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Shadow of the Tomb Raider side quests: how to finish the side quests, completing the challenges

Helping the locals

Much like other Tomb Raider games of late, the open world nature of Shadow of the Tomb Raider allows for players to explore a lot of side objectives. Missions allow for Lara to attempt to help the locals with their plights to get items, while challenges reward you with extra experience to complete certain set objectives in each area. This guide will go over how to finish the side quests, and the steps for completing the challenges.

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider Side missions and challenges guide

The vast majority of the quests you'll receive come from The Hidden City. While some unlock new gear for you to use in your adventure, others just grant you experience that eventually grants you skill points to upgrade Lara's abilities. For all you need to know on skill points, as well as some other tips and tricks for the game, go to our Shadow of the Tomb Raider guide.

Deal with the Pillagers

Obtained in: Kuwaq Yaku

You’ll see a man knocked downstairs. Talk to him, then talk to Omar who tells you to talk to Marco. Marco informs you that his son is forced to work for the slavers and to head to the edge of town in order to save them. Enter the crypt worksite and defeat all the pillagers, then return to Marco to receive the River Hawk pistol.

Find Takiy's Dice

Obtained in: The Hidden City

Talk to the boy sitting at the foot of the hill near the market square. You'll be asked to retrieve dice from a "dead man". Follow the quest marker to the south west of the city to find the banished man. He'll tell you to seek out the outcasts, four of which are market, while the fifth is revealed after speaking to the other four. These are all highlighted when using Survival Instinct.

The fifth one is a vendor, so before doing anything else, make sure you have 6100 gold to spend on the lockpick and rope ascender skills. If you don't, she'll wander throughout the game to various points of the map, so this is your chance to guarantee getting her wares. Once you've talked to her, head back to Pisco, then the boy to give back the dice.

Retrieve the King's Horn

Obtained in: The Hidden City

An old lady near the bridge guarded by cultists will speak of an argument. Speak to the guard next to Jonah in the Skull Cave camp for the quest. Head to the waypoint to Kabil's home to find the cultists have poisoned his crops, leaving his wife ill. His son, Cualli, went to find herbs, so head to the market to find he's been imprisoned.

Head to the cell and talk to the guard, then to Yamil. Climb up the wall next to Yamil to get him to distract the guard, allowing you to free Cualli. Return to Kabil, then to Uchu to complete the quest, unlocking the next step.

Retrieve the Saviour's Amulet

Obtained in: The Hidden City

After completing the Retrieve the King's Horn side quest and receiving this quest, head to the white tree near the north part of the village with the huge lake. Head through to the cave, avoiding the traps to find bridge.

This will collapse, meaning Lara will need to swim. Raise the water with levers, before tearing down a wooden barricade nearby. Pull the remaining levers, there are three in total, to head out from the ceiling and retrieve the Saviour's Amulet. Return to Ushu to finish the quest.

Lara in disguise looks at a tied up rebel.

Free the Rebels

Obtained in: The Hidden City

After receiving the Serpent Guaridan outfit from Ushu, look around the cave for this quest giver. All the rebels are in the south western part of The Hidden City. Towards the bottom bridge on the map, one is tied up just north of the bridge, while another is a bit further to the south of it. Follow the path south and you’ll see a small courtyard with a fire. There are some stairs that lead to another campfire, but look to the right as you climb for rebel #3.

From the third rebel, climb up the wall where the water flows down until you see a building with a purple sigil. Head left and up the stairs, looking in the nook to the left hand side for the fourth and final rebel. Head back to Poma who will give you the Ch’amaka Greaves. He will then tell you to find Colqui.

Save Colqui

Obtained in: The Hidden City

This starts after completing the Free the Rebels side quest. Head to the indicated location on the map and enter the temple. You'll be ambushed as the hinted at traitor turns out to be both the quest giver and Colqui. Just defeat all the guards with the bow to finish the quest.

Investigate Sumaq's Murder

Obtained in: The Hidden City

Have the serpent guard outfit and talk to the guard in the south-west of Paititi to start this quest. Talk to everyone from the widow, suspect, and guards, as well as investigating the body and the drag marks on the floor.

The female housemaid behind bars is also worth talking to, but you'll need to go around the house and climb through the window to her room to directly address her. This requires a bit of platforming across some wooden beams, but once you do, you'll get the clue you need to solve the murder. Return to the guard and complete the quest.

Decipher the Murals

Obtained in: The Hidden City

The girl in the small island in the lake north of the city gives this quest. There are three murals which are marked on the map, so interact with them. Return to the girl to find out her father wants to sacrifice her in a ritual for the cult.

Stop the Ritual

Obtained in: The Hidden City

Complete the Decipher the Murals quest to start this one. Head to the area marked on the map near the abandoned village. You'll then need to free the girl and fend off the cultists, some of which have arrows. There will be a lot of them, so be patient and bring healing items. Head back to Mayu to finish the quest and obtain the Heart of the Eagle bow.

Lara talking to a rebel in the temple area.

Save Hakan

Obtained in: The Hidden City

Talk to the girl forced away from the cell inside the Cult of Kukulkan's base. You'll need to then talk to the two chaps sitting down to convince them to join you. After that, have a word with the guy near the prayer group to get him to sound the horn, before getting the nearby musician to get him to play, distracting the guards.

Talk to the two chaps again to get them to open the door and free Hakan. Follow him to finish the mission and obtain a Knife upgrade.

Retrieve the Champion's Bow

Obtained in: The Hidden City

Talk to Uchu before the last part of the story to unlock this quest, after completing both Retrieve Saviour's Amulet and Retrieve King's Horn side quests. Head to the jungle to the west of town, head into the opening in the rock to the new area, which has a cave in the middle of it. Entering the cave, you'll see the bow, but you'll be attacked by a masked Jaguar. Defeat it and approach it to get the bow for real. Head back to Uchu to complete the quest and receive Manko's tunic.

Explore the local Mysteries

Obtained in: Mission of San Juan

After talking to Abby's friend, talk to the man next to her to begin the quest. Head to the cemetery and talk to the old woman there. Talk to the children who task Lara to find the treasure. It's on the right side of the well in the cemetery as you look at it. Obtain it and hand it to the children.

Once the cross is repaired, follow the crosses around the town until you get to the final one next to San Juan's crypt entrance. This will have a switch. Explore the crypt to find Isabella.

Return to the man who will tell you about Manu. Talk to him in the main marketplace who will tell you about a nearby challenge tomb. Complete this tomb, the solution of Challenge Tomb 9 - Thirsty Gods can be found in our Shadow of the Tomb Raider challenge tomb guide. Then return to Manu to complete the quest.

Lara about to shoot down a nest for a challenge.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Challenges

There are also a fair number of challenges in Shadow of the Tomb Raider for each area. Some are relatively simple affairs such as collecting items or shooting down emblems, but others require a bit more of a keen eye and exploration to complete. As a prerequisite to attempting these, I recommend nabbing the perk that allows you to see these objectives in Survival Instinct mode. It's able to be unlocked from the start of the game provided you have the Skill Points. Below are the full list of challenges, 16 of them in total. Each has descriptions of how to complete the more complicated ones, which can be lengthy, so enter the challenge name into the search bar at the top of the table, or click through each page to find the challenges you are looking for.

ChallengeObjectiveAreaTips for completing Challenge
Whistle in the DarkKnock down five death whistlesCozumel (Mexico)Look high for the purple objects hanging from the ceiling.
Flower PickerCollect five plants from the treetopsPeruvian JungleThese are always the plants that are accessed by jumping from tree to tree. All are in the same area, so be sure to look up with the Survival Instinct on.
Ruffled FeathersHit four Oropendola nestsPeruvian JungleThere are more of these than the requirement, but you'll need fire arrows to knock them down. They are the dropping-
BullseyeHit the four targetsCroft ManorDuring the Dream Sequence, pick up the ball and throw it at the four targets. One is hanging from a tree that is left of the other three targets.
Nam DeusDestroy five totemsKuwaq YakuYou're looking for the winged skulls hanging from trees in the forest north of Kuwaq Yaku Ruins base camp.
Crude AwakeningsDetonate five oil barrelsKuwaq YakuThese are in a in the forest north of Kuwaq Yaku Ruins base camp. One is off to the left branch of the path leading into the forest, while the others are down the path to the right above the forest floor.
Bottom FeederHarvest five aquatic plantsKuwaq YakuThere are more than five in the area, so this shouldn't be too difficult.
High DivingDive from four different ledges into the water.The Hidden CityThe first one is west of the city in the forest with the lake Head south through the huge body of water to towards the waterfall. Climb up the cliff via the tree on the left hand side. The second one is to the western side of the crop fields, found in the northern part of the city. You'll need a reinforced blade to cut through. The third one is near the Abandoned Village base camp to the north-west of the village. Climb some walls to the west and north until you come across a place you can place a zipwire. From there, ride it and climb the rest of the way up to find the swan dive point. The final one is near a house on the southern side halfway up the hill. There is a woman outside that will only talk to rebels. Inside her house is a bath that you can swim through to get to the Temple Path base camp. From there, climb up all the way and swan dive from the top.
Keep Calm and CarrionLoot three carrion nestsThe Hidden CityThe first one is on the cliff next to the Fishing District base camp. The second is on top of a house near Unuratu's Home base camp, heading outdoors and down the slope to jump on the straw roof. The third is on the south-western corner of the village. Climb up the wall on the right side cliff near the temple.
Dunkin' BonesKnock down three skeletonsThe Hidden CityThese are all by the area towards the prison near the Temple of Kukulkan base camp when navigating the obstacles. The first is on the first wall run swing, the second is close to where you have to rappel, and the third is just before the overhang climb at the end of the section. Use the Survival Instinct at these points to find them.
Dropping DecimalsUse the grapple to knock down three quipusThe Hidden CityTwo of these are really close to the Temple District base camp, with one down the first set of stairs and to the left, and the other to the right and upstairs along the path until the next set of stairs. The third is near the Abandoned Village base camp. Head up the stairs next to you from the camp to find it.
Changing the WeatherPull down five frog totemsThe Hidden CityFrom Paititi Market base camp, head up the stairs until you see the purple frog to the left. Use a rope arrow to pull it down. Head through to the other side of the building it was on and look up for the second one. Double back and head up the stairs again, turning right and heading for the next set of stairs to find the third one. Go up the next set of stairs fully, before turning left under the arch and looking up at the building for the fourth, hard to see one. Head downstairs and turn right, climbing up the wall near the stairs on the right hand side of your position and look at the nearby building for the final frog totem.
Speak of the DeadReveal four crypt secretsThe Hidden CityEach crypt has platforming areas that need to be completed to escape. The four crypts are located in the following areas: 1. South from the Temple of Kukulkan base camp. Head south from the base camp and clamber down the wall, rope swinging to the platform. 2. The second is on the other side of the ravine near the Temple of Kukulkan base camp. Run across the bridge and up the stairs, dropping down onto the ledge to the left. Create a rope bridge and veer left, climbing along the wall to find the crypt nearby. 3. From the Abandoned Village, head to the northern most part and clamber up the wall towards a zipwire point. Climb up the wall and you'll be there. 4. The final crypt is a climb near the waterfall west of the city. Use the tree to the left of the waterfall as you enter the area to begin the climb.
Sunken TreasureOpen five treasure chests underwater.CenoteAs you first access this area, the chests are all underwater, but be careful of the piranhas.
RespectedDestroy five effigiesCenoteFrom diving into the Cenote, head left towards the shore and look up. You'll need to rope pull these effigies off. The second is next to the campfire in the Cenote Temple Ruins base camp. While the third is through the small walled gap nearby, dropping down the wall and into the arena. Head up the wall to the back and climb up to find the third. From the Cenote Tomb base camp, look nearby for the fourth one, before heading through the door and around the ruins until you see a dilapidated building. Look to the right hand side of it to find the final effigy.
Raise the FlagCut five flag pulleysMission of San JuanFrom the Ruined Tower base camp on the south-western corner of the region, go around the building, heading towards the waterfall for the first flag. Head back and across the bridges to the left, heading back to town. There will be a cutoff to the left with a rope arrow point and the second flag. Head further into town and to the left to find the entrance to the Mission, where you'll see the third. Head back into town, cutting through the market and veering left towards the church. Up the stairs near some nuns is the fourth. Through the church and near the gate is the final flag.

This concludes our side quests guide for Lara's latest adventure. If you'd like to see more on the challenge tombs themselves, you can head over to our Shadow of the Tomb Raider challenge tomb guide for the steps required to complete all the optional tombs in the game, and the perks they unlock.

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Dave Irwin

Former Guides Writer

Dave was a guides writer for Rock Paper Shotgun from 2018-2020. He previously worked as a freelancer for TheSixthAxis, Tech Advisor and Kotaku, producing hundreds of guides to help people get better at their favourite games. He now writes guides for PCGamesN.