Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For other uses, see Dragons.

Dragons (Dovah, or Dov in plural) are a reptilian race from Akavir[1][2][3] that were once widespread throughout Tamriel. Although seeming rather beast-like, they are profoundly intelligent, capable of speech, written language, and comprehension of other languages.[4] Their spoken language can be used to cast powerful magic known as Thu'um or dragon shouts. They were virtually extinct until 4E 201, when they resurfaced in Skyrim with the return of Alduin the World-Eater in the form of a giant black dragon.


"Most Nords of Skyrim believed Dragons were only a legend. Until now."
Loading screen[src]

Dragons can attack anywhere outdoors in Skyrim and random encounters are scripted to take place after a certain amount of in-game time has passed without a Dragon appearance. Thus, fast traveling to an outdoor location is a reliable way to trigger a random Dragon encounter.

There are, however, certain locations where Dragons are scripted to appear. These locations are called dragon lairs that can be found all over Skyrim. In these locations Dragons are typically perched atop word walls that they are guarding.

The following is a list of dragon lairs:


A dragon lair.

Other scripted events

These locations are not dragon lairs, but a dragon is guaranteed to be present.


Nameless dragons

Nameless dragons
Name Appearance Type Lvl1 Enc2 Health-icon Shouts3 Resist Fire Resist Frost Notes
Dragon Dragon top Fire 10 1 905 50% 25% Brown-colored dragons; they are the first dragons encountered in Skyrim and are the weakest.
Dragon Dragon top Frost 10 1 905 25% 50%
Blood Dragon Blooddragon top Fire 20 18 1421 50% 25% Green-colored dragons that have finned crowns and spade-like tails.
Blood Dragon Blooddragon top Frost 20 18 1421 25% 50%
Frost Dragon Frostdragon top Frost 30 27 1860 25% 50% White and blue, ice-affiliated dragons with black-colored dorsal spines.
Elder Dragon Elderdragon top Fire 40 36 2255 50% 25% Bronze-scaled dragons with arrow-shaped tails; second to Ancient Dragons.
Elder Dragon Elderdragon top Frost 40 36 2255 25% 50%
Ancient Dragon Ancientdragon top Fire 50 45 3071 50% 25% Red, black and orange-colored dragons; the most powerful dragon in the base game.
Ancient Dragon Ancientdragon top Frost 50 45 3071 25% 50%
Revered Dragon DG Revereddragon top Fire 62 59 3511 50% 25% Orange-colored dragons introduced in Dawnguard; second most powerful variant.
Legendary Dragon DG Legendarydragon top Fire 75 78 4163 50% 25% Black, purple-colored; maximum level dragon introduced in Dawnguard; most powerful variant.
Legendary Dragon DG Legendarydragon top Frost 75 78 4163 25% 50%
Serpentine Dragon DR Serpentinedragon top Frost 58 50 3565 25% 50% Blue-colored, snake-like dragon introduced in Dragonborn.
Serpentine Dragon DR Serpentinedragon top Fire 58 50 3565 50% 25%
Skeletal Dragon Skeletaldragon Top Frost 20 10 500 0% 0% An undead dragon encountered in Labyrinthian during the quest "The Staff of Magnus."

Named dragons

These are dragons encountered throughout Skyrim. Essentially identical to random nameless dragons in terms of gameplay, these Dragons are usually encountered during the main quest with individual names and dialogue:

Named dragons
Name Appearance Location Type Lvl Health-icon Shouts Resistances
Alduin Alduin top Sovngarde N/A PC×1.2 (10–100) 2355 50% to all damage sources
Durnehviir DG Durnevhiir top Soul Cairn N/A 20 1821 50%
Krosulhah DR Frostdragon top Nchardak Frost dragon 30–50 1860–3071 50%
Kruziikrel DR Dragon top Black Book: Waking Dreams Any type 10–50 905–3071 50%
Mirmulnir Dragon top Western Watchtower, Whiterun Hold Any type 10–50 905–3071 50%
Naaslaarum DG Revereddragon top Forgotten Vale Revered dragon 10–62 905–3511 50%
Nahagliiv Nahagliiv Top Rorikstead, Whiterun Hold Any type 10 3071 50%
Odahviing Dragon top Dragonsreach, Whiterun, Whiterun Hold Any type 10–50 905–3071 N/A 50%
Paarthurnax Paarthurnax Top Throat of the World N/A 10 905 50%
Relonikiv DR Dragon top Apocrypha Any type 10–50 905–3071 50%
Sahloknir Dragon top Kynesgrove, Eastmarch Any type 10–50 905–3071 50%
Sahrotaar DR Serpentinedragon top Apocrypha Serpentine dragon 58 3565 50%
Viinturuth Dragon top Anga's Mill, Eastmarch Any type 10–50 905–3071 50%
Voslaarum DG Revereddragon top Forgotten Vale Revered dragon 10–62 905–3511 50%
Vuljotnaak Dragon top Whiterun-Falkreath Border Any type 10–50 905–3071 50%
Vulthuryol Vulthuryol Top Blackreach Ancient dragon 50 3071 50%

Dragon Riding


The Dragonborn takes to the skies.

Main article: Dragon Riding

Dragon Riding is a feature added in The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn that grants the ability to temporarily tame and ride Dragons. All three words of the Bend Will shout are required in order for it to work. When the shout is directed at a dragon, it will land and allow the Dragonborn to mount it. As soon as the dragon has been mounted, it will take to the skies. This introduces a new control scheme that allows the Dragonborn to command the dragon they are riding to attack targets.



Click for a list of strategies

Dragon behavior


A soldier being eaten by a dragon

  • A Dragon not engaged in combat will emit a distinctive "air rushing" sound while in flight.
  • Dragons are Neutral enemies, meaning they are hostile towards all characters in the immediate area, and vice versa. However, sometimes dragons will not notice any enemies in the area at all and fly around nonchalantly. One may eventually become aware of nearby mobs and attack them, but if it does not encounter any enemies it eventually flies away.
  • Dragons have numerous combat patterns. When they are first encountered, they will usually take advantage of their speed while in flight to sweep enemies on the ground with Shout attacks. Occasionally, they may also stop to hover in place, or land on the roof of a building and proceed to use a Shout, and then fly away for another attack. If the target is out of range for regular Shouts, the dragon will use a longer ranged Fire or Frost "ball" Shout which explodes on impact with a surface. When grounded, they become susceptible to close-ranged attacks, and their attacks consist of swinging their tails, using Shouts, and attempting to bite at an enemy with their jaws. If dragons successfully do enough damage to a player, they will perform a finishing move by grabbing half of the Dragonborn's body with their mouth, swinging them back and forth a couple of times, then launching them into the air.
  • After a dragon has sustained enough damage, it may lose the ability to fly. If airborne when this happens it will crash land (in the nearest relatively open area), scarring the ground in the process.
  • Any random dragon encounter may be avoided by entering another cell, such as a cave or ruins. Exiting out of a different entrance will always cause the dragon to vanish, whereas if the Dragonborn exits out of the same entrance, the dragon may still be waiting for them depending on how much time in-game was spent in the other cell.
  • Dragons tend to pursue the Dragonborn over other targets, so moving away from a location can help save any characters there from being killed during a dragon attack.


  • A Dragon can often be heard before it is seen. They roar on a regular basis and they make a distinctive sound when flying. This can be used to avoid or track them.
  • If the player is a Vampire they are more resistant to ice, but vulnerable to fire, this might be good or bad depending of the dragons encountered, if the player is a Dunmer and a third level Vampire the Dragonborn will be very resistant to all elemental damage Dragons can produce.
  • It is possible to find gear in game that protects against a percentage of elemental damage. This percentage stacks, so if the player has the right gear equipped it is possible to nullify up to 85% of elemental damage. Unfortunately, 100% resistance to any elemental damage is impossible.
    • Dragon breath attacks are considered a magical attack, damage can be further reduced via magic resist, up to 85%.
    • Spellbreaker can deflect the breath attack of any dragon up to ancient dragons without its ward breaking.
  • As always, the player must be careful about their surroundings. Characters can accidentally wander in and get hit, turning them hostile.
  • Using Dragonrend right before a dragon shouts will make the dragons shout disappear and also cause them to land. (Not true when fighting an Ancient Fire Dragon)
  • Become Ethereal is helpful when the player has low health.
  • Mages can conjure an Atronach of the same type as the dragon (Flame for fire breathing dragons, and Frost for frost breathing dragons). This takes advantage of both the Atronach's total resistance to its element and the Atronach's tendency to make a huge target of itself.


  • With the correct perks and powerful weapons, Dragons can be instantly killed with sneak attacks from a melee weapon or bow.
  • When landed, a dragon will let out a long roar when an attack causes it to reach 50% health (the same point where it can no longer fly). While doing its roaring animation, the dragon is incapable of attacking. Using the Slow Time shout can give the player enough time to finish it off before it even stops roaring.
  • Shield bashing a dragon on the head will cause it to recoil its head and stop breathing fire or frost prematurely. Power attacks can give the same result, albeit less reliably.
  • Distracting dragons with Shadowmere can be useful. Shadowmere is the toughest horse and can withstand the attacks and give the player time to kill dragons.
  • Using the Marked for Death shout can make dragons a little less difficult to slay.
  • Using weapons with drain magicka will eventually stop a Dragon from shouting.
  • Mages can force any dragon to recoil over and over by spamming an Apprentice-level dual wielded Destruction spell like Firebolt with the Impact perk. This makes them easier to kill so long as a large pool of magicka has been obtained beforehand.
  • Using Fire Breath on Dragons is extremely useful, as it drains a lot of health and does additional fire damage, and Frost Dragons receive more damage.
  • Dragonrend, of course, does a lot of affects to Dragons. It slows the Dragon, and depending what type of dragon and words used, the Dragon gets weak, even slowing its ability to Shout.
  • Dragonbane is very effective because of its dragon damage enchantment.



Dragon Soul (Achievement)
Dragon Soul
Absorb a dragon soul
Points 10 Gamer points
Bronze trophy

Dragon Hunter (Achievement)
Dragon Hunter
Absorb 20 dragon souls
Points 20 Gamer points
Bronze trophy

Legend (Achivement)
Defeat a Legendary Dragon
Points 40 Gamer points
Silver trophy


  • Dragons can only land on the ground if there is enough flat, open space. If a dragon refuses to land on the ground, consider moving somewhere more open. The dragon can also land on most buildings.
  • Dragons can appear inside a walled city and attack various characters. If a quest-giver is killed, their quest may become unavailable.
  • Despite the crafting material of Dragon Bones being very heavy, dragon skeletons are weightless. A Firebolt or similar kinetic spell may launch the skeleton into the sky.
  • When a dragon is killed and characters are nearby, they will rush over to gawk at the corpse and the fact that the player has absorbed its soul.
  • While a dragon corpse is burning, the effect can be seen from the world map.
  • When a dragon is low on health, they may descend and crash into the ground, leaving a large trench behind.
  • The Tsaesci tried to "eat" the dragons of Akavir. They enslaved the "Red Dragons," and the black ones fled to Po Tun. A war later left all the dragons of Akavir dead.[1]
  • Dragons cannot be soul trapped.
  • As the Dragonborn continues with the main quest, dragon attacks tend to happen more often.
  • In places where dragons are scripted to appear, such as Dragon Lairs, they can be found either perched on a cliff edge, word wall or sometimes even lying down on the ground.
  • Although not a dragon lair, there is a scripted dragon appearance at the unmarked exit of Bleak Falls Barrow, overlooking Lake Ilinalta.
  • The dragons depicted in Skyrim closely resemble the wyverns found in European mythology.
  • Circling dragons have a very large detection radius compared to most other enemies and the Dragonborn needs to be much farther away from them to do things like wait, rest or fast travel.


This section contains bugs related to Dragons (Skyrim). 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  /  PS5  ,  XS  , 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
  • Several different spells are capable of launching dragon corpses if cast on a dead dragon. Spells that work include Raise Zombie, Ice Spike, and Magelight.
    • A Wabbajack bolt is also capable of launching dragon corpses.
  • Prior to patch 1.3, dragons had been known to become glitched into mountains and other textures, which caused them to fly backwards and spin around wildly.
  • Skyrim can sometimes fail to render the dragon's texture, leaving the player to fight the untextured model. The texture will appear once the dragon is dead.
  • In addition to the bug listed above, a dead, untextured Dragon may randomly fall from the sky. It is unknown why this occurs.
  • Even when standing behind columns or large structures dragons perform their execution move, reaching through and grabbing the player in their mouth and tossing them aside for a one-hit kill. Likewise, dragon breath attacks such as Yol (Fire) and Fo (Ice) can usually damage the player through cover and obstacles if what the player is hiding behind is not thick enough. This is more common with higher level dragons and in the area of the College of Winterhold.
  • Very rarely, when a dragon lands sometimes they will be stuck on the ground, despite having full health.
  •  PC   In some instances, when two dragons are encountered simultaneously one may die instantly upon landing; however, in other cases, both are able to land without an issue.
  • On a rare occasion a dragon has be seen flying around with full health and then fall to the ground and die.
  • Prior to version 1.4*  PC  , dragons could get stuck in their out-of-combat flight animation (just straight flying, informal description) while fighting them. The direction they are stuck flying in is completely random, often they can be stuck ascending or even flying straight up, roaring and flailing their head about. During these glitches, the Dragon moves at a very slow speed. Reducing them to zero health may or may not break them out of this glitch. Also, they can even simply break out of the glitch after an apparently random amount of time has passed.
  • Sometimes when a dragon is killed, it will not start to burn and the flesh remains on the dragon's corpse, and therefore does not yield a Dragon Soul. However, this may be intentional - see Help: dragons disintegrating This can happen more often with dragons at lairs than ones encountered randomly.
  • Very rarely if two dragons spawn at the same time they may attack one another and upon one being defeated they will then attack other enemies such as other characters and the Dragonborn. This has only been seen between "Dragon" and no other dragon types such as Elder Dragon or Frost Dragon as of yet.
  •  360  After killing a dragon, a miscellaneous quest to "Return to Esbern" appears. However, speaking to him does not complete the quest.
  • If a Dragon is vaporized via a shock spell, the sound effects for the soul absorption will not be heard.
  • On rare occasions, during a random dragon fight, a Dragon may suddenly lose its skin and become skeletal. The Dragonborn will even receive a Dragon Soul. The Dragon may become unkillable after the transformation.
  • There is a possibility to turn any dragon into a skeletal dragon. To do so, the dragon must be killed from a distance, and before absorbing the Dragon Soul, use resurrect console command. And when the dragon is brought back to life, the Dragon soul can be absorbed, but the skin and scales will melt away. The Dragonborn must now fight the skeletal dragon.