Kolbjorn Barrow is a medium-sized Nordic ruin southeast of Raven Rock containing draugr. The entrance is initially buried, and the ruin cannot be entered until part of it has been excavated during the quest Unearthed.
The excavation camp
For historical information about Kolbjorn Barrow, see the lore article.
When you first arrive at the site, you will find Ralis Sedarys busy working away with a pickaxe in the middle of some stone arches. The top of a Nordic barrow is barely visible around the edges. A hay pile is in the middle of the dig, and beside it is a pickaxe and The Journal of Ralis Sedarys - Volume 19. Taking this and each future journal is not counted as theft, and the journals will disappear if not taken during each visit. Talking with Ralis will prompt him to explain that he is on a dig for some antiquities for a financier, but he doesn't have the funds to hire miners to excavate the site, as he will receive no pay until delivery. He's looking for a donation of 1,000 septims for a share of the treasure. Once you pay the gold, he will say he will manage the dig if you can manage the gold, and he will send word to you once more progress has been made; see the relevant quest page for more details. In the immediate vicinity are five scathecraw and five trama root plants, and to the east-northeast is a heart stone deposit.
Exterior (Visit after first letter, during Unearthed quest)
A few days after making the initial donation, you will receive a letter from Ralis Sedarys by courier asking you to return, as the excavation has run into some difficulty. Upon your return, two small tents and one large tent have been erected to the northeast of the barrow, with a bench outside the large tent, and a campfire lit in front. All three tents have hay piles inside. On the bench, you will find volume 20 of Ralis' journal. To the left of the large tent is a table holding a map of Solstheim, a copy of Ahzidal's Descent, a pot, a jug, a plate, a bowl, and three goblets. To the left of the table is an open chest with a few more pieces of crockery. The small tent farthest from the large tent has a knapsack just inside. The inside of the barrow edge now has a series of wooden ramps down to the entrance. On the wooden structure are two crates and a sack, with a pickaxe on one of the crates. At the bottom is the iron door serving as the entrance to the barrow, with an empty cart to the right. Ralis will explain that the dig has disturbed some of the draugr, and he thinks all the hired miners are dead. He asks you to enter and deal with the draugr, and also to see if you can find a way to proceed.
Kolbjorn Barrow (Visit after first letter, during Unearthed quest)
Upon entering, you are on a short flight of stairs leading down to the northwest, which soon staggers to the left past a large urn. You will soon encounter a draugr, and will pass a small stone table on your left with a pickaxe on top. The tunnel twists and turns, but is linear. You will soon come to the top of a flight of stairs down, with a lit brazier on each side. There is a dead miner at the top of the stairs beside you, and a leveled draugr standing behind a stone table in the middle of the room ahead at the base of the stairs. There are a total of six draugr in this room, including the one standing behind the table when you entered. Any fighting in this room will alert the other draugr, who are slumbering in alcoves around the room. At the bottom of the stairs are raised areas on either side, and another dead miner just before the stone table. On the table is a third dead miner, a pickaxe, and a skull on a weight sensitive plate; if it has been knocked off, you will need to activate the plate again before the way forward will open. The skull itself is unique, as it has been engraved, and is worth 50 gold instead of the normal 5 gold. To the left of the stone table as you enter is a bowl on the floor. Behind the table are two more raised areas, on each side. In the eastern corner of the raised area on your right as you enter the room is a random sword among some rubble. On the raised area on the left is a broken large urn containing two empty petty soul gems and one empty random soul gem. On the rear raised area on the left is a burial urn and an adept-locked chest, with a random shield in the corner to the right of the chest. The rear raised area on the right has a random helmet. Short sets of stairs lead up to each of the raised areas.
Upon taking the skull, a rotating door at the rear of the room will spin and open, revealing another room with a pedestal in front of you. On the pedestal are Ahzidal's Boots of Waterwalking. The room is in shambles, with pillars knocked down or damaged and the ceiling sagging, and is nearly full of ash. Upon collecting the boots, return to Ralis, who will ask for 2,000 gold this time to hire new miners to continue the excavation.
A few days later, you will receive the second letter from Ralis, asking you to return to the barrow. Upon your return, you will find there are now two additional small tents opposite the first two across the fire, with a random sword and a sack in one of them. You will find The Journal of Ralis Sedarys - Volume 21 on the bench in front of the large tent, and a random dagger just inside the large tent. Ralis himself will be poring over the map on the table again. There is an unlit brazier to the right of the map table, and urns to either side of the open chest. There are more bowls, cups, and plates on the table, as well as two extra sacks and an extra crate on the wooden ramp on the way down to the entrance. Ralis will comment that you both should have expected more draugr in the crypt. He will complain that at least six of the miners are dead and the rest ran off, and suggest that as you've had some luck previously dealing with the draugr, you could deal with them again, and also search for the missing miners.
Kolbjorn Barrow (Visit after second letter)
Through the entrance door, you will find that there is now a second path to the right that descends a couple of steps and ends with a novice-locked chest. Back the other way, you will find a dead miner at the top of the stairs by the large urn. As you descend into the room, the site of the previous battle with draugr, you will hear at least one draugr breathing. Using the Aura Whispershout will identify four draugr, one on each of the raised areas, with two more draugr slumbering in alcoves. Once they are taken care of, you will find the corner of the eastern raised area has been dug out, revealing an unlocked chest in an alcove. There is also a dead miner on this raised section. A third dead miner is just in front of the doorway into the next room that was previously full of ash. Now the room has been partially dug out, with a leveled draugr standing by a pillar supporting a broken walkway ahead. To the right of the pillar is a dead miner, with another to the left on the ground. As you approach the pillar, you will hear the sounds of a word wall. To the northwest is a doorway into catacombs, with yet another dead miner just in front of it.
There are two draugr in alcoves in the first room of the catacombs, one immediately on your left as you enter, and the other diagonally opposite. Any attacks, including sneak attacks, on these draugr will alert a third, magic-using draugr, who will come running from the next room. Once they have been dealt with, you will see one of the missing miners, Bradyn, lying dead to the west against a broken table. To his left is a random war axe. Proceed into the second room of the catacombs, and you will see a pull chain ahead and rotating doors to either side. You can hear another draugr nearby. The chain activates the rotating door to the northeast. There is a leveled draugr in this room, and another pull chain in an alcove, with a bowl and two goblets underneath. There are two more rotating doors in the room, to the northeast and southeast. This second pull chain opens the other rotating door in the first room to the southwest, with another draugr behind the door. In the corridor to this next room is a leveled greatsword (see bugs). Climb the short set of stairs to enter the room, but be careful, as there is a tripwire that triggers a battering ram, while a spellcaster trap is in the southeast room on the left. To the northwest is an upright sarcophagus that is still partially buried in rubble and ash, while ahead to the southwest is a lit brazier with a burial urn beside it (see bugs). There is a pressure plate between this room and the room to the southeast with the spellcaster trap, which activates a battering ram in the first room. The spellcaster trap shoots firebolts at you, and uses a random filled soul gem, with two other random, filled soul gems in the alcove with it. In the spellcaster trap room is a lowered gate blocking stairs up to the northeast. There are four handles to the right of the gate. The third handle down causes a poison dart trap to fire across in front of the gates. To open the gate and two other gates behind it, pull the second handle from the top, then the bottom handle.
As you pass the gates, the last one will drop behind you, and four draugr will converge on you. Once they have all been dispatched, both the gate back and another gate to the southeast will open. In the center of the room is the body of Mireli, the second missing miner for the quest. To the northwest is a dead end, with a random battleaxe high up among some rocks or on the ground. To the northeast a short corridor, with five loose coins and a filled petty soul gem on your right on a shelf. On the back side of the shelf is a handle. The handle operates a rotating door behind you to the northeast. It opens to reveal a small room with a pedestal. On the pedestal is Ahzidal's Ring of Necromancy. Finally, return to the room with Mireli and take the doorway to the southeast, which provides a shortcut back to the room partially filled with ash near the beginning.
A few days later, you will receive the third letter from Ralis, asking you to return to the barrow. Upon your return, there have been more improvements to the area outside the barrow. Inside the large tent is now a small table and chair holding The Journal of Ralis Sedarys - Volume 22 and a piece of cooked beef on a wooden plate. There is a large sack under the table. You can now fully enter this tent. Inside at the back is a single bed, with an unlocked chest beside it. There are also two crates, three more sacks, and a pile of firewood stacked inside the tent. Outside on the map table are more pots, plates, bowls, cups, and goblets, and also an urn. Two unusable barrels are to the right of the table. To the left, behind a bench is a second campfire, with four more small tents around it. The tent second to the left of the large tent has a random helmet inside, and all four tents have hay piles for beds. Finally, two miners are wandering around the camp, complaining that the mercenaries weren't worth much. Ralis will be found near the map table again. He will tell a similar story as last time: that there are yet more draugr, and that this time they have killed all the mercenaries he hired. He'll ask you to "make the draugr good and dead again."
Kolbjorn Barrow (Visit after third letter)
Once through the entrance, you will find two draugr, one to either side of the first junction. The path to the right that previously ended with the chest now links up with the other path and continues into the first large room, the site of the first battle with the draugr. There is one leveled draugr in the doorway opposite. As soon as you step into the room, it will rush towards you, even if you are sneaking and completely hidden. Once the draugr is taken care of, there are no more draugr in this room; however, many more are ahead.
Dead Kolbjorn guard
To the right of the doorway into the next chamber is the corpse of a Kolbjorn guard surrounded by blood splatters. Through the doorway, you enter the second chamber that was previously nearly full of ash, but which has now been dug out. Wooden ramps have been installed to allow access to the lower level, a wooden bridge crosses to the stone pillar ahead, and you can still hear the word wall sounds. Descending to the room's lower level, you will find another dead miner under the bridge and a pickaxe. Returning to the WEST wall of the room you will find a dead miner under the scaffolding. You need to go all the way to the west wall below the doorway you entered this room to get to this body. After looting the Miner's Boots & Clothes, Gloves and Pickaxe you return to the top of the scaffolding to continue further into the Barrow. There is a second dead guard on the bridge. Behind the pillar is the return shortcut from the first time you cleared the barrow of draugr. There is a draugr standing just past the shortcut doorway. Once it is dealt with, turn to the southwest and descend the stairs. In the next room, there is a dead miner, an expert-locked door in front of you, and a path to your right.
Return to the previous room and enter the room to the northwest, where the previously buried upright sarcophagus ahead will burst open to reveal a leveled draugr. There is a Burial Urn to the left. The path turns to the East and descends a few more steps where you find a sword to your left and a pull-chain to your right. The chain opens the rotating door in front of you. At the next junction, the path splits, continuing to the northeast and the southeast.
Turning to the southeast, in the next room a draugr is on your left in front of an iron door in an adjacent room. There is a dead miner in the doorway to this adjacent room, and a second draugr slumbering in an alcove on your left within the room itself. Shelves opposite the slumbering draugr contain two potions, one a leveled healing potion, and the other random. There is a rotating door on your left, and a chain in an alcove on your right. Pull the chain, then return to the previous room, head right into the room to the northwest, and proceed right again through the room to the northeast. A rotating door will have opened in the northeast wall ahead, granting access to a pedestal holding Ahzidal's Gauntlets of Warding. There is a weight sensitive plate under the gauntlets, which will activate a poison dart trap from in front of you when you remove them. You can easily avoid any damage by stepping back as soon as you take the gauntlets. Taking the gauntlets also opens a second rotating door to the right, which joins with the room containing the chain you just used and the iron door.
Timed tile puzzle
Beyond the iron door, a tripwire trap is just past the doorway. This activates a falling boulders trap in front of you on the stairs leading down. There are two draugr on the stairs, and the trap is likely to kill or damage them both, depending on your level. At the bottom of the stairs, there is a lit brazier and a burial urn ahead, and a dead miner on your right. The path turns to the southeast and ascends a long flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs is an open wooden door leading into a large room, which contains two draugr, as well as the final two highest level draugr who will emerge from their sarcophagi as you approach. After killing these draugr, you will receive an update confirming that the barrow is again cleared, and directing you to speak to Ralis.
There is blood all over the floor, and dead miners and guards in every corner. What look like flame spout traps are across most of the floor, with an untrapped area in front of the entrance and leading to the southeast and southwest around the edges of the room. The floor plates are in fact timed pressure plates, and you need to compress all of them to open the gate to the flooded alcove to the northeast. Using the Slow Timeshout can help, but it is fairly easy without it. Behind the gate is a deeply flooded small alcove with a broken stone bridge leading to a pedestal. On the pedestal is Ahzidal's Ring of Arcana, and under the water is a large coin purse, a burial urn, and a random battleaxe.
Back in the main room, there are two open upright sarcophagi against the northeast wall, with the gated alcove between them, and a dead miner by the gate. There is a raised section to the southeast, with a dead miner leaning against the steps. Upon the raised area are stone benches to either side, with a second dead miner next to the bench on the left. In front of you is a stone altar, with a dead guard laid on it. There is blood all over the altar, as well as a leveled dagger and a bowl containing three petty soul gems (two empty and one filled). Against the southwest wall is a flight of stairs leading up. At the bottom of the stairs is a dead guard, and underneath the stairs is a broken sideboard with an apprentice-locked chest, a random pair of gauntlets, and a random potion of invisibility. To the left is a set of shelves containing a random helmet, a random mace, and three loose coins.
Swinging blade trap
At the top of the stairs is a balcony, with an unlit brazier holding two random soul gems (one empty and one filled). Follow the balcony to the northwest to find a burial urn. There is a gated doorway to the southwest, with the chain to raise the gate on the left. Beyond the gate, the corridor turns to the northwest and climbs a flight of stairs. As soon as you enter the corridor, you will hear a swinging blades trap ahead. At the top of the stairs, the corridor turns back to the southwest, and you will see the three swinging blades ahead in a short corridor ending in a gate. There is also a large coin purse on the floor of the short corridor on the right. There is room to stop between each of the blades, and space at the far end to stop and find the mechanism to open the gate. The chain is hanging from the ceiling above the gate. When the gate opens, the blades will stop, and a wooden bridge will drop into place, providing a shortcut back to the second large room that has been dug out since your previous visit. Crossing the bridge to the stone pillar, you can jump across to the wooden ramps leading up and out.
A few days later, you will receive the fourth and final letter from Ralis, simply stating you're needed. Upon your return, Ralis will be nowhere to be found, but there are dead miners, a dead guard, and blood all over the camp. Inside the large tent on the small table is The Journal of Ralis Sedarys - Volume 23, a bowl of apple cabbage stew, a bottle of wine, a bottle of alto wine, a goblet, and a jug. The tent still has a single bed, with a respawning unlocked chest beside it. There is a small sideboard, two crates, and a sack. On the sideboard is a silver necklace, a goblet, a copy of The Lusty Argonian Maid, v2, and an empty open crate.
Kolbjorn Camp II
Outside the large tent, lying partially on the wooden bench, is a dead miner with blood splattered everywhere. All the campfires have gone out. There is a second dead miner to the southeast of the large tent. In the small tent nearest the large tent and the barrow (on your left as you look at the front of the large tent from the campfire) is the copy of Ahzidal's Descent. To the right of this tent is another dead miner. By the side of the large tent, the long wooden table is full of more pots, bowls, goblets, and other crockery, the two unusable barrels are still to the right with a sack, and an urn is to the left with a wooden bench beside it. Behind the large tent is a cold campfire, with three small tents to the right. In the first tent is a mead barrel, and in front of the third is a dead Kolbjorn guard. To the south of the large tent is a new campfire (gone out like the others), with three small tents arranged around it. In the first tent is an open box containing a pair of random gauntlets and a small coin purse. In the third tent is a red apple, with another dead miner in front of the tent. As you approach the barrow, two more dead miners are found by the start of the wooden structure and at the bottom of the first wooden ramp.
Kolbjorn Barrow (Visit after fourth and final letter)
Central Room, Kolbjorn Barrow
Enter into the now familiar corridors and begin your descent. When you reach the room that was the site of the first battle, you find a dead miner laid out on the central stone table. Continue through the doorway ahead into the room that was originally full of ash. There is a draugr to the right, standing in the doorway below you. To the left, you can see the word wall on the lowest level. Descend the ramps to the bottom, then squeeze past the wooden structure to approach the word wall and learn a word for the Cyclone shout. There is nothing else of interest down here, so climb the ramp back up one level and proceed to the northeast, around the pillar, and across the wooden bridge you used as a shortcut on your last visit.
The draugr mentioned previously is on the other side of the bridge, unless you dealt with it from above. Once you cross the bridge, you will hear another draugr approaching. Follow the corridor forward, and as it turns to the southeast, there is another draugr at the bottom of a short flight of stairs. The corridor turns back to the northeast and exits into the room with the tiled puzzle floor. You can hear several draugr moving around before you can see them, as you are on the balcony above the room. There are three draugr, including one magic user. There is a dead miner at the southeastern end of the room on the stone altar, and a second dead miner near the flooded alcove where you retrieved Ahzidal's Ring of Arcana. Exit the room via the door in the northwest wall, and follow the corridor as it descends, past the stairs on your left that you came down during your last visit, and straight ahead to a newly excavated area. There is a doorway in front of you with a raised gate.
Thrones in Kolbjorn
Through the doorway, you can see two draugr sitting on thrones in the next room. As soon as you cross the threshold, the gate behind you will descend, blocking retreat. There is a third draugr in the southern corner of the room that isn't visible from the doorway, due to a pillar with two eagle symbols on it against the southern wall. In addition to the gated doorway through which you entered, there is a second gated doorway in the southern corner, behind which you can see Ahzidal's Armor of Retribution on a pedestal. There are two rotating doors with pull chains at their sides, one in the northeastern wall, and the other in the southwestern wall. At the rear of the room behind the two thrones are two rune totems and a lever. Finally, in the center of the floor is a trap door blocking access to a wooden spiral staircase descending below.
Pull either of the chains to start the nearby rotating door, then pull it a second time when the doorway is lined up with the small alcove behind to reveal a whale symbol. Repeat the process for the other chain. Turning the rune totems both to whales and pulling the lever will open the southern gate, giving access to the armor. After collecting the armor, turning both totems to eagles and pulling the lever again will open the trap door in the floor and allow you to continue. Any other combination will cause a poison dart trap to activate and fire from the backs of the two thrones.
At the bottom of the spiral staircase is a sideboard holding a plate, a random dagger, a leveled healing potion, a leveled resist element potion, a random potion, and a random magicka potion. Under the stairs, behind a lit brazier, is a burial urn. Through the doorway to the northwest is a catacomb area. A draugr immediately on your right may start to rise as soon as you reach the bottom of the spiral staircase. There is a flight of stairs down ahead. At the bottom, three more draugr may have started to rise, one of which is a magic user. They are all standing in an oil slick, with an oil lantern hanging overhead. Once they are dealt with, to your right is a gated doorway, with rune totems on either side and a chain to the right of the gate. Through the gate, you can see Ahzidal's Helm of Vision on a pedestal. Set both totems to snakes, then pull the chain beside the doorway. Pulling the chain with any incorrect symbols will cause several flame spout traps to blast the area in front of the gate. Be careful, as there is also a pressure plate trap on the floor in the doorway that will activate a spear trap between the doorway and the pedestal holding the helm. Removing the helm from its pedestal will activate another flame spout trap that is aimed back at the gate.
Final Room, Kolbjorn Barrow
Opposite the stairs you just descended is a stalhrim deposit in an alcove. The path continues to the southwest, past a niche on the left containing an enchanted sword with a dart trap trigger in front of it, and rises to an unlocked iron door. As you approach, you can hear Ralis chanting "Master Arise" over and over. As soon as you pass through the door, the center of the room will glow red, a disturbance in the middle will knock Ralis flying, and Ahzidal will arise and attack. He will raise the dead miners or draugr to attack you. There are seven dead miners around the room. Draugr will attack in pairs from upright sarcophagi around the room, being replaced as you kill them. Concentrate on Ahzidal, as there are eight sarcophagi, and he will replace them as you defeat the draugr. Once you defeat Ahzidal, the remaining draugr will all die. Once Ahzidal is dealt with, you will be prompted to confront Ralis. He will say that he doesn't remember, but he's been hearing whispers ever since he arrived at the barrow, and will imply he's been under Ahzidal's control. Eventually, you need to choose between letting him live and killing him. If you let him live, he will return to The Retching Netch, and will become available as a follower. To the south, behind a pillar to the left of an unlit brazier, is a pair of random boots. When the sarcophagi burst open, an exit was revealed behind one of them to the southwest. This path twists and turns, with two empty petty soul gems and one empty random soul gem on the ground along the path. A short way after the gems, you will find the boss chest by a brazier. At the end, you come to a gate with a pull chain to the left and a circular room behind containing the Black Book Filament and Filigree in the center. To the southwest is an unlocked chest with a random shield leaning against it, two leveled random potions in front, a random war axe to the left, and several pots and bowls around it. Opposite the chest is a doorway that leads to a small room with a large perfectly smooth circular stone in front of you, and a sarcophagus to the left that is filled with stalhrim, to the left of which is a random set of armor. Mining the stalhrim reveals a dead draugr that can be looted. In the southeast corner of the room is a lever that raises the center of the room to reveal a stone spiral staircase leading up, providing a shortcut back to the ground level of the large multi-leveled room with the wooden ramps.
Do not leave anything stored in the camp prior to entering the barrow after receiving the fourth letter. When you return, the entire camp will have been packed away, and will disappear if you leave Ralis alive.
You can use Telekinesis to grab the ring and other pieces of the armor set through the door.
Ahzidal's Ring of Arcana may not be on its plinth when you get to it—shouts from the draugr in the adjacent chamber can knock it into the pit of water. If this occurs, equipping Telekinesis can help you locate it (due to its longer range compared to the standard cursor).
Either the greatsword during your second visit or the one-handed sword in the spider room may float in the air, despite supposedly being stuck in the ground, and you may not be able to interact with them. ?
During your second visit, you may not be able to pass the top gate, even though it's open. ?
Use the tcl command to pass through the area.
It is possible for your follower or the draugr to fall through the ash near the word wall before the area has been dug out by the miners. If it happens to your follower, leaving the barrow may bring your follower with you. If it happens to the draugr, you may be able to bring them back up to the surface by leaving and reentering the barrow. ?
It is possible for Ahzidal's ashes/corpse to sink into the blood pool under the platform, making it impossible to loot. ?
Use the tcl command to pass through the top platform and into the pool.