Open main menu

UESPWiki β


< Skyrim: People / Merchants / Trainers
(RefID: 0001C1A1)
(lore page)
Home City Winterhold
Location College of Winterhold
Hall of Attainment
Race Elder Gender Male
Level PC×1 (range=10-50) Class Spell Vendor
RefID 0001C1A1 BaseID 0001C19E
Training Trainer (Master)Alteration (Master)
Gold 500 (+1000 Master Trader)
Sells See Standard Merchandise
Buys Spells (Books, Clothing, Daedric Artifacts, Jewelry, Scrolls, Soul Gems, Spell Tomes, Staves)
Other Information
Health 250+(PC-1)×8.3
Magicka 250+(PC-1)×3.3
Stamina 50+(PC-1)×3.3
Primary Skills Alteration, Illusion, Sneak, Speech
Perks Mage Armor (rank 2); Regeneration
Class Details TrainerAlterationMaster
Morality Any Crime Aggression Unaggressive
Essential Yes
Voice Type MaleOldKindly
Faction(s) Actors in this will never fill world interaction aliases; Alteration Trainer; College of Winterhold 4(Wizard); CrimeFactionWinterhold; Skill Trainer; Tolfdir Services
Tolfdir in his room at the College of Winterhold

Tolfdir is an elderly mage who lives in the College of Winterhold. He is a professor and serves as the quest giver for the first few quests of that faction.

After the quest Under Saarthal he will most likely be found in the final chamber of Saarthal, studying the Eye of Magnus. Later, after you've collected the books during Hitting the Books, the Eye and Tolfdir will move to the Hall of the Elements. After The Eye of Magnus quest is completed, he is usually found in the Hall of Attainment. His room is the first to the left from the entrance on the ground floor.

Tolfdir wears master robes of Alteration and a pair of boots. He knows the Alteration spells Ironflesh and Stoneflesh, the Destruction spells Fireball and Flames, and the Restoration spell Steadfast Ward.

Related QuestsEdit

College of Winterhold QuestsEdit

Other QuestsEdit


His greetings:

"Education is never appreciated until after the fact. Young people never understand this."
"The College will be here for you, no matter what. We always look after our own."
"It's always encouraging to see the younger generations embracing education."
"Have you, by chance, seen my research notes? I seem to have misplaced them."
"After all that it's been through, the College still stands. In no small part thanks to you!"
"Like it or not, you are a shining example to future generations of College Mages."
"I am always available should you need me, Arch-Mage."
"Another day, another opportunity to learn!"

Quest Related EventsEdit

First LessonsEdit

When you first meet Tolfdir, he will be in the Hall of the Elements lecturing your fellow students, J'zargo, Onmund and Brelyna Maryon. Tolfdir will greet you with:

"Welcome, welcome! We were just beginning. Please, stay and listen."

He will then begin to lecture the rest of the class.

Tolfdir: "So, as I was saying, the first thing to understand is that magic is, by its very nature, volatile and dangerous. Unless you can control it, it can and will destroy you."
Brelyna: "Sir, I think we all understand that fairly well. We wouldn't be here if we couldn't control magic!"
Tolfdir: "Of course, my dear. Of course. You all certainly possess some inherent natural ability. That much is not being questioned. What I'm talking about is true control, mastery of magic. It takes years, if not decades, of practice and study."
J'zargo: "Then what are we waiting for? Let's get started!"
Tolfdir: "Please, please! This is exactly what I'm talking about. Eagerness must be tempered with caution, or else disaster is inevitable."
Onmund: "But we've only just arrived here -- you've no idea what any of us are capable of. Why not give us a chance to show you what we can do?"

Tolfdir will then address the player:

"You've been quiet so far. What do you think we should do?"

You will then have three options to reply with:

Safety should be more important than anything.
"Well, your classmates certainly seem to disagree with you."
I think we should learn something practical.
"Is that so?"
I'm not really sure what to think.
"Not going to weigh in either way? I admire your restraint, but there are times when you must make decisions, even without all the facts. Rely on instinct."

If you suggested learning something practical, Tolfdir will say:

"All right, let's settle down. I suppose we can try something practical..."

He will then proceed to give a lecture on wards:

"In continuing with our theme of safety, we'll start with Wards. Wards are protective spells that block magic. I'll teach you all a ward, and we'll see if you can successfully use it to block spells, all right?"

Tolfdir will then speak directly to you:

"Would you mind helping me with the demonstration? Are you at all familiar with ward spells?"

You have three options to respond with. The first is only available if no ward spells are known:

I don't know any Ward spells.
"That's all right. I can teach you a very basic ward, one that's enough for the purposes of this lesson."

Or if you do know a Ward spell:

I already know it, and already know how to use it.
"Well, then this should be no problem at all for you."


I have a ward spell, but I've never really used it.
"That's what this lesson is for. Perfect time to try it out."

He will then explain what you will need to do next:

"Now, if you'll just stand right over there, I'll cast a spell at you, and you block it with the ward. Here we go."

While the other students move out of the way, he will continue speaking:

"Just opposite me, please. Wouldn't want anyone else in the way."
"Now, cast the ward spell, and keep it up."

If you do not keep the ward spell up:

"You have to keep your ward up, or else this won't work. I don't want to hurt you."

While he is preparing his firebolt spell, he will say:

"Hold still."

After the demonstration he will congratuate you:

"Excellent work!"

He will then turn to address the class again:

"Well, I think this is an excellent start. I'd like you all to continue practicing with wards, please. I think perhaps we're ready to begin exploring some of the various applications of magic throughout history. The College has undertaken a fascinating excavation in the ruins of Saarthal nearby. It's an excellent learning opportunity. I suggest we meet there in a few hours, and see what awaits us. That's all for now, thank you."

At this point, First Lessons will be complete and the next quest, Under Saarthal, will begin.

Under SaarthalEdit

When spoken to outside of Saarthal:

"And here we all are. Shall we step inside?"
I'm ready. Let's go.
"All right, please stay close to me while we're inside. It should be safe, but it's always better to be cautious."
I'm not quite ready to go inside yet.
"No? I daresay we don't have all day."

Inside Saarthal: "As some of you may know, Saarthal was one of the earliest Nord settlements in Skyrim. It was also the largest. Sacked by the elves in the infamous "Night of Tears," not much is known about what happened to Saarthal. This is an exciting opportunity for us. To be able to study such an early civilization, and the magics they used..."

As he reaches the bottom of the staircase:

"Well, are there any questions before we begin?"
What's so important about this place?
"We're particularly interested in the prevalence of magical seals placed on the tombs here. It's rather unlike anything we've encountered."
What are we looking for?
"Anything! Anything at all that might be of interest. That's why I adore this location... we have no idea what we're going to find. And if, along the way, my message about the dangers of magic should happen to sink in for a few students, that would be a happy coincidence."
I don't have any more questions. What would you like me to do?
"Ah, yes. Hmmm. Well, why don't you see if you can assist Arniel Gane? He's one of our scholars, here working on cataloging our finds. I expect he'd appreciate some help in locating any additional magical artifacts here in the ruins. Any enchanted items will do; the usefulness of the enchantment is irrelevant. If you find anything, the class can look it over."

After speaking to Tolfdir he will speak to the other students:

"Now, let's see. What shall we have the rest of you do? Brelyna, my dear, why don't you search for warding magics. Anything designed to keep people out. Don't interact with them, just identify them. All right, everyone. Let's be careful, but have fun!"

Speaking to him again:

"Please be careful here. The site isn't entirely secured."
What did you want me to do?
"Find Arniel Gane. He's somewhere in the northern section of the ruins. He'll show you what to do."

Once you are trapped, Tolfdir will approach and say:

"What in the world was that racket? Everything all right?"
I'm trapped in here!
"How in the world did that happen?"
I pulled an amulet off the wall.
"Really? Perhaps the amulet is important somehow. Is there some way you can use it?"

Once you have equipped the amulet:

"Do you see that? Some kind of resonance... you and the wall. It must be connected to the amulet! I wonder... what effect might your spells have?"

After escaping from the trap:

Did you see that?
"Well would you look at that! This appears to lead somewhere. Let's see where it goes."
What is going on?
"I'm not sure. I certainly wasn't expecting this. This appears to lead somewhere. Let's see where it goes."

When entering the room behind the Saarthal Amulet:

"Well, this is highly unusual. And very interesting. Why in the world would this be sealed off? What is this place? I'm not sure what to expect here. Please be on your guard."

After speaking to Nerien:

"I... I swear I felt something rather strange just then. What just happened?"
Some sort of ghost or apparition appeared. It spoke to me.
"I'm afraid I didn't see anything... Can you tell me more about what you saw?"
It said something about danger ahead, and the Psijic Order.
"The Psijic Order? Are you quite sure about that? That's very odd. And danger ahead? Why that doesn't make any sense at all. The Psijics have no connection to these ruins. And no one's seen any of their order in a long time. Perhaps we should take a look inside these coffins... Now please be careful. Who know what we're going to find."
What's the Psijic Order?
"They were a group of mages with a history that pre-dates the Empire. Very powerful, very secretive. No one's seen them in well over a hundred years. They vanished, along with their sanctuary on the Isle of Artaeum. I have no idea what connection they'd have to this place."
Why is the Psijic Order contacting me?
"I have no idea, but it's fascinating. Assuming it's true, of course. The Isle of Artaeum disappeared over a hundred years ago, and no one has seen them since. And yet now, suddenly, they have chosen to contact you? Why, it's intriguing! If nothing else, I'd take it as a compliment. The Psijics have only ever dealt with those they feel worthy."

In the coffin chamber:

"I've never seen anything like this in Nordic ruins before. Why, just look at all these coffins! This bears closer inspection. I'd like to stay a while and examine this. You, however, should press on. See if you can find whatever this vision of yours mentioned. But if it is truly dangerous, be careful. Go on ahead. I'll be sure and catch up with you before long."

Further in the ruins Tolfdir will run up to you while shouting:

"Hold on, my boy. Hold on! I thought it high time I caught up with you."
Tolfdir in Saarthal

As you enter the chamber with the Eye of Magnus:

"Well now…... would you look at that. I never imagined we'd find something like this. Why is this buried so far within Saarthal?"

As you fight:

"Nothing seems to work! Keep it busy. I'll try to drain some of its power! There! Now attack it!"

After defeating Jyrik Gauldurson:

"I'm not the only one seeing this, am I? Why, this is utterly unique."

When spoken to:

"What could this place be?"
What is this thing?
"I have no idea! This is amazing. Absolutely amazing. The Arch-Mage needs to be informed immediately. He needs to see this for himself. I don't dare leave this unattended. Can you return to the College and inform Savos Aren of this discovery? Please, hurry."

If spoken to again:

Will you be all right by yourself?
"Oh, I think I'll be fine. We seem to have eliminated the most pressing threat. It certainly seems that whoever placed this here intended for it to be well guarded. I wonder why..."
What should I tell the Arch-Mage?
"Let him know that we've unearthed something... Well, I'm not sure. Something unique, let's say. It's clearly magical in nature, but like nothing I've ever seen before. He should be most interested."

Good IntentionsEdit

Urag suggested I come see you.
"Did he now? Does he have information about our wonderful discovery?"
I found a certain book, "Night of Tears"...
"Is that the one about something buried beneath Saarthal? Something that men and mer fought over? I'll have to make a point of re-reading it. I don't recall the details. I just can't seem to tear myself away. Whatever this is, its beauty is like nothing I've ever seen before. If you allow me to indulge myself for a moment, I thought I might make a few observations..."
There's a book he thinks you should read.
"Ah, yes. Well, I'll be sure and stop by the Arcanaeum later. I just can't seem to tear myself away. Whatever this is, its beauty is like nothing I've ever seen before. If you allow me to indulge myself for a moment, I thought I might make a few observations..."

He will then walk and say:

"I'm sure you've already noticed the markings. They're quite unlike anything we've seen before. Ayleid, Dwemer, Daedric... Not even Falmer. None of them are a match. Quite curious indeed. Now, I'm not quite sure that you're quite as attuned as I am, given my extensive years of experience, but can you feel that? This marvelous object. It practically radiates magicka, and yet it's unlike anything I've felt before. Arch-Mage Aren is already hard at work, and hopefully we'll have more information soon. Now, I..."

After speaking to :

Have you ever heard of the Augur of Dunlain?
"Well now, there's a name I haven't heard in some time. My goodness, it's been years since I've spoken with him. I suppose he's still down in the Midden, but I haven't checked. Are you going to see him? Do tell him "hello" for me, won't you?"
Where is the Midden?
"Underneath the College. It's not the nicest place, so if you go down there, please do be careful."
Can you tell me more about the Augur of Dunlain?
"Well, I suppose he wouldn't mind... It was all before my time, you understand. I've heard the stories, the same as anyone else. He was a brilliant student, an accomplished wizard. Delved into magic in a way none had seen before. But, I think, he became too focused on just how much power he could acquire. That's what led to the accident."


"Are you all right? What happened in there?"
It's Ancano. He's done something with the Eye!
"By the Nine... Is he responsible for this? The Arch-Mage, dead? There's more. Something's happened to Winterhold. It must be whatever Ancano did. You need to get out there and make sure it's safe. Quickly now, quickly! I'll find Mirabelle and see if we can't put a stop to this!"
Arch-Mage Aren is dead?
"I can hardly believe it. But there's no time. Whatever happened here has affected Winterhold as well. I need you to get out there and make sure everything's all right. I'll do what I can here. Go now, go!"

The Staff of MagnusEdit

Tolfdir casts a spell at Ancano

Once you return with the staff:

"You survived! You have it, then? Let's hope it's as powerful as the Psijics believe it to be."
Where's Mirabelle?
"She... She didn't make it. When it was clear we were going to have to fall back, she stayed behind and made sure the rest of us were all right."
Why are you all the way out here?
"Look for yourself. Ancano's power is growing. We can't crack whatever magic he's using to shield himself. I hope your trip to Labyrinthian was worth it."
Let's get in there.
"I'll be right behind you!"

After killing Ancano:

"I knew you could do it!"
What do we do now?
"I... I don't know. Ancano is gone, but whatever he's done to the Eye doesn't seem to have stopped. I have no idea what to do!"

The Psijics will then appear and Tolfdir will say:

"Now what's going on?"
"Psijics? Here now? What in Talos' name…."

Once the Psijics leave:

"You've done it! The College is safe again, thanks to your work. I knew you had it in you. I daresay the Psijics are right. There's no one more deserving to be Arch-Mage, in my opinion. Here, consider these yours. And the Arch-Mage's quarters as well. I shall be here for advice, should you need me."

Tolfdir the Absent-MindedEdit

You look like you could use a hand.
"Well, yes. This is rather embarrassing, but it seems I've misplaced something. I can't find my Alembic. I suppose I could use another one, but... well, it sounds silly, but mine has sentimental value. If you happen to see it, would you mind bringing it to me?"

If spoken to again:

What was it you were missing?
"My Alembic. I need it for some research, and can't seem to find it."

Once you find the alembic:

I found what you were looking for.
"Ah, yes! There it is! Thank you so much."

Alteration Ritual SpellEdit

Is there anything more I can learn about Alteration magic?
"At this very moment? No. However... Well, I've been working on something. An improvement on the Ebonyflesh spell. I've made progress, but then hit a snag. I think perhaps you could help."
What's the problem?
"I need dragon scales."
How can I help?
"I need you to collect some dragon scales."

Either option continues with:

"And not just any dragon scales. As I've said, I made some progress using the essence of dragon scales. But they're just not quite potent enough. My knowledge of Skyrim's history is far from complete, but I did some research and discovered two things. First, there are ancient references to dragon "heartscales". What little I could learn suggests they may be what I need. Second, there are stories of a dagger called Kahvozein's Fang, said to be sharp enough to carve individual scales off a dragon. First you'll need to retrieve the dagger, then use it to carve a few scales off a dragon. Presumably a deceased one."
I'll return shortly with the dragon scales.
"That would be wonderful. I'll be sure and have everything ready. This is exciting, isn't it?"
I was just asking. I didn't really want to be involved.
"Ah, well now you can help me directly! Far more useful, I think. Please do let me know if you change your mind."

If spoken to again you can ask some questions:

How do I collect these dragon scales for you?
"Not just any dragon scales. Heartscales. Very special. You'll need Kahvozein's Fang, of course. Then, if you should happen upon the corpse of a dragon, you should be able to use it to slice off a heartscale or two. Even just one should be enough for me to complete my research."
Is there anything else you can tell me about the dagger?
"Not much, I'm afraid. It was named Kahvozein's Fang after the dragon worshipped by this particular sect of the cult. They were said to be quite fond of ritual sacrifices. So fond, in fact, that the high priest spent a great deal of time sharpening the dagger. That way it was always ready for the next inevitable victim. Perhaps not the brightest spot in Skyrim's history, eh?"

Once you return with a heartscale:

Here's your heartscale.
"Wonderful, just wonderful! And it's just as I suspected. The energies need to be channeled back through the nexus a second and third time... And that's it. I certainly think you deserve the first copy of the tome. Use it well!"

Standard MerchandiseEdit

This is the merchandise found in Tolfdir's merchant chest. These items are only available if purchased from the merchant; they cannot be pickpocketed or stolen. They are restocked every two days.

Count Item Details
1 Complete set of Novice Alteration Spell Tomes
1 Complete set of Apprentice Alteration Spell Tomes
1 Complete set of Adept Alteration Spell Tomes Only if PC's skill level is ≥ 40
1 Complete set of Expert Alteration Spell Tomes Only if PC's skill level is ≥ 65
1 Spell Tome: Mass Paralysis Only after Alteration Ritual Spell has been completed
10 Leveled Alteration Robes (enchanted)
5 Leveled Mages Hood (enchanted)
5 Leveled Mages Robes (enchanted)
~9 Leveled Scrolls Max 12 (12@75%)
~15 Leveled Soul Gems (empty and full) Max 20 (20@75%)
~1 Leveled Staves Max 2 (2@25%)


  • Tolfdir’s ref uses a title normally never seen, where he is referred to as Tolfdir the White.
  • During the College quest The Staff of Magnus, Tolfdir is made Master Wizard, replacing the late Mirabelle Ervine.
  • Despite you being named Arch-Mage of the college by completing The Eye of Magnus, Tolfdir is effectively in charge of the college after that point, and you have no more power or influence over the NPCs of the college than you did before. Tolfdir is also the one you have to answer to if you steal, assault someone, or otherwise break the college's rules and end up being forced to complete the quest Rejoining the College.
  • Tolfdir has heterochromia iridum. His right eye is hazel and his left eye is green.