I've heard that there is a main story line in Skyrim, and that you have the main quests and procedurally generated quests besides that. How can I identify whether a quest belongs to the main story line, or whether it is procedurally generated by someone.

I would somehow like to focus on finishing the main story line first...

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    Not exactly straightforward, but I believe the "decorations" on either side of the quest title when you're looking at the quest details in your log are type/line-specific. If someone doesn't beat me to it, I'll see if I can dig up some specifics when I get home tonight. – Ben Blank Nov 19 '11 at 0:51
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    Good question, I'd like to know for the opposite reasons, even though I know you can continue on after the main quest. Just been keeping myself busy exploring, working on side quests, and picking flowers – Doozer Blake Nov 19 '11 at 0:58
  • Like Ben said there are some decorations in the quest description that only appear in main story line quests. – Tiago Nov 19 '11 at 1:45

Quests can belong to one of several categories which give them unique "knotwork" in the journal. The main quest is one such category, and has knotwork depicting a dragon breathing fire:

main quest knotwork

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There are 19 individual quests making up Skyrim's main quest. They are as follows:

  • Unbound
  • Before the Storm
  • Bleak Falls Barrow
  • Dragon Rising
  • The Way of the Voice
  • The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller
  • A Blade in the Dark
  • Diplomatic Immunity
  • A Cornered Rat
  • Alduin's Wall
  • The Throat of the World
  • Elder Knowledge
  • Alduin's Bane
  • Season Unending
  • Paarthurnax
  • The Fallen
  • The World-Eater's Eyrie
  • Sovngarde
  • Dragonslayer

The name of the quest is found in your journal. (Quest summaries redacted to avoid spoilers)

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Here is a list of the main story line quests.

Don't delve too far into this page if you don't like spoilers


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The main quest line has a decoration in the shape of a dragon head, dark brotherhood quests have a skull, deadric quests have the oblivion symbol. The thieves guilds quests have a odd sort of design maybe a lockpick? But the other side quests have a plain decoration.

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