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Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Speedrun Tactics & Guide

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One thing I love doing is playing Skyrim and watching speed runs. I am playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on my YouTube channel but I’m trying not to use any speedrun tactics or using mods. Though I am going to add a few mods that only adjust very minor things and disable the normal ones I use during gameplay. And off camera, I love playing the game trying to use the speedrun methods or tactics just to see how fast I can complete the game sometimes. Note, using these tactics will miss out on a lot of the story and heavily uses the glitches.

So what are those tactics?

Glitches to Exploit

A lot of them are using glitches in the game that Bethesda Game Studios have yet to get rid of or have no intention of getting rid of at this time.

  • At the beginning, hitting the wall of Helgren’s Hold with a bowl and you will fall past most of the tutorial stage. Also it will cause enemies not to spawn. Similar effect will happen using buckets or platters. Due to the hit box of the wall being smaller than the hit box of the item, so you will go through the wall as it approximates where you are in comparison to the item & wall. This is something the developers found in QA but there is no way to fix it so this glitch will always exist.
  • After escaping Helgren go to Embershard Mine located just northeast of the Guardian Stones and get as many torches as possible.
  • Running with a one handed weapon or spell in one hand, and a torch in the other will cause an “Olympic Torch” glitch and you can run indefinitely. Torches will despawn over time so you might need to take several trips to the mine to get more.
  • Horses can walk directly up mountains but don’t let them face the other way or they will fall straight back down the mountain.

Skipping Quests and Dialogue

  • Quick Travel will be your best friend to cut off time. Only works if you’ve been somewhere before.
  • Beating up guards to get arrested can quickly help you get to various places.
  • Using Quicksave then going back and forth between them can help you skip dialogue that is normally not skippable.
  • Sell anything you take so you have enough gold to travel places.
  • For 100 Gold, you can beat up Uthgerd the Unbroken for a chance at 200 Gold. This can help you get enough gold if you don’t have enough for specific things. You can also get her to be your companion so you can help a shield to protect you since you won’t really be leveling up.
  • This won’t help you skip anything, but you will need lockpicks so collect any you come across.

I generally use a combination or glitches and bugs when I play Skyrim just to cut a little bit of time, but if I’m doing a speed run for fun I use the guide below. As Skyrim has been out for years and most likely you’ve already completed the game one time before. I’m going to make some assumptions that you already know the general layout of the map.

Guide to Speedrun Game

This is the order you can follow to cut the gameplay from 100+ hours to 2 hours. Anything that costs Gold or specific item will be in bold.

  • After getting into Helgren’s hold, and having your bindings undone. Take a bowl and hit the right wall with it towards the rear of the room.
  • Escape Helgren.
  • Go to Whiterun and talk to the Jarl.
  • Steal a platter from Dragonsreach.
  • Take a ride to Solitude. Costs 20 Gold.
  • Head to the back of Thalmor Headquarters and use the platter against the wall this will get you into the Headquarters.
  • Enter the Thalmor Embassy. Note: You will be attacked by Thalmor agents.
  • Open the chest inside and take the “Dragon Investigation: Current Status” document.
  • Get out of the Embassy then quick travel to Whiterun Stables.
  • Take a ride to Riften. Costs 20 Gold.
  • In Riften, go to The Ratway.
  • Make your way to the Warrens where Esbern is. Note: Lowlives and Thalmor will attack you.
  • Convince him to let you in.
  • Make your way out of The Ratway. Esbern can act as your shield and defeat enemies for you. Since he’s a story character, he can’t die.
  • Fast travel to Riverwood.
  • Talk to Delphine in the Sleeping Giant Inn.
  • After Delphine and Esbern talk in the Blades room in the basement, fast travel to the Whiterun Stables.
  • Take a ride to Markarth. It might be a good idea to get Uthgerd the Unbroken if you want another sword to come with that is if you’ve taken on her beat. Costs 20 Gold.
  • Make your way to Karthspire, you might run into a blood dragon along the way.
  • When you reach the pillars, don’t actually do the puzzle. If you jump onto the pillar on the left side there is an invisible wall you can get onto and walk/jump up to a set of stairs at the top that gets you into the Sky Haven Temple.
  • You might have to use the wait function to await for your companions to spawn. Then they will use your blood to open the head looking door.
  • Go to the Alduin’s Wall where you will learn the prophecy. You might want to skip the dialogue if you are speed-running. This will lead to them telling you that you need to get Dragonrend shout from the Greybeards.
  • Fast travel back to Whiterun Stables.
  • Take a ride to Winterhold. Costs 50 Gold.
  • Make your way to Septimus Signus’s Outpost.
  • Steal the Attunement Sphere and Blank Lexicon from Septimus Signus.
  • Fast travel back to Whiterun Stables.
  • Take a ride to Blakereach.
  • Head to Tower of Mzark.
  • At the back side of the tower, you need to walk up to the wall on the left side so you can see a switch. Flip it. This will let you in the back door.
  • Go to the five buttons and enter in the following series:
    • Place the blank lexicon.
    • Hit the second to last button on the right four times.
    • Hit the second button from the left twice.
    • Hit the first button on the left once.
  • Grab the Elder Scroll.
  • Fast travel back to Whiterun Stables.
  • Steal a horse.
  • Fast travel to Helgren.
  • Head up the mountain on the horse, be careful not to go too high or you might get stuck in a blizzard.
  • Enter High Hrothgar from the courtyard since you were never invited doing this method and can’t enter the front door.
  • Talk to the Greybeards about Dragonrend.
  • Learn Clear Skies shout.
  • Either take the path or your stolen horse to get to the top of the mountain.
  • Meet Paarthurnax the Master Dragon of the Grey Beards who will teach you the Dragonrend shout.
  • Use the Elder Scrolls to learn why dragons have returned to Skyrim.
  • Fight/defeat Alduin with Paarthurnax.
  • Head back to Dragonsreach in Whiterun and talk to Jarl Balgruuf.
  • Talk to Farengar Secret-Fire the court wizard with the Jarl Balgruuf then convince the Jarl to allow you to use Dragonsreach to lure a dragon in.
  • Fast Travel to High Hrothgar.
  • As you don’t have a stolen horse and still don’t have access to enter the front door, use a bucket on the side of the stone stairs on the right side to glitch underneath High Hrothgar to the courtyard so you can use the same door you used with the horse earlier.
  • Talk to Arngeir the Greybeard and convince them to set up a truce between the Imperials and the Stormcloaks.
  • Fast travel to Whiterun Stables if you didn’t discover Solitude the first time, otherwise just fast travel to Solitude.
  • Take a ride to Solitude. Costs 20 Gold.
  • If you punch a guard, you will be sent exactly where you need to be. Just pay the find then go to General Tullius. Fine is 40 Gold.
  • Convince General Tullius to agree to the truce and attend the negotiations with the Greybeards.
  • Fast travel back to Whiterun Stables.
  • Take a ride to Windhelm. Costs 20 Gold.
  • You can either punch a guard and do the same trick as with General Tullius or just walk to Palace of the Kings (option B takes longer). Fine is 40 Gold.
  • Talk to Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak and convince to agree to the truce/negotiations with the Greybeards.
  • Fast travel back to High Hrothgar.
  • You will need to do the bucket trick again as the front door is still and forever locked to you.
  • Talk to the Arngeir the Grey Beard and report you got both sides to agree.
  • Go to the chamber in High Hrothgar and there will be a negotiation that lasts seven minutes. Use the fast forward method of quicksave and load until you have successfully cut through the whole dialog to save them since let’s face it you’ve missed most of the story at this point. No need to listen to it now.
  • Leave High Hrothgar using the courtyard door.
  • Fast travel to Whiterun’s Dragonsreach.
  • Talk to Jarl Balgruuf to initiate the trap.
  • Go to the Great Porch in Dragonsreach upstairs behind the Jarl.
  • Use the shout you obtained at the end of the negotiations, this will call Odahviing to Dragonsreach.
  • Equip Dragonrend while you wait for Odahviing to appear.
  • Use Dragonrend as this will force Odahviing to land similar to how you used it against Alduin. Make sure you lure it towards you in the very back so they can drop the trap on him.
  • Interrogate Odahviing and convince him to take you to Sovengarde. The equivalent to heaven or Valhalla in Skyrim.
  • Release Odahviing. Note: a few times I’ve done this it’s bugged out and Odahviing will attack after releasing him. So make sure you quicksave so you don’t have to redo it.
  • Talk to Odahviing to ride to Skuldafn.
  • Head across the river and wall climb up the cliff to reach a tower that at the top has Alduin’s portal to Sovengarde. Note: The area is crawling with Dragons and Draugr and they will attack you if you go the wrong direction.
  • Head into the portal to Sovengarde.
  • Travel along the wall/mountain on the left as this will avoid enemies.
  • Gain admittance to the Hall of Valor by beating Tsun. You will be ill-equipped so the battle might be hard so make sure to use quicksaves. Note: though tempting, you cannot trick Tsun away from the bridge then run across it. A magically shield will kill you.
  • Head across the bridge and enter the Hall of Valor.
  • Talk to the three (Gormlaith Golden-Hilt, Felldir the old, and Hakon One-Eye) that first faced Alduin and sent him into the future.
  • Head back out into Sovengarde. You will be joined by the three heroes of Sovengarde.
  • Use Clear Skies to get rid of the mist. You will have to do this about three times.
  • Defeat Alduin with the help of the heroes and Dragonsreach.
  • Speak to Tsun to return to Skyrim. You will also learn the “Call of Valor” Shout that allows you to call the Heros of Sovengarde whenever.
  • You reappear on Paarthurnax’s mountains with all the other dragons who are now free of Alduin.
  • Talk to Paarthurnax and game is over, but Skyrim is still your oyster to play with if you want to. ‘Cause Lord knows there are a million quests you skipped over while doing the speedrun.

Know a different way to quickly complete The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim?

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