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Aim to explore and discover lost places, artifacts and history, Build the guild house from the ground up as the guild master, then recruit new members, each with their own unique back stories and special guild functions. Explore ruins and excavate relic fragments to re-assemble into artifacts to display in the museum. Set up a guild store with the quartermaster and much more.

General Tips

As a Relic Hunter you want to "collect 'em all". Finding over 2200 items scattered all across Skyrim is not something that happens overnight. Consider these major tips when adventuring across the wastelands of Skyrim, Wyrmstooth, Falskaar, Hammerfell, Cyrodill,...

  • Auryen can wait, look at those books!

The road from the Solitude docks to the Dragonborn Hall is filled with unprotected stuff like books and gems. All of these things belong in the museum and will help get you to those important numbers 250 and 270.

  • Useless junk is never truly useless.

Making replicas will be an important factor as soon as you start doing quests. Most of these replicas require fancy crafting materials that aren't used at all in Vanilla. You will need things like Human Skull, Linen Wrap, Quill, Roll of Paper, etc more often than not.

  • Carry weight is the key.

Bandolier is good mod to help solve this major problem a Relic Hunter will face. Getting your carry weight to 700+ as soon as possible will help you a long way ahead. Other mods like EFF or AFT will help you too. Don't hesitate to hire an army of pack mules to follow you around.

  • Give that back? Hmm, maybe next year.

Most quest items are weightless. You can use this to your advantage by not giving it back until you really no longer need it. Examples are Ancient Nordic Pickaxe, Balgruuf's Greatsword, etc.

  • All NPC's lives matter

It is not advisable to go on a killing spree while doing a Relic Hunter run. Most NPC's are bound to one quest or another and even the smallest quests can have a relic at the end, quests like "Deceiving the Herd" are therefor better avoided. Aside from Nazeem ofcourse, do whatever you want with him.

Equipment

Archeology

Getting your archeology skill up is a major part of a relic hunter run. As soon as you get your Explorer's Society guild house, you have acces to the special skill trees. Look out for excavation dig site's in every dungeon, they yield important fragments for your Hall of Lost Empires. The amount of fragments you need for every craftable items are listed below. Note that these numbers would require over 250 minings to get (without the perks).

Fragment Keystone
Dwemer 315 21
Falmer 197 13
Nordic 295 21

Skills, perks and effects

  • Prowler's Profit (No Stone Unturned)

Although the quest is a real pain, the reward is a must-have. This effect will allow you to find 3 gems in every single container. That means every single burial urn will contain treasures for you to display or sell.

  • Extra Pockets (Pickpocket perk)
  • Exhume/Scavanger/Salvager (Academia perks)

Missable items

Pay extra attention when entering these places because the relics here will forever be lost if they aren't found on your first (and last) visit.

Sovngarde
Roasted Ox Head
Roasted Ox Leg
Nord Head (requires BadGremlin's Trophy Heads, the main quest completed esp on BadGremlins Trophy Heads mod page places the head atop the Throat of the World instead)
Skuldafn
Dragon Priest Staff (Wall of Lightning)
Nahkriin
Nahkriin's Gloves (requires Kohnarik's Accoutrements)
Nahkriin's Robes (requires Kohnarik's Accoutrements)
Nahkriin's Greaves (requires Kohnarik's Accoutrements)
Cloak of Nahkriin
Irkngthand
Left Eye of the Falmer
Right Eye of the Falmer
Non-displayable Mhaznier
Labyrinthian
Drainspell Bow
Drainheart Sword
Morokei
Morokei's Gloves (requires Kohnarik's Accoutrements)
Morokei's Robes (requires Kohnarik's Accoutrements)
Morokei's Greaves (requires Kohnarik's Accoutrements)
Cloak of Morokei
If either of the masks Morokei or Nahkriin are missed, Konahrik becomes unavailable. Without Kohnarik, most items from Kohnarik's Accoutrements become unobtainable.
Inner Sanctum
Jade Dragon 4
Ruby Paragon -> Auriel's Shield
Circlet of Waterbreathing
Bloated Man's Grotto (before 'Ill Met by Moonlight')
Bolar's Oathblade (before 'Ill Met by Moonlight')
Thalmor Embassy
Thalmor Head (requires BadGremlin's Trophy Heads)
Any Orc Stronghold, except Largashbur
The Forgemaster's Fingers (Not obtainable if you are an Orc)
Hag's End
Ancient Shrouded Armor (not obtainable if you decided to destroy the Brotherhood or neglect to kill Giaus Maro in public)

Quests to postpone

  • Lost to the Ages
    • This quest requires you to travel to Raldbthar where it is very hard to avoid fighting Alain Dufont. Killing him then instead of during 'Mourning Never Comes' will result in Muiri's Ring being unobtainable.
  • Dungeon Delving (Helm of Winterhold)
    • Make absolute sure you get Helm of Yngol before you talk to Jarl Korir.
  • Season Unending
    • Siding with the Empire will make Maven Black-Briar Jarl of Riften. She will not give you the option to become Thane if you have completed the Skooma Quest The Raid prior to siding with the Empire. Neither will Jarl Korir be available for the abovementionned Helm of Winterhold quest.
    • Siding with the Stormcloacks will make Thongvor Jarl of Markarth. He will not give you the option to collect Hrolfdir's Shield.
    • Finishing this quest will mess with the guards in some of the holds, making their outfits unobtainable.
    • In short, just make sure to be Jarl of every hold before doing the main questline or the civil war.
  • Civil War
    • Siding with the Empire and completing the Civil War questline will cause "Blood on the Ice" to be unavailable, so the Necromancer's Amulet can not be recovered. It will also mess with the Jarls which causes numerous problems with their fetch quests.

Dawnguard vs Volkihar Clan

Not sure what side holds the most relics for you to display? They're listed below.

Volkihar Clan
Amulet of Bats
Amulet of the Gargoyle
Ancient Vampire Leg
Ancient Vampire Ribcage
Ancient Vampire Hands
Ancient Vampire Arm
Ancient Vampire Head
Ring of the Beast
Ring of the Erudite
Bloodstone Chalice (need confirmation, I found it in the boss chest after defeating Harkon (as a vampire) so I assume Dawnguard find it there too?)
Dawnguard
Dawnguard Rune Axe
Dawnguard Rune Hammer
Dawnguard Rune Shield
Dwemer Schematics 1-6
Staff of Ruunvald

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