How to Use the Skyrim Console to Get Past Broken Quests on the PC

An essential guide to getting past broken quests by using console commands in Skyrim

By Andrei Dobra on December 24th, 2011 04:31 GMT

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a great game but, like with most titles of such a massive size that have hundreds of quests, thousands of NPCs and a huge amount of sub systems, glitches happen. Some are hilarious, others quite serious, but there’s nothing more aggravating than seeing a quest you’re trying to do suddenly break and prevent your progress.

Thankfully, at least for PC owners, the game’s console comes to the rescue, as with some special commands, you can progress through any quest you have active as fast as you want.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released last month and delighted millions of gamers around the world across platforms such as the PC, PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. Sadly, the glitches, which only got worse as more patches were released by the game’s developer, Bethesda, which, instead of fixing serious problems, just ended up creating new ones or causing full-on crashes.

Broken quests were also a major cause for concern, as it’s quite easy for a player to start accumulating quests by just exploring the game’s virtual world and, when they actually start doing them, to see that either non playable characters don’t appear or were killed in a freak mammoth accident (like I experienced during the early stages of the game).

Thankfully, at least on the PC, the game’s console can easily be used to manipulate quests and just progress through them as you long as you actually start the adventure. Want to find out how? Then follow the steps we highlighted below.

1. First up, in the game, you need to hit the ` key to bring up the console, or the specific key that you assigned this action to.

2. Then you need to find out what quests you have active, which can easily be done by typing ‘ShowQuestTargets’ and hitting Enter. In case you have many active quests, however, it won’t really be much help, as there are only so many lines the console can show and you can’t scroll its contents. If you know the name of the quest, you can easily look it up on The Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages Wiki, which has a full list of the quests in the game, complete with their ID.

3. After finding out what quest you want to progress, you need to enter the ‘Player.sqs’ command, followed by a space and the quest id (final command should look like Player.sqs <quest id>). This shows all the stages that are part of this quest, followed by a 1, if you already did it, or a 0, if you didn’t reach it. Bear in mind, however, that there are blank stages, so you might once again want to check out the UESP Wiki to see the actual stages and what they mean.

4. Last but not least, you need to introduce the ‘SetStage’ command, followed by the quest id and the stage number (it should look like SetStage <quest id> <stage number>). This will automatically progress through the quest to that intended stage, giving you new objectives and, hopefully, fixing the quest.

As a concrete example, say you're stuck on the Dragon Rising quest at the beginning of the game, when the Jarl of Whiterun tells you to investigate a dragon sighting. You need to meet up with Irileth and her guards outside of the town and check out the report.

In case she doesn't spawn at that location and you know that the quest id is MQ104, and that the stage in which Irileth should appear is 15, you just need to enter SetStage MQ104 15. This will automatically get you to the next stage, in which you need to kill the dragon.

Bear in mind that, while this guide may work without a problem, you should always be cautious and do a hard save before attempting to use the Skyrim console.

If this guide helped, please share your experience by leaving a comment.
Skyrim's console in action
   Skyrim's console in action
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