- Retrieve the Golden Claw
- Cut Arvel Down
- Find the secret of Bleak Falls Barrow
- Bring the claw to Lucan
This side quest will start automatically during the Bleak Falls Barrow main quest.
It's a good idea to do this quest early on, before even heading to Whiterun. The reason for this it isn't all that hard and, upon getting to Whiterun, you'll be able to turn some of the loot in for some nice rewards. You can find out about the quest in Rivenwood by talking to the trader at Rivenwood Trade. I honestly didn't even know about this and just heading out on my own from Rivenwood. Since I'm kinda nuts about exploring all the nooks and crannies in the world, I happened upon this quest...
So upon leaving Rivenwood, head up the mountain path that is across the river. You are likely to run into bandits up the trail near the abandoned tower. As always, watch out for wolves as those are everywhere. Continuing up the trail you'll come to a large structure with more bandits. It looks like a large temple. There will be a double door heading inside the Bleak Falls Barrow.
You'll face more bandits inside. If you sneak up on them you'll overhear a bit of conversation about the golden claw. After killing them, head down into the cave. There will be an initial simple puzzle. If you choose the wrong combination, when you pull the lever to open the door you'll be hit by arrows. The puzzle is very simple, just go to the statues on the left of the room and turn them so that the order is SERPENT SERPENT BIRD just like you see in the emblems around the door.
Heading down you'll eventually have to fight a large ugly spider. After killing that, cut the thief Arvel down. He tries to immediately run as he calls you a fool and that he'd never share the treasure. Cut him down from behind for this. Getting the Golden Claw, you head down further until you reach the main puzzle door. The trick here is very simple in that you have to match the symbols on the door with the ones on the Golden Claw itself. Match up the symbols, "use" the claw on the door, and it opens.
Now once inside you'll get some loot and your first "Word of Power." After that, you'll have to fight an overlord baddie. Once he's dead, be sure to look around for more loot. There are a few hidden chests lying around. As with all of these games, look around corners and especially behind waterfalls. That's it. You head up the stairs then up and out. You'll end up not to far from Rivenwood. Head back to the trader to give him the Golden Claw and collect some gold. You'll also keep the other loot from the Barrow to turn in to the Royal Wizard in Whiterun later.