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Skyrim: Places: Nordic Ruins
SR-mapicon-Nordic Ruin.png
Nordic Ruin:
(view on map) (lore page)
# of Zones 3
Clearable Yes
Dungeon Yes
Respawn Time 10 days or 30 days
Level Min: 24
Dragon Cultists, Draugr, Skeevers, Rahgot, Lost PaladinCC
Important Treasure
Dragon Priest Staff
The Exodus
Console Location Code(s)
ForelhostBrokenTower, ForelhostExterior01, ForelhostExterior02, ForelhostExterior03, ForelhostExterior04, Forelhost01, Forelhost02, Forelhost03
The Rift
Special Features
Word Wall Storm Call
# of Alchemy Labs 2
# of Arcane Enchanters 1
# of Forges/Anvils 1
# of Grindstones 1
# of Workbenches 1
Ore Veins
# of Gold 1
# of Quicksilver 1

Forelhost is a large Nordic ruin on a peak southeast of Riften which contains a word wall for the Storm Call shout. The ruins have an exterior courtyard and three interior zones: Forelhost Stronghold, Forelhost Crypt, and Forelhost Refectory.

Related QuestsEdit



The courtyard of Forelhost contains a small campsite with a single tent. This is where Captain Valmir can be found, claiming to be an Imperial or Stormcloak officer, depending on your allegiance and progress in the civil war questline. He asks for your help, and can give you information on the history of the Dragon Cult, initiating the quest Siege on the Dragon Cult. The courtyard is surrounded by the remains of the walls and battlements, with a door leading into the stronghold. A chest and two potions atop a food barrel are next to Captain Valmir's tent, while a dilapidated tower across a stone bridge to the northeast contains an expert-locked chest.

The word wall is reachable by scaling the mountainside through a combination of jumping and/or using the Whirlwind Sprint shout, bypassing the dungeon entirely. The mountain slope northeast of the ruins, or the arch above the door to the ruins, can be climbed in this way.

Forelhost StrongholdEdit

If you have spoken to Captain Valmir for related quest, Valmir will take you to the entrance of Foreholst Stronghold. He may accompany you inside the first chamber if you cut his dialogue short but will depart as soon as he is done talking. If you haven't spoken to Valmir you can find the entrance next to a nearby encampment with a single tent and with a kettle suspended over an active camp fire.

The first room is a foyer featuring an unlocked iron door with two fire pits on either side, one lit and the other extinguished. Just beyond this door the body of an Imperial Soldier will be found lying next to an open fire. A dragon cultist will be lurking to the right of an empty pedestal in the center of the room. The cultists will be invisible without to a spell of Detect Dead or an Aura Whisper shout, however firing arrows in their general direction and missing will not alert them to your presence as long as you do not get too close to them.

Two tables on opposite walls before the stone sculptures surrounding the archway leading to the next room contain some leather strips. Pass through an open portal across a broken portcullis lying flat on the ground, but beware the pressure plate on the ground which releases a battering ram from the ceiling. As you enter the room gaze beyond a pile of smoldering embers on the floor beneath a dangling lantern hanging from the ceiling. There stands a dragon cultist which can be sniped in the center of the room before the opening of the passage leading into a caved in dead end. In this room there is a staircase with a chest resting on the right side of the stairs beneath a collapsed opening. Another dragon cultist will be hiding to the left of the pit, just before the closed portcullis on the western wall. The closed portcullis is the passage to the second zone but there is no way to open the gate from this side.

Take the passage east and collect a random poison next to a Draugr on the floor, then climb the stairs. Continue down the hall when you reach the top of the stairs to find a caved in room with a buried chest containing some minor loot and a coin purse. A skeletal corpse rests in the dust next to a helmet and a lantern. Return to the passage and turn left around a corner heading south. You will encounter the bloody remains of a Stormcloak Soldier who has been killed by the nearby proximity swinging blade trap. There are only two blades to the trap, so it is relatively easy to bypass. On the other side you will find a table as you round the corner with some random weapons and quivers of nordic arrows.

As you round the corner your quest marker will point you towards Skorm Snow-Strider's journal, which is necessary for the associated quest and provides insight into the presence of the dragon cultists. Two cultists guard the journal on either side of the room. One can be hit with a ranged attack standing to the left of the collapsed table in the center of the room that has been crushed by a large bolder. The other is located due north to the right of the collapsed table in the corner to the right of the shelf. There are two Fly Amanita and a Bleeding Crown on the floor near one of the cultists. The journal will be seated on a table between a potion and a coin purse. On the middle shelf to the right of this table are three falmer ears and a fire salt.

Collect the journal and to find a locked chest with some minor loot. A wooden door on the north western wall leads to short hall with a staircase enveloped with vines and another wooden door at the other end. A urn can be found to the left at the top of the stairs. Open the wooden door and face west, looking towards the wooden beds. Standing to the left of the bed closest to the door behind a wooden bucket is an invisible dragon cultist. Another can be found on the other side of the two wooden beds on the north western end of the room centered behind a bed just behind the lantern on the ground.

Numerous skeletons rest about the room, but none can be looted. There are a few burial urns next to some scattered empty jars. Several poisons can be found sitting atop the headboards of some of the beds. An urn with a few gold coins behind a shallow pool of water on the floor marks an opening to the west down a short flight of stairs into a crumbling corridor. Turn left to enter a large room with wooden doors already ajar. A noose hangs from the ceiling to greet you. A dragon cultist waits at the bottom of the stairs before what appears to be an inoperable forge glowing with burning embers to the right of an anvil.

Down the stairs an iron ore and a sword are resting on a workbench to the right of the forge. To the left you will find a grindstone next to an unlocked chest buried in the rubble with some minor loot. The flaming embers of a brazier dangling by a single chain from the floor have fallen to the ground in the center of the room. On the western wall you will find a bed with a burial urn to its right next to a shelf containing several quivers of Ancient Nord Arrows, an Ancient Nord War Axe, four iron ore and an iron ingot. Three more iron ingot sit on a table on the northern wall beneath a candelabra. A gold ore is on the bottom shelf next to two linen wraps. Numerous Nordic weapons can be found on a shelf beneath the staircase next to a pile of firewood. Climb the staircase and cross a gated bridge to find a platform with an adept locked chest, a coin purse, a large urn, and a burial urn. Once you are finished here cross back over the bridge and down the stairs. Take the south western passage leading through three stone arches which opens into a room containing a few tables with wooden dishes and other dining implements. Before passing though the arches search the ground to the left of the first arch for a coin purse. Between the stone arch passage leading into the next room on the other side of the table is another invisible dragon cultist. Behind the cultist is a small pantry with little of note except for an Elixir of Strength on a shelf on the western wall. A dead draugr on a nearby bed can be looted for a small amount of gold.

Return to the dining room and face north. A salt pile can be collected between a candle and a cast iron pot at the end of the table. A passage will lead you into a room with a spiral staircase. As you enter, a leveled draugr will be sleeping in a standing sarcophagus which will emerge as you approach the stairs. Another invisible dragon cultist stands atop a stone platform behind an altar, below which is a small table with a potion of healing and a wooden plate containing a few gold coins and some soul gem fragments. Another draugr will emerge from its sarcophagus to the right of the platform. The lids to both are open so the draugr enemies can be hit with ranged attacks before they are disturbed. The altar between them contains a random soul gem. A few gold pieces sit on a shelf below opposite the platform on the the lower level next to three falmer ears. A random healing potion can be found under a table by the stairs.

Climb the spiral staircase in the center of the room and carefully walk around the pressure plate at the center of the pillar which triggers a dart trap, then cross the bridge to a platform where you will find a chest harnessed to a leveled tension cable connected to a deadly spear trap.

Cross back over the bridge or drop to the ground level and find a wooden door on the north side of the room. Use caution upon entry, as a pressure plate on the floor ignites a flame spout trap, which will immediately alert the leveled Draugr lurking at the bottom of the stairs of your presence. If you carefully side step the plate you may be able to dispatch the Draugr from above using a carefully placed ranged attack. Be aware that there is yet another flame spout at the other end of the corridor, so pay attention for the corresponding pressure plate and use them to your advantage in combat or to avoid getting trapped between them by the charging Draugr assailant and your follower. A lever on the right wall opens the previously inaccessible portcullis leading back into the first zone.

Travel down the stairs to the north to find the wooden doors leading to the entrance of Forelhost Crypt.

Forelhost CryptEdit

The second zone consists of old burial crypts. Immediately after entering this zone, the path curves to the right. There are two dead draugr and a stealth Dragon Cultist in this corridor. There is a table at the end of the corridor with a soul gem, and exits to the left heading northwest and to the right heading southeast. To reach the third zone, you must pass down through the well past the left exit. However, the well is enclosed in a cage secured by a master-level lock. You can either pick the lock, or search the other path past the right exit to find the key to the well at the back of the crypts. The corridor to the well room has two swinging axe traps, and in the well room are three urns, a potion, and a weapon.

Past the southeast exit to the right, you come to a descending corridor with a dead draugr, a burial urn, a White Cap, a Namira's Rot, and an Imp Stool. At the end of the ramp is an open wooden door to a room that contains a sort of altar, a stealth Dragon Cultist, a table with two dead draugr, and two additional dead draugr on the ground to the right of the table. The room also contains a healing potion on a wall sconce to the left of the table, two burial urns, and an urn. Two wooden doors are on the northeast wall, and an iron door is on the southeast wall. The wooden door to the left of the altar leads to a small storage alcove with two ingredient barrels, while the wooden door to the right is barred from the other side.

Taking the iron door, you come to a corridor ending in a T-junction, with an urn in front of you. Three burial urns are in a wall alcove to the left, while the short corridor to the left contains an active draugr and two urns. The right corridor descends into a room containing a leveled draugr, six urns, and three burial urns. In front of you as you enter the room, there is an open wooden door to a room containing an urn and another draugr, who will be alerted by the fight. Around a corner to the southeast in the room with the leveled draugr, on the northeastern wall, is a discreet wooden door opening to a short corridor with an unlocked chest and a pressure plate that activates a spike wall.

On the northwest wall of the leveled draugr room is an iron door leading to a corridor with webbed walls and an urn on the right. There is a slumbering draugr next to a lit brazier directly in front of you, along with another urn in a wall alcove opposite; here, the corridor turns to the right. There is a leveled draugr farther ahead that will be alerted by the fight. Near this second draugr is a dead draugr, an emerald on a trapped plinth that activates a spear trap when the gem is removed, and a healing potion on another plinth that activates a poison dart trap when the potion is removed. Note that the poison darts will not stop (see notes). The corridor then turns again to the southeast. At the end of the corridor, past another swinging axe trap, is a room with a pillar with a lightning rune, three dead draugr, a dead bandit, and two slumbering leveled draugr. There is another lightning rune on the floor, near the descending stairs that exit this room to the northeast.

Descending the stairs, you come to a corridor with a slumbering draugr lying in front of you. The corridor curves to the right, to a torchlit corner with a master-locked chest, before turning back to the left, where three slumbering leveled draugr lie. An urn is nearby. Farther down the corridor are three more slumbering draugr as well as two draugr corpses in wall alcoves to the right, and before the corridor again turns to the left, a pressure plate on the floor activates a spike wall. After the left turn is another pressure plate for the same trap, and in front of you is yet another slumbering draugr, with two more draugr corpses and another urn in this stretch of the passage. After three more turns passing two further draugr corpses are three more slumbering draugr, two of them leveled. Two pressure plates on the floor in this area activate two poison dart traps; the second plate is right before an iron door.

After this iron door there is a larger room, where three leveled draugr will emerge from sarcophagi. Between the middle and right sarcophagi, on a well-lit raised area, there is an unlocked chest that contains the key to the well cage, as well as some other loot. An urn is also found on the raised area. From the top of the wooden stairs opposite the middle sarcophagus, you can jump across to a raised ledge circling a pillar to the northeast to reach another unlocked chest. Returning to the top of the stairs, the balcony contains an urn, two burial urns, and on a sideboard, an enchanted weapon. A stone bridge crosses to a second pillar circled by an ascending wooden ramp, with a large coin purse underneath the base of the ramp at the back of the pillar. Continuing up the ramp, you come to a frost trap that can be deactivated by removing the soul gem from the nearby plinth. Continuing along the path, you come to the barred door that leads to the altar room.

Once you gain access to the well, descend the wooden spiral staircase and swim through a tunnel to the northwest to reach a cave with some skeevers and the corpse of a frostbite spider. This area contains a quicksilver ore vein between two large webs at the top of the ramp, a gold ore vein to its left, and a lootable egg sac to the right of the quicksilver vein. The next chamber past another flooded tunnel to the northeast contains a poison lying on the ground underwater near wooden steps up to a dry balcony area. The balcony features a dead draugr on the ground, a table holding three poisons and an ancient note, a total of three urns and two burial urns, and a copy of the Restoration skill book The Exodus on the set of shelves to the right.

The next room to the northeast is another catacombs area, with three leveled draugr and a trap comprising a raising circular section of the floor. The passage rises to the left, passing four draugr corpses in wall alcoves on the right side, turns left again, and ends at the iron door to Forelhost Refectory. Twelve wrapped draugr corpses are piled by the door.

Forelhost RefectoryEdit

Seven more wrapped draugr corpses lie on the ground at the entrance. Ascending a flight of stairs, four more wrapped draugr corpses and two urns are in a corner before a left turn and a second ascending set of stairs. At the top of the second flight is a T-junction, with paths ahead and to the right. At the junction, a helmet and a pair of gauntlets are on pedestals along the left wall. Ahead, an alcove to the left holds a chest, while another pair of gauntlets is on a pedestal at a dead end ahead. Returning to the junction and proceeding to the right brings you to a fairly large room with a row of stone tables, a locked portcullis ahead, a raised balcony to your right with some draugr archers, and a set of double doors to your left. This lower level of the room contains twenty-one burial urns (most empty), four urns, a soul gem on a sideboard under the balcony, a pile of five wrapped draugr corpses to the right of the portcullis, and on the tables, another draugr corpse as well as another ancient note.

Passing through the double doors to the southeast takes you to a corridor lined with two urns and three burial urns, with a fire rune trap near an oil slick at a right turn in the middle. At the end of the corridor is a door to the right leading into a room with a balcony at the back and four sarcophagi along the walls, three of which burst open to release draugr. This lower level contains a central shallow pit with five wrapped draugr corpses, three urns, four burial urns, an adept-locked chest, and a table holding a soul gem, a potion, and another ancient note. Climb the wooden steps at the back of the room to the balcony, where a fireplace and another burial urn are found. Steps down to the right heading northeast soon end in the closed portcullis, which can now be opened using the lever on the wall to the right. Another exit from the balcony to the northwest opens to a room with two tables in the middle set with two alchemy labs, three sets of shelves against the walls, and a throne in which a draugr corpse pierced by an ancient Nord sword and arrows sits next to an interesting note. In addition to clutter, the tables and shelves hold fifteen deathbells (including five in a stone bowl on the ground in front of the tables), two poisons, a potion, three falmer ears, three charred skeever hides, a bowl of fire salts, and another note to which the note on the throne was apparently a pointed reply.

Wooden steps at the back of the room lead up to another balcony, which contains a Spell Tome: Flames, a medium coin purse, and four loose gold coins. A passage with a short flight of descending stairs to the northeast leads to a long room with many sideboards and shelving units, with the glass claw resting on a pedestal around a corner to the left. Near the entrance to the room, doors to the right open to the balcony overlooking the first large room in the zone, where an urn is found. A locked door near the back of the room leads to a small alcove containing the soul gem for the spellcaster trap) firing through a window into the room, although the soul gem can also be taken to deactivate the trap from the other side of the window. Another locked door farther back in the room reveals a smaller alcove with a potion, a shield, and an ancient Nord sword on a set of shelves. In addition to the claw and various clutter, the long room contains a few pieces of ancient Nord equipment, two burial urns, a mammoth tusk, a soul gem, and a potion on a weight sensitive plate; taking the potion triggers a spear trap.

Removing the glass claw from its pedestal retracts the spears blocking the exit at the back of the long room. Beyond this exit, a passage ascends past three burial urns and an apprentice-locked chest to end at a door on the left. Through the door is a room with an urn, two burial urns, a wrapped draugr corpse on a set of tables, an arcane enchanter near the tables, and an apprentice-locked chest in the back. An exit to the right of the chest leads to a corridor with a pressure plate activating a flame spout trap from above near the entrance. The corridor winds and ascends past four burial urns to reach a wide hallway typical of the areas immediately before Nordic puzzle doors. Sure enough, the hallway ends at a door that must be opened with the glass claw using the sequence (from outer to inner ring): Fox—Owl—Snake. The door opens to the final room.

At the back of this large room up a wide flight of stairs, you will meet Rahgot, dragon priest of Alduin, and bearer of the eponymous mask. As you approach his tomb, he will rise to attack, along with four leveled draugr. This can prove to be a very challenging battle at higher levels, as you will likely be facing several draugr deathlords along with Rahgot. It is possible to split the group, making it easier to defeat. You only need to go as far as the top of the steps for Rahgot and the draugr to rise. Once they do, quickly returning back down the steps and to the other end of the previous hallway can draw the first two draugr away. It is also possible to draw the other two draugr out of the main room in the same way, making all four easier to dispatch. Rahgot's main offense is fire, in the form of fire-based Destruction spells, the high-damage fire walls produced by his staff, and the flame atronach he can summon. Rahgot carries his mask and a key to Forelhost Battlements. Other than Rahgot himself, the only features of note in this large room are the boss chest behind and to the left of his tomb, an altar holding some weapons directly behind his tomb, and the exit to the battlements beyond.

Exterior: Forelhost BattlementsEdit

The door behind Rahgot's tomb opens onto the balcony above the entry door in the courtyard. Make your way around to the right to find the word wall bearing one of the words of the Storm Call shout. From here, you can jump down to the courtyard, by Captain Valmir's camp.

The Lost Paladin can be encountered in front of the word wall if the Chrysamere Creation is installed.


  • The glass claw gate may not retract when the claw is taken. To fix this, place an object on the pedestal where the claw was resting, then take that item to release the door.
  • The glass claw may get knocked off its pedestal and onto the ground if spells with a blast effect are cast nearby.
  • The ghosts are considered NPCs, and thus cannot be soul-trapped in regular soul gems. Black soul gems are required.
  • One of the traps encountered within the fortress is triggered by a weight sensitive plate on a pedestal (currently held in place by a potion). When the potion is removed, a volley of darts will be fired, and will continue firing until another weight of some sort is placed on the trigger.
  • The above-mentioned trap sometimes cannot be reset by placing another object upon the pedestal. If you reload the game from the previous autosave (the door just entered), it may reset the trap. Then, being careful to not trigger the trap again, stay to the right-hand side of the wall.
  • If you haven't yet chosen to join either the Imperials or Stormcloaks in the civil war, Captain Valmir will appear as a Stormcloak or an Imperial officer, respectively, depending on whether you chose to follow Ralof or Hadvar during the quest Unbound.
  • The first few cultists carry an inordinate amount of arrows, up to 126 each.
  • The cultists wear ancient Nord armor, making Forelhost the only location where all pieces of this type of armor may be looted at once.
  • The Dragon Cultists can be detected with the Detect Dead spell before they go hostile.
  • Many of the battles involve large numbers of draugr gathered around a trap of some kind, making many battles hazardous. Ranged weapons are suggested.
  • Clearing Forelhost may create significant save file bloat. To address this, use the wait menu for 31 days to reset the game cells. [verification needed]
  • Forelhost also appears in ESO and Legends.


  • Many of the traps with pressure plates in Forelhost Crypt are triggered even if the player has the Light Foot perk.
  • If the puzzle door does not work, check here for possible fixes.
  • The mask and key may not be on Rahgot's body, rendering the quest uncompletable.
  • The contents of the boss chest do not respawn with the rest of the dungeon. ?