Many of the books can be found through the repeatable quest "Lost Knowledge."
Black Books are esoteric tomes that are magical and otherworldly in nature. When read, they present the reader with exceptionally powerful knowledge that comes with incredible powers which mortals could never conceive. They are Daedric artifacts created by Hermaeus Mora to lure mortals into his service. Some appear to have been written in the ancient past, while others appear to be from the far future. They are much sought after as they contain hidden knowledge that grants the reader great power.
The Dragon Priest Miraak came into possession of one book that led him into the service of Hermaeus Mora. Eventually this resulted in him learning how to bend the will of Dov. The Dwemer discovered another book in the First Era. Since the acquisition and usage of hidden knowledge was somewhat a specialty of the Dwemer, they began to study it to reveal its secrets.
However, when opening a Black Book inside Apocrypha, the corresponding region of Apocrypha does not open. Instead the Dragonborn is transported back to Solstheim. This can be used to exit Apocrypha at any time without using (reaching) the hidden knowledge book typically set at the end of each Apocrypha scenario. This is especially important in the case of reading Waking Dreams without activating the final main quest "At the Summit of Apocrypha," because after reaching the Word Wall for Dragon Aspect, there is no visible exit in the form of an interactive item while the door behind the Dragonborn is locked.
Black Books can only be read while in Solstheim. Attempting to read a Black Book in Skyrim will result in the message: "A vision of Solstheim swims before your eyes and then is gone." When the message is acknowledged, the inventory closes and the surroundings shake briefly. Additionally, if used during an activity like wood chopping, or while sitting down, a message will appear saying: "You are unable to concentrate on what you're reading."
The area covered by each Black Book other than Waking Dreams ends with a fixed book (on a pedestal) containing three items of Hidden Knowledge. Each is represented by a green glowing sphere floating above the book. When activated, the corresponding power or active effect is granted. Only one from each area can be active at a time, but the Dragonborn can return at any time to activate a different effect. The edge of the book on the pedestal can be activated to return to Solstheim.
|Black Book: Epistolary Acumen||Found in Nchardak during the quest "The Path of Knowledge."||Dragonborn Force: Your Unrelenting Force Shout does more damage and may disintegrate enemies.|
|Black Book: Filament and Filigree||Found in Kolbjorn Barrow during the quest "Unearthed."||Secret of Arcana: Spells do not drain magicka for 30 seconds.|
Secret of Protection: Damage halved from all physical attacks and most magical attacks for 30 seconds.
Secret of Strength: Power attacks do not drain stamina for 30 seconds.
|Black Book: The Hidden Twilight||Found in Tel Mithryn, next to the Staff Enchanter.||Mora's Agony: Summons a field of writhing tentacles that poisons foes.|
Mora's Boon: Completely replenish Health, Stamina and Magicka.
Mora's Grasp: Freezes the target between Oblivion and Tamriel for 30 seconds, making them immune to all damage.
|Black Book: The Sallow Regent||Found in White Ridge Barrow||Seeker of Might: 10% more effective combat skills, 10% improved Smithing.|
Seeker of Shadows: 10% more effective stealth abilities, 10% improved Alchemy.
Seeker of Sorcery: 10% reduction in cost of all spells, 10% improved Enchanting.
|Black Book: The Winds of Change||Found in Bloodskal Barrow, during the quest "The Final Descent."||Companion's Insight: Your attacks, shouts, and destruction spells do no damage to followers.|
Lover's Insight: +10% damage to and 10% better prices from people of the opposite sex.
Scholar's Insight: Reading skill books provides 2 level increases for the skill.
|Black Book: Untold Legends||Found in Benkongerike, after the Word Wall.||Bardic Knowledge: A spectral drum that plays for 300 seconds replenishing stamina recovery.|
Black Market: A Dremora merchant spawns for 15 seconds.
Secret Servant: A Dremora butler spawns for 15 seconds, total carrying capacity 248 points.
|Black Book: Waking Dreams||Found in the Temple of Miraak during the main questline.||Skill tree reset in exchange for one dragon soul.|
- Some followers react to the Dragonborn reading a Black Book, making comments like "I can't believe you do that on purpose," "Not again," "I wish you'd stop doing that," "What the?," or "That can't be good for you…."
- While Neloth is a follower during the quest "The Path of Knowledge," he will remark, "Oh good. Be sure to say hello to Hermaeus Mora for me if you see him," when the Dragonborn reads the Black Book Epistolary Acumen.
- The books remain as quest items after "At the Summit of Apocrypha" and thus are permanently assigned to the inventory.
- A Black Book can be treated as a portable storage container while on Solstheim. Upon re-entering The Winds of Change the Dragonborn is close to a chest and the exit. It is helpful to dump the heavy loot there while exploring, then take it back when near a merchant/permanent storage.
- The Sallow Regent is likely a reference to Robert Chambers' The King in Yellow.
This section contains bugs related to Black Books. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- Upon exiting Apocrypha, the sound of paper whirling in the wind will persist. Saving and reloading the game should fix this.
- Upon exiting Apocrypha from The Sallow Regent or The Hidden Twilight, the burning sound of the darkness will persist. Saving and reloading the game, or going back to Apocrypha and returning should fix this.
- If the Dragonborn falls into the water it results in death. When the game reloads the autosave, their health will continuously go down, even though in Solstheim. Loading a previous save is the only known fix.
- When you use the perks book to exit out of The Sallow Regent, your health bar continues to go down. On two accounts this was fixed by going back into the book, conjuring a sword, start fighting the lurker while taking damage from the black "fuzziness" and then falling/jumping down. A message appears on top left of the screen saying "you cannot fight." When it autoloads you, your health bar is returned to normal.
- Lurker, they can be flung into the air similar to a Giant. When they respawn in Solstheim they can end up unresponsive, walking into the ground or laying on their side. Saving and reloading should fix this. If the Dragonborn is stomped on by a
- Upon entering or exiting Apocrypha, any spells, shouts, or powers equipped will be immediately unequipped.
- The Dragonborn may be unable to leave Apocrypha by reading a Black Book. To return to Solstheim, the Dragonborn can "die" by going into the water.
- Sometimes there are two copies of Untold Legends. Attempting to re-enter Apocrypha by reading Untold Legends may not happen, thus permanently locking the Dragonborn out of that part of Apocrypha. The only known fix is to reload a previous save.
- Entering and Exiting Apocrypha with Dragon Aspect active may cause the Dragonborn's facial hair to become invisible.
- Sometimes reading a Black Book will cause the player to enter into a non-stopping load screen. Current "fixes" are to simply skip reading them until Bethesda releases a patch.
- Dialogue asking Neloth if he is found anymore Black Books may still be available even after the Dragonborn has found all five. Neloth will point the Dragonborn towards a location that has already been cleared of the Black Book, thus rendering the quest impossible to complete.
- Whirlwind Sprint can help you pass trough some of these tunnels without falling.) Sneaking or dashing inside a moving tunnel causes Dragonborn to fall through the moving object abruptly and usually die due to the hazards below. (using
- Madman, but this quest cannot be completed multiple times. Black Book: The Hidden Twilight may become a quest more than once by talking to a
- Occasionally, upon entering or exiting Apocrypha, the game will crash.
- When entering Apocrypha, it will freeze for 10 seconds then autosave.
- Upon exiting Apocrypha, the sky in Solstheim may become filled with green swirl/aurora from the Apocrypha sky. Reloading the game will fix it.