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First off, this is not Esbern not having a sound at all. He just responds with those generic greetings and speeches guards give you (even when you have a quest pointing you to talk to him).

I have finished Alduin's Wall and just recruited 3 of my followers into the blades. Delphine tells me ask Esbern about Dragon locations, I ask Esbern. He just says "Good afternoon." or something like that when I dialogue (I believe) should appear.

Previously at the Cornered Rat quest, where I rescue Esbern from the Ratway, he spoke fine and had dialogue.

I'd prefer not to download any mods, if possible.

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    This is listed on the wikia as one of Esbern's numerous bugs: "When dragon hunting after recruiting three followers into the Blades, he may only say, "do you need something?" No other conversation options will be available.", but no solution is given.
    – MrLemon
    Jun 19, 2015 at 10:30
  • I believe you'd have to use mods, if playing on the PC. At least, just the Unofficial Skyrim Patch. Jun 20, 2015 at 7:17
  • To this day, Bethesda still hasn't fixed the numerous annoying bugs that there are in Skyrim. Definitely download the Unofficial Skyrim Patch, it fixes so many broken items, quests, and NPC behaviors.
    – DarthPizza
    Jun 21, 2015 at 8:01

1 Answer 1

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Esbern is a very buggy character in Skyrim. Without mods, skipping through the quest with console commands is a good idea.

Use the setstage command to skip through.

For example:

setstage TG08A 70 will set the quest stage to the point where you need to talk to Brynjolf in the "Trinity Restored" quest.

You'll have to find out which stage to skip to in your case.

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