A subclass of followers is non-humanoid followers, such as dogs, armored trollsDG, rieklingsDR, steadfast Dwarven spiderDR, and steadfast Dwarven sphere.DR These followers can neither carry nor equip items, except in the case of rieklings. The interaction with these followers is limited to the wait/follow commands and dismissal, the only exception again being rieklings.
It is only possible to have one humanoid follower at a time, unless additional followers are gained via a quest or conjuration (see Multiple Followers) In most cases, there is no penalty for dismissing a follower and then recruiting the companion later.
Followers specialize in a variety of Skills ranging from Combat, Magic, Sneak, Smithing, Speech, Alchemy, and Enchanting. However, skills outside of Combat, Magic, and Sneak cannot be directly benefited from.
Certain followers can also serve as Skill Trainers. Many followers can marry the Dragonborn, and most can join the Blades after being relocated to Sky Haven Temple. With the addition of Hearthfire, some may also serve as a steward for homesteads.
Followers will match the current Character Level of the Dragonborn up to a certain level cap which varies from follower to follower. The vast majority of followers cap at level 30. Roggi Knot-Beard and Sven notably cap at level 20.
Torvar, Ria, Athis, and Njada Stonearm of The Companions, Adelaisa Vendicci, and Beleval and Agmaer from the Dawnguard add-on cap at level 25. Mjoll the Lioness, Illia, and all mercenary hirelings (including Erik the Slayer) cap at level 40.
Erandur, Cicero, the members of The Circle (Aela, Farkas, and Vilkas), and all Housecarls cap at level 50. In Dawnguard, Serana caps at level 50 as well. As a result of patch 1.9, followers who would level with the Dragonborn to level 81 will no longer experience a level cap, and will continue to level with the Dragonborn. They include J'zargo, the Dark Brotherhood Initiates, and in the Dawnguard and Dragonborn add-ons, Celann, Ingjard, Durak, and Frea have no level cap.
If patch 1.6 or later is not installed, followers, along with all other levelable characters, are locked at the level at which they first encountered the Dragonborn, and will not continue to level up. The only way to fix this leveling error is to use console commands on the PC (
enable the character while they are not active followers) or use the Wabbajack to turn them into an animal, then wait for them to change back. This resets their stats to the Dragonborn's current level. This does not appear to reset their inventory or quest scripting. Essential characters cannot be transformed, and one can therefore not reset their stats without using console commands.
There are a couple very specific occasions in which certain followers will level up due to scripted events in quests. For example, Farkas will level up to the Dragonborn's current level in the quest "Proving Honor" after his scripted transformation. Likewise, Aela will level up after her transformation in the quest "The Silver Hand." This is because the game de-spawns Farkas and Aela and replaces them with a transformed version, then re-spawns them later, which is the same process that occurs when manually using the console to disable then enable a character. Similarly, Erik the Slayer and Cicero "level up" after the first encounter with them, as the version met during the first encounter is actually a different version of the character than the one that can become a follower.
Targeting a follower and typing
setlevel 1000 0 1 81 will make that follower level up with the Dragonborn until they reach level 81. Replacing the last number in that command with a number other than 81 will change their level cap to the given number.
It is notable that followers with a lower level cap, such as Jenassa, have more stats (Health, Magicka, and Stamina) and skill points (One Handed, Sneak, etc.) per level than other followers with a higher level cap, such as Aela the Huntress, or even followers with no level cap, such as Frea or Ingjard. As such, it is wise to have a similar follower with a lower level cap, such as Jenassa, up until they reach their level cap, then trade for a similar follower with a higher level cap, such as Aela, to be more effective.
All followers favor two-handed weapons over one-handed weapons, even if they are unskilled in two-handed weapon usage. Therefore, letting followers whose primary combat skill is one-handed weapons have two-handed weapons in their inventory should be avoided. Additionally, followers appear to favor magic staves over melee weapons and will default to using a magic staff if given one, only switching to a melee weapon after spending several seconds in close combat.
Most non-magic-using followers have a bow as part of their default, non-removable equipment. This bow shoots an endless supply of iron arrows, which are not visible in the follower's inventory. To have a follower shoot more powerful arrows, a single arrow of that type should be put in their inventory. This will allow them to use an endless supply of that arrow type. Followers will automatically choose the most powerful arrow type available in their inventory.
Followers can dual-wield melee weapons, but only if there is no shield in their inventory, and only if a Forsworn Sword, Forsworn Axe, Falmer War Axe, Falmer Sword or a pickaxe is wielded along with another melee weapon (the Housecarl of Falkreath, Rayya, can dual wield scimitars). They will also dual-wield magic staves, regardless of whatever else is in their inventory. Frea is an exception to this for she automatically begins with two war axes, and will not require a Forsworn weapon or pickaxe to dual-wield. She will use any two weapons given to her should her axes be pocketed from her.
If the Dragonborn enters sneak mode, humanoid followers will follow suit. While in sneak mode, they will not attack unless attacked first. Animal followers, e.g. dogs such as Barbas, Meeko, Vigilance, or the stray dogs, however, do not understand the concept of "stealth" and will charge straight at an enemy as soon as they see one, even if the Dragonborn is hiding.
Enemies will tend to ignore followers once their health is depleted, and turn their attention to the Dragonborn or any other allied characters. This condition is easily spotted, as the follower will drop to one knee and stay in that position for a short period of time.
Once they have regenerated a sufficient amount of health, they will stand up and rejoin the fight. However, this does not mean that they cannot die by physical attacks from characters. In some cases, especially when left no other target, enemies will continue to attack a follower until death. Additionally, in a near-death state, a follower is not in danger of being killed outright unless hit by an attack from the Dragonborn or another follower. Extremely powerful attacks, especially area-of-effect attacks such as those from Dragons, can also kill a follower.
The Companion's Insight reward from "Black Book: The Winds of Change" allows players to use attacks without fear of hurting their allies, making it harder for non-essential followers to die, as it eliminates the possibility of friendly fire.
Some followers are marked essential, specifically: Barbas, Frea, Erandur, Mjoll the Lioness, Derkeethus, Serana, Cicero, Farkas, and Dark Brotherhood Initiates. They cannot be killed by any means — should their health be depleted, they will fall to the ground, and will get up after a certain amount of their health has regenerated. This makes them especially valuable as distractions for difficult battles.
It is important to remember that enemies employing poisonous attacks can kill followers since the poison continues its effect even after the follower drops to their knee. Caution is advised if encountering high level Falmer, Chaurus, poisoned traps, etc.
To avoid a follower's death in this scenario, the best course of action is to lead attackers away from the area where the follower is trying to recover. Followers may also be given several healing potions or Potions of Cure Poison to carry in their inventory, which they will automatically use if the need arises. In some cases, the best course of action may be to tell a follower to wait before entering a particularly dangerous area.
Followers can be revived using the console command
Permanent followers can be given several commands.
Initiate conversation (outside of combat), and tell them "I need you to do something." The Dragonborn may also hold down the "select/activate" button while pointing at the follower. This method can be done at a distance and is a great way to call the follower to the Dragonborn's position while they are in their "wait" mode.
- Attack another individual or creature.
- Wait at a given location, or just simply wait.
- Use an object.
- Open a locked door or container.
- Pick up individual items or take everything from containers.
- Sleep in a bed.
- Sit on chairs and benches, although they will, unless told to wait, usually stand back up.
- Activate a shrine to receive its blessing.
- Perform jobs such as wood chopping, excluding mining.
- Leave the Dragonborn's service.
- Pickpocket: The Dragonborn must remain undetected.
There are some additional benefits from using certain commands. These are:
- Followers can pick up skill books that the Dragonborn may not want to read just yet. These can be safely taken from their inventory and read at a later date.
- Followers will illuminate dark areas with a torch, provided there is one in their inventory.
- Followers do not require lockpicks to pick locks.
- As a vampire, ordering a follower to sleep will allow the Dragonborn to feed off them.
If told to wait, a follower will wait roughly three days before they get to leave the Dragonborn. They will then return to their home or the location where they were originally found.
Every follower has their own level of morality. Certain followers, such as Farkas, are lawful citizens and will report the Dragonborn to the guards if they witness a crime, or simply leave their service. Other followers, such as Jenassa, will readily commit any crime they are ordered to do and will ignore any criminal behavior by the Dragonborn. Some will report the Dragonborn for a serious crime, such as murder, but not for a petty crime. All followers, regardless of their morality, will not have any possible interactions while trespassing, saying only "You're not supposed to be in here" when spoken to. Cicero and Serana are the only exceptions. They will still fight for the Dragonborn, however, and commands can still be issued by activating them from a distance (holding the "activate" button) and telling them the desired task.
If not hidden, the Dragonborn will be held responsible if a follower is asked to perform an illegal activity. However, it is possible for the guards in a town to attack the follower while leaving the player character alone. Interfering with the battle will be seen as a crime, though.
Equipment and inventory
Followers always equip the best possible weapons or armor given to them. More specifically, the weapon with the highest damage value and the pieces of apparel with the highest armor value are equipped.
Followers will not use equipment that is the same in armor or damage value as their starting equipment unless it has been improved by smithing or enchantments.
On occasion, a follower may equip a weapon that they are not skilled in over one they are. For example, Mjoll the Lioness is better skilled in Two-Handed weapons over One-Handed, but if given a sword with a higher damage rating than a battleaxe, she will equip the sword.
Each follower tends to have their own preference of armor. For example, Aela has no preference and will use heavy armor if she receives it, even though she is a marksman whose default armor is light. A Dark Brotherhood Initiate, however, strongly opposes the use of heavy armor unless it is significantly better than their current armor. This is because the initiate prefers light armor, matching their skills.
If a follower insists on using an undesirable piece of equipment, the only way to prevent this behavior is to remove it from their inventory.
Ironically, the default equipment of many followers does not correspond to their actual combat skills. For example, Aela's default armor is Heavy Armor, despite her being skilled in Light Armor, and Erik the Slayer's default equipment is Iron Armor and a one-handed sword, despite his true skills lying in two-handed weapons and light armor.
Enchantments on weapons work normally, but followers will only benefit from the following enchantment effects on their apparel and armor:
- Fortify Carry Weight
- Fortify Health
- Fortify Health Regeneration – only works during recovery phase/out of combat
- Fortify Heavy Armor
- Fortify Light Armor
- Fortify Magicka
- Fortify Magicka Regeneration
- Fortify Stamina
- Fortify Stamina Regeneration
- Fortify Unarmed
- Resist Fire
- Resist Frost
- Resist Magic
- Resist Poison
- Resist Shock
- Waterbreathing – Followers will not drown; however, this stops them surfacing for air
Followers can be used to carry almost any item, either via the inventory menu or picking up world items. However, they also have an unspecified weight limit, which restricts how much they can carry. In the inventory menu, items that would over-encumber them appear grayed out. Quest-related items cannot be given to followers for storage.
An exploit is possible to make them carry over their limit. First, place the items in any container and then order the follower to take everything in the container. After this, every single item will be in the follower's inventory. However, these items will be marked as stolen. If these items are dropped and picked up again in plain sight, it will be considered a crime. Alternatively, entering a new area will remove the "stolen" label.
An alternative exploit is to drop the items on the ground and instruct the follower to pick up each item one at a time. While potentially time-consuming, it is a handy method when containers are not present or handy.
Followers will retain their inventories even after the Dragonborn dismisses them. In this way, it is possible to use them for limited storage. If they are killed, the stored items can be looted from their body.
If a follower is using their own default bow, placing just a single arrow in a follower's inventory will give them an infinite supply of that type of arrow.
Enemies may also exhibit this behavior: Shooting an enemy with an arrow more powerful than their own arrows has a small chance of adding that arrow to their inventory, allowing them to equip the more powerful arrow and return fire with an infinite supply.
Effect dismissing has on equipment
If the Dragonborn sends their follower away, i.e. dismisses them, and later decides to recruit him/her again, the Dragonborn will find the follower wearing their original equipment. The Dragonborn can fix this by either leaving the area or by simply taking away any piece of equipment from them, which will in turn "reset" them, causing them to equip their best available equipment. If the Dragonborn chooses to “reset” their follower, they will use new or better equipment again.
Followers are supposed to be limited to one at a time; however, there are several ways to avoid this limit. Quest characters triggered to follow the Dragonborn, the Dark Brotherhood Initiates, Cicero, Serana and summoning more than one Atronach, zombie or Dremora. The latter is only possible wiith Conjuration at its maximum level. For more information, see Multiple Followers. Theoretically, if all DLCs are installed, players can have a maximum of fifteen followers at one time, though this can be undesirable in cramped spaces.
It is also possible to use the spell/power gained through the Dark Brotherhood questline for an additional follower. The Spectral Assassin will stay by the Dragonborn's side until it is defeated in battle or another familiar/atronach is summoned. It will travel with the Dragonborn across Skyrim.
Housecarls are essentially bodyguards who protect noble and important figures from threats. Becoming Thane of a Hold will grant a personal housecarl. In the base game, almost all available housecarls are Nord warriors, however, Hearthfire adds additional housecarls for The Pale, Falkreath and Hjaalmarch. All Housecarls have a level cap of 50.
All Housecarls are one-handed warriors, with the exception of Valdimar, who is a sorcerer. A Housecarl's main skills are Heavy Armor, One-Handed, Archery and Block, again with the exception being Valdimar (Heavy Armor, One-Handed, Alteration, Destruction and Restoration).
Housecarls will invariably fight to the death, and can be told to attack anybody or anything. However, they possess a set of morales. For example, if one is to trespass on the Red Wave, the follower will tell the Dragonborn that the latter is not supposed to be there, despite this act not actually charging the player with a true crime.
|Argis the Bulwark||Vlindrel Hall, Markarth||Thane of Markarth||Nord||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Calder||Hjerim, Windhelm||Thane of Eastmarch||Nord||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Gregor HF||The White Hall, Dawnstar||Thane of The Pale||Nord||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Iona||Honeyside, Riften||Thane of The Rift||Nord||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Jordis the Sword-Maiden||Proudspire Manor, Solitude||Thane of Haafingar||Nord||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Lydia||Breezehome, Whiterun||Thane of Whiterun||Nord||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Rayya HF||Jarl's Longhouse, Falkreath||Thane of Falkreath||Redguard||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Valdimar HF||Highmoon Hall, Morthal||Thane of Hjaalmarch||Nord||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
Completing certain quests for a faction will grant access to some followers from that faction.
|Brelyna Maryon||30||Alteration, Illusion, Conjuration, Sneak||Mage||Hall of Attainment||Brelyna's Practice||Dunmer||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|J'zargo||None||Destruction, Illusion, Heavy Armor, One-handed||Sorcerer||Hall of Attainment||J'zargo's Experiment||Khajiit||No||Yes||No||No|
|Onmund||30||Destruction, Illusion, Heavy Armor, One-handed||Sorcerer||Hall of Attainment||Onmund's Request||Nord||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
The members of the Circle all cap at level 50. The remaining Companions will cap at level 25.
|Name||Max level||Main skills||Class||Location||Quest||Race||Marriage||Blades||Steward||Essential?|
|Aela the Huntress||50||Archery, Light Armor, Sneak, One-handed, Speech||Ranger||Jorrvaskr||Glory of the Dead||Nord||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes until the questline is complete|
|Athis||25||Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior-1H||Jorrvaskr||Glory of the Dead||Dunmer||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Farkas||50||Smithing, Speech, One-handed, Pickpocket||Blacksmith||Jorrvaskr||Glory of the Dead||Nord||Yes||Yes||No||Yes until the questline is complete|
|Njada Stonearm||25||Block, One-handed, Speech, Pickpocket||Warrior||Jorrvaskr||Glory of the Dead||Nord||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Ria||25||Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior-1H||Jorrvaskr||Glory of the Dead||Imperial||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Torvar||25||Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior-1H||Jorrvaskr||Glory of the Dead||Nord||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Vilkas||50||Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior-2H||Jorrvaskr||Glory of the Dead||Nord||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes until the questline is complete|
|Cicero||50||One-handed, Sneak, Archery, Light Armor||Assassin||Dawnstar Sanctuary||Hail Sithis!||Imperial||No||No||No||Yes if spared during The Cure for Madness|
|Dark Brotherhood Initiate||100||One-handed, Sneak, Archery, Light Armor||Assassin||Dawnstar Sanctuary||Hail Sithis!||Nord||No||No||No||Yes|
Having Dawnguard installed adds several more followers, both humanoid and non-humanoid, to the game. Most are dependent on which faction the Dragonborn decides to side with during the Bloodline quest, thus A New Order needs to be completed.
|Ingjard||None||Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior-2H||Fort Dawnguard||Nord||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Durak||None||Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed||Ranger||Fort Dawnguard||Orsimer||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Agmaer||25||One-handed, Two-handed, Block, Light Armor||Bandit||Fort Dawnguard||Nord||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Beleval||25||One-handed, Two-handed, Block, Light Armor||Bandit||Fort Dawnguard||Bosmer||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Celann||None||Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior-1H||Fort Dawnguard||Breton||No||Yes||Yes||No|
Mercenaries are typically found in taverns across Skyrim. They cost 500 to hire for any length of time. Dismissing a mercenary will send them back to the tavern they were found, unless they were married, asked to become a steward or drafted into the Blades. All Mercenaries reach their maximum level at 40, the exception being Teldryn Sero, who caps at level 60. They will charge the Dragonborn 500 more septims if dismissed and asked to follow the player again, although they may be free of charge if they're particularly fond of you or you only dismissed them a short time ago.
|Belrand||Destruction, Light Armor, One-handed, Restoration||Spellsword||The Winking Skeever, Solitude||Nord||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Erik the Slayer||Light Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block||Barbarian||Rorikstead||Nord||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Jenassa||Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed||Ranger||The Drunken Huntsman, Whiterun||Dunmer||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Marcurio||Destruction, Restoration, Alteration, Sneak||Mage||Bee and Barb, Riften||Imperial||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Stenvar||Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior-2H||Candlehearth Hall, Windhelm||Nord||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Teldryn SeroDR||One-handed, Light Armor, Destruction, Conjuration||Spellsword||The Retching Netch, Raven Rock||Dunmer||No||Yes||No||No|
|Vorstag||Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior-1H||Silver-Blood Inn, Markarth||Nord||Yes||Yes||No||No|
Quest reward followers
These followers typically have a quest attached to them and it must be completed in order to gain them as a follower.
|Adelaisa Vendicci||25||Alchemy, Enchanting, Smithing, Archery, Light Armor, One-handed, Sneak, Speech||Citizen||East Empire Company||Rise in the East||Imperial||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Ahtar||30||Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior-2H||Castle Dour||Kill the Bandit Leader||Redguard||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Annekke Crag-Jumper||30||Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed||Ranger||Darkwater Crossing||Kill the Bandit Leader||Nord||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Aranea Ienith||30||Destruction, Restoration, Alteration, Conjuration||Mage||Shrine of Azura||Side with her during The Black Star||Dunmer||No||Yes||No||No|
|Eola||30||Destruction, Sneak, Alteration, One-handed||Nightblade||Hall of the Dead, Markarth||Help her in The Taste of Death||Breton||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Erandur||50||Restoration, Speech, Alchemy, Conjuration, Smithing||Priest||Windpeak Inn, Dawnstar||Spare his life in Waking Nightmare||Dunmer||No||Yes||No||Yes if spared during Waking Nightmare|
|Faendal||30||Archery, Light Armor, Sneak, One-handed, Speech||Thief||Riverwood||Help him in A Lovely Letter||Bosmer||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Frea||None||One-handed, Alteration, Light Armor, Restoration||Warrior-1H||Skaal Village||The Fate of the Skaal||Nord||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Golldir||30||Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior-1H||Hillgrund's Tomb||Help him in Ancestral Worship||Nord||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Illia||40||Destruction, Restoration, Alteration, Conjuration||Mage||Darklight Tower||Help her in Repentance||Imperial||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Kharjo||30||Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior||Ahkari's Khajiit Caravan||Retrieve his Moon Amulet||Khajiit||No||Yes||No||No|
|Lob||30||Warrior-1H||Largashbur||The Cursed Tribe||Orc||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Mjoll the Lioness||40||Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior-2H||Riften||Retrieve Grimsever||Nord||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Ogol||30||Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Sneak||Warrior-1H||Largashbur||The Cursed Tribe||Orc||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Ralis Sedarys||60||One-handed, Light Armor, Block, Sneak||Rogue(1H)||Kolbjorn Barrow||Spare him at the end of Unearthed||Dunmer||No||Yes||No||No|
|Roggi Knot-Beard||20||Alchemy, Enchanting, Smithing, Archery, One-handed, Two-handed||Miner||Kynesgrove||Find Roggi Knot-Beard's Ancestral Shield||Nord||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Serana||50||Sneak, Conjuration, Light Armor, One-handed||Vampire||Fort Dawnguard|
|Sven||20||Alchemy, Enchanting, Smithing, Archery, One-handed, Two-handed||Bard||Riverwood||Help him in A Lovely Letter||Nord||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Talvas Fathryon||25||Conjuration, Restoration, Destruction, Alteration, Sneak||Conjurer||Tel Mithryn||From the Ashes||Dunmer||No||Yes||Yes||No but is protected|
|Ugor||30||Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed||Ranger||Largashbur||The Cursed Tribe||Orc||No||Yes||No||No|
These followers have no specific quest attached to them. Gaining them as a follower may sometimes be a trivial affair, such as Brawling against them and winning the match. Their levels cap at 30.
|Benor||Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior-2H||Morthal||Beat him in a brawl||Nord||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Borgakh the Steel Heart||Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Sneak||Warrior-1H||Mor Khazgur||Pay her dowry or persuade her||Orc||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Cosnach||Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior-1H||Silver-Blood Inn, Markarth||Beat him in a brawl or give him a drink||Breton||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Derkeethus||Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed||Ranger||Darkwater Pass||Free him from captivity||Argonian||Yes||Yes||No||Yes due to a bug|
|Ghorbash the Iron Hand||Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed||Ranger||Dushnikh Yal||Convince him to travel with the Dragonborn||Orc||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Uthgerd the Unbroken||Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block||Warrior-1H||The Bannered Mare, Whiterun||Beat her in a brawl||Nord||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
Non-humanoid followers can be used alongside any humanoid follower, which means that the Dragonborn can have one human and one non-human follower simultaneously. Most non-humanoid followers cannot be given items and thus cannot use equipment, the exception being Riekling.
|Armored Troll||Troll||Fort Dawnguard||A New Order, 500||No|
|Barbas†||Daedra masquerading as a dog||Outside Falkreath||Begin Speak to Lod||Yes unless attacked with the Rueful Axe|
|BranDG||Armored War Dog||Fort Dawnguard||A New Order||No|
|CuSithDG||Death Hound||Castle Volkihar||The Bloodstone Chalice|
|GarmrDG||Death Hound||Castle Volkihar||The Bloodstone Chalice|
|Meeko||Dog||Wandering near Meeko's Shack||None||No|
|RieklingDR||Riekling||Thirsk Mead Hall||The Chief of Thirsk Hall||No|
|SceolangDG||Armored War Dog||Fort Dawnguard||A New Order||No|
|Steadfast Dwarven Sphere||Dwarven Sphere||Kagrumez||During "The Kagrumez Gauntlet"||No|
|Steadfast Dwarven SpiderDR||Dwarven Spider||Kagrumez||During "The Kagrumez Gauntlet"||No|
|Stray Dog||Dog||Random location/With hunters||No|
|Poison Cloaked Spider (Scroll) DR||Spider Scroll||White Ridge Sanctum||Craft with Imbuing Chamber||No|
|Frost Cloaked Spider (Scroll) DR||Spider Scroll||White Ridge Sanctum||Craft with Imbuing Chamber||No|
|Flame Cloaked Spider (Scroll) DR||Spider Scroll||White Ridge Sanctum||Craft with Imbuing Chamber||No|
|Shock Cloaked Spider (Scroll) DR||Spider Scroll||White Ridge Sanctum||Craft with Imbuing Chamber||No|
|Oil Spider (Scroll) DR||Spider Scroll||White Ridge Sanctum||Craft with Imbuing Chamber||No|
|Glowing Spider (Scroll) DR||Spider Scroll||White Ridge Sanctum||Craft with Imbuing Chamber||No|
|Pack Spider (Scroll) DR||Spider Scroll||White Ridge Sanctum||Craft with Imbuing Chamber||No|
† Barbas does not count as a true follower since he is tied to his quest, but unlike other quest forced companions (e.g., Farkas), the Dragonborn's current animal follower will not be dismissed.
These characters are scripted to tag along during a relevant quest, and do not cause your main follower to leave your service but they will not accept commands and their inventory remains inaccessible.
|Name||Relevant quest||Method||Quest type||Can follow you around Skyrim/Solstheim||Essential?|
|Esbern and Delphine||Alduin's Wall||Proceed as per usual in the quest, tell them to follow you when asked and do not enter Sky Haven Temple.||Main quest||Yes||Yes|
|Barbas||A Daedra's Best Friend||Follows you by default when you find him outside Falkreath. He is immensely powerful and can kill most enemies in a few hits, but will always shove you into a corner and bark incessantly if you drag him away from the quest. Also does not have any concept of 'stealth' and can be a potential witness if you commit crimes.||Daedric (Clavicus Vile)||Yes||Yes|
|Eola or Verulus||The Taste of Death||Meet Eola at Reachcliff Cave or persuade Verulus to accompany you.||Daedric (Namira)||Yes||Yes|
|Mercer Frey||Speaking With Silence||Proceed in the quest and leave Snow Veil Sanctum.||Thieves' Guild||Yes||Yes|
|Maurice Jondrelle||The Blessings of Nature||Asks you permission to be a companion after you acquire the Nettlebane and run a second errand for Danica Pure-Spring.||Side quest||Yes||No|
|Thonnir||Laid to Rest||Talk to him and accept his help.||Side Quest||Yes||Yes|
|Enmon and Fjotra||The Heart of Dibella||Offers to accompany you to find his daughter. Fjotra will follow you once you rescue her||Side quest||Yes||Enmon (No)|
|Farkas or Vilkas||Purity||Agree to help either cleanse the beast blood. Vilkas will also tag along during Purity of Revenge.||The Companions||Yes (will replace your main follower but can be recruited later on)||Yes|
|Brynjolf||Trinity Restored||Wait outside Nightingale Hall after Karliah enters.||Thieves' Guild||Yes||Yes|
|Serana||Bloodline DG||Escort her out of Dimhollow Crypt but do not go to her father. She remains scripted to follow you and is extremely powerful in Conjuration but will not accept orders until or unless you complete this quest.||Dawnguard main quest||Yes||Yes|
|Katria||Lost to the Ages DG||Proceed to the summit of Arkngthamz and talk to her before solving the tonal lock. Exit the area using the waterfall to the west and drop down the steep incline. Leave the ruins and she will accompany you for as long as you wish to. Being a spirit, and thus ethereal, she is invincible against anything. However, the option to issue her orders is absent and if you want to change her equipment you will need to pickpocket her during her initial conversation.||Dawnguard side quest||Yes||Yes|
|Anska||A Scroll For Anska||Collect the masks of the Dragon Priest||No (she will follow when you fast travel but will leave after)||No|
|Avulstein Grey-Mane||Missing in Action||Side quest||Yes (Once you exit out of Northwatch Keep immediately fast travel before they appear outside).||Yes|
|Thorald Gray-Mane||Missing in Action||Side quest||Yes||No|
|Geirlund||Missing in Action||Geirlund will meet with Avulstein outside Northwatch Keep only if the Dragonborn has requested Avulstein's help.||Side quest||Yes||Yes|
|Vidrald||Missing in Action||Vilrald meets with the Dragonborn when they are united with Avulstein outside Northwatch Keep. This only happens if the Dragonborn has him as a companion.||Side quest||Yes||Yes|
|Hadvar or Ralof||Unbound||The person who accompanies the Dragonborn is determined by who they side with after the initial encounter with Alduin.||Main quest||No||Yes|
|Karliah||Blindsighted||Talk to her in Irkngthand. Brynjolf will also follow you.||Thieves' Guild||Yes||Yes|
|Sinding||Ill Met by Moonlight||He will briefly accompany the Dragonborn during the quest if he is rescued and the hunters are killed.||Daedric (Hircine)||No||No|
|Valdr||Hunter and Hunted||Heal him then talk to him, this allows you to choose whether or not he can accompany you into the cavern.||Side quest||No||No|
|Orthorn||Hitting the Books||Free him from his cell, and talk to him.||College of Winterhold||No||No|
|Aela the Huntress||Totems of Hircine||Agree to help her find the Totems of Hircine||The Companions||Yes (will replace your main follower but can be recruited later on)||Yes|
|Frea||The Temple of Miraak||Once you enter the Temple of Miraak, Frea will follow you throughout the temple.||Dragonborn main quest||Yes||Yes|
|Tolfdir||The Eye of Magnus||Once you reach the College, Tolfdir will immediately follow you to defeat Ancano.||College of Winterhold||No||Yes|
|Chief Yamarz||The Cursed Tribe||If he survives after you kill the giant, using calm spell will make him follow you. Using command consoles can make him permanently follow you.||Side Quest||Yes (using command consoles)||No|
|Tharstan||Lost LegacyDR||Agree to help him and explore Vahlok's Tomb.||Dragonborn Side Quest||No||Yes|
|Neloth||The Path of KnowledgeDR||He will follow you once you enter Nchardak Aqueduct.||Dragonborn Main Quest||No||Yes|
|Fenrig||The Book of Love||Agree to help him bring to his lover Ruki. Fenrig will appear once you get near Ruki. In order for him to follow you, quickly fast travel once you get to a certain area near Ruki.||Side Quest||Yes||Yes|
|Bilgemuck||The Chief of Thirsk HallDR||Give Bilgemuck meat and lead him back to Thirsk Mead Hall.||Dragonborn Side Quest||Yes (except he will not follow you to Skyrim)||No|
|Bujold the Intrepid||Retaking ThirskDR||She will follow you inside Hrothmund's Barrow.||Dragonborn Side Quest||No||Yes|
|Gleda the Goat||A Night to Remember||Will follow you back to Ennis after taking it away from the giant Grok.||Daedric (Sanguine)||Yes||Yes|
|Nazir and Babette||Death Incarnate||Both of them will follow you to find Astrid.||Dark Brotherhood||No||Yes|
|Malborn||Diplomatic Immunity||If he survives, Malborn will follow you until you escape the Thalmor Embassy.||Main Quest||No||No|
|Golldir||Ancestral Worship||Agree to help him defeat Vals Veran.||Side Quest||No||No|
|Galmar Stone-Fist||Battle for Whiterun||Once you enter Whiterun, Galmar and Ralof will follow you to Dragonsreach.||Civil War||No||Yes|
|Derkeethus||Extracting an Argonian||Escort him out of Darkwater Pass.||Side Quest||No||Yes (Bugged)|
|Stormcloak Soldier||Rescue from Fort Neugrad||Once you rescue them, they will follow you. Ralof will also follow you once you meet him at the courtyard and kill the rest of the Imperial Soldiers. However, once you meet Ralof, the rescued Stormcloak Soldiers will not follow you anymore.||Civil War||Yes (do not go to the courtyard)||No|
|Stormcloak Soldier||Rescue from Fort Neugrad||Civil War||Yes||No|
|Stormcloak Soldier||Rescue from Fort Neugrad||Civil War||Yes||No|
|Stormcloak Soldier||Rescue from Fort Neugrad||Civil War||Yes||No|
|Imperial Soldier||Rescue from Fort Kastav||Once you rescue them, they will follow you. Hadvar will also follow you once you meet him at the courtyard and kill the rest of the Stormcloak Soldiers. However, once you meet Hadvar, the rescued Imperial Soldiers will not follow you anymore.||Civil War||Yes (do not go to the courtyard)||No|
|Imperial Soldier||Rescue from Fort Kastav||Civil War||Yes||No|
|Imperial Soldier||Rescue from Fort Kastav||Civil War||Yes||No|
|Imperial Soldier||Rescue from Fort Kastav||Civil War||Yes||No|
|Stormcloak Soldier||Sovngarde||Agree to help and bring him to the Hall of Valor||Main Quest||No||No|
|Veezara||Bound Until Death||Before he tells you to escape and fight the guards, he will briefly follow you.||Dark Brotherhood||No||Yes|
Some potential followers are also Trainers who can train the Dragonborn in particular combat skills, allowing them to increase the skill level for those skills. The training is not free, but once these trainers become the Dragonborn's followers, they may receive training without any permanent cost; If the Dragonborn asks a follower to train him or her in a particular skill, after receiving the training, they may access the trainer's inventory and recover the spent gold. The following followers are also trainers: (Note: all but Faendal and Talvas Fathryon are Companions, who require the Dragonborn to complete the Companions quest line before they become recruitable as followers.)
- Aela the Huntress, Archery expert trainer (trains to level 75)
- Athis, One-Handed expert trainer (trains to level 75)
- Faendal, Archery adept trainer (trains to level 50)
- Farkas, Heavy Armor master trainer (trains to level 90)
- Njada Stonearm, Block expert trainer (trains to level 75)
- Vilkas, Two-Handed master trainer (trains to level 90)
- Talvas Fathryon, Conjuration master trainer (trains to level 90)
- Almost every humanoid follower, with the exception of Cicero, Serana and the Dark Brotherhood Initiates can be recruited into the Blades and will be given a free set of Blades Armor and a Blades Sword. Up to three followers can be recruited by speaking to Delphine at Sky Haven Temple. After followers have been initiated as Blades, they will no longer return to their home or starting location, instead taking up residence at Sky Haven Temple (with the exception of Derkeethus, as he is bugged to stay at his home). The free set of Blades Armor will replace the follower's current armor, even armor given to the follower. This makes it impossible to get the items back. Higher level weapons, however, will still be chosen by the follower over their new Blades weapon.
- Followers, dead thralls, and animal followers cannot follow the Dragonborn into a Dark Brotherhood sanctuary, with the exception of Cicero or a Dark Brotherhood initiate as a follower. This also includes particular quests where the follower will not enter the location the Dragonborn entered, such as Snow Veil Sanctum or Nightcaller Temple.
- There are only two Bosmer, Khajiit and Redguard followers, one Argonian follower, and no Altmer followers.
This section contains bugs related to Follower (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
|Click to show a list of bugs|
- Follower Google Doc — For a full list of followers, their stats, advantages, and perks. This only includes humanoid followers from the base game. Followers found in Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn add-ons are not covered.
- Follower Google Doc #2 — For a more up to date full list of followers their stats, advantages, and perks in game. The Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn add-ons are covered. However please note a few stats of the Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC followers are missing. This is the most near complete list of all humanoid followers in the game. Feel free to edit and update this guide to make it as accurate as possible.