.ini and SkyrimPrefs.ini and run the game. You will need to adjust settings again but the save games will stay.
      • Pc22.pngThe easiest way to attempt to fix this is to first backup, and delete the Skyrim.ini file located in
        My Documents\My Games\Skyrim\
        and then run the game again. Do not restore your original file until the quest is completely finished, as the same bug may happen again in Riverwood.
    • However, sometimes deleting the .ini file does not work. The cause may be that in some PC versions of the game, Esbern really is missing some key dialogue audio files.
      • Adding/correcting this line in your Skyrim.ini to the [Archive] section may cause the game to correctly identify the archive with the voice file:
        sResourceArchiveList2=Skyrim - Voices.bsa, Skyrim - VoicesExtra.bsa
        If your ini-file has no such section, just add it. Once the loose audio files are extracted the game should recognize them on the next startup and the problem will be corrected.
  • Xbox360.png When attempting to turn in the quest to Delphine, she may not recognize that Esbern is with you even if he is following you. This is accompanied by the game freezing at random intervals for one to three seconds. There is no known cause or fix at this point.
  • Pc22.png Esbern might freeze randomly during the trip out of the sewers.
    • The easiest solution is to disable him and enable him again from the console. If you do not have access to the console then it is possible that attacking him and/or forcing him to his knees (the "death" that essential NPCs suffer) might get him to unfreeze.
  • Xbox360.png There may be a glitch where if you are halfway through the Thieves Guild quests, you will not be able to continue the quest as there are no dialogue options for Brynjolf.
    • This may occur if you have started the quest A Chance Arrangement, where the first requirement is to speak with Brynjolf outside. Complete that to advance.
  • Sometimes there is no option to bribe Brynjolf.
  • After you talk to Esbern and start to follow him out, when you exit the Ratway Warrens and then enter and shortly after exit the Ragged Flagon and enter the Ratway, Esbern will exit into Riften and sometimes the door will shut and you can not open it. To fix this just reload to a past save, preferably the autosave when you entered the Ratway with Esbern.

These bugs have sat unconfirmed for long enough. Additionally I completely removed the mod related part. Silence is GoldenBreak the Silence 21:21, 17 August 2013 (GMT)

Multiple attacks from NPC's[edit]

Going to Riverwood by slow travel, a couple of Vigilants suddenly laid into Esbern. All told we were attacked unprovoked by a Nord, a Wood Elf, a Mercenary, and Talsgar the Wanderer!
Is this a bug, or does the game pick the first so many NPC's you encounter on the journey all to be Thalmor agents? 15:17, 7 November 2013 (GMT)James

Persuasion Checks[edit]

Brynjolf's persuade check appears to be harder than Faralda's when entering the Mage's College. A minimum of a 75 Speechcraft skill (with no perks) is necessary to successfully persuade him. The Amulet of Articulation will actually not effect this persuade check at all. I tried it with all the available versions of the Amulet obtainable by the player at a Speechcraft level of 74 and failed each time.Vainamoinen -Talk -Stuff 23:42, 13 August 2015 (UTC)

Brawl with Vekel[edit]

For some reason the intimidate option (Are you going to tell me, or am I going to have to beat it out of you? (Brawl)) appeared when I talked to Vekel. Apparently, it have failed, and we had a brawl, in which he used potions and even a dagger when his health got low. After my victory he just said You've got a lot of nerve. But not a lot of common sense. and there were only options to bribe or persuade him. Meanwhile, Gissur has appeared with the Thalmor who attacked me, regulars didn't intervene. Then, the option to brawl Vekel was back, greyed out. I tried intimidation check on Dirge and it passed, setting the quest to the next stage. -- 09:59, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

The option is listed on Vekel's page including all his dialogue but for some reason isn't put here. Silence is GoldenBreak the Silence 13:08, 1 March 2017 (UTC)