The Staff of Magnus

skyrim staff of magnusIn Brief

  • Travel to Labyrinthian
  • Kill the Dragon Priest Morokei
  • Retrieve Staff of Magnus


As you approach the entrance to the ruins of Labyrinthian, you will see ghostly apparitions of the archmage Savos Aren along with the other apprentices from the College of Winterhold. The apparitions will not acknowledge you, but will instead live out their final moments. Throughout the traversal of the dungeon, there will be fewer and fewer apprentices. The archmage demands to press on, until finally he is the only one left. He isn’t skilled enough to fight and win against the Dragon Priest (as is noted by the omniscient dialog the Dragon Priest will give throughout the dungeon). At several points throughout the dungeon, the Dragon Priest will speak to you; when he does he will drain your magicka so caster characters should bring extra potions.

The Frost Skeleton Dragon may appear in the first room of Labyrinthian, along with roughly 10 skeletons. The skeletons are very weak, especially against a good fire spell, so take them out first before concentrating on the dragon. The best way to get through this level is to cast Flame Atronachs through the gate without ever opening it. This way you can take out all of the skeletons without taking on any health damage and be fully prepared to face the dragon without any distractions. The dragon is also highly susceptible to fire, and the Fire Breath shout will take out the majority of his health.

In the room with the Draugr and Frost Spirit, blasting the door from which the Frost Spirit attacks opens the door. This door requires a fire spell to open, luckily there is one provided on the nearby altar. Later when you confront the Fire Spirit, there will be a nearby tome with a frost spell, use that to open his door.

There is a trapped hallway filled with triggered towers casting Frost Bite, Fireball, and Flames; and maybe a few Frost/Fire runes. On Expert/Master difficulty, this can be quite a challenge for a caster. The best way to get through is by taking the soul gems out of the first two towers, dodging the Fireballs being cast by the end tower. and then running to the hallway on the right. Save often in this hallway if you are having difficulties. You can also disable these towers by knocking the soul gems off their pedestals. There are also Wisps to be encountered: conjure a Flame Atronach and equip any protective spells you have, such as Oakflesh or Stoneflesh. Concentrate on killing the Wisp Mother, as all others emanate from her.

There is a leveled Draugr sitting on a throne opposite to a Word Wall. Kill it, and learn a new word for Slow Time.

The final boss, Morokei, is protected by a bubble of blue energy that is fed by by two enthralled mages. He becomes active once he loses this protection. In order to stop the mages from protecting the Dragon Priest you must attack them. If you haven’t already, go and pick up the Drainheart Bow from one of the defeated Ghost Draugr and use this on the mages protecting Morokei – if shot from Sneak Mode, you should be able to take out each Mage with only two shots. Use the rest of the charges to drain Morokei before heading to high ground for the long battle.

Morokei can conjure Storm Atronachs, as well as use command daedra to turn your Atronachs against you. He attacks with powerful lightning spells that drain magicka and as well as health. Fortunately, he likely will not resummon the Storm Atronach once it is defeated, so focusing your attacks on the Atronach will cut down on the difficulty of the fight.

It is possible to use the tunnel from which you enter the cave as a vantage point for ranged attacks. While the two mages will enter the tunnel to attack you, the Dragon Priest may remain in the cave so that it is fairly easy to retreat if necessary. Just be sure to stay crouched and be patient for it may take up to 50 arrows to fully destroy him. Killing the mage on the higher platform will give you a vantage point inside the cave itself. If the battle is fought from the walls of the ruins, you’re much likelier to stay safe; Morokei doesn’t seem to go for the close-range attacks.

Once the Dragon Priest has been defeated be sure to collect both his mask and his staff. If worn, his mask will allow you to regenerate magicka 100% faster. There are three chests in the final room, including one underwater which is protected by a single Slaughterfish; there are also Slaughterfish Eggs to be harvested on the stairs of the pool.

When you leave the cave, you will see the Arch Mage’s apparition, this time alone. He seals the cave, so that no-one will ever have to face its dangers again. A Thalmor associate of Ancanowill subsequently enter the room and challenge you to a fight for the staff. He is relatively easy to kill but lightning magic is recommended to drain his magicka. Once he is dispatched you can leave the ruins.