Skyrim:Tolfdir the Absent-Minded

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SR-qico-Miscellaneous.png Help Tolfdir find his missing alembic.
Quest Giver: Tolfdir
Location(s): College of Winterhold
Prerequisite Quest: Under Saarthal
Reward: 30 gold, an empty Soul Gem
Required Items: Tolfdir's Alembic
Difficulty: Easy
Tolfdir's Alembic

Quick Walkthrough

  1. Speak to Tolfdir.
  2. Hunt down his missing alembic in the College.
  3. Return to Tolfdir.

Detailed Walkthrough

Good old Tolfdir

Tolfdir is an elderly mage and professor at the College of Winterhold and one of the first people encountered at the college. When you have completed Under Saarthal and have begun Hitting the Books Tolfdir will be residing at the college. If you run across him looking confused, ask him if he needs help.

Tolfdir’s Alembic

Embarrassed, Tolfdir will admit to misplacing his alembic. And, while he could indeed use a different one, he has a strange sentimental attachment to this particular piece of equipment. Help the professor out by finding this lost item. The alembic will appear in one of three randomly-selected locations in the Hall of Countenance:

  • On the top floor: in the northern room, on top of a barrel to the right of the central dining bench.
  • On the top floor: underneath the left display case in the enchanting room.
  • On the bottom floor: on a crate in the eastern room, with the big barrel in it.

However, even without the quest being activated, you will run across the alembic numerous times in your wanderings about the college. Simply return the alembic to Tolfdir when you speak to him, and earn the reward each time. Tolfdir will give you thirty gold and an empty petty, lesser or common soul gem for returning his misplaced property.


  • Finding Tolfdir's Alembic before triggering the quest will not change the quest dialogue or outcome; you can simply start the quest and give the alembic to Tolfdir to receive your reward.
  • Unlike other games where alembics are a major part of Alchemy (in Skyrim, all alchemy equipment is permanently attached to alchemy stations), this is the only alembic item found in Skyrim.


  • Pc22.pngUSKP version only: Finding Tolfdir's alembic before triggering the quest may cause the objective to remain in your journal and not be set as complete.
  • Tolfdir may offer the dialogue option that initiates the quest after it has already been completed. Selecting this option will re-add the quest to your journal, but the Alembic will not respawn, leaving the objective permanently stuck in your journal.
    • Pc22.pngEntering the console command player.additem "00026c31" 1 to give yourself a second alembic will allow you to complete the quest by speaking to Tolfdir as normal.

Quest Stages

Tolfdir the Absent-Minded (MGR01)
Stage Finishes Quest Journal Entry
10 ;player has accepted quest
200 Finishes quest
  • The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 20.