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Skyrim:Tolfdir the Absent-Minded

< Skyrim: Quests: College of Winterhold: Favors / Radiant

Help Tolfdir find his missing alembic.
Quest Giver: Tolfdir
Location(s): College of Winterhold
Prerequisite Quest: Under Saarthal
Reward: 30 gold, a Soul Gem
Required Items: Tolfdir's Alembic
Difficulty: Easy
Tolfdir's Alembic

Quick WalkthroughEdit

  1. Speak to Tolfdir.
  2. Hunt down his missing alembic in the College.
  3. Return to Tolfdir.

Detailed WalkthroughEdit

Good old TolfdirEdit

Tolfdir is an elderly mage and professor at the College of Winterhold and one of the first people encountered at the college. When you have completed Under Saarthal and have begun Hitting the Books Tolfdir will be residing at the college. If you run across him looking confused, ask him if he needs help.

Tolfdir's AlembicEdit

Embarrassed, Tolfdir will admit to misplacing his alembic. And, while he could indeed use a different one, he has a strange sentimental attachment to this particular piece of equipment. Help the professor out by finding this lost item. The alembic will appear in one of three randomly-selected locations in the Hall of Countenance:

  • On the top floor: in the northern room, on top of a barrel to the right of the central dining bench.
  • On the top floor: underneath the left display case in the enchanting room.
  • On the bottom floor: on a crate in the eastern room, with the big barrel in it.

However, even without the quest being activated, you will run across the alembic numerous times in your wanderings about the college. Simply return the alembic to Tolfdir when you speak to him, and earn the reward each time. Tolfdir will give you thirty gold and an empty petty, lesser or common soul gem for returning his misplaced property.


  • Finding Tolfdir's Alembic before triggering the quest will not change the quest dialogue or outcome; you can simply start the quest and give the alembic to Tolfdir to receive your reward.
  • Unlike other games where alembics are a major part of Alchemy, this the only individual alembic that can be found in the base Skyrim game. The Farming creation adds a second one in the basement of Goldenhills Plantation. All other alembics in the game are permanently attached to alchemy stations.
  • Sometimes, the alembic will get dislodged from its normal location, possibly falling behind other objects or onto the ground nearby.


  •  USKP version only: Finding Tolfdir's alembic before triggering the quest may cause the objective to remain in your journal and not be set as complete.
  • Tolfdir may offer the dialogue option that initiates the quest after it has already been completed. Selecting this option will re-add the quest to your journal, but the Alembic will not respawn, leaving the objective permanently stuck in your journal.
    •  Entering the console command player.additem "00026c31" 1 to give yourself a second alembic will allow you to complete the quest by speaking to Tolfdir as normal.

Quest StagesEdit

Tolfdir the Absent-Minded (MGR01)
Stage Finishes Quest Journal Entry
10 ;player has accepted quest
200 Finishes quest 
  • The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 20.
  • Any text displayed in angle brackets (e.g., <Alias=LocationHold>) is dynamically set by the Radiant Quest system, and will be filled in with the appropriate word(s) when seen in game.
  • Not all Journal Entries may appear in your journal; which entries appear and which entries do not depends on the manner in which the quest is done.
  • Stages are not always in order of progress. This is usually the case with quests that have multiple possible outcomes or quests where certain tasks may be done in any order. Some stages may therefore repeat objectives seen in other stages.
  • If an entry is marked as "Finishes Quest" it means the quest disappears from the Active Quest list, but you may still receive new entries for that quest.
  • On the PC, it is possible to use the console to advance through the quest by entering setstage MGR01 stage, where stage is the number of the stage you wish to complete. It is not possible to un-complete (i.e. go back) quest stages, but it is possible to clear all stages of the quest using resetquest MGR01.