Skyrim is a beautiful world to explore; of that, there is no doubt. Since its release in 2011, Skyrim has immersed thousands of players in a vast open world that entices them to indulge their wanderlust and sense of exploration. Skyrim is fun, this is certain, but it is not a game that can be commended for its storytelling. In fact, many of Skyrim's storylines can be flat out ridiculous. Whether due to silly writing, flat characters, buggy NPCs, or often a combination of all three, Skyrim is not a world one can take too seriously. Yet it nonetheless succeeds to retain a certain amount of charm.
Skyrim can be fun for many reasons, but it leaves much to be desired for any players seeking a more character driven experience. Not only are many NPCs lacking in personality, but many of the quests they offer also make the player feel more like a glorified courier and a part-time dragon slayer. Although the Elder Scrolls series has always incentivized players to play the game in whatever manner they want, Skyrim can sometimes feel more like a theme park populated by wacky automatons rather than an epic adventure.
With this in mind, the following is a list of the 25 most ridiculous storylines that detract from an otherwise fun and immersive gameplay experience. This list is in no particular order, but will focus on the particularly nonsensical aspects of Skyrim's major and minor storylines. With that being said, let's jump into it!
25 We Didn't Learn Much At The College Of Winterhold
To begin, the College of Winterhold is arguably one of the worst major storylines in all of Skyrim. When the player isn't on a fetch quest across Skyrim, they have to listen to NPCs blabber on about this and that. On top of that, the main antagonist, Ancano, is effectively irrelevant and only ever interacts with the player on a few occasions throughout the entire storyline.
In the end, nothing is resolved and the player has simply appointed the Archmage despite the fact they have been a student of the college for only 2 weeks and have attended one class.
24 Onmund's Request Is Kinda Useless
This quest encapsulates precisely what is wrong with the College of Winterhold in general. During this quest, the player must retrieve an amulet of sentimental value for their fellow college buddy, Onmund.
The reason this quest makes the list is that it serves no purpose. Once the quest is complete, the player is rewarded with Onmund's riveting company as a follower. However, as the player soon discovers, Onmund doesn't have a lot going on. Rather, the quest isn't fun, has no story, and exists purely to provide the player with an NPC pack mule.
23 The Mind Of Madness Is Mad Boring
This quest features the return of everyone's favorite prince of madness, Sheogorath. In Skyrim, the rendition of this iconic character simply doesn't measure up to previous iterations.
Conceptually, this quest sounds fun. After all, who wouldn't want to delve into the mind of a long gone, mad emperor? In practice, however, this quest felt akin to a poorly thought out adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. The mind of Pelagius the mad is surprisingly dull and even the prince of madness himself fails to captivate the attention.
22 House Of Horrors Is Inconsistent
The general consensus among Skyrim fans is that this quest is quite fun. During this quest, the player offers to help a witch hunter named Tyranus explore an abandoned house to search for villainous things.
Once inside, both the player and his friend are attacked by flying tableware. Almost immediately, Tyranus, a man who has committed his life to the cause of fighting villainy, instantly gives in to the flying cutlery and attacks the player. Upon defeating their new friend, the player is then compelled to do this villainous being's bidding.
21 Book Of Love Is So Cliché
This quest is empirical evidence that Bethesda should really steer clear from love stories in general. The central objective of this quest is to travel all over Skyrim in order to play the role of Cupid.
Not only are the characters involved entirely forgettable, but this quest is also a chore to compete. There is no reason for the player to care about the 'love stories' since most of them are overdone clichés. Furthermore, no one seems to mind or even question why the Dragonborn inserting themselves in the personal lives of complete strangers.
20 Caught Red Handed Is Quite Random
This quest one is an odd one. For a game that is intimately conservative in tone, it is a little strange to find a quest centered on one particular NPC's experiences. Over the course of this quest, the player is asked to collect Marks of Dibella for Svana Far-Shield so that she can shame her aunt, Haelga.
This quest makes the list because this whole quest simply feels out of place. Svana simply meets the player and asks them for their assistance in shaming her aunt. Why would the player want to assist Svana in the first place?
19 The Companions Are Pretty Boring
The Companions advertises itself as a faction centered on comradery and warrior bravado. In practice, however, the Companions mostly sit around the main hall all day asking each other for tips on how to end a bear.
Additionally, with the exception of the exceedingly non-threatening Silver Hand, there is literally no antagonist to the story. The player simply accepts one contract to clear a dungeon after another until the quest ends. You do get a nifty ax out of it, though.
18 The Thieves Guild Is Not So Clever
Although some characters, such as Karliah, are better written than most NPCs, the Thieves Guild plot twists are often anticlimactic and predictable. Most players could have probably guessed that the guild master, Mercer, was a traitor.
On top of that, the Thieves Guild in Skyrim is composed of the laziest, least perceptive thieves in the series. Not only did Mercer single-handedly empty an entire vault full of gold, but he also did it over the span of months without anyone ever noticing. Didn't anyone in the guild open the vault to see if their money was safe? Ever?
17 The Forsworn Conspiracy... Or Lack Thereof
This storyline was truly a missed opportunity to introduce some depth to the world of Skyrim. This quest begins on a high note, with the player pursuing leads all over the city to uncover the truth behind the conspiracy. However, the closer the player gets to the truth, the more they realize the developers hadn't really thought of a conspiracy.
In the end, the player discovers that a prominent family, the Silver-Bloods, has been coordinating with the Forsworn attacks they can buy up all the real-estate. That's it.
16 No One Escapes Cidhna Mine
During this quest, the Silver-Bloods attempt to tie up loose ends by imprisoning the player. Why they don't permanently dispatch the player is a mystery but whatever. In prison, the player encounters Madanach, king of the Forsworn and the 'mastermind' behind the conspiracy. Eventually, the player must choose to either eliminate Madanach for the Silver-Blood family or help him escape prison.
In the end, however, none of this really matters. Madanach is either free to terrorize the Reach indefinitely, or he isn't. The Forsworn still litter The Reach regardless.
15 The Dawnguard's Obliviousness
The premise is simple yet effective: the Dawnguard is a faction of vampire hunters. To that end, all NPCs in the Dawnguard vehemently hate vampires and all quests are focused on tracking down and thwarting vampires and their shenanigans.
Although it is ridiculous that the Dawnguard will accept the player into their ranks even if they're a vampire, the Dawnguard doesn't make the player character the most important character in the world. In fact, contrary to other Skyrim factions, once the quest line is complete, the player occupies a subordinate role within the faction rather than being put in charge.
14 The Volkihar Clan's Unfulfilling Membership
Admittedly, this faction is initially exciting. After all, who wouldn't want to be a big bad vamp? Once the player is introduced to their new night-life, the quest line begins strongly by teasing the player with allusions to political maneuverings and the manipulation of silly mortals.
But despite NPCs around Harkon's court consistently complaining about politicking, all the NPCs seem to do is loiter around the court and send players on errands. Once the quest line is complete, nothing changes. In fact, the player still runs errands for his servants.
13 The Tyranny Of The Sun Prophecy Could've Been Fulfilled Ages Ago
Regardless of whether the player sides with the Dawnguard or the vampires, the main storyline of the DLC revolves around a prophecy.
Although pursuing a prophecy as a fun premise to the DLC, the more the player learns about this prophecy, the more they learn that it's ridiculous. Upon tracking down the bow, the player learns that the creator of the prophecy, Vyrthur, has been waiting in his lair for literally thousands of years. Honestly, he probably could have gotten the job done years ago had he gone out and tried to fulfill the prophecy himself.
12 The Civil War Is Basically A One Man Battle
The civil war's storyline fails to deliver a war story that is in any way captivating. Not only are both Ulfric and Tullius less than inspiring leaders, the war itself feels less like a struggle and more like a series of bandit raids.
Indeed, the only plot points involving player are a raid to acquire a symbolic crown and a quest to send an ultimatum to Jarl Balgruuf, the most memorable Jarl in Skyrim. Though apart from that, the player is basically expected to single-handedly win the war.
11 The Bard's College Admission Is Too Easy
In order to gain admission into The Bard's College, the player doesn't even need to play an instrument. Rather, the player simply goes to the college, asks Viarmo for admittance, and is immediately accepted. Afterward, the player is sent all across Skyrim to find instruments and return them to the college. This quest line is so irrelevant that the game doesn't even bother awarding the player with an achievement for completing all its quests. The Bard's College offers no story and begs the question as to why the faction has a presence in the game.
10 Boethiah's Calling Yields Pointless Sacrifices
Over the course of this quest, the player must sacrifice an unsuspecting follower in order to gain the deity's attention. Afterward, for no reason whatsoever, the entire cult breaks out into a frenzy of violence. Once this pointless violence subsides, however, Boethiah addresses the player directly and demands they eliminate and replace her current champion.
Why would a deity discard all her followers just so that the player, who may not even be a true believer, might consider becoming her new champion? It makes no sense. Why is the Dragonborn so popular among the denizens of the underworld?
9 A Night To Remember Is All Too Familiar
This quest makes the list as it's effectively an amusing knock-off of the Hangover movies. The player begins this quest by participating in a contest with Sam Guevenne. After literally 3 drinks, the player wakes up halfway across the map.
The rest of the quest consists of the player retracing their steps in order to discover what exactly happened the previous night. It is odd, however, that all of the NPCs the player speaks to seem to be completely unaware of their conditions the night before.
8 The Bonds Of Matrimony Has An Odd Take On Marriage
For any player seeking to get hitched, this is the quest for them. Although it is odd that marriage is a feature in Skyrim in the first place, the process is rather quick and easy. In order to get married, the players need only speak to Maramal in Riften, then talk to an NPC. That's it.
Not only is the courting process hilariously shallow, but the wedding ceremony also takes place literally the next day and is attended by random NPCs who think they're the player's friends. Afterward, married life itself offers the player little to no benefit.
7 In My Time Of Need Lacks Closure
This quest relies entirely on player choice, but not necessarily in a good way. Throughout this quest, the player must investigate a group of Alik'r warriors searching for a woman in Skyrim.
At one point, the player must choose to side with either the Alik'r, or the woman they are hunting. Although it is great that this quest emphasizes player choice so much, they never receive any closure for the quest. Indeed, once the quest is complete, there is no way of knowing whether or not the player made the right choice.
6 The Dark Brotherhood Was Deeply Disappointing
Unlike in its predecessor, Skyrim's Brotherhood quest line did not make the player feel as though they were a member of a secret cult of outcasts and assassins. Rather, like many other faction quest lines, the player is told they are the 'chosen one' and that the guild is going down the toilet. Not to mention, Astrid's betrayal at the end was simply dumb in both motive and execution. Why would she expose herself and her entire faction to her enemy in order to betray her best assassin (the player)? It's nonsense.
5 What's Behind The Whispering Door
This quest had the potential to be far more interesting than it turned out to be. During this quest, the player speaks to Jarl Balgruuf's children in order to uncover the mystery surrounding the whispering door bellow Dragonsreach.
One of the Jarl's sons, Nelkir, tells the player about a door that whispers to him. At one point during the development of the game, it was intended that this quest end in a bout of patricide. Instead, the player finds the key to the whispering door, enters, and collects a unique weapon. That's it.
4 The Dragonborn DLC Was Poorly Planned
This DLC's main quest line is quite fun, and yet, it makes the list because of its beginning and ending. The introduction to the DLC felt lazy, as though Bethesda couldn't come up with a better reason to entice the player to travel to Solstheim. Not to mention, if Miraak wanted to eliminate the player, why would he only send two measly cultists to do the job?
Furthermore, at the conclusion of the DLC, Hermaeus Mora crowns the player as his new Champion to replace Miraak. But again, why do all these demon princes keep making the Dragonborn their champion?
3 Served Cold Is Silly
This side quest from the Dragonborn DLC revolves around uncovering a conspiracy, perpetrated by the traitor House Hlaalu, to end Councillor Morvayn in Raven Rock.
Although the quest is fun, the premise is rather silly. Indeed, it's bad enough the conspirators stick out like a sore thumb, but it turns out they are also terrible at it. Not only do the conspirators fail to eliminate the virtually unguarded Councillor, but they also expose them in the most ridiculous manner. The player simply waltzes up to the Hlaalu ancestral tomb and waits for the traitors to pay their respects to the traitor house.
2 Even The Main Quest Is Pretty Unfulfilling
Skyrim's main story is not particularly gripping. Dragons have returned to Tamriel and the player must find a way to prevent Alduin the world-eater from eating the world, by eating other dragons themselves. In practice, however, dragons become more akin to the nuisance while the player is, yet again, treated like an errand boy by every NPC.
Although the final confrontation does make an attempt to be cinematic, Alduin is dispatched as easily and as quickly as any other dragon, leaving the world virtually unchanged.
To begin this quest, Delphine speaks to the player and tells them that to keep working together, the player must eliminate one of the only friendly dragons in the game, Parthuunax.
From here the player can either comply with Delphine and eliminate Parthuunax, which will upset the Greybeards, or refuse Delphine's demand and alienate the Blades. The whole dilemma is very pointless and ultimately hinders the main plot. Don't the Blades work for the Dragonborn? Why does the Dragonborn keep taking orders from their subordinates? This quest has no plot, just obstinate NPCs.