Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Lydia, a housecarl, is one of the more well-known followers in Skyrim.

For other uses, see Followers.

Followers are various characters found throughout Skyrim. They can travel with, battle for, perform tasks for, and carry items for the Dragonborn.

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.

Followers specialize in a variety of skills ranging from combat, magic, Sneak, Smithing, Speech, Alchemy, and Enchanting. However, skills outside of combat, magic, and sneaking cannot be directly benefited from. Seven specific 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 Dragonborn's current level 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. As a result of patch 1.9, followers who would level with Dragonborn to level 81 will no longer experience a level cap, and will continue to level with the Dragonborn. These followers are Dark Brotherhood Initiates, J'zargo, Celann, Ingjard, Durak, and Frea.

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 (disable then 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" 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, or even followers with no level cap, such as J'zargo. 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.


Morale widely varies from follower to follower. Some (such as the Housecarls, Companions, magicians, Dark Brotherhood assassins, hired mercenaries, and Dawnguard members) will invariably fight to the death, while others (such as Roggi Knot-Beard, Sven, untrained combatants and other civilians) will often flee from combat if seriously injured.

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. They will also dual-wield magic staves, regardless of whatever else is in their inventory. Frea and Rayya are exceptions to this, for the former 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. The latter will dual wield scimitars by default.

If the Dragonborn enters sneak mode, humanoid followers will follow suit. While in sneak mode, they will not attack unless attacked first. However, animal followers (such as Barbas, Meeko, or Vigilance) 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.

A handful of followers are essential: Dark Brotherhood Initiates, Cicero (if spared during "The Cure for Madness"), Erandur (if spared during "Waking Nightmare"), Barbas (unless hit with The Rueful Axe), Ahtar, Derkeethus, Mjoll, Farkas, Vilkas, Aela, Frea, and Serana. They cannot be killed by any means except poison — 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. Note that Farkas, Vilkas, and Aela are essential only until after completing the Companions questline. Due to these characters' invulnerability, they are the best options for recruiting new Blade members, since Blades who are slain cannot be replaced by new recruits.

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 resurrect.


Giving Follower Commands to Lydia

A player giving commands to a follower called Lydia

Permanent followers can be given several commands. Initiate conversation (outside of combat), and tell them "I need you to do something." 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. They can:

  • 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. Followers do not require lockpicks to pick locks. If there is a torch in their inventory, followers will illuminate dark areas with it. As a vampire, ordering a follower to sleep will allow the Dragonborn to feed off them. 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.

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.


Morality varies from character to character, much like their morale. Certain followers, such as the Companions, 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 the mercenaries, 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, with Cicero and Serana being 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. While hidden, most crimes a follower is commanded to commit will generally be disregarded. However, it is possible for the guards in a town to attack the follower while leaving the Dragonborn alone, and interfering with the battle will be seen as a crime.

There are four possible values for morality.

  • 0 – Will commit any requested crime.
  • 1 – Will commit crimes against a hostile character and also commits property crimes, but will not attack innocent characters.
  • 2 – Will only commit property crimes such as theft.
  • 3 – Will refuse to commit crimes. However, they will not report crimes you commit even if they are witnesses, unless you steal items they own.



Mjoll, wearing a steel plate helmet and boots, with ebony armor and gauntlets, and wielding Grimsever with a Dwarven Shield.

"I am sworn to carry your burdens."

Followers always equip the best possible weapons (highest damage value) or apparel (highest armor value) given to them. 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 has more skill 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. However, a Dark Brotherhood Initiate strongly opposes 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 sword, despite his true skills lying in Two-Handed and Light Armor.

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.

If the Dragonborn dismisses their follower, 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 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.

Enchantments on weapons work normally, but followers will only benefit from the following enchantment effects on their apparel and armor:


Misc followers

These followers are typically attached to a miscellaneous or non-specific quest, which must be completed in order to gain them as a follower; some have no quest attached to them, and gaining them as a follower is a trivial affair, such as beating them in a brawl.

Name Sex Race Marriage Steward Morality Max level Main skills Class Location Prerequisite
Adelaisa Vendicci F Imperial No Yes 3 25 Alchemy, Enchanting, Smithing, Archery, Light Armor, One-handed, Sneak, Speech Citizen East Empire Company "Rise in the East"
Ahtar M Redguard No No 3 30 Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-2H Castle Dour "Kill the Bandit Leader"
Annekke Crag-Jumper F Nord No Yes 3 30 Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed Ranger Darkwater Crossing "Kill the Bandit Leader"
Aranea Ienith F Dunmer No No 0 30 Destruction, Restoration, Alteration, Conjuration Mage Shrine of Azura Side with her in "The Black Star"
Benor M Nord Yes No 0 30 Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-2H Morthal Beat him in a brawl
Borgakh the Steel Heart F Orsimer Yes No 3 30 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Sneak Warrior-1H Mor Khazgur Pay her dowry or persuade her
Cosnach M Breton Yes No 3 30 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H Silver-Blood Inn, Markarth Beat him in a brawl or give him a drink
Derkeethus M Argonian Yes No 3 30 Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed Ranger Darkwater Pass Free him from captivity
Eola F Breton No Yes 0 30 Destruction, Sneak, Alteration, One-handed Nightblade Hall of the Dead, Markarth Help her in "The Taste of Death"
Erandur M Dunmer No No 3 50 Restoration, Speech, Alchemy, Conjuration, Smithing Priest Windpeak Inn, Dawnstar Spare him in "Waking Nightmare"
Faendal M Bosmer No Yes 3 30 Archery, Light Armor, Sneak, One-handed, Speech Thief Riverwood Help him in "A Lovely Letter"
Frea DR F Nord No No 3 None One-handed, Alteration, Light Armor, Restoration Warrior-1H Skaal Village "The Fate of the Skaal"
Ghorbash the Iron Hand M Orsimer Yes Yes 3 30 Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed Ranger Dushnikh Yal Convince him to travel with you
Golldir M Nord No Yes 3 30 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H Hillgrund's Tomb Help him in "Ancestral Worship"
Illia F Imperial No Yes 3 40 Destruction, Restoration, Alteration, Conjuration Mage Darklight Tower Help her in "Repentance"
Kharjo M Khajiit No No 3 30 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior Ahkari's Khajiit Caravan Retrieve his Moon Amulet
Lob M Orsimer No Yes 3 30 [?] Warrior-1H Largashbur "The Cursed Tribe"
Mjoll the Lioness F Nord Yes No 0 40 Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-2H Riften "Retrieve Grimsever"
Ogol M Orsimer No Yes 3 30 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Sneak Warrior-1H Largashbur "The Cursed Tribe"
Ralis Sedarys DR M Dunmer No No 3 60 One-handed, Light Armor, Block, Sneak Rogue(1H) Kolbjorn Barrow Spare him in "Unearthed"
Roggi Knot-Beard M Nord Yes Yes 3 20 Alchemy, Enchanting, Smithing, Archery, One-handed, Two-handed Miner Kynesgrove "Find Roggi Knot-Beard's Ancestral Shield"
Serana DG F Nord No No 3 50 Sneak, Conjuration, Light Armor, One-handed Vampire Fort Dawnguard
Castle Volkihar
"Kindred Judgment"
Sven M Nord No Yes 2 20 Alchemy, Enchanting, Smithing, Archery, One-handed, Two-handed Bard Riverwood Help him in "A Lovely Letter"
Talvas Fathryon DR M Dunmer No Yes 3 25 Conjuration, Restoration, Destruction, Alteration, Sneak Conjurer Tel Mithryn "From the Ashes"
Uthgerd the Unbroken F Nord Yes Yes 3 30 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H The Bannered Mare, Whiterun Beat her in a brawl
Ugor F Orsimer No No 3 30 Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed Ranger Largashbur "The Cursed Tribe"


Mercenaries cost 500 Gold to hire for any length of time, and will all fight to the death. Dismissing a merc will send them back to the tavern they were found, unless they married Dragonborn, became a steward, or joined the Blades; hiring them will also be free in these cases. After being dismissed, they will charge Dragonborn another 500 Gold if hired again, although they may be free of charge if they're particularly fond of you, or if you only dismissed them a short time ago.

Name Sex Race Marriage Steward Morality Max level Main skills Class Location Prerequisite
Belrand M Nord Yes Yes 0 40 Destruction, Light Armor, One-handed, Restoration Spellsword The Winking Skeever, Solitude 500 Gold
Erik the Slayer M Nord No Yes 0 40 Light Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block Barbarian Rorikstead 500 Gold
Jenassa F Dunmer Yes No 0 40 Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed Ranger The Drunken Huntsman, Whiterun 500 Gold
Marcurio M Imperial Yes Yes 0 40 Destruction, Restoration, Alteration, Sneak Mage Bee and Barb, Riften 500 Gold
Stenvar M Nord Yes No 0 40 Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-2H Candlehearth Hall, Windhelm 500 Gold
Teldryn Sero DR M Dunmer No No 0 60 One-handed, Light Armor, Destruction, Conjuration Spellsword The Retching Netch, Raven Rock 500 Gold
Vorstag M Nord Yes No 0 40 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H Silver-Blood Inn, Markarth 500 Gold


Housecarls are essentially the bodyguards of noble and important figures. Becoming Thane of a hold will grant a personal housecarl. In the base game, almost all available housecarls are Nord warriors, though Hearthfire adds three additional housecarls. All housecarls are one-handed warriors, with the exception of the sorcerer Valdimar. Housecarls will invariably fight to the death, and can be told to attack anybody or anything. However, they possess a set of morals. 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, even though this act does not actually charge the player with a true crime.

Name Sex Race Marriage Steward Morality Max level Main skills Class Location Quest
Argis the Bulwark M Nord Yes No 0 50 Heavy Armor, One-Handed, Archery, Block Warrior Vlindrel Hall, Markarth "Thane of the Reach"
Calder M Nord Yes Yes 0 50 Heavy Armor, One-Handed, Archery, Block Warrior Hjerim, Windhelm "Thane of Eastmarch"
Gregor HF M Nord Yes Yes 0 50 Heavy Armor, One-Handed, Archery, Block Warrior The White Hall, Dawnstar "Thane of the Pale"
Iona F Nord Yes Yes 0 50 Heavy Armor, One-Handed, Archery, Block Warrior Honeyside, Riften "I Done Got Thaned!"
Jordis the Sword-Maiden F Nord Yes Yes 0 50 Heavy Armor, One-Handed, Archery, Block Warrior Proudspire Manor, Solitude "Thane of Haafingar"
Lydia F Nord Yes Yes 0 50 Heavy Armor, One-Handed, Archery, Block Warrior Breezehome, Whiterun "Thane of Whiterun"
Rayya HF F Redguard Yes Yes 0 50 Heavy Armor, One-Handed, Archery, Block Warrior Jarl's Longhouse, Falkreath "Thane of Falkreath"
Valdimar HF M Nord Yes Yes 0 50 Heavy Armor, One-Handed, Alteration, Destruction, Restoration Sorcerer Highmoon Hall, Morthal "Thane of Hjaalmarch"

The Companions

The Circle members all cap at level 50, while the others cap at level 25.

Name Sex Race Marriage Steward Morality Max level Main skills Class Location Quest
Aela the Huntress F Nord Yes Yes 3 50 Archery, Light Armor, Sneak, One-handed, Speech Ranger Jorrvaskr "Glory of the Dead"
Athis M Dunmer Yes No 3 25 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H Jorrvaskr "Glory of the Dead"
Farkas M Nord Yes No 3 50 Smithing, Speech, One-handed, Pickpocket Blacksmith Jorrvaskr "Glory of the Dead"
Njada Stonearm F Nord Yes Yes 3 25 Block, One-handed, Speech, Pickpocket Warrior Jorrvaskr "Glory of the Dead"
Ria F Imperial Yes Yes 3 25 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H Jorrvaskr "Glory of the Dead"
Torvar M Nord Yes No 3 25 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H Jorrvaskr "Glory of the Dead"
Vilkas M Nord Yes Yes 3 50 Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-2H Jorrvaskr "Glory of the Dead"

Winterhold College

Name Sex Race Marriage Steward Morality Max level Main skills Class Location Quest
Brelyna Maryon F Dunmer Yes Yes 0 30 Alteration, Illusion, Conjuration, Sneak Mystic Hall of Attainment "Brelyna's Practice"
J'zargo M Khajiit No No 0 None Destruction, Illusion, Heavy Armor, One-handed Sorcerer Hall of Attainment "J'zargo's Experiment"
Onmund M Nord Yes Yes 0 30 Destruction, Illusion, Heavy Armor, One-handed Sorcerer Hall of Attainment "Onmund's Request"

Dark Brotherhood

Name Sex Race Marriage Steward Morality Max level Main skills Class Location Quest
Cicero M Imperial No No 0 50 One-handed, Sneak, Archery, Light Armor Assassin Dawnstar Sanctuary "Hail Sithis!"
Initiates 1 M, 1 F Nord No No 0 100 One-handed, Sneak, Archery, Light Armor Assassin Dawnstar Sanctuary "Hail Sithis!"


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.

Name Sex Race Marriage Steward Morality Max level Main skills Class Location Quest
Ingjard DG F Nord No Yes 3 None Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-2H Fort Dawnguard "A New Order"
Durak DG M Orsimer No Yes 3 None Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed Ranger Fort Dawnguard "A New Order"
Agmaer DG M Nord No Yes 0 25 One-handed, Two-handed, Block, Light Armor Bandit Fort Dawnguard "A New Order"
Beleval DG F Bosmer No Yes 0 25 One-handed, Two-handed, Block, Light Armor Bandit Fort Dawnguard "A New Order"
Celann DG M Breton No Yes 3 None Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H Fort Dawnguard "A New Order"


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.

Name Race Morality Location Preresquisite
Armored Troll DG Troll 3 Fort Dawnguard "A New Order" & 500 Gold
Barbas Dog (Daedra in disguise) 3 Outside Falkreath Begin "Speak to Lod"
Bran DG Armored War Dog 3 Fort Dawnguard "A New Order"
CuSith DG Death Hound 3 Castle Volkihar "The Bloodstone Chalice"
Demented Elytra Nymph  Creation Club   Elytra Nymph 3 North of Yorgrim Resurrection
Garmr DG Death Hound 3 Castle Volkihar "The Bloodstone Chalice"
Manic Elytra Nymph  Creation Club   Elytra Nymph 3 Next to North Brittleshin Pass
Meeko Dog 3 Wandering near Meeko's Shack Find Meeko's Shack
Riekling DR Riekling 3 Thirsk Mead Hall "The Chief of Thirsk Hall"
Sceolang DG Armored War Dog 3 Fort Dawnguard "A New Order"
Steadfast Dwarven Sphere DR Dwarven Sphere 3 Kagrumez "The Kagrumez Gauntlet"
Steadfast Dwarven Spider DR Dwarven Spider 3 Kagrumez "The Kagrumez Gauntlet"
Stray Dog Dog 3 Random location/With hunters Random Encounters
Vigilance Dog 3 Markarth Stables 500 Gold

† 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.

Temporary followers

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. All their morality is set to 3. Farkas, Vilkas, and Serana are the only "quest followers" that also eventually become followers permanently. Barbas is also the only non-humanoid follower in this section.

Name Relevant quest Method Can follow you around Skyrim/Solstheim Essential Usable in other quest?
Esbern & Delphine "Alduin's Wall" (Main quest) Proceed as per usual in the quest, tell them to follow you when asked and do not enter Sky Haven Temple. Yes Yes Yes
Barbas "A Daedra's Best Friend" (Daedric - Clavicus Vile) 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. Yes Yes Yes
Eola or Verulus "The Taste of Death" (Daedric - Namira) Meet Eola at Reachcliff Cave or persuade Verulus to accompany you. Eola will only follow you in the cave. Yes Yes Verulus only
Mercer Frey "Speaking With Silence" (Thieves Guild) Proceed in the quest and leave Snow Veil Sanctum. Yes Yes Yes
Maurice Jondrelle "The Blessings of Nature" (Side quest) Asks your permission to be a follower after you acquire the Nettlebane and run a second errand for Danica Pure-Spring. Yes No Yes
Thonnir "Laid to Rest" (Side quest) Talk to him and accept his help.

You will also have Lurbuk, Jorgen, Benor, and Lami when clearing the vampire lair.

Yes Yes Yes
Enmon "The Heart of Dibella" (Side quest) Offers to accompany you to find his daughter. Yes No Yes
Fjotra "The Heart of Dibella" (Side quest) Rescue her from the Forsworn Yes No Yes
Farkas or Vilkas "Purity" & "Dragon Seekers" (Companions) Agree to help either cleanse the beast blood. Vilkas will also tag along during "Purity of Revenge." Yes (will replace your main follower but can be recruited later on) Yes Yes
Brynjolf "Trinity Restored" (Thieves Guild) Wait outside Nightingale Hall after Karliah enters. Yes Yes Yes
Serana "Bloodline" DG (Main quest) 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. Yes Yes Yes
Katria "Lost to the Ages" DG (Side quest) 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. Yes Yes Yes
Anska "A Scroll For Anska" (Side quest) No (she will follow when you fast travel, but will leave after) No No
Avulstein Gray-Mane "Missing in Action" (Side quest) Yes (once you exit Northwatch Keep, immediately fast travel before they appear outside). Yes Yes
Thorald Gray-Mane "Missing in Action" (Side quest) Yes No Yes
Geirlund & Vidrald "Missing in Action" (Side quest) Geirlund will meet with Avulstein outside Northwatch Keep only if the Dragonborn has requested Avulstein's help. 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. Yes Yes Yes
Hadvar or Ralof "Unbound" (Main quest) The person who accompanies the Dragonborn is determined by who they side with after the initial encounter with Alduin. No Yes No
Karliah "Blindsighted" (Thieves Guild) Talk to her in Irkngthand. Brynjolf will also follow you. Yes Yes Yes
Sinding "Ill Met by Moonlight" (Daedric - Hircine) He will briefly accompany the Dragonborn during the quest if he is rescued and the hunters are killed. No No No
Valdr "Hunter and Hunted" (Side quest) Heal him then talk to him, this allows you to choose whether or not he can accompany you into the cavern. No No No
Orthorn "Hitting the Books" (College) Free him from his cell, and talk to him. No No No
Aela the Huntress "Totems of Hircine" (Companions) Agree to help her find the Totems of Hircine Yes (will replace your main follower but can be recruited later on) Yes Yes
Frea "The Temple of Miraak" DR (Main quest) Once you enter the Temple of Miraak, Frea will follow you throughout the temple. Yes Yes Yes
Tolfdir "The Eye of Magnus" (College) Once you reach the College, Tolfdir will immediately follow you to defeat Ancano. No Yes No
Chief Yamarz "The Cursed Tribe" (Side quest) If he survives after you kill the giant, using a calm spell will make him follow you. Using console commands can make him permanently follow you. Yes (using console commands) No Yes
Tharstan "Lost Legacy" DR (Side quest) Agree to help him and explore Vahlok's Tomb. No Yes No
Neloth "The Path of Knowledge" DR (Main quest) He will follow you once you enter Nchardak Aqueduct. No Yes No
Fenrig "The Book of Love" (Side quest) 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. Yes Yes Yes
Bilgemuck "The Chief of Thirsk Hall" DR (Side quest) Give Bilgemuck meat and lead him back to Thirsk Mead Hall. Solstheim only No No
Bujold the Intrepid "Retaking Thirsk" DR (Side quest) She will follow you inside Hrothmund's Barrow. No Yes No
Gleda the Goat "A Night to Remember" (Daedric - Sanguine) Will follow you back to Ennis after taking it away from the giant Grok. Yes Yes Yes
Nazir & Babette "Death Incarnate" (Brotherhood) Both of them will follow you to find Astrid. No Yes No
Malborn "Diplomatic Immunity" (Main quest) If he survives, Malborn will follow you until you escape the Thalmor Embassy. No No No
Golldir "Ancestral Worship" (Side quest) Agree to help him defeat Vals Veran. No No No
Galmar Stone-Fist "Battle for Whiterun" (Civil War) Once you enter Whiterun, Galmar and Ralof will follow you to Dragonsreach. No Yes No
Derkeethus "Extracting an Argonian" (Side quest) Escort him out of Darkwater Pass. No Yes (bugged) No
Stormcloak Soldier "Rescue from Fort Neugrad" (Civil War) 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. Yes (do not go to courtyard) No Yes
Stormcloak Soldier (x3) "Rescue from Fort Neugrad" (Civil War) Yes No Yes
Imperial Soldier "Rescue from Fort Kastav" (Civil War) 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. Yes (do not go to courtyard) No Yes
Imperial Soldier (x3) "Rescue from Fort Kastav" (Civil War) Yes No Yes
Stormcloak Soldier "Sovngarde" (Main quest) Agree to help and bring him to the Hall of Valor No No No
Veezara "Bound Until Death" (Brotherhood) Before he tells you to escape and fight the guards, he will briefly follow you. No Yes No
Any 3 Blade Recruits "Dragon Hunting" (Blades) They will follow you to the location where the dragon is. No Depending on the essential status No
Any rescued NPC "Rescue Mission" (Companions) The rescued person will immediately follow the Dragonborn as soon as they are rescued. They will follow the Dragonborn until they are brought to their destination. Yes Depending on the essential status Yes
Disguised Dawnguard Member "The Hunt" (Volkihar Clan) Persuade the target to follow you. No No No
Disguised Masquerading Vampire "Hide and Seek" (Dawnguard) Persude the target to follow you. No No No


  • Out of all the followers, there are no Altmer, only one Argonian, two Bosmer, two Redguards, two male Khajiit, three Bretons, five Imperials, six Orcs, eight Dunmer, and 29 Nords, making exactly half the followers non-Nords.
  • Barbas, J'zargo, Celann, Durak, Ingjard, and Frea have no level capacity, effectively making them the most powerful followers in the game.
  • All followers can join the Blades, with the exception of non-humanoid followers, quest-exclusive followers, Dark Brotherhood Initiates, Cicero, and Serana.
  • Once a follower is recruited into the Blades, they will be given a free set of Blades Armor and a Blades Sword. A maximum of 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 the Falkreath Sanctuary or Dawnstar 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.
  • Followers are supposed to be limited to one at a time; however, there are several ways to avoid this limit and have Multiple Followers. Quest followers, Initiates, Cicero, Serana, and summoning more than one zombie, Atronach, Dremora or the Spectral Assassin. The latter is only possible with Conjuration at max level. Eight spiders summoned with Spider Scrolls from the Dragonborn DLC can also follow you. Theoretically, if all DLCs are installed, players can at least reach 40-50 followers at one time,confirmation needed though this can be undesirable in cramped spaces.
  • Some potential followers are also Trainers, who can train 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 Dragonborn's followers, they may receive training without any permanent cost; if Dragonborn asks a follower to train him/her in a particular skill, then after receiving the training, they may access the trainer's inventory and recover the spent gold. All but Faendal and Talvas are Companions, who require Dragonborn to complete the Companions questline before they become recruitable as followers.
    • Faendal, adept Archery trainer (trains to level 50)
    • Aela, expert Archery trainer (trains to level 75)
    • Njada, expert Block trainer (trains to level 75)
    • Athis, expert One-Handed trainer (trains to level 75)
    • Farkas, master Heavy Armor trainer (trains to level 90)
    • Vilkas, master Two-Handed trainer (trains to level 90)
    • Talvas, master Conjuration trainer (trains to level 90)


This section contains bugs related to Followers (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 a list of bugs
  • Occasionally, a mage follower will equip armor or clothes that is equal to their current robes (or one that has a better enchantment). This will occasionally happen if the Dragonborn waits, fast-travels, enters a building, or sleeps. However, the easiest way to make the mage follower equip other robes or clothing is by entering Apocrypha. When the Dragonborn leaves Apocrypha, the mage follower should be wearing the desirable armor they were given.
  •  PS3   Some items that are given to a follower and then taken back are classed as stolen.
  • Sometimes Hired Thugs, Bounty Collector, Taron Dreth and his Mercenaries will follow the player if they have high conjuration.
  • Some followers are glitched in such a way that they will not use any bow other than their default bow, regardless of the quality of any bow the Dragonborn might provide them with. Some will only use a bow made using heavy armor materials, i.e. Dwarven, ebony, Daedric. Others will only use a bow made out of light armor materials, i.e. glass or Elven. Armor type seems to dictate bow type.
  • Followers can be commanded to pick up items off the ground or from an unlocked container that would otherwise exceed their carry capacity and continue to move normally. In this way, followers can carry an infinite amount of loot.
    • The infinite follower carrying exploit can glitch, and some followers after picking up an item will not equip a weapon when the Dragonborn does. This may occasionally fix itself. If not, one must sift through the followers inventory and discard any unnecessary items.
  • When a suitably equipped follower is soul-trapping, all the empty soul gems of the same size may be filled from a single kill. This does not happen every time.
  • Followers can get stuck on terrain. In some cases, it is possible to free them by using any knockback effect.
    • It may be impossible to get to where the follower is stuck. In this case, the console command TCL can be used to turn off collision and position the Dragonborn. Pressing the tilde (~) key will open the console, typing, TCL, pressing the tilde key again will close the console. Reversing the process will turn collision back on.
  •  PC   360   In some areas, when the Dragonborn goes through a door, his follower will spawn from a different door in the same area. Meaning, if there is more than one door to enter somewhere, the follower may enter from a different door than the Dragonborn. This can cause serious problems, especially due to the fact they can get into a fight.
  •  PS3   If most followers are given Blades armor before Delphine makes the follower (if applicable) a member of the Blades, they will not receive any of the free Blades armor that usually replace their natural armors.
  •  PC   360   PS3   At some random point, potential followers will say the Dragonborn already has someone with them, even though they do not, making it impossible to hire any new followers.
    • This can be fixed by talking to Delphine and making the invisible follower a Blade Member (Only works if three followers are not Blades members already), even after making the follower a Blade, they are not going to be found in the Sky Haven Temple.
    • Be sure to complete the quest "Proving Honor" if it has been started. Farkas is designated your follower for the latter part of the quest, and it is impossible to hire any other followers until completed.
    •  PC (Fix)   Alternatively, the Dragonborn can bring up the console and type set PlayerFollowerCount to 0.
  • Dismissing and rehiring Followers can result in their default starting equipment being added again every time they are rehired. Much of this equipment may not be displayed in their inventory. As a result, followers' carry capacity will diminish every time they are rehired since this default equipment has weight. The speed at which followers will ultimately reach an effective zero carry capacity is affected by the weight of their starting equipment and the number of times they have been rehired.
    • There seems to be a couple of ways to mitigate this bug if one does not have access to the in-game console commands (i.e. PS3, 360). If the followers are dismissed, it is possible to pickpocket them and thus remove all the duplicate forms of equipment that have spawned in their inventory as a result of a bug. In some cases, however, even this will not display the cloned items. Therefore, it may be necessary to dismiss a follower then subsequently paralyze them with any method at one's disposal. Once this has been done they must be pickpocketed while the Dragonborn is hidden, which should have the desired effect of displaying the aforementioned items. Furthermore, it is possible to effectively remove anything they have equipped if the Dragonborn has the "misdirection" and "perfect touch" perks in pickpocketing.
  • If a bounty is placed on the Dragonborn's head in every region of Skyrim, followers will keep coming up and talking to him over and over and over as if they were guards pulling him over. During this time, if they are asked to follow just before killing them, the Dragonborn will never be able to have another follower as the game thinks the dead follower is still following the Dragonborn. There are no known fixes.
  •  360   If the "activate" key has been remapped to a button other than "A," followers will not listen to the Dragonborn's commands. To fix this, change the "activate" key back to default.
  • Sometimes, items given to the follower cannot be removed, displaying the message You cannot take your follower's starting armor." The only known ways to recover the item(s) are to dismiss the follower then pickpocket them or kill the follower and loot their body.
  • Most followers have unlimited arrows. If the Dragonborn gives them a stack of arrows, they will use all of them but the last. The last arrow always seems to be in their inventory. It does not work on all followers, however. Housecarls seem to have an infinite supply, but other followers, like the Dark Brotherhood Initiate, need to be re-supplied.
  •  PS3   In Hearthfire, if an animal follower (like Vigilance) is made into a house pet, Dragonborn's family and others within their home may only respond to the pet as "stupid dog" and very frequently. Sometimes, this becomes one of the only interactions of dialogue heard throughout Dragonborn's time in their home. Normally after each time the dog barks, which is quite often.
  • At an extremely rare occurrence, Dragonborn cannot make anyone their follower. The text dialogue will pop up, but the option to ask them to be a follower will not be there.
    •  PC (Fix)   killing them and then resurrecting them using the console command: resurrect. After resurrection, followers will start walking away. At this point, it should be possible to acquire them as a follower. Furthermore, they will appear to have lost all items they were previously given, but simply after fast travelling, their items should be restored.
  • At a very rare occurrence, if one uses a command on a follower, they will not do what they are commanded to and instead say "Anything else?" This will make it impossible to acquire certain objects due to lack of cooperation with the command phase.
  • Followers may rarely have their movement animation stuck in the run "position," where they will move very slowly while their legs move very quickly.
    • Fix: Drawing the Dragonborn's weapon will make their follower do the same, correcting their movement animation.

External links

  • 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.