Dawnguard

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Choose your side!
Quest Giver: Serana
Location(s): Castle Volkihar
Prerequisite Quest: Awakening
Next Quest: The Bloodstone Chalice or A New Order
Reward: Vampire Lord form (if the gift is accepted)
ID: DLC1VQ02
 
Home sweet home

Quick Walkthrough[edit]

  1. Escort Serana to Castle Volkihar.
  2. Speak to Lord Harkon.
  3. Either join Volkihar or remain loyal to the Dawnguard.

Detailed Walkthrough[edit]

"Behold the power I offer!"

Once you've found Serana at the end of Awakening, she asks you to take her to her father at Castle Volkihar. This location is in the northwest corner of the map. You will be able to see it from a great distance away. The easiest way to get there is to take the boat at Icewater Jetty, which is reachable on foot, by fast travel, or by hiring a ferryman to take you there. Activate the boat and you will arrive at Castle Volkihar.

Bone hawks circle overhead and a stone bridge lined with gargoyles is in front of you. Beyond the Castle looms. About halfway across the bridge, Serana will initiate conversation: she wants you to keep quiet and let her do the talking.

The Watchman will open the gate when he sees his lady. Open the door and step into the castle where Serana's father is waiting. A vampire named Vingalmo will confront you; but he backs off when he sees Serana and goes to announce her to the group gathered in the main hall.

Descend into the hall and watch the reunion between Serana and Lord Harkon. After that, Harkon will initiate conversation with you. He will tell you there is only one thing he can give you to thank you: his blood. You now have a choice to make. You can stick with the Dawnguard and you will be allowed to leave the castle in peace for your service, or you can join the Volkihar vampire clan and take on the mantle of a Vampire Lord.



=[edit]

"I offer you my blood. Take it, and you will walk as a lion among sheep. Men will tremble at your approach, and you will never fear death again."


How long were you in there? "Good question. Hard to say. I... I can't really tell. I feel like it was a long time. Who is Skyrim's High King?"

  • Ulfric Stormcloak is the true High King. "I've... never heard of him. Is he well supported?"
  • That's actually a matter for debate. "Oh, wonderful. A war of succession. Good to know the world didn't get boring while I was gone. Who are the contenders?"
  • Elisif of Solitude will be High Queen. "I don't know that name. You say she's Jarl of Solitude? Who supports her?"

The Empire supports Elisif, but there are many in Skyrim loyal to Ulfric. "Empire? What... what empire?"

The... Empire. From Cyrodiil. "Cyrodiil is the seat of an empire? I must have been gone longer than I thought. Definitely longer than we planned. Please, let's hurry. I need to get home so I can figure out what's happened.


Why were you locked away? "I'd... rather not get into that with you. If that's all right. I'm sorry, it's not that... it's just that I don't know who I can trust just yet. Let's get to my home, and I'll have a better sense of where we all stand."


Tell me about your home. "It's on an island near Solitude. Hopefully we can find a boat to take us there. It's my family home. Not the most welcoming place, but depending on who's around, I'll be safe there."

  • Why wouldn't you be safe there? "Let's just say that my mother and father had a bit of a falling out. Don't worry, I'm not in any danger or anything like that. It'll just be more unpleasant to run into my father."
  • Someone you don't want to see? "My father and I don't really get along. Ugh, saying it out loud makes it sound so... common. "Little girl who doesn't get along with her father." Read that story a hundred times."

Is that an Elder Scroll? "Yes, it is, and it's mine. "

  • Is it fragile? Do we need to be careful with it? "Ha. Nothing can destroy an Elder Scroll. Worry more about protecting your hide, and let me worry about my things."
  • Why do you have an Elder Scroll? "It's... complicated. I can't really talk about it. I'm sorry."


"I wasn't sure you'd come back for me. I'm still looking for a guide to get me home. What do you say?"

  • That's why I'm here. Let's go. "I'm right behind you."
  • Another time, maybe. "I'll be here if you change your mind."


"Look out! Gargoyles!" Any idea how to get out of here? "Your guess is as good as mine. This place looks pretty different from when I was locked away."

  • "So I'm thinking that wasn't the right way."
  • "All right, so obviously not this way, either."

"Well, we're definitely not going to find our way out from here. Do you... know what you're doing?" "This feels like the right way. I was starting to worry."


"Ah, it's so good to breathe again!"

  • "Even in this weather, it's better than the cave." (cloudy, fog, overcast or storm)
  • "This weather is incredible." (anything else)


"That's it, out there to the north. We used to keep a boat around here to get there and back." "Umm... this is the part where we usually get in the boat. You with me?"


This is your home? "This is it. Home sweet... castle."

  • Why didn't you tell me it was so huge? "I didn't want you to think I was one of those... you know, the women who just sit in their castle all day? I don't know. Coming from a place like this, well... it's not really me. I hope you can believe that."
  • It's impressive. "It's something all right."


"Hey, so... before we go in there..."

  • What is it? "I wanted to thank you for getting me this far. But after we get in there, I'm going to go my own way for a while."
  • "I think..."
  • "It's not about you! You've been so great in getting me back here."
  • "I know your friends would probably want to kill everything in here. I'm hoping you can show some more control than that. Once we're inside, just keep quiet for a bit. Let me take the lead." (if player is not vampire)
  • "I just need to be alone. For a while. There's a lot of feelings wrapped up in this old place, and I don't think you're quite ready for them. So let me take the lead in there." (if player is a vampire)
  • Are you all right? "I think so. And thanks for asking."
  • What is it now? "Fine, don't worry about it. When we get in, you won't have to babysit about me any more."

"I don't like the feel of this place. I'll wait for you back by the entrance."




This location is in the northwest corner of the map. The fastest way to reach the castle is to take the boat at Icewater Jetty, which is reachable on foot or fast traveling to Northwatch Keep and walking the remaining distance to the boat. It's also possible to hire a ferryman, but when asking to be taken to the island, they all reply with: "The one with the ruined castle? Don't you know that place is cursed? Even seasoned sailors steer far around that place. I'll take you as far as I can, but I'm not hanging around and it's gonna cost you extra." and drop you off at the jetty. They part with a few cautionary words: "They say anyone who steps foot on that island will meet an early death... hope you know what you're doing."

Once you reach the jetty, activate the boat and you will arrive at a small dock with Castle Volkihar looming in the background. Bone hawks circle overhead and a stone bridge lined with gargoyles leads to the main gate. About halfway across the bridge, Serana will initiate conversation. This can vary depending upon if you are a vampire or not:

Condition Serana's Dialogue
You are a vampire "Hey, so... before we go in there... I just need to be alone. For a while. There's a lot of feelings wrapped up in this old place, and I don't think you're quite ready for them. So let me take the lead in there."
You are not a vampire "Hey, so... before we go in there... I know your friends would probably want to kill everything in here. I'm hoping you can show some more control than that. Once we're inside, just keep quiet for a bit. Let me take the lead."

As you approach the gate, the Watchman will initially berate you, saying: "Begone! You're not welcome here!" Then, upon seeing Serana with, he'll be shocked and say, "Lady Serana's back! Open the gate!" and lead you both into the castle. Once you open the door and step into Volkihar Keep you are confronted by a vampire named Vingalmo. He yells: "How dare you trespass here!" but upon seeing Serana will joyfully exclaim: "Wait... Serana? Is that truly you? I cannot believe my eyes! My lord! Everyone! Serana has returned!"

Serana will walk over to the balcony overlooking the main hall as Harkon welcomes his daughter home:

Harkon: "My long-lost daughter returns at last. I trust you have my Elder Scroll?"
Serana: "After all these years, that's the first thing you ask me? Yes, I have the scroll."
Harkon: "Of course I'm delighted to see you, my daughter. Must I really say the words aloud? Ah, if only your traitor mother were here, I would let her watch this reunion before putting her head on a spike. Now tell me, who is this stranger you have brought into our hall?"
Serana: "This is my savior, the one who freed me."
Harkon: "For my daughter's safe return, you have my gratitude. Tell me, what is your name?"
"My long-lost daughter returns at last. I trust you have my Elder Scroll?"

At this point you can either give him your name or ask him to reveal his first. Either choice leads to the same follow up: "I am Harkon, lord of this court. By now, my daughter will have told you what we are."

Three choices are presented:

  • You're vampires: "Not just vampires. We are among the oldest and most powerful vampires in Skyrim."
  • You're a reclusive cannibal cult: "Not quite, though I can see how an outsider might arrive at that conclusion. No, we are vampires, among the oldest and most powerful in Skyrim."
  • I don't really care what you are: "Perhaps you should. I count some of the oldest and most powerful vampires in Skyrim among the members of my court."
"I offer you my blood. Take it, and you will walk as a lion among sheep. Men will tremble at your approach, and you will never fear death again."

He will expand on either of the above by mentioning: "For centuries we lived here, far from the cares of the world. All that ended when my wife betrayed me and stole away that which I valued most." Should you ignore him and walk away mid conversation, he becomes irritated and remarks: "You dare walk away from me? In my own hall, before my own court, you dare insult me?" or "We have not finished speaking yet. Come back at once."

The next set of questions relate to a potential reward, which results in Lord Harkon offering to bestow the power of a Vampire Lord unto you:

  • What happens now?: "You have done me a great service, and now you must be rewarded. There is but one gift I can give that is equal in value to the Elder Scroll and my daughter. I offer you my blood. Take it, and you will walk as a lion among sheep. Men will tremble at your approach, and you will never fear death again."
  • Do I get a reward for finding your daughter?: "I was about to suggest that very thing. Yes, you most certainly deserve a reward. There is but one gift I can give that is equal in value to the Elder Scroll and my daughter. I offer you my blood. Take it, and you will walk as a lion among sheep. Men will tremble at your approach, and you will never fear death again."

The last set of questions are dependent upon if you are already a Vampire, Werewolf or neither. Upon choosing the last option, Harkon demonstrates his immense power by transforming into a Vampire Lord himself:

Your Dialogue Harkon's Reply Condition
I'm already a vampire. What more can you offer me? "You contracted a disease, perhaps, but you are no true vampire. Accept my gift and I promise that you will learn the difference. Refuse me, and I will banish you from this castle. I will spare your life this once, but after that, you are prey." You are a Vampire
I'm a werewolf. What will happen if I accept your gift? "Yes, I can smell it on you. The power of my blood will purge that filth and make you whole again." You are a Werewolf
And if I refuse your gift? "Then you will be prey, like all mortals. I will spare your life this once, but you will be banished from this hall. Perhaps you still need convincing? Behold the power! This is the power that I offer! Now, make your choice!" Default choice

As Harkon stands in front of you in his Vampire Lord form, you are forced to either refuse or accept his offer:

"I will accept your gift and become a vampire." "I don't want to become a vampire. I refuse."
By accepting Harkon's offer, he urges you to stand still as he lunges forward and bites your neck, causing your vision to fade out. You awaken in the castle's catherdral, where Harkon stands ready to teach you how to use your newly acquired powers. By refusing his offer Harkon replies: "So be it!" and casts a spell upon you, causing your vision to fade out. This results in banishment from the castle and you are transported to the rocky coast just outside the castle with no other option but to report back to Isran.

=[edit]

SR-qico-Dawnguard Vampires.png

Choosing Vampire Lord[edit]

If you choose to become a Vampire Lord, Harkon will bite you as everything fades out. When you wake up, you and Harkon will be in the Volkihar Cathedral. Harkon will begin teaching you how to use your Vampire Lord powers, which include raising dead and draining life, as well as a claw attack. He also explains a few things, such as his history and that of his family, if you ask him about them. If you are already a vampire, he will say you just contracted a disease and explain that what he offers you is true vampirism. Alternatively, if you happen to be a werewolf at the time, he will state that he can smell it on you, and can purge you of its filth. Once you are done getting acquainted with your new powers, you will be given a quest to fill The Bloodstone Chalice.


Power of the Blood[edit]

"The true power of the ancient blood is found in the form of the Vampire Lord. Assume the mantle of the Vampire Lord, and we will continue."

If you accept Harkon's offer, you awaken in the castle's catherdral where Harkon stands before an altar and remarks: "Awake at last, good. The power is growing within you, and now you must learn to wield it.".

At this point, three replies are presented. The first is option leads into a short training session with Harkon, who teaches you how to you the power of the Vampire Lord:

I'm ready to learn about my new powers.
"With my guidance you will become a deadly instrument, striking terror in the hearts of mortals wherever you tread. Now, listen to my words and do as I instruct. The true power of the ancient blood is found in the form of the Vampire Lord. Assume the mantle of the Vampire Lord, and we will continue."

Once you transform into Vampire Lord, Harkon follows with:

"In this form, you can drain the life from your foes with your right hand. With your left hand, you can wield the power of blood magic to raise the dead. You can also call upon the powers of night to turn into a swarm of bats and reappear some distance away. Should you run out of magicka, you can descend to the ground and fight as the beasts do. Do so now and we will continue."

As you land on the ground, he goes on:

"Good. You are weaker while on the ground, because you cannot access the blood magic. However, the night powers are still yours to command, and your claws are still formidable weapons. Over time, your powers will grow in strength and you will find new ways to use your gifts."

Next you are prompted to view the perk tree. After exiting, Harkon continues:

"There is much to learn, but if you master the powers of the Vampire Lord, few enemies will be able to stand against you."

Finally, once you select the list of powers from the favorites menu, Harkon ends with:

"There is one last thing you must know. Slaying mortal men with your life drain grants you new night powers and blood magic. I keep a stable of thralls in the castle should you need to feed like the baser vampires to stave off the sun. That is all I have to teach you. If you wish to be reminded of these lessons, you need only ask. I have a task that will test your new powers, but first, do you have any questions?"

At this stage, three more dialogue options are presented that allow you to gain additional information about your newly found powers. Choosing first option end the conversation.

  • I'm ready to carry out this task: "Good. Go and speak to Garan Marethi. Tell him it is time. He will understand."
  • Tell me again about being a Vampire Lord: "When you first transform into a Vampire Lord, you will hover in the air. While you do, you will command the powers of Blood and Night. Descend to the ground, and you can attack with your claws and feed upon your prey to regain your strength. With experience, your powers will grow and you will discover new ways to use them."
  • What must I know about being a vampire?: "With each passing day that you do not feed, that weakness will become more deadly, but your powers will also become stronger. Feed upon those who are sleeping, and your vulnerability to sunlight will diminish along with your powers."

The second and third of the original three choices offer additional insight into Harkon's background and the power he has granted you:

What happened? How did I get here?
"My blood is potent. At first, the body is overwhelmed by it. After my bite, you collapsed and fell into a slumber. Now your flesh has acclimated to the new blood that courses through your veins. I assure you, no harm was done. In truth, your strength surprises me. Not all mortals can withstand my embrace."
What is this place?
A shrine to Molag Bal, the mighty Daedra Prince who is father to all our kind. Our power is a blessing from him. It is he who first bestowed the gift of the ancient blood upon me."
You made a pact with Molag Bal?:
"In an age long forgotten to history, I ruled as a mighty king. My domain was vast, my riches endless and my power infinite. And yet, as my mortal life neared an end, I faced a seemingly invincible enemy -- my own mortality. I pledged myself to Molag Bal, and in his name I sacrificed a thousand innocents. In reward, he gave everlasting life to myself, my wife and my daughter. And so I have defeated mortality itself."
SR-qico-Dawnguard Dawnguard.png

Choosing Dawnguard[edit]

A skirmish between the Dawnguard and the vampires

If you decide to stick with the Dawnguard and refuse his offer, Lord Harkon will cast a spell that will teleport you outside the Castle gate. He also "advises" you to never return. With the castle locked behind you, your only remaining option is to return to Fort Dawnguard and report this new discovery to the Dawnguard. Once you arrive, you will find the fortress under attack by a band of vampires. After defeating the vampire attackers, you should speak to Isran and tell him what you discovered. Following this report, he will give you the duty of seeking out some of his old allies to create A New Order. Following the Dawnguard side of the questline will cause Fort Dawnguard to be rebuilt and refurnished. You will also have access to Crossbow upgrades and Armored Trolls.


Notes[edit]

  • While in the castle during this quest, you can't draw your weapon, cast spells, shout or do anything aggressive. However, you are free to take anything in the keep without it being identified as thievery, although many of the doors are locked (and can't be picked).
  • You can still become a Vampire Lord if you choose to side with the Dawnguard, though it will not be possible until later in Dawnguard's main questline.
  • If you exit the conversation when Lord Harkon tells you to make your choice, and take too long to give an answer, he will banish you from the castle as if you chose to refuse his gift.
  • If you are a werewolf, siding with Lord Harkon will cure your lycanthropy. However, you can become a werewolf again by asking Aela (which will cure your vampirism), and any lycanthropy perks which you had will be restored. You can restore your lycanthropy this way only once.
  • If you try to bring Serana to Fort Dawnguard, she will refuse to go near it, having "a bad feeling about this place". Isran will tell you to do as she asked in order to discover what it is all about, even if you tell him she's a vampire.

Bugs[edit]

  • Serana may not enter the castle with you. The door will lock (requires key) behind you, and trying to talk to Harkon will display the "this person is busy" message. ?
    • Pc22.png Target Serana with the console when outside, use moveto player command once inside, then resetai.
  • After accepting Harkon's gift and transforming into a Vampire Lord, you may be permanently frozen, unable to move at all.
  • After your vampire induction, the other vampires in the castle will treat you as a mortal. This seems to happen because exiting the Vampire Lord form reverts the race of the player to what he was before being transformed, and you cannot revert back without using Revert Form. Changing in to a Vampire Lord for the first time, do not stand too close to Harkon, as the transformation causes damage to everyone nearby, which may make castle vampires hostile.
    • If you are unable to start the quest after you have turned into a vampire and you try talking to Garan Marethi, all he tells you is to go back to Lord Harkon and get changed back to a vampire, and you are unable to start the conversation with him. To fix this on PC, do the following: open the console, and type player.setrace <race>racevampire, replacing <race> with the name of your race (e.g., player.setrace darkelfracevampire if you are a Dark Elf).
  • If you refuse Harkon's gift and are returned to the boat landing, the quest A New Order may fail to start.
    • Pc22.png You can fix this by entering either setstage DLC1HunterBaseIntro 20 or setstage DLC1HunterBaseIntro 30, followed by setobjectivedisplayed DLC1HunterBaseIntro 20 1 or 30 1 into the console.
  • If you have already discovered Castle Volkihar, then after speaking to Serana for the first time when she is released from the sarcophagus she will automatically initiate dialogue with you that normally occurs shortly after arriving at Castle Volkihar. This may prevent you from entering the castle and continuing the quest.
    • Pc22.png Use the command tcl to move through the wooden gate and enter the castle to continue the quest.
    • You can circumvent this issue by clipping through the wall on the right while standing on the railing. This gets you past the gate and able to access the door.
  • Harkon may equip the Banish spell, but just stand and stare at you if you refuse to become a vampire.
  • After speaking with Harkon about accepting his gift, he may not transform. If you approach him and talk to him again, he will continue to repeat the same introduction dialogue. ?
  • After speaking with Harkon about accepting his gift, he may not transform, instead simply standing there. If you approach him and talk to him again, he will make noises ("Yeargh") and still not transform.
    • Pc22.png Start a new game WITHOUT Dawnguard installed (don't enable Dawnguard for NMM users), Save, Exit the game, Install Dawnguard (enable Dawnguard for NMM users), Start the savegame previously made without Dawnguard and the bug will not appear in that Save. This procedure not allow to remove the bug from other savegames made with Dawnguard Installed (Enabled). (Tested with Nexus Mod Manager for an easy uninstallation/installation of Dawnguard)
    • Reload to a save after entering DimHollow Crypt, wait 30 days, then proceed with the quest. this resets all dungeons, characters, etc... this also fixes the bug where you die after being bitten by Harkon.
  • If you choose to accept Harkon's gift, you may die when he bites you and be forced to go back to your last save.
    • Pc22.png Before talking to Harkon, use the console commands setstage DLC1VQ02 40 followed by setstage DLC1VQ02 180. Talk to him and he will say that you have forsaken his gift, but will offer it to you again. Simply accept it and you will gain the Vampire Lord power without dying from his bite.
    • You can also try standing behind one of the tables in the room before Lord Harkon addresses you. From there, he won't be able to lunge at you so you won't die, but you'll receive his gift anyway.
  • When leaving the castle after becoming a Vampire Lord, you may be attacked by the entire castle. ?
    • Pc22.pngThis bug may be due to using mods that alter followers behavior. If you can't enter the castle the first time with Serana you can use the console to move in, open the console and type player.moveto 020033b3, prid 02002B74, moveto player and move back to the door. That way the quest remains untouched.
    • You can also change to your human form, go into sneak mode, and type tcl in the console to reach the door to Skyrim undetected. After you exit the castle you may enter again as normal.
    • Pc22.pngWrite in the console tdetect and they won't attack you but remember when you go out the castle just turn it off by writing tdetect again in the console.
  • If you have a follower along, after you are banished from Castle Volkihar, they may be stuck between the portcullis and front door of the castle when you wake up outside. If you tell them to wait before going in, they may be gone after you're banished. ?
    • In the latter case, it may be that the follower is actually inside the castle, rather than simply gone.[verification needed — see talk page]

Quest Stages[edit]

Sandbox3 (DLC1VQ02)
Stage/
Index
Finishes Quest Journal Entry
5 While exploring Dimhollow Crypt, I freed a young woman from an ancient sarcophagus. She asked me to guide her home, to a castle off the northern coast of Skyrim.
Objective 10: Lead Serana to her home
10
Objective 20: Speak to Harkon
20 I learned that the mysterious woman I freed from Dimhollow Crypt is named Serana. Her father Harkon is a powerful vampire lord, and in gratitude for bringing his daughter home, he offered me the gift of his blood. Now I must choose whether to accept the gift.
25 When I brought Serana back home after freeing her from Dimhollow Crypt, her father, a powerful vampire lord, offered me the gift of his blood. I refused the gift, and was banished. Now I must return to Vigilant Tolan and tell him what happened.
30 When I brought Serana back home after freeing her from Dimhollow Crypt, her father, a powerful vampire lord, offered me the gift of his blood. I refused the gift, and was banished. Now I should return to Isran and tell him what happened.
40 When I brought Serana back home after freeing her from Dimhollow Crypt, her father, a powerful vampire lord, offered me the gift of his blood. I accepted the gift and joined his court.
180 ☑Finishes quest When I brought Serana back home after freeing her from Dimhollow Crypt, her father, a powerful vampire lord, offered me the gift of his blood. I accepted the gift and joined his court.
190 ☑Finishes quest When I brought Serana back home after freeing her from Dimhollow Crypt, her father, a powerful vampire lord, offered me the gift of his blood. I refused the gift, and was banished. I returned to Isran and told him what happened.
200 ☑Finishes quest
Unknown
Objective 30: Return to Isran
  • The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 0, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15.
Prev: Awakening Next: A New Order or
The Bloodstone Chalice