The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is still one of the best games to play on a console or PC. The game has everything that makes a title timeless – an interesting storyline, top-notch graphics, a big open world, good gameplay, and lots of puzzles, including the Skyrim Volskygge puzzle. It would not be an overstatement to say that Skyrim presented the blueprint for a majority of today’s open-world RPGs.
However, unlike many modern RPGs, I feel that most puzzles in Skyrim are pretty easy to solve and offer little to no challenge. But in some sporadic instances, the game comes with inventive and tricky puzzles that are bound to leave players scratching their heads in confusion.
One such puzzle is The Four Totems of Volskygge. Players must solve this puzzle before they can proceed further. Even some of the experienced Skyrim aficionados find themselves puzzled by this puzzle (see what I did there?).
Below, I will let you know how you can complete the Four Totems challenge and go on to defeat Volsung in the Volskygge Peak.
What is Volskygge?
Volskygge is an ancient Nordic crypt in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It resides in the northwestern part of Skyrim, known as Haffingar. Players can locate the tomb heading traversing far west of Solitude. Volskygge is also home to Volsung – one of the eight powerful Dragon Priests in Skyrim. Defeating him will allow you to complete the Skyrim Volskygge puzzle.
Once you are standing right before the chamber’s main entrance, you will see a stairway going down to a place that reminded me of an archeological site. Also, you will notice a smaller tomb to your left.
The interior of this tomb has some loot and a pair of coffins. The right coffin is already open, with the remains of a Draugr lying on the floor. The left one is still shut. But one can force open it via multiple methods.
I prefer using a fire rune that can easily break open the coffin. Doing so will make a leveled Draugr come out. Remember that there is a swing trap attached to the ceiling. So, you need to be careful while entering this tomb.
Volskygge’s Internal Layout
Now, coming to the main tomb, the initial big room in Volskygge has a poison dart trap in front of it. You will find some bandits here as well. From here, you have to head to the west, followed by the north, until you reach the next room with a swinging spiked gate. Simply move to its right to dodge the spikes. Then, proceed to the west and go downstairs to find an apprentice-locked chest that offers random loot and another bandit.
After that, the path goes north until you see a T intersection. West to the intersection, there is a room that contains two bandits (yes, again!), a bookshelf with a copy of Aniis Noru’s ‘Surfeit of Thieves’, and an adept-locked gate. Pulling the lever behind the gate unveils a hidden door to the west. This allows you to acquire some random loot from a chest and quite a few potions.
To the east of the T intersection, you will find a big dining hall with two doors to the north and an iron door to the east. The former doors will lead you to the different sides of the same hall. Also, you will find many other dining rooms with no remarkable loot inside them.
On the other hand, the iron door possesses a swinging log trap. To sidestep it, first, sneak up to the trap’s activation plate and stand on it as the trap descends. Next, move to the front and then the side as the trap is going up again. Once safe, follow the path to the left, and you will reach a room that contains the Four Totems puzzle.
Close to the floor, there are four emblems of bear, wolf, fox, and snake. Every emblem has a dais behind it with a handle. Activating these handles in the proper order is the only way to solve the puzzle and proceed further.
In the puzzle room, you will also find a book called ‘The Four Totems of Volskygge’. This book has a riddle that you have to decode to open a locked door that leads to a passage. Thus, we move on to the next phase of the Skyrim Volskygge puzzle.
Once you solved the puzzle and opened the door, you need to go down a staircase. This will take you to a room with a soul gem and random loot.
Right next to the gem, there is a lever pulling which opens an iron door to a room to the north with a Draugr. The room contains a booby-trapped chest. There are a skeever tail and a pair of soul gems on the altar.
Activate the lever on the right side of the wall to open the iron bars to the west and reveal a room with a grate over a pit and a pressure plate to trigger a pendulum axe.
The next room has a trap door that forces players to fall into a spiky pit. Yikes! But fear not! You can easily jump on the wooden platform on the other side. Fight the Draugr at the bottom and head to the southern passage.
There is a room with a Draugr trinity and many adjacent recesses with tombs. Enter the trap door room, and you will see a bandit’s remains. The wall behind the bandit has a lever that reveals a room that contains a second lever to open a second room. This room has an adept-locked chest and a healing potion on a dais.
I recommend approaching the dais from behind, as taking away the potion makes spikes pop out of the floor.
Bypassing the spiked gate trap in the room with three Draugr gives you an apprentice-locked chest. This path turns left, then north, and finally leads to a large room. Go upstairs, and you will find a third burial chamber.
Passing through the open iron door that goes to an altar with three health potions. FYI, there are Draugr all around. Come back through the door, and take the stairway with a pressure plate in the middle. The path proceeds to the west and through a cave with eleven frostbite spiders. Reach their nest and follow the narrow passage with four more frostbite spiders. It ends in a dungeon again.
After dodging the battering ram and disarming the booby-trapped chest, take a left turn and go down the ramp to enter a room with a pair of arched bridges over a river. Take a passage to the right to get Orichalcum Ore Veins and a chest.
The room with the river has two stairs back-to-back leading to the south and east. Here, you will see a Draugr Death Overlord. Defeat him, loot the room, and head upstairs to open the door to Volskygge Peak.
At the Volskygge Peak, you will come face-to-face with Volsung. Also, there is the Whirlwind Sprint Word Wall.
Lazy people can circumvent the entire crypt and reach the Whirlwind Sprint by climbing the mountain. Horses are your best bet here.
But I think this takes away the fun and challenge from the entire thing, and real gamers do not want that, right?
How to Complete the Skyrim Volskygge Puzzle?
‘The Four Totems of Volskygge’ book contains the following riddle:
The first fears all,
The second fears none.
The third eats what it can,
Preferably number one.
The fourth fears the second,
But only when alone.
All must be activated in order,
If you wish to go home.
Among the bears, wolves, foxes, and snakes – a snake fears all creatures. A bear is so powerful that it fears no being. A fox eats numerous creatures but likes to devour snakes a lot. And finally, a wolf fears a bear and may attack a bear when in a pack but never alone. So, the correct order is:
Solving the puzzle will open the door to the Volskygge Passages.
How to Defeat Volsung?
Volsung’s Destruction, Conjuration, Alteration, and Restoration skills are all level 100. But you can defeat him using Magic Regeneration with additional help from a Housecarl. I suggest you let the Housecarl do the majority of attacks on Volsung while you keep healing her.
You can also utilize the Unrelenting Force, take a bit of help from the Spectral Assassin, and finally, defeat him with a bow, sword, or mace. You can try the various Destruction Spells in Skyrim as well, but Volsung will likely laugh them off.
FYI, there is a bug in Skyrim that sometimes causes Volsung to just backtrack after casting/not casting a Frost Cloak without fighting back. If you face this situation, you are in for an easy fight.
The Reward for Defeating Volsung
Upon defeating Volsung, you will get the Volsung mask – one of the eight Dragon Priest Masks in Skyrim. All eight masks enable the Dragonborn to restore the Bromjunaar Sanctuary.
Plus, the Volsung Mask has the following enchantments:
- Waterbreathing – 20 Points
- Fortify Barter – 20 Points
- Fortify Carry Weight – 20 Points
To conclude, the Four Totem Challenge is an exciting puzzle – completing which is mandatory for players to advance to the Volskygge Peak and fight Volsung. Defeating Volsung gives you the Volsung mask enchanted with cool perks.
In this walkthrough, I explained in-depth about Volskygge and how to solve the puzzle. I also told you ways to win against Volsung. Employ these tactics, and you should have zero trouble in being victorious. All the best, Dragonborn!
Now you may read about how to use the Antronach Forge in Skyrim to craft new weapons and scrolls.