Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Dead Thrall is a master-level Conjuration spell in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.


Casting Dead Thrall raises the dead body of most humanoid beings (Men, Mer, and Beastfolk) whose level is 40 or under to "permanently" fight alongside the Dragonborn. The thrall follows and defends its master until banished, killed, or turned.

Occasionally, the thralls will vanish, even if within eyesight, or when entering certain areas they may not follow, but they may show up again later, even if on the other side of Skyrim.

Unlike other reanimation spells, thralls that die will not turn to ash and may be raised again if so desired. If the conjurer has the Dark Souls perk, the thrall will be raised with an extra 100 hit points; however, once these are spent they are not recoverable unless the thrall dies and is re-enthralled. If the Dragonborn has the Twin Souls perk, two Dead Thralls may be summoned at one time, or a Dead Thrall and an atronach or Dremora.

Spell tome[]



  • Weight: 1 WeightIcon.png
  • Value: 1270 Gold
  • See Spell Tome for a complete table of spell tomes, their descriptions, and their values.



Upgrading the thrall's equipment may increase its effectiveness.

Thralls will use any weapon given to them as long as the weapon matches its proficiencies. For instance, mages will prefer to continue using their spells and wielding staves rather than equipping powerful melee weapons. Most thralls, regardless of proficiencies, will also use the shields given to them, provided they have a free hand available. However, thralls are much more picky about the armor/clothing they will wear.

  • Thralls will equip whatever armor they die in. The armor given to them must be the specific item; it cannot be a duplicate (e.g. if a thrall spawned with an Iron Helmet, it will only wear that Iron Helmet and will not equip any other Iron Helmets found in the game). An exception is reanimated Forsworn, who will use any Forsworn Armor dropped by other Forsworn. If gear is given to the follower, then the follower is killed and enthralled, they will continue to wear whatever they had while alive, but fast-traveling will de-equip the gear, so this is of limited use.
  • Thralls from Northwatch Keep may replace their Glass Armor with Elven Armor looted from other Northwatch Guards.
  • Afflicted thralls may change their armor when moving to a different cell. They may equip lower level armor when moving to a new cell.
  • Thrall equipment may be improved. To do so, loot the desired gear from the thrall's corpse. Modify the gear as desired through enchanting and smithing. Return the gear to the thrall's corpse, and reanimate it. The thrall will equip the gear upon leaving the current cell.
  • Thrall gear may be reset by removing all the equipment, reanimating the thrall, then moving to a different cell. The thrall will generate a new set of equipment from the list of possible gear with which they can spawn. Note that this gear may be different from what they previously had. This trick may be used to re-enchant thrall equipment, obtain better versions of leveled gear a thrall may have equipped, or duplicate rare equipment.
  • Thralls will not equip items in slots that were left empty when they generated their gear.
  • Renaming thrall gear when enchanting it will simplify keeping track of unique equipment.
  • Any enchantments on the armor or clothing will interfere with and negate the Dark Souls perk. Consider whether enchanting a thrall's equipment is worth the loss of the 100 health gained from that perk.
  • If the thrall dies after the first time it has equipped enchanted gear, when it is reanimated the enchantments will not take effect even though the thrall still has the gear equipped. To remedy this, every time the thrall dies, loot the enchanted gear, and then give it back to them, allowing them to re-equip it.
  • Replace the weapon into the inventory of any character that has dropped it and that will be the subject of the thrall spell, otherwise the character will not pick it up unless in battle.
  • Dead thralls can benefit from the Fortify Carry Weight enchantment, but only if it is applied to currently equipped armor. It is not possible to enchant an item they did not wear in life and give it to them. The player can loot their worn armor, enchant it and then give it back to them. Corpses which had more armor slots in life will maximize the use of this enchantment.

Notable thralls[]

The characters listed below are thralls that have been deemed exceptional in some way by the community. The first three sections deal with thralls of different class, and the final covers thralls that retain their vocal clips upon death. All thralls listed here are able to be thralled at any level unless otherwise noted. Some of the named characters listed have unique abilities, while others are effective and easy to find.


These thralls will use destruction spells and readily wield staves you give them. Some will even conjure allies using their own spells.

Name Acquisition Level* Health-icon.png MagickaIcon.png Stamina Magic Resistance Enchantable Items Notes
Arch-Curate Vyrthur "Touching the Sky," after Auriel's Chapel 15–75**

(PC x1.2)

[?] [?] [?] [?] 3 Does not moan.
Corpse rarely resets
Necromage perk** allows use up to PC level 42.
Casts frost and shock magic, Frost Atronach.
Wears Ancient Falmer Armor.
Estormo "The Staff of Magnus" 10–50 [?] [?] [?] [?] 2 Uses powerful magic, like Flame Cloak and Lightning Bolt
Corpse does not reset
Groans occasionally
Can conjure Flame Atronachs
Forsworn Ravager The Reach (on the ruins of Karthspire Camp) [?] [?] [?] [?] [?] 1 Ice Princess rapidly shoots Icy Spears & conjures a Frost Atronach
Wears full set of Forsworn Armor
Hamelyn Honningbrew Meadery (basement) 25 (max) [?] [?] [?] 25% 3 The Rat King uses Lightning Bolt, Ice Spike and Mage Armor spells. He will also dual cast Lightning Bolt, but does not have the Impact perk. Has a natural 25% resistance to magic.
Kornalus Harmugstahl 40 (max) 500 410 50 30% 1 120 armor
Malkoran The Break of Dawn 40 (max) 500 460 25 55% 1 Shade spawns upon death
120 armor
Does not moan
Body may reset after quest is complete
Every time the shade dies it yields a bone meal and 250 gold
Malyn Varen "The Black Star" (inside Azura's Star) 25 (max) [?] [?] [?] [?] 2 Players must be careful that they do not knock his body off the platform.
Master Conjurer Hob's Fall Cave 40+ 500 460 [?] 30–55% 1 120 armor
Name may change to "Master Necromancer" upon reanimation
Master Vampires Broken Fang Cave, Shriekwind Bastion, etc. 42** 669 414 257 50% frost resistance
50% weaker to fire
1–2 Affected by Necromage perk**
Can keep vocal clips
Necromancer The Man Who Cried Wolf, at the tower in Wolfskull Ruins [?]

(PC x1.2)

[?] [?] [?] [?] [?] The four located near the altar are unique characters, they do not reset.
Casts frost and shock magic, Reanimate Corpse, Oakflesh
Wears Necromancer Robes.
Orchendor The Only Cure 40 (max) 625 430 205 100% 2 Teleportation spell
Corpse does not reset
Ideal thrall; very strong and immune to most magic
Sebastian Lort A Daedra's Best Friend 40 (max) 234 231 25 25% 1 Conjures Storm Atronach
Casts Chain Lightning and Lightning Bolt
Heals self with Close Wounds
May disappear upon completion of "A Daedra's Best Friend."
Sild the Warlock Rannveig's Fast 40 (max) [?] [?] [?] [?] 1 Uses extremely powerful magic
Very high health
Corpse does not reset
Silus Vesuius Pieces of the Past 40 (max) [?] [?] [?] [?] [?] Corpse does not reset
Summon Familiar in battle
Uses moderately powerful magic
Sulla Trebatius Alftand Cathedral (near the end with Umana) 10–30 391 222 197 0 3 Uses mostly fire magic
Comes with enchanted Imperial Sword
Wears Imperial armor, boots, and bracers
Has many perks (Agumented Flames, Bladesman, Fighting Stance, Recovery, Regeneration, Respite, Tower of Strength)
Heals himself
Traveler Random Encounters after siding with the Dawnguard 1-60** [?] [?] [?] 50% frost resistance
50% weaker to fire
3 Uses a spell to summon Gargoyle.
Volkihar Vampire Broken Fang Cave, Haemar's Shame, etc. 48** 843 413 294 50% frost resistance
50% weaker to fire
1–2 Affected by Necromage perk**


These thralls generally have good armor and use melee weapons effectively. They will also use ranged weapons given them when fighting at a distance.

Name Location or Quest Level* Health-icon.png MagickaIcon.png Stamina Magic Resistance Enchantable Items Notes
Bandit Chief Dungeons, Camps, etc. 28 (max) 497 25 258 0 4/5 Equips full set of Steel Plate armor whether they were killed without a helmet, gauntlet, etc.
Champion of Boethiah Boethiah's Calling 38 (max) 533 198 174 10%

50% fire resistance

3 Equips Ebony Mail (136)
Level 38 when PC level less than 58
Is more skilled in Light Armor rather than Heavy Armor. 50% Fire resistance
Chief Yamarz The Cursed Tribe 20 (max) 1271 114 50 0 4 Equips full set of Orcish armor (228)
Over 1,200 health if the player kills the Giant.
Dremora Markynaz Atronach Forge 36 (max) 435 50 190 0 None Retains vocal clips
170 armor
Forsworn Ravager The Reach 34 (max) 447 116 182 35% 4 Equips full set of Forsworn armor
Will dual wield (most of the time), meaning that it will never stop attacking because it will be unable to block.
Sprints to get in range of targets.
Has the Savage Strike perk.
Krev the Skinner Gallows Rock, in "The Silver Hand" quest. 28 (max) 497 40 258 4 Gender is radiant can be male or female
Better in heavy armor
Redoran Guard DR Old Attius Farm 50


[?] [?] [?] 0 5 Does not moan.
Equips full set of Bonemold Pauldron Armor, including shield.
Body does not reset. (Only the corpse found at Old Attius Farm)
Northwatch Guard Northwatch Keep 36 (max) 565 170 190 0 4 Equips full set of Glass armor (169)
Thalmor Soldier Diplomatic Immunity 36 (max) 565 120 190 0 4/5 Equips full set of Elven/Glass armor
Corpse does not reset (Only those found during Diplomatic Immunity)


These thralls use ranged weapons more effectively. They will switch to melee weapons in close quarters.

Name Location or Quest Level* Health-icon.png MagickaIcon.png Stamina Magic Resistance Enchantable Items Notes
Forsworn Ravager The Reach 34 447 116 182 45% 4 Equips full set of Forsworn armor
Archery (87)
Has Power Shot, Ranger, and Quick Shot perks.
Northwatch Archer Northwatch Keep 36 565 170 190 0 4 Equips full set of Glass armor (169)
Archery (100)
Does not have Power Shot, Ranger, nor Quick Shot perks.
Thalmor Soldier Diplomatic Immunity 36 (max) 565 120 190 [?] 4 Equips full set of Elven or Glass armor
Corpse does not reset (only those found in the quest Diplomatic Immunity)

Retain vocal clips[]

These thralls do not switch to the standard moans and groans of reanimated corpses. They instead continue to use the unique vocal clips they had in life.

Name Location or Quest Level* Health-icon.png MagickaIcon.png Stamina Magic Resistance Enchantable Items Notes
Ancano The Eye of Magnus 10–50 [?] [?] [?] [?] 2 Corpse does reset
Uses very powerful spells, such as Thunderbolt and Chain Lightning
Can conjure Atronachs into battle
Arondil Yngvild 40 (max) [?] [?] [?] [?] [?] Does moan, though may use unique dialogue if he is killed by his ghosts and reanimated afterwards
Astrid Destroy the Dark Brotherhood! PC×1.2 [?] [?] [?] [?] None Corpse does not reset
Cicero The Cure for Madness 10–50 375 115 245 0 None Will dual wield
Dances randomly
Elenwen Thalmor Embassy 30 (max) [?] [?] [?] [?] 2 Killable after Season Unending
Erj Nchuand-Zel Armory
Galmar Stone-Fist Palace of the Kings 10–50 [?] [?] [?] [?] 4 2H
General Tullius Castle Dour 10–50 [?] [?] [?] [?] 3 46 armor
Hefid the Deaf The Ratway Warrens 3 50 50 50 [?] 2 (Iron Dagger and Ragged Robes) She will only moan if run into, otherwise she will repeat dialogue if alive.
Krag Nchuand-Zel
Legate Rikke Castle Dour 10–50 [?] [?] [?] [?] [?] Corpse does reset
Does moan
Master Conjurer Hob's Fall Cave 40 500 460 [?] 30–55% 1 120 armor
Name may change to "Master Necromancer" upon reanimation
Reaver Lord DR Brodir Grove, Haknir's Shoal, Nchardak, Wreck of the Strident Squall, Damphall Mine, Bloodskal Barrow 28 [?] [?] [?] [?] 4 Wears full Nordic Carved Armor
Septimus Signus Septimus Signus' Outpost 1 50 50 50 [?] 1 (Boots)
Skjor The Silver Hand 10–50 [?] [?] [?] [?] 2 Does moan
Staubin Nchuand-Zel Control
Stromm Nchuand-Zel Living Quarters
Ulfric Stormcloak Palace of the Kings 10–50 [?] [?] [?] 3 Will use shouts
Only 6 armor
Velehk Sain The Midden Dark 4 [?] [?] [?] [?] 2 Body does not reset
Wyndelius Gatharian Shroud Hearth Barrow Radiant (1–25) 35–441 100–294 50–150 [?] 2 Looks like a ghost
Corpse resets

*Levels with (max) mean the thrall will scale with the Dragonborn up to a maximum of that level. Levels without (max) mean the thrall is set at that level.

**Vampires can be thralled above the level 40 cap of Dead Thrall if the Dragonborn has taken the Necromage perk found in the Restoration tree. This perk affects all spells that target vampires including Dead Thrall. With this perk all versions of vampires found in the game are thrallable except Volkihar Master Vampires (level 53). Of note are Volkihar Vampires (level 48) and Master Vampires (level 42), the two highest level natural candidates for thralls in the game.


  • If the player gets caught trespassing with a thrall, paying off the fine will cause the player to be teleported out of the cell. The thrall will then advance to the next tier of its character type, provided it has one (e.g. a level 42 Master Vampire will become a level 53 Volkihar Master Vampire). This can only be performed once per thrall, and thralls that advance beyond the Dead Thrall level cap cannot be reanimated if they die.
  • The player may use a Dead Thrall as storage for an unlimited amount of items. To do this, one must simply kill the thrall, and when searching their body, fill it with the items that are to be carried. To retrieve the items, one must bring the thrall back to life and kill him again to unpack the items. A single torch placed in their inventory provides a handy light source as they will light up when out of combat situations.
  • Since Dead Thralls can summon creatures using a staff in the their inventory, the player can have a larger group of allies to aid them in battle.
  • Just like other followers, a single high quality arrow placed in the Dead Thrall's inventory allows them to fire an unlimited number of arrows of that type, increasing their archery effectiveness, and allowing the player to recover the arrows.
  • Unlike followers, Dead Thralls will level-scale with the world. This means that it is possible to re-animate a dead thrall, and then they level up to 40, and when they die, it is not possible to re-animate them. However, many potential candidates are level-capped and will not scale past 40.
  • If, for whatever reason, a follower dies, it is possible to raise them as long as their level is not greater than 40. After zoning, they will not wear the apparel that was given them before their death; however, if they are a Blade, their default spawn apparel will be the Blades full armor set, which may be upgraded and enchanted. Of note is the fact that these Blades' bodies do not reset.
  • With a Dead Thrall following, most other characters, from kids to traders, will make negative comments regarding the spell by giving warnings to stay away or about using a dangerous spell. These comments/warnings do not appear to affect any quest or trading dialogs.
  • Vampiric players will find that they can choose to skip the process of equipping their thralls with better armor or weapons entirely by using the following techniques. These tricks will function effectively even on the Master difficulty setting. This is useful as Dead Thralls can be very unreliable when transitioning from location to location, furthermore the process of equipping them with enchanted items is unreliable as well.
    • Illusion spells (Call to Arms, etc.) will be 25% stronger if the player is a vampire, greatly improving thralls. The player must have the Illusion school perk Master of the Mind to use the beneficial illusion spells on their Dead Thralls.
    • The Restoration school perk Necromage will not only improve the players active effects by 25%, but it also augments beneficial illusion spells by another 25% (50% total) when used on Dead Thralls.
    • Potions which improve Illusion spells improve the power of the spells, and not the duration. An Elixir of Illusion will add an additional 100% power to beneficial illusion spells, whereas player created potions can be even stronger. When used to cast Call to Arms, thralls become powerful enough to survive against the majority of enemies in the game.
  • In some ways, it is inferior to temporary reanimating spells, in as much as it will only reanimate humans, elves, and beastfolk, (excluding Falmer, as they are classified as creatures) whereas Revenant, for example, works on not only Falmer, but many animals too.


  •  PC   According to Creation Kit, what makes the thralls not turn into Ash Pile is the lack of "ReanimateAshPile" script from the "ReanimateSecondaryEffect" Magic Effect, Removing ReanimateAshPile script from ReanimateSecondaryEffect Magic Effect via Creation Kit will prevent corpses from becoming ash piles regardless the type of Reanimation spells.
  • Sometimes when a mage reanimated by the player is attacked, it will summon an atronach. The atronach will register as an enemy, causing it to attack the summoner. Once it kills the corpse, it will disappear, having effectively killed itself.
  • This can be cast on Ulfric Stormcloak after he is killed at the end of the Civil War missions. It is also possible to get General Tullius and Legate Rikke as thralls. Just make sure to complete the Civil War questline before reaching level 40.
  • Dead Thralls, either one's own or raised by enemies, often moan "Thank you.," "Freedom." etc. when being destroyed. This also applies to other lower-level spells of the same type. Rarely, Dead Thralls will beg "Free... me." after being used for some time.
  • Hold Guards may attack the Dragonborn if they see him/her using this spell in a city.
  • Dead Thralls cannot regenerate their health and are immune to healing spells. That means they cannot be healed by the player and the only way for them to restore their health is to use healing potion given to them.
  • Dead Thralls can be used as "walking trunks" and torch bearers. Putting a torch in their inventory will cause them to light it up under low light conditions whenever not in a combat situation, which also acts as something of an early warning system.
  • Dremora Caitiffs and Churls found at the Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon can be made into thralls.
  • If Dawnguard is installed, and the Dragonborn sides with the vampires during the Dawnguard questline, if the Vampire Cattle in Castle Volkihar are killed and reanimated, they can be fed on anywhere. However, feeding in a city will get the Dragonborn a bounty.
  • The effect actually lasts for 47951 hours, or 999 days according to Creation Kit, the equivalent of 5 1/2 years. So unless you ran the game continuously for 5 1/2 years, the effect is truly permanent.
  • Thralls do not enter sneak mode as followers do when the player sneaks, so they will likely be noticed first by enemies.
  • If the Thalmor Soldiers and Thalmor Wizards in The Ratway during "A Cornered Rat," and possibly "Alduin's Wall," are killed and Dead Thrall is cast upon them, they will keep some of their unique dialogue when in combat, such as referring to the Thalmor and Esbern.
  • Dremora that are killed and Dead Thralled do not groan, and will continue to use their unique dialogue they had in life.


This section contains bugs related to Dead Thrall. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
Click to show bugs encountered
  • Transforming into a Werewolf will immediately kill the player's Dead Thralls.
  • Casting Dead Thrall will result in a 24,000 hour active effect called: "Reanimate Thrall," which may not be removed if the thrall is lost when it is killed or replaced. The only known way to remove this effect is by casting an elemental cloak spell such as Frost Cloak or by being arrested and serving the jail time, or when using the Elder Scroll in the main quest. Sometimes the aforementioned spells do not work, but can still be fixed by using Beast Form.
    • While this "ghost thrall" effect is active, characters will comment as if the Dragonborn has a charged spell.
    •  PC   The Console command dispelallspells will fix the long active effect issue. The player must select themselves before using the command. In order to do this, sometimes the player has to use their ID (or use the mouse to select themselves) in order for that code to work. This may remove other useful effects.
  • Loading certain areas may cause persistent and repeatable crashes to the desktop due to poor Dead Thrall pathing. If this happens when loading a new area, try summoning a short-term summons, wait until it expires, then try loading again.
  •  360   Casting any of the elemental cloaks on oneself may immediately kill any active thralls.
  •  360   While fast traveling, thralls may disappear. This may be fixed by loading a quick save and retrying. Sometimes if they disappear they will reappear much later when fast traveling.
    • This can also happen when not fast traveling, such as if the thralls get bugged under the level. Summoning temporary creatures, such as the Dremora Lord, does not seem to free disappeared thralls as it would have if they were present. When one has no creatures summoned, the thralls will eventually return.
    • The thralls may also simply become stuck in a cell, and not transition with the player rather than disappearing. They will not follow the player out of these areas if it occurs, forcing the player to kill them or seek new thralls. Unrelenting Force may be able to push them out of these stuck locations, if still alive.
    • Another possibility is that the missing thrall had just died without reason in the cell that was left. Go back to that cell and there will be the dead body of the thrall that can be resurrected again. Sometimes the body may be under the cell itself (this is the most common case that makes some players think their thralls has disappeared entirely), thus only console commands like "player.moveto <Thrall's refID>" or "tcl" can help to reach it.
    • Waiting may sometimes cause missing thralls to reappear.
  • The Statue to Meridia may cause thralls to disappear unless the player kills them before placing her beacon at the shrine.
  • If a player has two Dead Thralls that are of the same type (such as two Bandit Chiefs), one will be lost when the player travels between areas.
  • Thralls will lose the graphical reanimation aura upon leaving the cell in which they were reanimated.
  • Thralling bodies from the civil war is possible as long as the spell is cast quickly enough; however, it is almost certain that they will disappear but still be in the active effects list.
  • Sometimes killing a thrall inside a location, then leaving and returning to the location, the thrall that was killed may be alive and hostile.
  • Thralls that have died will sometimes remain with the Dragonborn, appearing as living characters whenever they fast travel. They can be spoken to, pickpocketed, or killed, but otherwise have no interaction with the Dragonborn.
  •  PC   360   Some thralls will not level up with the player and are stuck at the level they were first encountered by the player. However, this bug will only affect characters that have their level fixed at a certain level.
  •  360   Thralling a character who has died from fall damage causes them to walk in place, unkillable and untouchable.
  •  360   Dead Thralls might disappear from the last saved game if one dies before reloading it – no fix found as of yet apart from reloading earlier save. Further research shows this mostly tends to affect quicksaves.
  •  360   Also noticed that while they might disappear from the game in above bug, or if they get stuck, the player can summon new thralls, and they will reappear later.
  •  360   Unlimited Glass Armor and/or Elven Armor can be obtained if a Northwatch Guard is looted, reanimated, and moved through a loading screen. In the new area, they will respawn their default armor. With Thrall, this can be repeated. This can also be done with practically any member of the Thalmor, from archers, wizards, footsolders, even some named characters.
  • Sometimes when a body is raised, they will say a standard phrase immediately after casting Dead Thrall on them. E.g. A Hired Thug may say "We've come to teach you a lesson." but it will not act on its words.
  • Some quests in Dawnguard require the player to leave their thralls behind and go through the quest alone. However, thralls do not die and simply walk back to the places they belonged to when were alive, or where their bodies were first found (if thralls started dead in game). If one remembers those places, go there after the quest and the thrall will rejoin the player. But if the place the thrall is traveling to is far enough, only console commands like player.moveto <refID> can help find them.
  •  360   When transitioning between zones, Dead Thralls who are vampires will turn hostile and need to be re-killed and re-thralled in order to restore their loyalty.
  • Enthralled then killed Dremora may come back to life with their original hostility in the new location if you leave and fast travel back.
  • Thralls such as hired mercenaries that transfer a letter of inheritance and gold when killed can be repeatedly killed to gain multiple amounts of gold.
  •  360   If the Dragonborn dies in a cave and then reloads their save to when they entered the cave, the thrall(s) will be stuck outside the cave, this can be fixed by exiting and they re-entering the cave.
  •  PS3   If you load an auto save containing thralls, they will not be loaded and the spell will not be registered, in other words, the thralls are lost permanently under this condition.
  •  PC   During the quest "Alduin's Bane," reading the Elder Scroll will cause any Dead Thralls to die and glitch through the ground, often beyond reach. If they remain within reach, they may not wear any clothing when you finish reading the Scroll. If you reanimate them again, they will refuse to wear any clothing, even after moving to a different cell.
  •  XB1   During the quest "Bound Until Death," Vittoria Vici can be raised, but upon fast-travel she may die and become an ash pile.