Elder Scrolls
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Vampire Difference (Skyrim)

An Altmer woman before transformation (right) and after becoming a full-fledged vampire (left). The infected woman has darker eyes and a sickly pallor.

For other uses, see Vampirism.

Vampirism is a syndrome that is acquired after the disease Sanguinare Vampiris has infected the body longer than three in-game days. Harmed by sunlight, stigmatized by mortals, and infamous for their unquenchable thirst for blood, vampires go to extreme lengths to hide their ailment or even their entire presence from mortals. In Skyrim, Vampires acquire special magical spells as their level of infection increases. To offset this advantage, vulnerabilities to fire and sunlight are also conferred. Vampirism can be contracted and cured an unlimited number of times. If the infection has rooted before three days have passed, a Potion of Cure Disease can be ingested to cure Sanguinare Vampiris, which, as previously mentioned, is the disease that eventually leads to Vampirism. Alternatively, praying at a shrine cures it. Otherwise, the only method for removing the disease is to speak to Falion, the thaumaturge of Morthal. He requires a filled Black Soul Gem to cure vampirism.

Vampire Eyes Skyrim

Female vampire eyes, Dawnguard.

Vampire Eyes Dawnguard

Male vampire eyes, Dawnguard.

Vampirism comes in four stages of severity. The severity of the infection increases the longer the vampire goes without drinking blood. Sleeping humans can be fed on to keep the curse at bay. Spectators of a feeding become hostile and report the crime to Hold Guards. Feeding accrues a bounty of 40 Gold in the corresponding Hold. The crime cannot be paid off with Gold or jail time. Upon reaching stage four of vampirism, mortals can detect the vampire more easily, attacking or fleeing almost upon sight.

The Dawnguard add-on adds a Vampire Lord ability with eleven perks to unlock through leveling up. The Dragonborn opens up the skill tree by siding with Lord Harkon and the Volkihar Clan to help actuate the Tyranny of the Sun prophecy foretold in the Elder Scrolls. Unlocking all eleven perks garners players an achievement. In addition, characters no longer turn hostile when the Dragonborn is at stage four vampirism, but they will if they are in Vampire Lord form.

Contracting Vampirism

Sanguinare Vampiris

TESV Laelette the Vampire

Laelette the Vampire casting the Vampiric Drain spell, responsible for causing the Sanguinare Vampiris infection.

Sanguinare Vampiris is the disease that eventually culminates in vampirism and is typically contracted when attacked by a vampire, either with physical attacks or being subject to their Vampiric Drain spell. If one is attacked by Vampiric Drain, there is a 10% chance of infection.

If the disease has not been cured (via a Cure Disease potion or praying at a shrine) within three days, the infection mutates into full vampirism, causing a series of maladaptive and beneficial traits to emerge in the subject. Drinking blood can stay the infection and lessen the deficits of the disease.

In Dawnguard, drinking from the bloodspring in Redwater Den also allows the disease to be contracted.

Harkon and Serana

Vampirism can be directly contracted without contracting Sanguinare Vampiris by getting bitten by Harkon or Serana, which at the same time gives the Dragonborn the ability to become a Vampire Lord (see below).

Using console commands

In PC versions of Skyrim, the console can be used to contract Vampirism without being bitten or waiting for the stages of the infection to progress. It can be done with the player.setrace command; for example, to change into a Bosmer vampire, player.setrace woodelfracevampire must be entered. If a race other than the one that was selected at character creation is chosen, the rendered Dragonborn will become bald. However, this method can lead to acquiring "broken" vampirism with most abilities and active effects missing. This can be fixed by feeding.

An alternative method of doing so is to type in the command player.addspell 000B8780. This will infect the player with the vanilla version of Sanguinare Vampiris. If one wants to be infected with the same disease, but wants the Dawnguard version, they should instead type in the command, player.addspell xx0037E9. Obviously, this will only work if the Dawnguard add-on has been installed.

Immunity to vampirism

While infected with Lycanthropy as a result of getting involved in the Companions questline, or when otherwise engaged in Beast Form as a result of a bug related to Hircine's Ring, player characters effectively become fully immune to vampirism, as they cannot contract the pre-requisite Sanguinare Vampiris disease. Argonians and Bosmer are naturally resistant to disease, being 50% less likely than other races to contract vampirism, while the rest may additionally equip enchantments or drink resist disease potions to avoid infection. Hevnoraak's mask will grant resistance against diseases and infections.

Note that, regardless of any other preventative measures taken, opting to become a Vampire Lord will inflict the status instantly, removing Lycanthropy if already present. It's also possible to become a vampire while retaining Lycanthropy via console commands.

Physical appearance


A Nordic vampire

Vampire Khajiit

A Khajiit vampire. The teeth of Khajiit vampires develop saber-like fangs and their eyes become more catlike.

"Vampirism tends to keep one remarkably... fresh."

Vampires are easily distinguishable from a non-infected individual. As a result of the hemophiliac virus, the infected slowly grow paler. Fangs protrude from their gums, allowing for easier feeding of blood. Eye color changes from the spectrum of average hues to red.

When infected, the fur of the Khajiit alters as the skin of a human or elf would. Long-toothed by nature, the incisors of the Khajiit grow exceptionally long, so that they protrude below the lip. Their pupils also become slit-like. Similarly with the Argonians; they grow pairs of double fangs which protrude from the upper jaw at the front of the mouth, the eyes (if not already slit) will become pale and slit-like, and the color of the scales grow grayer as the infection worsens.

Stages of vampirism and their effects

After approximately twenty-four hours without feeding, a vampire progresses a stage. Feeding always brings the vampire back to stage one. Without Dawnguard installed, characters become hostile toward the vampire as the infection deteriorates, attacking them on sight. Dawnguard removes this penalty and people will treat a blood-starved vampire like any other person.

Stage Without Dawnguard With Dawnguard Spells Abilities
1 Resist Frost: 25%
Weakness to Fire: 25%
Resist Frost: 20%
Weakness to Fire: 20%
Vampiric Drain
Vampire's Servant
Vampire's Sight
Champion of the Night
Nightstalker's Footsteps
Vampiric Strength: 5 pts
Weakness to Sunlight: -15 pts
2 Resist Frost: 50%
Weakness to Fire: 50%
Resist Frost: 30%
Weakness to Fire: 30%
Vampiric Drain
Vampire's Servant
Vampire's Sight
Vampire's Seduction
Champion of the Night
Nightstalker's Footsteps
Vampiric Strength: 10 pts
Weakness to Sunlight: -30 pts
3 Resist Frost: 75%
Weakness to Fire: 75%
Resist Frost: 40%
Weakness to Fire: 40%
Vampiric Drain
Vampire's Servant
Vampire's Sight
Vampire's Seduction
Champion of the Night
Nightstalker's Footsteps
Vampiric Strength: 15 pts
Weakness to Sunlight: -45 pts
4 Resist Frost: 100%
Weakness to Fire: 100%
Resist Frost: 50%
Weakness to Fire: 50%
Vampiric Drain
Vampire's Servant
Vampire's Sight
Vampire's Seduction
Embrace of Shadows
Champion of the Night
Nightstalker's Footsteps
Vampiric Strength: 20 pts
Weakness to Sunlight: -60 pts

Effects across all stages

These effects exist across all stages of infection and are perpetually active:

  • Weakness to SunlightHealth, magicka, and stamina do not recover in sunlight. Each stat is stunted, as well, which increases with the severity of infection. The skin appears to slowly burn as time is spent in sunlight.
    • Sunlight is encountered outdoors during the day between 5 am and 7 pm. Because of this, vampires move more easily at night. Equipping apparel that grants a faster regeneration percentage on any of the three main stats, using the Lady Stone, or taking a perk that grants faster regeneration allows stat recovery regardless of one's weakness to sunlight.
    • With the addition of Dawnguard, it is possible to nullify the effects of the sun for a day, by using Auriel's Bow to shoot Bloodcursed Elven Arrows at it.
    • This does not affect the player while in Apocrypha or the Soul Cairn, as the sun does not appear in these locations even during day.
  • Resist Disease – The Dragonborn's vampiric blood gives them 100% resistance to disease.
  • Resist Poison – The Dragonborn's vampiric blood gives them 100% resistance to poison.
  • Nightstalker's Footsteps – Vampires are 25% harder to detect while sneaking.
  • Champion of the NightIllusion spells cast by a vampire are 25% more powerful.

Note: the installation of the Dawnguard add-on may affect these.

Spells and powers

  • Vampiric Drain – Absorb x points of health per second from target. Functions as a novice-level Destruction spell whose magnitude and duration increase with severity of infection. With Dawnguard installed, it can also drain magicka and stamina.
  • Vampire's Servant – Reanimate a dead body to fight for the vampire for 60 seconds. Spell limited to one cast per day. Improves with severity of infection.
  • Vampire's Sight – Improve night vision for limited duration. It can be used multiple times a day and can be toggled on and off.
  • Vampire's Seduction – Creatures and people are calmed for a limited duration once per day. With the addition of Dawnguard, targets can be used for vampiric feeding. Acquired at stage two of vampirism.
  • Embrace of Shadows – The vampire becomes invisible, with night vision for 180 seconds. Can only be used once per day; interacting with anything will remove invisibility as per usual. Acquired at stage four of vampirism.


Since becoming a Vampire classifies the Dragonborn as undead, they will gain the effect of the Necromage perk (if chosen as a Restoration skill). Necromage enhances all buffs and debuffs by 25%. A basic Vampire character at stage four raises its Resist Frost to 62.5%; likewise with its Weakness to Fire to 62.5%.

The interesting feature of this perk is that all Enchantments count as buffs and will be increased by 25%. Essentially, everything in Active Effects is enhanced by this perk.


Vampire Being Attacked

A vampire being attacked post-feeding.

If the Dragonborn is at stage four of vampirism without the Dawnguard add-on, to avoid hostile characters, they must travel by night and avoid places where a vampiric infection would be noticed.

Because vampirism bolsters Illusion spells, casting spells such as Pacify on characters can prevent them from attacking a vampire. Perks such as "Kindred Mage" and "Hypnotic Gaze" may need to be unlocked first for higher-leveled people to be affected by the spell.


Vampire Feeding (Skyrim)

A vampire feeding on Drevis Neloren.

Drinking the blood of the uninfected stays the vampiric infection. Levels of vampirism can be reversed simply by drinking blood.

Feeding accrues a bounty of 40 Gold in the corresponding holds, if caught. Sneak, Muffle, and invisibility are powerless to decrease the chances of detection. There are two methods for feeding available to vampires:

Types of feeding


To feed, one must approach a sleeping humanoid and press the interaction button. If successful, a black message box pops up with the options of "Feed" or "Talk to <character's name>". One must select feed to execute the feeding command. During the session, the vampire bends over the slumbering victim and the screen flashes a light magenta color. A message reading "Your vampiric powers recede as you feed." is also displayed. The same person can be fed from multiple times in one night, or across nights, and they are never killed as a result of the feeding unless the Vampire Lord power is active at the time. As with pickpocketing, incessant interaction with a target increases the chances that they will awaken.


With the addition of Dawnguard, conscious humanoids can be fed upon. It works similarly to the sleeping method, but requires the Dragonborn to cast the Vampire's Seduction spell on a person first. This spell is only available at stage two of vampirism and can only be used once per day. It only affects characters up to a certain level, so the target must be chosen carefully before casting the spell.

The dungeon in Castle Volkihar has some cattle that appear to be permanently affected by Vampire's Seduction and can be fed on while conscious.

Methods for feeding easily

  • Find a spouse and drink their blood nightly. Housecarls also function well for this.
  • In the action command menu, ask followers to sleep in a bed.
  • Guilds harbor no prejudice whatsoever against their vampiric members, provided each organization is joined before turning into a stage 4 vampire and the player is not caught feeding on a character. Many guild members sleep in one location (e.g. the Dark Brotherhood and the College of Winterhold), making it easy to locate and feed upon them.
  • Taverns and inns host several sleeping patrons. Close the door to the sleeping person's room to avoid alerting the other patrons.
  • The Temple of Kynareth is a useful place to feed when sneaking. The wounded soldier and sick woman are always there.
  • A Potion of Blood from Dawnguard is the equivalent to consuming blood.

Vampire Lord


Harkon's Vampire Lord form.

Main article: Vampire Lord

The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard, the first official add-on for Skyrim redesigned the vampire game mechanic, adding a perk skill tree and revamping the physical appearance. During the quest called "Bloodline", the Dragonborn must decide whether to continue assisting the Dawnguard or join Harkon and the Volkihar Clan. Choosing the path of Harkon grants the ability to become a Vampire Lord, unlocking the potential to utilize eleven unique perk abilities. It should be noted that siding with Dawnguard does not cancel the possibility of becoming Vampire Lord. Unless cured, Serana can make one both after "Chasing Echoes" and "Kindred Judgment."

Among the newly added spells is the ability to drain life to vitalize the Vampire Lord and the ability to summon Gargoyles the way atronachs are summoned via the use of Conjuration magic. The power bite attack adds unique cinematics in which the Vampire Lord wraps its wings around the victim and bites them on the neck.

Curing vampirism

Conventional method

RisingAtDawn QuestLocation

The stone circle where the anti-vampire ritual is conducted.

See also: Rising at Dawn
  1. Ask any bartender about any rumors going around, and they direct the infected person to Falion in Morthal, who studies vampires. Traveling to Morthal while at stage four vampirism can be difficult, since hostile persons will attack the vampire on sight (unless the Dawnguard add-on is installed).
  2. Once there, he informs the vampire that a ritual can be performed to reverse the curse. A filled black soul gem is required first. The Black Star cannot be substituted for this gem. Falion offers to sell the vampire a Black Soul Gem, if they cannot acquire one through other means.
  3. Fill the Black Soul Gem by casting Soul Trap on a humanoid target.
  4. Meet Falion at the stone circle to cure the infection.
  5. Falion endlessly agrees to cure vampirism, so the quest can be completed multiple times, if infected on more than one occasion.


Becoming a Werewolf automatically cures vampirism. Aela the Huntress turns the Dragonborn into a werewolf should they decide to join the Companions and become a member of the circle.

Console Commands

Another way of curing vampirism is via Console Commands; one must open the console and type setstage 000EAFD5 10. By using the Console Command code showracemenu to change the Dragonborn's race, vampirism is immediately removed. This is also true of the changesex command.

If one is having trouble curing one's vampirism, or having trouble getting Rising at Dawn quest to start (to clear it), a fix is to type in setstage 0005C625 200 instead. It is important to note that this will clear complete the Rising at Dawn quest.

Comparisons with other games

Vampire factions

Sociologically, vampires in previous games have a stronger presence, both in regards to how they are interacted with and the niche their demographic plays in the microcosms of the setting.

Similar to the Volkihar Clan in Dawnguard, there are vampire factions The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind that can be joined. In Morrowind, joining a Vampire Clan allocates additional attributes bonuses and fortifications for skills. Skyrim excludes this feature, as does Oblivion. A re-invented version of this game mechanic returned with Dawnguard, but it was more closely integrated with the main storyline and the bonuses granted are based on perks given upon leveling up.

Vampires grouped together in clans in Daggerfall and Morrowind; members consisting solely of vampires from the same bloodline. This translates to Skyrim in form of Laelette and Alva's interactions with Movarth and his coven. Otherwise, most vampires encountered in Skyrim are uncivilized, wild, and virtually solitary, minus their thralls and slaves.

Bonuses and unique spells

In both Morrowind and Oblivion, vampires gained bonuses to attributes and skills simply upon becoming vampires. The eradication of the attribute system in Skyrim made garnering such bonuses obsolete. Vampire-specific spells and abilities such as Vampiric Drain and Embrace of Shadows replaced these attribute bonuses. In Oblivion, a Night-Eye-based spell similar to Vampire's Sight did appear; however, the unique Charm spell, Enthralling Presence, was given at stage three vampirism. Again, Skyrim's omission of Charm, as a castable spell, lends explanation to its exclusion.


In regards to the disadvantages of vampirism, Oblivion has more differences from those in the vampires of Skyrim. Instead of increasing Weakness to Fire by 25% at each stage of infection, Oblivion added 10%, with a minimum weakness of 20% and a maximum of 50%. Both Oblivion and Morrowind were without automatic health, magicka, and stamina regeneration, so being in sunlight did not stunt it. Instead, vampires in those titles sustained constant damage per second at an accelerated scale, as infection augmented. Fast-traveling as a vampire in Oblivion could not take place during the day for this reason.

While those caught feeding are still violently reproached, townsfolk and city guards are less inclined to notice a vampire by physical appearance alone, even during broad daylight while sustaining Sun Damage in other games.

Curing vampirism

In Oblivion, the cure for vampirism is also given by a mage, in the form of a sequestered hedgewitch, and involves Grand Soul Gems and various alchemical ingredients. Morrowind requires the fetching of a book and direct interaction with Molag Bal, the princely patron of vampirism. In both games, vampirism can also be cured via console commands.


  • If vampirism is contracted before dealing with Laelette the Vampire, Alva calls players "Brother" if male or "Sister" if female, expressing kinship with them and unintentionally unveiling her vampiric nature.
  • If Vampiric Drain is equipped before Falion performs the curing ritual, it remains equipped and usable even after the vampirism is gone.
  • If playing as a Dunmer, the weakness to fire is negated by the Dunmer's natural resistance to fire. This is useful for eliminating the major disadvantage of playing as a vampire. Unlike the stunted magicka, health, and stamina, which are only present when exposed to direct sunlight, the weakness to fire is permanent.
  • The Night Thief perk from pickpocketing synergizes well with feeding upon sleeping enemies, as does charging the Skull of Corruption.
  • If the Dragonborn is a vampire or Vampire Lord, Galathil will refuse to change their appearance, claiming that her techniques only work on the living, not the undead. DG


This section contains bugs related to Vampirism (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 see the list of bugs encountered.
  •  360   If the Dragonborn lands before Harkon says to and reverts to a later save, the press (ls) command will be stuck on screen.
  •  360   PS3   Sometimes, after feeding, switching back to first person view before moving away from the bed causes characters to be stuck, unable to move in any way.
    • Reloading from the last save or using the Whirlwind Sprint shout fixes this.
    • Another fix is to feed a second time and switch back to first person view.
  •  PC   360   PS3   When playing as a vampire, Ebony Shields or Blades Shields will not appear on vampire characters even when equipped. After curing vampirism, the Ebony and Blade Shields will be visible again. Other shields are not affected.
  • When citizens attack vampires, guards may register this as a crime and help defend the vampire. Guards will still yell, "Vampire! Burn it!", but never attack the vampire.
  •  360   After completing all quests in the Companions questline leading up to the Underforge event where the Dragonborn becomes a werewolf, if they are also vampires then they can wait exactly two minutes (in-game) before progressing to the next stage of vampirism and drink Aela's blood from the altar. If timed correctly, all the progressed effects from that stage of vampirism (excluding existing, unchanged effects) can be kept, while gaining lycanthropy benefits on top of it. This also works two in-game minutes before Sanguinare Vampiris progresses into full vampirism, granting the 25% sneak and Illusion bonuses. Afterwards, vampirism locks in its current stage, and characters will be unable to feed to lower their degree of vampirism, nor will it increase with time. Vampirism cannot be cured through the related quest, once this occurs. Both negative and positive effects will be kept.
  •  360   Sometimes when wearing masks or masked hoods, progressing into a stage four vampire will cause fangs to stick out of the mask. This seems to happen with Argonians and Khajiit.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Vampirism may cause the Thieves Guild Hood to glitch and become invisible with a large hole in the top of the wearer's hair.
    • This can be somewhat circumvented by reverting to the original race by using the command player.setrace <non-vampiric desired race> (e.g. player.setrace highelf), and then reverting it back by using the command player.setrace highelfracevampire. This, however, causes the character to be unable to feed while still progressing through the stages of vampirism.
    • Equipping a cowl causes it and the Thieves Guild Hood to be equipped simultaneously, along with its bonuses still intact.
  •  PS3   If the player is already a Werewolf, it is still possible to contract Vampirism.
    • The bug lasts permanently, but there are means of fixing it. The player can either become a Vampire Lord and lose both the regular vampirism and lycanthropy, or getting their vampirism cured by Falion and still keep their lycanthropy.
  •  PC   Poison resistance does not prevent one from being poisoned and taking damage, despite being listed in active effects.
  •  PC   Disease resistance may fail to prevent vampirism. It is also possible to contract at least one disease (Bone Break Fever) as a vampire, despite vampires being listed as having 100% disease resistance.
  •  PC   In some cases, becoming a vampire does not grant the Vampire's Sight ability. Other features of the template remain unaffected. This can be corrected manually using the console command player.addspell 000C4DE1.
  • Due to vampires being undead, the Necromage perk from the Restoration school will act as a permanent Fortify Restoration 25%. This results in that almost all beneficial magic effects, including permanent item enchantments, blessings, and heals, are 25% more powerful.
  •  PC   When using the console command to become a vampire there is a glitch that upon becoming a vampire lord your vampire lord spell will not appear. The only way to fix this is to load a save from before the command was used.
  • With Dawnguard installed, friendly-fire "blood drain" attacks from Serana may place any character into a bugged state of vampirism, regardless of their disease resistance. To recover, the player must contract vampirism "normally" before then curing their vampirism in the normal manner.

See also