Online:A Web of Troubles

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Quick Summary: not written

Walkthrough: written by retroambassador, not checked

Quest Stages: not written
Find an explorer's missing research team.
Zone: Vvardenfell
Quest Giver: Lady Clarisse Laurent
Location(s): Bal Fell
Reward: Griskild's Tenderizer
Average Leveled Gold
XP Gain: Standard Experience
"Really, Stibbons? You do manage to complicate the simplest tasks."
Lady Clarisse Laurent and her man-servant Stibbons, along with a number of research assistants on loan from the Mages Guild, have been studying the ruins of Bal Fell. Now, everyone but Lady Laurent has disappeared.

Quick Walkthrough[edit]

  1. Talk to Lady Clarisse Laurent.
  2. Search for the missing mages.

Detailed Walkthrough[edit]

The Start[edit]

Coming upon a camp outside the ruin of Bal Fell You find the famous adventurer Lady Clarisse Laurent. Apparently her man-servant Stibbons and the group of mages she hired from the Mages Guild have vanished. Lady Laurent asks you to head into the ruins to look for Stibbons and the mages and gives you a signal wand to use when you find them.

If this is your first time meeting:
If you have previously met Lady Clarisse Laurent:
"It's about bloody time you Buoyant Armchairs showed up! I sent a request for assistance almost an hour ago and—oh, hello.
You don't look like a Bouncing Armiger to me. Still, my man-servant is missing and I could use the help."
"It's about damn time you Buoyant Armchairs arrived! I requested assistance almost an hour ago and—oh, hello. I was just thinking about you!
You may not be a Bouncing Armiger, but you've never disappointed me before. Perchance you're here to help?"
What seems to be the problem?
"First, my assistants from the Mages Guild disappeared without so much as a by-your-leave. Then my useless man-servant, Stibbons, vanished! Said he was going to solve the mystery but now he's disappeared as well. And it's almost tea time. Intolerable!"
What are you and your assistants doing out here?
"We were exploring the Bal Fell ruins when everyone left me. I expect such behavior from the hired help, but Stibbons? He's usually more dependable than that.
Locate the mages and Stibbons, then use this signal wand so I can join you."
I'll signal you after I find Stibbons and the missing mages.
"I blame the Investigator Vale books I lent to Stibbons. He was never this adventurous before he became enchanted with her admittedly thrilling stories.
But what are you still doing here? I thought you were going to find Stibbons and the mages?"
What's so special about the Bal Fell ruins?
"That's what we're trying to determine. Bal Fell was once a great city, built atop an ancient center of Sheogorath worship. Now only the Daedric ruins remain.
Once we find the treasure, I'll be more famous than that blowhard, Narsis Dren!"
Narsis Dren?
"No one of note. Just a pretentious, arrogant author and adventurer with an over-inflated sense of self-importance. He's an irritating Dark Elf who loves to hear himself talk. And the topic of conversation? The greatness of Narsis Dren.
The s'wit."
You mentioned treasure?
"Treasure, relic … I'm sure there's something important hidden in the ruins. According to local rumors, people disappear around Bal Fell all the time. That's what sparked my interest. Mysterious happenings often extend my fame and fortune."
Disappear? Like Stibbons and the mages?
"Hmm. I suppose there could be a connection.
On the other hand, never attribute to ancient curses what can be explained by greed and laziness, I always say."
Tell me more about the mages.
"Oh, they were just your typical apprentices. Young, eager, hoping to make a name for themselves by working alongside a famed treasure hunter.
The six of them readily broke off promptly at sunset yesterday and abandoned the camp. They abandoned me!"
Why do you think they abandoned you?
"They already had my gold, so why stay to finish the work? Not the studious and well-mannered apprentices I expect from the Mages Guild. Besides, if truth be told, they were incompetent.
I'm surprised they remained with us as long as they did."
Tell me about Stibbons
"My man-servant Stibbons? He's lazy, drinks too much, and requires detailed instructions to accomplish the simplest of tasks. But his fish stew is delicious, I'll grant him that.
I regret letting him read my collection of Investigator Vale mysteries."
What do the Investigator Vale books have to do with all this?
"Have you read them? She's a brilliant detective. I fear Stibbons got the wrong idea and thinks he can find the missing mages, just like Investigator Vale.
When you locate him, I shall express my disapproval for his reckless disregard of his duties."

The Search[edit]

On the southwest edge of the ruins along the shore you will find Mehdbeq who will be rambling about spiders and dancing.

"I don't want to go back. No, no, I can't go back. You can't make me go back!"
Calm down. Are you one of the mages working for Lady Laurent?
"The overbearing Breton? She's working with the spiders, isn't she? She knew!
She knew the spiders would take my friends. She knew they would make them dance. I had to run, you see, I had to! I don't want to dance! I don't know how!"
Spiders took the other mages?
"Spiders, yes! Please, you have to rescue them! The spiders make them dance, but nobody can dance forever.
I'd go back, but I can't. I don't dance, you understand? I won't dance! Why do the spiders want us to dance, anyway? It makes no sense!"
Do you know a man named Stibbons? Have you seen him?
"Stibbons? He's in league with the spiders! Why else don't they force him to dance? He went to join his spider masters, but he dropped his spice pouch just over there. Oh no! Do you think it's full of spiders?
What should I do? What should I do?"
Stay here. I'll examine Stibbons's spice pouch and see if I can pick up his trail.
"Keep away from me! I won't let you turn me over to the spiders! No, no, I'm not going to dance for those … things!"

Mehdbeq points you in the direction of Stibbons. Follow the trail of dropped items (Spice Pouch, Investigator Vale and the Temple of Stendarr and Serving Bowl). After you find the last of the dropped items, you will hear Stibbons nearby.

Stibbons: "I dare say, help! Help!"

He is crouched in front of Dralane Elarven who is sitting against a tree. It becomes clear that Dralane is in a state of extreme distress. If you speak to her before speaking to Stibbons, she'll only say:

"Mustn't … listen. The spiders … have to block out the spiders."

Stibbons explains that after the mages disappeared he entered the ruin to try and find them. Once inside, he claims that he was attacked by a talking spider before passing out and asks you to talk to Dralane.

First meeting:
Met before:
"Merciful Stendarr! That creature was positively terrifying! But at least I found one of my lady's hirelings …."
"Merciful Stendarr! That creature was positively terrifying! I did manage to find one of Lady Laurent's hirelings, though.
But it's good to see you again, my friend. You'll save my lady's expedition, just as you've done in the past."
What creature are you talking about?
"That horrific spider! I was using several of the inquisitive techniques employed by Investigator Vale in her fabulous stories when the largest, most terrifying spider I ever laid eyes upon sprang at me with evil intent.
Even spooked the mage!"
That's one of the mages working for Lady Laurent?
"It is, though she's not making much sense. Perhaps you could talk to her?
Lady Laurent believed the mages absconded with her hard-earned gold. So I followed them to these ruins and—well, I encountered the spider and then everything went dark."
Dark? So the spider attacked you?
"I, um, no. This is embarrassing. It started … talking to me. Then I swooned and passed out. Spiders have that effect on me.
Oh, I must return to Lady Laurent. It's well past her tea time and she's going to be extremely displeased with me."
Don't leave yet. Let me talk to this mage, first.
"Please, do get on with it. I'm afraid Lady Laurent will be dreadfully cross at my tardiness."

Talking to Dralane will reveal that she is also hearing the spiders who want her to dance.

"No. I won't listen. I won't listen! Leave me alone, spiders!"
Are you hearing something?
"The spiders. Those damned spiders. They … talk to me. They want me to dance!
Mustn't … I mustn't dance for them. That would be … bad ….
Why do the spiders want you to dance?
Why do you think? No! Don't think! That's when they get you … they crawl into your mind. Don't let them … argh!
I must go now."
Go? Go where?

Soon your conversation is halted when it gets too much for her and she runs into the ruin to dance with the spiders.

Dralane Elarven: "The spiders … they call to me."
Dralane Elarven: "I will join the dance."

At this pint Stibbons will be unsure of what to do.

"Should we follow her? Oh dear. What would Investigator Vale do in this situation?
I know! I'll just wait here and let you see where she's rushing off to."

Following Dralane, you will find that a dark blue magical ward blocks your way inside.

You can then return to Stibbons and use Lady Laurent's Signal Wand to fire a signal up into the air:

Lady Clarisse Laurent:"Ah, good. You found Stibbons. Probably just got turned around in the ruins again."

Talk to her and explain the current predicament:

"So tell me. What did you discover my man-servant doing when you happened upon him? Did he provide an explanation as to why I'm still waiting for my afternoon tea?"
Stibbons says a terrifying spider talked to him and he fainted.
"A talking spider? Ridiculous! Still, Stibbons has always been dreadfully afraid of the eight-legged pests. No excuse for shirking his responsibilities, though.
And the mages? Did you stumble upon them while you tracked down my man-servant?"
I found two of them. One ran into the ruins ranting about spiders. I couldn't follow her, though.
"Why not? Don't tell me you're afraid of a few spiders and a dusty old ruin?"
There was a magical barrier. I couldn't pass through it.
"Interesting. Spiders and a barrier! Some sort of spider magic? Regardless, such occurrences suggest there's more to these ruins than I presumed. A great treasure, perhaps?
But why could the mage pass through the barrier and not you?"
Maybe it had something to do with the spiders that were talking to her.
"She heard talking spiders? Incredible! I can brew a tea to keep Stibbons from fainting. Then he can listen to the spiders and lead us through the barrier. But we need to test its potency. Bring me a small spider from the ruins and meet us at my camp."
I'll get a small spider and meet you at camp.

Lady Laurent surmises that Stibbons wasn't affected the way the mages were because he fainted before the spider could talk to him long enough. She then asks you to find one of the Mind Spiders and bring it back to her camp. Meanwhile, she will brew a special tea to prevent him from fainting, as she subjects her manservant to the spiders so that the two of you can follow him into the ruin.

As you leave, you can overhear Stibbons apologizing to Lady Laurent.

Stibbons: "I beg m'lady's pardon. I really thought I could solve the case of the missing mages."
Lady Clarisse Laurent: "Whatever gave you that idea? You can barely manage not to lose my collection of combs and brushes every time you pack them!"
Stibbons: "But … but … Investigator Vale …. I mean, would m'lady like her tea now?"
Lady Clarisse Laurent: "And some of those sweet biscuits I like. Let's return to camp so you can start cooking!"
Stibbons: "Of course, m'lady. Right away."
Lady Clarisse Laurent: "And Stibbons, I want my book back. I must find out what happens when Investigator Vale meets the innkeeper's daughter in the wine cellar. I'm sure it will be scandalous!"

The Spider[edit]

To find a Mind Spider, you can enter the eastern part of the ruins and grab one and return to camp. Once back at Lady Laurent's camp, you need not talk with the two guys, just release the spider in front of Stibbons (If yiu choose to talk to them first, they'll also urge you to do so).

Stibbons: "Ahh! A spider!"
Stibbons: "I'm … still conscious?"
Lady Clarisse Laurent: "My tea worked! Head for the ruins and find the spider that talked to you, Stibbons!"
Stibbons: "As you command, m'lady."

Laurent's tea will have been successful and Stibbons will then run towards the ruins and Lady Laurent will follow. You can then follow the pair of them to go to the ruins. As you get closer to the ruins, the pair will stop as a Mind Control Spider shows up on your way and Stibbons hears something.

Stibbons: "Another spider! And it's talking to me!"
<A blue spiral of light surrounds his head as he following the voice.>
Lady Clarisse Laurent: "Follow my man-servant!"
<Both will run into Bal Fell.>

Apparently Stibbons is caught in the spider's trap and this time you and Lady Laurent can follow him into Bal Fel. At this point you'll hear a voice from deeper within the ruins:

Mad Griskild: "Ah, you brought friends to the dance! Come in, come in! There's room for you all!"

The Ritual[edit]

Once inside Bal Fell, Lady Laurent will run up to a worktable covered with notes.

Lady Clarisse Laurent: "Well, what do we have here?"

Talk to her to see what she found.

"Now this is intriguing! Someone set up a little workshop in these ruins."
A workshop? What kind of a workshop?
"Alchemy, from the looks of it, though I see a few components related to Daedric magic.
Dead spiders, vials, various alchemical components … this must be how these mind spiders were created. They certainly don't appear to be natural creatures."
Do you notice anything else?
"The notes in this journal … they refer to different kinds of spiders. Mind spiders, we already know about them. It also lists "pack spiders," "light spiders," and "exploding spiders." How exciting!
Someone is making spiders of nefarious purpose!"
What does all this have to do with Stibbons and the missing mages?
"The journal indicates that victims controlled by the mind spiders are needed for some sort of Daedric ritual. We need to find whoever is performing this ritual and you need to make them stop. Then I can lead Stibbons and the others to safety."
Sounds like a plan.

It turns out what Lady Laurent finds is some mage's notes about the creation of the spiders and mentions of ritual. She will then head further into the ruin to rescue her manservant.

Lady Laurent: "Follow me, brave assistant!"

Soon you'll come across Stibbons and the two remaining mages, Dralane Elarven and Mehdbeq dancing to the horrible piping of a trio of Infernal Performers as Mad Griskild watches.

Lady Clarisse Laurent: "I was right! It is some kind of Daedric ritual, led by a hulking Nord priest!"
Lady Clarisse Laurent: "Brave assistant, do something!"

It is up to you and Lady Laurent to stop such shenanigans and a little further you will find the culprit.

Mad Griskild: "Ahaha! Come to join our dance?"
Mad Griskild: "Dance! Shake your nethers for the Mad God!"

Defeat him to stop the madness:

Mad Griskild: "No! The dance must not be interrupted!"
"Stibbons! You look ridiculous! Stop dancing this instant"

While you fight Griskild, Laurent will free the dancers and escape the ruins.

Lady Clarisse Laurent: "Stibbons! You look ridiculous! Stop dancing this instant!"
Stibbons: "Why do my feet hurt? Oh, never mind. Run!"

Once you have slain the mage, you can follow them outside and return to the camp.

Lady Clarisse Laurent: "Naturally, we will be reducing your compensation accordingly!"

The Finale[edit]

Meet the group back at camp. Lady Laurent will be disappointed that she didn't find any treasure but says she found a few interesting scrolls related to the daedric spider magic the priest was using. She explains she's planning to send a few to a scribe who lives near White Ridge Barrow on Solstheim.

"As much as a good run from a Daedric ruin really gets the blood pumping, I wish we had been more successful. We lost a few of the apprentices and I never did locate any relics or treasures."
And we stopped a Daedric priest and rescued Stibbons
"I suppose. I still can't figure out how the priest was able to control their minds using spiders. It's a bafflement.
Maybe one of these scrolls I seized on the way out will shed some light on this final mystery."
Scrolls from a Daedric ruin? Sounds dangerous.
"No need to worry. Stibbons will examine the scrolls. He's ever more durable than he appears.
I know a scribe who lives near White Ridge Barrow in Skyrim. His fascination with spiders borders on obsession, but I'm sure he'll appreciate the scrolls."
You really want Stibbons to examine a Daedric Scroll?
"I appreciate your help and your concern, but what possible harm could glancing at a few dusty scrolls cause? Here, for your trouble. I seem to have some extra gold after adjusting my staff's compensation.
Oh, Stibbons, since you like to read …."

After rewarding you for your help, Lady Laurent will have Stibbons read one of the scrolls to test them, which results in him being encased in a cocoon of webs, much to Lady Laurent’s displeasure.

Lady Clarisse Laurent: "Stibbons, I have something I'd like you to read."
Stibbons: "What's this? The newest Investigator Vale mystery?"
<Lady Laurent hands over the scroll.>
Lady Clarisse Laurent: "Just read it out loud and tell me what it says."
Stibbons: "A read-aloud? What fun!"
Lady Clarisse Laurent: "Just enunciate, Stibbons. And speak loudly."
Lady Clarisse Laurent: "Any time now, Stibbons."
Stibbons: "This isn't the newest Investigator Vale mystery …."
Lady Clarisse Laurent: "Read the scroll, Stibbons!"
<Muttering as he reads through.>
Stibbons: "Something, something … Mad God flows and ebbs. Something, something … call forth the tangled webs …. Oh no, that doesn't sound good …."
<There is a popping noise and Stibbons becomes cocooned in webs.>
Lady Clarisse Laurent: "Really, Stibbons? You do manage to complicate the simplest tasks."

Speaking with her afterwards, she'll assure you that she'll find a way to fix the problem.

"Stibbons has a way of dropping a fetcherfly into the honey. It's a gift, I suppose. Don't worry. I'll figure out how to extract him from those webs … after I enjoy another cup of tea.
Safe travels, my friend."

You could also chat with the two apprentices before and after turning in the quest to see their interesting view of this adventure and their boss.


  • Lady Laurent's decision to send some of the scrolls to a scribe near White Ridge Barrow explains the origins of the spider scrolls found there in the 4th Era.
  • While Lady Laurent says she hired six Mages Guild assistants, only two are seen during the quest.
  • Mehdbeq won't exist near the ruins before starting the quest.
  • Stibbons' dropped items won't exist in the ruins before starting the quest or reaching the related objective.
    • The icon for the spice pouch in the quest items depicts a pouch of gold rather than spices.
    • Investigator Vale and the Temple of Stendarr cannot be read once it's in your quest items.
  • The Mind Spiders won't exist in the ruins before starting the quest or reaching the related objective.
  • Mad Griskild and the Mind Control Spider won't appear within the ruins before reaching the related quest.


  • Despite Lady Laurent giving you a wand to summon her, your character doesn't use it in the animation, instead shooting a luminous bolt straight from their hand. ?

Quest Stages[edit]

A Web of Troubles
Finishes Quest Journal Entry
Lady Laurent asked me to see if I could locate her missing research assistants. While I search the vicinity of the ruins, she also asked me to keep an eye out for her man-servant, Stibbons
Objective: Find the Missing Mages
I found one of Lady Laurent's missing assistants. He rambled on about spiders and dancing. He said that Lady Laurent's man-servant, Stibbons, dropped a pouch nearby. Perhaps that's the start of a trail I can follow.
Objective: Find the Start of Stibbons's Trail
Stibbons must have dropped items as he fled. If I follow the trail of items, I should find Stibbons.
Objective: Find the Next Dropped Item
Objective: Find the Last Dropped Item
I found Stibbons in the ruins of Bal Fell. I should talk to him and see if he's all right.
Objective: Talk to Stibbons
Another of the mages hired by Lady Laurent is with Stibbons. I should talk to this mage and try to learn more about what's happening at these ruins.
Objective: Talk to Dralase Elarven
The mage ranted about spiders and ran off. I should follow her and see where she's going.
Objective: Follow Dralane Elarven
The mage entered the ruins, but there appears to be a magical barrier that I can't pass through. I should return to Stibbons and use the signal wand to summon Lady Laurent.
Objective: Signal Lady Laurent
Lady Laurent arrived in response to my use of the signal wand. I should talk to her and let her know what I've discovered so far.
Objective: Talk to Lady Laurent
Lady Laurent will brew a potent tea so that Stibbons can follow the spider's voices and open the way into the ruins. Meanwhile, she asked me to capture a tiny spider we can use to test if her tea is potent enough to keep him from fainting.
Objective: Capture a Mind Spider
I captured one of the strange spiders from the ruins. I should return to Lady Laurent's camp so we can test the potency of her tea.
Objective: Return to Lady Laurent's Camp
The captured spider is in my backpack. I should release it to see if Stibbons faints or of Lady Laurent's tea is potent enough for him to retain his senses.
Objective: Release Spider at Camp
We need to follow Stibbons to the ruins and hope the tea is strong enough to keep him awake long enough for us to get through the barrier.
Objective: Follow Stibbons
Stibbons heard the spiders and the tea prevented him from fainting. When he passed through the barrier, the path was opened and Lady Laurent followed him inside. I should enter the ruins to help them.
Objective: Enter Bal Fell
Lady Laurent appears to have found something. I should talk to her to learn more.
Objective: Talk to Lady Laurent
Lady Laurent wants me to interrupt the ritual and make Stibbons and the others stop dancing. I assume that will involve dealing with the Daedric priest.
Objective: Stop the Ritual
I stopped the ritual and broke the spell that was making Stibbons and the others dance. Now I need to return to Lady Laurent's camp.
Objective: Return to Lady Laurent's Camp
I made it back to the camp. I should talk to Lady Laurent and make sure everyone is all right.
Objective: Talk to Lady Laurent
Finishes quest☑ I saved Lady Laurent's apprentices and man-servant from the clutches of a Daedric priest. She found some scrolls in the ruins, however, and wants Stibbons to read them. I don't know if that's wise, but I should talk to her and collect my reward.
Objective: Talk to Lady Laurent
* Any text displayed in angle brackets (e.g., <Alias=LocationHold>) is dynamically set by the game and will be filled in with the appropriate word(s) when seen in game.
  • Not all Journal Entries may appear in your journal; which entries appear and which entries do not depends on the manner in which the quest is done.
  • Stages are not always in order of progress. This is usually the case with quests that have multiple possible outcomes or quests where certain tasks may be done in any order. Some stages may therefore repeat objectives seen in other stages.
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