Bleak Falls Barrow is the third quest of the first act featured in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It follows the events presented in the quest called Before the Storm, and it starts while you talk to Jarl Balgruuf in Whiterun.
To complete Bleak Falls Barrow, you have to finish Before the Storm, because you will receive the third main-quest from Jarl Balgruuf.
During this quest, you have to visit the following regions: Bleak Falls Barrow, Bleak Falls Temple, Bleak Falls Sanctum, Riverwood, the Sleeping Giant Inn, Whiterun and Dragonsreach.
The list of enemies you will encounter includes Arvel the Swift as well as several trolls, spiders and Draugr.
When the dialogue between you and Balgruuf ends, you will be asked to seek Farengar Secret Fire.
Stay near Balgruuf and he will take you to his wizard, who will inform you that he needs the Dragonstone. According to Farengar, the Dragonstone contains a valuable map that reveals the tombs of all dragons in Skyrim.
After you pick up this quest, you can gain additional information from the wizard. Farengar also tells you that the Dragonstone is in Bleak Falls Barrow.
If you already explored Bleak Falls Barrow, and you have the Dragonstone, give it to Farengar and you will complete the quest. If not, is time for you to travel to Riverwood, and from there to Bleak Falls Barrow to complete your first objective.
Objective 1: Retrieve the Dragonstone
The fastest way to get to Riverwood is to use the Fast Travel option on your map, but the best way is to travel is on foot, because you will encounter several enemies that will help you gain more experience. The most expensive way is to buy a horse.
NOTE: When you reach Riverwood, make sure you pick up the The Golden Claw side-quest from Lucan Valerius located at the Riverwood Trader, because you can complete it in Bleak Falls Barrow.
When you are ready to begin, follow the road to the north from Riverwood.
Stay alert because you will be attacked by bandits and move forward until you reach the entrance to Bleak Falls Temple.
In the first chamber, pay attention to the dialogue you hear between two bandits, and then kill them.
Follow the stairs down and advance around the dead Skeever. You will be attacked by another bandit. Kill him and move forward until you reach a blocked entrance.
Here you must solve a puzzle since the lever that opens the door cant be used.
Look to the left and you will see three pillars.
On the pillars, you can see several animals. Make sure you rotate them until you get the following combination: Snake, Snake and a Whale.
Now, you are able to advance, because the door opens.
Follow the stairs down and kill the Skeevers that attack you.
Move deeper but pay attention because you will hear a voice coming from your left.
Cut the web that blocks your way and you will find a tunnel that leads you to a room.
Here you must kill a Frostbite Spider. It is a good idea to kill the beast before interacting with its prisoner.
When the spider is dead, approach the Elf and talk to him. It is Arvel the Swift and he is the one who has the Golden Claw you need to complete the side-quest.
When you release him, he will run away; however at this point you have two options. You can put an arrow in his head, or you can leave him, because you will find him later.
The choice is yours, but a good idea is to let him run, and follow him.
Arvel will take you deeper in the catacombs and you will see him dying in a fight against several undead.
Be careful because when he dies, the undead will attack you. Here you have two options.
You can fight the undead, or you can sprint through the spiked gate; however if you do this, make sure you stay on the left side and you step on the mechanism that will trigger a trap. Eventually, this trap will kill your enemies.
Now its time to return and search the corpses. Dont forget to loot Arvels body and recover the Golden Claw as well as his Journal. The book gives you more information about Bleak Falls Barrow.
Continue your exploration until you reach several blades that swing in front of you. Make sure you run forward exactly when the first blade passes near you.
Eventually you will enter a passage and you will notice some areas with a fluid on the ground. Do not use any fire spells because the fluid you see is oil and you will set on fire the tunnel. Use the oil only if you wish to burn the enemies that attack you and then advance.
Follow the stairs up and you will enter a large room, where you will see a waterfall . The path you need to follow is behind the gate above the water.
Clear the room and activate the chain near the gate.
Move forward, cross the bridge, and kill from distance the enemies you see below you.
Follow the path, enter the Sanctum and use the bladed corridor as a trap for the Draugr.
When you reach the Great Chamber, you will be attacked by a large number of enemies. Dont forget to use the oil lamps in order to ignite your opponents.
After you clear this area, pass the Iron Door and the Hall of Stories until you reach a blocked door where you can see three circles that must be activated. Here you must solve a puzzle, but it requires the Golden Claw.
The answer to this riddle is carved on the Golden Claw. The fastest way to solve the puzzle is to open your inventory and rotate the item until you see the symbols on it.
On the outer circle you see on the door you should have the symbol of a Bear, while the on the middle circle you must have a Moth. Rotate the inner circle until the symbol of the Owl appears, and then place the Golden Claw on the door, to open it.
This puzzle allows you to reach a ceremonial room where you will find the Dragonstone.
First, approach the center and loot everything you find, and then look around until you see the Word Wall. Investigate it but be careful because a Draugr will attack you.
Kill him and loot his corpse, because he has the item you need: the Dragonstone.
Now, go to the left side of the chamber and activate the mechanism that opens a door. Follow the path and you will return to Skyrim.
Objective 2 : Deliver the Dragonstone to Farengar
NOTE: When you exit, you should go to Riverwood and complete the side-quest. Additionally, while you visit Riverwood you may want to check with Alvor the Blacksmith and the Alchemy Lab where you can learn how to craft potions.
Fast Travel to Dragonsreach, and locate Farengar who waits for you in his study. Complete the quest and then check Farengars workbench because the wizard sells some interesting spells.
Return to the Jarl and you will begin a new quest, called Dragon Rising.