Cracked Tusk Keep is named after the Orcs who now reside there. It was an abandoned fort that has now become an Orc Stronghold, and is now guarded by hostile Orcs that will attack on sight. The keep is divided into three sections: Cracked Tusk Keep (Outer), Cracked Tusk Keep (Inner), and Cracked Tusk Keep Vault. The keep may be entered through two doors or a trap door on top of one tower.
Cracked Tusk Keep (Outer)
Typical of most abandoned forts in Skyrim, the outer walls and towers are crumbling and broken in spots and the entire fort is in a general state of disrepair. The courtyard has a blacksmith's shop with a working forge, grindstone and workbench. What sets this fort apart is the additional Orcish construction in the outer yard. In the courtyard the Orcs have built a smokehouse and have a tanning rack nearby.
Cracked Tusk Keep (Inner)
The three-level inner keep may be accessed through either of two doors — one on the main level, one on the lower level with an adept lock, and a trap door in the roof of the tower. There are several rooms in this section, with the one on the lower level containing an Alchemy Lab. The trapdoor from the tower leads into the room adjacent to Ghunzul's bedroom on the upper level. The main level has 6 usable bed rolls, should the player wish to sleep after clearing the keep of enemies.
After slaying Ghunzul, collect the Cracked Tusk Vault Key from the end table (or from his corpse). The key will be useful for opening the locked cage on the lower level.
Cracked Tusk Vault
The vault may be accessed on the lower level. Without the key to the cage, the player will need to pick the expert lock to the cage and then activate the button inside the cage. If you are playing in the third person mode, change to first person mode after opening the cage. Otherwise it only opens and closes the cage door instead of giving the button activate option. After activating the button, you can switch back.
The vault is a damp, stone corridor with a small, locked cell on each side and a larger cell at the end that contains traps for the unwary. The usual assortment of leveled treasure — potions, armor, and weapons — is located in various locations inside the vault, beyond which is a booby-trapped pedestal with the Shards of Mehrunes' Razor resting on it.
There are many traps in the lower vault, past the four adjacent rooms, leading up to the stand with the Shards. There are four tripwires that release poison darts, and well as a tripwire that activates a battering wall of to the side. The stand that holds the Shards itself will release poison darts once the Shards are removed.
The Shards of Mehrunes' Razor are found here.
- Shards of Mehrunes' Razor – Quest Item
- Assorted leveled loot from bandits, Orcs, and chests
- Lost Legends – in a vault cell on the right inside the Cracked Tusk Vaults (leads to the quest "Forbidden Legend").
- Light Armor Forging (Smithing) – on a table by the smithing forge.
- Rislav the Righteous (Light Armor) – in a vault cell on the left inside the Cracked Tusk Vaults.
- Various alchemy ingredients in barrels.
- Apprentice level locked chest on the very top of the keep, use the ladder roof access and go around to the damaged side to get to it.
- Adept level locked chest on the right when entering the room with Shards of Mehrunes' Razor.
- Master level locked chest among the ruins of one of the corner structures of the castle. Standing on top of the keep, it is the circular structure to the north, behind the smithing area.
- Ants can be found crawling on a stump (on the left) outside of the main gate.
- The Orcs here will always be hostile, even if one has been named "Blood Kin" by the Orc Strongholds. Also, killing the Orcs here will not cause the Orcs elsewhere to become hostile, as they are not part of the same faction.