Darksahde Caverns I Dungeon Guide

These caves have the distinction of being the most famous kwama mines in Deshaan. Dark Elves consider kwama eggs a delicacy, and those harvested from Darkshade Caverns are particularly prized by Dunmeri gourmets.

Darkshade Caverns I is a four-person dungeon in the game The Elder Scrolls Online. The dungeon consists of various rooms and corridors, each with its own challenges and enemies. Darkshade Caverns I can be accessed at Level 42.  In this guide, I shall explain the mechanics as well as what you should and shouldn’t do while facing the dungeon’s bosses.

Darkshade Caverns I Location

Darkshade Caverns I is located in the southeastern region of Deshaan.  Travel southwest from the Silent Mire Wayshrine to reach Darkshade Caverns I and II.  You can also access Darkshade Caverns I specifically by using the Dungeon Finder.

Inside Darkshade Caverns I

Darkshade Caverns I is a one-level dungeon with six bosses and one quest.  The enemies in this dungeon include corrupted Pit Rat warriors, kwama scribs, and dwarven spiders.

Mine All Mine

Tervur Sadri, the co-owner of the Darkshade mine, wants me to help him find his partner, Selos, and get rid of the thugs who’ve displaced his miners.

ESO NPC Character Nervyna Selos

Completing Mine All Mine

You will need to defeat several taskmasters and Foreman Llothan.  Follow Tervur to find him hiding and defeat the Sentinel of Rkugamz.  Speak to Nervyna to complete the quest.  Completing this quest will reward you with gold, a skill point, and the Helm of House Selos, part of the Strength of the Automaton armor set. 

Darkshade Caverns I Boss Mechanics

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Head Shepherd Neloren

This boss is very simple and has very little health but she heals a LOT so the key point to this fight is making sure that each time she tries to do so, you stop her. The heals are incredibly strong and to a group with low damage who forget to interrupt her, this can be a pain.

Fireball – This is a pretty basic attack but it does have a splash/spread effect to it, so try not to stack up to much and stay out of the bad stuff when it lands. Apart from that her basic flame attacks especially while the tank has proper aggro, are a minor issue and really doesn’t hurt that much at all. However, if you do get caught, I would suggest you shield/block as and when and just watch where you stand.

Healing – This boss heals more than she does attacks!
She has two major heals, one which will heal someone else and one which will heal herself. The single target one resembles that of traditional targets with a stream-like effect and CAN be interrupted. Make sure you stay on top of this in order to prevent her from healing her allies.

The other heal is very similar to the templar healing skill line. She animates into a short-duration prayer state and when it has finished channeling she receives a HUGE heal (also ticks over time). you MUST interrupt this else this will cause some big problems to groups with lower damage than most. The way to pass this boss is to STOP her from healing.

Foreman Llothan

This boss is relatively simple with some punishing effects if you don’t simply stick to the rules. It is a fairly mobile fight and people need to be on their toes while dealing with places and cast AOEs as well as multiple waves of adds depending on how fast you dispatch the boss!

Move – As simple as it says on the tin. Periodically the boss will stop what he is doing and then run to another location and start attacking from there instead. This is every few seconds and his initial movement is triggered once the first player gets too close. He moves every 10-12 seconds roughly and spawns anything UP TO 6 kwamas. They all have very low health and can die fast to general AOE damage but make sure your tank controls them.

Burst – When he is about to run each time, he will cast a spreading AOE shock blast, if you are caught in this you will take a LOT of damage so logic plays a roll in this one. When you see that mechanic, move OUT of it and let him reposition himself.

Poison Vials – Occasionally throughout the fight he will throw poison vials onto the floor aiming at whoever he sees fit at the time. These do nasty AOE damage to whoever is caught in them ticking over like a poison dot until you leave the area, do NOT get caught by these and if you do, get out of them as soon as you can. A tank will be able to stand in them although there is no need, but a dps or a healer unless healing a LOT will die in only a few ticks.

The Hive Lord

This boss to some is every PUG’s worst nightmare. The basic rule for this boss is to KEEP HIM STILL, but time and time again you will see people running around the room. That is NOT the way to do it. Hold him still, get everyone in close, and watch your feet!

Lunge – A very simple RULE rather than a mechanic. This is used in many situations and on many bosses throughout the game but people fail on this mechanic the most…”Don’t run away!”  IF you run away from the boss rather than standing about 5-10 meters away he will jump on your head! Simple…stay close and he won’t do it!

Spawn Kwama – A very small AOE effect will appear at the boss’s feet and he appears to be digging into the ground. Get out of the effect (it snares and hurts) then 3x kwama will spawn. They are very weak and can be killed fast with AOE. Your tank should control them and NO ONE should be running away.

Slam – A small cone attack slam, in the direction of the tank or whoever has aggro. This is avoidable and blockable so be sure to block it if it is aimed at you. It doesn’t hit too hard though.

Ground Pound – The most dangerous, scary-looking, and EASY mechanic to this boss. He pounds the ground like mad repeatedly hurting everyone inside the massive AOE every time he hits the ground until he stops. There is one way to avoid the entire mechanic. BASH/INTERRUPT him and he WILL stop.  For the last time, do NOT run away, he will jump!


Cavern Patriarch

This boss is one of the easiest in the dungeon. A big squid-looking netch with bad breath basically. He will always attack whoever has agro so your tank should simply hold him still on the spot while your dps and healers stay behind him spread out.

Heavy Attack – As simple as it sounds, the boss has a heavy attack. Whoever has the agro (should be the tank) simply block it. It barely scratches and you don’t need to run around the room like a maniac, relax.

Poison – This ability is pretty huge, covers the real estate of the boss roughly, and does quite a bit of poison damage over time if you are caught in it, BUT it is placed on the ground so very easy to avoid. All you have to do is step out of it and you are safe. Again no running around the room, there is no need.  This is also interruptible if you are fast.

Cutting Sphere

Nasty little boss this one. He is small, has a few adds around him which the tank NEEDS to pick up fast before they overwhelm the group and above all keep this guy as still as you possibly can. If he gets loose it is all over. I highly recommend you spread your healer and dps out a bit so you don’t all get hit by the same thing at once.

Dart – A really nasty long ranged heavy attack that must be blocked. This should only hit the tank but if the taunt is dropped or you don’t have one you MUST block this.

Slam/Jump – Occasionally the boss will jump up in the air and quickly slam back down again onto the ground. A small AOE will visually show its range but you do NOT want to get caught in this. A tank can withstand the blast and should block but a dps will be lucky to live through it in most cases.

Steam Attack – Occasionally the boss will charge up a kind of swirling steam attack in the direction he chooses, this is devastating to a dps so avoid it at all costs BUT this can be interrupted. You are looking for a small round AOE effect on the floor moving in a straight line. DON’T get hit!

Spin – This is the one the tank needs to control. Keep your stamina up because you will need to block this. The boss will go into a craze and spin for a few seconds, each tick of damage will hit anyone in the area and he will home in on the aggroed target. The tank needs to keep the boss still and BLOCK the damage. If this catches a dps, they will die. If unfortunately you have no choice and it is chasing a dps or a healer, then the chosen target should kite around the boss in a small circle avoiding the aoe until he has finished and settled down again.

Sentinel of Rkugamz

The final boss in Darkshade caverns is pretty simple but all manner of things can go wrong. He has 3 basic mechanics which are VERY easy to determine which is which because they are colour coded by the lights on his body. The tank should keep this boss as central to the room as possible at all times and pay close attention to the colour changing. The group needs to pay close attention to the changes of the boss’s routine and be sure to NOT sprint around headless…speaking of which, on to the mechanics!

Decapitate – This is the mechanic that happens when the boss is YELLOW… While he is yellow he will aim at the tank (or whoever has agro) and will do 3 heavy attacks about 2seconds or so apart from each other. These heavy attacks have a cone effect on them too so ANYONE caught in it will get hit. The tank MUST block or it is dead. and any dps caught by this will die too so do NOT spin the boss. You can dodge roll backward if you really really must but do NOT spin him. Try to keep him still, and if you are a dps or healer do NOT stand in front of the boss,

Lightning – This phase happens when he is blue. He will raise his arm and fire shots into the air. These will land on a chose players head and the way to avoid the damage is to very simple, keep close to the boss while keeping up your damage/heals etc/ and circle him slowly moving out of the way of each falling meteor-type shock pool.

The Spin! – This is the big one and destroys PUGs. When he turns RED, he will choose a target. The tank if you are lucky, but 9 times out of 10 it is someone else. You need to understand how to handle this. He will spin like made doing physical damage to every tick inside the AOE of the spin and SLOW you down with a snare. So if you get hit once you are pretty much dead and he cannot be taunted. The trick to this is to keep moving… HOW you move however makes a big difference. You need to coordinate.  Whoever has his attention needs to move in a reasonably sized circle to keep him off them BUT, try to gauge it so that the circle makes him deliberately stay INSIDE the damage already placed on the ground by your group. You can move around in a 15-20meter circle at most and still make him take tons of damage. BUT as soon as you start running around like a headless chicken, damage won’t be applied and the fight will last way too long. Also another thing to pay full attention to. DON’T yolo into your teammates. They will die getting caught by it. Relax, go around in a nice circle, and keep him in the damage until he has finished, then let the tank take him back.

Spiders – At 25% and under he will spawn dwemer spiders in the room. They are usually pretty spread out, and they just sit in little green circles. IF he touches the circles he will heal, IF he does not, he won’t. So your call. Kill them if you want, or simply keep him away from them. They are not a real threat.

Darkshade Caverns I Dungeon Loot

Below is a list of all the loot you can expect to find in Darkshade Caverns I.

On normal the loot is blue and the boss does NOT drop a monster helmet, but on veteran difficulty all of the loot is purple and the final boss DOES drop a special monster helmet.

Note: in dungeons some individual bosses can drop a unique item but generally, the weapons and jewelry (non-named items) come from the last boss. HOWEVER the entire loot table can also drop from trash and chests, so loot everything!  Got the gear in the wrong traits?  Don’t worry!  You can alter the traits by either transmuting or reconstruct the piece with a trait of your choice.  For more information see the Introduction to Transmuting and Reconstructing article.

If you are looking for a matching shoulder monster piece, visit the Undaunted Pledge Master Maj al-Ragath at the nearest Undaunted enclave.  She sells a 50/50 chance at the shoulder piece as part of the Darkshade Caverns Coffer or it could be in her mystery coffer.  You can learn more about the Undaunted in the Undaunted Guide.

Builds That Use Darkshade Caverns I Gear

ESO In-Game Icon Gear Firesong Circle Heavy Chest A
ESO In-Game Icon Weapon Sword

Darkshade Caverns I Achievements

ESO In-Game Icon Acheivement 020
Darkshade Caverns I Assassin

Defeat Head Shepard Neloren, Foreman Llothan, the Hive Lord, the Cavern Patriarch, the Sentinel of Rkugamz, and the Cutting Sphere in Veteran Darkshade Caverns I within twenty minutes of starting the dungeon. Timer starts when a group member descends into the caverns.

ESO Achievment 026 Icon
Darkshade Caverns I Conqueror

Defeat Head Shepard Neloren, Foreman Llothan, the Hive Lord, the Cavern Patriarch, the Sentinel of Rkugamz, and the Cutting Sphere in Veteran Darkshade Caverns I.

ESO In-Game Icon Ability Warrior 032
Darkshade Caverns I Survivor

Defeat Head Shepard Neloren, Foreman Llothan, the Hive Lord, the Cavern Patriarch, the Sentinel of Rkugamz, and the Cutting Sphere in Veteran Darkshade Caverns I, without suffering a group member death.

ESO Icon Achievement 025
Darkshade Caverns I Vanquisher

Defeat Foreman Llothan, the Hive Lord, and the Sentinel of Rkugamz in Darkshade Caverns I.

ESO Icon Achievement 024
Veteran Kwama Slayer

Defeat 300 Kwama in Veteran Darkshade Caverns I.

ESO Icon Achievement 024
Veteran Thrall Slayer

Defeat 175 Pit Rat Thugs in Veteran Darkshade Caverns I.

ESO In-Game Icon Achievement 022
Well Out of Warranty

Defeat the Sentinel of Rkugamz in Veteran Darkshade Caverns I, after invoking the Scroll of Glorious Battle.

Darkshade Caverns I Leads

There are currently no leads in Darkshade Caverns I.

Final Note

Thank you for taking the time to watch the content and read this guide. Be sure on your travels to remember, although once you get very experienced you may make these dungeons much easier and faster… it starts from the ground up and it’s…