Tes5Mod:Mod File Format/QUST

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QUST records describe Quests. The overall QUST record has a complex structure, with most fields repeating multiple times. The order in which the fields appear provides important information about each invidual field. Fields of particular importance are:

  • INDX fields. Each one marks the start of information about a given quest stage. The subsequent fields all provide information about that specific quest stage.
  • QOBJ fields. Each one marks the start of information about a given quest objective.
  • ALST and ALLS fields: Each one marks the start of information about a given quest alias. Aliases have an ID (e.g., 4), a name (e.g., Location), and a calculated value, e.g., "Winterhold". ALLS fields are used for location aliases, whereas ALST fields are used for reference aliases.

Standard Fields[edit]

These fields are not part of any of the more complex structures described in the subsequent sections.

C SubRecord Name Type/Size Info
+ EDID editorId zstring Editor id
- VMAD script info VMAD There is only VMAD field for the entire QUST record, which contains information about all of the scripts directly and indirectly attached to the quest (including stage-specific script fragments and scripts attached to the quests' aliases)
- FULL Quest Name lstring Full name as displayed in journal (at least for non-miscellaneous quests)
+ DNAM Quest Data struct[12]
0x01 = Start Game Enabled
0x02 Unused
0x04 = Wilderness Encounter (?)
0x08 = Allow repeated stages
0x10 Used but not shown in CK
0x01 = Run Once
0x02 = Exclude from dialogue export
0x04 = Warn on alias fill failure
0x08 Unused
0x10 Used but not shown in CK
uint8 Value from 0 to 100
uint8 Possibly just filler (Observed values are 0, 25, 101, 108, 111, and 204. Only 0 and 204 seen more than once)
int32 Always zero
Quest Type
uint32 Possible Values:
0 = None (Quest does not appear in quest log)
1 = Main Quest
2 = Mages' Guild
3 = Thieves' Guild
4 = Dark Brotherhood
5 = Companion Quests
6 = Miscellaneous (Quest appears in Miscellaneous section of quest log; quest name is hidden and only quest objectives are shown to player)
7 = Daedric Quests
8 = Side Quests
9 = Civil War
10 = DLC01 - Vampire
11 = DLC02 - Dragonborn
- ENAM Event char[4] Corresponds with SMEN short name
* QTGL Unknown formid Text display globals.
+ FLTR Object Window Filter zstring Values like 'Main Quest\', 'Civil War\', 'Civil War\Siege\', 'Faction\ThievesGuild\' and 'Faction\Companions\Radiant\'
* CTDA Quest Dialogue Conditions struct[32] Conditions that apply to the quest as a whole.
+ NEXT Marker empty Always zero bytes in length. Delineates between quest dialogue and quest event conditions when only one set of conditions exists.
* CTDA Quest Event Conditions struct[32] SM event node conditions.
* Quest Stages Quest Stages[] See below.
* Quest Objectives Quest Objectives[] See below.
+ ANAM NextAliasId? int32 Next available alias ID. Acts as an incremental counter. This is used by CK when creating a new alias in ALST/ALLS field.
* Aliases Aliases[] See below.

Quest Stages[edit]

Each of these sections provides information on a specific quest stage. Multiple sections can appear in a single record, and 1 or more log entries can appear within each INDX field. Stage numbers are not guaranteed to be unique within any given quest.

Any script attached to a given quest stage is automatically turned into a script "fragment"; the quest stage fragments are all combined into an automatically-generated quest fragments script file (named "QF_<editorID>_<formID>"). The script fragments are numbered chronologically, meaning that there is no relationship between the fragment numbers and the quest stage numbers. The only place to extract the fragment numbers is from the VMAD field for the overall QUST record, which contains a section storing those numbers.

C SubRecord Name Type/Size Info
* INDX Journal Index struct Journal index of the quest stage and other data
Index int16 Actual journal index of the quest stage
Flags uint8 Flag options:
0x02 - Start Up Stage
0x04 - Shut Down Stage
0x08 - Keep Instance Data From Here On
Unknown int8 Possibly filler. Nothing shown in CK corresponds to values found here. Values range from -110 to 127 and do not appear to be flags.
* Quest log entries Quest Log Entry[] Multiple structures will appear if there are multiple possible quest log entries for the same stage.

Quest Log Entry[edit]

C SubRecord Name Type/Size Info
+ QSDT Flags ubyte Each QSDT field marks the start of a log entry.
QSDT contains quest stage flags:
0x01 - Complete Quest
0x02 - Fail Quest
* CTDA Conditions struct[32] Conditions that apply to this log entry.
- CNAM Journal entry lstring Index in the string file for the text of the journal entry.
- NAM0 Unknown formid Next quest.
- SCHR Old Script SCHR Old scripting field.

Quest Objectives[edit]

Multiple quest objective structures can appear in a single record, and the objective index is not guaranteed to be unique.

C SubRecord Name Type/Size Info
+ QOBJ Index int16 Quest objective index. The following fields all provide information about this quest objective.

By convention, the quest objective index normally corresponds to a quest stage index (i.e., a value in an INDX field), however, the relationship between quest stage index and quest objective index is merely a convention and is not enforced. The only thing that actually controls when an objective appears is the script attached to a quest stage. In some more complex quests, multiple objectives may be assigned as part of a single quest stage or the same quest objective can be assigned by multiple stages.

+ FNAM Flags int32 Only flag option:
0x01 - ORed With Previous

(Note that FNAM also appears in ALST/ALLS section, where it has other possible values.)

+ NNAM node name? lstring Text for an individual quest objective.
* Quest Targets Quest Target[] Quest target information.

Quest Target[edit]

Multiple quest target structures can appear within each quest objective.

C SubRecord Name Type/Size Info
+ QSTA Quest Target struct[8]
Target Alias
int32 Target for this quest objective, provided as an AliasID.
int32 Flag for compass markers ignoring locks. - 0 = will not ignore, 1 = will ignore.
* CTDA Conditions struct[32] Conditions that apply to this QSTA.


Aliases are introduced with an ANAM field (documented in the main quest record, above), after which, multiple ALST and/or ALLS fields may be present. Each ALST/ALLS entry provides information about a given Alias (i.e., a dynamically assigned value) that can appear in this quest. ALLS fields are used for location aliases, whereas ALST fields are used for reference aliases. Some of the fields within an ALST/ALLS section are used to determine the calculated value for the alias. Other fields are used to assign properties to the target of the alias. For example, if the alias is an NPC, the NPC may be assigned factions, spells, or inventory items associated with the alias.

In terms of structure, ALST and ALLS fields are largely interchangeable. The ALID field provides the alias name. Under the ALID field are a wide variety of possible fields, ending with an ALED field. Many fields can appear in either ALST or ALLS sections, whereas others are specific to one section. The multipliers in the 'C' column in the following table only apply relative to a given alias. If a field can only appear a specific alias or fill type, the multiplier only applies within the context of that type.

For reference aliases, a flag value of 0x800 (No Fill Type) results in no fill type being selected in the CK and a fill type of "Forced: NONE" being indicated in the Quest Aliases table. A "Forced: NONE" fill type can also occur for a reference alias when an alias has no fill type, but the flag at 0x800 is set to 0. (Note: There are two anomalous aliases in Dawnguard.esm, DLC1VQ01.SeranaCloaking and DLC1VQ08.DLC1VQ08HarkonAlias which have the flag set, but also include Unique Actor fields in the data; it's unclear how the game handles these two aliases.)

For location aliases, a flag value of 0x800 results in either a "Find Matching Location" selected on the location alias form with "Conditions" being indicated on the Quest Aliases form if there are CTDA fields, or no fill type selected on location alias form with "Forced: NONE" in the Quest Aliases table if there aren't. The same rules apply if the flag is cleared and the alias has no fill type, except that in the CK, the location alias form will have the "Specific Location" option selected.

"Forced: NONE" aliases are normally filled either by scripting or forced-into aliases (ALFI field). It's unclear if there's any difference between the different methods of generating them. It's possible that it's a holdover from earlier versions of the CK.

In addition to the various packages, factions, spells, inventory items, etc. listed below, any aliased object can also have scripts attached to it when it is assigned to the alias. However, those scripts are not listed in any of the fields in the ALST/ALLS section. Rather, the scripts are stored in the VMAD field for the overall QUST record, which contains a section listing all scripts attached to the quest aliases.

C SubRecord Name Type/Size Info
+ ALST AliasID uint32 The AliasID is the numerical value used for this alias. This is the parameter for functions such as LocAliasHasKeyword and GetInCurrentLocAlias.

ALST fields are used for Reference aliases (in the CK, "Ref" is listed in the Type column), whereas ALLS fields are used for Location aliases ("Loc" is listed in the CK's Type column). In the CK, different editor screens are used for the two alias types, thereby controlling which fields can be associated with each type of alias.

ALLS AliasID (Location) uint32
+ ALID AliasName zstring The name of this Alias, for example Location or QuestGiver. This name appears in strings that are dynamically updated based upon the quest details, for example Kill the leader of <Alias=Location>. The calculated value of this alias is then substituted into the string.
+ FNAM Flags uint32 Appears for all alias types. For reference aliases, in some cases (e.g., essential, protected), the flags are options assigned to the quest target for the duration of the quest. In other cases, the flags control how the alias is used during the quest. Known flag options:
Bit Applies To Purpose
0x01 Loc/Ref Reserves Location/Reference
0x02 Loc/Ref Optional
0x04 Ref Quest Object
0x08 Loc/Ref Allow Reuse in Quest
0x10 Ref Allow Dead
0x20 Ref In Loaded Area (flag within the "Find Matching Reference" section, presumably limiting match to items in the loaded area)
0x40 Ref Essential (makes the alias target essential for the duration of the quest)
0x80 Ref Allow Disabled
0x100 Loc/Ref Stores Text
0x200 Loc/Ref Allow Reserved
0x400 Ref Protected
0x800 Ref No Fill Type
0x1000 Ref Allow Destroyed
0x2000 Ref Closest (flag within the "Find Matching Reference" section; only allowed if "In Loaded Area" selected. Presumably limiting match to closest item in the loaded area)
0x4000 Ref Uses Stored Text
0x8000 Ref Initially Disabled
0x10000 Loc Allow Cleared
0x20000 Ref Clears Name When Removed
- ALFI Forced Into Alias uint32 AliasID of another alias to copy this alias into.
The following fields determine the alias' "Fill Type" (to use the CK terminology), i.e., they assign the alias' value. Only one of the following fill-type fields (unindented) can appear in a given alias, along with any associated sub-fields (indented).
- ALCO Alias Created Object formid (Ref) Points to a base record for an item (NPC_, BOOK, MISC, LVLI, ARMO, KEYM, etc). An instance of that object is then created and assigned to this alias.

Specified using "Create Reference to Object" section of CK editor; displayed as "Created" in Fill Type column.

Create At uint32 High bit: 0 = Create At, 1 = Create In
Remainder: AliasID to create object at/in.
Create Level uint32 0 = Easy
1 = Medium
2 = Hard
3 = Very Hard
4 = None
- ALEQ External Alias Reference formid (Loc/Ref) QUST records. Provides the quest where the alias should be copied from; ALEA provides the AliasID in that quest that should be used.

Specified using "External Alias Reference" section of CK editor; display as "Match" in Fill Type Column.

External Alias uint32 AliasID to be used in specified external quest.
- ALFA Reference Alias Location uint32 (Loc) AliasID of a reference alias within this quest.
Keyword formid A single KYWD record.
- ALFA Location Alias Reference uint32 (Ref) AliasID of a location alias within this quest.
Alias Reference Type formid Points to a LCRT record which is used to find the object that should be assigned to this alias. This LCRT is looked up in the LCTN.LCSR field of the quest's assigned location to find a ACHR or REFR record that is then associated with this alias.

Specified using "Location Alias Reference" section of CK editor; displayed as "<Location>'s <Ref Type>" in Fill Type column.

- ALFE From Event char[4] (Loc/Ref) Provides the type of event (e.g. "Script"). Corresponds with SMEN short name. ALFD field provides extra data about the event.

Specified using "Find Matching Location/Reference" section of CK editor and "From Event" checkbox; displayed as "Event" in Fill Type column.

Event Data char[4] Corresponds to "Event Data" dropdown box in CK. Exact meaning of text varies based on event type. See CTDA documentation for more info.
- ALFL Alias Forced Location formid (Loc) A fixed LCTN record that should be assigned to this alias. Also presumably becomes the default location record for this quest (used by any other alias records that need to look up location-specific items).

Specified using "Specific Location" section of CK editor; displayed as "Forced" in Fill Type column (even if "Force into Alias when Filled" is not selected).

- ALFR Alias Forced Reference formid (Ref) Points to an ACHR or REFR record corresponding to the object that should be assigned to this alias.

Specified using "Specific Reference" section of CK editor; displayed as "Forced" in Fill Type column.

- ALNA Near Alias uint32 (Ref) AliasID this one needs to be near to.
Near Type uint32 Always 0: Linked Ref Child
- ALUA Alias Unique Actor formid (Ref) NPC_ record for an NPC assigned to this alias; uses an existing instance (ACHR record) of the NPC instead of creating a new one. Presumably only works for NPCs with a unique ACHR.

Specified using "Unique Actor" section of CK editor; displayed as "UniqueActor" in Fill Type column.

This field is frequently used to identify the quest-giver, but it can also be used to assign an alias for any other NPC with a unique role in the quest.

* CTDA Match Conditions struct[32] (Loc/Ref) Conditions used to Find Matching Reference/Location.

Specified using "Find Matching Reference/Location" section of CK editor and filling in "Match Conditions"; displayed as "Condition" in Fill Type column.

- KSIZ KWDA count uint32 (Ref) Number of KWDA entries (size of KWDA is 4*KSIZ)
Alias Keywords formid[KSIZ] KYWD records. Keywords added to the alias for the duration of the quest.
- COCT CNTO count uint32 (Ref) If present, number of CNTO records. Does not appear if there are no CNTO records and may not appear even when there are.
Items struct[8] (Ref) Inventory-type item list. These items are added to the inventory of the aliased object for the duration of the quest.
Item ID
Item count
- SPOR Spectator Override formid (Ref) Spectator Override Package List (FLST records).
- OCOR Observe Dead Body Override formid (Ref) Observe Dead Body Override Package List (FLST records). (Never used in main game files.)
- GWOR Guard Warn Override formid (Ref) Guard Warn Override Package List (FLST records). (Never used in main game files.)
- ECOR Combat Override formid (Ref) Combat Override Package List (FLST records).
- ALDN Display Name formid (Ref) Points to MESG record, whose value is then dynamically assigned as the displayed name of the Alias object. Used to rename NPCs (e.g., Skyrim:Rigel Strong-Arm), quest rewards (e.g., Blade of Falkreath), or quest targets (e.g., Fine-Cut Void Salts)
* ALSP Alias Spells formid (Ref) SPEL records. Spells added to the alias target for the duration of the quest.
* ALFC Alias Factions formid (Ref) FACT records. Factions added to the alias target for the duration of the quest.
* ALPC Alias Package Data formid (Ref) PACK records. Packages added to the alias target for the duration of the quest.
- VTCK Voice Type formid (Ref) "Additional Valid Voice Types for Export". When non-zero points to NPC_ or FLST records
+ ALED EOF Marker empty Marks the end of any given alias entry.