Maven Black-Briar is, to me, easily the most despicable person in all of Skyrim (and I say that as an acolyte of the Dark Brotherhood). Unfortunately, I also have obsessive-compulsive questing disorder so I cannot just leave the quest “Dampened Spirits” lying around.

Is there a way to turn this quest around and betray Maven, bringing her to justice?

(I should have never started the Thieves Guild quest line but I desperately wanted to find out about the “Unusual Gems.”)

  • 1
    More generally, many of the quests are simply immoral in nature, and I would appreciate having more alternatives in addition to “perform quest according to script” and “don’t do quest at all”. But at least for some quests this seems to be really impossible. Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 14:40
  • Technically she's got no loyalties to dark brotherhood only the thieves guild.
    – Unionhawk
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 15:38
  • I'm not sure if Maven is essential or not. I'm guessing she is. If not, you could always do what she says and then stab her in the back in a literal sense.
    – Unionhawk
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 15:43
  • @Unionhawk I just meant that my standards of morality, being in the Dark Brotherhood, are not exactly high. Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 15:46
  • True true. Also, Maven is essential. So stabbing is out without console magic.
    – Unionhawk
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 15:47

2 Answers 2


As per the comments, Maven Black-Briar is an "essential" character, meaning there is no way (outside of console commands) to kill her off.

She plays a part in several other quest-lines, namely the Thieves-Guild and the Dark Brotherhood, aligning herself with the "darker" side of Skyrim.

The only quest that causes any harm to her persona is to go see a man about a horse.

Additionally, the Black-Briar Lodge also contains some hefty loot, and an Unusual Gem, so I'm sure you can have some fun beating up her henchmen and stealing her stuff. But even then, when you talk to her after this, there is no difference in her interactions so she either

  • doesn't give two hoots, 'cause she's rich and powerful and has her head stuck up her own butt

    or (more likely)

  • The dev's didn't actually allow any differences to be made to her AI, so anything that you can do is entirely for the player's benefit only, with no outside effect on the rest of the game.

  • 6
    It's true. I once tried to disturb her position by siding with the Empire in the Civil War. I figured that whoever took over as Jarl of Riften would have to be harder for her to manipulate than Lalia is. NOPE. If the Empire claims Riften the new Jarl is Maven Black-Briar herself.
    – CrusaderJ
    Commented Dec 1, 2014 at 2:42

Try doing the the second main quest first which is the dragonborn quest. When you call everyone to the meeting at the grey beards HQ, you get the chance to make Maven Black-Briar into the Jarl of Riften which in theory should make her vulnerable to exploitation.

When you go with the first main quest which is to kill Ulfric Stormcloak and do the quest where you get evidence that Laila Law is corrupt, instead of removing her in theory you should be able to get rid of Maven Black-Briar for good (if the emperor has any sense) because she is worse than Laila Law. Other than that I don't think you can.

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