- This page refers to the disease Vampirism, in particular the effects it has on the player. For information about NPCs who are vampires, see Vampire.
In Skyrim, vampirism, or Sanguinare Vampiris, is an unusual disease which first weakens, then transforms those infected into the feared creatures of the night. The Dawnguard plug-in has creatures called Vampire Lords which are capable of blood magic, transforming into bats or summoning gargoyles.
- 1 Vampirism in Skyrim
- 2 Becoming a Vampire
- 3 Appearance
- 4 Stages & Effects of Vampirism
- 5 Dawnguard
- 6 Feeding
- 7 Cure for Vampirism
- 8 Vampire Lord Form
- 9 Vampire Tips and Tricks
- 10 Vampire Lore
- 11 Vampire-Related Quests
- 12 Notes
- 13 Bugs
- 14 References
Vampirism in Skyrim
Compared to the Porphyric Hemophilia infected vampires of Oblivion, Skyrim's Sanguinare Vampiris vampires are significantly less powerful in most aspects and gain no bonuses to normal weapons resistance, weapon skills, or speed. That said, they are only weakened by sunlight rather than being fatally allergic to it like their Cyrodilic counterparts. The powers and abilities granted by their particular strain of vampirism make them ideal thieves, assassins, and illusionists, although other styles of play are also feasible. Their vampiric blood allows them to resist the effects of poison, disease, and extreme cold, but also afflicts them with a deadly weakness to fire. Vampires are hated and feared by the general population and will be attacked on sight if their true nature is discovered.
Vampirism and lycanthropy cannot co-exist in Skyrim; one cannot be both a werewolf and a vampire at the same time. After becoming a werewolf, a vampire is cured of Sanguinare Vampiris. Because lycanthropy provides total disease immunity, this prevents the player from becoming infected with Sanguinare Vampiris while the Beast Blood ability is present. Note that you can, however, cure lycanthropy (just as you can cure vampirism), so you will be able to become a vampire again should you choose to forgo your Beast Blood. Curing lycanthropy, on the other hand, is a one-way ticket in the original version of the game—once you are no longer a werewolf, you will never become one again. If the Dawnguard plug-in is installed, lycanthropy can be regained, however.
It may be easier to fast travel as a vampire in Skyrim than in Cyrodiil. Instead of worrying about instant death due to sunlight damage, one only needs to worry about the possibility of reaching stage four after traveling. Stage four vampirism causes all NPCs to become hostile and attack you, hence a vampire should make sure to be reasonably satiated before fast traveling long distances. However, if the Dawnguard plug-in is installed, NPCs are not instantly hostile toward stage four vampires, only Vampire Lords.
Becoming a Vampire
Whenever a vampire casts Vampiric Drain on you, there is a 10% chance for you to be infected with Sanguinare Vampiris.
Initially, this is a normal disease that reduces your total Health by 25 points. It is subject to the rules which govern any other disease, and can be cured in the same fashion. However, if the disease is not cured within three days, it will progress to full vampirism, and at that point, the effects can no longer be reversed with a normal cure.
Sanguinare Vampiris gives messages to the player each day at certain times, indicating their condition. At sunrise, a message will appear saying "You feel strangely weakened by the sunrise". At sunset, the message is "You feel a strange thirst come over you". After the third day, Sanguinare Vampiris will disappear from your active effects and you will awaken as a stage one vampire.
There are several ways to contract the disease; many of them involve encountering hostile vampires and letting them attack you. However, rather than let them hit you in melee, you should keep your distance and only allow them to cast their draining spell as this is the only attack that can impart the disease. To speed up contraction, repeatedly lose and gain sight of the target vampire so the spell is cast multiple times. The check for giving you the disease is passed only when the draining spell hits you, not over sustained action.
If you have the Dawnguard plug-in installed, you can also let Lord Harkon infect you when you return his daughter Serana to him. Alternatively, you can activate the Bloodspring in Redwater Den or let Serana infect you during or after the Dawnguard main questline on the Dawnguard side.
When a human or elf becomes a vampire they will usually get black eyes with red irises, pale skin, fangs, and a more gaunt look as the cheekbones are more visible, however some vampire appearances are different as they have a more gold or hazel eyes instead of red ones.
Argonians and Khajiit both have slitted pupils upon transformation. An Argonian's scales will pale (perhaps appearing to have a green hue) and they will have four fangs instead of two, and Khajiit will have fangs that resemble a sabre cat. Their fur also becomes much lighter, almost white.
After downloading the Dawnguard plug-in, vampires eyes will be a glowing yellow with an orange tint. Some vampire faces also appear more "bat-like" or monstrous, with a slit running through their lip, ridges above the eyes like a dark elf, and a "bat nose." Nords will have a set of reddish orange glowing eyes with a gaunt human face.
Stages & Effects of Vampirism
Full vampirism is made up of four distinct stages, starting at stage one and progressing to stage four. You advance one stage for every 24 hours you go without feeding on a sleeping NPC. Feeding always returns you to stage one.
Contracting vampirism will change the appearance of your character, giving you pale skin (or fur), fangs and vampiric eyes. This does not seem to become more apparent as you progress through the stages. NPCs may comment on your appearance, but they will only become hostile when you reach stage four. This no longer happens if the Dawnguard plug-in has been installed.
Advantages & Disadvantages
As a vampire, you will experience both beneficial and detrimental changes depending on your current stage. The longer you go without blood, the more extreme these changes will become.
- You have a 100% resistance to disease.
- You have a 100% resistance to poison.
- Illusion spells are 25% more powerful. This is applied after perks and increases the maximum level of enemies you can affect by two.
- You are considered undead, which means that Necromage will boost the strength of spells targeting yourself.
- It is 25% harder for NPCs to detect you while sneaking.
- While outside during daylight, Health, Magicka, and Stamina regeneration is stunted by 100%. In other words, your health, magicka, and stamina will not regenerate. However, any effect that fortifies the regeneration of any of them will still work.
- You have a 25% Resistance to Frost and a 25% Weakness to Fire.
- If you have the Dawnguard plug-in, the Resistance to Frost and Weakness to Fire are both 20%.
- While outside during daylight, Health, Magicka, and Stamina have an automatic -15 to their total.
- You have a 50% Resistance to Frost and a 50% Weakness to Fire.
- If you have the Dawnguard plug-in, the Resistance to Frost and Weakness to Fire are both 30%.
- While outside during daylight, Health, Magicka, and Stamina have an automatic -30 to their total.
- You have 75% Resistance to Frost and a 75% Weakness to Fire.
- If you have the Dawnguard plug-in, the Resistance to Frost and Weakness to Fire are both 40%.
- While outside during daylight, Health, Magicka, and Stamina have an automatic -45 to their total.
- You have a 100% Resistance to Frost and a 100% Weakness to Fire.
- If you have the Dawnguard plug-in, the Resistance to Frost and Weakness to Fire are both 50%.
- While outside during daylight, Health, Magicka, and Stamina have an automatic -60 to their total.
- Nearly all NPCs become hostile and will attack on sight, including spouses and followers.
- With the Dawnguard plug-in, this is no longer a problem; though you will still get a message saying you are hated and feared by all, there is no actual increase in hostility.
Vampire Powers & Spells
In addition, as you progress through the stages you gain several unique powers and spells, some of which will grow more powerful with each stage. Returning to stage one will remove the higher level powers and reset the remaining ones to their original strength.
Champion of the Night
A permanent active effect you gain from stage one onwards that increases the potency of your Illusion spells by 25%.
A permanent active effect you gain from stage one onwards that makes you 25% harder to detect while sneaking.
A lesser power that grants improved night vision.
- Stage 1 and onwards: Improved night vision for 60 seconds.
A power that allows you to reanimate a dead body to fight for you for one minute, once a day. It increases in power with every stage of vampirism. Note that servants raised with this power may not always disintegrate to ash as with the standard Conjuration spells (they retain normal form when the timer runs out, but if they are killed in combat, or if you fast travel/change instance, they will disintegrate).
- Stage 1: Reanimate a weak dead body for 60 seconds.
- Stage 2: Reanimate an average dead body for 60 seconds.
- Stage 3: Reanimate a strong dead body for 60 seconds.
- Stage 4: Reanimate a very strong dead body for 60 seconds.
A unique Novice Destruction spell that continuously absorbs a small amount of health from a single target and adds it to your own. While Vampiric Drain can be dual-cast with the corresponding Destruction skill perk, its cost is not reduced by any Destruction proficiency perks and using it does not train your Destruction skill. However, equipment and apparel reducing Destruction skill costs will still have effect, making it possible to cast Vampiric Drain for free. Unfortunately, this spell is not as powerful as the version cast by vampire NPCs (which can reach up to over 20 HP per second), but it can be useful to damage an enemy while healing yourself, especially at lower levels, avoiding the inconvenience of having to switch to individual spells.
- Stage 1: Drains 2 health per second. Costs 6 magicka per second.
- Stage 2: Drains 3 health per second. Costs 10 magicka per second.
- Stage 3: Drains 4 health per second. Costs 13 magicka per second.
- Stage 4: Drains 5 health per second. Costs 17 magicka per second.
A power that is similar to the Illusion spell "Calm". It can be used once a day. Useful when vampirism reaches stage 4, as it can allow interaction with quest NPCs.[verification needed — Tested only so far on spouse, it's an assumption as of now that it will work on quest NPCs] Once the Dawnguard plug-in is installed, Vampire Seduction will allow you to feed on them no matter if they're asleep or not. When you feed on Dexion Evicus during one of the Harkon quests he will become your thrall, however you cannot use this on anyone else.
- Stage 2 and onwards: Calm creatures and people up to level 10 for 30 seconds.
Embrace Of Shadows
A power that is similar to the Illusion spell Invisibility. It also applies improved night vision for the duration of the spell. Interacting with the environment or attacking will make you visible again. It can be used once per day.
- Stage 4: Invisible with improved night vision for 180 seconds.
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The Dawnguard plug-in has made some significant changes to vampirism: fire weakness has been lowered to 20%, frost resistance is decreased, people will no longer attack you at stage 4, your eyes will now glow yellow/orange, and Vampire Seduction will now allow you to feed on victims while awake.
One achievement is related to being a vampire:
In order to remain at, or return to, the first stage of vampirism, you must feed on a sleeping NPC. To do this press Use while crouching or standing over them and select feed. Feeding should be done stealthily, as witnesses will immediately become hostile. You are able to feed on almost any NPC that can sleep in a bed, including all races and even ghosts and other vampires, but not children. It's a good idea to make any followers you have wait outside the room while you feed, in case the sleeping NPC you are feeding on awakens and attacks because they may have detected your follower(s). Simply make your followers follow you again after you have fed.
The Companions in Whiterun will not turn hostile towards you as long as you have joined the Companions before reaching the final stage of vampirism. This can be rather useful since other Companions can be fed on without much difficulty during the nighttime hours. The Dark Brotherhood are friendly to the player in all stages of vampirism, although they will still turn hostile if you are caught feeding. The Thieves Guild is also friendly to stage four vampires. The mages of the College of Winterhold will also not attack a Stage 4 vampire, provided you are a member of the college prior to becoming Stage 4, and you are not seen feeding.
Followers can be fed on with total impunity, assuming there are no other witnesses. Simply order them to sleep in a bed and feed on them before they stand up again. This makes them a reliable source of easy blood.
A sickly farmer in the Temple of Kynareth can also prove good feeding. This location can be convenient, provided your sneaking skills are good enough, as the farmer will be asleep during the day time as well as night, thus providing sustenance whenever you need it. The wounded soldier on the other side of the room, on the other hand, is almost always being attended to by a healer.
The guards barracks in each major town has sleeping guards available for the brave and/or stealthy vampire both day and night.
Another reliable feeding strategy is to do the quest The Taste of Death in Markarth, but never finish the final step in the quest. After you lure Verulus to the altar, he will lie down, allowing you to feed on him. Leave him there and you can return to feed whenever you need to, just fast travel to the Reachcliff Secret Entrance.
After the Dark Brotherhood moves to the Dawnstar Sanctuary, there are only four people available, and only one can be fed upon. The likelihood that the NPC is sleeping is very low.
If you are having trouble feeding because your vampirism progressed to Stage 4, you can use your powers to turn invisible, and head to a military camp. Make sure it is between 7pm and 5am. You'll find soldiers sleeping in tents, just walk up and feed.
The most effective and safe way to feed is merely using the Illusion spell "Invisibility" (the "Quiet Casting" Illusion perk would help too). While using Invisibility there are a few actions which do not interrupt and cancel the spell; feeding is one of these actions. Merely cast it and you are free to feed on any sleeping NPC without being seen, as long as the spell doesn't end in the middle of your feed.
Cure for Vampirism
After the first three days, the quest for a cure becomes more tedious. To begin the quest, visit any inn. The patron will send you to Morthal to speak to a man named Falion. That will start the quest Rising at Dawn.
However, if you are in one of the latter stages of vampirism, the innkeepers will attack you on sight. Eventually, everyone will attack you. If this happens, you will need to feed in order to lessen the effects of your vampirism, making NPCs friendly again.
You can also cure your vampirism by becoming a werewolf through the Companions faction. However, once you contract lycanthropy, you gain a 100% resistance to disease and cannot be re-infected with Sanguinare Vampiris. There are three main quests and two radiant quests that need to be completed before you become a werewolf (during the quest The Silver Hand) and in turn, cure vampirism. You can, however, become a vampire again if you cure your lycanthropy.
Vampire Lord Form
The Dawnguard plug-in grants access to the ability to transform into a Vampire Lord. Upon choosing to receive Harkon's or Serana's "gift" you will be granted the "Vampire Lord" ability, which allows you to transform. This transformation can be done an unlimited amount of times and has no time limit. While not in Vampire Lord form, the player will have all the characteristics of a normal vampire and will progress through stages normally. However NPCs will no longer be hostile when stage 4 is reached.
Vampire Tips and Tricks
When you are in sunlight, your magicka, stamina, and health cannot regenerate. There are several things you can do to somewhat counter the effects:
The book Immortal Blood describes the vampires of Skyrim, "the Volkihar", as having great supernatural power. The book also claims they are capable of reaching through solid ice to snatch up unsuspecting travelers and freeze them. However, Skyrim's vampires are more akin to their Cyrodiilic cousins as they are capable of walking in the sun (if having recently fed). Cyrodiilic vampirism grows more outwardly noticeable between feedings. The vampires of Skyrim are capable of Frost-based magic and share a number of minor powers with their Cyrodiilic brethren. Skyrim's vampires share the same traits as the Cyrodiilic vampires, able to blend in and more inclined to feed on a sleeping individual. This is contradictory to vampiric lore, as the Cyrodiilic vampires are the only vampires able to maintain a human-like appearance if recently fed. The Volkihar, however, do not have a change in appearance throughout the stages or when recently fed, so their inhuman eyes, pale skin, and fangs are present at all times.