In Skyrim, you can join the Dark Brotherhood faction, an ancient guild of professional assassins who carry assassination contracts to whoever performs the Black Sacrament to contact them.
The Dark Brotherhood worships Sithis, a deity representing the void and misanthropy, and their spiritual leader is the Night Mother.
According to them, Sithis and the Night Mother are married and its followers are their metaphorical children.
The Black Sacrament involved creating an effigy with actual body parts within a candle circle.
Then, the person stabs the effigy with a dagger rubbed in Nightshade’s petals while whispering the plea:
“Sweet Mother, sweet Mother, send your child unto me, for the sins of the unworthy must be baptized in blood and fear.”
During any gameplay, the Dragonborn can choose to either join the Dark Brotherhood or eliminate its last remnants from Skyrim.
How to Join The Dark Brotherhood Quest in Skyrim
Start the Dark Brotherhood quest line in Skyrim by completing the Innocence Lost quest, helping Aventus Arentino perform the Black Sacrament to kill Grelod the Kind.
After this, you may sleep in any bed for any amount of hours to get abducted and wake up in an Abandoned Shack.
At that point, you can choose to join or destroy the Dark Brotherhood.
You can obtain Aventus Arentino’s lead as a miscellaneous quest by listening to random dialogue or asking an innkeeper about any rumors.
Another option is to go straight to Windhelm and enter the Arentino’s home to talk directly with Aventus.
You will receive a letter with a black hand and the phrase “We know.” from a courier 24 hours after you’ve completed the Innocence Lost quest.
However, receiving the letter isn’t mandatory to move the quest forward.
Advantages of Joining the Dark Brotherhood
If you choose to join the Dark Brotherhood, you can access various followers, locations, gear, trainers, and spells that otherwise are locked for outsiders.
You can still access Falkreath Sanctuary during a raid if you decide to eliminate the Dark Brotherhood.
|Category||Advantages or Rewards|
|Followers||– Cicero, if spared during The Cure for Madness quest|
– Shadowmere, spectral horse
– Dark Brotherhood Initiates, after fully upgrading the Dawnstar Sanctuary
|Locations||– Access to the original Sanctuary, where you can find a word for Marked for Death + Unusual Gem|
– Dawnstar Sanctuary, featuring attributes similar to a house or homestead
– Shrouded Armor set
– Ancient Shrouded Armor set
– Shrouded Clothing set
– Cicero’s clothing set
– Blade of Woe
|Trainers||– Babette, Master Alchemy trainer|
– Nazir, Master Light Armor trainer
|Spells||– Summon Spectral Assassin|
|Vampire status||– You can upon all Dark Brotherhood members|
– Members are friendly to stage 4 vampires
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Can You Become the Leader of the Dark Brotherhood?
Once you complete the contract to kill Emperor Titus Mede II, you will learn via Commander Maro that you’ve murdered a double, and someone from the Brotherhood has informed him in exchange for their safety.
However, the Commander sends his men to destroy the sanctuary.
Once you arrive at Falkreath Sanctuary, you must hide within the Night Mother’s coffin to survive the fire.
After you wake up, the Night Mother will inform you that Astrid is still alive within the sanctuary.
Astrid confesses her betrayal to the Brotherhood and asks you to kill her using the Blade of Woe.
After she’s dead, you will become the new Dark Brotherhood’s leader and Listener.
The remaining survivors will move to the Dawnstar Sanctuary and you’ll be able to pay for upgrades, accept radiant quests, and get Dark Brotherhood Initiate followers.
How Do You Defeat the Dark Brotherhood in Skyrim?
During the quest With Friends Like These…, instead of killing the potential victims set by Astrid, you can instead attack and kill her to escape the Abandoned Shack.
After this, your quest log will automatically update with the Destroy the Dark Brotherhood! quest.
Talk to any guard, who will redirect you to Commander Maro. He’s located in Dragon Bridge, specifically inside the Penitus Oculatus Outpost.
He will send you to the sanctuary in Falkreath after giving you the passphrase to kill everyone inside.
Once you’re done killing everyone, return again to speak with Commander Maro to obtain a 3,000 gold reward.
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Should I Join or Destroy the Dark Brotherhood?
The ultimate choice of joining or destroying the Dark Brotherhood may depend on your roleplaying guidelines.
However, by destroying this faction, you lose access to several rewards and advantageous resources:
- You won’t be able to train with two Master level trainers, Babette and Nazir
- You cannot have Shadowmere as a mount
- You won’t be able to wear Dark Brotherhood exclusive gear
- You’ll miss the opportunity to have Cicero as a companion if spared during the Dark Brotherhood quest
- The Summon Spectral Assassin spell won’t be available
Ultimately, joining the Dark Brotherhood may offer better advantages for your playthrough compared to the 3,000 gold reward you get by destroying it.
Thieves Guild vs. Dark Brotherhood: Which One is Better?
The Dark Brotherhood and the Thieves Guild have a strong connection since they often rely on each other for support regardless of their different policies and purposes.
In Skyrim, Astrid and Delvin Mallory, a high-rank member of the Thieves Guild, are notable friends and business associates.
As the Dragonborn, you can choose to join the Dark Brotherhood or the Thieves Guild. These factions have connections with each other, but they act independently.
You can choose to join just one, both, or none during any playthrough.
What may determine your final choice are the available rewards and perks from each faction.
Arguably, the Dark Brotherhood offers gear with better defensive stats and enchantments, as well as a private base, several follower options, and a unique mount.
In contrast, the Thieves Guild may offer a better variety of gear available, and the Ragged Flagon with various vendors once fully upgraded.
What Are the 5 Tenets of the Dark Brotherhood?
The Dark Brotherhood’s five tenets aren’t explicitly mentioned in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
However, Astrid has determined to actively not follow these tenets in favor of her own leadership.
In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, there’s a glimpse of the five tenets that rule the Dark Brotherhood’s way of living.
According to the book The Five Tenets, all these actions will invoke the Wrath of Sithis.
- Members should never dishonor the Night Mother
- No betraying or revealing the Dark Brotherhood’s secrets.
- No Dark Brotherhood member can disobey or refuse to carry out an order from a superior.
- Never steal from a Dark Brotherhood member.
- Never kill another member.
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