Skyrim Special Edition

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About this mod

This mod extends the Dark Brotherhood questline in many ways and adds an optional alternate ending. The ending you get will depend on the choices you, the Player make, throughout the story. Completely voiced dialogues, using vanilla and xVASynth assets.

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Official SSE port of the same titled LE mod. This mod extends the Dark Brotherhood questline in many ways, and adds a possible alternate ending. The ending (vanilla/alternate) you get will depend on the vanilla choices you, the Player make, throughout the story. Like in The Witcher 3! Completely voiced dialogues, using vanilla and xVASynth assets.

The Features in Detail part of this description contains story spoilers for the vanilla Dark Brotherhood story.

Demo video for 2.0.0:

Features in detail
Possible Alternate Ending:
Did you ever notice, that during the Dark Brotherhood quests, you usually get dialogue options like: Of course Astrid, thanks! - ON YOUR KNEES EVERYONE THE LISTENERRRR's HOME!!! SITHIS!!!!!! - (Remain Silent).
On my first playthrough, I genuinely believed that my choices will matter. In the end, they did not, there is only one ending to this masterpiece - but that changes now. The mod monitors such vanilla dialogue choices, and some more choices you make, and the Death Incarnate quest will happen according to these actions. If you get the alternate ending, then Astrid is not the one who betrays you.  

Cicero's fate and walkthrough (Story spoilers):

If you spare Cicero's life, the dialogue where you lie to Astrid that you killed him has been transformed to a proper speech check, that also requires some extra incentive from the player to be able to pass.
If you fail this speech check, it's a huge leap towards the vanilla ending, because Astrid knows you're lying!
Walkthrough (gameplay spoilers):

The speech check all by itself is set to the hardest difficulty available in the game. Astrid is not stupid. She will sense it if you lie.
To reduce the difficulty, you should grab the Jester's Clothes (any piece will do) from the Dawnstar Sanctuary, and bring it with yourself to show them to Astrid, that you brought Cicero's clothes as proof of his death. This reduces the difficulty of the speech check to average.

If you get the alternate ending where both Astrid and Cicero survive, you receive a quest called Arch Enemies that will deal with their not-so-friendly relationship.

Further features of the alternate ending:
  • After completing the questline, you will also receive Astrid as a follower. She has radiant and idle dialogues, reacts to situations such as entering dungeons, admiring nice sceneries, and sensing danger. She's also free of follower-caps: she does not count to your current follower numbers, so she can tag along even if you already have someone with you.
  • Also, after long, long, thorough considerations, I've decided that you can marry her once you complete a certain quest (not at the Temple of Mara though).  It's not a problem if you are already married or engaged, you are an assassin after all...
    • Wait, what? - Boooo! - She's still in mourning, you pervert! Leave her alone for Sithis' sake! - I was just starting to think this is
      finally not a virtual girlfriend mod! - That's not lore friendly!!!
    ... I know, I know. Please, note my emphasis on "can". I didn't say you have to. I made her marriageable because I certainly know that many of us have/had/will at a certain point have a sick assassin character, who would love to have this deadly widow as a spouse, and I didn't want to deny this option. Again, it's an option. If your character or you think that this is not appropriate and she shouldn't be married - then don't. Don't ask her if she's interested in you, that's all. Or ask, and when she says yes, just refuse, that way even the option will be gone.When you are married, you can ask her for the regular daily homecooked meal and 100 gold from... the store...? No, she won't open a store, but she does complete contracts on her own, and will be glad to share. She will be however "independent" from any adopted kids, so you'll need to ask every member of your family one-by-one if you want to move to another house. She can't move into Hearthfires homes, but she will have a unique opinion on each vanilla home.

Restoring the Black Hand (Quest Expansion):
The Dawnstar Sanctuary has been repaired. And that's it? We have a recurring radiant quest and that's it? Dammit I'm the Listener, not some beginner initiate! Do I really have to do everything around here?
Not anymore! Now after the ending, in this quest, you can now appoint a Speaker of your choice as a part of returning to the old ways. No longer will you be forced to carry out the orders of the Night Mother - instead, you can pass the information on to your Speaker, who will manage the contract for you, and in a few days you will receive your payment (which is of course a little less than if you had completed the contract yourself).
Since 2.0 you can also nominate a Matron. Her role is to supervise the sanctuary's state - therefore you can ask her for new torture victims if some wouldn't survive your methods...

Recruiting followers to become Dark Brotherhood Initiates
Is it just me who thinks the Dawnstar Sanctuary is as empty as my mind during a particle physics exam? I'll leave refurnishing it to other mods, and I know that there are also mods that add new initiates, but that's just not interactive enough. Therefore, now you can bring a follower to the Sanctuary, and recruit them as a Dark Brotherhood Initiate. They will have a small initiation scene with your Speaker, and from then on they live in the Sanctuary (except for spouses, they will go back to your house). Mages receive Shrouded Robes, others receive Dark Brotherhood armor as their standard outfit. They may still be taken follower, but they will return to the Sanctuary when dismissed. You may also ask your Speaker for your share of the payments generated by the new initiates, weekly.
Standalone Followers: If their voicetype is unique, they are not eligible for recruitment. If you still want to recruit them, a patch will be needed. If their voicetype is a vanilla follower-voice template, then they can be recruited just like any follower. Whether this is a good idea or not depends entirely on the actual follower - if its mod author says that it shouldn't be controlled by other mods, then don't recruit them.

The Artifacts Of Sithis (Quest Expansion)
A small but entirely new quest, written by me. Its playthrough will depend on the ending you got, and will reward you with a unique jewelry set (Amulet + 2 Rings). When worn together, they will unlock a set bonus and will become even more powerful. In case of the alternate ending, this quest must be completed before you can marry Astrid.

The Art of Blood (Quest Expansion)
Aim for future development is to expand on existing characters during the main DB-quest playthrough. The first such addition is a small quest about Gabriella, her knowledge about the Black Door, and her relationship with the College of Winterhold.

The Unsanctioned Contracts (Quest Expansion)
There is a new note system introduced in the Dawnstar Sanctuary. Members and even your recruited followers will annually post issues, some of which are quest starters!
There are 3 quests in this pack at the moment, the Karthwasten Contract, the Windhelm Contract and the Whiterun Contract. Each quest has multiple possible endings, depending on the choices you make.
There is also a... disturbing drawing that might pop-up, starting a mini-quest to find a loose screw.

Dark Brotherhood Dialogue Edit:
Let me know if this sounds familiar: You are an imperial character, bravely fighting for the Empire. Death to those Stormcloaks! Then in your zeal, you kill Grelod the Kind, Astrid shows up, and boom, you're suddenly a cool assassin. How cool is that! Everything's great! Then wait... you gotta kill the Emperor now? What?
The problem is not the hard-to-resolve situation, but that there is not a single instance where you could discuss this with someone ingame. That changes now. Dark Brotherhood members can be talked to about the Civil War, and they give their opinion on you being an Imperial or a Stormcloak. Additionally,  Astrid and Festus can help you resolve your inner conflict of being loyal to the Brotherhood, or being loyal to the Empire. (Astrid's explanation is the one I came up with for my own first playthrough, so that I could justify my roleplaying actions). The mod also makes a very few and minor vanilla dialogue edits and adds some lines (for example, Lucien will now hail you when you summon him). Or you can now at least ask Veezara how he's feeling after you got back from Dawnstar. It also helps to better reflect your ability to choose where you stand in certain events (such as the treason of Cicero). Little things, like these.

  • SKSE64: MUST HAVE hard requirement!
  • (Optional) SkyUI: Required for the MCM. If you don't have it, the mod will work with default settings.
  • (Optional) Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch: Contains an important mesh fix that prevents a killhug bug that could otherwise appear in the Art of Blood quest.
  • (Optional) Realistic Ragdolls and Force: At one point in a quest you are required to drag a dead body. Make sure you can drag bodies, Realistic Ragdolls and Force should have you covered regardless of what skeleton mod you use.

Let LOOT take care of the load order. If you don't use it for some reason, then:

[The 3 DLC's]
Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch.esm
Unofficial Skyrim Modders Patch.esm
[Your other ESM's]
[The Official High-res DLC's]
Your other mods, including mine, which you can place mostly anywhere. For specifics, see the Compatibility section.

The mod can be installed on a new game and on saved games as well. Since 2.0.4 It can be installed at any point except while Death Incarnate or Hail Sithis! are active. Details:
- If you are installing on a saved game, the tracking of your choices starts from that point of installation. That means all prior choice you already made are invisible to the mod.
- If you installed the mod at the very brink of Death Incarnate, you will get the alternate ending. This setting can be changed in the MCM.
- The mod most not be installed while the Death Incarnate or Hail Sithis! quests are active. This is simply not supported. The mod will give you a warning if it catches you accidentally doing this. You'll either have to install on an earlier save when these were not started yet, or you have to finish these quests without the mod, and after they are done, do a post-quest installation:
- If you install after you already completed Hail Sithis, the mod will prompt you with an installer to set itself up for a post-quest installation, where you can choose which ending you want to have happened.

Recommended way: with your favorite mod-manager.
Manual (at your own responsibility): Back up your files, then extract the mod to your Skyrim/Data directory. Overwrite if prompted (again, at your own responsibility).  

Not a good idea. In the 2020's it should be common sense not to remove mods with scripts and registered updates mid-playthorugh. If you go against this warning and your saved game breaks, that is totally at your own responsibility.


As a rule of thumb, the mod will be generally incompatible with anything that edits the vanilla Dark Brotherhood quests starting from Death Incarnate, or tries to do the same features. Replacers for characters are perfectly fine, and most Dawnstar Sanctuary overhauls should also be no problem, as long as they don't do very drastic changes.
The mod has it's own added stuff in it's bsa archive, but anything that is an edited vanilla script is left as a loose file. If any mod tries to overwrite them - then it's incompatible.
Examples of tested mods (If it says [Needs correct load order] , I MEAN IT. The incorrect load order WILL cause you issues!)
  • [Patch available, Needs correct load order] Save the Dark Brotherhood SSE: The offered patch is a must have with very strict installation and load order. Detailed instructions in the Patches section below. Incorrect installation will cause you issues!
  • [INCOMPATIBLE] Shezarinne - The Fate of Tamriel - Prologue: Simply cannot be used together at the moment.
  • [INCOMPATIBLE] Veezara Alive: Simply cannot be used together at the moment. If you want something like this together with my mod, use Save the DB instead.
  • [Automatically patched] Dark Brotherhood Reborn - Dawnstar Sanctuary SEE: My mod automatically recognizes if you have it installed, and makes the necessary changes to the objects in the Dawnstar Sanctuary to accommodate to the changes of this mod.
  • [Automatically patched] The Great Town of Karthwasten SSE: My mod automatically recognizes if you have it installed, and makes the necessary changes to the placed objects in the Karthwasten interiors to accommodate to the changes of this mod.
  • [SSE specific, mildly incompatible] Immersive College of Winterhold: It's automated patch doesn't seem to work in SE. When used together, the Art of Blood quest in my mod will be broken and can only be completed with console commands.
  • [Patch available] The Dark Brotherhood Initiates: The mod automatically recognizes if you have it installed and renames the female Initiate accordingly, but the initiates' content from my mod will be unvoiced by default, because of their changed voicetypes. There's an optional patch in the optional files that contains the changed voices - download that to get back the voiced responses.
  • [INCOMPATIBLE] Shut Up Night Mother: currently incompatible.
  • [Compatible] Dark Brotherhood Motivations: nothing conflicts, should work with any load order.
  • [Compatible] Any Dark Brotherhood armor or character replacer: should be 100% compatible
  • [Needs correct load order] The Brotherhood of Old - SSE: Make sure to load my mod after TBO. Note that this only ensures compatibility on the technical level, and since I never played that mod, I don't know how much sense their storylines make next to each other.
  • [Compatible] Astrid Reborn - Back from the Void SE: Its standard version is compatible out of the box. With the Lazy Adventurer Edition to you technically have the means at your disposal to produce a bit too many Astrids... but just don't do that and problem solved.
  • [Compatible] Destroy the Dark Brotherhood - Enhanced: Should be compatible out of the box.
  • [Compatible] Destroy the Dark Brotherhood - Quest Expansion: Should be compatible out of the box.
  • [Compatible] Penitus Oculatus: Should be compatible out of the box.
  • [Patch available] Unfaltered Virtue - A Penitus Occulatus Story: Patch available in its FOMOD.
  • [Mostly compatible, Patch available] Juniper's Dawnstar Sanctuary: A bench will clip into my placed table. If that doesn't bother you, it's all compatible. There's an optional ESL patch that fixes the bench.
  • [Mostly incompatible] Dark Brotherhood for Good Guys: If you absolutely want to use the two together, load it after my mod. There are 2 conflicting scripts, overwrite mine with the scripts from that mod. This will ensure that mod's integrity at the cost of some broken or missing features from mine. Details in this post.
  • [Mostly incompatible] Dark Brotherhood for People on the Go: Pretty much the same applies as for DB for Good Guys. Load it after my mod if you absolutely want this, but the recurring quest will conflict, therefore you will lose out on some of my mod's features.
  • [Compatible] My Home is Your Home (MHIYH 2PLUS) - SSE: works perfectly on Astrid.
  • [Unknown] UFO, AFT, all other acronyms that denote a follower overhaul: I never used any of these, so you tell me how Astrid reacts to them. There shouldn't be any gamebreaking issues though. I've received some feedback that AFT plays well with Astrid.
Third party patched mods:

Patch instructions:
Save The Dark Brotherhood SSE:
Installation order: 1) Download and install Save the Dark Brotherhood SSE. 2) Install my mod's main file. When prompted about 2 scripts, overwrite. (Main file wins and overwrites the already installed Save the DB scripts). 3) Download and install the patch from the optional files. When prompted about 1 script, overwrite. (Patch wins and overwrites the already installed Save the DB script).
Screenshot of load rules in Vortex:

Load order: SaveTheBrotherhood.esp -> ww_AlternateDBEnding.esp -> ww_AlternateDBEnding_SaveTheDBPatch.esp. This load order is set in stone for a reason, and anything else will give you issues. Double check that your load order is correct! MO users: Triple check!
LOOT users might have to give custom load orders, for me it guessed wrong!
LOOT screenshot of plugin load order:

After installation, you can and should check in the in-game MCM's Patches section that the Save the Dark Brotherhood patch is activated.

For people who use a custom port of PrinceShroob's LE edition of Save the Dark Brotherhood:
DO NOT use the optional patch. The main file will automatically detect and patch itself for this edition of Save the Dark Brotherhood, but it does still need correct load order. Load my mod after Save the DB:  Save the Dark Brotherhood!.esp -> ww_AlternateDBEnding.esp
The mod checks this each time a save is loaded and will give you a warning if your load order is incorrect. If you receive no such warning and the MCM reports that the Save the DB Patch is active, you're all good to go.

Recommended Mods

Performance and Technical Info
You will see that the mod contains quite a lot of scripts files, but these are all event based or player-triggered actions, and only used for the quests, nothing is running constantly in the background. Performance hit should be none-to-minimal. Cleaned and polished with TES5Edit: ITM free, USLEEP changes have been carried forward.

Xbox port?
There used to be one. No longer, it has been deleted on 2022.05.17 and all permissions are revoked. This mod is now for PC and nexusmods only. Nobody is allowed to make or reupload an xbox-port.
The official statement about the permanent deletion of 1.2c port:

Player feedback over a year suggests that there are technical problems with the port, of unknown origins. I don't see an efficient way of solving the problems because firstly, I am unable to be involved personally in testing it since I do not have an xbox. Secondly, the porters seem to have been unavailable to the playerbase for support, leading to players coming to me with all kinds of issues, but again due to lacking an xbox, I have mostly been and am still unable to provide any meaningful help. A third contributing factor is that the pc edition has long evolved past the old version that was used to make the port, but the new versions cannot be ported to xbox due to script extender requirements, thus making the port impossible to update and a "dead end" anyway.

Known Issues, Troubleshooting, FAQ:

  • Lover's Comfort is not applied with Astrid as my spouse.
    Known issue. I don't know why, the scripts look good. If you know why this happens or you know a workaround, please let me know.
  • Depending on who you name Matron and when, the name of the Female Dark Brotherhood Initiate may be mentioned inconsistently in the Windhelm Contract quest. Known Issue.
  • Astrid as a spouse cannot move into Hearthfires homes.
    I'm still figuring out how to make this possible. For now, she can only use the vanilla homes.
  • The objective pointer doesn't point to my Speaker during my first instance of the Dark Brotherhood Forever repeatable radiant quest.
    This can happen if you are installing on a saved game. The dialogues will work fine, it's just the objective pointer that is missing. Just finish it, and when the repeatable quest starts for the second time, the pointer will work too from then on.
  • A courier approached me, but didn't give me anything. / The Artifacts of Sithis quest is stuck at stage 5 or doesn't start at all. / I finished everything and still can't marry Astrid.
    The courier that is supposed to start the Artifacts of Sithis quest (that you must complete to marry Astrid) sometimes won't give you the letter and the quest will fail to start. I have no idea why this happens, but I've seen it happen. It's probably an issue with another mod that interferes with the courier, but I couldn't locate which one. If this happens to you, use this safe workaround: open the console, and type:
    setstage ww42dbringofsithis 7
  • I don't want to refuse Astrid, but I'm married, and I have mods that set my spouse to Essential.
    If another mod puts the spouse into an essential alias, then my mod cannot circumvent that. It is not necessary to kill your spouse though, my mod will still work as expected if you just divorce through console commands. If this breaks immersion, then it should also be fine to use some mod to divorce through dialogue.
    ; Console code to divorce:
    removefac 51596
    player.removefac C6472
    resetquest 74793
    resetquest 21382
    setstage 74793 10
    After divorcing by either way, don't forget to enter this to re-enable the Astrid Marriage dialogue:
    setstage ww42dbredwedding 5
  • If I chain wedding cancellations and dialogues "properly", I can cause a glitch to have two spouses!
    Yeah, well don't do that then. I won't bother adding even more complex conditions on the marriage dialogue, just because if you kill your first wife, then engage someone else, then talk to Astrid, then start your wedding but cancel it, then you engage Astrid, and then you can still say to your cancelled spouse that you're sorry and want to start again. Just don't do that, problem solved.
  • I canceled my wedding, but the dialogue to marry Astrid isn't showing up.
    Just like for any other NPC, you still need to ask for forgiveness at Maramal. I know this doesn't make much sense, but that's just how Skyrim's marriage conditions work.

Future plans

The mod is mostly finished, but development doesn't stop with 2.0. It depends on my free time, but there are plans to extend the mod even further. I don't plan on adding more content after the questline, instead I mostly plan to extend "horizontally", with even more options to the vanilla quests. As starters, the number of possible endings is likely to be pumped up to 4.
No news on "when?", though.

Ideas and Suggestions
I am open to suggestions concerning future additions and improvements to the mod, so feel free to post your ideas! :) I'm not promising anything though. Also keep in mind, that the possibilities are severely limited by the available vanilla assets for dialogues! So don't suggest something that nobody has resources for!
Already considered ideas:
  • In-Game dialogue to divorce Astrid? No. No Dovahkiin is powerful enough to survive that!
  • A 3rd, Save the Family ending where you're in time and everyone lives.
     After giving it some thought, I decided to rule this one out, because I really enjoyed the emotional impact the game gave at the demise of the Family when I first played it. I feel that this twist just simply shouldn't be edited out. I know, I'm the one who's always going on about "options are cool, don't deny the option", but... I feel that the ending is not something you consciously choose, it's an indirect consequence to the actions you take. Therefore, this won't become a feature in this mod per se. If you want something like this, you should download Save the Dark Brotherhood (don't forget you need the patch as well for it to work with my mod!)

You are of course also allowed to create and upload compatibility patches with other mods. It would still be nice if you tell me that you did such a patch, so that I can link it from this description page.
Translations are very welcome :)
Any other use without my prior permission is strictly prohibited!

Anon1Anon for Sanctuary Cleanup base script:
DanRuta for xVASynth, used  for some generated voicelines:
Bowmore Lover for LazyVoiceFinder, used  for getting the vanilla assets:
BetterBecause for HQ painting mesh:
Additional artwork specially made for this mod by doraolej
Other used tools:
SSE Nif Optimizer

Thank you for using my mod, I really hope you'll enjoy it. Kill well, and often.