|This article is about the quest called The Golden Claw. For other uses, see Golden Claw.|
|The Golden Claw|
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|Lucan Valerius or Bandits|
|Bleak Falls Barrow|
I have returned the [[Gold Claw] (item)|Gold Claw]] to Lucan, who rewarded me for my effort.— Dragonborn
Retrieve the Golden Claw
Head up the mountain to the north to gain access to Bleak Falls Barrow. The encounters along the way are random, but you can expect to fight a bandit or two, especially ones that could be hiding in the towers up towards the barrow. At this point it is a good idea to have your healing spell in your left hand or at least ready to switch to by favouring it. And of course Faendal as follower sniping your enemies will help early on. It takes a lot for a follower to outright die, so feel free to let your sidekick take all the punishment. We were lucky enough to gain a suit of Iron Heavy Armor and a new greatsword (which we handed to Faendal); even with some randomness it is likely that you will gain the same equipment to outfit yourself and your comrade.
Eventually you will reach Bleak Falls Barrow proper. Here there will be three more bandits, likely with two-handed axes or ranged bows. If you have not used one yet it is a good idea to whip out your shield. Shields are great for absorbing damage and staggering enemies. A successful block will stagger an normal attack. However if the enemy uses a power attack it will break your guard. This also holds true for when you fight a defending enemy. You can also block with a two-handed weapon or while dual-wielding, but this is not nearly as effective as a shield.
You will likely still be level 1, so most of the enemies will still be weak. A few swings of your weapon and shots from your follower will be enough to clear most encounters inside and around the barrow. With that said, after clearing out the three enemies, enter the door on the right to enter inside the barrow. There will be two bandits within the first room. You have enough time to sneak and get in a free hit or two. However, unless your character is a Khajiit or already trained before entering your sneaking may be too low to get by these guards.
The loot on the bandits is not anything great, but the nearby chest has some goodies inside. It has a novice lock on it, but you should hopefully still have plenty of lockpicks from Helgan to easily bust it open. Inside the chest is some gold, souls gems, and a Scroll of Hysteria.
Continue down the path and you may notice various urns and pots sitting around. Most of these are empty, so hover your crosshair over them before needlessly interacting with them. There are a few potions sitting around the bookshelves, so be sure to grab them. Once you have looted anything you need, head down the hall and kill the Bandit Outlaw. There will be a puzzle ahead and the answer is on the pillars overhead. Or rather was up there, the middle symbol has collapsed on the ground. However, since it is the only one dislodged it is still easy to figure out. Move over to the pillars on the left and rotate them so that from left to right they show a snake, a snake, and a whale.
This will open a gate leading to the basement. As you enter there will be more petty soul gems and a chest to loot. However, expect to be interrupted as skeevers will emerge from below. These are large rats and are easily killed. For the real battle head down the spiral stair case and slash through the webbing on the left. This will reveal the Wounded Frostbite Spider. It is a large version of spiders you might have already fought. Its poison is even more deadly, making it very important to have a healing spell on the ready.
Cut Arvel down
The easiest way to heal up is to simply run back out the entrance as the spider is too big to follow you. Faendal or whatever companion you have will also make this battle rather simple. After the spider is dead, move left to find Arvel the Swift stuck in some webs. Free him from the webbing and continue to slice him to bits. He is the one with the Golden Claw and would rather flee or attack you than hand over the treasure. It simply saves time to bash his skull in and loot the warm corpse. Continue down the path and you will face undead draugrs. These enemies are susceptible to fire if you feel like switching to Destruction magic, but are not that difficult to overcome anyway.
You should be careful about traps in the area, there is a spike gate just ahead that will spring if you step on the pressure point. Traps like these will do serious damage if they hit you in the heat of combat. If you have already killed the enemy, you can likely heal the damage quickly before moving on. You will then face three more draugrs. They have basic armours and weapons so there still is not much to worry about. Their Ancient Nord weapons are not that great so there is not much reason to loot them unless you simply want some different gear. Up ahead will be a swinging set of blades. Remember back to Helgan where you sprinted out? If you have not been using sprinting, now is a good time to start again. The sprint is fast enough to get by traps like that.
Head down the next few halls and slice through three more draugr. At the end of this hall will be a chest that may contain more stamina potions and arrows. Pull the chain near the chest and it will open the gate headed outside. There will be two more chests: one to the right as you exit that might have another saleable scroll and possibly leather armour. Kill another draugr and head down the icy path on the east to reach the second chest. This chest has a novice lock and may contain a Scroll of Dread Zombie and a Weak Paralysis Poison. Once done looting, head back up the ice spiral and into the next cave to the north.
Here will be a Restless Draugr, a stronger version of the undead ones you have faced so far. It is a good idea to have both a shield and healing spell at the ready. The Restless Draugr has way more health and his two-handed sword can do some heavy damage. Block his blows as best as you can and heal up when you take too much damage. Your follower may be the main source of damage in this fight as you keep yourself healthy. Through the next door there will be two more draugr: one melee one at the bottom floor and an archer above. These are normal draugr, so they are fairly weak. Climb up the stairs on the right and loop around left until you come to the bridge. Soon you will come to a door with a claw-shaped keyhole and several rings. Look at the claw in your inventory and it will show you the code: Bear, Moth, Owl. Set up this combo and place the claw in to unlock the door.
Find the secret of Bleak Falls Barrow
Move down the path and you will arrive at a tomb. On the wall there will be a flashing dragon word, a word wall, that will teach a word for the first shout: Unrelenting Force. You most likely cannot use this yet. Though if you took the time to kill a dragon you can learn and equip the shout. Learning the word of power for the shout will also revive a draugr. This enemy is even stronger than the Restless Draugr you fought earlier. His attacks are strong enough that you might want to switch to a ranged spell or a bow. If your follower has a brutal two-handed weapon and some armour they might be able to take the boss a little better than you can. As long as you have some distance and make use of your shield you can resist the brunt of the damage and easily counter.
Loot the Draugr Overlord to gain the Dragonstone (which was the real prize here) and you can also take his Ancient Nord Battle Axe of Cold which can deal extra frost damage to health and stamina. Loot the area for a petty soul gem, Weak Frenzy Poison, a Spell Tome: Conjure Familiar and up to eighty gold. Head up the stairs on the left to unlock the exit. Stop along the way to loot another chest with a Garnet, extra gold and lockpicks. Now you are free to return to Skyrim and can fast travel back to Riverwood.