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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 3200 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 of displays.

  • 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 sites in every dungeon, they yield important fragments for your Hall of Lost Empires. The amount of fragments you need for every craftable item are listed below. Note that these numbers would require over 250 minings to get (without the perks).

Besides mining, the player can send 4 Explorer Society Guild members on excavations (Eriana cannot be sent out) every 3 days to collect fragments. They collect about 5 - 6 pieces each with a decent chance to get keystones.

One other alternative are quests, as both Tools of the Trade and The Excavation of the Ruins of Rkund offer many fragments as a reward.

Fragment Keystone
Dwemer 385 28
Falmer 365 24
Nordic 365 24

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.
    • The Stones of Barenziah Quest Markers mod will make this significantly easier by adding markers for each of the 24 stones. Available on the Nexus for Skyrim and Skyrim SE.
  • Extra Pockets (Pickpocket perk)
  • Exhume/Scavenger/Salvager (Academia perks)

Missable Items

Each of these locations can only be visited once, and the relics and artifacts within will be lost forever if they are not obtained during 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
Orc Head
Irkngthand
Left Eye of the Falmer
Right Eye of the Falmer
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)
Japhet's Folly
Jade Lady

Quests to postpone

  • Ill Met by Moonlight
  • A Daedra's Best Friend
    • If you kill Barbas, the Masque of Clavicus Vile becomes unobtainable, nor can you craft the replica. It is therefor advised to save Barbas, since that will allow you to obtain the masque and craft The Rueful Axe (Replica).
  • Lost to the Ages
    • This quest requires you to travel to Raldbthar where it is very hard to avoid fighting Alain Dufont. Killing him during this quest instead of during 'Mourning Never Comes' will result in Muiri's Ring being unobtainable.
  • Find the Helm of Winterhold
    • If the Helm of Winterhold spawns in Yngol Barrow, the Helm of Yngol will be replaced and therefore unobtainable.
    • Make absolutely sure you get the Helm of Yngol before you talk to Jarl Korir.
  • Civil War
    • It is recommended that you become Thane of every hold before completing the Civil War questline, as siding with either the Empire or the Stormcloaks will make certain quests and unique items unavailable.
    • Finishing this questline will change guards in some holds, making their outfits unobtainable.
    • If you side with the Empire:
      • Maven Black-Briar will become Jarl of Riften. She will not give you the option to become Thane of Riften if you have completed the 'The Raid' prior to siding with the Empire.
      • Jarl Korir will not be available for the aforementioned Helm of Winterhold quest.
      • 'Blood on the Ice' cannot be started, making the Necromancer's Amulet unobtainable. You may be able to start this quest by purchasing Hjerim and entering the home.
    • If you side with the Stormcloaks:
      • Thongvor will become Jarl of Markarth. He will not give you the option to collect Hrolfdir's Shield.
  • Dawnguard
    • Only for users of Royal Armory. This quest usually starts at level 10, and destroys the Hall of the Vigilant, meaning you cannot get Keeper Carcette's unique mace Pendulum.
  • To Kill an Empire
    • After the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary is destroyed at the conclusion of this quest, Greigor will be no longer be available to start the quest 'The Hand of Glory.'

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
Dawnguard
Staff of Ruunvald

Note: The Dwemer Crossbow schematics are made available to Vampires by Legacy of the Dragonborn through the Ancient Technology quest.

Helpful mods

In addition to Bandolier, some very helpful mods that work nicely with Legacy are as follows.

Allows you to get both artifacts from quests where you would normally have to choose only one of two.

Allows you to get both side's artifacts from the Dawnguard quest chains. A third party legacy patch exists for this mod, be sure to get it.

For users of the Elemental Dragons supported mod, this mod will fix all typos, but more importantly add some scales you can acquire in the world. Normally you would outlevel the dragons which carry scales, meaning you can never get them once you are a high level. This mod rectifies that by adding hidden ones throughout the world.

Mainly helpful to provide a way to obtain the Royal Armory weapons in a reasonable way. You are able to challenge a NPC and take their artifact.

If you would rather barter with people for their items, NPC Bartering allows you to do just that.

This mod allows you to quickly scan bookcases etc for unread books, without having to hover over every book individually.

Quick display count

A fast way to boost your display count, which is most effective on a new character, is to go to the Arcanaeum in the College of Winterhold and steal every book from the bookshelves. A large number of these will be displayable within the museum library. There are also many displayable books in the Bards College in Solitude. If you have VIGILANT installed, there is a library in the Temple of Stendarr where you can repeat this process. Every unique, displayable book counts as one relic. Additionally, Master Neloth sells a lot of books, yielding potentially 100+ extra displays if you buy them all.