Skyrim Major Bug + Guide: Companions + The Helm of Winterhold

Ok guys, I’m just writing this short article to warn you about the first serious bug I’ve encountered in Skyrim. This bug will basically break the Companion’s questline and the town of Whiterun as well. It’s avoidable and fixable though and I’m going to tell you how.

Near the end of the Companions questline you will get a quest from Kodlak to kill some witches in a cave. There is a miscellanious quest called “The Helm of Winterhold” which you get off the Jarl of Winterhold. If you have “The Helm of Winterhold” quest DO NOT DO THE COMPANIONS QUEST – it will break and you will not be able to get the next quest in that questline!! This happened to me and I lost roughly an hour’s worth of gameplay trying to fix it. Basically, the Helm quest and the next Companions quest use the same dungeon (Driftshade Refuge I think it’s called), and if you have the Helm quest the game will bug and fail to give you the Companions one.

Here’s what you have to do: if you have the Helm of Winterhold quest then you have to do that before you do the Companions quest to kill the witches. (If you don’t have the Helm quest then you’re fine – just don’t talk to the damn Jarl of Winterhold until you’ve finished the Companions!). Be careful though: don’t kill the enemies (particularly the boss enemy) at the end of the dungeon – these enemies are objectives of the Companions quest. To do the Helm quest you have to fight through Driftshade Refuge, going through its cellar to get to the room at the back where the Helm is hidden. The simple answer is to stop killing stuff as soon as you leave the cellar. Grab the Helm, lift the bar on the door, and run for your life! It’s safe to kill the enemies in the cellar and before you enter the cellar so feel free to let loose you rage at silly bugs on them 😀

Once you hand in the Helm of Winterhold the Companions quest will work properly for you. In fact, the Companions quest will be easier because you will have opened the barred door which leads straight to the boss’ room! Hopefully this article will help people to avoid this bug and to fix it. As I said, it’s the first real bug I’ve encountered in this game. If there’s anything about fixing this bug that is unclear please leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer. Best of luck!

44 thoughts on “Skyrim Major Bug + Guide: Companions + The Helm of Winterhold

  1. Hey guys, one of my friends has informed me that he received a different Helm of Winterhold quest. Either Bethesda has hotfixed this issue or this quest will send you to a random dungeon. If your Helm of Winterhold quest hasn’t sent you to Driftshade Refuge then rest easy, you should be fine 🙂

  2. Hello. Thanks so much for the info! I have one question. Unfortunately, when this bug plagued my Skyrim game, I strayed too far with saves from the companions’ quest. I simply thought Bethesda would patch up the bug later on without any worries. I have already completed the (witch) companions quest with the winterhold helm quest. Will the fix still work if I proceed even after the witch quest?

    • Sadly I don’t think it will. It’s worth trying anyway, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up about it. If you try it and it works then let me know! Hopefully Bethesda will fix this with a patch because I’m sure there are a lot of people in the same boat as you.

      If you’re on PC you can trigger the quest using the console if you’re stuck like this. I’m on xbox though so I’m afraid I don’t know exactly how to do that. You can probably find the codes on any of the Skyrim wikis.

      • It didn’t work. :/ thanks for everything, though! Yeah, I’m on an Xbox as well. It’s a shame, because I’m really considering on starting the whole game over, LOL! When I got on this morning, there was an update, but sadly not for that bug.

      • Ah well it was worth a shot anyway, It’s probably not worth restarting again unless you really really want to do the Companions quests! There’s only about 2 left after the witches one. And they might still fix it in a future patch!

  3. Im having a problem too. I had already completed the companions quest before i ever came across the Winterhold quest. But after i retrieved the helm, he sent me on another quest to retrieve the exact same helm, after i returned the second helm to him he still sent me on another quest for the exact same helm but every time its a different location. And now im on my 4th quest for the same helm. Is this a busted quest or is this normal? Thanks

    • That’s definitely not normal! I only had to do it once. If it’s not causing any other problems then you should probably just ignore it – you aren’t really missing out on any rewards or follow-up quests.

      • Yeah, it’s best to wait it out… I’m sure Bethesda will fix it. Um, in the process I joined the Imperial Legion and kicked the Jarl out of Winterhold. He only seems to talk to me if I have my weapon drawn. And he doesn’t give me another Helm quest in a different location; but the bug stil isn’t fixed on my behalf.

  4. As of 12/12/2011, I can confirm that this quest line is still bugged, but not as bugged as it was before.

    I have a quest to retrieve the Helm of Winterhold from Fort Fellhammer. I just completed Blood’s Honor, killing the 5 witches and returning to Whiterun with their heads. However, upon returning to Whiterun, I found that the Silver Hand had already attacked and Kodlak had already been killed. My Blood’s Honor quest now says that it is complete, but reports that unfortunately Kodlak had already been killed by the time I returned. But what really bothers me is that I still have the 5 witches heads in my inventory and I can’t drop them or anything.

    • Just found out that I’m wrong about Blood’s Honor being bugged. I think I misunderstood the sequence of events that was supposed to occur during the quest line, and because of this I assumed that the quest line was still bugged. However, it does appear to be fixed now.

      • Yeah Kodlak is supposed to die while you’re in the witches’ cave.

        I think that the Helm of Winterhold quest might be a radiant quest, and that it sends you to a random dungeon. If it doesn’t send you to Driftshade Refuge then happy days, you will be fine 🙂

  5. Both the Bloods Honor and the Helm of Winterhold are bugged. I went on the Bethesda Forum and asked them politely to fix it.

    There is a work around on the Helm but unfortunately I didn’t save until after. There is a shop in Winterhold that has the Coral Claw for the dungeon, if that is where the Yarl sends you to. Name sounds like Yogun Fruz :} Anway, don’t under any circumstance take the claw. It will be in the Yogun Fruz dungeon there. If you accept it at the shop it will put the quest for the helm into an infinite loop. If you don’t get it from the shop then everything is fine and you can complete the quest.

  6. Pingback: The Skyrim Companions Questline - Elder Scrolls V – Skyrim

  7. Hey, anybody seen this but me? I completed the Helm of Winterhold quest for the Jarl, in Yngol Barrow, but when I returned it to the Jarl, he did not remove it or give me a reward, although the dialogue says he did.

  8. I’m having a similar problem with the helm of winterhold. I got the quest to retrieve the helm from the Jarl of Winterhold. Retrieved it but when I got it back to him he just sat in his chair (after I had to pick the lock to get into his house as part of the quest instructions) and kept telling me I “should not be in here” and I was unable to unload the helm on him. Couldn’t continue the quest. I never went on the companions quest & have never been to the driftshade refuge. Unfortunately I got the quest to retrieve the helm quite a while ago & had just put it on hold & done a bunch of other random out of sequence stuff (including the whole quest to talk to parthenaux and trapping a dragon at dragonsreach…). Lamenting…how do I get the Jarl to take the helm? He seems stupified.

  9. Upon clearing out the witches cave for Companion Kodlak, I returned to find Companions HQ attacked by the Silver Hand. Vilkas spoke to me and called for revenge. This completed the witch quest but then Vilkas goes idle and won’t trigger the revenge quest and the others just sit there. I looked it up and apparently it was because the quest to retrieve the Helm of Winterhold was in my journal, so I loaded up a previous save before returning to Whiterun and collected the helm. I brought it to the Windhelm Jarl (by breaking into the house he’s holed up in) but even though the quest marker remains above him, he just tells me to get out of his house and won’t allow me to give him the helm. Looked that up too and saw that he stays in that house now that I’ve captured Fort Greenwall with the Imperials. He won’t take the helm to end his quest, thus the Companions won’t progress to the next quest. PC Version; any console commands to fix this?

    • I’m not on PC so I can’t help you much I’m afraid. The good news is that on PC you can use a console command to just trigger the next Companion’s quest anyway. If you search around a bit on Google I’m sure you’ll find it somewhere easily enough!

  10. Ok having super big issue with this glitch, I haven’t been given the quest for the helm yet, but still the companion quest have stopped after killing the witches. Noticed you said do not talk to the Jarl at all unfortunately I’ve read that way too late. Any advice?

    • If you have a save from before you do the Companion’s quest you might try doing the Helm of Winterhold quest then. Hopefully that will let the Companion one go through properly. If not… this quest will probably remain broken until a patch fixes it :/

  11. The same thing happened to me! I asked him about 10 times to take it back, but he wouldnt. But, I found a major glitch! I had given up on it, and was doing the “Black Star” quest, and at a random point entering the Ilinalta’s Deep, the helm was removed, and the coin receiving sound spammed up around 10 times. Turns out I was given the reward 10 times, and recieved about 10k

  12. i hate Companions because of that problem. Kodlak is death and other companions are not talking about quests. I feel like they offended and dont want to let me to do anything serious. And that was 10 lvl before. I will wait untill bethesta make a crack for that bug.

  13. I think that I am well and truly screwed with the “purity of revenge” quest and the “helm of winter hold” I own the ps3 version by the way. Here’s the thing, I have completed the quest where you kill the witches and tool there heads, i have the helm of winter hold as a miscellaneous quest, and I have completed all of the imperial army quests which means the jarl of winter hold has moved to windhelm after the imperials took over the city. Now that the jarl or winter hold has been kicked out of winter hold its impossible for be to complete the “helm of winter hold “, therefore I can’t start the purity of revenge quest!
    My companions are well and truly screwed, if anyone has a solution to this please help, but I doubt anyone will have one.

  14. I really wish i saw this few hours ago, saved more often, and didn’t delete all my old saves.

    I cleared out drifshade and can’t go back and leave the bosses -le crai-
    I guess it’s back to my old account.

  15. pretty much the same as everyone else. started the companions quest and didnt know about the helm of winterhold bug. after several later hours of gaming decided to fiinish companions only to be stuck in infinite loop of doing stupid side quests. will not start revenge quest and the aela just stands outside doing nothing saying the same thing “these two won’t be a prolem anymore” so is the companions quest now just screwed and i should give up or is there a fix? on xbox by the way. any help appricieated thanks.

  16. People who are on x-box or playstation are quite fucked if you completed bloods honor before completing helm of winterhold while both were in your quest journal. I’m on xbox and have the same problem and no previous save files. And the worst part is this bug was established last year when skyrim was first out and there is still no fix for it. . . .

  17. i am on xbox and i started the bloods honour quest did it and went back to jorrvaskarr before i had the helm of winterhold quest or had even spoken to the jarl of winterhold and it is still glitched i have never discovered driftshade refuge and now all the npc’s are just standing around or sitting near kodlaks dead body. is there a fix or am i royally fucked???

  18. I found this interesting… after i got the witch heads and came back (with all the companions just standing there) i went inside and turned into a werewolf and they all attacked me. I just ran away but when i came back forkas offered me some side quests, but i still cant continue the main quest.

  19. I too have this glitch in 2013, and I fear I have the worst case scenario. I started the helm of winterhold quest ages ago, but didn’t do it, then I started the companions questline and got stuck with this glitch. I tried to fix by getting the helm but I ended up killing those bosses at the end of driftshade refuge and leaving. Then I realised I had done the Imperial questline and ended up kicking jarl Korir to Windhelm. Now, when I try to give it to him, he only responds with whining about how he was kicked out! Is there ANY way of solving this? Or will I just have to wait for an update? Although it seems they haven’t bothered with one for years. Please help cos this is game ruining! By the way I’m on ps3.

    • I can’t believe it but I’ve finally found a way of fixing this. As I said, talking to the jarl only leads to his whining, and no options like giving the helm of winterhold. I tried so many things, like attacking him, leading him outside then calming him, but that didn’t work. Don’t get angry if I’m wrong, but last night it finally worked when I simply walked inside his house and asked him and the only reason I can think of is that I saved the game while in the windhelm house, then restarted my ps3 and loaded in his house. This finally made it work! It’s possible that they are not related and it’s just a coincidence but I thought I should say this just in case it works for anyone else. Please tell me if it works for you so I can see if this actually is a way of getting around or just complete luck.

      • By the way I haven’t tested if this helps the companions questline but I expect it does. I think after completing helm of winterhold waiting some time should trigger the purity of revenge quest to start. I’ll say if it does.

          • Finally! I waited what seemed like ages but after completing the helm of winterhold quest I entered Jorvasskar and the quest triggered. The rest of the questline finished normally after that. I hope this helps others who are stuck in the same situation I was.

  20. I did the witch head quest and returned to Jorrvaskr. I had taken the helm quest ages ago and now I’ve done it. So all I have to do now is wait until the dungeon resets? Am I able to get the revenge quest then?

  21. Oh my god thank you soooo much!!! I already got screwed by a bug in the thieves guild campaign and couldnt another time! I had to do everything over but it lead me to the nect quest. Thank you!!!!

  22. I did not do the witches heads, but the jarl is now trying to send me after the helm for the 5 th time. He accepted it and rewarded me each time, but then just sends me for it again and will not make me Thane!! Anybody know a fix?

  23. Pingback: The Skyrim Companions Questline - Elder Scrolls V – Skyrim

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