Skyrim Special Edition

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Start the Civil War and become Thane of Whiterun without completing the Main Quest "Dragon Rising". Requires a New Game.

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Backported to Legendary Edition by LucioMalyn

Disconnects the Civil War quest Message to Whiterun from the Main Quests Bleak Falls Barrow and Dragon Rising, and allows you to become Balgruuf's Thane without being Dragonborn. Can only be installed on a New Game. Featuring new, fully-voiced scenes for Farengar if Balgruuf and Irileth are in exile!

Becoming Thane of Whiterun

At any time, you can approach Balgruuf and say "I'm looking for work." This will start an updated version of Bleak Falls Barrow, which is now Balgruuf's Favor Quest for becoming Thane. When you return with the Dragonstone, tell Balgruuf "I'm back from Bleak Falls Barrow." The quest will end, you will be rewarded, Dragon Rising will not start, and you can now ask "My Jarl, is there anything else you need?" This will start a version of the standard Thane quest to Purchase Breezehome and Assist the People of Whiterun.

If Balgruuf has been sent into exile as part of the Civil War, talk to the new Jarl and follow the usual steps to become Thane.

Continuing the Civil War

When you arrive in Dragonsreach during Message to Whiterun, you can now give Balgruuf the message from Ulfric or Tullius and get a response immediately*. The Civil War will continue unhindered, Balgruuf will be replaced as Jarl if necessary, and you never need to become Dragonborn. Any dialogue referring to you as the Dragonborn is disabled if you have not completed Dragon Rising.

* You may need to complete the final scene of Before the Storm first, for example if you already have that quest and have been sent to talk to the Jarl by someone in Riverwood, or if you have Alternate Start mods that begin the Main Quest with this scene.

Continuing the Main Quest

The Main Quest will not progress automatically after Before the Storm is completed, but it is still of course possible to continue it when you're ready - Dragon Rising is required, but Bleak Falls Barrow is optional. The Way of the Voice will start as soon as Dragon Rising is complete, as normal. Delphine's dialogue mentioning the source of the Map of Dragon Burials is disabled if Bleak Falls Barrow is not completed.

If Balgruuf is still Jarl, once you have completed Before the Storm, ask him "What else can I help you with?" (or "I'm looking for work.") to start Bleak Falls Barrow and progress towards becoming Thane, or "How can you protect Whiterun from the dragons?" to start Dragon Rising immediately. The two quests cannot be done concurrently, but once one is done, you can do the other.

If Balgruuf has been exiled, and you have not completed Before the Storm, Jarl Vignar (or Jarl Hrongar, if you have my other mod) will not believe you when you tell him that a dragon has destroyed Helgen, and you will need to tell Farengar instead. Once Before the Storm has been completed, ask Farengar "Are there any projects you need help with?" to start Bleak Falls Barrow and recover the Dragonstone, or ask him "Have you encountered any dragons?" to start Dragon Rising. The two quests cannot be done concurrently, but once one is done, you can do the other.

With Balgruuf and Irileth in exile, Farengar finally gets his chance to see a dragon, and will take Irileth's place in Dragon Rising, including fully-voiced scenes at the Guard Barracks and the Western Watchtower. After Mirmulnir is defeated, Farengar will send you to the Greybeards, starting The Way of the Voice.

Other Features

  • Start The Whispering Door (Mephala's Daedric quest) without completing Dragon Rising.
    • Note that I accept no responsibility for NPC deaths during Mephala's quest - if you haven't completed Dragon Rising yet, try not to kill anyone needed by that quest (i.e. Farengar)!
  • Start In My Time Of Need (Alik'r Warriors quest) without completing Dragon Rising.


This mod edits numerous scripts, including the Quest Fragments of MQ102 Before the Storm, MQ103 Bleak Falls Barrow, MQ104b Dragon RisingCWPostWhiterunObjFavorJarlsMakeFriends, and HousePurchase, as well as some dialogue Topic Fragments. Compatibility is therefore not guaranteed with anything else that edits these scripts, except those listed above.


  • This mod doesn't disable Word Walls - if you get close enough, you will still learn Words of Power.
    • Learning the Word of Power in Bleak Falls Barrow is no longer required to complete that quest (or The Golden Claw quest), and you can ignore the Word Wall completely (if you stay far enough away from it while defeating the boss).
    • Use In Your Shadow if you want to completely disable Word Walls (compatibility untested).
    • You will learn the first word of Unrelenting Force during Dragon Rising if you have not visited Bleak Falls Barrow.
  • This mod doesn't disable Dragon Souls - if you kill a dragon, you will still absorb its soul.
    • Use In Your Shadow if you want to fight dragons without absorbing their souls (compatibility untested).
  • Dragons will not spawn if you do not complete Dragon Rising.
    • Use Dragons from the Start if you want dragons without completing Dragon Rising (reported compatible, untested).
  • I haven't tested every combination and iteration of the order these quests can now be done in - if something doesn't work, let me know how you got there!