Found in the four human races (Nord, Imperial, Breton, and Redguard), elven (Dunmer, Bosmer, Altmer, and Orsimer) and bestial (Argonian and Khajiit) children do not appear in the province of Skyrim. There is also a vampire, Babette, who looks like a child due to being bitten at age ten.
While many children can be found in buildings or wandering around towns, several reside at Honorhall Orphanage. With the installation of the The Elder Scrolls V: Hearthfire expansion pack, children become available for adoption by the Dragonborn and their spouse.
Without the use of console commands, exploits, or glitches, all children are invincible, unable to be harmed, killed, knocked unconscious, or pickpocketed. Because of this, they are flagged as essential characters.
Apparel and appearance
Regardless of a child's race or economic status, all boys wear a collared sweater with brown trousers, and all girls wear a simple belted dress. However, the color of the sweater or dress varies from child to child. All children have the same physical features regardless of gender and race.
Children have similar inventories. Some items they tend to carry are: quill, charcoal, rolls of paper, broken steel sword handle, inkwells, shoes, child's clothes, coins, iron daggers, drums, lutes, flutes, wooden ladles, various ingots (blacksmith Apprentices), leather strips, red or green apples, buckets, leather, sweetrolls, Long Taffy Treats, Honey Nut Treats, Boiled Creme Treats, and empty wine bottles.
Although invincible under normal circumstances, if attacked repeatedly, some children draw daggers and defend themselves. Some children may hire mercenaries or the Dark Brotherhood to kill the Dragonborn if they are caught committing a crime.
Invisibility spells do not work on adopted children when they arrive home. Typically undetectable while invisible, children are always able to interact with the Dragonborn when they enter the door of their home, similarly to how City Guards in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion can interact with invisible players due to the scripting of their dialogue.
With the addition of The Elder Scrolls V: Hearthfire downloadable content, the Dragonborn may adopt children. When adopted, they may be sent to any home owned by the Dragonborn that has the appropriate child's room upgrade. After becoming a parent, the Dragonborn can engage in various activities with their progeny.
Below is a list of all adoptable children.
Orphans that appear at Honorhall Orphanage by default.
Orphans that are sent to Honorhall due to the death or murder of their parent(s) or guardian(s).
- Clinton Lylvieve
- Minette Vinius
Adoptable children made available upon installing Hearthfire.
Children cannot be killed, injured, or knocked unconscious, nor can they be pickpocketed. However, when hit, a child's name and health will pop up, but the child will still be at full health. Additionally, children will run away when hit. Shouts do not affect children. If a child is a witness to a crime, they will warn the nearest adult.
However, changing a child's race using console commands revokes their imperviousness. For example, entering
setrace khajiit allows the child to be killed. Doing so causes cosmetic glitches. In this example, the child appears as a Khajiit with a human head; if the child is female, breasts and a bra appear on it. If the child's race is changed, they become naked. As they do not have clothing in their inventory, children are skinned with garments on their avatar. As a result, their clothing cannot be removed, even with console commands.
Doing a charged attack as a lycanthrope can sling back children like any other character; however, they remain unharmed as they get up. When using a Frenzy spell near a child, they receive the effect, and every guard in the city tries to kill the child, eventually chasing them out of town. It is possible that the child may actually attack the guards back and kill them all, due to their inability to be harmed.
- Aventus Aretino – initiates the Dark Brotherhood questline with his task to kill Grelod the Kind.
- Babette – an alchemist and assassin of the Dark Brotherhood. Although actually a 310-year-old vampire, she is considered a child because of her physical form.
- Fjotra – the potential Sybil of the Temple of Dibella in Markarth.
- Helgi – the deceased daughter of Hroggar who was burned in a fire. She exists as a ghost.
- Nelkir – the younger son of Jarl Balgruuf the Greater of Whiterun. He serves as a key role in the Daedric quest "The Whispering Door."
- Haming – one of the few survivors from Helgen. With his parents, Torolf and Matlara dead, he lives with his grandfather Froki Whetted-Blade in a shack.
Quotes and dialogue
- When performing spells while in the presence of a male child, he asks to be made invisible. There is no way to make him invisible, but he can be lied to. He then runs around the town and tries to scare people while thinking he is invisible. The console reveals that the child class has a fully-recorded, voiced line for being turned invisible for both male and female children, and even scripted conditions enabled to play these lines if turned invisible. The child exclaims, "Hey, I'm see-through!" when turned invisible. Conversely, the console can be used to add the expert-level Illusion spell Fade Other to instigate the event and trigger the dialogue. The spell was never made playable normally in-game.
- When standing atop furniture, such as a bed or a table, nearby children remark, "I'm not allowed to stand on furniture..."
|"That big tree in the park looks so sad... I feel sorry for it."||Lives in Whiterun, before "The Blessings of Nature"|
|"I like living here. The tree in the park is so pretty."||Lives in Whiterun, after "The Blessings of Nature"|
|"Braith is a big meanie. She keeps telling Lars 'n me what to do. I don't wanna play with her anymore!"||Lives in Whiterun|
|"I played with Lucia in the park today. I feel sorry for her."||Lives in Whiterun, and Lucia isn't adopted|
|"Do you think I could be a Bard? I really like singing."||Lives in Solitude|
|"The Palace looks so pretty. I wish they'd let me inside..."|
|"I saw a Thalmor the other day. He was really scary!"|
|"The Argonians at the docks say they can breathe underwater. I wish I could do that..."||Lives in Windhelm|
|"Rolff says I shouldn't go to the Grey Quarter anymore. He said it's not safe there."|
|"Banning said I could come play with his dogs. I want a dog."||Lives in Markarth|
|"I climbed all the way up to the temple, but they said I wasn't old enough to get in. They're just mean."|
|"Look at all the snow! I want to go sledding! Or skating!"||Lives in Heljarchen Hall|
|"I like living here. The lake is so pretty."||Lives in Lakeview Manor|
|"This place is scary. There are monsters in the swamp. I just know it."||Lives in Windstad Manor|
|"You're back! I got you a present, Mama/Papa! I hope you like it!"||Arriving home|
|"Could you give me an allowance?"|
|"Could I get a few gold to spend? Please?"|
|"You're back! Did you bring me anything?"|
|"You're back! I found some pretty things for you, I hope you like them."|
|"I'd... I'd really like a dolly. Or maybe a pretty new dress?"||When asked what gift she wants|
|"Really, Papa/Mama? You've got me something? What is it?!...Ooh, stop teasing me!"||When told about a gift|
|"A doggy! Papa/Mama, I didn't know you had a doggy! He's so cute... Could I keep him? Please?"||Asking to keep a dog follower|
|"Look, Papa/Mama! I have a new friend! Could I keep him? Please?"||Asking to keep a pet|
|"Stay safe."||After being adopted, exiting conversation|
|"Dragonsreach is so cool! All the kids there are mean, though."||Lives in Whiterun|
|"Lars is such a milk-drinker. He can't even stand up to a girl."|
|"When I grow up, I wanna join the Legion!"||Lives in Solitude before "Battle for Solitude"|
|"I'm gonna join the Stormcloaks. They're the best!"||Lives in Windhelm before "Battle for Windhelm"|
|"Grimvar said a boy used to live in that abandoned house, all alone, 'til the Dark Brotherhood came 'n got him. Scary, huh?"||Lives in Windhelm|
|"Aicantar let me see his museum. It's really nice."||Lives in Markarth|
|"I hate Markarth. There's nowhere to play! It's all just rocks. Rocks rocks rocks."|
|"It's so c-c-cold here! If I play outside for too long, I'm going to freeze solid!"||Lives in Heljarchen Hall|
|"I went fishing at the lake. I almost caught something!"||Lives in Lakeview Manor|
|"You're back! Hey, I got you something. Hope you like it!"||Arriving home|
|"Well, sweets are always good. Or a new outfit. Or... or maybe a wooden sword? All my friends have swords."||When asked what gift he wants|
|"A dog! Wow, I didn't know you had a dog! Could I... could I keep him? Please?"||Asking to keep a dog follower|
|"Pa/Ma! Look what followed me home! Could I... could I keep him? Please?"||Asking to keep a pet|
- "Ouch! Hey!"
- "Once more, and I'm going to have to kill you!"
- "Oh, no you don't!"
- "Not quite good enough, are you!"
- "Never should've come here."
- "That's... all you've got?"
- "That your best? Huh?!"
- "It's nothing!"
- "You'll need to do better than that!"
- "Easily blocked!"
- "Haha! Not so fast!"
- "Help! I'm being attacked!"
- "Help! Someone!"
- "Please! Have mercy! I beg you!"
- "Please... mercy..."
- "No... not like this..."
- "Ah! It burns!"
- "I'm on fire!"
- "It... hurts..." - Upon death
- "Release me..." - Upon death
- "Must... kill..."
- "You... must die..."
- "Just leave..."
- "My wife/girlfriend/daughter/niece died. Things won't be the same without her."
- "My husband/boyfriend/son/nephew died. Things won't be the same without him."
- "Can't a woman get a moment to herself? Leave me!" - Female only
- "We're going to punish my father - you and I." - Male only
- "Depends. Are you thirsty? Hungry? Both?" - Male only
- "Take a look." - Male only
- "Well, this is a nice mess you've gotten me into." - Laurel & Hardy reference
- When items are dropped near children, they say that something was dropped and attempt to give it back. No items are added to the inventory, however.
After installing Hearthfire, all children have their clothes unequipped.
- Solution: subsequent patches remedied this.
- A child may interact with a Cooking Place, Alchemy Lab, or Arcane Enchanter, causing their model to stretch to the adult model and shrinking back down afterward. This also occurs if a child leans against a wall in a tavern or inn.
When telling a child to "Go to bed," the child may instead stand still and do nothing.
- Sometimes children can fail to shrink back down to their normal size, becoming indefinitely stuck in an adult-sized state.