Elder Scrolls Online continues to introduce new downloadable content regularly. If you have been waiting for the Dark Brotherhood guild and quest line, it is finally here! You can fulfill all of your murder needs as you play through it, as well as pick up some unique skills.
As with all of ESO’s downloadable content, you will have to be a member of ESO: Unlimited or purchase this as an individual item. You can find access to the Dark Brotherhood content in several places:
- Collections – under the DLC section
- Crown Store – under the DLC section
- In the help sections, under Dark Brotherhood DLC
Start exploring the Dark Brotherhood by accepting the Voices in the Dark quest under the collections DLC tab.
Voices in the Dark
The Dark Brotherhood content contains a new play area – the Gold Coast, last seen in Oblivion. This was one of my favorite areas in that game, so I was happy to return. You can travel to the city of Anvil through the wayshrines, or by taking a boat found at the docks in either Vukhel Guard, Davon’s Watch, or Daggerfall City.
The first part of your quest is to travel to Anvil and investigate rumors that the Dark Brotherhood is recruiting members. You won’t have to go far once you’ve arrived. Wander toward the docks and you will find a fellow aspiring assassin, Amelie Crowe. She suggests that the best way to attract the attention of the Brotherhood is to kill an innocent victim.
This isn’t hard to do, and it probably doesn’t matter who you choose. Just remember that if you are seen the guards won’t be too happy. Pick your target carefully and keep your escape route in mind.
Once you are through, return to the docks, near the area where you found Amelie. You will be interrupted by a courier who brings you a letter and an invitation to visit the lighthouse.
This is also an easy request, as the lighthouse is adjacent to the end of the docks. Enter through the main door and find Speaker Terenus in the middle of the room.
The Blade of Woe
Here is where the fun starts! Speak to Terenus to unlock the first of the Dark Brotherhood skills, the Blade of Woe. You don’t even need to spend a skill point for this. The Blade of Woe gives you the ability to sneak up behind your victim and deliver a single killing blow.
Using the Blade of Woe is easy. You don’t need to equip it or assign it to your skill bar. Just find your target and approach them unseen. Once you are within range, you will see the option to use the Blade by pressing X, activating just like a Synergy skill. As you accumulate more experience with the Blade of Woe, you may be able to gather Dried Blood or Tainted Blood from your victims, materials needed to craft in the Assassin’s League style.
Dark Brotherhood Skills
As you advance through the guild, make sure to check on your other Dark Brotherhood skills. These will unlock as you complete more quests and contracts.
- Scales of Pitiless Justice – Bounty and Heat resulting from a witnessed Murder or Assault is reduced by 20%
- Padomaic Sprint – Grants Major Expedition, increasing your Movement Speed by 30% for 6 seconds after killing a Citizen.
- Shadowy Supplier – A contract from the Brotherhood provides beneficial items once per day.
- Shadow Rider – Aggression radius from hostile monsters is decreased by 50% while mounted.
- Spectral Assassin – 15% chance to shroud you when using the Blade of Woe, shielding you from being witnessed and receiving a Bounty.
Signed in Blood
Speaker Terenus will give you your first assignment, asking you to prove yourself to become a member of the Dark Brotherhood. He needs you to assassinate Lord Quintus Jarol, a noble in a manor northwest of Anvil. You can either enter through the main gate or sneak through smuggling tunnels under the Withered Rose, a local inn.
When you reach the manor, be prepared for a combination of sneaking, fighting, traps, and locked doors. As you proceed through the manor you will be prompted to find and read a couple of letters. One of these reveals that false wine casks have been used to disguise a door and a secret passage, as well as the technique to open them. Knock on the appropriate casks and then open the door in the third one.
Continue on through the tunnels and you will find Lord Jarol at the end. Use the Blade of Woe if you can, or kill him in whatever manner you would like. Once this is done, you can escape through the water to the beach. Return to Speaker Terenus to report in.
Congratulations! You are now a full member of the Dark Brotherhood. Terenus welcomes you and reveals the location of the Sanctuary, the secret lair of the guild. Go there next. You will have to say the correct phrase at the Black Door, but don’t worry, this is easy as the game only gives you one option when you get there.
Explore the Sanctuary and find Astara Caerellius. She is in the middle of a gorgeously creepy underground lair, complete with banners, altars, skulls, and other assassin-y imagery. Other features of the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary include a book of contracts and crafting stations.
When you speak to Astara, you will receive the Shrouded Armor costume, a skill point, and a piece of Sithis equipment. You will continue to recieve more Sithis gear, so examine the bonuses closely and decide whether it will be beneficial to you or not.
Astara also prompts you to go meet the other members present in the Sanctuary: Green-Venom-Tongue, Kor, Hildegard, Mirabelle, Cimbar, and Tanek. Make sure you find Elam Drals close to the entrance. He assigns you the routine contracts for the guild.
By now you will also have started to hear rumors about other members of the Dark Brotherhood who have either gone missing or been killed. No one knows who is responsible at this point, but Astara is worried.
Carry Out a Contract
If you didn’t get a chance to use the Blade of Woe on Lord Jarol, or if you’d just like more practice with it, pick up a contract from Elam. You will be given a city, but won’t find out the name of your target until you arrive. Even with the name, you will have to track them down. The target will have the black hand of the Dark Brotherhood hovering over them, so they’re easy to identify once you find them. Murder your target by whatever means you would like, escape the guards, and return to Elam.
A Lesson in Silence
This is the next step in the main Dark Brotherhood quest line. Look for Grazda in the camp adjacent to the Gold Coast Wayshrine, just south of the Sanctuary. Speak with her to learn that Astara needs to talk to you back at the Sanctuary.
The Grand Sermonizer in Kvatch is spreading dissent and preaching against the Dark Brotherhood. Astara is displeased by this and wishes you to silence her. She tells you to meet Tanek there and kill off several priests and then the Grand Sermonizer.
You will find Tanek just within Kvatch, hiding in some bushes. Speak with him to come up with a plan. He will locate the Grand Sermonizer while you take out the priests across the city. Your method isn’t important, just kill three of them.
Your map only outlines a general area. You will have to find the priests on your own. They can be hard to find if another player has already gotten one and they haven’t respawned yet. However, they will start preaching, so you can listen to tell if one is nearby. Watch out for the guards also! Once you have killed three, you are given the option to kill additional priests to impress Astara.
Tanek has discovered that you will find the Grand Sermonizer at At-Himah Estate just west of Kvatch. Get inside either through stealth or brute force. Enter the Interrogation Hall and wait with Tanek. Below you, Grand Sermonizer Fithia speaks with a strange warrior in black armor who is determined to discover the location of the Sanctuary.
When they leave, you and Tanek discover a brother in the Dark Brotherhood, recently murdered. While investigating, Tanek is trapped by chains of energy and leaves you to go on alone while Kor assists him home to the Sanctuary.
Work your way through the At-Himah Estate Caves. This is a dangerous place, but you will finally catch up to Grand Sermonizer Fithia. Be prepared – this is a tough fight. Take out the smaller groups of priests without attracting Fithia’s attention before you take her on. After a few attempts, I was able to defeat her.
Return to the Sanctuary to report in to Astara. You will find Tanek returned and recovering in bed. Astara directs you to speak with him and he awards you another skill point, a piece of Sithis equipment, and gold.
At this point, you will find that Speaker Terenus has relocated to the Sanctuary. Speak with him to start your first Sacrament. These are a series of more complicated contracts, each with multiple goals. They seem to follow a pattern: don’t alert the inhabitants (five chances), kill two people, one of which should be with poison, then escape before the overseer arrives. These goals are all optional except for the murders themselves, but you can gain greater rewards by completing more of them. The game also features achievements for perfect completion. Once you agree to complete the Sacrament, you will be teleported to the cave, so be ready for this.
These are hard but a lot of fun if you have the patience for it. You will have to find your targets, and they may be hidden in secret rooms! Avoid the guards with white rings around them – this inactivates your stealth and you will easily be spotted. Use barrel hiding spots strategically to move past them.
The Litany of Blood
The Dark Brotherhood content becomes more varied as you advance, with greater options and a less linear plot. At one point you will notice Nevusa, a mysterious figure. Speak to her, and then go look at a book, the Litany of Blood. It is on the altar at the Night Mother’s shrine in the Sanctuary.
Return to Nevusa and tell her that you can read it. She explains that the book is a list of targets that you must kill and that you will have to decipher who they are. The passages in the book appear to name a city and then an enigmatic description followed by the line: You will know them by their eye. She gives you the book to reference from now on.
The Dark Brotherhood questline is about halfway complete at this point. You can either proceed with contracts, Sacraments, the Litany of Blood, or the main quests. I’ll outline the rest of the main quests in another guide soon.Related: Bethesda, Guide, MMORPG, The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax