Elder Scrolls Online makes a triumphant return to the frozen land of Skyrim in the new Dark Heart of Skyrim campaign, which will see over three new DLCs and an expansion ‘chapter’ release throughout the year. The first of which is Harrowstorm, a dungeon-themed DLC that introduces two new dungeons.
Unhallowed Grave brings you back to Bangkorai for a banging party full of necromancers and their grotesque undead constructs. Not the most polite guests, but at least they drop some cool loot and plenty of XP. Set 60 feet under the surface of Tamriel, Unhallowed Grave is the more difficult of the two dungeons introduced in ESO: Harrowstorm. By far, it’s also the longest. Expect to set aside at least an hour for Normal mode and two or more for Veteran mode.
Unhallowed Grave isn’t quite as tough as Frost Vault or Depths of Malatar, two of the toughest dungeons in ESO, but we recommend having a CP of 300 – just to be safe. To even attempt this dungeon on Normal mode, you’ll absolutely want to bring a character that’s over level 50, with a full deck of CP160 gear. Unhallowed Grave stands up against some of the more notoriously difficult dungeons from previous Elder Scrolls Online DLCs, such as Scalecaller Peak or Fang Lair.
But don’t you worry. In this guide, you’ll get to learn everything you could possibly learn about Unhallowed Grave. We covered all the loot, boss strategies, and other bits that a good dungeon guide needs. Let’s go!
Note: On your first visit to either Icereach or Unhallowed Grave, you’ll unlock the Wickerman Mishap emote and corresponding Harrowstorm Explorer Achievement. Completing both dungeons on Veteran mode will unlock the Frozen Blood dye and corresponding Harrowstorm Delver Achievement.
Veteran Mode Tips
- Using a grappling hook powered up with the Forgotten Strength buff, which you can obtain at the first Unhallowed Urn next to Nabor the Forgotten, will do damage to enemies you hookshot through. This is extremely useful for clearing adds when fighting the Keeper of the Kiln and Ondagore the Mad.
- It comes with the territory, but most of the enemies and bosses you face in Unhallowed Grave are undead. It’s worth bringing spells that damage undead enemies and weapons enchanted with a Glyph of Prismatic Onslaught.
- Make sure at least one player is cleaning up the adds during boss battles with AoE damage.
- Avoid AoE attacks from bosses, which will show up as red circles as they’re being telegraphed.
- DPS and healer characters should never bring a Frost Staff into a Veteran mode dungeon. Attacking with one will draw the aggro of enemies, and most Veteran bosses can instantly kill most non-tank characters.
Objective 1: Explore the Unhallowed Grave
As soon as you enter Unhallowed Grave, stroll on over to Shelaria and chat with her for a moment to activate the quest called Unhallowed Grave. Next, move through the tunnel to the Draugrkin Supply Chest and pick up your Grappling Bow. You can’t progress without doing this part, despite it being an optional objective in your quest tab.
You’ll spend the next several minutes swinging from platform to platform while fighting waves of trash mobs.
Secret Location: Find the Deathly Fissure
Once you’ve reached this part of the Accursed Canyon section of Unhallowed Grave, you’ll find a crack that leads into a passage, hidden behind an unattended caravan cart.
The Deathly Fissure hosts the first of three secret bosses, Nabor the Forgotten. The bosses are worth beating for dungeon gear and XP, but they also unlock Unhallowed Urns that come with their own special buffs. These buff effects stack up, and they make progressing through the regular boss battles much easier. They’re definitely worth getting.
Getting into the Deathly Fissure is as simple as finding a crack in the wall (the part of the map you need to go is shown above) and wedging your way inside.
Secret Boss 1: Traverse the Deathly Fissure & Kill Nabor the Forgotten
In the first alcove, make an immediate U-turn to the right and you’ll find the next crack hidden beside the one you entered from.
Turn left as you enter the following alcove, and you’ll find yet another hidden crack camouflaged against the wall. Go through that one and you should come out into a large passage.
Follow the crags on the left-hand side of the cavern wall, and you’ll find a torch laying on the ground and another crack to go through.
The next part involves some jumping and climbing up and down a few sets of rocks, but you should see lit torches on the ground to guide the way. Keep going until you get a dialogue from Nabor the Forgotten that ensures you that you’re “getting closer”. You’re going in the right direction, just keep going a bit further.
You’ll eventually come to a cliff and what appears to be a dead end. It’s not. Jump off of it and grapple the post that’s immediately below you. Time it right, or you’ll fall to your death.
Continue through the gate and greet Nabor the Forgotten in his eerie sanctum full of blueish green fog and conveniently-placed grappling posts. Ah yes, the sweet anticipation of a good boss fight is thick with this one. Thick as eerie green fog, in fact.
Nabor is a tough one to beat when you aren’t paying attention, so make sure to do so. He’ll constantly try to knock you off of the floating platforms with big AOE attacks that chase you around. Some of these are unavoidable, but it’s important to note that each of Nabor’s attacks will knock you backwards. This means that you can place yourself as to not get completely knocked off of a platform when an attack hits you.
You can identify one such AOE attack as a giant red circle that chases your character around and rapidly grows larger in size before it lands.
Nabor’s other big AoE attacks will kill you in a split second if you don’t use the grappling hook system to your advantage. Each island in his arena has its own grappling post, and Nabor will periodically try to wipe the entire party by covering every island (except for one) in a creeping AOE attack. When that happens, just look for the island that isn’t getting covered in a giant red circle and grapple your way over to that one before the attack activates.
Using the Unhallowed Urn nearby will grant you Forgotten Strength, a buff with the following effects:
- Your grappling bow is empowered, damaging monsters in your path and near the post. It also reveals nearby grapple posts hidden by Voria.
- Weapon and Spell damage increased by 275.
- As a Necromancer, your Weapon and Spell Damage is increased by 325.
Objective 2: Kill Hakgrym the Howler
Note: If you killed Nabor, a nearby portal should take you back on track to move through the Accursed Canyon and onto Hakgrym. You don’t need to run all the way back through the Deathly Fissure by foot.
Hakgrym the Howler is the first main boss of Unhallowed Grave. He doesn’t have a ton of health, but he’ll throw massive AOE sword attacks in your direction throughout the fight. These can be blocked or dodged, so stay mobile and keep your guard up.
Aside from directly attacking you, Hakgrym will summon mobs in the form of Skeletons and his two Flesh Abomination buddies. He’ll also summon a Woeful Totem at the edge of the map. It does a ton of ranged damage to you and your party so get rid of it quickly.
Once his human form hits zero percent health, Hakgrym will transform into a giant Werewolf version of himself and regain about half of his lost health. At this point, assuming you’ve already killed both Flesh Atronachs and kept Hakgrym’s Woeful Totem at bay, you should be able to focus directly on him and finish him off for good.
Watch out for his AOE charging attacks, which you can usually avoid if you time your dodges quick enough. Other than that, take care of any additional Skeleton adds and you’ve got this fight in the bag.
Objective 3: Continue Exploring the Unhallowed Grave & Kill the Keeper of the Kiln
As you progress, you’ll run into several rooms with Eternal Grave Guardian enemies and at least one Bone Colossus. Fight your way through these mini-bosses until you’ve reached The Kiln.
At first, the Keeper of the Kiln will seem like an easy boss to face. They don’t have a ton of health and rely largely on avoidable heavy sword attacks. They also summon Grave Guardian adds that pelt the party with AOE attacks, but aren’t all that dangerous against a well-equipped party. Don’t be fooled, however. The Keeper of the Kiln has a unique puzzle mechanic that can stump you if you aren’t careful.
When their armor flashes red, you’ll get a notification that says “Flames are rising in the vents!”
Unfortunately, this means that you and your entire party are about to wipe, unless you do something very specific. See those blue sigils on the ground? Exactly one of them will become a safe space for you to fight the Keeper of the Kiln. Only, you have no way of knowing which sigil that’ll be yet. Luckily, there’s a solution for this problem!
There are three grappling posts above the arena, one on each side of the room except for the side you entered from. Next to each grappling post is a sigil, which can be activated during the “Flames are rising in the vents!” event.
Activating the sigils beside the posts will light up nodes on the sigils below. In order to create a safe zone, you’ll need to get the boss to step on the sigil that has four lit nodes.
The best way to approach this is to assign a grappling post to each member of the party, so that when the “Flames are rising in the vents!” event occurs, they automatically know which sigil is theirs. That way, each party member hits their sigil, gets back to the ground, and lures the boss directly into the sigil with four nodes on it.
Party Tactics: The tank should stay on the ground, keeping the boss’s attention off of other party members at all times.
Grappling Damage: If you have Forgotten Strength, you can use the grappling posts to line up devastating attacks against the boss’s Grave Guardian adds.
When you’ve lured the Keeper of the Kiln to the correct sigil, the safe zone will activate. You can identify the safe zone by a circular blue aura. Keep the boss in this aura and you can continue fighting them while everything around you burns to a crisp.
Secret Boss 2: Find & Kill Voria the Hearth-Thief
Shortly after clearing the Kiln, you’ll come to a fork in the road with two possible directions to take. If you have the Forgotten Strength buff, you’ll be able to hook onto the ghostly grapple posts that appear in the crags to your left.
Follow these grapple posts until you reach one that’s located high up, with no solid ground underneath.
To nail this hookshot, you’ll need to grapple into the air and immediately grapple onto the next grappling post on the opposite side of the canyon.
Fighting Voria the Hearth-Thief is pretty straightforward as long as you keep the beating on and remain mobile. Around the beginning of the fight, she’ll evolve into a giant Bone Goliath which can take quite a nasty beating. At that point she’ll periodically try to knock you off of the platform with her AOE attacks. Keep the fight away from the edges of the cliff, and you should be fine.
Once she hits roughly half of her health, she’ll attempt to escape. You can’t let her get away, or you’ll lose her until the next time you enter Unhallowed Grave. Turn back the way you came and follow her via grappling hook until you catch up to her, then engage her in combat again. Her strategy won’t change throughout the fight, but she might attempt to escape multiple times. Regardless of role, mobility is your best friend in this fight.
After defeating her, interact with the Unhallowed Urn beside where she first was, and you’ll get a buff called Voria’s Authority. It does the following:
- Grants the ability to break magical seals placed by Voria. This unlocks a door that you’ll find near the end of the dungeon.
- Magicka and Stamina Recovery is increased by 3%.
- As a Necromancer, your Magicka and Stamina Recovery is increased by 5%.
Objective 4: Continue Exploring the Unhallowed Grave & Kill the Eternal Aegis
Note: If you killed Voria, you don’t have to run all the way back to the crossroad where you grapple up to the Eternal Aegis’s lair. You can take the nearby portal to easily get back on track.
The Eternal Aegis is an easy boss battle once you get into the rhythm of it. They have a relatively low amount of health, and you can get up close to them for some serious damage if you keep the Lesser Aegis adds away from you.
Note that you’re going to want to get right up next to the Eternal Aegis and any Lesser Aegis. Their AOE blade whirlwind attack blocks ranged attacks, and will kill you almost instantly if you walk into it. This attack has a ton of reach, but it also provides a radius of safe space right up close where you can keep dealing damage.
The Eternal Aegis also uses a less potent AOE attack to damage you intermittently, where it throws its swords in several smaller circles that shoot out from the center in all directions. These blades then cycle back like a boomerang. It’s far tougher to avoid this attack, and the damage you take is negligible as long as you remain healed up, so we recommend absorbing it (if possible) and continuing to strike from close quarters.
Things get complicated when multiple Aegis enemies are attacking the same character at a time. The best strategy for this boss battle is to have the tank stay on the main Eternal Aegis while other party members (preferably DPS characters) lure each Lesser Aegis away to pick them off one by one.
Objective 5: Continue Exploring the Unhallowed Grave & Kill Ondagore the Mad
The third main boss of Unhallowed Grave, Ondagore the Mad has high health, summons Wraiths and Ghosts, and uses an environmental mechanic that can easily wipe your party in seconds if you don’t know what you’re doing.
As the battle begins, you’ll see several platforms along the outer rim of the arena that are inaccessible due to clouds of poison. Periodically, Ondagore will shield himself with a poison aura that begins transferring the poison clouds from the outer rim to the inner platform that you’re standing on. At which point, you’ll want to grapple to one of the platforms on the outer rim to evade the miasma.
Each platform will be occupied by a Skeletal Arcanist and you must kill all of them you are allowed to return to the inner platform and continue fighting Ondagore. Once each of those are dead, you’ll get a few moments to go back to the inner ring before the poison clouds reappear on the outer platforms again.
Grappling Damage: Skeletal Arcanists are usually hanging out next to grappling posts. With the Forgotten Strength buff, you can quickly and easily dispatch the Skeletal Arcanists by grappling through them.
Once you’ve brought Ondagore to roughly half of his health, he’ll summon four Menders on each side of the inner platform. While this is going on, Ondagore will unleash waves of light that can instantly kill you if you aren’t taking cover. You’ll need to hide behind the pillars and pick off each Mender, moving clockwise or counter-clockwise as your party prefers. Once they’re gone, you can move in and finish Ondagore for good.
Secret Boss 3: Enter Voria’s Sanctum & Kill Voria’s Masterpiece
You’ve almost completed Unhallowed Grave and you’re en route to defeat Kjalnar, the final boss. But wait! What’s behind that sealed door? Well, assuming you killed Voria and earned the Voria’s Authority buff, you can now unseal it and find out.
Voria’s Masterpiece is the final secret boss of the dungeon and he won’t go down easily. His arena is full of toxic acid puddles that can digest you outside-in if you aren’t careful.
Over the course of the fight, Voria’s Masterpiece will drop AOE poison attacks that gradually enlarge over time. These can be deadly if you don’t move out of the way, so the entire party needs to stay mobile.
In addition to that, he’ll periodically summon a tanky Spattering Ooze minion, at which point you’ll see the notification “An ooze has emerged!”
Grappling Damage: There are a couple of grappling posts throughout the room, which are useful for quickly killing Spattering Oozes.
Once you’ve beaten Voria’s Masterpiece, you’ll get access to the third and final buff for Unhallowed Grave at a nearby Unhallowed Urn. This buff is called Abominable Bulwark, and it grants the following bonuses:
- Maximum Health increased by 2500 and reduces your damage taken by 3%.
- As a Necromancer, Maximum Health increased by 3250 and reduces your damage taken by 5%.
Objective 6: Search for & Kill Kjalnar Tombskald
Kjalnar Tombskald takes and deals damage equally, making him a versatile and tricky boss to pull through if your party isn’t aware of his attack patterns. Early on, his bread and butter attack is his heavy sword attack, which is both blockable and easily dodgeable.
His AOE attack is a bit tougher to deal with. When it’s time he’ll move to the center of the field and charge up one large circular attack that shoots more circles in each direction. Avoiding this initial attack is easy enough, but you need to stay wary, as it leaves icy blades behind that aren’t indicated in the UI. Stepping over one will deal damage and snare you in place.
Kjalnar will summon Skeletons that shoot you from a distance and make a rush for each of the sigils on the ground. Kill these as soon as Kjalnar summons them, any reaching a sigil will buff him.
When he’s near death, Kjalnar will pull one final trick out of his bag. Big Papa.
Yes, that giant skeleton is named Big Papa. It’ll wipe your entire party if you don’t avoid the AOE fireballs and frost attacks that it spits out. You can dodge roll away from the fireballs, but you need to block the frost attacks. You also can’t attack Big Papa directly, so you’ll need to keep the fire on Kjalnar.
Objective 7: Talk to Shelaria
Shelaria will come visit you after you finish off Kjalnar. Speak to her to finish the quest, redeeming yourself a dandy box of Unidentified Unhallowed Grave Armaments and a new Skill Point if it’s your first completion.
Opening up the Unidentified Unhallowed Grave Armaments will earn you a random piece of Unhallowed Grave gear.
Rave to the Grave
Congratulations, adventurer! You’ve made it all the way through Unhallowed Grave. Now it’s time to celebrate. If you haven’t yet done so, this is the perfect opportunity to check out Icereach, the other half of the Harrowstorm DLC.
If you played through Unhallowed Grave in Normal mode, we also recommend trying it out in Veteran mode. Playing it in Veteran mode will earn you some cool achievements and swag, but it will also net you even better (Purple) versions of Unhallowed Grave dungeon gear. With the rest of Elder Scrolls Online: Dark Heart of Skyrim coming in 2020, the best time to gear up is right now.
Unhallowed Grave Gear Sets
Aegis Caller Set
- 2 pieces: Adds 129 Weapon Damage
- 3 pieces: Adds 129 Stamina Recovery
- 4 pieces: Adds 129 Weapon Damage
- 5 pieces: When you deal critical damage with a melee ability, summon a Lesser Aegis for 12 seconds. After 2.5 seconds, the Lesser Aegis spins its blades, dealing 4880 Bleed Damage every 1 second. This effect can occur once every 10 seconds.
Draugrkin’s Grip Set
- 2 pieces: Adds 1096 Max Magicka
- 3 pieces: Adds 1487 Spell Penetration
- 4 pieces: Adds 129 Magicka Recovery
- 5 pieces: Dealing direct damage to an enemy has a 10% chance to place a ghostly curse on your enemy for 6 seconds. Cursed enemies take 530 extra damage from all your damage abilities. This effect can occur once every 6 seconds.
Grave Guardian Set
- 2 pieces: Adds 1096 Maximum Stamina
- 3 pieces: Adds 1206 Max Health
- 4 pieces: Adds 1206 Max Health
- 5 pieces: Summon a stone aura while blocking, hardening you and your nearby group members, increasing your Physical and Spell Resistance by 4430.
Kjalnar’s Nightmare Set*
- 1 pieces: Adds 129 Spell Damage
- 2 pieces: Dealing damage with a Light Attack puts a Bone stack on your enemy for 5 seconds. You can only apply 1 stack every 1 second. At 5 stacks, an undodgeable skeletal hand attacks your enemy after 1 second, knocking them into the air and stunning them for 3 seconds, or dealing 14500 Magic Damage if they cannot be stunned. An enemy that has reached 5 stacks cannot gain Bone stacks for 3 seconds.
*= This only drops from the final boss in Veteran mode.
For more information on Harrowstorm loot, check out our ESO Harrowstorm Gear Sets Guide.