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Swampfolk, who, I should mention, absconded with a book, a precious family heirloom. I wanted to ask you, friend; will you get it back?Obadiah Blackhall

The Dark Heart of Blackhall is a side quest in the Fallout 3 add-on Point Lookout. The player character is tasked with finding Obadiah Blackhall's book, the Krivbeknih, which was stolen from him by some swampfolk.

Quick walkthrough

Side Quest: The Dark Heart of Blackhall
Locate Blackhall Manor and speak to Obadiah Blackhall about locating the Krivbeknih.
Exit the manor, encounter Marcella and listen to her story.
Locate the ritual site and search the burned-out basement catacombs for the Krivbeknih.
Reward: The Krivbeknih and the ritual knife.
Return the Krivbeknih to Obadiah.
Take the Krivbeknih to the disaster relief outpost to return it to Marcella.
Speak with Obadiah.
Battle the smugglers and find Marcella dead. Search her tent and find information about the Dunwich Building.
Give Obadiah the Krivbeknih.
Kill Obadiah.
Go to the Dunwich Building and locate the Virulent Underchambers.
Defeat Jaime and bring the Krivbeknih to the obelisk.
Reward: 100 XP, 1000 caps.
Reward: 100 XP and good Karma.

Detailed walkthrough

Enter Blackhall Manor, where Obadiah will speak of a book that has been stolen from him and taken to the east, at the ritual site. Upon leaving Obadiah's home, the player character is met by Marcella, a missionary spreading her faith across the wastes. She claims that Obadiah actually wants the book for more than just keepsakes, and plans to use it for a ritual to control the swampfolk, and under no circumstances should it be returned to him. She requests that upon finding the book, it should be given to her instead, at the disaster relief outpost, in the western half of Point Lookout.

However, to make either decision, the Krivbeknih must first be found. Head to the ritual site and look out for the swampfolk guarding the entrance to the area. Look for a small door in the ground amongst the charred remains of a building and head in. Navigate through the chambers to the bottom of the ritual area where a mutilated body with a ritual knife thrust into its head, lying on top of a large table can be seen. Directly behind the table is a pedestal with the book inside. Upon taking the book, swampfolk reinforcements will begin to pour into the area, furious with the attempted theft. It is likely to be ambushed by additional swampfolk upon leaving the basement. Once out and the area is clear, either return the book to Obadiah or bring it to Marcella.

If taking it to Marcella at the disaster relief outpost, the player character will discover that she was killed in her tent and may be ambushed by at least one Smuggler. Obadiah apparently hired smugglers to kill her (if he is questioned about this, in one conversation path, he denies it, and in the other, he apologizes for his "indiscretion"). In addition, "Die thief" is written in blood on the side of the tent, hinting that she was believed to have the book.

There is a holotape in the same tent as Marcella. Upon listening to it, she begs the player character to destroy the Krivbeknih. If wishing to do so, the player character must venture to the Virulent Underchambers in the Dunwich Building, back in the Capital Wasteland. Access the part where there are metallic corridors near the end of the underchambers, and then ignore the exit stairs. Enter the lowest level into the tunnels beneath where Jaime can be found (if not previously killed) worshipping the obelisk. After finding the obelisk in the Dunwich Building, activate it and the book will ignite in flames (and also incinerate the nearby feral ghouls).

If deciding to take the book to Obadiah, he'll reward the player character with 1000 caps. Nothing else changes - he will still go to the basement and pray, whether or not the book has been destroyed.

Alternate plot (cut)

Icon cut content.pngThe following is based on Fallout 3 cut content.

At some point during development the plot of this quest was dramatically different. Rather than asking the player character to seek the book directly, Obadiah would instead request that a letter be delivered to Marcella. This letter in turn is revealed to be a plea for help from Obadiah, who Marcella describes as "a good man, but his family has an evil past."

Marcella explains to the Lone Wanderer that the Krivbeknih was a Blackhall family heirloom with a dark past, the origin of "the heathen Krvibi ritualists" (presumably a group of swampfolk, though not specified), and one Obadiah had hoped to have gotten rid of for good. Marcella states she has separate knowledge that the book, stolen years ago without the knowledge of the Krvibi, has somehow made its way back to Point Lookout in the hands of the Krvibi, who now hold the book. At this point the Lone Wanderer would be tasked with obtaining the Krivbeknih from the ritual site, the location given by Marcella.

After obtaining the book, Marcella would be found dead. However, dialogue with Obadiah later would indicate that it was Krvibi who had murdered her. Blackhall reacts with shock at both Marcella's death as well as the presence of the book, which he had assumed was long gone after it was stolen years ago. His reaction to the latter is more severe, as he then explains that it his obligation to destroy it as "the last Blackhall." The only way he knows to do so requires a sacrifice, namely Obadiah himself, especially since the Krvibi would almost certainly kill him in order to get the book back.

Although he is committed to sacrificing himself in order to be rid of the "family Bane," if prompted, Obadiah explains that there is one other way he could think of to destroy the book, though it is beyond his abilities.

There is... another option. I could never make the journey myself, though. North, far to the north. Constance had a brother, Richard Dunwich. He was a wealthy businessman outside of the city to the north, had a company building there. His obsession with the occult was as great as her own, and there's an object of great evil in that building. The book has been drawn to it before. To take the book there would destroy it. You would have to take that journey, though, and you must not fail if you attempt it.

At this point the player character would be given the option of accepting the task and taking the Krivbeknih to the Obelisk housed in the Dunwich Building in order to destroy it, or telling Obadiah, "I'm sorry, I think you have to do this on your own." Obadiah would agree if the latter choice is selected, and presumably would proceed to execute the ritual and sacrifice himself.

Though the associated scripting and objectives for this version of the quest are no longer present in the DLC, a large portion of the dialogue remains, including voice resources for all of Marcella's dialogue. It can be accessed in the G.E.C.K. under the quest ID DLC04FF02graveyard.

Icon cut content.pngEnd of information based on Fallout 3 cut content.


If giving The Krivbeknih to Obadiah Blackhall, the player character's reward is 1000 caps and 100 XP for completing the quest.

Alternatively, destroying the book with the Obelisk in the Dunwich Building will net positive Karma (500 points) and the same 100 XP.

Alternatively, the book can be given to Obadiah for the reward. He then can be killed for no Karma loss. The book can now be taken to the Dunwich building and destroyed or kept as a souvenir. It’s one of the few unique items in the game that’s actually unique in appearance as well as name.

Quest stages

10 Retrieve the Blackhall Family's Book from the ritual site.
15 Retrieve the Krivbeknih from the ritual site.
29 Return the Blackhall Family's Book to Obadiah.
30 Return the Krivbeknih to Obadiah OR Marcella.
31Quest finishedReturn the Krivbeknih to Marcella.
40 Investigate Marcella's Death Scene.
240Quest finishedTake the Krivbeknih to Obadiah OR Take it to the Dunwich Building in the Capital Wasteland.
241Quest finishedTake the Krivbeknih to the Dunwich Building in the Capital Wasteland.


  • Before retrieving the book, the player may follow Marcella back to her tent at the disaster relief outpost for conversations about the Bible and Point Lookout.
  • If you leave through the side door, you may instead encounter Marcella en route to the ritual site.
  • Once you pick up the book, Marcella will be found dead in her tent even if you take it straight to Obadiah. You can question him about her death - but he'll deny any involvement unless pressed, when he'll hint he 'arranged' it. He shows no remorse, and instead insists there's now no reason to hold onto the book.
  • If you kill Obadiah before giving the Krivbeknih to either him or Marcella, there is no way to get the 1,000 caps he promised you for returning the book to him. The caps do not appear on his body.
  • If doing a non-combat approach to the quest: When sneaking through the chambers of the ritual site, look out once you take the book. There will be swampfolk running from the corners of the chamber who may run into you. Even when equipped with the Chinese stealth armor and taking a Stealth Boy, you will be detected once they come in contact with you.
  • If you decide to give it to Obadiah, you can follow him to his basement, and see him on his knees in front of a table with a dead creeper on it.
  • If you destroy the book at the Dunwich Building and then return to Blackhall Manor, Obadiah will act just the same as if you'd given the book to him, asking you to leave and praying at the basement.
  • The player and any ghouls that are within view of the Obelisk in the Virulent Underchambers will burst into flames when the book is placed against the Obelisk, but the flames are not lethal.
  • If you give the book to Obadiah, you don't lose Karma.
  • This book, the Krivbehknih, is the book that Jaime's dad was searching for, as mentioned in the personal journal holotapes found throughout the Dunwich Building.
  • You can use Blackhall Manor as your own house if you want to. There's even a safe to put your things in (requires a lockpick of 50 or more) with no Karma loss for opening it. In fact, nothing in the house comes up with red text, so it is free to be taken with no Karma loss as well.
  • There may be a chance that Marcella gets killed on her way to her tent. If this happens you can't complete her side of the quest.
  • This is the only quest in Fallout 3 that begins in an add-on and that the player can complete in the Capital Wasteland (other than Broken Steel).


  • Icon pc.png Icon ps3.png Icon xbox360.png It appears that if you take the book from the ritual site and head to Blackhall Manor to return it, you will engage in a conversation with Obadiah Blackhall. If you tell him you haven't decided what you're going to do with the book, he will mention Marcella. You then will have the option to say she is dead, even if you have not visited her yet and seen her corpse. [verified]
  • Icon pc.png Icon ps3.png Icon xbox360.png It is possible that upon returning to the Capital Wasteland to finish the quest, the map marker will be located in the center of the map next to Springvale Elementary School instead of at the Dunwich Building, which is located in the bottom left corner of the map. [verified]
  • Icon pc.png Icon ps3.png Icon xbox360.png It is possible that Marcella won't show up dead in her tent, though the smugglers have conquered her camp. You can however use the console to manually update your questlog by using the command on the PC setstage xx002f47 240, where 'xx' must be replaced by the number the Point Lookout-DLC gets in your load order. Your questlog now lets you choose between helping Obadiah or Marcella. [verified]
    • This appears to be caused by obtaining the Krivbeknih before speaking to Marcella in her tent. If the player speaks to her before obtaining the book or before starting the quest, she will appear in the tent after the smugglers attack. Only speaking to her outside Blackhall Manor after receiving the quest will prevent the bug.
  • Icon pc.png Icon ps3.png Icon xbox360.png Upon discovering the Krivbeknih in the underground shrine, the player will see that it is resting within a font. From most angles the font looks empty with the exception of a skull and the book itself. However, if the player is to view the font from certain angles it is actually filled with what is presumably blood, which disappears and reappears depending on the player's point of view. [verified]
  • Icon pc.png Icon xbox360.png For some people, listening to Marcella's holotape causes the game to crash. This makes it impossible to complete the quest in the method of "giving her the book instead of Blackhall" without using the console command "setstage". [verified]
  • Icon xbox360.png Upon exiting the ritual site, the game sometimes crashes. [verified]
  • Icon pc.png Icon ps3.png Icon xbox360.png Marcella's safe may remain red after you find her dead in her tent, causing you to lose Karma even if you open the safe with her key.[verified]